What Bible passages or events from Jesus' life can we look to in order to control our tempers?

There are, of course, various teachings such as "be angry but sin not" or "do not let the sun go down on your anger," but these do not really teach one how to control one's temper. The best place to look is in a passage like Galatians 5.16-26, which tells us that the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer and produces fruit in him or her. One such fruit is patience. The word translated as "patience" is actually "makrothumia," which means doing a "slow burn" or having a long fuse. This is something that comes from the spirit within the believer, not merely from the believer's own efforts. So as Paul says, if you walk by the spirit, your temper can be controlled through the fruit of the spirit.

Are non-Jewish religions ever mentioned positively in the Bible?

Not really, although we do find practitioners of those religions sometimes mentioned in a somewhat positive light. Consider the portrayal of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4: he praises the most high God, and learns finally to honor him.

Is it all right for a born-again Christian to visit a Native medicine man or to attend powwows, sun dances, etc.? Can a born-again read horoscopes, own a television set and stereo equipment and such? --evelyn4edith

Much depends on how mature the Christian is, and whether he or she has developed a capacity for critical thinking and discerning. Television sets and stereos are one thing; learning about non-Christian religious practices is another; and actually participating in such practices is a third thing altogether.

Practicing pagan religions falls under the ban of the first of the Ten Commandments: it is a form of idolatry. But there is nothing wrong with learning about other religious practices so one can understand them and those who use such practices.

I'm curious about your answer about the history of the Trinity doctrine. You stated: "The Trinity ...was an accepted doctrine even before it was officially ratified at major church conclaves in A.D. 325 (at Nicea) and in A.D. 450 (at Chalcedon)." What historical evidence do you have to support this statement? As I understand it,

(1)There was no established, universally-accepted "orthodox" Christology prior to the late 4th century, when the Creed of Constantinople was adopted in 381 C.E.

(2)The Nicean Council (and the Nicene Creed) did not address the doctrine of the Trinity--at issue there was whether Christ was consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father.

(3)The Ante-Nicean Fathers were, almost to a man, subordinationists. --Kent S.

Actually, we already have a very high Christology in the New Testament. At least seven times in it, Jesus is called God or an equivalent term. In a text like Phil. 2.5-11, we see Jesus already being described as existing before all time and being equal with the Father. In John 1, we have much the same sort of theology. It is thus incorrect to say that we do not have the substance of Trinitarian thought already in the first century in the New Testament. The spirit as well is treated as God in the New Testament, and does things only God can do.

I would encourage you to look at the brief book I have written with Laura Ice entitled "The Shadow of the Almighty." In it, I show that the basic stuff of Trinitarian thought is already there in the New Testament, though the doctrinal dotting of the i's and crossing of the t's comes later.

Where in the Bible does it say that all who do not come to the Father through Jesus will burn in hell? I find this to be disturbing at best, and elitist at worst. --C.M.

There is no verse quite like you describe. There are, however, verses like John 14.6--which says that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus--or Acts 4.11, which is equally clear and says salvation is available through no other person than Jesus. This is not a matter of elitism, but a matter of God having the right to offer salvation in whatever fashion God thinks best. God has provided the one necessary and sufficient means of salvation in Jesus. There is no need for supplements or substitutes, since the one savior suffices.

As a Christian that takes the Bible as inerrant, it has always bothered me that in the many centuries since the original [texts], that the Lord would allow some transmissional errors to creep in... Why would our Lord allow these annoying little errors to become part of Holy Writ? --Devon H.

I think one reason is that God does not want us to worship the Bible we have as if it were a golden calf. Equally important, God wants us to live by faith. If we already had in hand a perfect book, there would be a real danger of placing our ultimate trust in something less than God.

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