Theological FAQ

Every Christian is called to have a thoughtful faith. We have prepared a number of tools and resources for you to grow a confident faith.

Theological FAQ2020-01-18T19:06:37-05:00
What is progressive dispensationalism?2020-01-24T15:46:09-05:00

Progressive dispensationalism differs from standard dispensationalism. It covers a number of differing viewpoints. Generally, progressive dispensationalism posits that the nation of Israel is distinct from the Church. Both have distinct roles within the future of God’s plan. Holders of this view will say that some, but not all, of the Old Testament promises are fulfilled in the Church while some are reserved for the nation of Israel to fulfill.

What is dispensationalism?2020-01-24T15:39:59-05:00

Generally refers to the belief that biblical history is a series of defined periods in which God has given distinct administrative principles specific to that time period alone. This means that Biblical history should be seen as discontinuous in the way that God has dealt with humanity over time with particular emphasis on the distinction between Israel and the Church.

What is eschatology?2020-01-24T15:37:30-05:00

Eschatology is the study of the end-times, with a special reference to the Christian study of the return of Christ.

What is the incarnation?2020-01-24T15:16:04-05:00

The incarnation refers to the coming of the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, to earth to assume a human nature as Jesus Christ. Jesus retained his full deity but became perfectly human.

John 10:30, John 20:28, Romans 9:5, Colossians 2:9-10, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8, 1 John 5:20, John 1:14, John 1:1-4, John 6:51, John 16:28, Philippians 2:5-11

What does Christ mean?2020-01-24T15:10:37-05:00

Christ is the anglicanization of the Greek word for Messiah. The definition of Christ is Annointed One. Christ is not Jesus’ last name.

What is baptism?2020-01-24T15:07:34-05:00

Baptism, or water baptism, is a symbolic rite that symbolically ties the believer to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is a public expression of this symbolic tie. Baptism is typically done with water, though there are some disagreements between whether or not the believer should, or must be, submerged in water. Some denominations believe that baptism is required. Some believe that baptism is effective for applying grace to the believer.

Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, Luke 3:3, Acts 2:38,

What is atonement?2020-01-24T14:54:31-05:00

Atonement extends forgiveness from God to the sinner. Under the Mosaic law, substitutionary atonement was the sacrifice made to pay for sin in the guilt offering and the sin offering. Under the new covenant, atonement refers to Jesus’ sacrificial death on behalf of sinners.

The Bible is pro slavery.2019-12-12T23:09:29-05:00

How to respond:

Start by addressing the verses that will most likely be brought up (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Peter 2:18). Admit that, on face value, it does seem to indicate that the Bible does seem to support certain slave-owner relationships. Show that slavery in the Bible is not the same as our modern conception of the practice. Our modern view is most likely based in the ownership model common in the first century of America’s history.

The Biblical model, in both Old and New Testaments, is very different. Jewish and Roman slaves were bond servants who were given significant legal status. Very few were slaves for life and there was no little to no forced slavery based on race. Most slaves were prisoners of war who would have else wise been executed as enemies of the state.

Even with this distinction in place, Paul writes to Philemon that his runaway slave should be treated as an equal (Philemon 1:17) therefore instructing the elimination of the slave-owner relationship.

What is apologetics?2019-05-21T02:21:32-04:00

Apologetics, from the Greek apologia (ἀπολογία – 1 Peter 3:15) is the reasoned defense of Christian theology. To apologize is not to admit fault or say that you are sorry.  Apologetics presents arguments for an idea or worldview. It can be a formal debate, an argument, or a simple statement of reasons. While apologetics may involve argument, the goal should not be to defeat your opponent. The goal of apologetics is to give sound reasons for the God of the Christian Bible. It can involve arguments from history, philosophy, math, as well as natural and other scientific fields.

What are apologetics?

Those Christians are just hypocrites.2019-05-08T02:21:32-04:00

How to respond:

Start by admitting that you mess up. You sin and don’t get it right all the time. Every Christian sometimes fail to live up to the standard Jesus set. Then explain that being a Christian doesn’t mean that you are perfect – or better – than any other person. Being a Christian means that you trust that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Being a Christian means relying on the Holy Spirit to begin making you a person that lives up to Jesus’ standard.

I am generally a good person. I don’t need Jesus.2019-05-08T02:17:03-04:00

How to Respond

Start by explaining that the Bible makes it clear that no one can earn a way into heaven. Each person, if left to his or her own devices, is infinitely separated from God. No amount of good work can close that gap let alone close it enough to earn heaven. Only the infinitely valuable death and resurrection of God Himself was able to bring us closer.

A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell.2019-05-08T02:12:33-04:00

How to Respond

Start by explaining that the concept of free will in Christianity means that people will make the choice on whether or not they will go to hell. All deserve hell, but through Christ’s redemptive work, He has made a way for us to be with Him in heaven. Only by failing to accept this offer of salvation are people sent to hell.

Christians should just coexist with other religions.2019-05-08T02:09:49-04:00

How to Respond

It is not logical to ask religions to coexist or tolerate one another. Virtually all religions disagree on significant aspects of their world views. It is relatively simple to show that religions contradict one another and cannot both be true. Muslims say there is only one deity and that Jesus was just a prophet. It also claims that other religions are incorrect corruptions of the one true way. Christians say that God is triune and that Jesus was God. Jesus Himself claimed exclusivity (John 14:6). If it can be proven that even two religions cannot coexist, then the entire coexistence argument begins to crumble. If the argument is made that the religious adherents should coexist by tolerating one another. Again, one must simply look to Islam and Christianity, both of which command the believer to make converts.

Many people who make this statement don’t really care that all religions contradict, however. They would simply ask you to drop the aspects of your religion that contradict. They often see these exclusive elements as offensive.

Jesus was a great historical figure, but not God.2019-05-08T02:09:46-04:00

How to Respond

Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection were prophesied and substantiated his claims that He was God the Son incarnate. Many sources further corroborated his resurrection. The events of Jesus’ life changed the entire world and its effects are still apparent today.

The Bible is full of errors and contradictions.2019-05-08T02:09:43-04:00

How to Respond

This is a difficult objection to resolve through a simple answer. Many people have specific objections that they have picked up through an article on the internet or from a book. It may help to ask the person to name one of the contradictions and answer that one specifically. If you don’t know the answer to the objection, be honest but be confident.

No supposed contradiction has stood the test of time. Explain that the Bible comes from writers in many different cultures writing with different languages and genres. Many of the supposed contradictions come from different ways of reckoning time, discussing regal succession, and other culturally defined subjects. Even in historical accounts the writers were documenting the history of how God has interacted with His people, not the day-to-day history of the Jewish kingdom. Details may sometimes be left out, but this does not mean that the account was false.

We can’t trust the Bible, and therefore cannot trust Christianity.2019-05-08T02:09:41-04:00

This argument comes in many shapes and sizes:

The Bible is just a collection of stories. The Bible is man made. The Bible is good literature, but isn’t true. The Bible has too many problems to be taken literally. We don’t have the original Bible, so we can’t trust it.

How to Respond

The Bible is the most reliable document that has ever been written. The historical record of the Bible far outstrips any other ancient manuscript and puts other religious documents to shame. The earliest surviving copies of the Bible are from just a few dozen years after Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection. These manuscripts come from all over the region, showing that the original documents were carefully copied and distributed throughout the known world. No historian or anthropologist doubts the authenticity of these ancient manuscripts. The thousands of surviving manuscripts show the careful work that was done to consistently reproduce the original versions.

If you look outside the Bible and its manuscripts, historical and archaeological evidence has verified many important and obscure aspects of the Bible.

Evolution proves that the Bible is false.2019-05-08T02:09:31-04:00

Start by pointing out that the mechanics of creation are not the point of the Bible. We can disagree on aspects of creation and still be Christians.

That being said, the Bible is clear on some aspects and the theory of evolution greatly over reaches. Follow this response when arguing for God when talking to an evolutionist.

How to Respond

Point out that our understanding of amino acids and enzymes have advanced far beyond what Darwin ever understood. Species and animals do change over time, but this does not create a new species as evolution suggests. It is also statistically impossible for life to evolve from random molecules. Neither of these processes have ever been observed by scientists either in real-time experiments or in historical evidence.

We can prove that God doesn’t exist.2019-05-08T02:09:38-04:00

The first step in a discussion about God is to get an atheist to acknowledge the possibility of any deity existing.

How to Respond

Start by laying out one of the arguments for God’s existence. Show them that it is harder to prove that God doesn’t exist than that He does exist.

Show that the theistic worldview requires less faith than atheism or agnosticism. Atheists must know everything about everything in order to prove that God does not exist. Science, as a tool to measure repeatable, natural phenomenon, cannot measure something that is supernatural. Since God is supernatural, absence of scientific evidence cannot be used as evidence of absence of God.

Agnostics claim that they know for sure that one cannot know anything about God. This is, in it of itself, a logical inconsistency.

Once you have shown that a god could exist, you can then move on to arguing for the Christian worldview and the existence of God.

Why does God allow evil?2019-05-07T23:02:49-04:00

Many have asked why a good God would allow evil. Is God incapable of preventing evil from occuring? That is, is He not all powerful (omnipotent)? Is God not really all good? This is summed up in the question: “Why would a good and powerful God allow evil and suffering?

Free Will:

“The heart of the Free Will [Defense] is the claim that it is possible that God could not have created a universe containing moral good (or as much moral good as this one contains) without creating one containing moral evil.” (Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), 166-167).

Plantinga’s Theodicy:

God allows evil and suffering because they are a necessary condition of the best possible kind of world. Without sin and evil, there is no atonement. And without atonement, there is no incarnation. Thus, man’s fall into sin and evil is a “fortunate fall,” a necessary part of the best possible kind of world (Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa,’ in Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil, ed. Peter van Inwagen (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004), 1–25.).

This is a difficult question to answer with brevity. A full treatment of the problem of evil can be found in the Ratio Christi blog.

What is the Trinity?2019-05-07T21:44:41-04:00

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that God is three distinct persons (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) but is one in essence.


  • God is one
    • Galatians 3:20
    • James 2:19
  • Son is unique
    • John 1:1
    • John 14:9
    • Colossians 2:9
  • Spirit is unique
    • Acts 5:3-4
    • 1 Corinthians 3:16

Don’t See Your Question?

Submit your questions for our theologians. If you give us your email address, we will send you an answer directly.


Become a Chapter Director

Do you want to help students love God with all their hearts and minds? You don’t have to be an expert theologian to join Ratio Christi. Find out more about leading a chapter at a local college or university by clicking below.

Apply to Join


Make a Difference: Donate

Want to help share the Gospel on college campuses but don’t want to lead a chapter? Support Ratio Christi missionaries by donating to Ratio Christi today. Even a few dollars helps our chapter directors to spend more time in the field sharing Christ with university and college students.

Donate Today