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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
A friend of mine posted these basic doctrine questions on Facebook and I thought they are interesting. Try and see how many you can answer and then scroll to the bottom of the page for the answers:
Questions About God and Christ (Answer True or False)
1. Jesus was God, but only appeared to be human.
2. Jesus was the first of all God’s created beings.
3. Jesus had a human body and divine soul.
4. In the Old Testament, God was known as the Father, in the New Testament, as the Son, and after Pentecost, as the Holy Spirit.
5. Mary is the mother of God.
6. God chooses people because he knows in advance they will choose him.
Questions About Salvation (Answer True or False)
7. The only way we can be saved is by the perfect conformity to the law of God.
8. We are saved by grace after all that we can do.
9. I am saved because of my decision to accept Christ.
10. God is so sovereign, he can change his mind.
11. The Bible teaches that there is an age of accountability, and that children who die before this age go to heaven because they are innocent.
12. If I die with unconfessed sin, I will not go to heaven.
13. The main motivation for holiness is fear of punishment and hope of reward.
14. God cannot hold someone guilty for the sins of another.
15. Justification is the process by which a person, through faith in Christ and sorrow for his sins, receives the gift of the Holy Spirit and so becomes a child of God.
16. God cannot require of us anything which cannot be performed.
17. True Christians believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible.
18. God helps those who help themselves is a biblically sound principle.
19. Though no one is perfect, the Lord looks on the heart to see who really loves him.
1. FALSE. This is a heresy known as Docetism. Jesus did not simply appear to have flesh, he became flesh (Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 4:2-3; 2 Jn 7; Lk 24:39-43). For further reading, look up Docetism in a Dictionary of Theology or volume of Church history. Here are some online resources:
The History of the Christian Church, by Phillip Schaff
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge
The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
2. FALSE. This is a heresy known as Arianism (also, modern-day Jehovah’s Witnesses hold this view). Jesus Christ is spoken of in the Scriptures as being both God and eternal (Jn 1:1-3, 14, 8:58, 14:9, 20:27-29; Php 2:5-7).
3. FALSE. The historic, orthodox, Christian Faith, as explained by the Nicene Creed, demand that Jesus was fully God and fully man (Col 2:9; Rom 1:3; Php 2:5-7). He was not a hybrid (half God, half man). For further reading on this topic, look up the ancient church heresy known as Apollonarianism.
4. FALSE. This is a heresy known as Modalism, which argues that there is one God who changes the modes of expressing Himself (like the analogy: water = liquid, ice, and steam). However, an orthodox understanding of the Trinity acknowledges that there is one God, but three distinct Persons. The Bible teaches the following:
There is one God (Dt 6:4; Isa 43:10, 44:8, 45:21-22)
The Father is God (Col 1:2)
The Son is God (Jn 5:17-18, 10:30-33; Heb 1:6-8; Isa 9:6; Mk 2:5-12; Php 2:6-8; Col 2:6-8)
The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:1-4; 2 Cor 3:17-18; Jer 31:33-34; Heb 10:15-16)
The Father is a Person (Mt 6:9; Lk 23:24; Jn 17:1)
The Son is a Person (Isa 9:6; Isa 53:2-3; Jn 11:33-36, 17:1)
The Holy Spirit is a Person (Jn 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:13-14; Rom 8:26-27)
5. TRUE. This statement is not suggesting that Mary created God, but was originally intended as a way of supporting the divinity of Jesus Christ. Mary was indeed the mother of God incarnate.
6. FALSE. This amounts to a rejection of Original Sin and the doctrines of Grace. All men left to themselves are totally dead to God and unable to do good (Rom 3:10-12, John 3:3, 6:64-65, Eph. 2:5, Rom 8:7-8). In his grace however, God chose to rescue a people for himself, not based on something good seen in them, but completely out of grace (Eph. 1:3-12, Rom. 9:11-16).
7. TRUE. Although this is kind of a trick question, it is nonetheless true. God is infinitely holy, and He expects absolute conformity to His righteous laws. Therefore, no one will be admitted into His presence unless he or she is absolutely perfect and obedient. Unfortunately, as Paul states in Romans 3, “there is no one righteous, not even one,” therefore no one will be admitted into heaven based upon his own obedience. But the Scriptures declare that Christ has not only died for the sins of His people, He has also lived out the requirements of the law in their place. In Christ, we are obedient, holy, and blameless. Therefore, we are saved by works, but not by our own. We are saved by the work of Christ in our place because of His graciousness (Mt 5:17-18; Jn 17:19; Rom 1:17, 5:19, 10:3-4; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21; Php 3:8-9).
8. FALSE. This line was taken from The Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 25:23). It is not grace plus works that save us, it is either all works, or all grace. That is, we are either saved by keeping the law perfectly, or we are saved by God’s mercy and pardon through the work of Christ (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 3:20, 4:4-5, 11:6).
9. FALSE. This is the error known as decisional regeneration. The Bible teaches that we are not saved by a “human decision” (Jn 1:12-13; Rom 9:16). This is because we cannot do anything that pleases God in our sinful state, but rather, in our original sin nature we are hostile to God, and are enslaved to our own sinful passions (John 6:44, Rom 8:8; 1 Cor 2:14; 2 Cor 4:3-4; Eph 2:1; Gal 3:22; 2 Tim 2:25-26; Tit 3:3-5; 1 Jn 5:19). Therefore, we can only exercise faith in Christ once we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48, 16:14, 18:27; Rom 10:20; Eph 3:7). This is why faith is rightly spoken of as a gift of God (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 12:3; Php 1:29, John 3:19-21). To be saved by one’s decision would be salvation by one’s actions, and not by grace alone (Rom. 11:5). This is why the Bible repeatedly states that we are saved by grace, or by the work of Christ, and not by our own works or actions (Eph. 2:8-10, Mk 10:26-27; Acts 2:47; Rom 5:9-10).
10. FALSE. God is omnipotent, but his power cannot be unhinged from his nature. For example, Scipture declares that it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18). In the same way it would be impossible for God to create a rock so big that He could not lift.
11. FALSE. There is no passage in the Bible that mentions the age of accountability. In fact, this is a denial of the historic doctrine of original sin, which states that people are corrupt and guilty, from the moment of conception on (Ps 51:3, 143:2; Prov 20:9; Jer 17:9; Rom 5:12-19).
12. FALSE. This is a Roman Catholic belief from which the doctrine of last rites, and purgatory stem. Protestants, however, have objected to this idea because of the nature of the work of Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. For those in Christ, all sins have been forgiven, past, present, and future (Heb 10:10-14; Rom 8:1, 29-39). Not only that, but those who trust in Christ are also seen as perfectly righteous in the sight of God because of Christ’s own righteousness and conformity to the law (Rom 5:19). And Christ also intercedes for us when we do sin (1 Jn 2:1-2).
13. FALSE. This is from John Wesley. It is utterly self centered, and contradicts verses such as Romans 12:1, which focus our attention upon God’s kindness and mercy as a motivation for sanctification, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” Christians do not do good works in order to be saved, but out of gratitude for the fact that we have been saved.
14. FALSE. If this is true, God cannot have allowed Christ to die as a substitute for our sins (Is 53:4-6). Scripture clearly teaches that God holds the entire human race guilty for the sin of Adam, and that Christ was credited with the sins of the world in order to secure redemption for his people (Rom 5:12-19, John 17:2-3).
15. FALSE. This definition was taken from Kenneth Baker’s Fundamentals of Catholicism, vol. 3, pg. 57. Justification has nothing to do with our actions, however, it has to do with the work of Christ on our behalf. We have been justified in the heavenly courtroom by Christ’s accomplishments because of the mercy of God (Acts 13:39; Rom 3:24, 4:2-5).
16. FALSE. God requires mankind to be perfect (Matt 5:48), yet none of us even qualifies as good from his perspective (Rom 3:10-12). The good news is that which he requires, he give by grace in Christ (Rom 4:4-5).
17. FALSE. The Bible is not a book but a library of 66 different books with different literary genres written over a 1600 year period. Though all the Bible is inspired and true, not every passage of the Bible is “literally” true, as with the following text from Ps 98:8, “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.” Compare this Psalm with the opening of Luke’s gospel: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus…” The selection from the Psalms is poetic in nature, whereas the passage cited from Luke is historical narrative. Thus the understanding of difference in genre is crucial to correct Biblical interpretation.
18. FALSE. God helps those who help themselves is not a biblical proverb, but a thought from the 1736 edition Ben Franklin’s Poor Richards Almanack, among other places. According to George Barna’s research 80% of Americans polled thought the statement was found in the Bible. Compare with Romans 5:6-8, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (See also Eph 2:1-7, Jer. 17:5)
19. FALSE. According to Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things…” If God looks upon the heart in order to find out who really loves him, he will only find sinners dead in their sins (Eph 2:1-7). See the answers to questions 6 and 9 for more detail on this theme.