Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A "good enough" gospel just isn't good enough

All gods are not the same god.

Christ is not Allah, for how can the One Who taught and practiced, "Love your enemies," be the same demon which commanded, "kill the unbelievers wherever you find them"?

God does not accept us on the basis of an imagined piety or reverence, but on the basis of the blood of Christ.

How can a faithful Christian contradict the Word and mislead those in need of salvation into thinking they're going to make it into Heaven because they're "reverent" and "pious"?

From here:
"You accuse me of multiculturalism. Thank you."
No, I speculated that the motivation for your “all gods are the same god” was “multiculturalist intellectual cowardice.”

If I am wrong, I apologize.

If I am right, will you admit it?
“According to my (albeit ENGLISH) English language dictionary”
In America, "multiculturalism" is often used to refer to the elevation of foreign cultures (in whole or in part) over traditional American culture whether or not they merit it.

Truth is sacrificed out of fear of offending others, and that fear is used by special interests for political advantage.
“the word you were so fruitlessly groping for in that context was PLURALISM as I suspect you felt I was arguing that in some way all religious roads lead equally to God.”
No, you were saying all gods are the same god. That is irrational on its face and contrary to Scripture.

When you say “Christ is Allah,” that is blasphemy.
“I am perfectly clear on the issue of repentance/confession and atonement following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus who is Christ and Messiah and God’s guarantee of salvation. I am very sorry if you have misunderstood my position.”
I can only judge by what you write.

When you say everyone worships the same god (“Christ is Allah”) what interpretation can one reasonably make but that you believe all gods are the same god?
“I think where your confusion has arisen is over the universality of that salvation – not as a key doctrine itself but as a current reality or as an unrealised potential.”
Salvation is not universal, atonement is. Christ has paid for the sins of the whole world, but many reject this gift through unbelief.
“I have been able to accept Christ’s saving substitutionary sacrifice.”
Then why do you contradict Him?
“My Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Agnostic and I suspect some Atheist friends (I know no Hindus) have certainly not understood and probably not properly heard. The odds are also stacked against those of a non-Christian background for a variety of reasons: not the least language, culture, family attitudes and religious upbringing. As someone who is an out and proud Christian and who works closely with people from a number of faith backgrounds I know how unlikely it is that they will truly hear or understand the gospel, although I do not seek to set limits on the working of the Spirit.”
First, I commend you for helping others.

Second, I would point out something that deserves your attention: You say that you have non-Christian friends and work closely with people “from a number of faith backgrounds” who are highly “unlikely” to hear the Gospel.

You are an “out and proud Christian,” teacher, and minister. How then can you have any friends who will never hear the Gospel proclaimed?

It is your duty to speak the truth (Law and Gospel) so that they might come to faith, even if some (or all) of those friends are offended, even if your co-workers start calling you names, even if your devoted fans at your site suddenly find you “intolerant.”

Jesus said that if we love anyone more than Him, we are not worthy of Him.
“I am wondering Amillennialist, if your concept of God’s justice requires him to judge people by the same standards.”
My concept?

Here we approach the essential conflict: Instead of speaking the Word of God as He has revealed it to us, you offer instead your own opinions.

What does God say about that? In Deuteronomy 29:29 Moses writes, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Where's the room for speculation?

In Revelation 22:18 the Apostle John warns: “if anyone adds to them [the words of this book], God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

That should cause every man to be cautious in how he treats Divine Revelation, especially teachers, who will be judged more harshly (James 3:1).
“My understanding of scripture suggests that God does apply his standard consistently, but that he accepts a variety of pleas.”
Where does He say that?

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
“1 Cor 15.22, 2 Cor 5.19, Col 1.20, 1Tim 2.6, 1Tim 4.10, Heb 2.9,1 Jn 2.2, Rom 11.32, Rom 3.23/24, Rom 5.18, Jn 1.9, Jn 1.29, Jn 12.32 and Jn 12.47 . . . the weight of which suggests that there is a universal salvation.”
No. In their entirety the declare the mercy that God has had on all people. Christ paid for the sins of the whole world.

(Great passages, by the way.)

That many through unbelief reject this gift is a fact stated by Christ Himself. In Matthew 23:37 He laments, “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” In Chapter 22:14 He states, “many are called, but few are chosen."
“scripture is not clear cut here and . . . It won’t change the fact that scripture seems to suggest something which some Conservative Evangelicals are not comfortable with.”
Scripture is clear cut: Christ has reconciled the whole world to His Father, but through unbelief many reject that gift. In those cases, the only payment left for sin is the one a person must make himself, and that isn't pretty.
“Now, remember that I am not arguing that all spiritual roads lead to salvation. Some will clearly NOT be saved. However, as I have said before it is not for me to put limits on God’s grace.”
None of us should. But it is for you to say what He says, no more, no less.
“There ARE those who earnestly search for God who will never hear or fully understand the gospel through no fault of their own.”
What does Christ say? “Whoever believes in him [Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18). In Romans 10: “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for 'Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.'"
“Regardless of the mad and evil things some others may do in the name of the same religion – and they are probably not saved – we must not forget the many good, honest, decent, pious folk who seek to live with compassion and integrity and at peace with their neighbours. There are, after all, universal moral laws.”
Which we all violate.

We all do “mad and evil things.” No one is “good, honest, decent, or pious” in the sight of God, for He declares:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.", "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:10-18).
You're promoting a “good enough” gospel, but that's not good enough. You remember what the Apostle Paul said about those who preach a false message of salvation (Galatians 1:8), right?
“if I were a Muslim, I would not find my way to the gospel via your particular witness. Your comments on Islam offended me and I am not a Muslim: they showed a crass prejudice and a simplistic desire to demonise others while failing to see the faults in front of our faces.”
Speaking of “simplistic prejudice”!

Your words here are an example of suicidal ignorance in service to multiculturalism, for what did I write that was untrue?

Have you studied Qur'an? Ahadith? Sira?

What did I say here about your Muslim friends? Or all Muslims?

According to Islam's own “sacred” texts, Allah and his apostle require the enslavement or slaughter of all who refuse to convert:
"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).

"fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle . . . '" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).
That Muslims slaughter non-Muslims to shouts of “allahu akbar” is a common occurrence. Are you really unaware of Indonesian Muslims beheading Christian schoolgirls on their way to school? These are not random psychotic or sociopathic episodes; these acts are committed in obedience to Allah and in accord with Mohammed's example.

As for his raping little Aisha, that fact is amply attested to by numerous ahadith. Here's one:
“My mother came to me while I was being swung on a swing between two branches and got me down. My nurse took over and wiped my face with some water and started leading me. When I was at the door she stopped so I could catch my breath. I was brought in while Muhammad was sitting on a bed in our house. My mother made me sit on his lap. The other men and women got up and left. The Prophet consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old” (Tabari 9:131).
The reason Mohammed's example is such a problem for non-Muslims, apostates, women, and little girls is because Allah says of him: "Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah" (Qur'an 33:21).

What does that imply for the faithful Muslim?

Instead of being offended at my telling the truth, why are you not offended at Islam's “divinely”-sanctioned barbarism and depravity?
“My Muslim friends say “Not in my name” to the lunatic fringe”
There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. If you'd like to know if your friends are truly not “lunatic,” share with them the passages I've posted here. A decent person can only be horrified at such filth.

Based on my experience, odds are their heads will explode, or you'll get a good dose of taqiyya (look it up).
“just as I do to the historic Crusaders”
Every atrocity committed by Crusaders should be condemned. At the same time, it should be remembered that the original call was made in response to desperate pleas for help from eastern Christians enduring centuries of jihad.
“quisling clergy in Nazi occupied Europe”
And every act of un-Christian cowardice should be condemned.

You might also want to recall that many Christians – including Lutherans – risked and gave their lives to save their fellow human beings.

And it wasn't “Hitler's pope,” it was, “Hitler's mufti.”
“the IRA and on to the Topeka Baptists, all who have done untold evil in the name of Christ. There is no monopoly on evil.”
That is true.

Taken individually, the crimes commanded by Allah and committed by Mohammed – and therefore mandatory for faithful Muslims – are not unusual. What makes Mohammed's “religion” especially vile is that he took all of the worst of Man's impulses, made them “divine,” indulged them, and required others to do the same.
“In my personal experience unless someone has made it clear to me by word or deed, that he is my enemy, he remains my friend.”
That is commendable.
“If someone earnestly seeks God in the only way they know how, and have no chance of hearing with understanding the saving works of Christ, Does God condemn them?”
What does God say?

The soul that sins is the one who will die (Ezekiel 18).
No one seeks God (Romans 3).
Christ is the only way to the Father (John 14).
We are saved through faith alone (Ephesians 2).
Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Romans 10).
Whoever does not believe in Christ is condemned already (John 3).
“If you believe he does, I must ask you: Is that the God of Christianity or the God of Right Wing Republican Evangelicalism, given that the two may not be the same?”
What did Jesus say? “Whoever believes in [Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).

You've implied that I'm a “Conservative Evangelical” and a “Republican.” Neither are true in the sense that you intend.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but here I sense again the antagonism toward Christianity that led me in my first reply to you at Steve's to say, “On the chance that your comment is offered in good faith . . . .”
“Unless someone has shown in word or deed that he is God’s enemy is not God right to ascribe righteousness to him as a friend as he did to Abraham?”
But we are by nature God's enemies (Romans 5:10).

And as for Abraham, what does God say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:3).
“Of course Christ is the benchmark and standard of our salvation”
That sounds like something we do, in which case it is again a false gospel.

Christ is neither a “benchmark” nor “standard,” He is Our Salvation.
“but the Biblical passages above reveal to me that while God indeed judges us on our discipleship of Christ it is possible to be an unknowing or anonymous disciple.”
God judges us either on the basis of Christ's payment for sin, in which case we are declared “just,” or He judges us on the basis of our own sin, in which case we are doomed.

Your option is contrary to Scripture.
“I leave the last word to the theologian and writer C.S. Lewis and his Narnia stories:”
I like and admire C.S. Lewis.

He is not Christ.
“Lewis is suggesting that God’s grace is, indeed, extended beyond the limits we might expect. But that is down to God’s grace and not our judgement. God may well choose to act towards others in ways which surprise us and it is not for us to question God’s grace. We do not know the mind of God.”
Yes. That is another reason you should say only what God has said, and not contradict His clear word.

Making things up to suit your sensibilities is not faith.
“those who we reject because they don’t fit into our self imposed pigeonholes of who God accepts.”
Whom have I rejected? Pointing out error is not limiting God; He calls us to that. Both Law and Gospel must be preached.

What was Christ's message? “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
“we approach God by the name we have been taught and if that isn't the "correct" or given name, God doesn't care providing we approach in reverence and penitence.”
But God says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1), and:
“what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he” (1 Corinthians 10:20-22)?
A last encouragement to say only and all of what God has said:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.'" For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked” (Jeremiah 23:16-19).
Peace be with you.