I was somewhat surprised by the article on being barefoot.
It is clear that the Lord wore sandals. Otherwise John would not have said he was unworthy to loosen them. Also, why did the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to advocate footwear as part of our spiritual clothing?
Surely the logical conclusion should not be to go barefoot, but that flip-flops are better than shoes to protect the foot from unseen nasties on modern paths.
David C., Email
Editor’s Response: There is nothing particularly “spiritual” about going barefoot—or wearing shoes. The goal of this article was not to impose the authors’ personal choices on others, but to show God’s marvelous design for the foot and to remind readers that shoes are not always essential. The author’s blog suggests that we think of shoes the same way we think of gloves. We occasionally need gloves for protection from cold or workplace hazards, but they are not necessary for everyday wear.
Troubled By Torment
Your most recent volume of Answers magazine egregiously violates credibility by presenting a two-page infomercial on hell, a sound-bite approach that completely lacks careful discernment. Shame on you for simplistically politicizing such an important issue by presenting only one opinion among many.
Lester M., Email
Just because the Bible uses stories adopted from contemporary pagan sources (Hades) to make a point or tell a story (i.e., parable) doesn’t mean we cannot use wisdom and discernment to see what the Bible as a whole tells us.
Let’s let the Bible speak for itself and not let contemporary (for that time) cultural influences and parables that are used in the Bible distort what God has made clear to us in His Word (hell is real, rebellious sinners will be burnt up [annihilated], the smoke will rise forever).
Bates M., Loma Linda, California
I was especially blessed by the article “What Kind of God Would Condemn People to Eternal Torment?”
In a time when people are so focused on promoting the goodness of people, it was good to remind us of what is really going on. To answer the question with the question, “How can you believe in a God who would not?” says it all.
Carol M., Rockville, Virginia
Psychology & Medication
[Reader’s comments on “Psychology Without Sin”]
I get the extreme pleasure of working with those struggling with severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Individuals that go through our program at times will read statements like “God made the cause of our problem clear in Genesis 1–3, and He has prescribed the only cure, Jesus Christ.” When they read these words, everything else in the article seems to disappear, and they say, “Well, if Jesus is the Cure, then I don’t need my medications.”
When the hallucinations return, or the depression hits with triple force, they say, “Well, I guess my faith wasn’t strong enough,” or worse, “God must not be real.” When one in four individuals wrestles with mental illness, it is dangerous to assume that all readers are going to know there is more than what was stated so simply.
Jonathan H., Haviland, Kansas
Author’s Response: Sin has had a degenerative impact on the brain. By saying “sin” I mean the Fall, since that is what the Fall is about. All human problems are rooted in what sin has done to humanity. Whether it is personal sin, the results of sin on the brain, or the fact that others sin against us by causing suffering, it all started with Genesis 3.
Please understand that I am not opposed to medications. I believe that the Scriptures are the living Word of God and the Holy Spirit can do wonderful things in the life of a believer as he or she learns how to apply the Scriptures to his or her life. Since the Scripture is the living Word of God, its truths can help even the person whose brain/body is not cooperating. This does not exclude the wise use of medicine.
“Is It a Sin to Be Wrong?” makes some very strong and true statements about teachers misleading God’s children. However, [should] we avoid teaching controversial doctrine in order to avoid sinning? Where do we draw the line?
Fred J., Lancaster, California
Author’s Response: There are a host of controversial topics, but each issue has a correct view, and the way to find it is by careful study of the Scriptures. That doesn’t mean that truly redeemed but fallible teachers who have erred will face God’s wrath, but once we see our error, we should repent of not teaching the truth.
I can’t draw the line on all issues with the same confidence, but if I draw the line and later find I was wrong, then the right thing to do is humbly and, if appropriate, publicly admit my error to those I have mistaught.
Corrections and Clarifications
The explanation of the nitrogen cycle (page 65) reversed the symbols for nitrite and nitrate. (The illustration is correct but not the explanation.) Nitrite is NO2- and nitrate is NO3-.
“Dying to Live Another Day” calls bear hibernation a “myth” (p. 50). Research has led to a redefinition of hibernation; it now includes bears.
“The Chicken or the Egg” (p. 33) states that as the immense diversity within the created kinds was passed from parent to offspring, “most likely a nonchicken bird eventually laid an egg containing a chicken.” At least one reader misunderstood this to endorse molecules-to-man evolution in some way. However, we were simply suggesting that modern chickens came from the same created “kind” as pheasants. God placed an amazing amount of information in the original genes of each kind; this is not an example of a bird becoming some other kind of creature, but simply a new species produced within the same kind—in keeping with Genesis 1:21.