Frequently asked questions
“God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly — that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak — is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.”
― J.I. Packer, God's Plans for You
How could a good God allow suffering?
Evil and suffering isn’t evidence against God. Evil and suffering may be (if anything) evidence for God. It is a greater problem for non-believers because they have no basis on which to judge the world to be horribly wrong, unfair or unjust? The Christian God came to earth to deliberately put himself on the hook of human suffering. In Jesus God experienced the greatest depths of pain. Therefore Christianity provides deep resources for actually facing suffering with hope and courage rather than bitterness and despair.
You can’t take the bible literally, can you?
The Christian faith requires belief in the bible. This is a big stumbling block to many because there may be parts that clash with their worldview. To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible’s teaching is offensive to you assumes that if there is a God he wouldn’t have any views that challenge you. Does that belief make sense?
Firstly we need some cultural humility. To reject the bible as regressive is to assume that you have now arrived at the ultimate historic moment, from which all that is regressive and progressive can be discerned.
Secondly there are good reasons why the gospel accounts should be considered historically reliable rather than legends. Paul’s letters were written just 15 years after Jesus death. And that means there was only a gap of around thirty years between the events Mark gospel records for example and the date he wrote about them. This is well within the lifetime of those who lived through the events he describes, so many of Mark’s readers would have been able to spot any fabrications or inconsistencies. There were also many hostile eyewitnesses who were anxious to discredit him. Mark had to make sure that his account was trustworthy. Non-Christian sources also support the gospel accounts.
With Jesus as the lens we can then read all the Scriptures and make sense of them and apply them to our lives.
There can’t be just one true religion?
It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions (namely that all are equal) is right. We are all exclusive in our beliefs about religion, but in different ways. Christianity has within itself remarkable power to explain and expunge the divisive tendencies within the human heart and for respecting people of other faiths.