Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Christian Dialogue With Muslims:The Trinity, Forgiveness & Jesus Christ

An article on Michael Jackson I posted two weeks ago at blogcritics continues to generate dialogue (it is still on the "Hot Topics" list). The comments have, over time, morphed into a dialogue between an Orthodox American Jew living in Israel, several very "evangelical" Muslims (who are determined to convert me to Islam), and myself.

Recent conversations have spurred me to post several responses that I thought I'd share with my readers. What follows are the opening sentences of six postings. If you want to read all of a post, just click on the link and you will arrive at the rest of it.

Thoughts On God's Forgiveness #1

I wrote the article that started this thread. I am a Christian Pastor in Hawaii. I have Muslim friends. I am part of the Hawaii Multi-Faith Leadership Forum that includes the President of the Hawaii Muslim Association/Mosque President and am friends with the Muslim School Headmaster who I have twice invited to share what Musllims believe with my adult Sunday School class (he as also proofed the Islam portion of my World Religions material and affirmed it as accurate). I correspond on matters related to Islam with a Muslim Professor at a Major American University. I have read the Qur'an twice(yes, I spell it Qur'an...sorry Noanchor...just like I spell Aqaba and Qatar properly) in two English translations and refer to it in study often. I do not believe that I have the integrity to speak about another person's faith unless I personally know it as well or better than most believers.

Having said that, I must express my personal belief that the God of Islam is distant, impersonal and unreachable.

The God revealed to us in the Old Testament and more clearly in the Injil is near to us by his Holy Spirit, personal in his desire to love and be loved and reachable through the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascention of his eternal Son, Jesus Christ . . .

To read the rest, click here.

Salvation Is a Gift from God Received Through Faith In Jesus

Kashan, In my Christian faith my eternal salvation has been "purchased" for me by Jesus Christ. I receive this "gift" by faith and repentence of my sin. This salvation is assured as a "covenant promise" from God.

In Islam, I must earn that salvation through my own righteousness. That is impossible since God requires that we "be holy" as God is holy. Jesus himself states that we must "be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect."

Jesus once asked his disciples why they did not leave him. They replied, "You have the words of eternal life."

This is why I follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is why Islam, with all its requirments and uncertain hope, will never lure me away.

Shalom. Salaam. Aloha. Peace.

This is the entire comment so, no link.

Thoughts On God's Forgiveness #2

Kashan says "it is not true" that Jesus took our sins because we must bear our own burdens.

In the Christian faith this is not true. And it is not because of Paul. Jesus himself says, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Here Jesus clearly tells us that when we are yoked with him he will bear the burden that we are not able to carry ourselves. This burden is, of course, sin . . .

To read the rest click here.

Thoughts On the Doctrine of the Trinity

(On a more serious note, it seems that the concept of the Trinity is the major stumbling block between Christians, Jews and Muslims.)

Here is a thought about the concept of the Trinity. First of all we must dismiss the argument that the idea of the Trinity is absurd or illogical.

Pretend I am holding a dime in my hand. There is just one dime. Yet it also has a "heads" and a "tails" as well. One dime yet two surfaces. How can one dime be two different things? This would easily fit in with the Torah and Prophets who teach that God is present with us by the Holy Spirit. Clearly God cannot be present with us in his fulness lest be be destroyed, yet, by his Spirit, that which is truly God can indeed be "with us." . . .

To read the rest click here.

Thoughts On God's Forgiveness #3

The Muslim and Christian view of God/Allah is, in fact, very similar. The names of God as recited in your faith (a traditional list with commentary can be found here) are all acceptable to Jews and Christians as descriptive of God's nature.

Yes, of course God is a merciful and a forgiving God. But God is also a holy God; pure and spotless and perfect in righteousness. None of us come close to this. We all fall short of the glory of God. This is what Christians call sin...falling short of the holiness that we were created to enjoy.

Besides the nature and person of Jesus Christ, one of the biggest differences between Muslims and Christians is how we believe God deals with our sin . . .

To read the rest click here.

Thoughts On God's Forgiveness #4

Kasham asks, So, if I am forgiven by Jesus of all my sin then I can do anything I want and it won't matter, I'll still enter Paradise.

Some of the first Christians also were confused on this very matter and actually claimed whay you say to be true. They were severely chastized and rebuked for this. In Romans 6:1-6 we read,

"1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? . . .

To read the rest click here.