Debates

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I. CAN TRUE CHRISTIANS LOSE THEIR SALVATION?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

True Christians at the outset cannot lose their Salvation! Now the question for the debate needs our undivided attention. ‘True Christians’ can be true only if their behavior corresponds to what is expected and obligated in the Bible. A Christian can be found ‘true’ only if s/he lives in the parameters set in the Word of God and also if s/he lives in the premises of God’s perfect and good Will. Salvation is evidenced by continuing in faith to the end (Heb. 3:14). But the profound verse which is vital concerning Salvation is John 10:28-29 Jesus Says, “I give them (sheep) eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” The Greek construction in John 10:28 is a strong denial that the sheep (believer in Christ) will ever perish. The sheep’s security is in the power of the Shepherd, who will let no one take them from him unless and until a believer chooses to change ownership from God to other gods (Ex 32:31-33).

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II. DOES GOD REALLY WANT US TO FORGIVE AND FORGET?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

God does want us to forgive, however, He has not indicated anywhere in His Word for us to forget (Matthew 6:14 and Ephesians 4:32).  It is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against us. Nevertheless, forgetfulness is a weakness, and there is a possibility to remember what we may have forgotten at one point of time. God too remembers that we have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But, having been forgiven, we are judicially justified. Biblical teaching on Forgiveness is powerful, in the sense it helps an individual who forgives – to keep no intentions of revenge or hatred to the other party who has hurt the former’s sentiments. Forgiveness is a decision of the will. We should forget what is behind and strive toward what is ahead (Philippians 3:13).

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III. DOES THE EMERGENCE OF DENOMINATIONAL CHURCHES WHICH KEEP MULTIPLYING) BIBLICALLY SUPPORTED?

-Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

The word ‘denominational’ means a religious group having slightly different beliefs from other groups but sharing the same religion. Denominational churches employ differences to the point of being narrowly exclusive. Denominational Churches multiply on various grounds, some being for doctrinal disagreements, non-conventional teachings, misunderstandings, lack of coordination and cooperation within the Church. Denominational churches may not be biblical, because in 1 Cor. 1:13 Paul asks an astounding question ‘Is Christ divided?’ Paul’s inquiry confirms that believers shouldn’t allow anything to divide them. It was Jesus’ prayer also that those who believe in him may be one (Jn 17:20-21) and may have complete unity (Jn 17:23). It is advisable to reconsider Paul’s appeal to the Ephesians “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit…” (Eph. 4:3f). Nevertheless, Unity does not mean uniformity. So as long as the form of worship does not compromise the substance of Truth, it is not an issue.

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IV. IS IT RIGHT FOR CHRISTIANS TO BELIEVE IN HOROSCOPES, CONSULT ASTROLOGERS, NUMEROLOGISTS, VASTU-SHASTRA AND DO ALL SUCH SUPERSTITIOUS THINGS?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

It’s obviously not right for a Christian to believe or consult Superstitious modes. The purpose of a horoscope is to gain insight into a person’s character and foretell the future. The basic belief of astrology is that planets and stars exercise an influence upon our lives. Vastu shastra i.e. “science of construction” is an ancient doctrine which consists of precepts born out of a traditional and archaic view on how the laws of nature affect human dwellings. It is primarily applied in Hindu architecture, especially for Hindu temples, although it covers other domains. Vaastu shastra combines all the five elements of nature and balances them with the person and the material.

The Bible explicitly forbids divination, sorcery, and hidden arts (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). Christians are to regard only God (Deuteronomy 18:15). Any other source of guidance, information, or revelation is to be discarded completely. The Bible points to Jesus Christ as the only focus of faith (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 12:2). Our trust is in God alone, and we know that He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Faith in anything besides God is a misplaced risk and an illogical endeavor. Therefore, Superstitious beliefs oppose biblical teaching in two ways: First, it advocates faith in something other than God and, Second it is a form of divination. As Christians, we are to read the Bible and pray to God in order to gain wisdom and guidance. Consulting a superstitious mode is a violation of God’s means of communicating with His children.

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V. IS IT SCRIPTURAL TO MAKE A VOW TO GOD TO DO SOMETHING OR TO GIVE SOMETHING IN ORDER TO GET A BENEFIT?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

 In the Bible a vow has two basic forms, the Unconditional and the Conditional. The Unconditional vow is an oath where one binds himself without expecting anything in return. E.g. “I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.” – Ps 116:14.

Whereas the Conditional vow generally had a preceding clause i.e., giving the conditions which had to come to pass before the vow became valid. E.g. Hannah greatly desired a son in 1 Sam. 1:11, when she made a vow to dedicate him to God’s service. In Gen. 28:20-22 Jacob made a vow to give one-tenth of his wealth to God, etc. if God assured him of His presence before going to Paddan-Aram. So, a Conditional vow was often made out of desperation.

Nevertheless, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 clarifies that a vow is always made to God voluntarily, and it must be kept. However, in the Bible, a vow is never associated with a life of godliness nor is it given the status of religious requirement, but the Bible emphasis that we must avoid casual and irresponsible vows to God (Mt. 5:33-37; Prov. 20:25).

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VI. IS PAUL’S TEACHING ON HEAD COVERING FOR CHRISTIAN WOMEN OUTDATED/ IRRELEVANT IN TODAY’S CONTEXT?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

 

1Cor.11:5-6 imply the shame-honour culture of the Mediterranean world of the first century. In Corinth, prostitutes went around bare-headed and with extremely short haircuts. So some women who became Christians under Paul’s leadership decided that since they had freedom and equality in Christ, they could do as they pleased, regardless of cultural propriety. When getting up to speak, they would throw off their veils in a pretentious display of liberty. It is also possible that in Corinthian church, two cultures were colliding, i.e. Jewish women covered their heads in worship, whereas Greek women worshiped without head coverings.

Hence, in Corinth at Paul’s time, a covered head was a visible expression of a woman’s modesty. The veil revealed something distinctive about her relationship with her husband. So when a woman prophesied or prayed without head cover, she was bringing dishonour on her head, i.e. herself, and on her male head in that culture i.e. her husband, her father/guardian.

However, head covering is irrelevant today because it had a cultural significance. But, Paul’s message is relevant that is: if women are to lead in worship they must do so with reverence and cultural propriety.

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VII. WHAT SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF CHRISTIANS ON THANKSGIVING?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

 It’s very evident today, that in thanksgiving we often miss the reason for giving thanks. And so the question for debate is a very pivotal one. It is crucial for us as Christians to understand that the intrinsic point of reference to ‘thanksgiving’ is a grateful heart. The Hebrew word for ‘thanksgiving’ is Towdah which basically indicates two things: confession and praising God (Ps 26:7; 42:4). Christians everywhere have one focus on thanksgiving, and that is to be grateful to God with a heart that confesses the greatness of God’s redemptive work in the world.

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VIII. WHO ARE REAL PRIESTS? ARE SOME CHRISTIANS SUPERIOR THAN OTHERS?

  • Dr. Vivek A. Gundimi

A Priest in the Old Testament era acted as intermediary between God and sinful human beings. However through the work of Christ on the cross, the believers in the New Testament era become priests who can come directly into God’s presence with confidence (Heb.4:16) in order are to reflect the holiness of God (Heb. 10:10), intercede for man before God, declare the praises of God’s wonderful acts (1 Pt. 2:9) and hence reconcile man to God (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

The word ‘Saints’ in Greek is hagios which means ‘sacred’ (physically, morally blameless, consecrated)

So the basic idea is that saints are set apart to God and are experientially being made increasingly holy by the Holy Spirit.

It’s evident then from the above depiction that there are many Christians who do not understand their roles as ‘priests’ and ‘saints’ and haven’t even participated in those respective roles. Foundationally, Christians are not superior to others but unmistakably there are Christians who are more productive than others. “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – 30,60 or even a 100 times what was sown.”(Mark 4: 8- 20).

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