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Mixed Signals: Q&A

• Greg Boyd, Paul Eddy

During our weekend services on April 11 and 12 we hosted Q&A sessions with Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy. We included all three services, so enjoy listening to ALL the answers.

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Saturday, 5:00 p.m.

    How does the Hebrews 11 definition of “faith” line up with Greg’s understanding of faith, which seems to say that we can doubt and have faith at the same time? (00:02:17)As we seem to be rather in the minority of Christians with the very loving picture of God, are there any denominations of Islam that view God as love? (00:04:43)I have a friend who is seriously questioning his Christian faith after reading some of Richard Dawkins’s books. I really want to have some helpful conversations with them, but I’m not sure where to start. Seth talked about a few reasons that he believes in God despite the arguments of New Atheism. What do you guys see as some of the strongest reasons or logical arguments for belief in God? (00:07:44)At what point to doctrinal differences between Christians become mixed signals that are to be avoided in fellowship situations such as teaching, small groups, Bible studies, etc. (00:17:23)What are we to do with a Christian worldview that doesn’t see and accept the non-violent teachings of Jesus? Greg talks often about how he has found these teachings to be more and more central to following and being like Christ. So what are we to make of Christian brothers and sisters who don’t see this essential part of Jesus’ commandments and so don’t seem to be fully following him? (00:21:04)People in medieval times believed that God had ordained people’s positions in life, because that was how their society was set up. How do we know that our view of God being an equal opportunity lover of people isn’t just a reflection of today’s American cultural values of equality and tolerance for all people? (00:23:52)

  1. Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. What does this entail? Should we be praying for them to be convicted by the Holy Spirit? Take ISIS, for example. I pray that our Christian brothers and sisters who are being slaughtered will truly be able to imitate Christ as they face this horrible persecution. And at the same time, I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict these ISIS fighters of their wrongdoings when they (hopefully) see the love of Christ in the people that they are killing. Is this appropriate, or are we to only be praying for their forgiveness? (00:27:13)
  2. Why is the idea that all non-Christians go to Hell so widespread in the church if the Bible says there’s hope for people of different religions? How can so many pastors and Christians today have the opposite view? (00:30:39)
  3. One of my strategies for keeping fear out of my life is to not watch the news or to know too much about what’s going on outside my day to day circles. Is this a bad idea or dangerous method of guarding my heart? (00:34:41)

Sunday, 9:00 a.m.

  1. We’ve talked a lot about non-Christian worldview, but what about other worldviews within Christianity? Why are there so many different types of Christians, and how should we approach other Christians that we disagree with? (00:37:56)
  2. Greg talked about Eastern religions in his sermon on “not being the tree.” I’ve heard of those religions all my life, like Hinduism and Buddhism and some others, but I don’t really get where they are coming from. Do any of these Eastern religions believe in a loving God like Jesus revealed to us? (00:41:59)
  3. In the same way that it is quite possible to be a Jewish follower of Jesus, is it possible to be an Islamic follower of Jesus, and if so, what would that look like? (00:45:45)
  4. Please address how we can love those who kill innocent folks, such as the policeman who killed the black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and South Carolina – and even the Nazis beheading Christians. (00:49:57)
  5. During the sermon a few weeks ago, there was a quote from Pascal saying that most people do something, whether good or evil, with passion because they believe they’re doing it in the name of the Lord. Do you think doing something right in the name of God is a good thing? Obviously doing something wrong in the name of God is a bad thing. (00:52:48)
  6. Regarding terrorism and loving your enemy: It is easy for us to light our incense and sing Kum Ba Yah because we are free. It is very possible my grandchildren could be killed one day for following Jesus. It is a great cause to die for but I would like to avoid it. It seems wrong to sit back and let others keep me safe. I bet everyone here claims to be a pacifist with a limit. So am I a hypocrite? What do you think God expects when it comes to keeping our kids safe? (00:56:32)
  7. I know parents who value showing their child all varieties of faith and religion so that they can choose their own path or not. How do you respond? How do you help your children see the love of God you know through Kingdom-centered faith? (01:01:49)
  8. It seems that we get a great deal of mixed signals from our own religion, specifically with issues such as supporting gay marriage, secular music, and other personal beliefs. Do these issues really determine whether you go to Heaven, and how important should we treat these opinions? (01:04:48)
  9. I was talking to an atheist friend recently about God and morality. I have read C.S. Lewis on this point, and so I said that, since humans obviously believe in real, objective right and wrong, this most likely means that God exists. He said that we don’t need a God to explain morality, because the theory of evolution explains why people have developed a sense of right and wrong. Have you heard of this atheist argument, and if so how would you respond? (01:07:52)
  10. 1 John 4:18 says perfect love drives out fear, but terrorists scare me and some other people do too. How can I love someone I’m afraid of and get free of this fear? (01:10:58)


Sunday, 11:00 a.m


  • I’ve been attending Woodland for a couple years now. A few times when I’ve told Christian friends where I go to church, they have expressed some worries. One of them even used the word “heretic” in reference to Greg. What’s the deal? And what should I say in response? (01:16:14)
  • Throughout this Mixed Signals series, a constant theme was that we can have strong convictions about the truth of Christianity but still be humble in how we communicate this to others. That sounds like a good idea, but in actual practice, it seems that these two things are incompatible. For example, being humble means being tentative and less than certain. But having conviction means being bold and confident about what one believes. Practically speaking, how can you do both things at the same time? (01:19:59)
  • What exactly is a Christian worldview? (01:22:48)
  • As Christians, we are told to see God as a loving father-figure, however, there are many stories int he Bible that make me not see him as much. How can I love a father who smites his children? (01:25:04)
  • Do you think if Jesus was invited to a barbecue and was offered a beer, he would accept? (01:29:56)
  • If Jesus is God, how is it possible for God to abandon Jesus on the cross? (01:31:54)
  • I know that Greg and Paul have both written on the topic of spiritual warfare. I also know that the Bible talks a lot about spirits and such. But modern people don’t seem to experience these things like ancient people say they did. Isn’t it possible that things like angels and demons are just ancient ways of explaining natural forces they didn’t understand? What credible evidence is there for believing in the reality of these things? (01:35:44)
  • In Greg’s talk on Hell, he mentioned that God will withdraw the gift of existence. How does God know if there is hope for one to turn before withdrawing the gift of existence? (01:40:04)
  • I have recently seen division among Christians with issues of race brought forward by recent events. What scriptures do you look to when having these conversations? (01:41:22)
  • Within Islam, what’s the difference between Sunni and Shia beliefs? Is it just a tribal thing, or do they have different beliefs? (01:44:53)
  • How do I lovingly communicate to my more evangelical friends that what they call telling the truth in love actually makes them look like a jerk? (01:47:26)
  • The sermon on the “Generic God” explained to me how so many of my friends can say “I believe in God,” but seem to have no sense of a Jesus-looking God. It’s almost like the Generic God inoculates people in America from coming to know the true God revealed through Jesus. How can we help our family and friends who just believe in a Generic God to seriously consider the truly Jesus-looking God? (01:49:49)
  • In Greg’s sermon about Islam, he spent a lot of time talking about non-violence toward “enemies.” How can we reconcile this non-violence with the flight or fight response that’s wired into our brains? During the Heart Smart series, it sounded like those were God-given responses we have to danger. (01:52:50)


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3 thoughts on “Mixed Signals: Q&A

  1. Peter says:

    Around 1:25 into the Q&A there is a question along the lines, “ As Christians we are told to see God as a loving Father figure. However, there are many stories in the Bible that make me not see Him as such. How can I love a Father that smites His children?” While I will get to the thread that Paul and Greg took, the answer, at face value is probably an example that Paul gave about letting a child choose whether he plays in a playground or on a free-way. If a parent saw that the child’s behaviour was not in his best interests he may reach the stage of taking ‘stern’ measures, such that the child understands what the parent wants….but this is done out of love for the child’s benefit, not for brutality. Similarly, the Father chastens His children for far more serious transgressions like idolatory etc.

    Returning to the answer that Greg was explaining in terms of Jesus on the Cross and being forsaken by the Father, there is an interesting observation. In the crucifixion account in Luke, Jesus says (Lk 23:34) as He was being nailed to the Cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” and, at the end of the crucifixion in verse 46, “Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.” However, in Matthew’s gospel (Matt 27) where Jesus’ cry of desolation is recorded, we may have expected to read, ‘My Father! My Father! Why hast thou forsaken me?’ but instead we have in verse 46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la′ma sabach-tha′ni?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We see that the cry of anguish from the Cross is that of man, as a son, being forsaken. The separation as man from God is what he experiences in those dark hours. The difficulty is that we must be wary of saying the Son is separated from the Father, but we must insist that as man, as the Son of Man, he was surely separated from God the Holy One.

    The forsaken aspect is also interesting where God forsakes the man, Jesus.

    In the Garden of Eden we have the situation where man essentially forsook God as a prodigal and left his true Father to live his self-life. Notwithstanding the Fall and the death of the relationship between God and man, God the Father, Creator and Redeemer still provides for mankind. Even today the faithful Creator causes rain to fall on the just and unjust. But this is the situation of man separating from God and not God completely separating from man. In Jesus’ situation we have God separating from man, that led to Jesus’ cry of anguish….one must consider this punishment in relation to the second death where those who are eternally consigned to outer darkness are separated from God.

  2. I get a picture of that moment when Jesus said those words, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”. The picture I imagine is Satan whispering in his ear one last temptation to get off the cross when he is at the epitome of his suffering, “God left you. You’ve done it all for nothing.” And Jesus, in resistance calls, MY God, MY God…insisting on the truth that God is still there, still His, yet feeling the darkness both physically and emotionally surrounding Him. I also think Jesus was determined to do His own will, which was now one with the Father’s–to deliver mankind from death and hell. I think this was the moment He went into that place of desolation and separation from God, Hell, to take the hand of Adam (captives/mankind) and preach the good news, that death is now conquered.
    At the same time(and we speak of time but God is an eternal being) the Father God never left or forsook Him.
    See Ps. 22, especially verses 1,11, 19-21, 24 and Eph 4:8-10 and I Pet. 3:18-20.
    One other thing. When I personally can’t feel God’s presence, I still insist in my being that He is there and cry, “MY God…where are you?” Jesus suffered much worse trial than me, FOR me, so I could cry the same cry as He.

  3. Pidi Estorgio says:

    Thanks pastor Greg and Paul. Very refreshing Q&A.

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"Thank you all the way from Oregon. I deeply appreciate being shepherded by Pastor Greg and everyone else on the panels. You are a rare find in the church nowadays. Tackling tough questions with humility and a kingdom perspective. It has been life changing for me in such tumultuous times."

– Heather, from Oregon