Ask Nathan Betts (August 12-16, 2019)

Hello, friends!

This week we are very excited to have @Nathan_Betts in the Q&A hotseat. Nathan speaks frequently across the US and Canada, and his writing has been featured in the likes of The Seattle Times and Christianity Today. His focus areas include the interface of faith and culture, questions on suffering and the existence of God, digital technology and belief, and youth apologetics. Additionally, he is passionate about exploring the ways in which the Christian faith helps us make sense of the questions of human value and meaning amidst the complexity of everyday life.

Nathan completed his undergraduate degree at Tyndale University and his MA in Bible and ministry at King’s College, University of London. He is also a graduate of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and leads RZIM’s North America youth initiative. He is an avid percussionist and a keen baseball fan. Nathan and his wife, Brittany, live near Seattle, Washington, with their young children.

If you’re new to the site, do feel free to jump in with any questions you may have; no need to wait for someone to start us off! And likewise to you regulars: you know the drill. Ask away!

EDIT: Each Q&A with Nathan Betts is now in its own topic in order to make finding these resources easier.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: What are some good resources and curriculum for elementary and middle school aged students?

2 posts were split to a new topic: What advice would you give someone who is trying to approach youth with apologetics?

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Does Jesus Christ favor male over women to serve him?

2 posts were split to a new topic: How do I deal with the guilt of continuing to sin after being born again?

3 posts were split to a new topic: Thoughts on dealing with grief

Hi Nathan, thanks for fielding questions this week.

I’ve got a question that is related to the question of suffering and evil in the world.

We often hear the issue of evil and suffering addressed with respect to free will, e.g., do we want God to give us free Will to love him and follow him or to do what we want. In other words, evil and suffering are a consequence of human choice to disobey and reject God. That said, it goes on that if God didn’t allow free will, we would essentially be robotic forced followers complying to God’s intended order for things against our will.

I’m fine with the essence of that way to address suffering and evil in terms of free will and God allowing our choice; however, the tangential question that comes after that is this: so, for believers, after bodily death and going to heaven, will we no longer have free will to choose to love God and be forced to do it then, because our “new resurrection bodies” will be incapable of sin? If so, isn’t that the thing we argue God does not do to us by removing our free will? And further, if we still have free will after death in heaven, is it conceivable that there could be a subsequent “fall” in the future, since eliminating free will would make us robots and giving us free Will would lead us to disobey God again?

Thanks in advance for helping me wrestle through to a response on this one.

Gary

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Hi @Nathan_Betts

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.

My question is - how can an artist today serve God? As I understand it, God calls us to use our unique talents to serve others and glorify Him. For me, I’m good at drawing comics. About six months ago, I read David A. Covington’s A Redemptive Theology of Art, and I felt like it had some really great ideas about aesthetics in the Bible, but I found it difficult to put those ideas into practice.

Furthermore, I find myself unsure if my comic stories should explicitly talk about Christ or not. On the one hand, I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s quote “The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” On the other hand, how is my work glorifying God if it doesn’t even mention Him? The story I’m working on now (currently in the rough draft phase) has a cast of primarily robots - would it seem bizarre to have a bunch of robots talking about Christ?

Thanks again,
Jeff

Hello! Nathan I am greatfull to ask you
In my church we have a great trouble regarding Restoration church member… The issue has been almost more then a year.
A man got Holy marriage but after a year He divorce without the agreement of his wife and got another wife so, the church has been excluded to the man… But now the man is requesting to the church to restore him over and over without the agreement of first wife… And even he is threaten to pastor force to restore… But my pastor strictly stick on 1Corinthians 5 not allowed to restored.
How can we respond to it, can it possible to restored.
I’ll be happy it an burning issue right now in my church.

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