Who answers the questions?

“Who answers the questions?” That question often goes through my mind, and it comes from my father. He taught us that it’s more important to be able to derive the answer than just memorize it from someone else. So I applied that this Sunday to our bible study in Cachisagua.

We were reviewing one homework question: “What are the requirements for entering the kingdom of God?” The “book answer” was “repentance and faith.” But a couple of students answered “repentance, faith, and baptism.” So I asked another question to clarify their answers: “Is baptism necessary for salvation.” Some replied “yes” and a few replied “no.” Personally, I have a very clear reformed answer, “Salvation is by faith alone.” But I wanted them to derive their own answer. So I asked a couple of questions: “Why did Christ have to die on the cross?” “What did he do on the cross?” to help them clarify their reasoning.

We had a good discussion. After living in Ecuador for many years, I realize that a common belief here is that if you commit a sin and don’t set it right before you die, you won’t enter heaven. Then we discussed two aspects of Christ dying not only for past and present sins, but also for future sins. One side is accepting that Christ will forgive even the sins I commit as a Christian. The other side is abusing Christ’s forgiveness and sinning willingly because “he will forgive all my sins.”

I didn’t want to give them “the right answer,” and have them accept it because I’m the professor. I wanted them to develop their own convictions. It’s their pilgrimage. Philippians 1:6