“I was recently accused of having a “categorical perspective” of Islam. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter what interpretation I, you, the “moderate Muslims,” or even the Islamic State have. There’s only one interpretation of Islam that is approved by Allah in the Quran — Muhammad’s. Let’s take a look at how the Islamic Prophet, Allah’s messenger, the “perfect man” Muhammad interpreted the Quran.”
Another outrage: The most famous – and Jewish – American journalist exposes the reason for the Iraq war
“Oh, you’re into conspiracy theories, then?” You bet; I’m a Christian. And hooray for Bernie Sanders
Lucifer does not only deceive us in theology; he has a claw in every pie. Yes, 9/11 was an inside job, and if you balk, even after studying the facts, so be it. Yes, Sandy Hook, for sure, was also a false flag; and on and on. Your government is conspiring against you to control and enslave you. That’s what governments do, all of which are controlled by the Deceiver. And your country is the most deceived.
“After forty years of patient study of the crises which faces humanity, I arrived at a very simple conclusion-all conspiracies are Satanic! In retrospect, this conclusion should surprise no one. I admit that it came as something of a surprise to me. I had never anticipated that my decades of work would lead to such an all-encompassing and unchallengeable solution. This answer had eluded me through the years, not because I was on the wrong track, but because I had not yet consulted the ultimate source of knowledge-the Bible. To trace the machinations of the materialist conspiracy, I had deliberately limited myself to materialist sources-reference material on banking, politics, economics, and the biographies of those who were most deeply involved in these affairs.”
“When at last I did decide to look up some references in the Bible, a task which was greatly simplified by a number of excellent Concordances, such and Nelson’s and Strong’s, I was overwhelmed by its immediacy, by its directness, and by the applicability of its words to present-day happenings. As the months went by and I continued this research, I was not overwhelmed by a sense of deja vu, but by an overpowering conviction that very little had changed in the last three thousand years. My first revelation was that “God has no secrets from man.” It is Satan who must confine his work to stealthy conspiracies to deception, and to promises which will never be kept. “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9)”
“It is for this reason that politicians, of necessity, must become followers of Satan in the rebellion against God. Politicians must deceive the people in order to gain power over them, just as Satan must deceive the whole world if he is to continue his rebellion against God. Satan takes you to the top of the mountain and offers you all the kingdoms of the earth (Martin Luther King proclaimed, “I have been to the top of the mountain,” but he never revealed what had taken place there); the politician offers you free food, free lodging, free medical care –everything will become “free at last!” [Hooray for Bernie Sanders). The politician offers to defend you against your enemies, so that he can deliver you to the ultimate enemy– Satan.”
“Because Lucifer, Satan, the Devil — call him what you may — is the father of lies, it would appear that those spiritual forces of darkness deceive as many as possible so called intellectuals into doing their will here as they did in heaven. Without getting into controversy it should be easy for the average Christian to realize that there are two supernatural powers. One we refer to as God to whom the Scriptures give many names; and the other, the Devil, who also seems to have many names. The important thing to remember is that according to Revelations there is to be a final judgement. Satan will break or be released from the bonds with which he is bound for a thousand years. He will again create chaos on this earth. Then Christ will intervene on behalf of the elect and God will divide the Sheep from the Goats. We are told that those who defect from God will be ruled in utter chaos and confusion by Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil, for all eternity and will hate their ruler, themselves, and each other because they will realize they were deceived into defecting from God and losing his love and friendship for ever.”
Continued from In Search of French Past (8)…”
French philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, said that we tell stories because human lives need and merit to be told. Writing stories is one of the noblest employments of the mind and soul. Most good stories should aim at knowledge and wisdom. This aim is most evident in life stories – biographies. There is more. We all need to be valued and praised. There’s one problem, though. We all have something to hide, something we want to keep secret. It’s called “sins.” We want to be admired and loved, but to achieve this goal we have to hide our sins.
Whereas an autobiography is often more restrained – we hide our many sins – a novel often throws all caution to the wind. It is in the novel that many bare all their sins, where, in their role of author, they transpose the evil thoughts, intentions and acts of their lives onto their characters, wallowing in a cesspool of unlimited freedom. This self-indulgence makes the writing of a novel, in contrast to an autobiography, very gratifying. You can vicariously let it all hang out through the characters you create: you stole, you lied, you were unfaithful, you were involved in an abortion (there are some today who are ashamed of such an act) – the list only stops growing the day we die. Thank God we don’t live as long as the generation of Noah, who dragged centuries of personal sins down into the roiling deeps.
Yet, dirty washing just ain’t dirty anymore, so you don’t need to write a hard thing like a novel to tittilate, to excite to flash your wares? Forgive if I don’t do as Zorba advises: to be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble.
I continue my story.
After graduating with a B.A. Philosophy (1963) at the University of Cape Town, I returned to France a few weeks later. I traveled in Europe with Louis-Albert (My Dominican priest friend), where we stayed at different Catholic “religious” houses. In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, we spent ten days in a religious house. We then took the long train trip over the mountains to Thessaloniki, Greece, where we stayed with the Marist Brothers. It was nearing the end of our travels together. He accompanied me to the port of Piraeus in Athens where I took a ship to Haifa. I joined my brother Benny on Kibbutz Ein Hashofet (“Judge’s Spring”), where he had been living for a while.
The Kibbutz was founded in 1937 and is named in honour of Louis D. Brandeis, the US Supreme Court judge. It is situated about 30 kms from Haifa and 100 kms north of Tel Aviv. I stayed there for three months working in the orchards, and draining and cleaning out the steamy slime of the fish ponds. I attended Ulpan (Hebrew classes) where I brushed up on my Hebrew that I had learned in South Africa in Chaida (Hebrew school) and in my Hebrew course at the University of Cape Town (1960). I remember the time I embarrassed Benny. At breakfast we had to queue in a line. When you reached the a la carte table, you had a choice between three olives and an egg. I grumbled more than inwardly. Benny, close to me in the queue, huffed and puffed: pioneers don’t complain.
After three months, Benny and I went to Kibbutz Gonen, which in 1964 was on the Northern Israel-Syria border. On the Northern side was the Golan Heights, which Israel would occupy after the 1967 six-day war. I stayed on Kibbutz Gonen for 9 months, where I did apple-picking , and later worked in the chicken runs. In the apple season when it was very hot, I got up at 4 a.m., had a breakfast of several fried eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers and leben (fermented milk then churned and butter removed). We then traveled in a truck for about 20 minutes to the orchards. At about 8 am we returned to the kibbutz for (another) breakfast, and then back to the orchards until about noon. Then back to the Kibbutz for lunch and rest until about 3 pm, and back to the orchards for a few more hours.
I loved working with the chickens. In the morning I greeted my little friends: hullo Shmuel’ you’re up early Obadiah! Every morning, I would find a few dead on the straw floor. I took them outside, walked to a mound opposite the row of chicken runs, lifted the milk-can lid covering a deep hole, and dropped them in. Some mornings, before light, the trucks would come to collect the white birds for slaughter. The birds would panic, and so were difficult to catch. A good catcher could do eight at a time, four in each hand, one foot between two fingers. We lifted them up to the catcher on the truck, who stooped and scooped up the eight chickens between his fingers, depositing them into one of the cages on the truck.
We were close to Mount Hermon, and sometimes there were dog fights in the area between Syrian and Israeli jets. When this happened we had to scramble into shelters. Once, Benny and I. Wearing our blue worker’s overalls, went in the tractor outside the Kibbutz – Benny in the driver’s seat– and travel on the narrow path, which was the border between Syria and Israel. Benny was usually very cautious but for some reason he took me with him on this dangerous route. On the Israeli side of us, about 100 metres away was a U.N. observation post, and on the left was a hill with what looked like a Syrian fortification atop. It seemed vacated. We thought that the Syrians wouldn’t dare to fire on us in full view of the U.N. post. On reflection, it was a stupid. We trundled on the tractor, Benny as confident as ever, back to the Kibbutz.
A group of us from Kibbutz Gonen went on a tiyul (trip) in two jeeps through Israel down to Masada.
In Hebron we visited a shrine that was said to contain the massive catafalques (caskets) of Adam, and I think Eve and Abraham. I recall that one of the catafalques was draped in green. According to Sir Richard Burton, Muslims believed Adam and Eve to be buried in Mecca. They also claim that Abraham and his son, Ishmael built the Kaaba in Mecca.
One of the highlights for me – a Roman catholic convert – if not my fellow Jews, was the view of 4th century, St Georges Greek Orthodox monastery, hugging a cliff in the Judean desert.
The close-up above was not possible from my vantage point, which was the road on the other side of the valley. Along the road ran a disused aqueduct, perhaps ancient. We went on to Masada (Hebrew metzada “fortress”), the last Jewish stronghold against the Romans, and the most visited tourist site in Israel. Most of our information about Masada comes from Josephus, the Jewish historian. In 73-74 BC, the Romans led by the governor of Judea, Lucius Flavius Silva, laid siege to Masada for three months. When the Romans breached the walls, they found that the occupants had committed suicide.
After Masada, we returned to our kibbutz.
On some of my days off from the kibbutz, I went to Tel Aviv and spent many hours in cafes in Dizengoff Street. There was a particular cafe in Tel Aviv that I visited often with my Russian Jewish girlfriend, Rivka. On one occasion, I was alone in the cafe when a beautiful North African Jewish girl came to my table and burst out words to the effect “where have you been all this time, I’ve been searching a long time for you?” I said I didn’t know who she was. She yelled out loud: “What are you talking about, we were together all that time and you don’t know who I am!” She shouted “my name.” I said that this was not my name. I repeated that I had never met her. She persisted. The tables around were all eyes and ears. She began to cry. Should I bring down the curtain on the big scene by relenting and saying “Oh, of course, now I remember.” And then? Go to her place, get into bed with her? See I have no calves? (See The calves wil dance for joy: Malachi 4:2 (First Year University 2). “Who are you? It’s your face, but how did you get so skinny in two months?” Maybe she didn’t know me, and was a professional who conned lonely men. How many had she duped and robbed in the past. I couldn’t imagine her being a fraud. When she ran off crying, I felt a rotten scum; I broke her heart. I often wonder what happened to her. There are so many events in life with no closure: the victims of crimes, and the perpetrators who are never caught or disclosed. The events could be very personal such as the disappearance or murder of a love one, or on a larger scale, the 9/11 “false flag” operation. (“False flag” describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them”).
My parents, Fanny and Issy came on holiday to Israel. I saw them twice, both times towards the end of their stay. The first time I went to see them was with my Russian Jewish girlfriend, Rivka. She had very blue eyes and unblemished light brown skin. I thought a Jewish girlfriend, and Russian to boot would make my parents happy, but no. I felt as if the Siberian winter had come over me. Why didn’t Fanny take to her, who was Jewish and from the Russian Empire like her? Was it because she wasn’t white like the Jewish girls in South Africa?
Here is an story of an Ashkenazi (white-skinned) who married a Sephardi (dark-skinned) Jew:
“Our Marriage Created Problems The marriage ceremony was held in the Sephardic Synagogue. The ceremony was simple but beautiful. Ziva and I were happy, but our marriage created serious problems. You see, Ziva is a Sephardi Jewess and I am an Ashkenazi Jew. For an Ashkenazi Jew to marry a Sephardi Jew is frowned upon in Israel by the ruling Ashkenazi’s. To understand why this is the case, you must realize the difference between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews. The powerful Zionist propaganda machine has led the American people to believe that a Jew is a Jew — one race of people and that they are “God’s Chosen People,”… it is important for you to understand that Jews are NOT one race of people. There are two distinct groups of Jews in the world and they come from two different areas of the world — the Sephardi Jews from the Middle East and North Africa and the Ashkenazi Jews come from Eastern Europe. The Sephardi is the oldest group and it is they, if any, who are the Jews described in the Bible because they lived in the area described in the Bible. They are blood relatives to the Arabs — the only difference between them is the religion.”
“The Ashkenazi Jews, Bernstein continues, now compromise 90% of the Jews in the world, had a rather strange beginning. According to historians, many of them Jewish, the Ashkenazi Jews came into existence about 1200 years ago. It happened this way: At the eastern edge of Europe, there lived a tribe of people known as the Khazars. About the year 740 A.D., the Khazar king and his court decided they should adopt a religion for their people. So, representatives of the three major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, were invited to present their religious doctrines. The Khazars chose Judaism, but it wasn’t for religious reasons. If the Khazars had chosen Islam, they would have angered the strong Christian world. If they had chosen Christianity, they would have angered the strong Islamic world. So, they played it safe — they chose Judaism. It wasn’t for religious reasons the Khazars chose Judaism; it was for political reasons. Sometime during the 13th century, the Khazars were driven from their land and they migrated westward with most of them settling in Poland and Russia. These Khazars are now known as Ashkenazi Jews. Because these Khazar Ashkenazi Jews merely chose Judaism, they are not really Jews — at least not blood Jews.” (Jack Bernstein,“The life of an American Jew in racist Marxist Israel”).
“Blood Jews” (Bernstein) refers to “race.” Bernstein is saying that Ashkenazi Jews are ethnic Jews not racial Jews. What is the difference between “race” and “ethnicity?”
What is “race?” Here are definitions of “race”and “ethnicity.”“The traditional definition of race and ethnicity is related to biological and sociological factors respectively. Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. Ethnicity, however, refers to cultural factors, including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language. An example of race is brown, white, or black skin (all from various parts of the world), while an example of ethnicity is German or Spanish ancestry (regardless of race). (Source).
So “race” refers to “biological factors” such as a person’s physical characteristics such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color.” No mention of (invisible to the naked eye) DNA, which is also biological. Is the reason why there is no mention because it is assumed that visible biological factors always reflect invisible genetic factors? The fact is that genes do not only condition external physical features but also internal ones. Is it possible, for example, for a Sephardi Jew, who looks more like a North African, to share genes with an Ashkenazi Jew, where many look European? Indeed is it possible for an Ashkenazi who looks like a Swede (or a Turnip) to be genetically related to a black African – a black African Jew?
There are indeed some Jewish Africans. Here is moi [time past in a Lemba synagogue; and they ARE Jewish: they have the genes to prove it. (The origins of the Lemba ‘Black Jews’ of southern Africa: evidence from p12F2 and other Y-chromosome markers).
(In passing, I’m an inset). I haven’t had my DNA checked for Jewish genes, but the Rabbinate in Jerusalem and my family, including my two Israeli brothers say I’m a Jew– a biological Jew. (See The blond and the black: Jews of South Africa and The invention of Shlomo Sand – a thousand “Jews” make one Palestinian).
Some Jews might say that the moment I was baptised (at the age of 20), God (quasi-)removed my Jewish DNA, and replaced it with a goyish single-helix. Michael Wyschogrod, admired by many “Messianic Jews” (they believe that Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah) wrote:
“It is therefore important for Jews to know that a Jew who believes that Jesus was God in the sense asserted by the Nicene Creed commits idolatry as defined by Jewish law.”
Now say a Christian (or any Gentile) converts to Judaism, God replaces his/her idolatrous DNA. Wyschogrod, in his “The Body of Faith,” maintains that when a gentile converts to Judaism, he or she does not merely share the beliefs of the new religion – as would be the case of a Jew converting to Christianity – but that the convert miraculously, and therefore literally, becomes the seed of Abraham and Sarah. The miracle is not totally biological but “quasi-biological.” How does this quasi-biological miracle occur? By immersion in a mikve (ritual bath), which “symbolizes” (is that why the miracle is only quasi?) the mother’s womb through which a person is born. I suppose it follows that if a Jew chooses to be immersed (Greek – baptismo) in baptism, God cuts him off from the seed of Abraham and Sarah. God would only do that, though, if the Jew becomes a Christian; not a Buddhist, a Hindu, an atheist, a Satanist, or a fluid. (I’m not male or female; I’m fluid).
The belief that Ashkenazi Jews are converted Khazars is widespread. It is probable that some Ashkenazis (European Jews) are Khazars, but I think that the numbers are not as large as many believe. Most historians agree that after the Bar Kochba revolt (132-136), the Romans exiled the Jews from Judea, after which they dispersed across Asia Minor, North Africa and Eastern Europe (See “Ashkenazi Economic and Social History” in Cochrane et al.).
DNA research provides contrary evidence to the Khazar theory. Some examples of this DNA research are Behar et al.’s. “Multiple Origins of Ashkenazi Levites: Y Chromosome Evidence for Both Near Eastern and European Ancestries” in American Journal of Human Genetics and Kevin Brooks’ “Jews of Khazaria” especially the chapter “Are Russian Jews Descended from the Khazars.”
In When is an “ex-Jew” not a Jew? Once (your mother’s) a Jew Oiveys a Jew, I referred to Jon Entine’s book “Abraham’s children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People”. Entine explains why most Jews shy away from genetic research:
“Discussing the genetic distinctiveness of populations, Jews or any other group, is a hot- button issue for many news outlets. “Abraham’s Children” suggests that there exist meaningful differences between populations, maybe even “races,” and that’s a taboo subject. It’s on the edge of acceptable popular discourse, although scientists discuss this all the time. I think a high percentage of reviewers are Jewish and liberal, and liberal dogma is that we don’t talk about racial differences. I understand that there is a traditional Jewish commitment to egalitarianism and identification with the underdog, which comes out of the Jews having been discriminated against throughout so much of their history. Many Jews carry that torch of fighting against discrimination, I do myself, and that’s a wonderful aspect of Jewishness.”
Several genetic studies (I mentioned a few above) provide reliable evidence that can establish whether a person is (more or less) Jewish. Yet most Jews eschew genetics of any kind in the evaluation of human beings; for example, measurements of intelligence between groups or races. These Jews are generally Ashkenazi Jews. But the facts are plain to see. North American Ashkenazi Jews, who make up three percent of the population, won 27 percent of North America’s Nobel prizes, and half the world chess champions are Jewish. They have reason to boast of a bodily descent, but not of the power of an indestructible life (Hebrews 7:15).
There are “liberal Jews” (Entine above) who don’t believe that the Torah is from God – which is the vast majority of Jews, This vast majority comprise atheists-humanists, Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews. All these Jews have a deep respect for their Talmud (the “Oral Torah” – see The Written and the Oral Torah – which is primary?).
I don’t agree that “there is a traditional Jewish commitment to egalitarianism and identification with the underdog, which comes out of the Jews having been discriminated against throughout so much of their history” (Entine). It is true that they – the majority – “have a commitment to egalitarianism” but only insofar as it applies to Gentiles. Most Jews are Zionists and atheists/humanists. Zionism – whose key text is the Talmud – teaches that the Jew is superior to Gentiles, that Jews should remain racially uncontaminated by intermarriage. The Zionist” lobby (not all Jews are Zionists) in the US runs the government, the banks and the mass media. Yet they encourage (and often legislate) “interculturalism,” same-sex marriage, homosexuality, pornography between the Gentile races, while generally, eschewing these (publicly) themselves. The Jewish lobby in the US – which runs the government, the banks and the mass media. One of their main objectives is to destroy Christianity. Yet many Christians are Zionists. If only they understood the Jewish – with exceptions hatred of Christ. Oh the insanity of it all! (See The insanity of Christian Zionism).
“A thousand Jews make one Palestinian,” in other words, that a Palestinian is much more Jewish than those who call themselves Jews. (Shlomo Sand – See my The invention of Shlomo Sand: A thousand Jews m ake one Palestinian). There are, however, many Palestinians that do have Jewish genes. Also, in some of the old houses in Palestinian towns today, the Star of David can still be seen above the entrance. When the Star of David appeared on the Israeli flag in 1948, Palestinians effaced and defaced many of the Stars of David above their houses. Some Stars of David still remain. (See the short Israeli movie Palestinians are Jews not Arabs – Hebrew with English subtitles). The picture is from the video.
I return to my parent’s visit to in Israel. They invited me for breakfast at their hotel in Tel Aviv, where we had a Jewish favourite – cheese and cream. After breakfast, we went to the lounge. Issy went to sit at one of the tables, hauled out a pocketful of coins and swooned into his favourite routine, the highlight of his working day at his bottles-bones-scrap metal business in South Africa, which I described here. Here is an excerpt:
“At the end of the day, Issy would cash up. There was always a high pile of silver and copper coins left over at the end of the day. Issy lays all the coins in the middle of the big table in his office. He separates the silver and coppers into two piles in the middle of the table. The silver coins consisted of tickeys (threepence), sixpences, shillings, two-shillings, and half-crown (two shillings and sixpence). The coppers were farthings (quarter of a penny), ha’pennies (half pennies) and pennies. He stacks the coins into neat little towers. He adds up the towers and writes the total in his A4 hardcover notebook. He then coaxes the coins into different linen bags, and pulls the string shut. He will take the bags to the bank. The day is complete: the bottles are packed in bags, ready to be loaded onto trucks first thing tomorrow morning, the floor of the store has been swept, the workers have gone home. Time to lock up and go home to Fanny’s nice supper. Or if she is not feeling well, Issy will step in and cook supper, as he did on so many occasions. Sammy (my brother, who worked in the business) and Issy lock up and go home.”
While he was counting the coins in the hotel in Tel Aviv, he said to me that the success of a holiday was determined by the amount of money you managed not to spend. One should not immediately think “Shylock”; my father’s generation in the Russian Empire and later as immigrants to the West was initially very poor and had to work very hard to make ends meet. Yes indeed, the Jew loves money, but so do you. It is true, though, that many Jews have given money a worse name – it’s bad enough that it is the root of all evil – especially the Jewish banksters, who have been ruling the world for centuries and are the main power for centuries behind many wars; WWI and WWII, for example.
“I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply” (Jewish Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild).
The Jewish magazine Sentinel of Chicago printed in its issue of 8 October 1940:
‘When the National Socialists and their friends cry or whisper that this [the war] is brought about by Jews, they are perfectly right.’ (Why Hitler hated Jews). When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Jews declared war on Germany. (See Ashkenazis declare war on Nazis and The Nameless War by Archbald Maule Rams).
My parents had come to the end of their visit to Israel. They were about to go through customs to the departure lounge. I wanted so much to ask my father for some money; I earned a pittance on the kibbutz, and had no other source of income. Eyes pleaded with him to realise my sorry state. I squirmed and made all kinds of forlorn gestures, hoping against hope to raise his consciousness. I thought: how about a little donation, if not a raise. Issy looked at me and asked if anything was wrong. I couldn’t get the words out: “Daddy, could I have a few of those coins?” They left for the departure lounge. What was that little jingle I heard as I embraced my Dad! It was the beginning of 1965. I departed Israel for South Africa.
Always departing, never arriving. “We’re in “a sort of diabolical trance, wherein the soul traverses the world; feeds itself with a thousand airy nothings ; snatches at this and the other created excellency, in imagination and desire ; goes here and there, and every where, except where it should go” (Thomas Boston). Towards the Messiah. Always pursued. Always arriving always departing; or rather never arriving always departing. When will the Messiah come? Is the point of about having a messiah the promise, the hope, the aspiration, not that he comes. What’s the deal, says the humanist, with having a messiah who’s arrived? Where is the mystery once he’s exposed and had his say?” (See The postmodern pursuit: always departing, never arriving). Much mystery remains; the great mystery, the overwhelming mystery, the aweful mystery, the mysterium tremendum (Rudolf Otto):
“Otto was one of the most influential thinkers about religion in the first half of the twentieth century. He is best known for his analysis of the experience that, in his view, underlies all religion. He calls this experience “numinous,” and says it has three components. These are often designated with a Latin phrase: mysterium tremendum et fascinans. As mysterium, the numinous is “wholly other”– entirely different from anything we experience in ordinary life. It evokes a reaction of silence. But the numinous is also a mysterium tremendum. It provokes terror because it presents itself as overwhelming power. Finally, the numinous presents itself as fascinans, as merciful and gracious.”
My greatest discovery, which can never be surpassed in this life is the discovery of God’s mercy and grace – through the Son of God, the Messiah, who died that I may live.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
Gun control in a nutshell.
Eustace Mullins says the US population are generally so ignorant you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge 25 times over. I think this is true for most English-speaking countries because they are controlled by the US. That’s not the end of it; the US is controlled by Israel. That’s not the end of it; Israel is controlled, as is most countries in the world, by Jewish atheist bankers. Not only Gentiles are their slaves; many ethnic – and ethic – Jews, like me, as well.
Jews – a racial/ethnic appellation.
Talmudists – Jews who follow the “Oral Torah” – all the writings of the rabbis.
Zionists – Jews who believe Israel is their birthright, which for the majority of Jews has nothing to do with God because they believe the Bible and the rabbinical literature (the Talmud and other writings) are human creations.
Talmudists – 1. Those who believe that the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud are divine revelations, and 2. humanists/atheists, who venerate the literature of their ancestors. Most modern Talmudists are also Zionists, which was the opposite situation with Jewry before WW1, where most rabbis opposed Zionism.
Karaites – A small group of Jews who believe that they are “true Torah” Jews. They believe that only the Hebrew Bible (sola scriptura) is divine revelation. They oppose the rabbis and are generally not Zionists. “
“My opinion is that Rabbinate Judaism is the true plague. You may think this is harsh but you need to consider the bigger picture. I feel that Rabbinate Judaism is the cause of the Jews’ hardships. Shabbatai Tsvi, the liberal Rabbinate movements, Zionism and Marxism are all the result of the sins of Rabbinate Judaism. Additionally, Karaism was provoked by Rabbinate Judaism- thank God” (Abraham Collier, “Do not equate Karaism with Zionism”).
To my main topic:
What Jesus said about the Pharisees – which is why Judaism despises him and one of the reasons the Pharisees demanded he be crucified – reminds us that the core of human nature is deception:
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
You Are of Your Father the Devil
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. [The Talmud says Jesus was the son of a prostitute] We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
In the Qur’an we read:
Qur’an (2:225) – “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts” The context of this remark is marriage, which explains why Sharia allows spouses to lie to each other for the greater good.
Qur’an (3:54) – “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.” The Arabic word used here for scheme (or plot) is makara, which literally means ‘deceit’. If Allah is supremely deceitful toward unbelievers, then there is little basis for denying that Muslims are allowed to do the same. (See also 8:30 and 10:21)
In the world of espionage, deception is the rule – if not the motto as it is with Mossad (Israeli intelligence – Hebrew mossad “institution”). Here is Mossad’s motto: “By way of deception, you will do war.” There’s nothing amiss with using deception to defeat your enemy; indeed, it always remains an indispensable strategy in war. So then, what is the problem if Mossad wants to deceive its enemies? The problem lies in its strategy to foment wars between countries. The Zionists/Talmudists believe that as long as the world (Gentiles) remain free of its control, it needs to be to be destroyed by all means possible. The Talmud teaches that the whole Gentile world will end up as the servants of the Jews. De facto Judaism (Chabad) teaches that the human soul is a piece of God. Only the Jewish soul is a piece of God, and, therefore human. The Talmud teaches that Gentiles are cattle. (The Qur’an was not to be outdone; it calls Jews pigs and monkeys).
In the second chapter of the Tanya: “The uniquely Jewish, soul is truly “a part of G-d above.” The Tanya claims that “A piece of G-d above is a quotation from Scripture.” (Job 31:2):
“‘A part of G-d above’ is a quotation from Scripture (Iyov 31:2). The Alter Rebbe adds the word “truly” to stress the literal meaning of these words. For, as is known,1 some verses employ hyperbolic language. For example, the verse2 describing “great and fortified cities reaching into the heavens” is clearly meant to be taken figuratively, not literally. In order that we should not interpret the phrase “a part of G-d above” in a similar manner, the Alter Rebbe adds the word “truly”, thus emphasizing that the Jewish soul is quite literally a part of G-d above.” (See Chabad and Abraham: Humanism in Judaism).
Victor Ostrovsky, a very courageous Jew who worked as a Mossad officer wrote “By way of deception: “The making and unmaking of a Mossad officer” (Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy (free ebook). He describes the inner workings of Mossad.
If you don’t have time to the read Ostrovsky’s long book, you may want to read an abridged version here. Here is an excerpt from the abridged version:
“Mossad, he says, provoked America’s air strike on Libya in 1986 by making it appear that terrorist orders were being transmitted from the Libyan government to its embassies around the world. But the messages originated in Israel and were re-transmitted by a special communication device – a “Trojan horse” – Mossad had placed inside Libya.
Mossad next moved against Saddam, drawing the United States to make war against him.”
I mentioned Mohammed/Allah’s deceptions. Next to Mossad, Mohammed is small cheese, which is the reason why the US government does not fear Islam (bad move). In contrast, the US and many other countries are at the beck and call of Mossad, who are perhaps already masters of the world.
Ted Pike’s “The other Israel,” a critique of “Zionism.”
The Video Norman Lear Doesn’t Want You To See!
Most Americans are now aware that the Hollywood TV and movie industries are intent on pushing sex and violence on the American people. Scholarly studies such as the famous Lichter-Rothmann polls have shown conclusively that the great majority of media producers and directors favor the left wing, humanistic agenda and oppose Christian values.
When most Americans think of the one producer who has done more to “push the limits” of anti-Christian and anti-patriotic television, the name Norman Lear first comes to mind. Through such TV sitcoms as “Soap” Norman Lear has thrust profanity, adultery, even homosexuality into the living rooms of Americans as never before.
Yet Lear is not content merely to broadcast his smut. Nearly a decade ago he founded a political organization called “People for the American Way” (PAW) to help beat back the forces of decency which oppose him. PAW, with 275,000 members has become the most outspoken antagonist of Christian patriotic values this nation has ever seen, rivaled only by the ACLU.
As an ultra liberal “civil liberties” group, PAW stands up for gays, abortionists, and the right to burn the flag. It ridicules Christian, conservative values like prayer in the schools, Biblical creationism, and a baby’s right to be born without first encountering a suction tube or forceps.
PAW has attacked many “new right” televangelists including Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, videotaping the TV programs of such Christian leaders in hopes of ruining their ministries.
But now “People for the American Way” has a new enemy, an enemy so threatening that on May 11, 1989 they issued a special 3-page press release from Washington, D.C. alerting Americans to beware of the enticements of its message.
New Enemy For Norman Lear
That enemy is Ted Pike and his 60-minute video, “The Other Israel”, which PAW describes as “particularly dangerous.” Why so dangerous? Because “The Other Israel” exposes the real masters behind communism, liberalism, and media control in such a devastating manner that PAW also feels threatened. For the last year, while thousands of copies of “The Other Israel” have sold, opening the eyes of tens of thousands, PAW has given it the “silent treatment,” hoping it would fade away. To the contrary, it continues to sell rapidly, largely through word of mouth. This video flourishes because it confirms with irrefutable documentation what thinking Americans already suspect. That an elite of “insiders” in the mass media are consciously working to move America away from its Christian roots toward the humanistic values of a “new order.”
This is why PAW is determined to prejudice you against seeing this video. To do that it is taking drastic measures to ruin the reputation of Christian author and filmmaker, Ted Pike. In PAW’s recent press release it brought out its big guns by calling Pike “anti-Semitic” – an accusation which is the “kiss of death” to the career of any public person.
Is it “anti-Semitic” to protest Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians?
No Quarrel with the Jewish People
Yet Ted Pike rejects their smear tactics: “I have no quarrel with the Jewish people, a gifted race which has contributed to human progress in countless ways. I am concerned with the behavior of certain Jews in high places.
“I condemn the behavior of Israeli leadership which has encouraged the breaking of bones of Palestinian youths. I protest the behavior of the Jewish owners of MCA-Universal who blaspheme my Savior through the movie The Last Temptation of Christ. I object to the behavior of a monopoly of Jews who have founded and controlled the big three television networks, manipulating the news and polluting the American mind through sex and violence.
“And I object to the behavior of certain Jewish groups which smear me as “anti-Semitic” merely for quoting in context from Judaism’s most authoritative religious, cultural, and historical sources. I have spent many years studying the three major Jewish encyclopedias of this century, as well as the vast, rambling Talmud, and the mystical Zohar or Kabbalah. Both my book and video are compendiums of such Jewish sources, simply relaying to the outside world what many Jews believe privately.”
Your Right to Know
Pike continues: “Since Israel receives an average of three billion dollars annually from American taxpayers, and since the behavior of Israel in the Middle East could trigger a mid-East war, I believe that Americans have a right to know all the facts concerning Jewish attitudes and ambitions. Israel is in the public domain. And Americans have a right to know every fact relevant to their investment in the cause of Israel without being hysterically smeared “anti-Semitic” as soon as their quest for truth goes a little deeper than the Jews feel comfortable with.
“Such inquiry is the task of my researches, undertaken in a spirit of moderation and respect for much that is good in Jewish thought and culture. As a Christian, I bear only good will toward individual Jews, most of whom are innocent of the misdeeds of a minority. Because my concern is primarily against evil systems, and not individuals, I utterly reject the notion that I have anything against my fellow human being, the Jew.”
Who Is Right?
Is “People for the American Way” accurate in its description of Pike and his video as “blatantly and repugnantly anti-Semitic”? Most Americans who see the video have the opposite response. A recent letter to the National Prayer Network from a professor at one of America’s largest and most prestigious universities is typical: “I have just viewed “The Other Israel” – a most impressive and professional work. I want to commend you on your sublime treatment of an issue, which could easily become heated with emotion. I am now anxious to read Ted Pike’s book, which I understand contains full documentation for the video.’
The book this professor refers to is Israel: Our Duty… Our Dilemma, Ted Pike’s easy-to-read, yet exhaustively documented paperback on the history of Israel, past, present and future. Now ordered by more than 18,000 pastors in America, Dr. Everett Sileven, defender of liberty in Nebraska, sums up what thousands have felt: “This is the one book every Christian should read.”
Don’t let Norman Lear and “People for the American Way” make up your mind on this crucial issue. Discover for yourself why Ted Pike’s video and book have become “too hot to handle” for those who would like to control what you read and see.
See a critique of Pike’s premillennialism here.
And John MacArthur’s defense of premillennialism here.
I am enraged by the lies i was taught and which continue to be taught in greater quantity than ever.
Can someone who genuinely loves the God of Israel, prays to Him and trusts him go to hell? The New Testament says…
In A Jew does not have to believe in Jesus; love for the God of Israel is enough: one “Messianic Jewish” view, I quoted Michael Schiffman:
(“Messianic Jews” believe that Jesus, whom they call “Yeshua,” is the Messiah, and that the New Testament is the inerrant word of God).
“Michael Schiffman a prominent Messianic Jewish leader, says that he knows “plenty of people who believe Yeshua is Lord, savior, etc, etc, who treat people badly and exhibit none of the marks of a true Yeshua follower. All they have is a verbal confession. I don’t necessarily think they will receive salvation. It is not a verbal confession that brings salvation, but a life lived in faith and the love of God. I do believe that people who genuinely love God (the God of Israel), pray to Him and trust him don’t go to hell because God doesn’t send people to hell who genuinely love Him … in short, I think questions of who “receives salvation,” are best left to God, who is the one true judge.”
Dr Schiffman commented:
I really don’t appreciate being misread. I never said Jewish people don’t need Yeshua. I said I don’t believe God sends people to hell who love him. If you believe He does, explain what sense that makes. I guess my answer didn’t fit your catechism. Tell me, did you decide in advance that this was what you were going to read into my remarks. Taking them further than I intended them is not honest. Why would you do that? Is that your agenda? I answered you in good faith. Do you have any scruples at all? I have no issue with what the New Testament teaches, but I think your understanding is a bit narrow regarding its meaning. You throw verses out there as if that answers the question, but you don’t bother to state what you think they mean. Do you think faith and confession are the same thing? They are not. Many people are taught doctrine but if they don’t live it, and only carry it around in their heads and not their hearts, its no better than quoting the US constitution. What makes the difference is having it in their hearts, which I believe will manifest itself in their actions. I see no grace in yours.
Dr Schiffman, you say I have misread you.
John 3:18 is clear. If you reject Jesus/Yeshua, you are condemned. To press the point home, you must be familiar with Ephesians 2, whose key verses in our discussion are:
Ephesians 2:8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off [Gentiles] and peace to them that were nigh [Jews]: 18 for through him we BOTH have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.
You say that it is enough for a Jew (and Gentiles?) to love the Holy One of Israel. It seems you distinguish between the Holy One of Israel and Jesus/Yeshua. If so, you must reject the trinity. Even if you are a Unitarian, Ephesians 2 and hundreds of other passages make it clear that without faith in Christ, that is, without being in Christ there is no salvation.
You talk of the love of God; it is inseparable, according to the NT, from faith in Christ. You end with:
“Many people are taught doctrine but if they don’t live it, and only carry it around in their heads and not their hearts, its no better than quoting the US constitution. What makes the difference is having it in their hearts, which I believe will manifest itself in their actions. I see no grace in yours.”
In my post, I pre-empted (pre-emptied the force of?) your “mantra” about faith and works with my “Before I get to my main point, let me just say – trite but very true – faith without works is dead.”
“Faith without works is dead” is very important to you, and so it should be to all believers, but that fact should not detract from the central emphasis that Jesus/Yeshua and the Apostles put on “faith” – in Jesus/Yeshua. The natural man, in contrast, thinks it more rational and (therefore?) more godly to put the main emphasis on works (of love). Yet, without faith (in Christ/Messiah), we remain dead in sin, as Ephesians 2 says unequivocally.
I say something briefly about “grace.” You said, “What makes the difference is having it (faith) in their hearts, which I believe will manifest itself in their actions. I see no grace in yours.”
I have already dealt with the first sentence. You say you see no “grace” in my “actions.”
First, you use “grace” here in the secondary sense of “being gentle and kind.” I wish you would also emphasise that it is by grace that firstly we have faith and secondly, as a consequence of faith, we are saved (not forgetting that faith without works is dead, and also being aware that works without faith are also dead).
By “actions” you must mean my words (unless you’ve been reading my autobiography or have inside info on my life). You say my words lack “grace;” and I say you are either stumbling, as Paul (Romans 9) describes every Jew who does not believe in Jesus/Yeshua/Saviour, or you are, in your effort to be as rabbinical as you can, a stone over which your fellow Jews – and ignorant roots-aspiring Gentiles – stumble, but hopefully don’t fall.
It is you who are misreading the NT – and thus (unwittingly, possibly) it is you who are misleading/misled.
Here are our verses in fuller context:
1 And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, 2 wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:– 4 but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: 8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.
Paul is talking to Gentile believers. We read on:
Ephesians 2:11-18 Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; 12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, 15 having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; 16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh: 18 for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.
I didn’t hear further from Michael Schiffman.
So, Can someone who genuinely loves the God of Israel, prays to Him and trusts him go to hell? YES, according to the Holy One of Israel, if for that someone the Holy One of Israel must exclude the Son. Let’s hear directly the glorious and very disturbing truth from the Holy One of Israel:
They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
(John 14:1-9, ESV).
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.
In conclusion, the words of Jesus are so plain, you’d have to be flying high above the clouds not to grasp them. But that’s what we do for those we love: we (believers in Jesus/Yeshua) want to save them from hell, no matter what the cost. That’s in God’s hands. Our job is to believe, understand and tell the truth.
If Mohammad (Allah?) can call Jews monkeys, why can’t Jewish rabbis call Muslims and all non-Jews by the same appellation?
The Jew World Order Exposed by Brandon
Zohar states: “’living soul’ refers to Israel, who have holy living souls from above, and “cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth” to the other peoples who are not ‘living soul’.”
This view is corroborated by the crazed ravings of many prominent Jewish rabbis, including many of Judaism’s most revered sages. Take for instance, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), the founder of the extremist Jewish sect “Chabad” who cursed Gentiles, claiming we possess evil souls: “Gentile souls are of a completely different and inferior order. They are totally evil, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever… All Jews are innately good, all Gentiles are innately evil.” (quoted in Foxbrunner, A. Roman. Habad: the Hasidism of R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady. University of Alabama Press, 1992, p. 108)
Rabbi Kook the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism, said, “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.” (quoted in Shahak, Israel & Mezvinsky, Norman. Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. London: Pluto Press, 1999, p. 176)
The late, highly revered Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the “Lubavitcher Rebbe” who headed the Chabad movement and wielded great influence in Israel as well as in the U.S., explained that, “The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world…A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. It is written, ‘And the strangers shall guard and feed your flocks’ (Isaiah 61:5). The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews…” (Ibid., p. 59)
In his “The Distinction between Jews and Gentiles in Torah,” Rabbi David Bar Chaim proffers a profusion of rabbinical sources that “brother” and “neighbour” refer to the fellow Jews only, as in Leviticus 19:17-18, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”
Rabbi Chaim (his introduction):
“Over the past few years, there has been a recognizable trend amongst different circles in the religious community — a humanistic/universal inclination. There are many who have written in praise of love, “for all men who were created in the image of G-d.” We have even been “graced” with a pamphlet of this name, Chaviv Adam Sh’nivra B’tzelem, composed and edited by…
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Over many years I have profited from James White insights into Christian theology. I believe he does an excellent job. Alas, since his excursions into Islam, I am becoming very frustrated with his blindness/refusal to understand that Islam is a violent and deceptive religion. I have written several posts on this issue. In the video below he says he has the rare experience (rare for Christians) to develop friendships with Muslims – believing, obedient ones. Friendship is a two-way street. No Muslim worth his Qur’an is allowed to be friends with non-Muslims, not even if the unbelieving-disobedient ones are members of his close family. Here is a critique from “Christian Prince.” if you want to know what Islam is, he is the person to teach you.
James White, enough already; you are a great tool of Islam, of the deception of Allah.
Note: Besides Jewish Zionists, there are also Christian Zionists, which are not discussed here.
Where there’s a will, it’s a must to prove the death of the one who made it (Hebrews 9:16); that is, if you mean by a “will” a “last will and testament.” But that is not the “will” that I discuss here. I’m talking about that other kind of will, the one where you’re alive and forever kicking against the pricks, where at life’s end you can triumphantly sing “I did it my way.”
For the Jew, to be a Jew was something special. To be a German Jew, though, was something extra special – for the Jew. Yet the Jews (Zionist Jews) arranged two world wars to destroy Germany. What the enlightened Jew (maskil) loved most of all about the German was his rational Mind/Reason/Spirit. The maskil drank deep of the nectar of Kant and Hegel. For the German and the maskil, there was a rational solution to all social problems, but he knew that Reason remained impotent to solve problems without the will to solve them. (See Once a Jew, oiveys a Jew).
Darwinians ridicule the will. Viktor Frankl, the Jewish psychologist – a survivor of the German concentration camps – coined the term “logotherapy,” which he defines as “the will to mean” (Logos “meaning”). When in despair, Frankl says one should will oneself out of it, and fight on. For Frankl (also William James), the best thing you can do for yourself – and only you can do it is find meaning in your life and develop a positive attitude to the circumstances in which you find yourself. How do you find meaning? You will it; you will the courage to rise above your suffering, which Frankl considers to be the most noble thing you can do – the only thing you can do to cope with suffering. (See God in Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy).
Theodor Herzl said“If you will it, it is no dream.” Like all Jews, in fact all mankind in their natural state, the dream finally becomes a reality through the expression of one’s true will. What is true for the Jew, however, may only be true for the few: one man’s meat is often another man’s poisson (fish). For example, for the atheist (Jewish and others), the will is a mechanical entity.
The Jewish writer Yoram Bogacz contrasts atheistic and (Talmudic) Jewish views of the human will. He writes:
“In his book Crime: Criminals and Criminal Justice (1932), University of Buffalo criminologist Nathaniel Cantor ridiculed ‘the grotesque notion of a private entity, spirit, soul, will, conscience or consciousness interfering with the orderly processes of body mechanisms.” Because we humans are no different in principle to any other biological organism, “man is no more ‘responsible’ for becoming wilful and committing a crime than the flower for becoming red and fragrant. In both cases the end products are predetermined by the nature of protoplasm and the chance of circumstances.’…This Darwinian tradition continues to this day. Jerry Coyne’s fellow New Atheist, the neuroscientist Sam Harris, sets out his position in his 2012 book Free Will: ‘Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.’”
In contrast, the Jewish view, says Bogacz is that “God has placed before us life and death, blessing and curse, we should choose life. The Talmud goes further. It records the first attempt in our tradition to refute the case for moral responsibility. It occurred when Job argued that human beings are forced to act as they do, and bear no moral responsibility for their actions. The Talmud rejects this out of hand.” Without saying more, the Talmud has a paltry understanding of Job, and of divine decrees and causality, in general. Who is God to argue with the rabbis. In any argument, says the Talmud, between God and the rabbis, God loses. When the (Talmudic) Jew, says Luria (Arizal), has cleaned up the mess God has made, has repaired the world (Hebrew Tikkun Olam), Messiah will come. (See Reference).
We move on to the heart of our topic, the triumph of the will in Hitler, the Zionist and Trump.
Consider the following paragraph:
The natural right of the (German/Jewish) people to be like any other nation, stands on its own in its sovereign state that will open the gates of their fatherland/motherland to every (German/Jew) and grant the (German/Jewish) people an equal status of rights among other nations. So, we are gathered here as members, representatives of the German/Jewish people in the land of Germany/Israel by virtue of our historical and natural right and our trust in the power of Germany/Israel. It is our wish that this State will endure for millennia to come, We are happy in the knowledge that this fortune belongs to us completely. When the older ones among us may start to falter, then the youth will take over and remain till their bones turn to dust.
Do the sentiments in the paragraph apply to both the German and the Jew, as I have phrased it? The paragraph is my combination of an except from Ben Gurion’s speech at the declaration of the State of Israel, Friday, 5th May, 1948 – the section in italics – and Adolf Hitler’s Closing Speech “Triumph Of The Will” (1934, Youtube) – the rest of the paragraph.
Here is Ben Gurion
“This is the natural right of the Jewish people to be like any other nation, stands on its own in its sovereign state that will open the gates of her homeland to every Jew and grant the Jewish people an equal status of rights among other nations. So, we gathered, the members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish Yishuv and the Zionist movement on the completion day of the British Mandate over the land of Israel. By virtue of our historical and natural right and based on the United Nations General Assembly resolution, we declare the establishment of a Jewish state of Israel. Due to our trust in the power of Israel, we are signing with our hands.” (My emphasis).
And Adolf Hitler
It is our wish and will that this State and Reich will endure for millennia to come, We are happy in the knowledge that this fortune belongs to us completely. When the older ones among us may start to falter, then the youth will take over and remain till their bones turn to dust. [Paul fight the good fight – see Mandela]. Only when the Party, with the cooperation of everyone, make it the highest embodiment of National Socialist thought and spirit will t he Party be an eternal and indestructible pillar of the German people and the Reich. Then eventually, the magnificent, glorious army, those old proud warriors of our Volk will be joined by the political leadership of the Party equally traditon-minded, and then these two institutions together will educate and strengthen the German man and carry on their shoulders the German State, the German Reich… the idea of our movement is a living expression of our people, and therefore, a symbol of eternity. Long live the Socialist moment, long live Germany.
The content, if not the brilliant oratory, in Hitler’s speech is the daily bread of political leaders of every stripe.
The dust mentioned by Hitler is not the “moral and economic dust” of Chaim Weizmann, one of the key founders of Zionism, He was asked before WWII: “Can you bring six million Jews to Palestine?” I replied, “No.” … From the depths of the tragedy I want to save … young people [for Palestine] “The old ones will pass. They will bear their fate or they will not. They are dust, economic and moral dust in a cruel world … Only the branch of the young shall survive. They have to accept it.” (Chaim Weizmann reporting to the Zionist Congress in 1937 on his testimony before the Peel Commission in London). (See Old Jews: “Economic and Moral Dust(Chaim Weizmann).”
Here is a transcript of excerpts of conversation between Webster Tarpley and Jeff Rense, where Tarpley argues that Hitler’s “triumph of the will” has much in common with the “Trump of the will.” (See Trump Sees Presidency in Terms of Hitler’s “Triumph of the Will”).
[My additions appear in square brackets].
Tarpley: Trump seems to have a soft spot for Hitler. And this comes from his former wife, Ivana Trump… Donald Trump kept a collection of Hitler’s speeches at his beside reading table.
Rense: I would ask, maybe he was studying history… (Tarpley laughs). I don’t know he [Trump], says Rense. has a soft spot for Hitler. I’d rather have him have a soft spot for Hitler than for Joseph Stalin; 60 million dead.
Tarpley: You and I are going to disagree totally on all of this, but here is what I have to say: does someone who seems to have a fascination with Hitler… (Rense interrupts).
Rense: So do I [have a fascination with Hitler]; the guy blows my mind.
Tarpley: If we are going to continue, you have to stop with that. I can’t be associated with that.
Rense: I didn’t say it was great and it [that it] would be good here in our country.
Tarpley: I know a whole lot about Germany, having lived there. It would be very hard to find a German today of any seriousness who would agree with you. This I cannot entertain; this is off the charts.
Rense: You know we are on different sides of the fence. It’s fine, it’s fine.
Tarpley: Maybe not so fine but let’s push ahead. What can we do… [“with an idiot like you?”]. Let us examine some of his (Trump’s) behaviour. Can we call him “fascist?” Yes we can.
Tarpley gives examples of Trump’s fascist elements: His “demagogy” against immigrants. Trump would say “Let’s scapegoat the immigrants coming across our border” for the economic problems in our country. The wall on the US-Mexican border. “If you ask Trump how he will build this wall, he will say ‘I’ll just do it. I will cut through the opposition, I will bowl everybody over and I’ll just do it, and impose myself.” That is the ‘triumph of the Will’ [the title of the German movie on the Summer Olympics, Berlin, 1938]. Another example: How will you get a better deal with Iran? ‘I’ll just do it. I’ll do it by sheer force of personality.’”
Rense: He is talking like Obama talks: “I can do without the Congress, without the Senate, without the House.” [Trump said that Obama’s dictatorial way is wrong. Quote: “You come to a conclusion through negotiation and compromise. You don’t just go on signing [executive] orders.” (See reference Youtube Full Donald Trump and Wolf Blitzer Interview: Part 2; minute 3:30 ff).
Tarpley: I don’t care about executive orders. Let’s see what the contents of the executive orders are.. But generally speaking Obama has been absolutely pathetic. Obama could have done ten times more [executive orders(?) I thought Tarpley was accusing Trump of being a dictator, a fascist].
Tarpley continues to explain the “triumph of the will”:
Tarpley: It (the triumph of the will) means that the world of reality is somehow inferior to the subjective view of it.
Tarpley identifies Trump with Mussolini and Hitler, who stress the quality of the people over programs, the quality of their wills.
Is Tarpley right in saying that the triumph of the will “means that the world of reality is somehow inferior to the subjective view of it?” That is way too simplistic. To discuss the superficiality of such an observation would take us too far afield, so I shall refer briefly to Nietzsche’s view of the will, short for the “will to power”:
Nietzsche calls the will to power the “essence of life.” thus the heart of man’s existence: without it we would die. This will to power’s focus, says Nietzsche, is not self-preservation, which may be the sign of a weak will. So when Trump says he wants to make America great again, thus not make himself greater, there is no reason to disbelieve him, unless we don’t like him. Below the radar of Trump’s altruism, however, may be lurking, what Nietzsche calls the need of all living things “to discharge their strength,: where life itself is the “will to power.” In Trump, because he feels himself to be so strong, he needs to get this energy out. Sex and acquiring property are not enough. There’s nothing fascist about that. The main issue for people is can he improve their lives.
In conclusion, I repeat what Herzl, the atheist Jew said: “If you will it, it is no dream” where the dream finally becomes a reality through the expression of the Zionist’s true will; which is of course, the will to power, without which the will has no power. What, though, about God’s will – his sovereign will – which is the main thread running through the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If our will does not flow from God’s will, it cannot be a true will, in which case the dream is destined to end in a nightmare, which the 3500-year history of my people, the children of Jacob, clearly shows. It is only in obedience to God’s will that our wills and minds find true power. With regard to those who trust in Jesus Christ, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Who is the arch-villain of the Jewish “fate” of World War II?
“These are a rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!'” (Isaiah 30: 9-11).
The messengers were maltreated, mocked, flogged, stoned, sawn in two, killed by the sword. They wandered in deserts and mountains and hid in caves (Hebrews 11:36-38). These were the wandering Jews of faith who did not receive what was promised.
There is another kind of wandering Jew who witnessed – unknowingly – the fulfilment of the promise. There is a legend that a Jew taunted Yeshua as he passed on his way to Golgotha. Some say his name was Shalatiel (in Hebrew Shealtiel “I asked God”); others…
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The blog True Forms (http://trueforms.wordpress.com) used to have a popular post titled “Ultimate Collection of Free Presuppositional Apologetics Lectures” that was heavily promoted on Social Media. Unfortunately the blog owner has recently deleted his blog account. Which is unfortunate if you are looking for great lectures on Presuppositional apologetics online.
I’ve been digging around online to reconstruct that original list. I have also decided to post the listing with further expansion of other lectures! This is a work in progress.
Feel free to share this on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
Also if there are more resources that you feel should be included on here, please let us know in the comment box.
1. Defending the Faith
1. Expositional Apologetics
1. Apologetics Evangelism 101
1. Apologetics Sunday School Class 2011
1. Presuppositional Apologetics 2014 Paschal Lectures by Brian Rickett (Videos)
2. MP3s of…
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Islam teaches that Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures, while the Qur’an remains pure and thus free of error. One reason why free of error is that the Qur’an, like Allah, is uncreated, thus, eternal, and so not susceptible to change. I examine the argument of corruption of the Bible with a helping hand from David Wood and “Christian Prince.” The latter is Christian Iraqi with qualifications in Islamic law and the literature of Islam.
In David Wood’s “Muslims have no clue what their own scriptures say about the Bible,” he quotes Shabir Ally.
“Why not [the preservation of] the previous books then? God was sending one book after another, God was sending one prophet after another so that if the message of the previous prophets was changed over time, that was not much of a great issue because another prophet came to restore the message and bring it back to its pristine purity. So, for example, when previous messages were confused by people, Jesus came and restored it, and preached again ‘this is the word of God for you.’ Now after him, the message becomes diluted again, and the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) comes and restores the message and puts it in its final form. Now it cannot be diluted because if it is diluted, people would be left without the guidance. This is why God has undertaken t preserve the Qur’an as he has not done with the previous books.”
There are many verses in the Qur’an that contradict the Islamic notion that God has preserved only the Qur’an.
Surah 5:47-48 (Malik) 47 Therefore, let the people who follow the Injeel (Gospel) judge by the Law which Allah has revealed therein; those who do not judge by the Law which Allah has revealed, they are the transgressors. 48 To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and also to safeguard it. Therefore, judge between people according to Allah’s revelations and do not yield to their vain desires diverging from the truth which has come to you…
Here is Pickthall’s translation of verse 48: And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee…
Compare Malik “whatever has remained intact” with Pickthall’s (Yusuf Ali’s translation is similar) “confirming whatever Scripture was before it” [the Bible – my square brackets].
By replacing the faithful translation of “confirming whatever came before it” (Pickthall and Ali) with the misleading “whatever has remained intact,” Malik misleads English speakers with words such as “whatever” (the leftovers?) remained intact (was left over after the Jews and Christians had corrupted there texts).
In the above passage it is Allah who revealed the Bible. Thus 1. Allah decreed that it be written, and 2. the Bible that Allah revealed was in possession of the Jews and the Christians at the time the above Qur’anic verses appeared. And these verses state that this Book/Scripture [the Qur’an]…confirms whatever came before it (Torah and Gospel).
But see Surah 3:84:
Say:”We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham Ismail, Isaac, ,Jacob and the Tribes, and in (Books) given to Moses Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between one and another among them and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam).”
The Arabic does not have the words in brackets – in Islam. Pickthall’s translation omits these words because the last two Arabic words of the verse are ahu muslimoona, which means “to Allah we bow/submit/surrender our will.” Arabic Muslim/Islam means “surrender/submit.” Islam, in spite of what many Muslims assert, does not mean “peace.”
A Muslim would say that the words “make no distinction among them” in the above verse does not mean that all revelations from God are of equal worth but rather that all God’s prophets were of equally good character.
Regarding “what was revealed” (Surah 3:84 above), Shabir Ally and other Muslims believe that the Qur’an affirms the initial inspiration of the previous scriptures but not their preservation and authority. On the contrary, the Qur’an (7th century) affirms all three – inspiration, preservation and authority.
He has revealed to you this Book with the Truth, confirming the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Taurat (Torah) and Injeel
(Gospel), 4. before this, as a guidance for mankind and also revealed this Al-Furqan (criterion for judgment between right and wrong). Surely those who reject Allah’s revelations will be sternly punished; Allah is Mighty, capable of retribution.
David Wood points out that Muslims don’t believe that the Bible was preserved because they say it contradicts the Qur’an, for example, Jesus is the eternal Son of God; he died and rose from the dead. So, the Muslim reasons thus: the Qur’an affirms the inspiration of the Bible. They open the Bible and see it contradicts the Qur’an. Ergo, the Bible was not preserved but is corrupted. We saw, in contrast, that the Bible was preserved. If not, then Allah/Muhammad must be a fool.
Surah 7:157 says: “Those who follow the apostle the unlettered prophet whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures – the Bible); in the law and the Gospel; for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil: he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him honor him help him and follow the light which is sent down with him it is they who will prosper.” (The Jews and Christians mentioned above are those living in Muhammad’s time).
Muslims say Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible. I thought the Bible was corrupted, which implies that no one knows Arthur (or Muhammad) from Martha. Muslims will say that there are bits of Bible that were preserved; the bits that gel with the Qur’an.
Another verse – Surah 18:27 (Yusuf Ali)
“And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him.”
So no one can corrupt the Lord’s (Arabic rabb) word. Is there any wiggle room left for the Muslim. Yes. He says “the Book of the Lord refers to different times and climes: “For each period Is a Book (revealed).” So, for thousands of periods and of specific groups, God revealed his word to thousands of prophets where the revelations were unique to that period/group/language. All were corrupted, says the Muslim, except the Qur’an. This means that Allah’s word has been corrupted more than anyone’s word in history. But as we see ad nauseam in the Qur’an, Allah says that no one can corrupt his word.
I turn to Christian Prince:
In the Qur’an it says that Allah gave the Torah and the Gospel. Alas, he did not protect them. Muslims say that Christians and Jews corrupted the Torah and the Gospel. Is this true? According to Islam, yes – and no. “Because Islam is a stupid religion, says Christian Prince (CP), made by a stupid mental idiot, it contradicts itself.” CP is going to show that Shabir Ally, in trying to prove that the Christians and Jews corrupted their book, ends up proving the opposite. Someone will ask Shabir how the Qur’an was preserved. Because he is overconfident he makes statements that destroy what he is trying to prove.
Everything people do is according to a divine plan. The Muslims believe there is nothing out of the divine plan. The Bible, according to Islam, is God’s word, and, if God’s word, is eternal (like the Qur’an), and therefore it cannot be corrupted. Allah is the infallible guardian of his word, Shabir Ally says that Allah is the guardian and preserver of the Qur’an only, protecting it from all corruption. He tries to prove his point by quoting Surah 15:9:
The Reminder al-thikra
Asad: Behold, it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high, step by step, this reminder: and, behold, it is We who shall truly guard it [the Qur’an, from all corruption].
Malik: Surely We have revealed this reminder (The Qur’an); and We will surely preserve it Ourself.
Pickthall: Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian.
Yusuf Ali: We have without doubt sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (the Qur’an, from corruption).
Shabir Ally, and the four Muslim translators above, state that the “Reminder” in Surah 15:9 above refers to the Qur’an only, and so the Bible is excluded.
Christian Prince says surah 15:9 has nothing to do with the Qur’an. Not so fast; CP is trigger happy. A better approach is to ask Shabir, which CP then does, the question, “How do you know [the word “reminder” in] this verse has to do with the Qur’an? Let us examine, says CP, other verses where “reminder” appears. “Reminder” in surah 21:7 refers not to the Qur’an but the Bible.
Malik: The Rasools [Prophets] which We sent before you, O Muhammad, were also human to whom We sent revelation. If you, O objectors, do not know this, then ask the people of the reminder (Jews and Christians).
“Revelation” refers to the “reminder” (the Bible) of the Jews and the Christians.
Asad: For [even] before thy time, [O Muhammad,] We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired-hence, [tell the deniers of the truth,] “If you do not know this, ask the followers of earlier revelation.” (Asad note: “Literally “followers of the Bible, which in its original, uncorrupted form represented one of God’s “reminders” to man”).
Malik: The Rasools [Prophets] which We [Allah] sent before you, O Muhammad, were also human to whom We sent revelation. If you, O objectors, do not know this, then ask the people of the reminder (Jews and Christians).
Pickthall: And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men whom We inspired. Ask the followers of the Reminder if ye know not?
Yusuf Ali: Before thee also the apostles we sent were but men to whom We granted inspiration: if ye realize this not ask of those who possess the Message.
Christian Prince points out that when these verses were “sent down” the Qur’an had not been completed yet. The Muslim might argue that the “reminder” (“message”), in this case, the Qur’an, can still be in progress, and therefore, not the finished product,
Surah 21:105 also refers to the Bible as the “reminder/message/revelation”:
Malik: We wrote this in The Zaboor (Psalms xxxvii, 29) after the reminder (Torah given to Musa): that as for the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.”
Pickthall: And verity We have written in the Scripture, after the Reminder: My righteous slaves will inherit the earth:
Yusuf Ali: Before this We wrote in the Psalms after the Message (given to Moses): My servants the righteous shall inherit the earth.”
Christian Prince comments:
“Allah made people responsible for protecting the bible. He found out (according to Muslims) he was wrong to do that, so never again. So he decided with the Qur’an that he would preserve it himself. Look how stupid, how silly this argument is. This Abdul is saying to us that Allah made a stupid decision, he trusted the rabbis, which means that Allah is not the almighty, because if the almighty is almighty, he should not trust someone who is corrupt. How do we know the rabbis are corrupt? Because the Muslims are accusing the rabbis of being corrupt. No decent man will corrupt his holy book unless he is corrupt himself, evil. Allah decides to correct it. So today (Allah says) I made a stupid mistake, and I promise you I will never do it again. I tried it once, I will never try it again. [Comment Allah, according to the Islamic literature tried it thousands of times in different times with different groups/languages]. This is the stupid logic of this religion called Islam. Can you find me anyone more stupid than Allah, because he is trusting the wrong ones to protect his book? And Allah is the one who is divine, and he (Shabir Ally) just said to us that no human being can do anything except from the plan of Allah. So how does this work? It’s stupid it’s funny, it’s dummy.”
I comment on CP’s last sentence: CP, like the majority of Christians, do not understand that owing to the fact that God is sovereign over everything, it follows that His decrees, even evil acts (such as the crucifixion) are compatible with man’s freedom, and thus man is responsible for the evil he does. (See more here: “We can’t let confusion get in the way of God’s decree: Response to a liberal Muslim”). With regard to the preservation/corruption of the Bible, the issue is that God (of the Bible) says (Isaiah 40:8) says: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” And the (Muslim and Christian) Messiah says: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Alan Shlemon in his “Ambassador Guide to Islam” (pp.23-24) writes:
“And Sayyid Ahmad Husayn Shawkat Mirthi notes how counterintuitive it is to claim that a religious community would knowingly corrupt their own scriptures. The ordinary Muslim people acknowledge that the Injil is the Word of God. Yet they also believe through hearsay (taqlidi ‘aqida) that the Injil is corrupted, even though they cannot indicate what passage was corrupted, when it was corrupted, and who corrupted it. Is there any religious community in this world whose lot is so miserable that they would shred their Muslim scholar Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub agrees. He doesn’t believe that Christians and Jews corrupted the Bible. Instead, he believes they misunderstood and misapplied it. Contrary to the general Islamic view, the Qur’an does not accuse Jews and Christians of altering the text of their scriptures, but rather of altering the truth which those scriptures contain. The people do this by concealing some of the sacred texts, by misapplying their precepts, or by “altering words from their right position” (4:26; 5:13, 41; see also 2:75).”
“However, this refers more to interpretation than to actual addition or deletion of words from the sacred books. The Qur’an does not claim Jews and Christians corrupted the Bible. What it claims is that certain Jews and Christians distorted the meaning, interpretation, and application of their scriptures. The biblical text has remained the same prior to, during, and after the 7th century. Muslims who claim the Bible is corrupt either force the Qur’an into contradiction or worse, make Allah sound like a failure. The Qur’an assured Muslims in the 7th century that they could trust the Bible. If it was reliable then, it is reliable today. Here is a chart from Shlemon, p. 17.
Yet another verse: “If you are in doubt regarding what We have revealed to you, ask those who have been reading the Book before you (Muhammad). In fact, the truth has indeed come to you from your Rabb: therefore, do not be of those who doubt” (Surah 10:94):
There are only two possibilities: the Bible is corrupted or not corrupted. If corrupted then Qur’an is wrong because it says the Bible is not corrupted. If the Bible is not corrupted then the Qur’an is also false and that score because it denies events in the Bible such as the death and resurrection of Christ.
Finally, Jesus says to the Jews, “unless you believe that I am (Greek ego eimi, Hebrew Yahweh) you will die in your sins.” He says this to Muslims, Jews and the rest of mankind.
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks (Greek-speaking Jews). 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Our understanding of how we come to faith straddles our whole understanding of the sovereignty, holiness and love of God, and consequently impacts greatly on our Christian life; understanding of doctrines such as God’s will and purposes, prayer, witnessing, and assurance. (See https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/the-arminian-and-calvinist-understanding-of-salvation-is-totally-of-the-lord/).
If the reader has read any of my posts on Arminianism (God pleads with people to allow Him to save them), they will know that Arminianism’s emphasis on human free will (in contrast to God’s free will) is my greatest bugbear. It is, of course, not enough to express disgust; one needs to give reasons for that nasty taste in the mouth. Here are a few excerpts from a typical Arminian sermon, given on Christmas day 2015 by a dear friend, followed by (Calvinistic) responses.
1. “Christ did not come to spread wrath but love.”
Here is the favourite verse of Arminians (and New Agers), which I love too:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to judge (condemn) the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
“Whoever” in verse 16 evokes in the English-speaking noggin “all those who decide to believe.” The Greek says “the believing ones” and nothing about human decision. But to the more pertinent next verse: God did not send his son to condemn the world but that the world “might be saved.” The Arminian understands “not judge” to mean “Jesus came to love not to express his wrath on sinners”; and “might” as “God comes as a possible saviour. If you decided to give Him your heart, He will save you.” “Might” grammatically is a subjunctive and so hasn’t a mite to do with “maybe, maybe not, depending on moi.” Arminians never continue on to the next “wrathful” verse: 18 “Whoever believes in him is not judged (condemned), but whoever does not believe is judged (condemned) already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” Arminian preachers, after focusing on God’s love (verse 16), never, in my experience continue on to verse 18.
How would the Arminian reconcile verse 17 where the Son “did not come to judge the world” with verse 18 “whoever does not believe is judged already?” One answer: it is not the Son but the Father who judges those who do not believe. This is incorrect: it is the Son who is THE judge, not the Father. Indeed the distinctive feature of the Son is that he, not the Father is judge.
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Furthermore, at judgment day it is the Son who separates the goats and the sheep, the one for condemnation, the other for salvation.
In a nutshell: Jesus came into the world as saviour, not as judge. When he returns at the end of this world (as we know it), he will come as judge.
- “Jesus is king whether we know or believe it. Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.”
- Prayer at end of sermon: “I want you to be lord of my heart”
Response to 2 and 3:
Jesus is also LORD whether we know it or not. Then please stop praying on behalf of the congregation: “I want you to be Lord of my life.” Are you talking to believers? Must they, after being brought from death to life (born again, trusting in Jesus as saviour) now take the next (humongous) step and grant the saviour to be Lord of their lives! Christ is already Lord of all – unbelievers and believers.
- “It’s about giving yourself to Jesus.”
- “Jesus stretches his arms out on the cross giving us all a hug. Jesus is loving you today. Why don’t you hug Jesus (back).”
Response to 4 and 5:
With regard to 5 Although it is true that outstretched arms can indicate “give me a hug,” to apply such an idea to Christ in his death agony on the cross is too gooey for words. With regard to 4, nobody gives themselves to Jesus in their natural state (“the flesh”), because in your natural, that is, radically corrupt, state you cannot and will not want to please God:
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
At the end of the sermon, my friend gives a rundown of the political and financial woes of our country (South Africa) and tells the congregation not to anxious; trust Jesus. A good thing, not so?
My friend, of course, still remains very dear to me. And why not!
Where in the US or Western Europe would the mainstream media publish the letter below? Envy my freedom in South Africa (it’s a country, not a region)?
My letter (culled from my longer Our fatalism pacifies us as Muslims: God’s decree and free will).
“Our fatalism pacifies us as Muslims” (Weekend Post, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, December 5, 2015), Imraahn Ismail Mukkaddam writes: “Whenever I speak to people of faith – Muslim and others – about the condition of humanity and the planet, I am confronted by the Qur’anic and Biblical revelations that all of this mess we find ourselves in is God’s will. As believers in a Supreme Being we affirm and attest to God’s will, predestination and divine decree, but to what extent are we allowing ourselves to be pacified into sheepish acceptance of what we perceive as inevitable without questioning if this is really predestined… Is the Allah who we worship really such a cruel creator that He contradicts His foremost attributes – that of being Most Merciful and Most Beneficent?”
Isaiah 46:10 says: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” Compare Isaiah with two Islamic definitions. The first, taqdeer (fate/destinity): “Every individual has been given free-will and should use it to work towards attaining the pleasure of Allah and that Allah has full knowledge of the individual’s actions; past, present and future.” The second, qadr (God’s decree/predestination/predetermination).
God’s purpose is to know everything in eternity and in time-space. And knowing all this pleases him. But, as it says in Isaiah above, the reason why God knows the end from the beginning is because he decreed it, he purposed it, he ordained it. How to reconcile this with human free will? The Muslim is caught between the rock of taqdeer (God’s foreknowledge of human free acts) and the hard place of qadr (God’s decree/predestination/predetermination.
In the following remarkable verse in scripture on the crucifixion of Christ, the Bible juxtaposes human and divine causality. “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23). Ironically, Muslims reject one of the most reliable of all historical facts, that Christ died on the cross. The Qur’an says “They killed him not” (Surah 4:57)..
Acts 2:23 shows that God’s deliberate plan, his decree (which is the reason why he foreknows it) to have Jesus, the Son of God crucified (planned from eternity in colloboration with the Son) is compatible with the free agency of man to do this evil deed. Do we reject the scripture because we can’t understand how God decree and free human agency fit together? Our confusion is caused by our limited understanding of the relationship between the finite and the infinite, time and eternity. We have a limited insight into the divine mind: “The concatenation of all his counsels is not intelligible to us; for he is as essentially and necessarily wise, as he is essentially and necessarily good and righteous.” (Stephen Charnock, 1632 -1680. “A discourse on the wisdom of God”).
In passing, I’m sure Mukkaddam is grateful to be living in a country – are you living in South Africa, Mukkaddam? – with a free press where he is safe to express his frustration with Islam, which can’t be done in Muslim countries, in the US and in Europe.
Concerning hell, C. S. Lewis wrote, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power.” (C. S. Lewis, “The problem of pain”). J. D. Greear comments: “In many ways, I agree with him. No one, Christians included, should like the idea of hell. For years I’ve felt that if you were to give me a Bible, a divine eraser, and ten minutes, I would take hell out of the Bible.”
In the White Horse Inn podcast episode “Lamb of God Part 2” one of the participants quotes the same passage from Lewis, and comments:
“The text is reality the same way the external world is for the physicist; it can’t be transcended. If we imagine that it can, then it is the one who rose from the dead who vindicates all his promises in the Old Testament scriptures and his promises to the not yet having been written new, who says “until someone else says that, you might as well listen to me.”
At that point, Michael Horton says “This is a great time to take questions.” Me, me, I have a question. “Onedaringjew, what’s it this time?”
I want to say that all of us here agree that the Bible is clear about hell, that it is eternal punishment. As our topic tonight is about blood atonement – the scarlet thread running through the whole Bible – the point we all want to emphasise today is that the texts in the Bible about the lamb who was slain as a propitiatory sacrifice, about the shedding of Christ’s blood for our sins, are as clear as the fact that there is no way we can hop over, or duck, or, to put it posh, transcend the physical world and say it does not exist outside our noggins. Except for idea-lists, of course.
Here’s a funny thing that C. S. Lewis said about the lamb that was slain, about the shedding of Christ’s blood says (in “Mere Christianity”):
“You can say that Christ died for our sins. You may say that the Father has forgiven us because Christ has done for us what we ought to have done. You may say that we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. You may say that Christ has defeated death. They are all true. If any of them do not appeal to you, leave it alone and get on with the formula that does. And, whatever you do, do not start quarrelling with other people because they use a different formula from yours.”
No narrow formulas, says Lewis. Nor should we want a “cosy ecumenical love-in thing” (as someone said). Lewis, of course, indicates throughout his theological writings that this is the last thing he would desire. I wonder, however, whether this is exactly what Lewis has encouraged with his idea that substitutionary sacrifice (Lewis’ “washed in the blood of the lamb”) is merely an optional way of understanding the plan of salvation.
Lewis acknowledges the great influence of George MacDonald: “MacDonald rejected the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, and like many others, including Christians, believe that penal substitution, which involved the shedding of blood, was cosmic child abuse. MacDonald taught that Christ had come to save people from their sins, and not from a Divine punishment for their sins. (C. S, Lewis and the formula of “Christ’s blood shed for our sins.”
Lewis’s “optional formula” may not have found a way of transcending the text, or side stepping it; but definitely fudging it, or as Lewis might have objected, not definitely but “merely.”
A Muslim who calls himself “an activist, a change agent and a social commentator who reflects upon reality,” finds it difficult to reconcile the sovereignty of God in Islam and Christianity – who decrees all events and actions – with human freedom and responsibility. In “Our fatalism pacifies us as Muslims” (Weekend Post, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, December 5, 2015), Imraahn Ismail Mukkaddam writes:
[My words appear in square brackets].
“Whenever I speak to people of faith – Muslim and others – about the condition of humanity and the planet, I am confronted by the Qur’anic and Biblical revelations that all of this is prescribed and described and that all of this mess we find ourselves in is God’s will. [I’m not sure what the writer means by “described”]. As believers in a Supreme Being we affirm and attest to Taqdeer [fate/destiny], Qadr, Karma, God’s will, predestination and divine decree, but to what extent are we allowing ourselves to be pacified into sheepish acceptance of what we perceive as inevitable without questioning if this is really predestined…“Is the chaos and the havoc and the injustice we witness on a daily basis really the manifestation of a divine divine decree? Is the Allah who we worship really such a cruel creator that He contradicts His foremost attributes – that of being Most Merciful and Most Beneficent?”
Definition of Taqdeer (fate/destiny)
“The concept of destiny may further be explained by understanding destiny to be Allah’s knowledge of how the individual is going to use his free-will rather than a pre-decided factor being enforced upon him without giving him a fair chance. Consider the following example:
An appointment is arranged between two individuals. The first arrives before time and waits for the second; he then comments that the second will arrive late as always. He bases his prediction on previous experience and the lax nature of the second individual. This statement does not restrict or bound the latter’s ability to attend on time in any way, it is merely an assertion. Similarly, when Allah the Almighty informs us, through his infinite knowledge, of his knowledge of our precise actions and our consequent abode it should not be perceived to be a compelling decision against our free will, but rather only his knowledge of our decisions. To summarise, every individual has been given free-will and should use it to work towards attaining the pleasure of Allah and that Allah has full knowledge of the individual’s actions; past, present and future.” (Taqdeer, Inter-Islam.org)
The above passage does not make a distinction between “fate” (random forces) and “destiny” (God’s plan).
Definition of Qadr: Predestination, God’s eternal decree.
Mukkaddam, asks: “Is the chaos and the havoc and the injustice we witness on a daily basis really the manifestation of a divine divine decree? Is the Allah who we worship really such a cruel creator that He contradicts His foremost attributes – that of being Most Merciful and Most Beneficent?”
Bertrand Russell, in his article “A Free man’s worship” (1903), concludes: “Brief and powerless is man’s life; on him and all his race the slow sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way.”
A theist does not believe that human freedom is caught up in the chance intrigues (fate) of “omnipotent matter.” So, how can we reconcile a most merciful, most beneficent God with evil – natural calamities and the worship of self manifested in acts such as lying, calumny, stealing, and murder?
Philosophers and others have written billions of words on the problem without any solution. So should we give up on God, as so many have done? No.
Human reason – as is true of so many questions of human origins and destiny/fate, cannot produce truth; it has to be discovered; uncovered, by a divine hand. This does not mean that all our questions on such matters as evil can be answered to our satisfaction. And if I can’t, that is a perverse and silly reason to reject the answers.
Jews, Christians and Muslims trust their texts come from God, they believe in divine revelation. The psalmist writes, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation (Psalm 25:4-5).
The Muslim should also believe in the divine origin of this psalm, for the Qur’an says “We have sent down the Torah,* containing guidance and light. Ruling in accordance with it were the Jewish prophets, as well as the rabbis and the priests, as dictated to them in GOD’s scripture, and as witnessed by them. Therefore, do not reverence human beings; you shall reverence Me instead. And do not trade away My revelations for a cheap price. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD’s revelations, are the disbelievers” (Surah 5:44).
I believe that the Bible, not human philosophy or human indignation, provides a satisfactory, if partial answer. Partial because “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law/Torah/teaching (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Here is one thing revealed: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (Isaiah 46:10).
Compare the above verse with the definition of taqdeer (fate/destiny) in the Islamic definition given above: “every individual has been given free-will and should use it to work towards attaining the pleasure of Allah and that Allah has full knowledge of the individual’s actions; past, present and future.”
With regard to free will, most Christians – for example, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Methodists, and Word of Faith movements agree with Islamic theology, namely that the human will is a neutral entity – it can choose either to love God or not – and that God knows all things, past present and future; and God will be pleased if people use their free will to love Him, but can do nothing about it if they choose not to. How does the Muslim reconcile this view with his understanding of qadr?
“Predestination/predetermination” (see above), which states that “the outcome of all affairs is determined by God’s decree…from it you cannot flee.” If God makes known the end from the beginning (prophecy), he obviously (fore)knows what he makes known. What, however, do we make of the line in Isaiah 46:10, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please?”
According to most Christians and all Muslims and orthodox Jews, this sentence means that God’s purpose is to know everything in eternity and in time-space. And knowing all this pleases him. But, I ask, isn’t the reason why God knows the end from the beginning because he decreed it, purposed it, ordained it, as in Isaiah 46:10?
How to reconcile the divine decree with human free will? The Muslim is caught between the rock of taqdeer (God’s foreknowledge of human free acts) and the hard place of qadr (God’s decree/predestination/predetermination), a quandary driving our writer, Mukkaddam, nuts; with good reason.
Can human free will be compatible with the biblical truth that God decrees everything, and that includes, must include, evil, where human beings are free agents AND God decrees their acts. Plato, the Greek philosopher, and Augustine of Hippo say that God is the author of good only. What then to make of Isaiah 45:7? “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil (Hebrew ra); I am the LORD, that doeth all these things.” How can God be infinitely good and create evil?
The Bible juxtaposes human causality and divine causality in this remarkable verse in scripture on the crucifixion of Christ, which could help Mukkaddam in his difficulty. Ironically, he, being a Muslim, rejects one of the most reliable of all historical facts, that Christ died on the cross. The Qur’an says “They killed him not” (Surah 4:57). The Bible says they did kill him: “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23).
We see in the above verse that God’s deliberate plan (which is the reason why he foreknows it), which is his decree to have Jesus, the Son of God crucified (planned from eternity by both the Father and the Son) is, therefore, compatible with the free agency of man to do this evil deed. Do we reject the scripture because we cannot reconcile a wholly good God – there is no evil in him – with his decree, or do we bow to the divine counsel?
Our confusion is caused by our limited understanding of the relationship between the finite and the infinite, the temporal [Latin tempus “time”] and the eternal. We can only have a finite, temporal concept of divine causality, of divine authorship, of divine creativity. “The concatenation of all his counsels is not intelligible to us; for he is as essentially and necessarily wise, as he is essentially and necessarily good and righteous.” (Stephen Charnock, 1632 -1680. “A discourse on the wisdom of God”).
Finally, Mukkaddam has difficulty reconciling the “chaos and havoc” of the world with a loving God. What example does he give of this chaos and havoc? He exclaims “global warming,” which is the central focus of his problem with the relationship between the evil acts of man (pollution) and predestination? I am reminded of Barack Hussein Obama, Bernie Sanders ( a US democratic presidential candidate) and Prince Charles. Obama and Sanders say ISIS is not the problem; global warming is. For Prince Charles, the reason why there are so many refugees flooding Europe is because they are fleeing global warming. Floods?
Global warming, man-made or not, is not the most pressing problem. There are greater problems: poverty, national debt, and Islamic terrorism particularly ISIS and its supporters in the US, Europe and the Middle East. The most (de)pressing problem is ISIS, because although poverty can kill, and one can die from a swollen tummy, there is little fear that it will blow up in your face. And where does ISIS find its inspiration? In the Qur’an; in its explicit blanket directives to kill idolators and apostates, and to subjugate or kill the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).
Question: did God decree ISIS to kill and destroy, does God decree the vile acts of man, did God decree sin? Yes. Yet man is guilty; he loves his sin; ISIS wallows in it.
Now we know why most people in the world including religious ones hate a God who decrees evil. The thrice holy God will not allow any rogue force to control the world without His decree, without fulfilling His purpose.
In short, the difference between the Islamic and New Testament notions of Allah’s and God’s decree is this:
In Islam, even if you believe in Allah and his prophet, and are an obedient Muslim, this is irrelevant to where you end, because Allah has already decreed your destiny – in your father’s loins or in your mother’s tummy or many years before your birth; all three are cited in contradictory hadiths.
Here is a key verse: John 6 – 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day…44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day...64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
How do the above verses fit with New Testament “predestination?” Answer: God decrees that if you are predestined to be saved (eternal ife), you will believe. In Islam, qadr and belief in and obedience to Allah are unrelated.
P.S. Mukkaddam is obviously living in the West, for if he wrote this article in a Muslim land (under Sharia), he’d be toast.
See here – from beginning to 43rd minute – for “Christian Prince’s” attempt to refute the the concept of qadr, where he seems to conflate qadr with the Christian concept of “predestination/election.” He does this, as all Arminians do, because they believe, like Christian Prince, that election means selection, which is based on you opening the door to your heart and letting Christ in; and on the idea that if you get sick of Christ, you can show him door.
Santa is coming tonight. Mummy told me. Why is he coming ’cause my stocking is already full? He wrote me a letter and told me that he has to take some stuff out. Not only some stuff, but has to empty the stocking completely. He explained all to me in his letter: “your stocking is full of sin.” He is coming to take it out and put in the greatest present of all. He is going to make me like Him. Not exactly like him. That can never be, ’cause Santa is Santa three times over:
Santa, Santa, Santa is the Lord Almighty;
the Earth is full of his glory
Mummy, Mummy, my stocking is full again.
He is born, he has borne my sin, I am born again.
What the US president said he meant by “no boots on the ground,” was no “battalions” on the ground. One battalion consists of between 300 – 800 boots. So, when we hear “boots” we should understand that 299 “boots” do not mean “boots.” But we know that there are at least 300 boots on the ground. Maybe the sum of bits of different battalions don’t qualify as a battalions?
We battle on.
I have often found James White’s ambiguous attitude regarding violence frustrating. In his latest podcast on the topic, he says “people always say I am soft on Islam. Why am I soft on Islam? Because I dare to recognise that just as there are differences of viewpoints among Mormons..there are liberal Catholics and conservative Catholics…and because I dare extend that (same) truthful observation that is founded in reality and truth to Muslims that (people say) I am soft on Muslims.” (7:21).
He presents two videos from Muslims, one about Muhammad’s peaceful and saintly qualities (Nothing to do with my Prophet) the other about the faithfulness of ISIL to Muhammad’s legacy (audio on the podcast 50:02).
He castigates Christians (1:06:5 on the podcast) for not appreciating that “the sources from which Islam derives its self-understanding are too inconsistent and incoherent to provide a meaningful resolution to the problems we are facing in the world today due to groups like ISIS…Here in these two videos you see illustrated exactly what I have been talking about from the beginning, because both of them claim to be drawing from the Qur’an, from the Sunna of the prophet (Muhammad), from the Hadiths, and coming to diametrically opposed conclusions.”
White says he is not soft on Islam, and refers to his many debates and books in which he demonstrates – and I say, admirably – the “flaws” (White’s description) in Islamic theology. For example, its misunderstanding of the trinity and the incarnation. When, though, it comes to violence, there exists for White “radical” Islam, represented by ISIS, and true Islam represented by the non-violent Muslims. He sings a different, non-ambiguous, tune in his article “Breaking the Cross, Killing the Swine: Truly Thinking About ISIS and the Murder of 21 Copts”:
“Oh sure, I know some of them are doing it just because they love murder and bloodshed and evil. But some of them do it because they really believe Muhammad was a prophet and that Muhammad showed them the way the day he and his cohorts did exactly what they did on that beach…not to 21 Christians but to between 400 and 900 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe. Now, I am well aware of the fact that Islamic apologists say this was a just act because the Jews had, allegedly, betrayed Muhammad in the Battle (or, non-battle, in a more realistic sense) of the Trench (AD 627). But the reality is that Muhammad was a man of war, not a man of peace. You are changed when you personally behead someone. The blood may wash off the hands, but it is not washed out of the mind. Muhammad died in 632, so this was done toward the end of his life. The progression of his life was from peaceful monotheistic prophet to warring leader and general, not the other way around. Add in the doctrine of abrogation and you can see why the scholars of Al Qaeda and ISIS and Boko Haram have plenty of material to draw from in forming their theology. They teach that the later revelations abrogate earlier ones (such as the later command not to consume alcohol abrogates the earlier commands which allowed it even though in moderation). Sadly, that means the later sections of the Qur’an, which contain the warfare passages, are considered by most (not all) Muslims in the world to be more authoritative than the peaceful passages that came earlier.”
Here’s the rub: the later revelations are unambiguous. This does not mean that different Muslim camps won’t arrive at “diametrically opposed conclusions” (White above). I explain: The scientific method consists of the following steps:
Ask a Question * Do Background Research * Construct a Hypothesis * Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment * Obtain results * Analyze Your Data * Draw a Conclusion * Communicate Your Results.
With regard to the science of textual analysis (historiography), the stages are similar: ask questions, do research, which requires skills in fields such as linguistics and history, (no, we don’t do experiments), obtain results, analyse the results (data), arrive at a conclusion, and finally communicate our results and conclusions. We communicate in various ways: reports, debates, teaching; and in religion, often, witnessing/defending in the attempt to make converts.
James White is in my book, very good at biblical exegesis and doctrine. And I love him for that. He says that the job of the exegete is to discover the single meaning of the words on the page. So, if someone disagrees with him about, say, the Reformed (Protestant Reformation) assertion that the Bible teaches that one will not desire to trust in Christ unless He first raises one from spiritual death, releasing one from the bondage of the radically corrupt will (Ephesians 2:10 ff`), White will say that such a person has arrived at the wrong conclusion of what is, in truth and reality, the unequivocal meaning of the text.
With regard to the Qur’an, Allah is obsessed with the unequivocal clarity of his revelation, which he can’t emphasise enough:
Qur’an 6:114—Shall I seek for a judge other than Allah, when He it is Who has sent down to you the Book fully explained?
Qur’an 11:1—This is a Book, whose verses have been made firm and free from imperfection and then they have been expounded in detail.
Qur’an 12:1—These are verses of the clear Book.
Qur’an 16:89—And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things.
Qur’an 24:46—Certainly We have revealed clear communications, and Allah guides whom He pleases to the right way.
Qur’an 27:1—These are verses of the Qur’an—a book that makes (things) clear.
To return to the question of violence and Islam:
Many people know bits and bobs about violence in Islam, but they don’t want to talk about it. They, including many historians? know little about the history of Islam. How did the Middle East go from being Christian to being Muslim? The Sira (Muhammad’s biography) relates that the last years of his life consisted of a plethora of killing and subjugating Christians. This mayhem was continued after he died by his “companions” and relatives, It has never stopped. We were told that Rome fell when German invaders occupied Rome. Not true. The German invaders set up their own version of the Roman Empire, but preserving classical culture. They spoke Latin, hired Roman philosophers, lawyers and teachers to run their schools. The Byzantine (Greek-speaking) Empire took over, and kept the Classical Empire running.
After Muhammad’s death, his Muslim “apostles” – caliphs,companions, relatives went on the rampage in all directions. Preaching the Qur’an? Not on your nelly. They went on a continual Jihad spree, killing thousands upon thousands of Christians – and fellow Muslims. Syria – the epi-centre of Christian culture was destroyed, just as ISIS is doing today to the remaining Christians in Syria, ISIS has excellent mentors. The brutal asssaults went on for centuries in many countries – 540 battles in all. Most historians, and Muslims, can only scratch up 5 battles. In Spain, the heads of Spanish knights were piled so high that you couldn’t see over them.
Classical Christian civilisation was destoyed by Islam. And now the followers of Muhammad want to lop off its remaining vestiges in Europe, which they very well might achieve in the near future – thanks to the effete Europeans themselves, who have practically ditched their Christian heritage.
White is Hard on systematic theology but soft on missiology (making converts). None of White’s dozens of moderated public debates with Muslims has been on how Islam makes converts. Such a debate, if of any worth, will have to deal with Islam’s use of force and violence to bring new members into its fold. And keep them there. The penalty of leaving Islam, or attempting to do so, has been, and continues to be, in many times and climes, slicing off such members from the Umma (Islamic nation) – slicing off heads. In this department, ISIS is following the greats of the “golden” age of Islamic history. If James White wants to continue his friendly debates with Muslims in large public forums – I don’t need to tell him, give missiology a miss.
In conclusion, Islam is bad for Kafirs (unbelievers). But also bad for Muslims; those Muslims, of which there are many, who either/both do not know much, do not want to know much, and do not want to obey much, Islam.
Football star, Tottenham Hotspur striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, a Muslim, gives “13 reasons why Muslims follow Prophet Jesus.” Here are some of the reasons with my comments:
There is only one God.
Comment: Christians also believe there is only one God. Mohammed-Allah didn’t understand anything about One God-Three Persons, because He had no clue what was in the New Testament. Mohammed said Muslims should follow the Gospel because it came, he said, from God. “And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient.” (Surah 5:47).
2. There is no mediator between God and man.
Comment: Jesus said in the Gospel he is the (only) mediator between his Father and man: “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” – including all Muslims.
3. Jesus greeted with “Peace be upon you.”
Comment: Muslims do the same. It was a common greeting among Jews and Christians for centuries. Jews still say it: “Shalom.” C’mon Christians get with the Muslims and the Jews.
4. Jesus had a beard.
Comment: In a similar Islamic advert about the Muslim Jesus (Issa), it said “long beard.” Will a goatee then make you a shirker? (See Why should Christians follow Mohammed? The answer lies in the beard).
5. Jesus was circumcised.
Comment: Jesus fulfilled the law and so was circumcised. Muslims reject/do not understand the relationship between physical circumcision in the Old Testament (the Law) and spiritual circumcision of the heart in the New Testament; they ignore/oppose the New Testament.
The big lie of Islam, which nullifies its whole anti-Christian enterprise, is that it denies that Jesus died on the cross:
“That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise” (Surah 4:157-158). For Muslims, history died the day those verses “came down” because if you reject the solid historical fact of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, all history is called into question. Also, who created this deception for Christians? Allah. Bizarre, at best. What is more, if Jesus did not die, no blood of Christ shed, there is no resurrection, no mediation, no salvation. Muslims, even famous football stars, end up in the sin bin, permanently.
Emmanuel (God with us), you have scored an own goal.
Watch “With Open Gates: The forced collective suicide of European nations – Extended Cinematic 1080p” on YouTube
The terrorist researcher, Scott Atran, in his interview on Russia Today, says ISIS attracts frustrated young people, but never mentions they are ALL Muslims. His political correctness is galling.
James White’s position is confusing. He says, on the one hand, the theology (for example, the nature and person Christ) of the Qur’an is flawed. What floors me is that he does not give the impression that the deluge of violent passages in the Qur’an are also theological.
Al Mohler does a better job. He says that what “ISIS is doing is in keeping with historic Islamic teachings and is doing so while recruiting thousands of Muslims (not merely “young people” Scott Atran) with many coming from the most modernized cities in the world including Paris and London and Amsterdam and Bonn and Minneapolis and New York.”
Here is what many Muslims say (see article for context):
“This hatred and violence (of “hard-line Islamist terrorists”) has to be fought by all peace lovers… We should support the call by over 100 Muslim scholars and clergymen” that the Islamic State “through their acts of violence, violated fundamental principles of Islam.” They point out that such acts as “harming or mistreating believers of other religions of the Scripture… and ignoring the reality of ‘contemporary times’ are actually forbidden in Islam… Simply put, IS is a group of mass murderers masquerading as unbelievers.”
Should I insult the intelligence of these Muslim scholars by calling them stupid and ignorant? Or should I call them cunning deceivers? The violent and detestable actions of ISIS are right on the Qur’anic money. The Qur’an is a deluge of directives to subdue and kill non-Muslims and apostate Muslims, and contains commands that are, at best, out of kilter in “contemporary times.” Space does not allow me to cite the dozens of texts on violence against the “unbelievers.” It’s mostly useless telling non-Muslims to read the Qur’an. But if they do, they must not expect any historical coherence: the Qur’an does not appear in the order that Allah is purported to have revealed it. For example, the final “revelations” – about Muslims forcing Jews and Christians to either 1. convert to Islam, 2. submit to paying a crippling tax and being subdued, or 3. being killed – were “revealed” in Surah 9, long before the end of the printed Qu’ran. There are few “peace” passages in the Qur’an, but these were “revealed” to Mohammed early in his career, when he was weak. These peace passages were abrogated (by Allah) by all the nasty stuff that “came down” later when Mohammed had a big enough army to subdue or kill his enemies.
Someone who fears Islam is called an Islamophobe. To most this term means, which it does not mean, “hatred of Islam.” Fear of what in Islam? Violence. If you fear violence, you’re going to hate it, and often hate those who perpetrate it. Is there anything to fear and hate in Islam? This article examines this question with regard to ISIS.
Politicians and the mainstream “Western” media no longer say ISIS or ISIL – IS for short – but DAESH. ISIL hates this latter term, one reason being that it replaces the two key terms “Islamic” and “State.” Opponents of the term IS say it is neither a state nor Islamic; not Islamic because it is an aberration of Islam. In this article, I examine whether the term “Islamic” is indeed a misnomer.
Dr. Scott Atran, anthropologist and terrorism researcher, was in conversation with Sophie Shevardnadze (host of Sophieco) on Russia Today, “ISIS sings the same tune Hitler did, promising Utopia in the end” (Atran), 16 Nov, 2015.
Here are a few pertinent excerpts from the conversation. (the term “ISIS is used – Russia Today retains the term). My comments appear in italics:
SS: There are a lot of people joining ISIS from all over the world, not only their region, or the Asian region, but we’ll talk about it a bit later. But, at the same time, ISIS displays of brutality helped governments rally in action against the terror group. Does ISIS not care if it’s provoking an international bombing campaign?
DR.SA: Oh, they actually want it. Again, if you read their sort of Bible, “The Management of Savagery”, they want to provoke the intervention of the Great Powers like the U.S. and Russia, that is their plan. Their plan is to create a sort of apocalyptic scenario, to create as much chaos as possible, in which they can take root and offer their own alternative…. George Orwell in his review of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” back in 1939 have described the essence of the problem. He said: “Mr. Hitler has discovered that human beings don’t only want peace and security and comfort and free from want. They want adventure, glory and self-sacrifice, and Mr. Hitler’s appealed to that – and while the Oxford student union at that time vowed to never fight again, Mr. Hitler has 80 million people fall down to his feet, in one of the most advanced countries in the world.” How did that happen? Again, ISIS is appealing to the same sort of sentiments, that have been appealed to throughout human history.
Atran does not mention the Qur’an. That is verboten in any “Western” discussion of ISIS. If “The Management of Savagery is their “sort of” Bible (Atran), then the Qur’an is their Bible.
SS: You know, ISIS has a message that “everything is bad and corrupt, and we will change the world for the better”, a message of revolution, a message of cause; and, in response, all we can muster is basically: “oh, ISIS is baad” – you know, only negating what they say, not offering any counter-cause. What kind of a positive idea can stand up to ISIS’ slogans?
DR.SA: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I mean, the counter-narratives I hear, at least in the Western Europe and in the U.S. are pathetic. They basically say: “look, ISIS beheads people, they’re bad people” – God, didn’t we know about that before already? The way ISIS attracts people is that they actually are both very intimate and very expansive. So, they’ve brought in people from nearly 90 countries in the world, and they spend hundreds, sometimes even thousands of hours on a single person, talking about their family, saying to young women, for example, in the U.S.:”Look, we know you love your parents and your brothers and your sisters, and we know how hard it’s going to be to leave them, but there are more things to do in life. Grander things. More important things. Let us try to help you explain it to yourselves when you get here, and explain it to them.” And they go through the personal history and grievances and frustrated aspirations of each of these individuals, and they wed it to a global cause, so that personal frustration becomes universalized into moral outrage, and this is especially appealing to young people in transitional stages in their lives: immigrants, students, between jobs, between mates, having just left their genetic family, their natural family and looking for a new family of friends and fellow travellers. This is the age that ISIS concentrates on, and in response, most of the countries of the world, and the Muslim establishments, who call for “wasatiyyah”, moderation. Well, everybody who has ever had teenage children, they know how worthless that is. So, the counter-narratives we’re proposing are pretty pathetic.
Why don’t you mention that these frustrated young people are Muslims? Followers of Mohammed, servants of Allah. That would be what they would say is the heart of their calling.
SS: So, you’re saying, you know, the Western volunteers for ISIS are mostly youth in transition and parents usually have no idea what their kids are up to – so, is it a sort of teen rebellion, is it a form of a teen rebellion?
DR.SA: Right, it’s driven by young people, well actually most revolutionary movements are driven by people who are fairly well off and well educated, especially doctors and engineers, for some reason, ever since the XIX century, because they can show commitment and hands on operation knowledge of things… But yes, it appeals to young people and their rebelliousness, and again, that’s the specific target population of the Islamic State – and they provide a very positive message.
Young Muslim people only. You couldn’t join ISIS unless you were a Muslim or wanted your head chopped off, or if you’re a Christian or Jew – and lucky- allowed to live in subjugation to ISIS, which is what the Qur’an teaches.
SS: But, you know, we’re used to think that young people, teen in transition, like you say, they want freedom. They want to have fun, they want to have sex and drugs and drink. What we see with ISIS is forbidding this, for young people and for everyone – yet, there is this flock towards ISIS. I still don’t understand why, because whatever they’re trying to convince young people of, it’s pretty obvious there is no freedom where they are going. And young people usually strive for freedom…
DR.SA: Yeah, but I believe they do think they’re getting freedom. Instead of freedom-to-do-things, it’s freedom-from-having-to-do-things, where a life well-ordered and promising…
about. The choices are too great, there’s too much ambiguity and ambivalence. There are too many degrees of freedom and so one can’t chart a life path that’s at all meaningful, and so these young people are in search of significance, and ISIS is trying to show them a way towards significance. Again, we have to take it very seriously, that’s why I think it’s the most dynamic counter-cultural movement since WWII, and it’s something I don’t think people are taking seriously, just dismissing them as psychopaths and criminals and… this, of course, is something that we have to destroy… People talk about the clash of civilizations – well, that’s, woefully, inadequate. I mean, that is not the clash of civilizations, that is the collapse of civilizations, as…this is the Dark Side of globalisation, as territorial cultures are imploding in the face of globalization and young people, who used to get their learning and their guidance from their elders are now completely divorced from their elders and they’re hooking up peer-to-peer, across the world, across the territories, over the internet, and they’ve developed a facility in moving across the Internet that’s quite phenomenal. They’re hooking up and making alliances with one another that actually can bring people to kill for one another even if they’ve never met up before – and this is new.
To describe this as merely a sociological issue is typical of Western (secular) Academia, politics and the media. True, seeking to live a significant life is correct, The key question is where do these these young people (aka Muslims) find their significance? They find it in living – and, glory of glories, dying for Allah. It seems that Atran, the anthropologist, models himself on the Aristotelian maxim. Anthropos politikon zoon esti – “Man is a socio-political animal.”
SS: So, there’s no way to win this social media war against the Islamic State?
DR.SA: Yes, there is; and that is coming up with some kind of equally adventurous and glorious message that can give significance to these young people (who are) finding this call to glory and adventure quite enticing. Again, it’s understandable. Now, how to get them away from that? How to bring them into some kind of prod…You know, people talk about “the youth problem” in the Middle East and in the world – well, it’s not really a problem if you have the right motivation. It could be a “youth boom”, because young people are the source of creativity in the world. But there’s no channels now that I’ve seen existing, whether it is in UN or on the level of governments, where youth can have a voice…
ISIS has (like Islam from its inception) has come up with not some kind but a particular “kind of equally adventurous and glorious message that can give significance to these young people (who are) finding this call to glory and adventure quite enticing.” It’s called Islam.
Here are two Christian appraisals of the ISIS question. James White and Al Mohler. While White pussyfoots a bit, Mohler gets close to the heart of the matter.
Here is my transcription of a pertinent chunk from white presentation (Dividing Line, 17 Novwmber, 2015, minute 41 ff). My comments appear in italics:
(Many Christians argue that) “they (ISIS) are the real Muslims, and any Muslim that tells you “I don’t support what Isis is doing” is deceiving you and lying to you. This is what is really really concerning me…what I am hearing from so many people, social media, on television, is that Isis represents the real Islam, and any other view is a fake Islam… Here’s the problem: on the one side you have those who say that Isis has nothing to do with Islam, Islam is a religion of peace. On the other side you have those who say this is the real Islam, anyone who does this (what Isis does) is not a true Muslim. Both of them share the same black and white mind set that cannot function in this world, and that is that everything is got to be this or that, and nothing in between.
Surely ISIS must be either “real Islam” (white?) or “nothing to do with Islam (black). So logically it indeed a black or white issue. What we don’t want is some kind of Jesuit casuistry where if the Pope says black is white or grey, then so it is. The question then is “Which one is correct?”
Many in ISIS believe that they are orthodox, practising Muslims doing their best to follow the example of their prophet as they understand it. There are also among them men who simply love evil; they love to rape, they love to maim, to kill, and they are more than willing to do the religious stuff that allows them to do those things…Isis has its theologians, Isis has its people who are going to have their doctoral degrees and will be able to make their arguments from the literature, from the Hadiths and so forth… This (different interpretations of the literature) is an Islamic problem. On the other side, there are Muslims who are saying they (ISIS) are wrong, here is why they are wrong, here is what they are ignoring… I don’t think that the sources they (the two sides) are relying on are authoritative enough and consistent enough to solve the debate between these two sides.
White sounds like Reza Aslan, the professor of creative writing and self-styled “professor of religions, including the New Testament. That is what I do for a living, actually.” (Reza Aslan). calls himself a Muslim believes that each religion brings its own truths to the table. Atheists call Aslan a “new atheist.” New atheists are like the emperor who says “look at my beautiful clothes,” when, as we know, he is really naked. The “new atheist” is a nude atheist – let it all hang out; we’ve all got something to give: Muslim, Christian, Jew, Jubu (Jewish Buddhist).
The sources are the Qur’an and the authoritative Hadiths. Muslims say you have to read it in Arabic, which means that 80% of Muslims, whose mother tongue is non Arabic, have to rely on their Arabic speaking leaders. We are reminded of the Roman Catholic Church, where the Bible and the Liturgy existed only in Latin, so that the “laity” had to rely on the priests. When White debates Muslims, Roman Catholics and non-Calvinist Protestants, his starting point is that the biblical texts have one unequivocal meaning and the issue is finding out what this single meaning is. White has had many debates with Muslims on Christian doctrines such as the Trinity and the Incarnation. He argues that the Qur’an misunderstands these doctrines.
White has written “What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an,” which, like all his books, debates and his theology in general is based on the premise that there is a right and a wrong way to read texts; that there is a real meaning that needs to be discovered. White says:
“I am a scholar of religions with degrees including one in the New Testament and fluency in biblical Greek and biblical Hebrew and biblical Aramaic, who has been studying the origin of Christianity for four decades. I also happen to be an expert with degrees in the history of religions. So why did I write this book on Islam? In brief, I wrote it because it is my job as an academic. And because I wanted – very important – to show that Islam is flawed. (See here).
In other words, for him, it is indeed a black and white issue.
What I am concerned about, White continues, is that there are Christians who would deny that there are any on this side (the peaceful side)… We want to force Islam to be monolithic, all on the same page (as Isis).
If you don’t recognize the difference between these groups, says White, how are you any different from the jihadis likewise refuse to make any distinction between us and what we believe. It does not make any sense to me, and it frightens me greatly, and it makes me wonder how any of these people who are adopting this attitude can be seriously praying for an opportunity to actually invest themselves in witnessing to one of these Muslims.
It seems that White above holds the multiple-interpretations view of the Qur’an only when it applies to the flood of “violent” passages in the Islamic literature. Yet elsewhere he says (Breaking the Cross, Killing the Swine: Truly Thinking About ISIS and the Murder of 21 Copts):
“Oh sure, I know some of them are doing it just because they love murder and bloodshed and evil. But some of them do it because they really believe Muhammad was a prophet and that Muhammad showed them the way the day he and his cohorts did exactly what they did on that beach…not to 21 Christians but to between 400 and 900 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe. (See here for a more in-depth discussion of this event in Muhammad’s life). Now, I am well aware of the fact that Islamic apologists say this was a just act because the Jews had, allegedly, betrayed Muhammad in the Battle (or, non-battle, in a more realistic sense) of the Trench (AD 627). But the reality is that Muhammad was a man of war, not a man of peace. You are changed when you personally behead someone. The blood may wash off the hands, but it is not washed out of the mind. Muhammad died in 632, so this was done toward the end of his life. The progression of his life was from peaceful monotheistic prophet to warring leader and general, not the other way around. Add in the doctrine of abrogation and you can see why the scholars of Al Qaeda and ISIS and Boko Haram have plenty of material to draw from in forming their theology. They teach that the later revelations abrogate earlier ones (such as the later command not to consume alcohol abrogates the earlier commands which allowed it even though in moderation). Sadly, that means the later sections of the Qur’an, which contain the warfare passages, are considered by most (not all) Muslims in the world to be more authoritative than the peaceful passages that came earlier.”
It seems White tries hard not to offend Muslims, which is understandable, but loves theology too much to be politically correct. Others (like atheists) say we must not take the Islamic literature, or any religious literature too literally. When we read that Muslims must kill idolators/polytheists, it is silly to say that we must not take this “literally.” Half-literally then? Keep the “ki” and discard the “ll.” And replace “ll” with “ss?” (The verse of the sword: Sura 9:5 and Jihad). KISS the polytheists?
Another Christian theologian, Al Mohler, says that what “ISIS is doing is in keeping with historic Islamic teachings and is doing so while recruiting thousands of Muslims (not merely “young people,” – see Scott Atran above in his interview with Sophieco) with many coming from the most modernized cities in the world including Paris and London and Amsterdam and Bonn and Minneapolis and New York.”
Great Scott, all of these recruits are Muslims!
Christians operating out of a Christian world-view understand that we have to look at these issues theologically precisely because even as theology is always very near in the headlines in this particular case, it’s even in the foreground. We’re talking about a group and we’re talking about an Army and we’re now talking about a state that names itself the Islamic State… the reality is that Christians understand that where theology is engaged it is engaged at the most basic level and nothing makes that point more graphically and chillingly then the statement that was actually released by ISIS in the aftermath of the murderous attacks, indeed the massacres that took place in Paris. Part of the statement reads, “Eight brothers wearing explosive belts and assault weapons targeted areas carefully chosen in the heart of the French capital. The French stadium, during a match of two crusaders countries French and Germany where the imbecile of France Francois Hollande was present, the bataclan where hundreds of idolaters participating in a party of perversity were assembled, in addition to other targets in the 10, 11 and 18 arrondissement– all simultaneously.”
ISIS then went on to say, “The ground of Paris trembled under their feet and its roads became too tight for them. The toll of this attack is a minimum of 200 crusaders killed and even more injured, the praise and honor belongs to Allah. “Allah helped his brothers and gave them what they hoped for.”
One of the things we must note is the insane insistence on the part of so many Western leaders to deny the obvious and that is the theological identity and the theological ambition behind these attacks in Paris. But the sad fact is that so many modern secular leaders of modern secular governments now increasingly on both sides of the Atlantic lack even the basic theological understanding to know what is at stake in these attacks. (Underlining added). For example, the statement is very clear about martyrdom. And even though martyrdom is something most Western leaders think they understand what they likely do not understand is that martyrdom in Islam is the only way to be assured of spending eternity in paradise… Martyrs for the faith are promised entrance into paradise.
Here is one of the oddest most ironic and most dangerous presuppositions of modern secular governments and that is that theology really doesn’t matter… (Underlining added). As we must repeat over and over again, we are not at war with all Muslims and for that we should be very thankful. But we also have to be equally candid about the fact that our foe in this case is clearly Islamic and is driven by an Islamic worldview, Islamic theology and a very clear and growing Islamic identity.
There is nothing odd about the fact that atheists (secularists) trash theology; atheist don’t liker them theists, especially the “organised” (as in religions) ones. Mohler thinks “theology matters.” James White thinks so too. (see his weekly radio programme “Theology Matters”).
We should not be, as Mohler says, “at war with all Muslims.” Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern Studies , says – “A lot of Muslims are embarrassed by Isis.” True, because they, like the majority of members of all religions, do not take their religion seriously and/or are too ignorant to do so.
Those Muslims who are embarrassed by ISIS, are they prepared to say to the world that members of ISIS are apostates? Not if you want to keep your head. I cite from an editorial of my city’s newspaper, “Weekend Post,” Saturday, June 27, 2015, “Horrific attacks must be stopped.”
“This hatred and violence (of “hard-line Islamist terrorists”) has to be fought by all peace lovers… We should support the call by over 100 Muslim scholars and clergymen” that the Islamic State “through their acts of violence, violated fundamental principles of Islam.” They point out that such acts as “harming or mistreating believers of other religions of the Scripture… and ignoring the reality of ‘contemporary times’ are actually forbidden in Islam… Simply put, IS is a group of mass murderers masquerading as unbelievers.”
Should I insult the intelligence of these Muslim scholars by calling them stupid and ignorant? Or should I call them cunning deceivers? The violent and detestable actions of ISIS are right on the Qur’anic money. The Qur’an is a deluge of directives to subdue and kill non-Muslims and apostate Muslims, and contains commands that are, at best, out of kilter in “contemporary times.” Space does not allow me to cite the dozens of texts on violence against the “unbelievers.” It’s mostly useless telling non-Muslims to read the Qur’an. But if they do, they must not expect coherence: the Qur’an does not appear in the order that Allah is purported to have revealed it. For example, the final “revelations” – about Muslims forcing Jews and Christians to either 1. convert to Islam, 2. submit to paying a crippling tax and being subdued, or 3. being killed – were “revealed” in Surah 9, long before the end of the printed Qu’ran. (See James White again. Why are peaceful muslims not speaking out against Boko Haram).
As ISIS would say “Theology matters, therefore blood spatters.”
Bernie Sanders, the US democratic presidential candidate says ISIS is not the problem; global warming is – and jobs. Prince Charles says the reason why there are so many non-Europeans flooding Europe is because they are fleeing global warming. Where did they find these people?
Want to stop ISIS? Give them jobs – and stop global warming.
Watch “The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind (Documentary) – Hidden Secrets of Money 4 | Mike Maloney” on YouTube
10 They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12 He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14 from men by your hand, O Lord,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.
15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
Dozens of Muslims say that a vision of Jesus led them to Christian conversion. Most Calvinist Christians say that all these visions are delusions. With regard to conversion, a Calvinist believes that in conversion, one has to be raised from spiritual death (regenerated/born again) before one can or wants to believe in Christ as saviour. I hold the Calvinist view of conversion, which means the whole process of conversion is a sovereign act of God’s grace/mercy. An Arminian Christian friend to whom I tried to explain the sovereign grace of God in salvation sent me a link to a video of a Muslim, Afshin Javid, who came to Christ through a vision. After seeing the video, I believe Javid had a genuine experience of “I am the way, the truth and the life…I am Jesus Christ, the living God…” (Minute 9:30).
I asked my Arminian friend why does God give this vision to some but not to other Muslims? No answer. I said because God says, “I will have mercy on who I want to have mercy and compassion on whom I want to have compassion” (Exodus 33:19, Romans 9:15).She rebuked me, saying “It must be something else.” I left it there because I wanted to avoid yet another unpleasant confrontation. This difference in the nature of God’s sovereignty between Calvinists and Arminians shimmers through the whole of their opposing theologies, and consequently through every aspect of the way they pray, understand and communicate their faith.
I said to my friend that there are only two possibilities of why God gives only some Muslims a genuine vision of Jesus Christ: either God has mercy on them or He sees something good in them and consequently rewards them with a vision. My friend said that there might be a third reason. Most Arminians will say both of the following are true: there is nothing in them that can influence God to save them, AND – which seems to be this third thing my friend means – God has mercy on those who show a desire to be born again; which my friend says does not mean that they deserve to be saved. Odd. Regarding the desire to be saved, the Bible says that no one in their natural state can have the desire to be saved:
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14). And – “5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8).
What pleases God most? To regenerate you (birth you again). The Arminian (Jacob Arminius), in contrast, says that the natural man can please God. Other Arminians, like my friend, would say that the natural ISH (“man” – Hebrew) “cannotish” please Him. (See The Arminian view of free will: Those who are in the flesh cannotish please God).
In 1994 the evangelical historian Mark Noll published The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.The book is not much more than a sustained lambast against two conservative subtraditions, Young Earth Creationism and Dispensational Premillennialism.Howbeit, Noll rightly laments “the generations-long failure of the evangelical community to nurture the life of the mind.”In fact, he admonishes his peers because, “fidelity to Jesus Christ demands from evangelicals a more responsible intellectual existence than we have practiced throughout much of our history.”This is because “the gospel properly belongs to the whole person”
A.The Need for Wisdom and Knowledge
Noll’s prime example of a Christian intellect is the great American philosopher-theologian Jonathan Edwards.For Edwards, he writes, “True knowledge was rather ‘the consistency and agreement of our ideas with the ideas of God.’”One is reminded of Edwards’ words in his great sermon entitled “Christian…
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Naik says to the christian questioner, “If you say that Jesus is God because he had no father then Adam must be a greater God than Jesus because Adam had no father and no mother.”
Amused applause from the crowd.
Naik is right IF the question had said that. Not only did she not say that but there is nothing in her question to even hint at that.
In his desire to parade around on his hobby horse of knocking the divinity of Christ, Naik continues to exhibit no understanding of the incarnation. The Son of God exists eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit, three persons-one God. The Son took on flesh from the line of Judah, which, obviously goes back to Adam. Jesus is called the God-man. In the latter condition He is referred to as the Son of man. He took on human nature to serve.
Seven “according to the form of a servant/according to the form of God” affirmations:
1. on existence and essence
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord’s existence is not co-extensive with his essence;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord’s existence is his essence
2. on creature and Creator
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord is creature;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord is Creator
3. on created being and divine being
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord came into temporal or creaturely being;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord is I AM
4. on creaturely knowing and divine knowing
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord grew in his understanding of the Old Testament;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord predates and is the source of the Old Testament
5. on creaturely composition and divine non-composition
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord is composed of parts and faculties;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord is without body, parts, or passions
6. on beginning and without beginning
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord began;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord is without beginning
7. on finitude and infinity
a. according to the form of a servant, our Lord is no way infinite;
b. according to the form of God, our Lord is every way infinite
The “according to . . .” formula is borrowed from Augustine.
Richard C. Barcellos
Grace Reformed Baptist Church
I was speaking to a pastor, in my eyes and those of many many others devout and loving in so many ways. A large part of his ministry is comforting the dying and the bereaved. He also suffered terrible bereavement in his life, and is an example to us all of his courage. He told me of a woman who discovered she has cancer. She is responsible for many orphans. I asked the pastor whether the woman was a Christian and how old she was. He said she is a Christian and is 80 years old. I said, “What does it matter is she dies, she will be going home.” He asked what would happen to the orphans under her care. I said, as God was in control of everything and if she dies God has ordained it so. God will find someone else to look after her orphans. I asked, “Isn’t it your desire to go home to be with the Lord.” He replied that heaven was abstract, just an idea in the head.
Here are two verses of the popular song “How deep is the father’s love for us,” which he probably has sung in church at various times.
I just want to be where You are,
dwelling daily in Your presence
I don’t want to worship from afar,
draw me near to where You are
I just want to be where You are,
in Your dwelling place forever
Take me to the place where You are,
I just want to be with You
just want to (wanna) be
I just want to (wanna) be with You
Here is a comment on a Youtube version of the song:. Lord take me to your home, I receive the anointing of the holy ghost. in Jesus name amen.
What does the “worshiper” think these words mean: “Take me to the place where you are, I just want to be with you?” The Bible says (many times in the letters of Paul) that to be a Christian is to be “in Christ” and “Christ in you.” Christians are born of God (born again), which entails that Christ lives – through the Holy Spirit – in them. So far, we are dealing with the notion to be “in Christ.” Once regenerated (quickened, raised to spiritual life), believers are enabled and therefore can choose the good things of God. If, though, believers don’t only want to be in Christ but also with Christ, that I would call radical radical Christianity. Radical Christianity is be consumed with living in and for Christ.; radical radical Christianity is “I want to be with Christ – and I want it now. Here is the Apostle Paul: Philippians 1:21-23 – “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”
Jeremy Walker, in his “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ,” explains the difference between being in Christ and with Christ, where “the anticipation of the dying saint” is to be with the Lord:
“To lack food is terrible; to lack money is distressing; to lack health is miserable; to lack friends is tragic; but to lack Christ is to lack the greatest and most necessary good-it is the most awful situation imaginable. If we had Christ, all else could be borne, but to live and die without Christ makes any number of other blessings little better than dust and ashes in our mouths. Second, someone might be with Christ. If to be without Christ is the height of woe, then to be with Christ is the pinnacle of bliss, for this is the very joy and blessing of glory. To be “present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 528) is the heaven of heaven. There is no greater joy, no happier prospect, no sweeter moment than to have the eye actually rest upon the Lord Christ, the glorified Savior of sinners. This is the anticipation of the dying saint, the prospect for the resurrection that makes every other hint of the glory to come shine with golden light. However, if we are to be with Christ when we die or taken to be with Him when He returns, we need to bear in mind that no one will ever be with Christ unless they are first in Christ.”
(See I wanna be with you; but not yet).
If you are a Christian ask yourself whether you include yourself in the “we” below. If not your religion is schmaltz.
2 Cor 5
1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Free agency – Man is free to do what he wants, that is, to follow his heart.
Free will – Man’s will is neutral and can decide to choose Christ or reject him.
According to the Arminians, man has free will. They have a concept called “prevenient grace,” by which they mean – although they would never put it this way – God has decided to woo sinners with this “prevenient grace” Thus He has decided to make it possible for man to decide to open his heart to Jesus, who is continusously pleading for sinners to open the door to let Him in so that he can save them. So, God for them is only a possible saviour; and it’s up to them whether he becomes an actual saviour. In other words, if you’re saved, the possible was made actual by something, good of course, in you, just as if you’re condemned for not having faith in Jesus, it was something, bad of course, in you.
Man is a free agent, that is, it is not something outside of him that determines the decisions he makes about following Jesus, but something inside him – his lub-a-dub. Scripture says that although man is free to choose what he wants, what he does not want, and cannot want is to follow Jesus.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
How then can you be saved? The Spirit breathes life into you, or to use another biblical description, God removes your heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh:
Ezekiel 26:36 – A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
“Flesh” in Romans 8 means the natural human state of radical corruption. In Ezekiel 26:36 it means “a new spirit.”
“So are you telling me that God is going to give me a heart that loves him, trusts him, without me asking for it.” I reply, if it is you who decides the transplant, then your heart, to start with, couldn’t have been stony, but merely stony-ish; it couldn’t have been dead (Ephesians 2:1) but merely deadish. And that is what Arminians say: (spiritually) dead doesn’t mean really dead. And I suppose “cannot” in Romans 8:8 does not mean cannot, but “cannotish.” – “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannotish please God.”
You can’t save yourself without others; therefore, says Pope Francis, you can’t have a personal relationship with Christ
VATICAN CITY Christians are not made in a laboratory, but in a community called the church, Pope Francis said. At his weekly general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his series of audience talks about the church, telling an estimated 33,000 people that there is no such thing as “do-it-yourself” Christians or “free agents” when it comes to faith. Every Christian, he said, can trace his or her faith back to parents, grandparents, teachers or friends. “I always remember the nun who taught me catechism. I know she’s in heaven because she was a holy woman,” he said.
In the Old Testament, the pope said, God called Abraham and began to form a people that would become a blessing for the world. “With great patience — and God has a lot of it — he prepared the people of the ancient covenant and in Jesus Christ constituted them as a sign and instrument of the union of humanity with God and unity with one another.”
Pope Francis described as “dangerous” the temptation to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.”
Obviously, he said, it is not always easy to walk the path of faith with other people. “Sometimes it’s tiring. It can happen that a brother or sister creates problems for us or scandalizes us, but the Lord entrusted his message of salvation to human beings, to us, to witnesses,” he said. “It is through our brothers and sisters with their gifts and their limits,” the pope said, “that he comes to us and makes himself known. This is what belonging to the church means. Remember: Being Christian means belonging to the church. If your first name is Christian, your last name is Member of the Church.”
At the end of his talk, the pope asked people to join him in praying that they would never “give into the temptation of thinking you can do without others, without the church, that you can save yourself, of thinking you can be a laboratory Christian.” Christians, he said, are not manufactured in isolation, but belong to a long line of believers who handed on the faith and challenged one another to live it fully.
The audience was the last the pope was scheduled to hold before beginning a reduced summer schedule.
(End of article).
I focus on Pope Francis’s prayer that members of the Church would never “‘give into the temptation of thinking you can do without others, without the church, that you can save yourself, of thinking you can be a laboratory Christian.’ Christians, he said, are not manufactured in isolation, but belong to a long line of believers who handed on the faith and challenged one another to live it fully.”
He equates “doing without others, without the Church,” “save yourself,” and “laboratory Christian.” I am reminded of a conference on collaborative (team) learning I attended where one of the questions from the audience was: “If we can have collaborative learning, why can’t we have collaborative assessment.” In other words, if we learn together, we should write exams together. Pass one, pass all; and hopefully fail no one – especially if they are nice people.
According to the Pope, God (in Christ) is mediated through the “Church,” defined by Roman Catholicism as the institution consisting of the Pope and his hierarchy. And we all know that institutions do not have one personal bone in their body. And it’s only through cleaving to this clerical institution via the “Vicar of Christ” that Christians are able to cleave to God. So, when Jesus knocks at a Christian’s door (no, he never knocks at an unbeliever’s door, because Jesus doesn’t knock on coffins) and asks to be invited in for supper, for a more personal relationship (“I stand at the door and knock – Revelation 3:21), the Pope would admonish, “What’s with this “more personal!” when “personal” itself is not only forbidden by the Church, but an impossible concept?
Contrary to Pope Francis, Augustine of Hippo writes in his Confessions:
“When I shall cleave unto You with all my being, then shall I in nothing have pain and labour; and my life shall be a real life, being wholly full of You. But now since he whom Thou fillest is the one Thou liftest up, I am a burden to myself, as not being full of You. Joys of sorrow contend with sorrows of joy; and on which side the victory may be I know not. Woe is me! Lord, have pity on me. My evil sorrows contend with my good joys; and on which side the victory may be I know not. Woe is me! Lord, have pity on me. Woe is me! Lo, I hide not my wounds; You are the Physician, I the sick; Thou merciful, I miserable.”
Is it possible to cleave to God? A Christian, as Augustine illustrates, certainly can. Such a God is personal, and if personal then surely one can cleave to God’s Person.
The Pope says above that it is “dangerous” to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.” But Pope Francis’s recently pronounced that salvation is a reward for good works.
“LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The Holy Father is full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility. On Wednesday he declared that all people, not just Catholics, are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists. However, he did emphasize there was a catch. Those people must still do good. In fact, it is in doing good that they are led to the One who is the Source of all that is good. In essence he simply restated the hope of the Church that all come to know God, through His Son Jesus Christ.”
Then there’s Vatican 2; one of the major outcomes of Vatican 2 was:
“Acknowledging God’s presence beyond the Church. The Holy Spirit is working in all religions, including “our separate Christian brothers” (Protestants). Ecumenical efforts should be made to foster dialogue with all religions.” The Catholic Church, since Vatican II (1962-65), has radically changed its attitude towards inter-religious dialogue. Thomas Merton and other Catholic devotees of Eastern thought had a significant influence on changing Rome’s attitude to non-Christian religions. (Nostra Aetate 2 – (Nostra Aetate is the Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions proclaimed by Pope Paul VI, October, 1965). (See Buddhism, Judaism and Catholic Nostra Aetate).
So, who needs the Roman Catholic Church to be saved. Salvation for the Pope, has, of course, nothing to do with a personal relationship with God. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heaven awaits, ’cause doesn’t Jesus say: “I (your neighbour) was hungry…and you fed me (him/her)…welcome into the Kingdom of my Father.” Who then needs faith in Jesus as a (personal) saviour? As we say in French, “personne” (no person).
The biblical God is very personal: “You have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans, 8:15) and “they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me (Jesus’ prayer to hid father – John 17:20b). I often hear Christians say “Christianity is a relationship not a religion.” Trite but not complete tripe. More correct is it to say that the heart of the Christian religion is relationship; vertical first, between God and Christians, and horizontal second, between Christians.
The Pope is wrong to dismiss the personal experience of God. It is true, though, that much of modern popular Christian culture is obsessed with self-discovery techniques where the church is set aside in favour of savouring one’s own personal Jesus. Christians do have a personal relationship with Christ but this depends on faith and trust in what Christ has done in history. Instead, we see personal relationship displacing knowledge: “I don’t wanna know about Jesus, I wanna know Jesus.’’ Such thinking is a disaster waiting to happen. It indicates that you know little Christianity. How in a future heaven or on this or a future earth can you have a personal relationship with someone you know little about? Knowledge, like books, is not everything, but it ain’t nothing. Indeed knowledge of the kind we are concerned with often comes from books, or someone bookish.
The Reformed (Calvinist) position, is that the relationship we have with Jesus is based on the premises that he has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the father. So, he is not with us in the same way that people are together in a room. We don’t see Jesus in a face-to-face relationship. He has ascended on high, so if I am going to relate to him it is through the power of the Holy Spirit and my trust in his work for me. This trust in Christ, is granted by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit somehow unites me too a personal Jesus who is not even in the room. The “invite Jesus into your heart” people think that Jesus can take up “residence in your aorta” – the pipeline to your heart.
Paul says the Spirit has been sent into our hearts to cry out “abba father”‘ (Romans 8:28). To be in the spirit, says Paul, is to be in Christ, and to be in Christ is to be in the Spirit. We don’t ask Jesus into our heart – dead hearts can’t invite; we trust in him that his work and mercy will exchange our sin nature for his righteousness (making us right with God; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
I think, however, that the personal relationship with Jesus has been largely ignored. Jesus says: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4), and Paul tells of his “commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). This is the language of “mystical union” in Christ by the Spirit. Christ is not climbing down from heaven into our hearts.
One of the most marvellous of all the Christian doctrines is our union with Christ (Romans 5 – 6; 1 Cor 15:2). Our union is not only in Christ’s life but in his death: “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20). Are these just “objective” words (outside of me) that I believe, or can they be a personal encounter with God? Both.
”I am the vine, you are the branches (John 15) shows us how the corporate aspect of the mystical union comes into play between parts of the body with Christ as the head. This does not mean, though, that the believer only comes alive (to the presence of God) when he or she is united to other believers (the Church). When I am born again, I meet Christ, person to person, in a mystical way of course. Yet just because this meeting is not physical, this doesn’t mean that it is not personal, this doesn’t mean that Jesus is not taking up residence in my ”heart.” We are given, says Jones, a new power, a new direction, a new disposition – we’re seated in the heavenlies. This power is given by Christ, not the church. This power is consolidated by the church (fellow members of the body). The key issue, though, is that if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature, a new person. Why? Because he has met the person Christ – in his “heart” – but (first) in his head.
John Frame writes in his “Doctrine of the Word of God.”
The main contention of this volume is that God’s speech to man is real speech. It is very much like one person speaking to another. God speaks so that we can understand him and respond appropriately. Appropriate responses are of many kinds: belief, obedience, affection, repentance, laughter, pain, sadness, and so on. God’s speech is often propositional: God’s conveying information to us. But it is far more than that. It includes all the features, functions, beauty, and richness of language that we see in human communication, and more. So the concept I wish to defend is broader than the “propositional revelation” that we argued so ardently forty years ago, though propositional revelation is part of it. My thesis is that God’s word, in all its qualities and aspects, is a personal communication from him to us.”
There is a mystical union between: Husband and wife, and between Christ and His church – the Body of Christ: Many members, we form one body with unique gifts and roles. The Mystery of Christ – John 17: 20-23 ” …that all of them may be one …so the world may believe that you have sent me …may they be brought to complete unity …” And God and the individual – the Unio Mystica 1. Colossians 1:27 “Christ in you” John 15:5 “If a man remains in me and I in him” 3. John 14:16-17 “for he lives with you and will be in you” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “God’s Spirit lives in you.”
You can’t save yourself without others; therefore, says Pope Francis, you can’t have a personal relationship with Christ. I am reminded of a Roman Catholic relative told me that she aims to drag lapsed Catholics and others into heaven on her back. I said to her “You seem to be talking about the Roman Catholic idea of the “treasury of merit.” She probably gets tis piggy-back view of salvation from the horse’s mouth.
(For a rabbinical view of whether one can have a direct relationship with God see Can a Jew singly cleave to God: it seems not).
“And this is the reason why our theology is certain: it snatches us away from ourselves and places us outside ourselves, so that we do not depend on our own strength, conscience, experience, person, or works but depend on that which is outside ourselves, that is, on the promises and truth of God, which cannot deceive.” LUTHER’S WORKS, American Edition, 55 vols. Eds. Pelikan and Lehmann (St Louis and Philadelphia: Concordia and fortress.) 45:70–71.
My sister Sonia is 84, and has been living in a Jewish old-age home for more than 20 years. She like all the Jews discussed here do not align themselves with the Bible or any branch of Judaism: they are “cultural” Jews. Sonia cannot do much for herself. Her favourite is chocolate which, if allowed, she would snarf all day. My second sister visits her always bearing chocs. She does not give it directly to Sonia but to the nurses, who, to Sonia’s chagrin, dole out a few morsels a day, because, they say, too much sugar is bad for her health. I told my second sister that she should let Sonia eat as much chocolate as she could afford to buy for Sonia. “But, she said, Sonia might die.” I replied, “So, she lives an extra few months – deprived.” I asked my second sister, “What do you think happens to you when you die?” She said she will rejoin Mommy and Daddy. I asked, “Will you see Jesus there?” She replied, “Of course not, he’s on a much higher plane.”
Although Christians believe that they will meet Jesus when they die, “higher planes” is not a Christian term. Christians (should) believe that it’s the work, the finished work of Christ, faith in Him, faith in His works, not ours, that reconciles us to God, that brings us into God’s presence on earth, and, in a much more intimate way, in heaven. Sonia also used to talk of higher planes. Years ago I asked Sonia whether she ever read the Bible. She said she had moved far beyond that.
In July 2006, when on holiday from Oman, where I was teaching at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, I visited Sonia at Highlands House, the Jewish home for the elderly situated in the “City Bowl” area of Cape Town. Cape Town seems to be quite small and neatly arranged. This is because of “Table Mountain” that surrounds the town centre and seems to hold the city in a bowl. For this reason, the terrain between Table mountain and the harbour is called the City Bowl. Highlands House is situated a stone’s throw from the mountain.
It was often difficult to get Sonia to talk about the past, but on this occasion, she was more relaxed. I wrote down our conversation verbatim.
Sonia’s words are in italics.
What school did you go to? She doesn’t answer the question. She gives me the name of five of her classmates who became doctors (medical doctors). For Yiddish Jews, you’re not a real doctor unless you’re a medical doctor. If you were thinking of visiting a certain place, my mother, Fanny (Yiddish, Feigele “little swallow”) would settle the issue with: “Die greste dokteirim geit dottern” (The greatest doctors go there).
I’m going to tell you how I became enlightened. I studied mysticism, the mystical way of life, since 1963, Goldsmith, a Jewish mystic.
In our family, Sonia threw out words like “infinite “divine”, “mystical.” They thought she was mad. She was an embarassment. What lay behind Goldsmith’s “Infinite way.”
Joel S. Goldsmith is described as one of the “great modern mystics – the American teacher, healer and lecturer.” Goldsmith’s “Infinite Way” is also called the “Circle of Christhood.” Here is an except from his book:
“The day is coming when there will be a band of Christhood around the world, a circle of Christhood. Not persons, not people – I’m not speaking of that. I’m speaking of a band of spiritual consciousness around the world. You know how it will get there? By these realizations of Christ. The Christ, as Browning tells us, is within ourselves, bottled up there, corked up. We must open out a way for that imprisoned splendor to escape.”
My whole life expanded. I don’t know where to begin. It’s not a thing you can study intellectually. The pupil is ready; the teacher appears. Who we are, our function on earth; can’t talk anymore; it just enfolds(unfolds?).” “Enfolds?” A spark of gnostic genius, perhaps.
Sonia shows me a poem she wrote.
It’s from the soul. Can’t snatch from outside, or hear about it, or copy it. I always loved writing. I’m waiting for the right time. My thoughts become potent and real, become colourful.
You have a fantastic way of expressing yourself.
Did you read the scriptures?
Didn’t need to, it just unfolded. I see things with such depth. I had an elocution teacher at Maitland High (School), Valda Adams, who went to Hollywood. I also wanted to help. I wrote a letter for Blanche in my class who was absent. I signed her father’s name. I was meant to be queen in a play. The teacher found out and I lost the part. The principal put me on his lap and said: “You’re a good girl but you must learn.”
I wrote an essay: “Good will and cooperation in South Africa.” The teachers thought it too advanced, but I wrote it from my heart. I left school to help Daddy in his business (See Bags, scrap metal, bottles and bare bones). I went, Sonia continues, to extramural lectures (in psychology).
Sonia then relates the time – more than 30 years later – when she went to Avrom, our nephew’s place for supper. Avrom is my brother Joe’s son. Avrom left South Africa more than 30 years ago for Australia, and is in the organic fruit business as well as being the Regional Director of the Jewish Defence League of Australia. Sonia describes Avrom’s cooking.
Black mushrooms grilled in garlic butter filled with delicious creamed spinach and topped with garlic white sauce. Peri-peri livers or plain and onions finished off in a delicious fresh tomato sauce.
Sonia then talked about our father, Issy:
I want to write a book about Daddy. Fantastic chef. He bought, he cooked, he presented.
Then about life at home:
Too full of sorrow. Daddy was not a thinker. Mommy was. He liked good food and getting his way. Gave her lots of babies.
I remembered the comment (in an official memo written in 1951) made by the Principal of the Cape Jewish Orphanage who said that my parents had “14 or 15 children.” My parents were described as people who have had 14 or 15 children, and are so brutish and self-centred that they are totally unable to care for their numerous progeny. The principal went on to say that the Orphanage had five of the Gamaroff offspring until 1949 (I was one of these). They did not have 15 children; thet had 9 or 10. I think one died in early chldhood. See Cape Jewish Orphanage (8): And then there were fifteen).
Sonia then talked about her ex-husband, Israel. They divorced in the 1970s. He got sick in the late 1980s. Sonia went to stay with him and cared for him. Sonia continues:
I stayed with him to make him well. There was dust in his lungs. I loved to cook and heal. Nothing was too hard for me. Made him chicken and salads. He got better and better. He was healed. He was living in his air cocoon (in a lung machine? in his own world?).
There’s a chakra in your breast that protects you. Thank you Father (God), you know better. I won’t retaliate. I went through the university of life. I studied 40 years – and you can’t buy it for money. But now we are purified with God’s love. I’m all because of You. He is perfect. So are we. And any less than that, throw out.
If Sonia thinks she is perfect, then she is God, and thus, she exists on the highest plane. Recall my second sister who said that because of her imperfections, when she dies it will take a long time to reach the realm where Jesus lives. When I was in my teens my father told me that if he had to change, it could only be for worse. Divine perfection was my father.
What were these religious outpourings and unfoldings from Sonia? Was there method in Sonia’s theosophical mishmash? Theosophy is a religious philosophy originating with Helena Blavatsky. Theosophy teaches that all religions are attempts by the “Spiritual Hierarchy”, the “One Mind”, the “Overself” to help humanity evolve to greater perfection, where all religions have a measure of the truth.
The source of love, for the Jewish psychologist, Gerald Jampolsky, is within the eternal inner man. When you discover that source – through transforming your consciousness – you will discover that your fear was groundless. Here is Jampolsky in his “Love is letting go of fear”:
“…wouldn’t our lives be more meaningful if we looked at what has no beginning and no ending as our reality. Only love fits this definition of the eternal. Everything else is transitory and therefore meaningless…..fear can offer us nothing because it is nothing (p. 17)…all minds are joined…we share a common Self, and that inner peace and Love are in fact all that are real…Love is letting go of fear (.p.18)…we can choose our own reality. Because our will is free, we can choose to see and experience the truth (p. 21).”
Jampolsky’s God is the “Eternal common Self,” which is an Eastern metaphysic. “We can learn to receive direction from our inner intuitive voice, which is our guide to knowing (p. 28). The “inner intuitive voice” is the voice of the eternal common Self.
When I was a devout Catholic, I read the great Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. I was still wet behind the mystical ears, and didn’t know that you could be a good Catholic and a good Buddhist at the same time. According to Thomas Merton, Buddhism and Catholicism were two sides of the same coin, of the same Koinona (communion); they participate, according to Merton, in the same communion of divine fellowship. Each is a different door to human solidarity and brotherhood. The present Pope, Francis, says the same thing.
Buddha’s final words to his disciples were:
“Make of yourself a light. Rely upon yourself; do not rely upon anyone else. Make my teachings your light. Rely upon them; do not depend upon any other teaching.”
Contrast that with the words of John the Baptist:
“He was not himself the light, but was to bear witness to the light” (John, 1:8). John the Baptist continued to proclaim that Christ “is the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world” (John, 1:9).
Christ says “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Christ is the light. No human being has any light IN himself waiting to shine forth.
Here is an excerpt of an ABC-TV interview featuring Shirley Maclaine:
During an oceanside conversation, David presses her to stand up and assert the presence of the “God-truth” within. After suggesting several affirmations, he selects a powerful one for Shirley: “I am God.”
Timidly, she stands at the Pacific. Stretching out her arms, she mouths the words half-heartedly.
“Say it louder.”
Shirley blusters about this statement being a little too pompous. For him to make her chant those words is — well, it sounds so insufferably arrogant.
David’s answer cuts to the quick: “See how little you think of yourself?”
This deep insight embarrasses MacLaine into holy boldness. Intuitively, she comes to feel he’s right. Lifting both arms to the sky, she pumps it out — “I am God! I am God!” — as the ocean laps at her feet.
It didn’t come naturally to Maclaine. But to stand up in public and declaim it; that takes supernatural chutzpa.
I read much of Paul Brunton. I was surprised – but why should someone who is alert to the uncanny be surprised by anything – to discover that Paul Brunton was not only Jewish, but his original name was Raphael – Raphael Hurst. He was born in London from Jewish parents who had emigrated to England from Eastern Europe. His parents were part of the same wave of emigrants from Eastern Europe as my two sets of grandparents. Brunton’s parents stayed in England permanently. My grandparents came via England to South Africa.
Earlier we met the Jew, Joel Goldsmith, heading East on his “Infinite way” towards enlightenment. Now, we meet Raphael Hurst, another Wandering Jew wondering among the esoterica (Esoteric knowledge is knowledge only known to a few) of East and West. He was, if not the first, among the first to tailor Eastern philosophy to a Western audience. He said you don’t have to be a monk to be enlightened.
Why did Raphael Hurst change his name to Paul Brunton? Let me answer with another question? Who is going to read books about yogis, holy men and ancient Egyptian priests written by Raphael Hurst, unmistakably a Jewish boy? Although, in recent years it is has become respectable to be a “Jubu”: a Jewish Buddhist, as it has become chi-chi to be a “Cabu”: a Catholic Buddhist (Thomas Merton). Perhaps it had little to do with Raphael’s desire to hide his Jewishness and more to do with finding a name that is better suited to selling books. They do it in the movie business, so why not in the publishing business? For example, what kind of a name is David Kaminsky or Stewart Konigsberg if you want to be a great Jewish actor? Danny Kaye and Woody Allen would fit the bill. Imagine a Yiddishe mama saying to her gentile neighbour: my son de hekter Stewart Konigsberg. Compare that with: my son de hekter Voody Ellern.
What unites religions? “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” What divides religions: “I am God” (waiting to unfold in me) versus “I am a creature of God”. The one view is: “God is inside me; my spirit is eternal”. The opposite view is: “God, who is outside me, created me – both body and spirit, and I don’t find God; He finds me. I don’t look for God; He looks for me. I’m unable to look for God because I’m dead to the things of God.” That’s the New Testament view of the difference between the God inside waiting to unfold and the God outside taking up residence in you. How God comes to abide in you is the question that divides the monotheistic-creator religions. This “how” also is one of the major divisive points within Christianity, itself. (See Arminianism versus Calvinism).
In no domain other than religion do the prepositions “inside” and “outside” take on such great significance, eternal significance. What is considered as just another grammatical element of language – two prepositions among many others – is in reality of vast import. Language – every word that proceeds from the mouth of God – is of crucial import.
So, most religions and metaphysical systems such as Gnoticism fit into the “I am God” category. The three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam fit into the “I am a creature of God” category. For many in the monotheistic camp, this view of man as mere creature is too simplistic. For example, much of Christian and Jewish mysticism is about discovering that I and God are “ONE”. The quest is for ecstatic experiences, to BE, to be oneself, One Self, the One Self, the Overself (Brunton).
But what’s this I read in this papal encyclical?
In Hinduism, men…seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and recourse to God in confidence and love. Buddhism…proposes a way of life by which man can, with confidence and trust, attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help…. The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions.” (No.56, Nostra Aetate, “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions”, Oct 28, 1965, in Documents of Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, Ed., New Revised Ed.(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1975, 1984) Para. 2.).
The Vatican seems to be emerging from its dogmatic stupor by recognising the divine in me. I feel a new energy rising in me. I leap across the boundaries that divide and cause so much strife.
My sister Sonia said she has gone far beyond the Bible. “It all unfolds.” Soon she will be standing before that terrifying majesty. “Out of the North He comes in golden splendour in his terrifying majesty” (Job 37:22).
Regarding the recent furore over Ben Carson’s remark that he was not partial (that is, not impartial – English!) to seeing a Muslim President in the White House, Dean Obeidallah, the comic Muslim, said on CNN today that he cherishes his friendships with non-Muslims.
He said Americans are very ignorant of true Islam, and that they often take the Qur’an out of context. As far as taking things out of context, that, indeed, is a common failing. I must say, however, that this kind of criticism is often both a pretext and a protest that hides either ignorance or duplicity – or a penchant for comedy. For example, consider Obeidallah’s statement that he has many non-Muslim friends.
Please don’t fall for the knowledgeable, believing, obedient Muslims’ “friendliness.” If it were genuine they would end up – they know it well – in hell. Qur’an (5:80) – “You will see many of them (professing Muslims) befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their (professing Muslims) souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide.” Muslims who befriend unbelievers will be thrust into everlasting torment.
Obeidallah, if he is on or comes to any nodding acquaintance with the above verse would probably cry “You’ve taken it out of context; that only applies when Muslims are attacked by enemies of peace.” Tripe.
Stand-up comedy in the West is much ado about parody; not an Islamic thing; unless cultural Muslims are considered Islamic. For many Muslims in the West, as with Jews and Christians, religion is a cultural thing, no more.
Is it true that not to follow your passion – assume you have a passion, which many of those impressed by this advice, if they think deeply about, don’t really have – is suicide? “Suicide” in this context means, of course, ending in, as Freud would say, the trash can of your repressed desires: the sewer – sewerside.
In his ‘Follow your passion,’ is crappy advice. Joshua Fields Millburn interviews Cal Newport:
JFM: The advice often regurgitated throughout the Internet is simply, “You should follow your passion.” Why does this sound so appealing? Why is this bad advice?
Cal: It’s appealing because it’s both simple and daring. It tells you that you have a calling, and if you can discover it and muster the courage to follow it, your working life will be fantastic. A big, bold move that changes everything: this is a powerful storyline.
The problem is that we don’t have much evidence that this is how passion works. “Follow your passion” assumes: a) you have preexisting passion, and b) if you match this passion to your job, then you’ll enjoy that job.
When I studied the issue, it was more complex. Most people don’t have preexisting passions. And research on workplace satisfaction tells that people like their jobs for more nuanced reasons than simply they match some innate interests.
In Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Career Advice, Carolyn Gregoire writes:
Self-help books and career-building workshops love to peddle one secret to a successful career: Follow your passion. Ever since Confucius proclaimed, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” chasing one’s passion has been frequently served up as a quick fix for career happiness.
“Following your bliss” may be perfectly good (if a little hackneyed) advice, but when it comes to building sustainable success in your career, the answer might not be that obvious, according to Monique Valcour, a professor of management at EDHEC Business School in France, who has spent 15 years researching careers.
“The ‘follow your passion’ self-help industry tends to under-emphasize this key point: all of the self-awareness in the world is of little use if you can’t pitch your passion to a buyer,” Valcour wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review blog. “A sustainable career is built upon the ability to show that you can fill a need that someone is willing to pay for.
Here is the kind of advice the above writers are bashing. The heading of the blog article is a quote from Kevin Claiborne: “‘Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for.’ Chris Nicholas writes:
“We should be living every day to the fullest. Regret should be just a word in the dictionary. But it never is. We humans are creatures of hindsight; we are forever bound to look back at moments and note missed opportunities and failures. Did you fail to chase your dreams? Or tell your lover how much they mean to you? Were you disappointed that you didn’t invest in those risky shares that ultimately paid huge dividends? No matter what you thought of in your moment of fear you did have regrets. At some point you settled for something other than your true passions and now when your life flashed before your eyes you wished you’d never been so foolish.”
The comment box was awash with empathetic comments. Examples:
“I can definitely relate to this feeling. I was putting my passion on hold for too long. Great writing. Strong words.”
“I read your column in the morning just before doing anything else. It really hits me. It woke me up. It made me think and brainstorm.”
And this one takes the CAKE: “Great post…You have TRULY been Heard!”
In contrast to all these endorsements, I asked the following questions on two occasions:
Chris Hi, Are there any wrong passions?
Is it possible that following your passion could lead to suicide. As for death, it is indisputable, that following your passion has on many occasions led to death.
None of the above writers – I would think – have paid any thought to the only passion that is of lasting value, of eternal value: The Passion; the Passion of the Christ, which has little to do with passion – human or divine passion. Follow The Passion – with passion (See my Christ’s passion: sufferings of every kind and Passivity and suffering in the Passion of the Christ.
Rhetorical question: If my title is meaningful, what meaning do you give to it?
We’re all ignorant until God gives us light. Does that mean we’re off the hook? Not at all. Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; 23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” If you don’t understand the truth that God’s decrees – He decrees everything – do not exonerate our ignorance, we would be ignorant of what He has revealed about Himself in the Bible. If we are to obey this revelation, we have to accept that the ideas conveyed by the words deal with certitudes, which demand a one-to-one correspondence between the words (signifiers) and concepts (signifieds). One would expect this rule to be flouted among agnostics/atheists in the post-modern strain, but one would hope not among theologians, especially Christian theologians. Yet, since the abandonment of scriptural inerrancy, postmodernism has been making inroads into Christian theology.
I discuss post-modernism in Christianity and philosophy, which is preparation for the discussion on Islam.
Here is a transcript of part of the Q&A session of the 2004 Emergent Theological Conversation with Walter Brueggemann. (The audio and the Brueggemann’s theses can be found here). There are four Q&A sessions. In this discussion, I deal with Session 1.
Q and A Session 1 (Parts in brackets have been added)
Question: “How do you live with the ambivalence of biblical narrative.”
Brueggemann: “We all have a hunger for certitude. The problem is the Gospel is not about certitude, it’s about fidelity. So, what we all want to do, if we can, is immediately transpose fidelity into certitude, because fidelity is a relational category, and certitude is a flat mechanical category (such as systematic theology, says Brueggemann in his theses ). So, we have to acknowledge our thirst for certitude, and then to recognise that if you had all the certitudes in the world, it would not make the quality if your life any better because what we must have is fidelity. …It all went haywire in the 17th century with Lutheranism and Calvinism when we tried to outscience science and switch into categories of certitude …Fidelity is like having a teenager in the house and you never get it settled for more than three minutes, and you’ve got to keep doing it again or you don’t have a relationship.
I elaborate on Brueggemann’s distinction between “certitude” and “fidelity.”
For Brueggemann, any interaction between 1. certitude, which he considers limited because it is restricted to a single meaning (univocity) and 2. fidelity, should be frowned upon. We should, therefore, be open, as Jacques Derrida (the father of “Deconstuction”) says, to “an unlimited number of contexts over an indefinite period of time,” and thus unrestricted interaction between suffering persons desiring to tell their personal stories. For Brueggemann and Derrida, and all poststructuralists (who believe there is no metaphysical centre, no fixed structures), there exists no such entity as “Being,” no such entity as essence, no such thing as a True story, but only (human) beings telling their true-ish stories, which are the only stories that ultimately matter. And if the Bible stories are able to buck – and back – them up, thank you Holy Spirit. (See Certainty and fidelity in biblical interpretation: the decinstruction of Walter Brueggeman).
There is at least one Muslim who reminds me of this postmodern trend. In the forum “Does Islam need a better PR,” one of the participants says:
“What we’ve got to realise is that Islam is not a monolithic block; there are many different interpretations and many different streams. Now the violence of a few violent extremists, who are against the teachings of the the Qur’an, that is the problem. This casts a shadow over the entire media discourse. The vast majority of Muslims condemn these actions and are against them, There is a completely different version, a beautiful version of Islam where social equities, social justice, all these things such as be kind to the weak, be kind to the elderly. All that is part of our value system (minute 2;34 ff).
Summary in a syllogism
Major premise: There are many different interpretations and streams in the Qur’an.
Minor premise: Violent extremism does not belong to the many different interpretations of the Qur’an.
Conclusion: Therefore violent extremism cannot be one of the legitimate interpretations of the Qur’an,
How can I be sure that what the participant says – about the rich variety of different meanings of Islamic texts – has only one meaning (interpretation). In her eyes, the very beauty of Islam is that you can select any interpretation you want and you’ll always find it bristling with beauty and compassion – for not only the poor and widows but also for Christians, Jews, idolators and Muslim apostates.
A course on rabbinical Judaism teaches that interpretation is ”bound to a text with wide room for interpreting its meaning?” In the room are seventy rabbis, each doing his own thing, or rather one rabbi with seventy faces. “There are seventy faces to the Torah: turn it around and around, for everything is in it” (Midrash Bamidbar [Numbers] Rabba 13:15); everything in the sense that it contains the building blocks of everything in and under heaven, which Jacob Neusner calls the “grammar” of rabbinical theology (See Jacob Neusner and Rabbinical Theology).
A Muslim version: A course on Islamic interpretation teaches that interpretation is bound to a text with wide room for interpreting its meaning? In the room are seventy Imams, each doing his own thing, or rather in the room in only one Imam with seventy faces. There are seventy faces to the Qur’an (and Hadiths): turn it around and around, for everything is in it.
Our Muslim participant reminds me of Jacques Derrida. In Derrida’s deconstruction (there is no other kind of deconstruction), language – the sediment of the desire to mean, to communicate – has no locatable centre nor retrievable origin; its existence is a network of differences between signifiers (sounds or written symbols signifying meaning), each tracing and tracking the other. In deconstruction there is no necessary connection between the desire to signify (to mean) and the signifiers (linguistic elements – sounds and writing) that evoke that desire:
“[I]f language is not inherently determined by a set of univocal (single) meanings, then language use, given an unlimited number of contexts over an indefinite period of time, becomes an unrestricted interaction of signifiers, the Nietzschean affirmation of free play without nostalgia for a “center” or for ‘origins’” (J. Derrida 1981, Dissemination. Translated by Barbara Johnson. London: Athlone, 278-93).
Our Muslim participant’s joy over the free play of meanings inherent in the Qur’an clashes with Allah’s obsession with clarity, which he can’t emphasise enough:
Qur’an 6:114—Shall I seek for a judge other than Allah, when He it is Who has sent down to you the Book fully explained?
Qur’an 11:1—This is a Book, whose verses have been made firm and free from imperfection and then they have been expounded in detail.
Qur’an 12:1—These are verses of the clear Book.
Qur’an 16:89—And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things.
Qur’an 24:46—Certainly We have revealed clear communications, and Allah guides whom He pleases to the right way.
Qur’an 27:1—These are verses of the Qur’an—a book that makes (things) clear.
Contrary to the Muslim participant in the Forum, the Qur’an claims to be not only clear but the clearest book in the world – which must imply clearer than the instruction manual on how to plug in my TV. Allah says his Qur’an is not only clear but makes everything else clear. For me, Allah’s “clear” means “it says what he means” where the what is not whatnot, but an explicit what. Similarly, the Qur’an is crystal clear that the ISIS types represent the apotheosis of Islam. (See David Wood’s ISIS and the Radicalization of Young Muslims).
“I vant to be alone” – Greta Garbo
Regarding the relationship between faith and works, I received the following comment from a Roman Catholic in response to my Piggy-back into heaven: The Roman Catholic “Treasury of Merit.”
The only time in Scripture that the words “faith” and “alone” appear together is when James 2:24 says, “A man is justified by works and not by “faith alone.” There is no other place in Scripture where these two words appear together. In fact Paul nor any other NT writer ever said, “We are justified by “faith alone.” Paul never uses the words “faith” or “only” in the same sentence either. Paul uses the word “faith” over 200 times in the Bible, but never with the word “alone.” So if James says, “A man is justified by works and not by “faith alone,” what do we do with this verse of Scripture? Do we just ignore it and continue on with what we want to believe, or what?
First let me shoo this canard away: “There is no other place in Scripture where these two words appear together.” And, where does the word “trinity” appear at all, never mind once, in the Bible. As for the assumption of Mary, and indeed the word “purgatory: – nada. That, of course, is not an issue with Roman Catholic theology for the reason that it posits two strands of divine revelation: scripture and tradition.
Now to whether the concept of “faith alone” is in the Bible.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
The biblical view of “faith” is summed up in Ephesians 2:8-10 [my square brackets and italics]:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith [in Christ]. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them [be faithful in them). (See Christian and Jewish faith)
But, if Pope Francis is your guide, why bother with the distinction between faith (in Christ) and works at all. Indeed, why bother about faith. Francis is famous for his loving kindness. It lies at the heart of Judaism, going back to Adam himself. The Jewish view is that as long as Adam was alive, God wanted to have an interaction with him. He knew that Adam had the capacity to sin, God knew it was going to happen. That was part of Adam’s struggle. That’s what God wanted. So after Adam made a mistake, God demanded him to love kindness. To love kindness, that’s a state of being that we have constantly to grow into. Adam could certainly have loved kindness more than He did. (Sin in Adam and his descendants).
According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the road to salvation is festooned with acts of loving kindness. It may be, said the Rebbe, your one tiny act of kindness that may bring Messiah (Moshiach). Pope Francis has much in common with Judaism, if not with the real Saint Francis: it’s all about loving kindness, says Pope Francis; salvation is all about loving kindness – good works. Justification (reconciliation with God) says Pope Francis, is no longer about faith AND good works, but solely about works – opera solum (if my Latin is any good). You can be an atheist, says Pope Francis, on condition that you’re good and kind. Well that is what I read on the internet, so it must be true.
“LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The Holy Father is full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility. On Wednesday he declared that all people, not just Catholics, are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists. However, he did emphasize there was a catch. Those people must still do good. In fact, it is in doing good that they are led to the One who is the Source of all that is good. In essence he simply restated the hope of the Church that all come to know God, through His Son Jesus Christ.”
The Vatican, it seems is alarmed, at best; no wonder, because Pope Francis is trashing Trent. Here is Trent:
Session 6, Chapter 8
“[I)t is most truly said that faith without works is dead and of no profit, and in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity [love].”
Here is how Pope Francis would, I suggest, rework Trent for the loving atheist:
“It is most truly said that an atheist without works is dead and will remain dead….unless he worketh by love.” (See Atheism without works is dead, says Pope Francis: Who cares?).
As for the Apostle James’s “faith without works is dead”:
“[W]hen Paul says that a person is justified by faith without works (Rom 3:28), his context makes it clear that he defines faith as something more than passive assent to a viewpoint; he defines it as a conviction that Christ is our salvation, a conviction on which one actively stakes one’s life (Rom 1:5). James declares that one cannot be justified by faith without works (James 2:14)—because he uses the word “faith” to mean mere assent that something is true (2:19), he demands that such assent be actively demonstrated by obedience to show that it is genuine (2:18). In other words, James and Paul use the word “faith” differently, but do not contradict one another on the level of meaning. If we ignore context and merely connect different verses on the basis of similar wording, we will come up with contradictions in the Bible that the original writers would never have imagined. (“Biblical Interpretation” by Craig Keener).
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes:
4 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. 9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (See Faith and Jerks…).
So, are we justified by faith alone where works are its fruit, or we justified by faith and works? I think my Roman Catholic blogger needs to rework, if not reword, his comment. And if you want to eschew those canards, let context be your guide.
I was speaking to a Roman Catholic relative who told me that she aims to drag lapsed Catholics and others into heaven on her back. I said to her “You seem to be talking about the Roman Catholic idea of the “treasury of merit.” She kept mum – and also is one.
The “treasury of merit,” is defined by the Roman Catholic Church as:
There is a communion of the saints, (1 Cor. 12, Job 1:5, Col. 1:24, Apostles’ Creed) by which we can aid one another in the Body of Christ through our prayers and sacrifices. All who are joined to Christ by sanctifying grace (and thus are sharers in His divine life) are united into one society by their participation in the one divine life. (See Indulgences, the Treasury of Merit and the Communion of Saints). What does this “aid to one another” mean? Here is the Roman Catholic catechism:
We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church’s treasury, which is “not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the ‘treasury of the Church’ is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy.”
This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.” (Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5).
My Catholic relative intends to (help Christ to?) bring about the salvation of others through 1. the excess of her prayers, 2. the frequent partaking of the eucharist and 3. loving kindness. The Protestant Reformation pivoted around the rejection of the doctrine that good works saves – saves you or those you try to piggy-back into heaven on the excess of your treasure.
My relative is the epitome of lovingkindness, yet, according to the scriptures (if not Pope Francis) those who believe that they can work someone else into heaven are at best grieviously deceived. They have rejected the only mediator and saviour, Jesus Christ. They have rejected the Gospel.
Here is a large extract from James White’s “Of doctorates and and Eternity.” http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/1998/06/01/of-doctorates-and-eternity-2/
God srengthen you, dear James. I have learnt much from you.
Here is White:
Many are not familiar with the fact that most Christian schools are desperate to obtain what is known as “accreditation,” the almost magical “acceptance” by a recognized “body” that allows them to attract the largest body of students. The cost of becoming “accredited” is high, often running into the millions of dollars just to be able to offer the most basic courses. Accrediting criteria are pretty much the same for all schools in the United States, whether religious or secular. These have included, for years, the size and location of the library, classroom building availability, staff qualifications, etc. Obviously, new or small schools cannot obtain accreditation very quickly, and any school that wishes to keep its tuition low either has to forgo the privilege, or receive some extremely large donations that can offset the cost.
Obtaining accreditation also allows schools to participate in government loan programs. Education is a high-competition area, and without such programs, many schools are simply unable to compete.
I was raised to believe that “accreditation” equaled “quality,” so that “non-accreditation” meant “no quality.” It was so much a part of the fabric of my thought that it never entered my mind to look outside the established “traditional” accredited schools as far as my own education was concerned. No, I had never really thought about what it meant that some “accrediting” body was, in the final analysis, determining how Christian education should be done. I had never been challenged to think about such things.
After completing a B.A. and an M.A., with honors, in accredited institutions, I entered into fruitful and important ministry. My ministry did not allow for a large amount of remuneration—in other words, we were, like many who seek to honor the Lord in consistently giving an answer for the hope within us, without a lot of monetary support. As I looked into doing doctoral work, I began to put more and more thought into the how’s and why’s of Christian education. While I had been in seminary, I had noted that many of my fellow students were tremendously confused about what they believed, why they were attending seminary, and what they were going to do after they got out. Yet, even in this state of utter confusion, they graduated, now with “degrees” telling the world that they were proficient in….what? I discovered, as any other serious student has discovered, that you get out of a program of study what you put into it. Even when I had professors who truly struggled to communicate, if I would try to understand, and put forth extra effort, I would be rewarded with understanding and growth. I also learned, as many others can testify, that I profited the most when I studied on my own, branching out from class discussions or readings. Many, many vital areas of Christian thought were not addressed at all in my core classes, despite my acquiring over 100 hours of graduate study.
I recognized, when I enrolled with Columbia, that given the nature of my work in apologetics, I’d undoubtedly hear attacks upon my school and my scholarship because Columbia is too young to be “accredited.” Such ad-hominem argumentation is the norm for many of those with whom I have dealings. It wouldn’t matter where I go, or what school I attend, that kind of attack will follow. I have experience teaching in accredited schools, and a Master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. That hasn’t stopped such folks from using ad-hominem argumentation against me. And any person that would be impressed by such argumentation isn’t going to be giving me a fair hearing anyway, and I can’t worry about that. Instead, the person I’m concerned about is the person who will understand the following statement: A person’s scholarship is not determined by the name of the school he or she attended, but by the quality of that person’s writing, speaking, and teaching. Anyone who thinks that just because you went to Yale you must be a real scholar hasn’t put much thought into the subject. I ask only one thing: look at what I have written, all that I have written, and ask yourself one question: does the nature of the writing, the depth of the research, and the understanding of the subject, indicate a doctoral level of education? As I said above, anyone who wishes to question my degree need only stack up his or her published works against mine and demonstrate that I just haven’t done the work. If they can’t, they are reduced to saying that scholarship is determined by how much you spend in tuition. And anyone who believes that isn’t going to be listening very carefully to what I say anyway.
James White’s blog aomin.org is my favourite, especially his podcast “The Dividing Line.” Alas, owing to the haaaalidays, there have been no podcasts, and so I’ve been feeling rather forlorn.
What I want to talk about here is White’s Doctorate obtained from the unaccredited “Columbia Evangelical Seminary.” (See “Of Doctorates and eternity”
Before I talk about the besmirching of White’s degree, let me say something about degrees in general. Did you know that some accredited universities in the US accept doctoral students from certain countries and when they graduate their degree contains the stipulation that it is not valid in the US?
When I was teaching at Fort Hare University (Nelson Mandela studied there – whoopee), one of the junior lecturers in the (English) Department said he was going to the US for 18 months to do an M.A. I said to him: “Eighteen months! Why don’t you do…
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Whether you are an atheist, agnostic, Christian or whatever, you presuppose you are able to understand – at least this sentence.
In Christian apologetics, there are two main schools: the evidentialists and the presuppositionalists. Both agree that God gave us a loaf and expects us to use it, for you can’t assent to something that has not initially passed through your loaf. . They disagree, however, on how we go about using it. The evidentialist says there are three stages in coming to faith in Christ: 1. Information (notitia) 2. Intellectual assent (assensus) and 3. Trust (fiducia). The presuppositionalist agrees that you need all three. The two schools differ in the following regard. I use a verse from scripture to illustrate:
1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him who is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
The pesupposionalist says:
(Note: “This,” which begins the second sentence, refers grammatically to the immediate antecedent, namely, “his Son Jesus Christ.”
The reason we (Christians) understand his Son Jesus Christ to be the true God is because the Father decreed from eternity that we would understand it – providing us with the means of the three stages of notitia, assensus and fiducia.
How do I know that God decreed that some would use their loaf in the right way, how do I justify the presupposition that God decrees everything? You’re asking me to prove this presupposition. This presupposes that presuppositions can be proved. Atheists presuppose the “laws” of nature because, they say, THAT is the way nature has evolved; I presuppose the God of the Bible because the Bible says THAT is the way I was created.
I am debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: 21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.
To put it gently, reject Romans 1, you’re toast.
“Happy enough is the man who is chosen of God; he may not ask a question as to when or where. Yet we could wish it were otherwise in our case, and that zeal and fervour were not restrained and hampered by being yoked to painful infirmities of the flesh. We could do more, and we think we may add, without self-confidence, we would do more, if we were not laid prostrate at the very moment when our work requires our presence. However, unto the Lord be the arrangement of our health or disease, our life or our death ; but while we live, we will leave no stone unturned for the increase of His glorious Kingdom “in the earth. Every interval of relief shall be laid out in His service. The time is short, it must therefore be spent all the more economically; the work is great, the Lord must be trusted the more simply.”
Excerpt from the Introduction by Thomas Spurgeon, son of Charles Spurgeon, of C. H. (Charles Haddon). “Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon compiled from his diary, letters and records by his wife and his private secretary.” Passmore and Alabaster, 1900. Free ebook https://archive.org/details/autobiographyofc04inspur.
One of my Christian relatives was in an accident and will be restricted in movement for a while. She feels, naturally, frustrated, and is determined to get well quickly. She is determined, but, as she is an Arminian (and thus has a thin understanding of the decrees of God), what she means by “determined” is not what the Bible means.
Christians of all stripes who know their Bible have a tendency to forget or no longer trust:
And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.
Or don’t understand or appreciate the reason for their existence:
38 I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the affluent West, If you’re retired, you must have been asked many times what you do with yourself. Well, I think about God a lot, read a lot, write a bit, cook a lot and practice my classical guitar a lot; I must master the tremolo before I die. What am I doing all this for? Simple, I’m preparing for death and life – eternal life.
No matter what a Christian’s age, the main job is to renew the mind, that is, to become eternally minded. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Dying, I live. The hard part of dying is working out my salvation in fear and trembling. Why do I tremble? Because it is Christ who works in me.
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
The prevalent Western view is that we arose out of the slime, which is the reason we are all , except cute little kiddies – though they would not admit it – slimy creatures. This view is so ngrained nto the Western-enlightened-Darwinian psyche that the idea that homo SAPiens originated from a perfect human pair created by God out if the dust of the ground very silly.