Christian Suicide?

Q. This is a true story from the YouTube. The jihadists told a Christian to denounce his faith or watch his wife getting raped. He killed himself. I don’t think he would have killed himself if the jihadists threatened to kill his wife instead. They may just kill his wife after his suicide instead of raping her. Where would his soul go? Both denying Jesus and killing are sins. I don’t see any way out.

A. Some accept what the jihadists say at face value, that if the Christian denounce his faith then his wife won’t be raped. Others are less trusting and assume the worst based on what the jihadists had done in the past, that they would coerce the Christian to apostatize, rape his wife, then kill them both. You can speculate the outcome; my opinion is that the latter is more likely.

I don’t know why the Christian killed himself, possibly because he made up his mind not to renounce Christ, but could not bear to see his wife raped before his eyes. He believed that to apostatize is worse than death, therefore he committed suicide.
Heb 10:26-29 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

I have written on Christian suicide before and refer you to my previous post:
https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/where-does-a-christian-who-commits-suicide-go/

Where would his soul go? Since he decided that he would rather die than renounce Christ, he is not an apostate. He has not blasphemed against the Holy Spirit and committed the unpardonable sin. Although he committed suicide or self-murder, he was compelled to do so under threat of violation to his wife. It is forgivable. Therefore my opinion is that he went to be with Christ.

Forgive & Forget?

Q. In Mt 5:24 What if the brother does not want to make peace? I was going to tell my friend that he is not sincere enough when he was trying to make peace with his co-worker who insists on not accepting his apologies. Should he go on trying to make peace with different methods?

In Mt 18:21-22 A sister in Christ says to forgive because God would revenge for us (Rom 12:19). I think when we forgive, we do not want God’s wrath to be on that person either, right? But I imagine eventually God would avenge because He is just. That means our blessing and prayer would not be effective, unless things happen like in Jobs 42?

Lk 6:27-28 Is it right to forgive but not to forget? I think when we forgive, we should try to forget. It would make it ridiculous to ask us to give an example from our experience in following Jesus’ advise to forgive (in a group meeting?

A. In Mt 5:23 the brother has something against you, i.e. you have offended him, so the onus is on you to make reconciliation. If he does not want to be reconciled, then the procedure in Mt 18:15-17 kicks in, but with a difference. The difference is that there your brother sins against you and he is at fault. You are not the guilty party but nonetheless take the initiative to make peace. First it is just between you and your brother in private (v 15). If that fails, then take one or two with you to try again (v 16), not to gang up on him, but as witnesses so that everything would be fair. If that fails, tell it to the church, starting with the elders (v 17). They have the discretion as to how to treat the grievance, whether keeping it low profile or bringing it to the open, depending on what is at stake. If that still does not work, then the brother who sins will be excommunicated (v 17).

Now, in Mt 5:23 you, not the brother, is the one giving offense. You wanted to reconcile but he refuses. He is not acting graciously in this case, but since you cannot force someone to forgive you, there is not much you can do if he keeps on refusing after repeated attempts. However, because you were in the wrong in the first place, he won’t be excommunicated. There remains a stain on him because of the lack of grace, but it also reflects poorly on the church. So be gracious as much as you can, It is in short supply these days.

Yes, when we truly forgive, we don’t want God’s wrath on our enemy. The context of Rom 12:19 is v 17-21:
17. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
18. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
19. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.
20. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”
21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Some misinterpret “heap burning coals on his head” as wishing something bad on your enemy. No, three times Paul said “never pay back evil” (v 17), “never take revenge” (v 19), and “do not be overcome by evil” (v 21), so how can he wish evil on anyone? Heaping coals on his head is not to burn him, but to keep him warm, to allow him to prepare his meals. It is overcoming evil with good (v 21). God will repay because He is just. We don’t need to take matters into our own hands.

The expression “forgive and forget” is actually not in the Bible. When we say to forgive and forget, we mean we no longer hold the perpetrator who wronged and harmed us responsible. We choose to move on with our lives instead of being stuck in the past. It does not mean we wipe our memory bank and can no longer recall the evil done to us as if it never happened. Human nature being what it is, we can forget a lot of mundane details, but not the way people treated us, both hurts and acts of kindness. We remember and can give glory to God as to how He delivered us from holding a grudge and remain bitter years after the evil happened. We got over it and won’t dig it up again. In this sense we have “forgotten”.

Is Paul a Male Chauvinist? Part 2 of 2

(Continued from yesterday)

• You may be reading too much into 1 Tim 2:14. All it said was Adam was not deceived but Eve was. It said nothing about Paul’s attitude towards women, that he was a woman-hater as some feminists claim, or at least a male chauvinist. Paul was not married (1 Co 7:8) so he never had the responsibility of a husband to protect his wife, nor did he condone men blaming women for the husbands’ mistakes. My opinion is based on:

1. As a Pharisee who knew the Law (Php 3:5), he understood fully a husband’s “covering” of authority over his wife:
Num 30:6-8 “However, if she should marry while under her vows or the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day he hears it, then her vows shall stand and her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the LORD will forgive her. (Also Num 6:10-12)
If Adam were there all the time, since he said nothing and did not forbid Eve, he gave his tacit approval by his silence and eating the fruit himself; he cannot avoid his responsibility. I understand the Law came later, but the principle is the same.

2. Paul was the one who penned:
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
• Eph 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
• Eph 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

As such, it is highly unlikely that he would condone husbands blaming their wives for their own mistakes.

3. Although Eve sinned first, Paul never charged woman with greater responsibility. The primary responsibility of sin and death entering the world rest with Adam as head of his family and mankind:
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned
• Rom 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one (Adam), …

So I find faulting Paul for something he never did, or even stood against, to be an unfair accusation. Hope this helps.

Is the Bible Sexist? Part 1 of 2

Q. I disagree with 1 Tim 2:14 that “it was not Adam who was deceived. It was the woman who was deceived and became disobedient.” Adam, being older than Eve, should had been wiser than Eve. He should have told Eve not to eat the fruit, unless he wanted to know good and evil himself. Adam was beside Eve the whole time. Being a gentleman, he let Eve take the first bite. He could have refused to take the second bite. His own intention is revealed here. It must had been the delayed effect that Eve, after her first bite, did not immediately realize what she had done wrong. In verse 14, Paul was shirking the responsibility of men of loving and protecting his wife. He condoned the men to blame the women for their own mistakes.

A. We need to observe carefully what the Bible said and what it didn’t say, or we may be wrongly charging God or the human author with error, when the mistake was really in our assumption. The Fall of Man is recorded in Gen 3:1-7, which Paul commented on in 1 Tim 2:14. Note the following:

• Gen 3:1-5 give the dialogue between the serpent (the devil and Satan, Rev 12:9, 20:2) and the woman (Eve, Gen 3:20). We infer from v 6 that Adam was there, but there was no record of any exchange between the serpent and the man, nor between the woman and her husband. Adam may be there all the time as some commentators believe, or he may have just arrived as Eve ate. The Bible is silent and we aren’t sure which is the case.

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. According to 1 Tim 2:14 Eve was deceived and fell into transgression. Adam was not deceived i.e. he knew what he was doing. It was a willful disobedience of God’s command.

• We don’t know when God made Adam and Eve what age He gave them. Likely He made both in their prime. Other than that all we know is that both were created on Day 6, so we really can’t say Adam was older and wiser. Both were without sin prior to the Fall, and did not know good from evil before they ate the forbidden fruit. God commanded the man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Gen 2:17, before He made the woman in Gen 2:22. So either Adam told Eve afterwards, or God told Eve Himself, otherwise she would not have known the prohibition as indicated in Gen 3:3, although she added the “touching” part herself.

• The Bible did not tell what went through Adam’s mind as he ate the forbidden fruit, so we don’t know his intention. Was it being a gentleman and “ladies first” as you suggested? Or was it not trusting God’s words despite His warning? Any imputation of motive comes from us, not the text. We can’t be sure it must be what we assumed, as there is NO hard evidence to back up our claim. The only thing we know for sure is that Adam was NOT deceived, so it was not out of ignorance, but deliberate, and therefore more deserving of blame. So the second option above is more plausible.

(To be continued)

Chrislam

Q. In spite of your usually tolerant attitude, I assume you cannot tolerate the new cult of Chrislam, arising in Protestant churches. Many Christians think that Allah is the same as Yahweh. What is your view?

A. My tolerance goes as far as the Bible goes, hopefully no more and no less. Chrislam is an attempt to merge Christianity with Islam (syncretism), assuming they only call the same God by different names. My view is that those who try to blend the two do not know the God of the Bible at all.

Christians believe in the Triune God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – Three Persons in One God. We believe that Jesus is God incarnate, and that salvation is available only through Him:

Jn 1:1, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
• Jn 10:30 I and the Father are one.
• Jn 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
• Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name (Jesus Christ) under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Islam, on the other hand, believes that Allah has no sons, that Jesus was only a prophet lower than Mohammad, and certainly not God. To Muslims calling Jesus God is blasphemy. It is not a matter of calling the same God by different names because of different culture, but fundamentally different. They are poles apart. How anyone can reconcile the two is beyond me. The two are irreconcilable and can never be. It is simply Satan blinding the minds of the unbelieving so that they can’t see (2 Co 4:4).

Type of Christ

Q. Which OT characters do you consider to be humanly speaking perfect, who exhibit the character or qualities of Christ? I thought of Joseph but he has a cup which he uses for divination.

A. What you are asking is for the “types” of Christ, which could be persons or objects. The word “type” is generally used to denote a resemblance between something present (OT times) and something future (NT times), which is called the “antitype” (Christ).
Several people walked with God and were called “pleasing to God” or “blameless” in the Bible:
Gen 5:22, 24 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. … Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
• Gen 6:8-9 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
• Job 1:8 The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” 2:3 The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”

But if you want longer narratives where you can study their biography for yourself, instead of only a few verses for Enoch, or recording Noah’s flaw in getting drunk and uncovering himself, consider Daniel. Some books on types (e.g. Torrey’s New Topical Textbook has a section on Types of Christ with 45 entries) do not list Daniel among them. However, when you read Daniel in detail, you will discover that the Bible did not record any sin in his life, and his courage, dependence on God, wisdom certainly reminds us of Christ’s qualities.

As to Joseph’s cup:
Gen 44:5 Is not this the one from which my lord drinks and which he indeed uses for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.
• Gen 44:15 Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?

V 5 is what Joseph taught his steward to say to his brothers when he overtake them. V 15 is what Joseph himself said to his brothers to test them. It could be that he used the cup for divination, or it could be that he said them only to trick them into thinking that he can discern what they were hiding. Joseph had this cup because his wife was Asenath the daughter of Potiphera priest of On (Gen 41:45, 50; 46:20), and he was just saying this as an excuse. In any event, this is circumstantial and not concrete evidence to prove that he practiced divination. I believe his position is stated in:

Gen 40:8 Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”
• Gen 41:16 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”
• Gen 41:25 Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.
• Gen 41:28 It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.

Repeatedly Joseph attributed the interpretations to God, not to his divination. So I would not hold the possession of the cup against him.

Predestination

Q. Is there such a thing as predestination? Paul had chosen to be a Pharisee. Saving grace was forced on him and he repented and accepted. The Israelites had chosen to reject Yahweh but all Israelites will repent and be saved at the end times. The gentiles have quite a different fate. As a gentile, I treasure God’s saving grace and mercy.

A. Yes there is predestination. I have written on the subject before so I won’t repeat myself. Please refer to the previous posts:
https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/predestination/

https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/is-everything-pre-determined/

https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/election-based-on-foreknowledge/

https://raykliu.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/election-of-saints-election-4/

Paul was a Pharisee, but saving grace was not forced on him:
Php 3:5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;

For the conversion of Saul, read Acts 9:3-9, 17-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-18. Unlike ISIS who put a knife to the throat to force people to recant their faith, God did not threaten him. Paul was not coerced or under duress, but saw the light when he was struck blind temporarily. He repented willingly when he realized how wrong he was about Jesus.

Nor is the privilege of knowing God offered to Jews alone, but Gentiles also:
• Acts 26:23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
• Rom 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
• Rom 9:24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
• 1 Co 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
• 1 Co 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
• Ga 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The difference is only of timing –
• Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
• Rom 2:10-11 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.

Hope this helps to clarify your issues.