American Evangelical Christianity is where I come from, but it’s no longer the place I reside. Many of you reading this, however, perhaps still live there. If that’s you, then I have a whole host of questions to ask you about your faith, your theology, and your understanding of the world. I ask the following questions, not to mock or belittle you, but because I really want you to think about the things you believe in. I believe these are questions you haven’t really worked through all that much or all that well. And as Jesus once said, we are to love God with all our minds, and what better way to do that than by wrestling with tougher questions than we may be used to?
Regarding the Bible
If the Bible is the Word of God, then did Christians prior to the 5th century not have the Word of God?
Which canon is God’s Word? If the Protestant canon only, why those 66 books and not the others that the Orthodox and Catholics include?
2 Timothy 3:16 talks about Scripture being inspired by God: What would Scripture have been at the time 2 Timothy was written?
Jesus didn’t have a Bible, but he did have Scriptures: How did Jesus quote them? Was there a pattern?
If the Bible is clear, like so many of you say, then why does Peter say that Paul’s letters are “difficult to understand?”
If eternal hell is such an important doctrine, why don’t Jews believe in it or teach it?
If Jesus is the only way to avoid hell, what about everyone who lived prior to Jesus?
If God desires to save everyone, and can, why doesn’t he?
Gehenna is the word we translate as “hell,” and is a literal valley south of Jerusalem: So, if hell is eternal, why is Gehenna such a lovely place now?
If hell is a place where you are separated from God, then does that mean God is not omnipresent?
Regarding the Cross
If the Father needed Jesus to die as a blood sacrifice, how is he “set apart” (holy) from all the other gods who have also demanded blood sacrifices for the remission of sins?
The death of Jesus was one of many crucifixions: Which part of the lynching was God’s desire and which was simply the Roman empire doing what the Roman empire did best?
Did Jesus ever talk about his future death as a blood sacrifice to appease the Father?
How does the book of Acts talk about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus?
If the death of Jesus is best understood as that which assuaged the wrath of God, why did it take Christianity 1,500 years to understand it in those terms?
If there are only 6 or 7 “clobber passages,” why does your tradition devote so much energy to the LGBTQ “issue?”
Are you aware that in biblical times, Judaism had 6 different genders?
When a first-century “arsenokoitai” has relations with one who is “malakoi,” is that the same thing as two gay people falling in love, getting married, and having loving, consensual sex?
Are you aware of what prosopopoeia is and why it is important to any discussion about Romans 1?
If the fruit of good theology is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, why has non-affirming theology led to the opposite, and why do you still adhere to it?
Regarding Cherry Picking
If we are to take the Bible at its word, why are pastors whose kids leave the faith allowed to continue to pastor?
If Jesus is called the Prince of Peace, and generally taught nonviolence, why do you emphasize the few verses where he talked about owning swords?
Why do you talk about how God loved Jacob while hating Esau, and not how Jacob and Esau reconciled in the end?
Why do you focus so much on the violence found in the book of Revelation, and not the ending where all the bad guys end up inside the city gates which remain perpetually open?
Why do you focus so heavily on the passages that seem to argue against women being in leadership, and not on the historical fact that they held the office of pastor and apostle?
I could continue, but I think that’s a good start. Grab a journal. Jot down your notes. And let me know what you come up with in the comments below.
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