Answers to Questions—13/10/2017-24/10/2017

Here are some of the most recent answers on my Curious Cat page. I plan to take a break for a few months after I reach 1,000 (I’m currently on 833 questions answered), so get any burning questions you have in now!


Why is faith a necessary condition for salvation? [Answer]


Should Christians expect their life to be directed by an inner, subjective leading of the Holy Spirit? To many Christians I know (non-charismatic evangelicals) this seems to be the very essence of the Christian life. They have little interest in agruments about theology or biblical interpretation because they believe the real thing is discerning the will of the Spirit. [Answer]


Is the default mode for mankind hell? [Answer]


What is your view on the fate of the unevangelized? [Answer]


When I read the book of Acts, it seems that there was no waiting period between belief and baptism, but that those who believed were baptized right away. Do you think this should be the church’s practice today, or is some sort of waiting and teaching period to be preferred (whether catechumenate, baptism classes, membership classes, etc.)? [Answer]


Is the gift of tongues the initial evidence of an individual’s baptism of the Holy Spirit? If not, why does Peter link the gift of tongues and the reception of the Holy Spirit in Acts 10:44-48? [Answer]


What do you make of the lack of commands in the NT epistles to evangelize? … [Answer]


Question indirectly relating to the interpretation of Galatians 3:28 [Answer]


Should 2 Timothy 3:16 be seen as alluding to Gen 2:7? If so, what does this mean for our doctrine of inspiration? [Answer]


Did God predestinate the crucifixion of Jesus? [Answer]


… What explains most Christians rejecting the notion of God willing everything, despite it coming up everywhere in the Bible? [Answer]


In some of your answers you uphold a standard reformed doctrine (e.g. personal election) but reject the traditional reading of major passages used to support that doctrine. Is it surprising to you that you would find yourself in the same place via an alternate route? Do you ever worry that your commitment to received doctrine prevents you from “following the evidence where it leads?” [Answer]


The Bible advises us against contracting debt, but we don’t think too much about it when our debt is small and manageable.
Should Christians take loans to buy a house? [Answer]


What are your thoughts on the doctrine of inerrancy? Would you, for example, subscribe to the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy? [Answer] [Follow-up]


Should Protestant laypeople read the Apocrypha? Should it be printed in our Bibles and read in church? [Answer]


Is some sort of trust in the authority of the Church required to accept the canon? [Answer]


My sister and her husband recently had a baby and I’ve had the honor and responsibility of being named the godfather. I’m not a parent, so I have never had a major responsibility for anyone’s growth in the faith before. I’m curious if you have any thoughts on how best to carry this out in a society that’s becoming increasingly antagonistic to the faith. [Answer]


Why do Roman Catholics have a problem with paedophilia? … [Answer]


Why do most churches never send people knocking on doors? … [Answer]


Does church architecture matter? Should we think of church buildings as holy spaces? [Answer]


Is it sinful for churches to be so richly and expensively designed like Vatican churches? [Answer] [Follow-up]


How can an evangelical learn to produce works of art (music, film, painting, sculpture, etc.) to the glory of God? What historical models of evangelical artistry can he look to? Is there/should there be a rich tradition of art in evangelicalism? Or can that only be found in Roman/Eastern Orthodox history? [Answer]


… [D]o you consider yourself primarily Evangelical, rather than, say, primarily a Reformed Anglican, and if so, why? Second, what about Evangelicalism in its contemporary form is worth preserving? [Answer]


What do you make of the below Gospel Coalition article, particularly in relation to your general thoughts about evangelicalism? [Answer]


What makes someone ‘Christian’, and are you a fan of labelling people ‘not Christian’ when they espouse weird beliefs and behaviours (e.g. Joel Osteen)? Do you have to believe in the Trinity to be Christian? Are Unitarians called Christian? [Answer]


I’ve heard Roman Catholics accuse Protestants of limited models of spirituality for women, and a low view of women in general, owing to their lack of veneration for Mary. Do you think this connection is plausible? Have Protestants neglected Mary? [Answer]


The perpetual virginity of Mary was upheld by a number of the reformers and even made it into the Second Helvetic Confession, but today it is pretty much unheard-of among Protestants. Do you think this doctrine is worth retrieving, or was it just a leftover bit of Roman corruption that got purged out later? [Answer]


Does the disappearance of Joseph from the biblical narrative and Jesus commending his mother to the care of John provide evidence that the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned elsewhere might be from a previous marriage of Joseph and that the argument against the perpetual virginity of Mary from the references to Jesus’s brothers and sisters has less force? [Answer]


Do you think it’s possible one reason the perpetual virginity seems so implausible to most Protestants (myself included) is that we’ve lost hermeneutical practices of Scriptural interpretation which make such claims more plausible? I’m thinking in particular, for example, of the fourfold method and allegorical interpretation in particular, which some used to support, e.g., reading a certain prophetic text about “closed gates” as referring to Mary. [Answer]


I just watched your Davenant video on masculinity. What is going on when Paul exhorts the Corinthian Christians to “act like men” without elaboration? [Answer]


What does it mean for a man to “crumple” in a conflict? Does it include going into shock and bring unable to function and living with PTSD for the rest of one’s life? [Answer]


… What do you think it means, from a biblical perspective, for a female to be beautiful and to pursue beauty in a godly way? … [Answer]


… Is there any evidence show that girls have an innate desire for intimacy, and that the best way to nurture healthy females is for family and society to help them from stable, loving and long-term relationships? [Answer]


… Do you know of other articles, or have other thoughts, on things we could say to express our wish to not be “priced out” of marriage? [Answer]


If marriages are consummated in the sexual act, what does that mean for marriages in which one or both spouses are unable to have sex (e.g. cases of severe disability etc)? [Answer]


In light of Ephesians 5, in what ways is it legitimate to speak of the purpose of marriage as being to display the gospel to the world? … [Answer]


Does every man in power over young women and up sampling the goods? [Answer]


Have you addressed the “Men’s Rights Movement” anywhere? … [Answer]


A dumb teenager might steal from his parents regularly, stalk a girl because she’s cute and he hope he’ll like her (he’s dumb, remember), or cheat on his math homework.

Why is the second one the one of great social and cultural import? Are there hard boundaries or criteria that make the sexist actions of the teen boy a social problem, but not the stealing? [Answer]


Any thoughts on social media’s “me too?” Why does it seem like “men are default assholes” is often a part of the message? [Answer]


What do you think of these words on the passive voice used in society about women? [Answer]


What do you think about women serving in the military? [Answer]


I wondered whether you’d read Michael Hannon’s argument that heterosexuality (that is orientationism) first appeared in the 19th century and that it is inimical to traditional natural law teachings on sexual relations. … [Answer] [Follow-up]


I have read about the importance of not hanging my head in defeat, assuming the inevitable moral slide of society away from its God-ordained order. However, it is hard to not feel defeated. As a Christian, how can I/we helpfully engage with this sort of issue in a public sense and when is it worth or not worth putting in the effort? [Answer]


Would you preach against IVF from the pulpit? If so, what would you do about feedback like, “We used IVF to conceive, does that mean we’re bad Christians?” or, “I was conceived through IVF, does that mean I’m a lesser human being?” [Answer] [Follow-up] [Further question from woman pursuing IVF treatment]


I’d also like to ask if you see any meaningful difference between couples who use their own biological material vs donor material. [Answer]


You mentioned that you wouldn’t preach against IVF in the pulpit and you’d stay as close to the text as possible however what length of deductions from the text in your view would be licit in a sermon? … [Answer]


On the subject of infertility, IVF, etc., would you advice a married couple that such circumstances might be understood as a providential signal to pursue adoption as a healthier and morally clearer alternative to reproductive technologies? … [Answer]


Is it an ethical decision for an unmarried Christian to adopt a child? [Answer]


Do you have any thoughts on the recent argument made on abortion by Patrick Tomlinson? [Answer]


Do you think governments and other institutions should take steps to encourage fecundity? Are steps such as increasing maternal leave, which may increase the birth rate but simultaneously militate against the ordering of women toward the home and their children unwise? [Answer] [Follow-up]


How do you give appropriate value to experts even while recognizing the inescapable reality that on a daily basis we disagree with experts all the time in ways we could not defend in a formal debate? … [Answer]


… I was hoping for your thoughts on the relationship between human flourishing and work, and the modern office environment? … [Answer]


If lab-grown meat became as delicious, burritos [sic.!], and cheap (out moreso) as actual animal meat, would eating actual animal meat be less just than eating lab-grown? [Answer]


You mentioned in the natural law question how technology makes suppression of natural law more possible. Could you give an example? … [Answer]


… [W]hat would be the circumstances at younger ages (pre school/primary school) which would make you consider homeschooling? What can be the problems/issues that can arise where parents decide to homeschool young children? [Answer] [Follow-up]


… Do you think the current school environment is conducive for developing independent agency? Secondly, if it does only in a limited way how would you approach fitting this time in along with a healthy amount of time spent with family? [Answer]


… [D]o you think that given the present circumstances in the UK that it is prudent that education is in general decondensed? [Answer]


How should a Christian view the corporal punishment of children from a biblical perspective? … [Answer]


Which criteria should we use to name a child? … [Answer]


… Should Christians be concerned about ecosystem function as a good unto itself, or only as it provides tangible goods to people (clean air and water, food, etc.)? … [Answer]


Is “white privilege” a valid and helpful term/concept? How should white
Christians approach it, particularly in a U.S. setting? [Answer]


Was Martin Luther King Jr. justified in using his position as a Christian minister to advocate primarily for civil rights over the course of his life? … [Answer]


How should Christians react to Alt-right claims about intelligence differences? … [Answer]


How do you select the questions that you answer? [Answer]


What was your doctoral dissertation on? [Answer]


How and when did you realize you have became an adult? … [Answer]


… In the case of family members or friends (basically not Twitter bots I can mute) who, due to the news circles they frequent, perpetuate apparent falsehoods (some in the category of conspiracy theory), what are helpful principles in terms of responding truthfully and graciously and even, hopefully, curbing some of these misinformation?… [Answer]


What are your thoughts on critical theory? [Answer]


What was your reaction when you found out Trump won the presidency? Did you find out just as you woke up in the morning? Happy or shocked? [Answer]


Have you listened to George W. Bush’s recent speech on freedom and its current threats? Do you have any thoughts on it? [Answer]


… I think the notion that products of the West are from the West solely because the West industrialized first is particularly ignorant of the important social and cultural assumptions that were somewhat novel in the West and that differentiated it notably. [Answer]


Two questions, perhaps related:
1) What are your thoughts on underlining/notating in Bibles?
2) What do you think about purchasing high-quality, leather-bound Bibles (e.g. from R. L. Allan)? [Answer]

Leave any questions you might have here. This week will probably be your last opportunity for a few months!

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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One Response to Answers to Questions—13/10/2017-24/10/2017

  1. Pingback: 2017 Retrospective | Alastair's Adversaria

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