Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Prayer Problems

From the mailbag section of *The Skeptical Review*, May-June, 1994. A Christian reader of TSR tells Farrell Till that she's praying for him. An excerpt from Till's reply:

...As for the prayers she is uttering for me, I wish I had a nickle for everyone who has told me he is praying for me. There must be thousands of people out there praying for me at any given moment. So I wonder when we can expect to see any results from all these prayers. God wants all men to be saved: "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our saviour, who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3-4). Therefore, if the Bible is truly the infallible word of God, as Mrs. Kaley no doubt believes, then she must agree that God certainly wants Farrell Till to be saved. So I see a dilemma for her when this scripture is considered in conjunction with 1 John 5:14-15: "And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him." Now please notice that this passage does not say that if we ask anything according to God's will, he may hear us and grant it; it flatly says that we can know that he hears it and will give us what we ask.

From this, I can only conclude that the New Testament promises that God will hear and grant the prayer of any Christian who asks ANYTHING in accordance with God's will. So since it is obviously God's will that Farrell Till be saved, then why haven't the many prayers on my behalf been answered? I once presented this dilemma to a Baptist preacher who had told me that he was praying for me. His response was that I am not dead yet, so there is still the possibility that I will yet be "saved." I suppose that he is technically right, but if I should die without returning to my former beliefs--and I really don't believe there is even a remote possibility that I will return--would this not constitute logical proof that the Bible is not inerrant?

We could even extend the dilemma by noting that the passage in 1 Timothy clearly says that God wants all men to be saved. Since it is the will of God that all men be saved, in order to have all men be saved, one should only have to pray for the salvation of all men to happen. Otherwise, the statement in 1 John 5:14-15 is erroneous. However, the salvation of all men cannot occur without causing other problems for the Bible inerrancy doctrine. The Bible clearly teaches that some men will be lost; in fact, it teaches that most men will be lost (Matt. 7:13-14). If most men will be lost, then obviously all men can't be saved. If all men can't be saved, even though a faithful, believing Christian might pray for all men to be saved, then 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and 1 John 5:14-15 cannot both be true statements.

This is just one dilemma that Mrs. Kaley will discover when she applies logic to her studies of the Bible. There are many more that I could point out. However, since logic is of no concern to her and those of like persuasion, I don't suppose it will matter to her that she has committed herself to an activity (prayer on my behalf every day) that is illogical.

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