#STRask: July 18, 2016

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Published on 07/18/2016

Host: Greg Koukl

Greg is on a timer and answers questions about doing the Lord’s work, the Orlando shooting, and major doctrines that Greg has changed his mind on over the years.


  • Are there other ways to do the Lord’s work without being knee deep in evangelism? Is maintaining a job and family the Lord’s work?
  • Could the Orlando gunman been God’s instrument of judgment against those gay clubbers?
  • Are there any major doctrines that Greg Koukl has changed his mind on over the years?


Melinda: Hello there. This is Melinda the Enforcer for STR Ask, Greg Koukl sitting next to me, who has peanut breath and it’s really irritating I have to sit this close to you.

Greg: They are actually cashews.

Melinda: Cashews. You have nerdy breath. I like cashews but I don’t like smelling it this close.

Greg: I’ll try not to breath in your direction.

Melinda: It’s kind of impossible, when we are sitting this close together in a small room.

Greg: I know, it’s really, no.

Melinda: Usually I’m on the other side of the window glass and protected from the smells.

Greg: Yes, protected, we have environmentally separate spaces here.

Melinda: Right, and that’s the way we like it. By the way, something for some reason just reminded me, I babysat Greg’s girls the last few days, while they were on vacation.

Greg: Thank you for that by the way.

Melinda: Do you know that they’ve developed a real liking for Get Smart?

Greg: I do know that because we borrowed your Get Smart videos and...

Melinda: I don’t have Get Smart videos.

Greg: DVDs. Didn’t we borrow the DVD?

Melinda: No.

Greg: Those aren’t yours?

Melinda: No, you got them from someone else.

Greg: No we didn’t...we got them from you.

Melinda: I don’t remember having them, maybe I did, I don’t remember. I must have told...If I did I must have told you to...

Greg: No, they do. This is like 60s, late 60s silliness.

Melinda: I know. It was one of my dad’s favorite show. I enjoyed, we watched several, the Cone of Silence, which it sort of reminds me of. Nobody in the Cone of Silence could hear anything.

Greg: Missed me by that much.

Melinda: That’s something in my tone when I’m saying, that’s what made me think of it, by that much. I just, it was so cute that they enjoyed that humor.

Greg: Would you believe?

Melinda: And stuff they got there.

Greg: They do. I’m glad they do. It’s innocent stuff and it’s, we did borrow. I’m certain that we borrowed it from you and they would watch an episode.

Melinda: Maybe you did, I just forgot having them.

Greg: We try to minimize the amount of watching they have, but that’s pretty innocent stuff.

Melinda: That’s what they wanted to watch. “Can we go watch Get Smart?”

Okay. No hard decisions there. Even though we had fresh episodes last week. Those were actually recorded a while back. Greg’s been on vacation for quite a while. Do you remember how this works?

Greg: Quite a while.

Melinda: It just seems like it, doesn’t it? Do you remember how this all works?

Greg: Yes, but a bunch of my vacation I spent writing, finishing the book, just for the record.

Melinda: I’m not...Why do you bring that up? I’m not saying that I feel sorry for myself but every time you bring it up, “on my vacation, I spent writing.” Not on this last one because you were done with the book finally - let’s celebrate. He’s finally done with the book.

Greg: I got a little bit of work to do. You’ve got to write the acknowledgments and that kind of stuff. You are right.

Melinda: The dedication and thanking me.

Greg: Really. That won’t take long.

Melinda: I know it won’t. Because how could you possibly put into words?

Greg: Modest thanks and gratitude. You made a good contribution, you were a great help. I had a team of people.

Melinda: A lot of people.

Greg: I like to send a clean copy to my publisher when I have a book and I have some very good people that I have access to and you are of course one of them. Thank you.

Melinda: You are welcome.

Greg: Now I don’t have to say anything in the book, right? I just said thank you.

Melinda: You don’t have to say anything at all, God knows. Let’s do this.

Greg: Do we have some questions here today?

Melinda: Yes we do. Four minutes, you are on a timer, ready to go. People submit their questions using the #STRask. Go to Twitter and use #STRask. That’s where we got these question. Here is the first one. Are there other ways to do The Lord’s work without being knee-deep in evangelism? Is maintaining a job and family The Lord’s work?

Greg: Those are two questions.

Melinda: It’s the same question, just put different ways.

Greg: Those are two different, the one question has to do with whether The Lord’s work is only evangelism? The other aspect of it is, is it The Lord’s work to be good parents? I think it’s The Lord’s work. It’s an obligation of parenthood to raise children in a Godly fashion. There are a number of obligations that Christians have and if you are parents that’s one of your obligations. Is it The Lord’s work? Yes, in this fashion because you are discipling, and you are evangelizing and then discipling your own children. I guess that qualifies...The reason I’m kind of splitting it into two things is, I guess I want to avoid somebody saying, “You know what? I got kids. I got kids to take care of. I don’t have time to worry about all this other stuff because raising kids is The Lord’s work anyway.

Melinda: As an excuse to get out of other things.

Greg: “I’ve got it covered.” Everybody has kids.

Melinda: I’ve got you.

Greg: If everybody had that, pretty much, if everybody had that attitude then there wouldn’t, no other Lord’s work would get done. I do acknowledge and so does Paul in 1st Corinthians, seven I think. That family represents obligations. Your time and your attentions are divided but they are divided they are not wholly consumed. I think even though raising children is a significant enterprise, we are still, we are obliged to make a different or larger, a contribution, regarding the Body of Christ and The Lord’s work that’s just that.

Melinda: I also want to add the idea that, the reformers especially in the 16th century talked about the idea of vocation. A Godly vocation. Whatever job anybody has, it’s a Godly vocation because you are supposed to do whatever you do to the best of your ability and to glorify God. There wasn’t this thinking of like ministers are doing God’s work.

Greg: Sacred or secular.

Melinda: Like Luther talked about shoemakers who are doing somehow secular work, shoemakers were also doing God’s work because you made the best shoes you could to The Glory of God.

Greg: I think that’s a way of seeing the Christian life as holistically but I think that there is something else that’s going on with the question here about The Lord’s work. I think there is, yes we all live holistically but there are other responsibilities that are in a certain sense more sacerdotal or more religious, could be identified as that, that Christians are also to be involved with. We could be good shoemakers and make the best shoe we possibly could and therefore honor God with that activity. However, that doesn’t absolve our self-responsibility for evangelism or discipling and things like that.

Melinda: No, we need to contribute, like you said to the Body of Christ, to the church, to the kingdom. I think more often these days we think of pastors doing The Lord’s work and everybody else just makes a living.

Greg: That almost puts the responsibility of ministry on the professionals. You get that done, I’ll take care of this and I don’t have to worry about these other things. That is not I think a sound approach to Christian living.

Melinda: Next question, could the Orlando gunman have been God’s instrument of judgment against those gay clubbers?

Greg: This question comes up at different times with catastrophes when there is what appears to be any moral person that kind of gets in the way of the disaster like this, the hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans, New Orleans as a Godly city, the people...

Melinda: All the cities are still wonderfully Godly.

Greg: That’s right. The irony is that the French quarter largely survived Katrina because it was on high ground. I think that this is a foolish conjecture.

Melinda: I think it’s possibly a dangerous one even.

Greg: It could be a dangerous in the sense of reinforcing a stereotype that some people have regarding Christians. We are the gay haters, the unloving people and so on. You can say, “God was judging those people for this one.” Wait a minute, why don’t we say that when a gunman guns down a whole bunch of other people, we can isolate their sins as the same God...

Melinda: How about the Dallas shooter who gunned down the policemen?

Greg: There you go. Those policemen must have a sin in their life. I just think it’s foolish. God does bring judgment in different ways. We know this historically, scripturally. These things usually happen. Let me see, usually people are forewarned when this happens. There is a, I’m thinking of a genre right now. There is a forewarning of that. My view of the Canaanite situation with Judges, the Book of Judges, Joshua, before the Book of Judges I should say. I think that that that was a judgment brought along by God on those people. Why would I think that? Because there you have an army that’s coming in and reeking a destruction on these Canaanites. Why would I say that? Because God said it.

Melinda: We have a good reason to think he said that in the Bible. Because we have a good reason to believe the Bible, not just those things.

Greg: Right. I don’t have any good reason to believe that this was an act by an agent of God on gays. That’s why I think this just makes Christians look foolish when say things like this.

Melinda: A corollary of this question, do you think the shooting of gay clubbers in Orlando is a natural consequence of the things Christians say against homosexuals, saying that they are sinners, they are wrong and they are going to hell? Then this is just the next natural thing for somebody to come and do?

Greg: I guess that’s easier to answer if you just looked at who the perpetrator was. My understanding is that the perpetrator was a Muslim man.

Melinda: We created the atmosphere of hate that moved him.

Greg: That’s the question. Is that the thing that motivated him to do that? His own religion has its own dictates against homosexuality. Why would one choose to ascribe to Christians? I’m sorry. Choose to ascribe to a Muslim man, a motivation that has to do with Christianity? He had his own motivation from his own religion and not just with regards to homosexuality but infidels in general. I have no sense at all that there is anything like a climate of hate. This to me is an absolute and complete fabrication of the left. Are there some people who hate other people? Sure, but just by basic observation, I’ve seen much more demonstration of hate from the people who are making these statements than the ones that they are making the statements about. This is just so obvious to me when you see the way these people comport themselves in saying these kinds of things.

In this particular case though, was the gunman somehow influenced or motivated by Christians understanding of the morality of homosexuality? I see absolutely no reason to do this. I think it’s self-serving to make that particular claim. Illicitly self-serving for people to make that claim.

Melinda: Let me ask it in a slightly different way. Does the Christian understanding of homosexuality lead to such acts of violence and hate?

Greg: If somebody were to say that it did, they’d have to show the connection. That is, Christianity teaches some things are wrong, Christianity teaches that we are to hate those people that do the things that wrong, and Christianity teaches that those people we hate, we ought to kill. Christianity teaches the first thing, it doesn’t teach those other things. It teaches just the opposite. I don’t see why somebody could say there is a logical connection there.

Melinda: Because when we say homosexuality is wrong, it’s along with a lot of other things are wrong. Gossipers, slanders, and all those things are wrong, but the solution is to...

Greg: Hating is wrong.

Melinda: Hating is wrong.

Greg: This is just a completely unjustified label against Christians but people get away with it all the time. Just saying it doesn’t make it true, “You are filled with hate.” I am? Why, what’s the evidence of the hate? The evidence of the hate is, we disagree with them. Because we disagree, they call us names. They ridicule us and call us names. That’s called name calling is what it’s called.

Melinda: As frustrating as those kinds of misunderstandings and accusations are, I think in some ways it gives us that much more opportunity to be clearer about what the gospel message is. We are not picking certain people out, and we are included in the sinners that need forgiveness.

Greg: That’s right. I’m going to prosecute that particular line of thinking or conversation with questions.

Melinda: Next...

Greg: How is it? I’m not going to accept the legitimacy of their challenge. I’m going to begin questioning it immediately.

Melinda: I can agree. I also think it means we have to just, even double down on the more and being clear about what we are saying, what the Bible says.

Greg: That’s true.

Melinda: The Bible doesn’t pick out gays or anybody else. It picks on all of us.

Greg: It picks out, in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Let me just turn there real quickly because I don’t want to get it wrong. It talks about the problem of gays. It talks about homosexuals not inheriting the kingdom of God. There is a list of things that are there. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Who would that be? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, guess what comes first?

Fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals. They are fourth and fifth on the list, things that relate to that. Then it goes on, no thieves, no coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers. How did those names get in there? Will inherit the kingdom of God. There are about ten things on there and half of homosexual and only two of them relate to homosexuality. Why would us saying something is wrong imply hate? That’s the thing we got to ask. When people say, that’s just hate, climate of hate, what is that? We got to make them make their own case with regards to these kinds of statements. One last thing though, and that is, we have to be very careful that we do not in any ways appear to be fulfilling the caricature that they have drawn of us or this stereotype through their label. We got to make sure that we don’t respond in a way that seems to reinforce the stereotype.

Melinda: Next question and we’ll just take a couple, two minutes for this, comes from...

Greg: So she says.

Melinda: Yeah, because the show ends...

Greg: Because the is the Enforcer.

Melinda: Barry Wallace: “Are there any major doctrines that you have changed your mind over the years?”

Greg: This was asked to me a number of years ago.

Melinda: I think I remember.

Greg: By...I’ll think of his name maybe in a moment...

Melinda: Something Jones.

Greg: Tony Jones.

Melinda: Jones.

Greg: I answered too quickly to him. I said, “No, I don’t think so.” Then, now I think back, I think there are a lot. I used to be a young author for example. I’m not that anymore. I always held eternal security but I had not, I think, developed my own thinking about election and reform theology. That’s a newer development, maybe not a complete change. The thing about my own theology is I don’t camp on sect.

What I was going to say is, the thing about my theology is that. I would say that most of the things I’m deeply committed to that are major are very ordinary. I’m very mainstream in terms of my theological convictions in terms of historically mainstream Christian concepts.

Melinda: There is another big...

Greg: I don’t really, there is not a lot of significant things to change. If I change anything significant that I believe, I wouldn’t be a Christian.

Melinda: I can remember something significant you changed your mind on. You were not a Christian, and you became a Christian.

Greg: There you go. That’s right.

Melinda: It’s a good thing you got things right so early on. Just kidding.

Greg: I had a good instructor.

Melinda: You did.

Greg: I think that makes a difference.

Melinda: You did become a Christian as an adult. That was the biggest change.

Greg: That’s right.

Melinda: That was something significantly...Not only did you require to change your mind but a change of life.

Greg: To be fair, the person is probably referring to my Christian life, after AD not BC.

Melinda: No, that’s true but...That’s it for this week. You can send us your questions on Twitter using #STRask, the name of the podcast. We post two new episodes every week, Mondays and Thursdays. I’m Melinda the Enforcer, with Greg Koukl, for Stand to Reason.