Thursday, February 23, 2017

Miley Cyrus Hates Christianity! How Do We Respond?

            Miley Cyrus can choose to perform Lakshmi Pooja than watch the Superbowl LI (51); none would object.1 But when Miley Cyrus spews venom upon Historic Christianity; Christians should respectfully object. Millions of youngsters love Miley and consider her as their idol. So Miley’s thoughts could subtly and swiftly replace the thoughts and actions of these young fans.

            Prior to probing Miley’s tirade against Christianity, her spiritual evolution should be considered. Miley, once upon a time, loved the God of the Bible. However, as she began to grow older, she apostatized and embarked to wallop Christianity.

            Consider Miley’s spiritual evolution, “Less than a decade ago, Cyrus was considered a role model for young girls. As a teen, the "Hannah Montana" star refused to dress immodestly, telling People Magazine, "I like to look kind of like what girls would want to look up to, and their moms and dads will say, 'Hey, that's cool. That's different.' " She also wore a purity ring, signaling her commitment to practice abstinence until marriage.

            In 2007, Cyrus referred to her church "the greatest source of strength" and recited Ephesians 6:10-11 as her favorite passage in the Bible, which says,  "Finally, my brother, come close to the Lord for if you put on the full armor of God you can stand against the walls of a devil."2

            Then came her rejection of Christianity, “At a time when most 15-year-olds were posing for junior prom photos in front of their parent’s porch, Miley Cyrus was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Vanity Fair. She wore only a bed sheet…And yet, when she reinvented herself as an in-your-face, raunchy, bisexual, selfie-obsessed pop icon, the public at large reacted with surprise.

            There was an outcry of disgust when she shimmied and simulated sex with Robin Thicke at the MTV VMAs in 2013. Her songs began to gravitate from fun-loving (“Party in the USA”) to drug-glorifying (“We Won’t Stop”.) With every public appearance she seemed to feel the need to shed more of her clothing. And now, with her set of inflammatory statements about her feelings on conservatives (“they shouldn’t make our laws”) and sexual liberty (“I am literally open to every single thing, as long as it’s consenting”), it seems that Miley has emerged from her time of rebellion as a fully-formed product of a lifetime of others’ adulation.”3

            Why did Miley apostatize? It is possible that she may have desired to liberate herself from the pure lifestyle that the Bible mandates Christians to aim for and live to the best of their abilities. It is quite possible that she desires to live to satisfy her carnal needs and wants.  

            Having posed in nude, her dislike of Christianity could originate from the fact that Christianity prohibits this lifestyle. Christianity condemns bisexuality, but if Miley desired to be bisexual, evidently Christianity cannot be her religion.

            Her father Billy Ray Cyrus reckons her entry into the entertainment industry at a young age destroyed her faith, “In 2011, the singer's father, country star Billy Ray Cyrus, said in an interview with GQ Magazine that he regretted having her in the "Hannah Montana Show" and confessed that his family was cautious of the temptations within the entertainment industry before to going to Los Angeles.

            "Somewhere along this journey, both mine and Miley's faith has been shaken...That saddens me the most," he said, adding there is "no doubt" that his family is being ruined by Satan.”4

            Miley’s Christianity-bashing is astounding, “…she recently described people who believe Noah's Ark was real: "That's [expletive] insane." She added: "We've outgrown that fairy tale, like we've outgrown [expletive] Santa and the tooth fairy."

            Then she discussed her sexuality: "I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that's legal, I'm down with. Yo, I'm down with any adult—anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."”5

            Miley thinks of herself as a least judgmental person. But her judgment of conservative Christians is shocking, “In a recent interview with Paper magazine, Cyrus, who appears nude within the publication, refers to herself as the “least judgemental person ever.” However, the magazine notes that while she was raised in a Christian home and was baptized in a Southern Baptist church, the “Wrecking Ball” singer “maintains a particular contempt for fundamentalist lawmakers who rally against this sort of progressive, potentially life-saving changes for the LGBT community.” “Those people shouldn’t get to make our laws,” Cyrus said of Christians who hold to a traditional view of marriage.”6

            Was Miley’s apostasy grounded on valid reasoning? God has given man freedom to either love or hate HIM. So Miley is free to choose her religious platform. But when she is a successful public icon, her actions would most likely be emulated by her fans without any doubt or without thinking twice. Hence there is a need to determine the validity of her reasoning to apostatize from Christianity.

            How do we respond to Miley slamming Christianity?

            First, know that Miley’s arguments against Christianity are blatantly invalid.

            It is plausible that Miley did not research and study the reasons invalidating her objections before abandoning Christianity. Consider Miley’s objection to the miraculous narratives in the Bible and her views on objectionable sexual practices.

            There are very good reasons available in the public domain that ascertains the validity of the biblical narratives of Noah’s Ark or Jonah in the fish. Apparently, Miley is unable to believe in the narratives of the miraculous in the Bible.

            Very minimally, since God is the maximally great being, HE should be able to raise a man from dead or wipe out an entire community with floods (for justifiable reasons, of course!) or enable a man to live in the stomach of a huge fish. God’s maximal greatness allows for the occurrence of the miraculous.

            Regarding Miley’s endorsement of bisexuality; consensus or agreement cannot be a valid reason for sexual activities between people NOT united in marriage. Consensus notwithstanding, the Bible explicitly condemns and prohibits homosexuality, adultery and the likes.

            Even if you were to not consider the biblical prohibition of sexual sins, it is scientifically proven that child sex, incest and adultery are detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. If consensus were to be the sole valid reason for sexual activities, then by the same reasoning, adultery and polygamy should be acceptable.

            Moreover, if consensus is the sole reason for valid sexual practices, then the extent of sinful sexual practices between two people would be horrendously extended. For instance, the gory and ghastly child sex and incest should be acceptable as long as two people, irrespective of their age, agree to sexual intercourse. But child sex and incest are unacceptable sexual practices in every culture and in every situation. So consensus, even if you were to not consider the Bible, cannot be a valid reason for two people to indulge in sexual practices outside the confines of a marriage.

            To reiterate, the Bible prohibits all forms of sexual activity outside the confines of a marriage.

            Second, Christians cannot follow Miley Cyrus. Every Christian should glorify God through his/her life. Christians cannot follow Miley’s lifestyle or the sinful messages that she propagates through her music and video.

            Sinful lifestyle manifesting via public nudity, vulgar language, and biblically unacceptable sexual practices cannot be observed in a Christian’s life. So Miley’s sinful life cannot be a valid standard for Christians to pursue.

            Third, while Christians should not follow Miley’s sinful lifestyle, we should love Miley unconditionally, just as how God loved each and every one of us while we were still sinners. Love for Miley should translate into prayers for her to regain her love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians ought to realize Miley’s sins and pray for her liberation from these sinful activities.

            May Miley realize that God loves her immensely and may she return to the Lord Jesus in repentance and faith.

Endnotes:

1http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/02/06/miley-cyrus-just-did-lakshmi-puja-at-her-home-because-she-loves/, last accessed on 23 Feb 2017.

2http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/55983/20150610/miley-cyrus-mocks-christians-who-believe-in-old-testament-fairy-tales-says-those-who-oppose-homosexuality-shouldnt-get-to-make-laws.htm, last accessed on 23 Feb 2017.

3http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2015/06/22/miley-cyrus-slams-the-bible-weve-outgrown-that-fairytale-former-xtian-star-has-completely-left-xtianity.html, last accessed on 23 Feb 2017.

4http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/55983/20150610/miley-cyrus-mocks-christians-who-believe-in-old-testament-fairy-tales-says-those-who-oppose-homosexuality-shouldnt-get-to-make-laws.htm, last accessed on 23 Feb 2017.

5http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/50104-miley-cyrus-belief-in-noah-s-ark-is-insane, last accessed on 23 Feb 2017.


6http://www.americasfreedomfighters.com/2015/06/12/miley-cyrus-slams-christian-conservatives-these-people-shouldnt-get-to-make-our-laws/, last accessed on 23 Feb 2017.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

God of Christianity & Islam: Same or Different?

            Pope Francis’ disquieting statement that the God of Christians and Muslims is one and the same surprised many.1 This was further echoed in the academia. Dr. Larcyia Hawkins of Wheaton College claimed that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.2 When theologically controversial statements are proclaimed by the Christian leaders, chaos governs the flock, for the fundamental belief of Christians (about the Godhead) is rattled.

            Any dialogue between Christians and Muslims would hit a bottleneck while discussing the Godhead. While Christians believe that God is a Trinity, Muslims claim that God is one (a singular being - one in essence and person) and deny the Trinity.

            On the other hand, the Bible and the Quran narrate the creation of Adam and Eve, the flood in Noah’s time, the great escape from Egypt under the leadership of Moses, and the birth of Christ Jesus to Virgin Mary. Hence, it is quite plausible to think that the God of the Bible and the Quran is one and the same.

            Therefore, when the Pope or other Christian leaders claim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, a conundrum needs to be solved.

            When the Pope mentions Christians and Muslims as the people of the book and worshiping the same God, he merely emphasizes the Quranic assertion, “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."” (Quran 29: 46, Emphasis Mine).

            This verse from the Quran and the innate naiveté of some may motivate a thought process that Islam and Christianity are one and the same. But this subject is more complex than what it seems to be.

Christian Argument for Similarity

            “Muhammad Ali” is also known as “Cassius Clay.” The properties defining Muhammad Ali and Cassius Clay are one and the same. So the terms “Muhammad Ali” and “Cassius Clay” refer to the same person. Hence Christian scholars like Francis Beckwith of Baylor University argue that God is one whether HE is referred to as “Allah” or “Yahweh.”3

            Beckwith’s argument is predicated on the understanding of God in “classical theism.” A classical theist believes that in principle there can be one God. Since great thinkers from both sides, Thomas Aquinas (Christian) and Avicenna (Muslim), subscribed to Classical Theism, it is plausible to think of the God of Muslims and Christians to be one and the same.

            But when the Trinity is discussed by the Christians and Muslims, disagreement ensues. How does Beckwith solve this conundrum?

            Beckwith argues for the Muslims from within the distinction of belief between the Old Testament and the New Testament believers. We could possibly assume that those who lived in the Old Testament period were unaware of the Trinity, for Christ had not arrived then. But those who have understood the New Testament believe in the Trinity of the Godhead. Nevertheless, those who lived in the Old Testament and the New Testament period worshipped the same God.

            So Beckwith, using the same reasoning, contends that Muslims may be genuinely unaware, either intentionally or ignorantly, of the pure ontology of God. But that does not disqualify them from worshipping the same God, for he says, “But doesn’t Christianity affirm that God is a Trinity while Muslims deny it? Wouldn’t this mean that they indeed worship different “Gods”? Not necessarily. Consider this example. Imagine that Fred believes that the evidence is convincing that Thomas Jefferson (TJ) sired several children with his slave Sally Hemings (SH), and thus Fred believes that TJ has the property of “being a father to several of SHs children.” On the other hand, suppose Bob does not find the evidence convincing and thus believes that TJ does not have the property of “being a father to several of SHs children.”

            Would it follow from this that Fred and Bob do not believe that the Third President of the United States was the same man? Of course not. In the same way, Abraham and Moses did not believe that God is a Trinity, but St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Billy Graham do. Does that mean that Augustine, Aquinas, and Graham do not worship the same God as Abraham and Moses? Again, of course not. The fact that one may have incomplete knowledge or hold a false belief about another person – whether human or divine – does not mean that someone who has better or truer knowledge about that person is not thinking about the same person.”4

Christian Argument for Divergence

            The argument that Abraham and Moses did not believe in the Trinity does not mean that they rejected the Trinity. Instead they were merely and possibly unaware of the Trinitarian nature of God, because God, at that specific point in time, had not revealed HIS Trinitarian nature to HIS believers. On the contrary, the Muslims reject that God is a Trinity.

            Keep in mind that Islam originated in the 7th century (hundreds of years after Christ’s lifetime). Muhammad was aware of Christ and HIS teachings. For instance, Muhammad would have been aware of Christ’s claim to divinity. Nevertheless, Muhammad rejected Christ’s claim to divinity.

            Furthermore, Islam rejects quite a few fundamental teachings of Christianity.5

            First, Islam rejects the Christian belief that Christ is God. If Christians believe that Christ is God and if Islam rejects this belief (Quran 5.72), how is it possible that Muslims and Christians worship the same God?

            Second, Islam rejects that God is a Trinity (Quran 5.73). Christians believe in a Trinitarian-Monotheistic God (God is one in essence but in three persons), whereas Muslims believe in a strictly monotheistic God (cf. the Islamic doctrine of Tawhid holds that God is one).

            Third, Islam rejects the Fatherhood of God. God is personal to all Christians. God is our Father. Islam not only rejects the Fatherhood of God (Quran 112.1-4) but exhorts Muslims to ridicule the Jews and Christians for deeming God as their Father (Quran 5.18). 

            Fourth, the nature of the God of Muslims and the God of Christians reveals a fundamental incompatibility between the Godhead conceptions of these two religious worldviews.6 The God of the Bible is a loving God. HE loves the sinner (John 3:16).

            On the contrary, within the Islamic conception of the Godhead, Allah does not love sinners (Quran 2.99, 277; 3.33 et al). So when the Quran terms Allah as all-merciful, it refers to Allah being merciful only to the believers, who do righteous deeds (Quran 2. 278, 282; 9.105; 19.97). Allah does not love the unbelievers and the sinners.

Conclusion

            Christ cannot be God and not God. God cannot be loving and not loving. Therefore, it is either that the Muslims and the Christians worship the same God or that they do not worship the same God. Since fundamental contradictions about the respective Godhead are revealed by the Quran and the Bible, it is very reasonable to conclude that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God.

            Christian apologist and the author of the best-selling book “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,” Nabeel Qureshi said, “Christians worship a Triune God: a Father who loves unconditionally, an incarnate Son who is willing to die for us so that we may be forgiven, and an immanent Holy Spirit who lives in us. This is not what the Muslim God is; it is not who the Muslim God is; and it is not what the Muslim God does. Truly, the Trinity is antithetical to Tawhid, fundamentally incompatible and only similar superficially and semantically. Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God.”7

Endnotes:

1http://nationalreport.net/pope-francis-followers-koran-holy-bible/

2https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2015/12/17/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god/

3Ibid.

4Ibid.

5http://rzim.org/global-blog/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god/

6http://www.reasonablefaith.org/concept-of-god-in-islam-and-christianity


7http://rzim.org/global-blog/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god/

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Christians, Tattoos & Body Piercings

            Tattoos and body piercings are popular because secular and spiritual celebrities flaunt their tattoos and body piercings. Hence, the fashion conscious Christians are tempted to upgrade their appearance through tattoos and body piercings.

            So a genuine question in the minds of God-fearing Christians is whether they can tattoo and pierce their bodies.

History

            Christian Research Journal describes the history behind tattoos and body piercings, “Tattoos and body piercings are not unique to contemporary culture. For example, in 1991, a 5,000-year-old corpse (later named Otzi) was found frozen in a glacier with several tattoos imprinted on his skin.1 A 4,000-year-old clay figurine from Iran was discovered to have multiple ear piercings.2 The Pentateuch reveals that in approximately 1400 BC tattooing and body piercing were well-known practices in ancient Israel and among its Mesopotamian neighbors (Exod.32:2–3; Lev.19:28). Furthermore, a remarkable number of first-century Greek and Roman writers mention the prevalence of tattoos, and the second-century historian Herodian even described the people of northern Britain as “Picts” after the open display of their body markings.3 Throughout church history, tattoos have also been referred to in edicts, councils, and personal correspondence among clergy.

            Tattoos started to gain prevalence in the Unites States when Samuel O’Reilly patented the first electric tattoo machine in 1891, which was based on an embroidering machine invented by Thomas Edison.4 In the twentieth century, tattoos and body piercings drew the attention of the public media. In 1936, Life magazine created a stir with an article that claimed one in ten Americans was tattooed.5 Current estimates on just how many people are tattooed or pierced vary widely, but the Mayo Clinic reports that approximately 20 million Americans are tattooed and an even larger number have body piercings.6 A nationwide Harris Interactive Poll found that 16percent of all adults have at least one tattoo. The highest incidence of tattoos was found among Americans age 25 to 29 (36percent) and those age 30 to 39 (28percent).7 Among university students, it was reported that 23 percent had one to three tattoos, and 51percent had one or more body piercings, aside from earlobe piercings for women.8 According to U.S. News and World Report, tattooing is the country’s sixth fastest growing retail business, growing at the rate of one new tattoo parlor opening its doors every day. One estimate has 30,000 tattoo and body piercing artists working in the United States with at least eight major tattoo magazines being published regularly.91

Tattoos, Body Piercings & Salvation

            Would Christians with tattoos and body piercings lose their salvation?

            Salvation is not through works, but belief in Christ. Man should believe in Christ and remain in HIM to gain eternal life with God.

            The implication is that a Christian who believes and remains in Christ cannot be a willful sinner. While a Christian cannot be perfect, he cannot sin willfully, for sins separate man from God.

            So tattoos and body piercings cannot impact Christian’s salvation. This, however, entails that a Christian will not tattoo caricatures that explicitly and implicitly depict the devil, antichrist or have any indecent or anti-christian representations. Moreover, the Christian will not indulge in nipple and genital piercings, for if he does, then his allegiance to the Lord Jesus could be seriously questioned.

Arguments For…

            Some well-meaning Christians contend the following:

            Leviticus 19: 28 (“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”) should not be taken out of context. If tattoos are prohibited based on this verse, then by the same principle of biblical hermeneutics…

                        …eating meat should be prohibited (v26).

                        …every Christian ought to maintain beards and not cut their hair, “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” (v27).

                        …usage of cotton / polyester clothing should also be prohibited (v19).

            God advocated tattoos when HE said that HIS commands, decrees and laws ought to be permanently marked on our hands and heads (Deuteronomy 6: 8).

            Revelation 19: 16 states that Christ will be tattooed, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” (NIV, Emphasis Mine). If Christ will be tattooed, then what prevents any Christian from not getting one?

            It is common for women to pierce their ears and nose. This is a culturally accepted phenomenon. Nowadays, women indulge in multiple piercings on their ears and nose.

            In a nutshell, Christians are encouraged to tattoo and body pierce under the following conditions, “If the tattoo or body piercing (1)will not violate your conscience or the conscience of others, (2)will not cause permanent harm or disease to your physical body, (3)will not harm your interpersonal relationships, and (4)is symbolic of a spiritual truth that will benefit your relationship with Christ and your witness to the world, then I believe that it will not desecrate the image of God and you as a Christian are free in Christ to go under the needle.”2

Arguments Against…

            Leviticus 19: 28, 1 Peter 3: 3-4 are some of the passages invoked by Christians to prohibit tattoo and body piercings.

            These are more arguments against tattoos and body piercings, “Traditionally, Christians have viewed tattoos as immoral on the basis that they desecrate the image of God.17 Proponents of this view say: (1)Tattoos desecrate the structural aspect of the image of God because they violate our consciences (Rom.2:15) and God’s Law (Lev.19:28). In reference to his tattoo, one Christian writes, “With my depraved and back-slidden mind, I justified an abomination to God Himself, who instructs us through His divine law not to print any marks on our bodies (Lev.19:28).”18 (2)Tattoos desecrate the functional aspect of the image of God because they mutilate the body that is supposed to be nurtured and sustained, making it vulnerable to infection. (3)The relational aspect of the image of God is desecrated by tattoos because they hinder unity within the body of Christ and violate the consciences of fellow Christians (1Cor.8:9–12). Psychiatrist ArmandoR.Favazza summarizes: “Many people—especially those belonging to non-conformist groups—get tattoos to demonstrate their defiance of traditional authority….Many studies link multiple tattoos with antisocial personality, [and] an increased incidence of assaultive behavior.”19 (4)Lastly, the teleological aspect of the image of God is desecrated by tattoos because they glorify the ungodly and vulgar, as well as convey narcissism, defiance, and arrogance—vices that are inappropriate for Christians (1Pet.3:3). Jean-Chris Miller, author of The Body Art Book, supports this point by stating, “Death and darkness have always been a classic tattoo theme—skulls, snakes, demons, and spider webs are all conventional tattoo imagery.”20

            Many of the same arguments are used to support the view that body piercings are immoral. Proponents of this view say: (1)Body piercings desecrate the structural aspect of the image of God because they are an unnatural addition to the physical framework of the body. (2)They desecrate the functional aspect of the image of God because they mutilate the body. (3)Body piercings desecrate the relational aspect of the image of God because they hinder unity within the body of Christ and violate the consciences of fellow Christians. (4)Piercings desecrate the teleological aspect of the image of God because they are ostentatious (1Tim.2:9) and may indicate psychological and behavioral maladies. In her book, In the Flesh, Victoria Pitts writes, “Practices such as piercing, scarification, and branding are linked to anorexia, bulimia, and what has been called ‘delicate self-harm syndrome,’ which is an addictive, repetitive, non-decorative form of skin cutting, usually on the arm or legs. This is considered an expression of absolute hatred or anger.”213

Necessity

            Why do we need tattoos or body piercings?

            We do not need tattoo and body piercings to look cool and trendy, for our focus is to be spiritual and not being excessively cool and trendy. (It’s not that we should not be cool and trendy, but be moderately so.)

            We do not need tattoo and body piercings because our celebrity idols have them, for Christians ought to be God-focused and not man-focused.

            Would I ever have a tattoo or body piercing? No! Would I recommend it to anyone? No! They serve no constructive purpose at all.

            Should tattoo and body piercings be prohibited? No! Tattoos and body piercings are absolutely unnecessary.

            Should we judge those Christians with tattoos and body piercings? No, not by any means.

            Finally, would God be impressed with tattoos and body piercings? No! Never! If not God, who are we impressing with tattoos and body piercings? 

            It’s of utmost significance to study the Bible more than once than to desire tattoos and body piercings.

Endnotes:

1https://www.equip.org/article/under-the-needle/

2Ibid.


3Ibid.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Grace vs Karma

            Do we reap what we sow? Do we get what we deserve when we die?

            Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, India’s contribution to the world, teach that our thoughts and actions have consequences, namely rewards or punishments. Goodness leads to rewards and bad thoughts, words and actions lead to pain and suffering. This, in a nutshell, is Karma.

            On the other end of the religious spectrum is Historic Christianity that teaches the virtual opposite – Grace. The dictionary definition of grace is mercy, clemency or pardon.

            A brief study of Grace and Karma is invaluable to those on either side as well as the honest seeker. Karma and Grace gain utmost significance because they are two fundamental and uncompromising doctrines within their respective worldviews. Christians and Hindus would never compromise the doctrines of Grace and Karma, respectively.

KARMA

            Karma means action, “Karma in Hinduism (Sanatana dharma) is considered to be a spiritually originated law that governs all life. In the Law of Karma even though an individual is considered to be the sole doer and enjoyer of his Karmas and their 'fruits', according to Vedanta, the supreme being (The Divine) plays a major role as the dispenser of the 'fruits' of Karma...”1

            The following is a listing of the basic facets of Karma:2  

            1. The Hindu Scriptures, Uphanishads, Bhagavadgita and the Puranas, teach Karma.

            2. Karma applies to human beings, plants, animals and microorganisms. Karma also applies to groups such as associations, organizations and nations; this is termed as the collective karma. 

            3. Karma does not apply to God. But gods and celestial beings are bound by the law of Karma. (According to some Puranas, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva attained their position of divine responsibilities because of their meritorious actions in their previous births.)

            4. Sin, according to Hinduism, is an offense committed against human beings and not God.

            5. Karma includes both the physical and the mental actions (thoughts). Man possesses free will to perform a good action, a good word or a good thought, and these would fetch him/her rewards. Anything bad would fetch punishment. (Karma includes even our most natural acts such as sleeping and breathing, hence non-action and deliberate inaction is also a part of karma.)

            6. Hinduism recognizes four types of karma:

                        6.1 Sanchita Karma: It is sum total of the accumulated karma of previous lives.

                        6.2 Prarabdha Karma:  That part of the sanchita karma that is currently activated in the present life and which influences the course of the present life.

                        6.3 Agami Karma (Future Karma): The karma that arises out of the current life activities, whose consequences will be experienced by the individual in the coming lives.

                        6.4 Kriyamana Karma: This is the karma whose consequences are experienced in this very life.

            7. Reincarnation is a necessary aspect of karma. Karma binds its subjects to cycles of births and deaths by initiating the cycle of cause and effect. Rebirth would occur until there is balance in the individual’s karmic account. The soul cannot attain moksha (salvation) without exhausting the accumulated Karmas.

            8. A soul could exist for even a million years to exhaust the accumulated karmas. Thus the individual soul carries the burden of its karma until a permanent liberation is achieved through the renunciation of the doership and detachment from the fruits of actions.

            Hindus are obligated to perform certain duties to neutralize their karma. There are two mandatory karmas every Hindu ought to perform (it is sinful to not perform these duties) and there is an optional karma:

                        8.1 Nitya Karma includes duties every human being ought to perform (sleep, shower, eat, pray etc.).

                        8.2 Naimittika Karma includes duties that ought to be performed on specific occasions such as festivals, solar, lunar eclipses, marriage, funeral rites etc.

                        8.3 Kamyakarma includes optional duties such as going on a pilgrimage, educating one’s children, property purchase, performing a sacrificial rite etc.

            Hinduism also teaches that since man can never develop the sense of being perfectly right or wrong, performing these duties need not necessarily incur merit. Hence spiritual means is necessary for a Hindu to be liberated from his/her karma, “Karma ends when you have perfected yourself in art of doing Karma without attachment. The ability to do Karma without attachment (without expectation of Karma-phala) can be attained by perfecting oneself on the path to the Divine by following various yogas - Karma yoga (yoga of action without attachment), Bhakti yoga (yoga of love for the Divine), Gyan yoga (yoga of knowledge and awareness), Siddha or Kundalini yoga (yoga of divine consciousness), Hatha yoga (purification of the body and mind through Asanas and Pranayama), Laya yoga (yoga of meditating on interior energy centers), Mantra yoga (yoga of Divine or Sacred words, phrases, or syllables) or any combination of these.”3 (Emphasis Mine).   

GRACE

            In the Hindu worldview there is an inexorable connection between man’s actions and consequences, not even death can break this connection, for the law of karma carries over into the next incarnation.

            However, in the Christian worldview, the sin-punishment sequence can be interrupted by repentance and confession of sins, with consequent forgiveness, and death brings a release from the temporal effects of sin. God’s love and grace offer this privilege to the repentant man.

            God does not deal with man based on man’s merit. God deals with man based on HIS own goodness and generosity. God also deals with man based on his nature and need i.e. man’s nature is that he is innately sinful and his perpetual need is to be forgiven.

            Grace means God’s goodness towards those who deserve only punishment. God supplies man with undeserved or unmerited favors i.e. HIS favor is toward those who deserve no favor but only punishment.

            In other words, salvation is a [free] gift from God to man (Romans 6: 23; Ephesians 2: 8-9). Salvation, according to Historic Christianity, is by the grace of God (Ephesians 1: 5-8).The Bible also mentions God’s grace as an extravagant gift (Cf. Titus 2: 11, 3: 3-7).

            Since God’s grace is unmerited, there is only one human attitude appropriate as an instrument for receiving God’s grace, namely, faith (Cf. Romans 4: 16). While it is faith that leads to man’s justification, justification must and will invariably produce works appropriate to the nature of the new creature4 that man has become (Ephesians 2: 8-9; James 2: 17).

            The good news of Christianity is that God became man “full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14-17). God did not come in the form of Jesus Christ as a judge and executioner, for if HE had done so, entire mankind would have been found guilty and sentenced to everlasting punishment. But God became man to be gracious to us.

            Hence, Christ died on the cross for the sake of man’s sins. The cross of Christ is a symbol of the fullness of God’s grace.

HARMONY

            A few instances where Grace and Karma harmonize are:

            1. Christianity deems man as sinful [from birth]. Hinduism, by virtue of the law of karma, believes that man would sin in thoughts, words and deeds.

            2. Christianity and Hinduism emphasize the need for punishment of sins.

            3. The Bible also mentions reaping and sowing (Job 4: 8, Psalm 126: 5). However, the act of receiving rewards for our good deeds is in this life and in our life in heaven (Matthew 16: 27; Revelation 22: 12).

DISSONANCE

            The Bible diverges from karma in these aspects:

            1. Every sin merits death and no amount of good works can override our bad thoughts, deeds or words, for man is innately sinful. Hence, man ought to receive God’s grace through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.    

            2. Good works are an outcome of man’s trust and perpetual dependence upon Christ (Cf. Philippians 2: 13).

            3. Outside of God’s love and forgiveness there is no hope for man. Because God loves the sinful man, HE has offered a provision for him to repent and turn to Christ, so that everyone who repents of his sins, declares that Christ is Lord and believes in his heart that God raised HIM from the dead will be saved.


ENDNOTES:

1http://www.thekundaliniyoga.org/karma/karma_gods_law_action_fruit_rebirth_reincarnation_hindu_perspective.aspx#Types of Karma, last accessed 2nd Feb 2017.

2http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_karma.asp, last accessed 2nd Feb 2017. & http://www.hinduwebsite.com/conceptofkarma.asp#fn02, last accessed 2nd Feb 2017.

3http://www.thekundaliniyoga.org/karma/karma_gods_law_action_fruit_rebirth_reincarnation_hindu_perspective.aspx#Types of Karma, last accessed 2nd Feb 2017.

4Man who trusts and remains in Christ becomes a new creation and will no longer live for himself (2 Corinthians 5: 17), man’s life will become spiritual.



This article was originally posted at http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2017/02/02/grace-vs-karma-2/

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Is God Protecting Israel?

            Quite a furor ensued in the social media when a storm cloud descended in the Israel-Syria border on December 1st 2016.1 If this storm cloud weather phenomenon occurred in another country, it may have been interpreted as fascinating or just ignored. Since this weather phenomenon occurred in Israel, it cannot be passed off as strange, because the Jews are God’s chosen people. Therefore, a deeper consideration is mandated to verify if there’s a divine vantage point to this strange storm cloud phenomenon.

            Would God have engineered this storm cloud?

            First and foremost, it is highly plausible to connect this storm cloud to God’s presence, for the Bible narrates instances of God’s presence with the Israelis in the form of a pillar of cloud (Exodus 13: 21, 33:9; Number 12: 5 et al.).

            Second, the storm cloud descended at the same location where the Islamic State militants had attacked the Israeli Defense Forces four days earlier.2 So this could be interpreted as a sign from God that HIS presence remains with HIS chosen people.

            If this storm cloud weather phenomenon was a one-off occurrence, then we could possibly eliminate the perspective of God. But if there were other fascinating weather phenomena or non-weather related occurrences alluding to God’s presence in the lives of the Jews, then God, certainly, should be in the discussion.

            Since weather phenomena could be manmade, we ought to consider non-weather occurrences. In the past, there have been intriguing occurrences in Israel during wars.

            How would we interpret significantly low casualties in, not one, but two wars (2 people killed when 38 Scud missiles were fired & 4 people killed when 3356 rockets were launched at Israel)?

            In the first Iraq war in 1991, 38 Scud missiles landed in the densely populated parts of Israel but the casualties were significantly low! 2 people were killed, 220 suffered light injuries, 10 suffered moderate injuries and one person suffered serious injury.3

            Interestingly, the scientific journal “Nature” concluded that the low casualties were due to luck (!!), “…luck must have played a crucial role in determining the overall casualty rate. Indeed, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that good fortune played an important role in reducing casualties in Israel. Of the warheads that detonated in Israeli cities, one hit the only empty lot in a densely populated neighborhood;23 two others hit a factory and a partially constructed shopping mall during the night. Several other Scuds landed near unoccupied buildings: an underground bomb shelter, a municipal center, and a school. Even when Scuds severely damaged occupied buildings, casualties were remarkably low: a missile that landed in an alleyway between several apartment buildings and caused one building to collapse killed only one person, and an attack that destroyed a two-storey house and severely damaged several others also killed only one person; two people reportedly survived only because they disobeyed government instructions and went to their basement bomb shelter… However, anecdotal also suggests that luck helped to reduce casualties.”4

            Luck? Seriously?

            Of course, it would be politically incorrect for a research, in a secular setting, to attribute low casualties to God. But it is indeed plausible that God protects HIS people. Scientists, like Nuclear physicist Gerald Schroeder, do believe that God protected HIS people.5

            Consider a recent war. In 2014, during the month long Operation Protective Edge conflict between the Hamas terrorists and the Israeli Defense Forces, once again, there were significantly low casualties, “Over 3,356 rockets have been fired at Israel, with that number rising everyday, and only four people have been killed as a result of rocket fire. While Israel’s Iron Dome is a wonder to behold and responsible for maintaining the safety of Israeli civilians from rocket fire, the numbers show that only 578 rockets were destroyed by Iron Dome Interceptions, or roughly 17 percent of all rockets fired at Israel. Simple statistics show that there is something extraordinary occurring here.”6

            It is indeed strange that low casualties should occur in a war especially when the enemy pummels Israel with rockets and missiles. Hence, it is quite plausible to conclude that it was perhaps God’s presence that protected Israel.

            There are many personal testimonies in the public domain that further ascribe God’s hand upon Israel. These could be true, but citing a subjective personal testimony does not lend any more credence to a divine protection upon the nation of Israel.  

            Not just low casualties, but the very fact that Israel stands strong amidst its enemies that have vowed to wipe her off the map of the world could be heralded as a testimony to God’s protecting hand upon Israel.

            Is God’s hand of protection upon Israel of any theological significance to the church? Outside of a discussion regarding the attributes of God (e.g. Sovereignty) and HIS intervention in our day-to-day affairs, a theological discussion on this theme need not unnecessarily engineer a divide within Christendom based on these events.  

            Christians who do not consider the present day Israel as the biblical Israel would be quick to ignore or debunk the notion that God’s protection is upon the Jews and their nation. That’s fine, for we can agree to disagree.

            Those who do not consider the contemporary Israel as the biblical Israel are as much Christians as those who consider the modern nation of Israel as the biblical Israel. Personally, I consider Israel as distinct from the New Testament church. In other words, I would disagree with covenant theologians who believe that the church has replaced the nation of Israel in God’s program.

            So why do we consider this theme? A good reason to diligently consider these events is because it is wise to not discount God.

            If Israel was not a chosen nation of God, then there is no need, whatsoever, to think through these events. Since the Jews are God’s chosen people, we would be better off to diligently think through these extraordinary events, for given the evidences, it would be unwise to categorically determine that God’s protective hand is not upon Israel.

Endnotes:

1http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/30652/Default.aspx

2http://www.christianpost.com/news/did-god-protect-israel-border-syria-with-storm-cloud-171961/

3http://faculty.publicpolicy.umd.edu/sites/default/files/fetter/files/1993-Nature-Scud.pdf

4Ibid.

5http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/scientist-have-proven-that-god-is-protecting-israel/

6https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/19812/rumors-abound-gods-protection-israel-fable/#0gE4Z0AdLwjDMwB0.97


Websites cited were last accessed on 26th January 2017.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why Is Jesus Delaying HIS Second Coming?

            Would you agree with me that mentioning the word “delay” while discussing Christ’s second coming is tricky? “Delay” comes into play only when a particular action has not occurred at the time it was to have occurred. In other words, “Delay” refers to an earlier time at which a particular action was supposed to have taken place.

            So if we use the word “delay” from the human perspective or if we ask, “Why is Jesus’ second coming delayed?” we imply knowledge of the [exact] date and time of the Lord’s second coming (Parousia). But the Bible categorically asserts that no one, not even one, other than God the Father, knows the precise date and time of the Lord’s second coming. Hence, we ask the question from God’s perspective, “Why Is God the Father or Jesus Delaying HIS Second Coming?”

            The delay of Christ’s second coming is a topic of interest to many. Unbelievers, skeptics, and even some honest Christians may use this so-called delay as an opportunity to slander or be skeptical about the Christian faith or the Christian anticipation of the Lord’s second coming.

            Even C.S Lewis was not spared from this malady of skepticism, for he termed Christ’s reference to HIS return as an embarrassing verse in the Bible. With reference to Matthew 24: 34, C.S Lewis said, “Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.” It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.”1

            So how do we understand these passages that seem to suggest that Christ would return within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses?

            Dr. William Lane Craig helps us to understand these passages better, “What about those passages where Jesus seems to speak as though his return might occur within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses? I think that it is probably the case that when you read these sayings in their original settings that they were not intended to indicate that Jesus would return within the lifetime of those who were hearing him. I say that on the basis of a passage in Matthew 10 where Jesus gives the charge to the twelve disciples to go on a mission preaching throughout the towns of Israel. This passage actually sharpens the problem for us. It makes it more acute. And by doing so I think it gives us good grounds for thinking that these sayings in their original context didn’t have the implications that they might appear to in the context in which we find them today. In Matthew 10 it says he sends the disciples out to the cities of Israel, to preach and cast out unclean spirits, and heal people of every disease. And he says, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles. Do not enter a city of the Samaritans. Go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” So this is a tour of preaching that is only going to be through the cities of Israel. He describes what will happen – how the disciples will be persecuted and encounter opposition, and so forth. Then in verse 23, we find this astounding statement, “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another, for assuredly I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”[3] So here it sounds as though the second coming of Christ, the return of the Son of Man, is going to occur before the disciples even complete their preaching tour of the towns of Israel. And yet we know that didn’t happen. Luke goes on to talk about how they returned from this preaching tour and Jesus continues to work with his disciples. What this suggests to me is that in the original context in which these saying were given, they didn’t have the implication that they appear to have to us today who read them in a quite different context. In the original context, these things did not mean that Jesus was going to return during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses anymore than this saying in Matthew 10:23 meant that the parousia was going to occur before the disciples had gone through all of the towns of Israel on their teaching tour.

            So we need to remember what kind of literature the Gospels are. The Gospels are compilations of the sayings of Jesus. Very often, these sayings of Jesus will appear in different literary contexts today than they did in the original contexts in which they were given. I think we have good grounds for thinking – based on his parables about the long delay, based upon his sayings that no one knows the time of his return – that in their original context these sayings were not meant to imply that the parousia would take place within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses. It might. But, not necessarily. Every generation needs to be prepared to be the last.”2 (Emphasis Mine).

            Having resolved the skepticism about passages that seem to suggest that Christ should have returned already, let us focus on the mindset of those Christians who may be disgusted and frustrated with the quantum of evil they encounter in this world. They hope that Christ would return soon and save them from pain and suffering.

            As we wait for Christ’s second coming, we wonder whether Christ would return in our lifetime or not. Subsequently we contemplate the quantum of pain our next generation / our children and their children would have to undergo if Christ delays HIS second coming. The more we think of the delay of our Lord’s second coming, we cannot help but feel sad. However, we wait in eager hope that the Lord Jesus would come one day and save us from the misery of a life we are living.

            Does the Bible motivate us to think that Christ’s return is imminent (possibility of happening soon)? It seems that the imminence of the Lord’s second coming is portrayed in the following verses:

            1. Christ urged HIS disciples to be ready for HIS return (Mathew 24-25).

            2. Christ’s second coming is at hand (Romans 8: 19-25; 1 Corinthians 1: 7; Philippians 4: 5).

            3. Paul’s statement that we await our blessed hope (Titus 2: 13) requires that the next event in God’s plan is the coming of the Lord. On the other hand, if Paul had said that the next step is the great tribulation, then we would have been inundated with fear and apprehensiveness.

            But there are certain other biblical passages that compel us to think that the Lord’s second coming need not be imminent. Consider the parables of the nobleman who went to a distant country (Luke 19: 11-27), the wise and the foolish virgins (Matthew 25: 5), the talents (Matthew 25: 19). These parables inform us that there would be a long delay in the return of our Lord.

            Moreover, certain events are to be fulfilled before the Lord returns. The gospel should be preached to all nations (Matthew 24: 14), great tribulation should occur (Mark 13: 7-8), coming of the man of sin and rebellion (2 Thessalonians 2: 1-10), powerful signs in heaven (Matthew 24: 29), salvation of Israel (Romans 9-11) etc. Studying these signs would lead us to think that the second coming of our Lord is not imminent i.e., it would take a very long time until the Lord returns again. 

            So there is no delay in the Lord’s second coming. It’s just that the timing for the Lord’s return is not right as yet.

            The Lord will return when we least expect HIM to (Matthew 24: 44, Acts 1: 7). God’s timeline is radically different from our expectations (Cf. 2 Peter 3:8-10).

            Let us not get too worked up thinking that our generation would be the last generation and that Christ would surely return in our lifetime. But let us continue to be patient and eagerly wait and hope for the Lord’s second coming.

Endnotes:

1http://merecslewis.blogspot.in/2014/01/the-most-embarrassing-verse-in-bible.html, accessed on 19th January 2017.


2http://www.reasonablefaith.org/q-a-was-jesus-wrong, accessed on 19th January 2017.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What Happens If Christians Engage In Sex Before Marriage?

            The Bible mandates Christians to not engage in any sexual activity with the person of opposite sex, before marriage. But Christians are as imperfect as anyone, so it is quite possible that someone somewhere would engage in premarital sex. The question then is this, “What are the consequences for Christians if they engage in sex before marriage?”

            This powerful “sticky note” analogy depicts the damage inflicted upon the Christian during his/her casual sex escapades, “Casual sex is rampant in many societies. There is, in truth, no such thing as “casual” sex, because of the depth of intimacy involved in the sexual relationship. An analogy is instructive here. If we take a sticky note and attach it to a piece of paper, it will adhere. If we remove it, it will leave behind a small amount of residue; the longer it remains, the more residue is left. If we take that note and stick it to several places repeatedly, it will leave residue everywhere we stick it, and it will eventually lose its ability to adhere to anything. This is much like what happens to us when we engage in “casual” sex. Each time we leave a sexual relationship, we leave a part of ourselves behind. The longer the relationship has gone on, the more we leave behind, and the more we lose of ourselves. As we go from partner to partner, we continue to lose a tiny bit of ourselves each time, and eventually we may lose our ability to form a lasting sexual relationship at all. The sexual relationship is so strong and so intimate that we cannot enter into it casually, no matter how easy it might seem.” (Emphasis Mine).1

            There are secular studies that speak against premarital sex. They reveal the likelihood of greater divorce rates and adverse health related behaviors for those who engage in premarital sex.

            Recent research reveals that students who had NO sexual contacts are out of harm's way than those who have had sexual contacts, “A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the first ever of its kind, examines a large and diverse array of high school students’ health behaviors according to their self-reported sexual activity…The report’s two major conclusions are quite stark: The virginal students rate significantly and consistently better in nearly all health-related behaviors and measures than their sexually active peers…”2

            Women who had NO sex partners before marriage are highly unlikely to divorce, “That women who married in the 2000s were least likely to divorce if they had no sex partners before marriage, at a rate of approximately 6 percent. That’s almost divorce-proof. Even just one sex partner before marriage moved up a woman’s chances of divorce within five years of marriage to one in five chances, at a 20 percent rate.”3

            Presence of secular studies arguing against sex before marriage is a bonus. But for a Christian, God and HIS Word are of utmost value than any pertinent information presented by secular research (either for or against).

            The Bible mandates Christians to not engage in sex before marriage (Exodus 22:16-17; Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10: 7; 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4 et al.). So premarital sex is a definite no-no for a Christian.

            In their work, Purity Under Pressure, Neil T. Anderson and Dave Park emphasize the following consequences for premarital sex from the Christian standpoint. Here is an excerpt from their work:4

            Sex before marriage has the potential for STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), pregnancy and abortion, which are despicable in God’s sight.   

             Self-destructive behavior - As a Christian, when you engage in premarital sex, you are consciously sinning against God.  This can lead to a perpetual cycle of self-destruction.  You develop low self-esteem, low self-worth, and diminished expectations of yourself.  In many cases, the devastation that comes from giving a holy thing (your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit) to an unholy cause, (physical gratification outside of marriage) will lead to feelings of emptiness, embarrassment, and confusion.  You begin to question everything about yourself and the world, as you know it…Many students’ grades drop and they lose interest in things that they once enjoyed…

            You develop “soul ties” - Your soul joins with the soul or souls of those you have had sex.  We will call these “soul ties,” because your soul is actually being tied or entangled together with the soul of the person you had sex.  Think of it this way, when you get on an airplane you are usually allowed a piece of carry on luggage to keep items you will need during the flight accessible.  Soul ties can be considered carry-on luggage.  It is unwanted, hindering, emotionally draining baggage that attaches itself to your soul everytime you sexually involve yourself with someone outside of marriage…

            You get involved with the wrong crowd- 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “bad company corrupts good morals.” Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can hang around sexually active people who drink and not be influenced by their actions. 

            Bad reputation - The word is out.  You have had sex.  You quickly get labeled “easy,” “loose,” or “a sure bet.”

            Insecurity / Loss of trust - You become jealous and begin comparing your body to other girls’ bodies.  You are always worried some other girl will steal your boyfriend from you.  Life becomes very stressful. You don’t even trust yourself to do right and control your own body, how can you trust someone else?  After having sex I was a wreck.  Whenever I would go out with my boyfriend I would accuse him of starring at other girls.  Though at times he was looking, many times I was just overreacting out of insecurity.

            Object of Rumors/Gossip - Many times pre-marital sex causes you to become the subject of rumors.  “Did you hear about so and so?”  “I heard they did this and that on the corner of here and there.”  Who needs that drama?  You certainly don’t.

            Emotionally Unstable (a.k.a. Fatal Attraction) - You develop irrational responses to ordinary situations.  Crying, fear, stress, depression, apathy, isolation, and hopelessness crowd your mind and cause your emotional growth to be stifled.  You have no clue what you want anymore.  One minute you are in love, the next minute you are disgusted by the very sound of his voice.   

            So to conclude, here’s what Christians ought to do if they have lost their virginity before marriage, “…is there hope? When a Christian engages in premarital sex, or when one who has lost his/her virginity comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict of the sin, and there will be grief over it. However, it’s important—even vital—to remember that there is no sin beyond the reach of the blood of Jesus. If we confess, He will not only forgive, but will cleanse us from “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Furthermore, in addition to the forgiveness (which is in itself glorious), God restores. Joel 2:25 tells us that God is able to restore the years that the locust has eaten, and that’s what premarital sex is—a locust that consumes our sense of self, our self-esteem, and our perception of forgiveness. Scripture also tells us that, when we come to Christ, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), so one who engaged in premarital sex prior to conversion is recreated by God into a new person; the old is gone, the new has come.

            Finally, we know that, as Christians, we’re being renewed by the Holy Spirit each day we walk with Jesus. Colossians 3:10 tells us that our new self is being renewed day by day after the image of its Creator. There is no sin without hope. The power of the gospel is available to all who trust in Jesus for forgiveness.”5

Endnotes:

1https://www.gotquestions.org/premarital-sex.html

2http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/29/cdc-study-says-teen-virgins-healthier/

3http://thefederalist.com/2016/06/06/report-to-divorce-proof-yourself-dont-have-premarital-sex/

4https://purityunderpressure.com/purity-under-pressure-book/


5https://www.gotquestions.org/premarital-sex.html