John Markum

The Questions You Asked… Part 5

  1. Question:Romans 8:30… predestination?” Answer: Yes. But your question is incomplete. Predestine to what? Verse 30 is based on verse 29 where it says, “whom He foreknew, He predestined…” God’s “election” is based on His foreknowledge of who would receive Christ. Scripture interprets Scripture. John 1:11-12 puts several huge holes in the idea some have that God chose some people to salvation and others for Hell based on anything other than receiving Christ.
  2. Question: “Does Pastor John have ADD?” Answer: Beavers and Ducks. I mean, yes.
  3. Question: “Why does God want us to save sex for marriage?” Answer: Because God created sex, and He knows that the vulnerability that true sexual intimacy requires is only safe in a committed marriage relationship. There is a trust that a couple builds together when they wait that is absolutely irreplaceable when sleeping together before marriage. Sex outside of marriage ruins good relationships and prolongs bad ones. I said more on the subject here.
  4. Question: “In Heaven, are we completely sinless?” Answer: Yes. Revelation 21:27
  5. Question: “What is the ‘Unforgivable Sin’?” Answer: Rejecting the Holy Spirit prompting toward Jesus (Matthew 12:22-32). And it’s only “unforgivable” in the context of John 3:18. At what point has a person hopelessly rejected Christ? I don’t know. Not my place to know. Only my place to speak in His name and draw others to Him (that’s your job too, by the way).
  6. Question: “Would God forgive the most awful repeat sinner?” Answer: He already did… me. That’s how big God is, and how small we are. He can forgive the most vile human being and make them like His Son. “Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound.” Romans 5:20.
  7. Question: “Who is God?” Answer: “God” is the single, all-powerful Being possessing all knowledge and existing outside of time and space. Therefore, all things created are per His authorship, and nothing has ever happened apart from His knowledge and foresight. From His perspective, the future is just as much a matter of fact as the past. As the greatest “thing,” all good is measured by His standard, and all things short of His standard are utterly short and wicked. His standard of perfection can only be compared to His standard of love. The cross of Christ is the perfect example of both. That’s as good as I can do for a reasonable human description of an infinite Creator.
  8. Question: “Where is the love in creating Hell?” Answer: Questions like this are lop-sided. I would counter this with the question, “where is the justice in letting every drunk, pedophiler, adulterer, serial-killer, and white-collar criminal go to Heaven?” The truth is, we can’t have it both ways: a God who forgives our sin, but has no sense of indignation toward it. If God would simply overlook sin without destroying it, then why overlook it? Just let it be!  But God is loving and holy. The love you find in a God creating a place like Hell is two-fold: 1) That He loves us enough to destroy all wickedness that separates us from Him, and 2) That He would provide a means of not going there ourselves by trusting in Christ as the payment for our sin.
  9. Question: “Can prayer change God’s mind?” Answer: Good question. If God knows everything past, present, and future per our definition of God in question 7, then technically God already knows everything He is going to do (from His perspective, He already did it). But His motive for why He does what He is going to, is often because His people pray. The Bible is full of examples (2 Cron. 7:14). In other words, God already knows what He is going to do, and why He’s going to do it, because He knows our prayers before we ask them (Matthew 6:8).
  10. Question: “What is grace?” Answer: Grace is God blessing us with something we did not earn. I like the acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

The Questions You Asked… Part 1

  1. Question: “Why doesn’t the church spend all or nearly all of it’s money on missions (local and foreign), providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, etc.?”  Answer: We do spend all of our money on missions. That’s all we do. The church is not a country club that occasionally does benevolence. We are not even a church with a mission. We are a mission with a church. Our primary command is to make disciples. So whether it’s paying full time staff to do the work of ministry, sending a missionary overseas, or building an orphanage in the Ukraine (all of which we’ve done recently) everything about how we spend God’s money is part of making a missional impact. It’s just not all for social justice causes.
  2. Question: “Is it ok to have sex before marriage?” Answer: No. But that isn’t a good enough answer. The real question you’re probably wondering is “Why does God not want us to have sex before marriage?”  The best, shortest answer I can give is because of the safety and security that marriage provides. Sex is too good and beautiful not to be protected. Because of that, God already knew that sex outside of marriage ruins good relationships, or prolongs bad ones.
  3. Questions: “Why does God cause so many hard roads in life?” Answer: First of all, I’m not sure that God deserves all of the credit for the hard roads in your life. But at the least He’s allowed you to go through the difficult circumstances you’ve endured. We need to remember that God never gives us a test to try to fail us, but to promote us to something better. I don’t know your story, but I know that God uses everything He puts into our lives. God doesn’t even waste pain. Circle yourself with people who will encourage you through these difficulties. We’re the church. We’re in this together.
  4. Question: “If Bigfoot exists, then what is he, like the aftermath of a failed gorilla?!?” Answer: “IF” being the operating word here. And by “failed gorilla” I simply have to say no. That implies that either God failed at something He made, or that science has attempted to create life, with some resemblance of success. IF he exists, God created it, and there could be dozens of exciting explanations. None of which, regrettably, I’ll entertain at this time.
  5. Question: “Is it possible to become apostate?” Answer: Most people who use this language of “apostate” or “reprobate” in a theological sense are referring to Romans 1 where it gives a laundry list of immorality and says that God “gave them up” to an unclean mind. But if you read less than 10 verses into chapter 2 you realize that God was not talking about specific individuals, but all of us. There will one day be a collective falling away from truth and morality on a global scale. But individually, God never forsakes those who are of His family. Period.
  6. Question: “Is gay pride a sin? Or just being gay a sin?” Answer: According to Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, and Romans, homosexuality is sin. I reject the the idea that homosexuality is genetic for a variety of reasons: 1) There’s been no scientific proof. 2) Too many heterosexuals have turned homosexual. 3) Too many homosexuals have turned heterosexual. 4) I have had good friendships with many, many homosexual people. Without exception, they have all had other blatantly obvious relational issues that easily explain their orientation. Truthfully, I hurt for these people. Not because of the lack of acceptance they get, but because of how our culture has told them they are normal to feel the way they do, causing them to repress the real reasons for their orientation. Most of them have counseling issues starting with their childhood. God loves homosexuals and wants to see them come to a relationship with him through Jesus Christ. Yes, it is sin. Yes, God loves them anyway. Just like He loves me.
  7. Question: “Balaam blessed the nation of Israel 3 times when his king commanded him to curse them. So why is he seen as a bad guy in the New Testament?” Answer: If you read Numbers 22, you get the idea that Balaam continues to ask God for permission to curse Israel, which frustrates God though He told him through a variety of means (not the least of which was his donkey) not to go curse the Israelites. Many believed that Balaam intended to curse Israel, but when he opened his mouth to do so, God caused him to only say blessings.

The phrase no pain, no gain has been a mantra for athletes and fitness junkies for years. And what they understand about physical pain needs to be broadened to a much more general use in all of our lives. Pain hurts. That's the whole problem. No one enjoys it, and if someone does, we rightfully

The Premium of Pain