Having recently started a degree in theology, perhaps one of the things I am learning are the variation of interpretations of the biblical text as translated from the original Hebrew and Greek - these appear not to be perfect stepping stones.
I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar. This article therefore is to ask some questions for a little more clarity.
Take for example baptism. There is a case to be made that baptism by full immersion is to be saved by God’s grace. Without full baptism, you will not be saved. But is this the case? What about the 10 minutes prior to baptism by full immersion and you die?
Again, the Scriptures speak of salvation through grace alone. Does ‘having to be baptised’ then violate this idea? If we have to be baptised, does that become a ‘work’ that we do to get the gift of Salvation. Or is baptism simply a way to demonstrate to the public your Salvation?
My theology course will undoubtedly help me comprehend all this better.
This is another prickly subject! The Bible speaks of the abomination of women being with women and men being with men. At least, that’s how it looks. But I read a lecture from a ‘gay Christian’ who suggested we aren’t looking at the cultural context of the time.
The lecturer talked through what the Romans behaviour was during the time these passages were written. Apparently, the Romans would buy young boys for their sexual pleasure. And it is this behaviour that God was talking about being abominable.
People also say that God forbids gay relationships because you should only have a sexual relationship with someone with whom you’re married. I’m looking forward to my theology lectures on this subject
And on the seventh day He rested
With businesses now open 7 days a week, it can be hard to maintain our seventh day resting. Often, we can no longer designate Sunday as a day we can’t work because it’s a busy day for a business. But does the day matter?
In the Old Testament, the day of resting was Saturday. When Jesus rose again, on a Sunday, that became the new day of resting. Now, people will rest on a Tuesday, Thursday, Monday…you get the picture. But does the day matter?
God wants us to rest and worship Him. The benefit of having a set day, such as a Sunday (or Saturday for the Seventh Day Adventists) means we can come together and worship. Is the answer that a group of people get together on whatever days suits them? Can a group of Christians get together on a Wednesday as their resting day and still worship God?
Obey your leaders
God also gives us instructions to obey our leaders as He has put them in that position. But what happens when those leaders make a decision that seems contrary to the Bible. We know the story of Dietrich Bonheoffer who under the Nazi’s defied the law of the land. The New Testament presupposes slavery, yet today we abhor slavery.
We Christians like to declare that we love all people, to love your neighbour as yourself. Now most of us love ourselves pretty intensely. I wonder what the world would look like if we loved our neighbours this way.
God hasn’t asked me to judge others. He has asked me to love them. Should we still love them if they lie, cheat, fornicate, murder…there seems to be competing responsibilities.
And what about the man who has committed atrocious acts in New Zealand recently. Are we to love him? Can’t we judge such as bad people? What of those Christians around the world being murdered – are we to love their killers? Doesn’t society expect its Government to protect the weak and the laws of the land express justice equally.
I’m looking forward to my theology course. I feel like I have none of the answers. But hopefully this will point me in the right direction of what God’s word is saying to my generation of believers.
Emma Bamford from Melbourne is returning as a Press Service International writer for Christian Today. Emma is undertaking a part time theology course and is a qualified business marketer. A self-confessed Jesus girl, Emma writes to stir the heart of her readers into becoming more passionate and loving Christians.