Each month we look forward to welcoming Bible professors from University of Northwestern, Saint Paul into our broadcast studio and throw open the phone & e-mail lines for questions on the Bible, faith and the church.
This month on Ask the Professor, host Neil Stavem welcomes back friends and University Professors Mark Muska and Brad Sickler to field your questions. We go in-depth on topics from Satan, to the New Heaven, and Revelation.
We invite you to open your bibles as we open the phones and discuss your faith questions.
The following questions are posed by today’s callers:
• Do we need to get baptized in order to be saved?
• How do we know that Satan is the source of all the evil that we fight?
• Do people go directly to Heaven right after they die? Or is there a time & even a location in between?
• In 2 Peter 1:10 the scripture says that we are supposed to claim our calling and election… What does that mean exactly?
• How do we know if we are a part of the problem or a part of the solution? (In regards to leaving a church, or the desire not to leave a church)
These questions and more were answered thoughtfully and carefully by both professors with several scripture verses as reference points.
I had called in today and asked if baptism was necessary to be saved (assuming water/immersion baptism). One of the points the professor made for it not being necessary was the story of the thief on the cross – where Jesus said, “today you will be with me in paradise”. But isn’t that before baptism was “necessary”, because the act of baptism is the representation of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection?
Thanks for the question today. As we said on the air, really good and sincere followers of Christ don’t always agree on this water baptism question.
I think that you make a good point about the thief on the cross. Another point is to see that the thief is an extraordinary case, at the point of death. It is hard to build a solid teaching on extreme cases like that.
The main objection I have to requiring water baptism for salvation is that it takes away from the central issue – a person’s understanding of the gospel and sincere desire to trust in it. When we add a formal action to the requirements to be saved – like water baptism – it takes away from the main point. Do you trust Christ that His death gives you forgiveness of all your sins in the eyes of God?
For this reason, Jodi, I don’t like it, either, when some Christians insist that someone pray a specific “sinner’s prayer” to be saved. I like the way Bill Bright used to say it (the former president of Campus Crusade for Christ). The attitude of your heart is more important than the words you say (or the water baptism you do) to put your faith in Christ and the gospel.
I hope this helps to answer your questions. Keep listening!