Why does God allow evil and suffering? John MacArthur

Apologetics and Agape

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/tough_questions_christians_face_08_west_coast/why-does-god-allow-so-much-suffering-and-evil/?format=video

I would encourage everyone who sees this to listen carefully and stop and look up all the verses that he cites in the Bible.  Work through this slowly.  I provide a lot of the outline below and intersperse my own comments also.

John MacArthur does an excellent job of showing how inadequate man made answers to the problem of the existence of suffering and evil in the world.   Larry King, the CNN interviewer for many years; told MacArthur that is the reason why he cannot believe in God, because of all the obvious evil and suffering that exists in the world, in history; therefore if God exists, then He allowed it; and Larry King cannot handle that.  That seems to be the root of all atheism and agnosticism – but it is at root an anger at God for allowing evil and suffering and pain.   MacArthur shows…

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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12 Responses to Why does God allow evil and suffering? John MacArthur

  1. Jim says:

    Hello Ken,
    By patiently enduring the sufferings sent to us, we can participate in the mission of Christ. We can, in a sense, become “co-redeemers”. St. Paul says so. So does Our Lady of Fatima when she told the children to pray and make sacrifices for the salvation of sinners.
    A dead car battery in the morning, breaking a shoelace, getting stopped by a red light when in a hurry, sickness, etc. need not be wasted suffering. Rather than cursing or complaining, make lemonade out of lemons. By generously offering up these little irritations we can help save others.
    This aspect of suffering if woefully lacking in Protestantism.

  2. Ken Temple says:

    Hi Jim,
    Those things like patiently enduring the irritations of daily life are good things to endure patiently and certainly a good thing to have the right attitude in “offering them to the Lord” – if you mean surrender in attitude with patience and lack of bitterness and anger. But if “make sacrifices” of Mary at the Our Lady of Fatima’s message means participation in the Eucharist as a sacrifice; well; that is wrong, and unBiblical.

    Christians are called to suffer, yes. Matthew 5:10-12; 1 Peter 2:20-21; Luke 9:23; 2 Tim. 3:12. That is part of our sanctification and perseverance for those who are truly justified by faith alone in Christ alone.

    But our sufferings do not “add” to the power or efficacy of the atonement of Christ.

    “St. Paul says so”, in Roman Catholic understanding, is probably a reference to Colossians 1:24, right?

    The meaning of Colossians 1:24 – sufferings “fill up what is lacking” in Christ’s sufferings, if a missionary or evangelist suffers in getting the word of God out and the gospel out to more people, in that sense, the sufferings of Christ are filled up or completed – when the message of His suffering is shared and spread and published and people suffer for it. See the context of the getting the gospel to the Gentiles (nations) (verses 6 and 23 – the gospel message going out into the world and bearing fruit, etc. ; and verse 25- preaching, evangelism) and that the mystery is that “Christ can live in you, the hope of glory” (verse 26-27). Like the sufferings of William Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English – he was strangled and burnt at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church just for putting the Bible into the language of English so that English speaking people could understand. You should be ashamed of your church for that, and what they did to John Hus also. Also for digging up Wycliff’s bones and burning them and judging him after his death as a heretic. Very shameful.

    The Apparition of Mary at Fatima of May 13, 1917 – “Our Lady of Fatima” is a false and terrible thing, which taught heresy:

    The second secret included Mary’s instructions on how to save souls from hell and convert the world to the Christian faith, also revealed by Lúcia in her Third Memoir:

    “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. . . ”

    This is heresy, plain and simple. A violation of the Scriptures.

    It proves that such apparitions of Mary are false, no matter how many people claimed to see the sun spin and change colors, etc.

    I don’t accept any of the apparitions of Mary that Roman Catholics have claimed in various forms and places in history, as coming from the true Mary, mother of Jesus, who is in heaven now.

  3. Jim says:

    Ken,
    “But our sufferings do not “add” to the power or efficacy of the atonement of Christ.”
    Of course not!
    But you do concede above that they are part of the application of Christ’s Atonement.
    As for your mentioning of Hus and Wycliffe, that seems to be a smokescreen or red herring so I will dismiss your bait as just rhetoric.
    The Bible is clear that we “save” sinners. James 5:20 says so. Notice that the sinner whose soul ( not mere rewards ) is save is already a brother Christian.
    Paul in Eph 3:13 says he suffers for his readers’ glory.
    As for Mary, Simeon did say a sword would pierce her soul for the rise and fall of many in Israel. What does that mean to you? When did that sword pierce her soul if not in John 19? Mary’s sufferings have to do with all men. Our sufferings have to do with the application of the cross to particular individuals.

    An unbelieving spouse can be saved by the believing spouse. A woman can be saved by child birth and rearing. Surely the Bible does not mean to say spouses and mothers bypass Christ’s atonement? Rather, the good example and long suffering mixed with intercessory prayer has saved many sinners, brought many to the Church or back to the Church. Think of what Ambrose said of the tears of Monica on behalf of her son.

    The patient bearing of life’s trials is a form of prayer, a sacrifice most pleasing to God. We are all called to be priests or intercessors by virtue of being baptized into Christ’s death. The Bible says we are to pray for the salvation of all men. It also says the prayer of a just man ( or woman ) avails much before the throne of God. Think of how Elijah shut up the sky for years. Whose just prayers would be more efficacious before the New King David than hos own Mother Mary ( the fulfillment of the Bathsheba type )?

    As for Fatima, think again of Elijah. By the power of God he worked a celestial miracle. Where in the Bible does it say God can work no more miracles through the agency of his saints? You might be a follower of cessasionist John MacArthur but I am not. The message of Fatima that you call “heresy” was backed up by miracles and prophecy. Please do not imitate the evil men who accused Christ of doing miracles by the power of Baalzebub.

  4. Jim says:

    By the way Ken,
    Catholics do not offer sacrifice to Mary. The Collyridians did that and were condemned.

  5. Ken Temple says:

    As for your mentioning of Hus and Wycliffe, that seems to be a smokescreen or red herring so I will dismiss your bait as just rhetoric.

    They questioned many of the same things that Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and the other Reformers did. Wycliffe and Tyndale were used as instruments for God’s glory to finally get the Scriptures translated into English. Wycliffe tried, but only had Latin to go by. Thank God for Erasmus, who was also used, to finally get back to the Greek NT. Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Hus, were good men that your apostate church was cruel towards. Truly shameful. Their sufferings were means, instruments, channels, not the substance itself. Paul’s sufferings were means to get the power of the message of the atonement out to the nations. Hus for the Czecks, Wycliff and Tyndale for the English people.

    The Bible is clear that we “save” sinners.

    As instruments and channels, ok; but only Christ and His atonement and resurrection and the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit, applied to those who repent and believe, actually does the saving.

    James 5:20 says so. Notice that the sinner whose soul ( not mere rewards ) is save is already a brother Christian.

    This is being used as means, instruments; as in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

    Paul in Eph 3:13 says he suffers for his readers’ glory.
    Same again – means, by preaching and living holy, getting the message out to others.

    As for Mary, Simeon did say a sword would pierce her soul for the rise and fall of many in Israel. What does that mean to you? When did that sword pierce her soul if not in John 19? Mary’s sufferings have to do with all men. Our sufferings have to do with the application of the cross to particular individuals.

    A mysterious passage indeed. (Luke 1:34-35) I have thought about that passage before, but will have to come back to later, Lord willing. I am just typing off top of my head, in a rush as I have to get to church this Sunday morning. (smile)

    An unbelieving spouse can be saved by the believing spouse.

    Only as an instrument, as means, by evangelism, and by good behavior and witness. like 1 Peter 3:1-6.

    A woman can be saved by child birth and rearing. Surely the Bible does not mean to say spouses and mothers bypass Christ’s atonement?

    That 1 Timothy 2:9-15 passage cannot mean that child-birth will spiritual save a mother, without her faith and repentance in Christ alone for salvation. It seems to point to being “preserved” and fulfilling her proper role in God’s creation design. The good works are the evidence and results of true faith, not the cause of salvation.

    Rather, the good example and long suffering mixed with intercessory prayer has saved many sinners, brought many to the Church or back to the Church. Think of what Ambrose said of the tears of Monica on behalf of her son.

    Your emphasis should be on “bringing many back to Christ”. Augustine had to be brought to faith in Christ alone. “the church” is important, but it is not the cause of salvation. Being in church is the result true faith and repentance. Yes, prayers are means, instruments that God uses, but Augustine had to repent and believe in Christ to save him.

  6. Jim says:

    Ken,
    None of your rebuttals go contrary to what I asserted. We are, as you say, merely “instrumental causes”. A million intermediary causes don’t take away from the one necessary cause.
    Back to suffering for a moment. How does fasting work? Does not the pain of hunger make one’s prayer more worthy of being heard? In the Bible, people wore sack cloth and ashes as a form of penance. Why? How did it make their prayers more efficacious? Moses lay prostrate for many days in supplication. Why not stand upright? Esther asked the Jews to fast on her behalf. Why? Jesus said, ” When you fast…”. He did not say, “If you fast…”. What’s up with fasting?
    ( Please don’t say that it clears one’s head so they can focus better. I doesn’t. It actually make prayer more difficult. It makes one irritable and hard to concentrate. )

  7. Jim says:

    Ken,
    What you call the “over-all context of the Roman Catholic system of merit and works” is also known as the BIBLICAL system. Jesus said, ” He who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit for ETERNAL LIFE…”. Paul says we are heirs provided we suffer with Christ. IOW, suffering merits an inheritance. Jesus also says that our inheritance is related to the work of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.
    Over and over again in scripture, we are informed that our inheritance and reward on judgement day depends on our works. NEVER ON AN IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS.

  8. Ken Temple says:

    That is the essence and bottom line of the disagreement between Roman Catholic sacramental and merit works righteousness system vs. proper Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, but true faith will result in good works (that you mention from Matthew 25 – if one is a sheep, then he/she is justified, and then they will do good works as result of true justification. Regeneration and sanctification are also part of salvation, but sanctification is the result, not the condition. Ours is more biblical.

  9. Jim says:

    Ken,
    Yours is more biblical? HA!
    Hebrews 12 says to “STRIVE* for the holiness/sanctification without which no one will see God”. Strive means to “work really hard”, doesn’t it? It’s an imperative, right? You turn the passage on its head and say because somebody has been earmarked to see God, he will prove it by his striving. You completely take the force out the the imperative and make it say, “Don’t bother striving for holiness. You are going to see God. So go ahead an put on a show of effort”.

    Unless one strives to be holy, he will go to hell. His own holiness, wrought by the Holy Spirit and merited by Christ’s passion, is what counts. Not an alien and imputed righteousness, regardless of Whose, added to some account somewhere.

  10. Ken Temple says:

    Those commands are the means by which we persevere and grow in sanctification. The person who does not want to pursue holiness proves that he is not really justified. The easy believe-ism- decision-ism – pray the sinner’s pray type of modern Evangelicalism is wrong; agreed; they are sending people to hell by making them think that just because they said a prayer, or went forward in an altar call type of event, that they are saved.

    infused or sanctifying righteousness demonstrates and proves that imputed-justifying righteousness is there.

  11. Jim says:

    Ken,
    “Those commands are the means by which we persevere and grow in sanctification.” unto final justification/salvation.

    Heaven begins in this life. St. Paul says so when he says that Faith and Hope will fall away into vision but that only Charity remains. The Charity or supernatural love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit in Baptism. It is preserved and increased by good works, obedience and worthy reception of the Eucharist throughout one’s life. If one leaves this life without Charity, he goes to hell. He cannot be pronounced “acquitted” or “debt paid in full”.

    Read Aliester McGrath. He says that NOBODY before Luther ever made a bifurcation between sanctification and justification. If you keep insisting on justification being an imputation of an alien righteousness, I am going to have to ask you to show from scripture where anyone is ever acquitted on judgement because of an imputation. I have already presented you with some of the passages that say works of Charity or love of neighbor for the sake of Christ is what determines whether we inherit heaven or not.

    I know you are watching the Paris stuff as am I. WOW!

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