I receive various questions from people around the world about the Bible, theology, discipleship, small groups, etc. Here I’ve shared some of those questions and my answers with you.
What do you think about evolution?
I believe God created the earth in seven literal 24hr days with the appearance of age. I do not adhere to evolution nor promote it. While I respect people that have dedicated their lives to science and believe strongly in evolution, I place my beliefs and authority in the literal-historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture. Therefore I believe the earth was created in seven-literal days with the appearance of age.
What is your view on communion?
Regarding communion I hold the “memorial view” of communion. I do not adhere to the consubstantiation view (Lutheran), transubstantiation view, (Catholic) or the spiritual presence (Catholic) view. The Memorial View is further defined this way. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper we have “fellowship with Christ’s body.” This means that we, the church, are Christ’s body and we experience fellowship with each other, as the body of Christ, when we take communion together. The “body” I mention is the “church” not the literal “body of Christ” that was killed on the Cross. The metaphors can easily get mixed up. When we take the Lord’s Supper we have “communion with Christ’s life.” This means we share in his sufferings, spiritual death, spiritual resurrection, and his glorification.
What’s your stance on repentance for salvation?
In my understanding of Scripture, repentance for salvation means to have a change of heart/mind concerning Christ. In this way, repentance is almost a synonym for believing in Christ and placing faith in Him for salvation. I would like to quote for you some of my thoughts on this topic from my doctrinal thesis, article 7, of the Evangelical Free Church of America, that I think will elaborate more on my view and lack of emphasis on repentance for salvation.
It is through our faith in Jesus Christ that both Jews and Gentiles are made right with God (Gal 3:6-7). This is a free gift based on our confession and union with Christ, nothing else. In other words, believers have always been saved by faith (Gal 3:6-7; cf. Gen 22:16-18; Hab 2:4; Gal 3:11). Grace is the ground for justification because there is nothing that believers could have done to make themselves right with God (Rom 3:24-25). It is through the grace of God the Father that he sent his Son to die on behalf of sinners so that they could be made righteous. God’s grace provides the grounds for salvation, justification is the end result, and faith is what brings it all together. It is through our faith in Jesus Christ that we are able to accept God’s grace and therefore be justified and made right with God, therefore making up the church of believers that are united by Christ alone (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:12-13; Eph 1:22-23; 4:14-15; 5:23; Col 1:18, 24).
In that section I do not mention repentance as “requirement” for the unsaved person. However, repentance and “repent” are common words in the New Testament. Here’s a few of those.
Repentance from Jesus
- “Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)
- “Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.'” (Matt 11:20-21)
- “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matt 12:41)
- “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
- “and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'” (Luke 24:46-47)
Repentance from Peter
- “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:28, NASB 95)
- “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19)
- “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, NASB 95)
Repentance from Paul
- “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30)
- “solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21)
- “rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” (Acts 26:17-20)
- “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4)
- “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Cor 7:10)
Again, my understanding of repentance is that it is a change of heart and mind concerning our need for the savior.
Why don’t you have a Th.M. degree or Ph.D.?
My answer is slightly technical. So here it goes. At Dallas Theological Seminary they do not offer the three-year M.Div. degree that is common today. They only offer a four-year Th.M. (Master’s of Theology) or a two-year MA (Christian Leadership, Christian Education, etc.). I did a combination of the Th.M. degree and MA degree. (My wife and I were not sure if we could afford a 4yr degree because we did not want to go in debt for my college.) I spent three years in seminary and completed the equivalent of an M.Div. I have completed 84 graduate units. I completed 24 units in Bible Exposition (8 classes going Genesis thru Revelation), 18 units in Systematic Theology (6 classes on Bibliology, Ecclesiology, Trinitarianism, Hamartiology, Angelology, Soteriology, Eschatology, etc.), and 18 units in the Biblical languages (6 classes in koine Greek and Hebrew). I believe an area of strength for me is Bible Exposition. I am still growing in all of these areas and I continue my own studies privately even after graduation.