CENTER: On self?

Unfortunately, the Liberal worldview is just one manifestation of our not being ‘grown-up’ about things (i.e., family, friends, foes, work, play, rest, etc.).  In other words, what’s wrong with Liberalism is wrong with all of us!  We need to grow-up and be comfortable doing so, especially when those around us act/think like children.

Let’s remember that all our efforts are in vain, unless Christ builds himself (likeness) in us, otherwise we’ll be found pretending to be grown-up.

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AUDIO: Christ and Culture (debate)

Here’s the first in a series of debates on the relationship between Christ and Culture.  I’ve only listened to the first installment and it proved a worthy listen.  I’m going to assume the same could be said for the remainder.

Go here:  Christ and Culture: Introductory Remarks

Other files here:  Archive for the ‘Christ and Culture’ Category

GOSPEL: Moral Living or More on Him

Came across this quote a week ago or so:

“We do tend to reduce the Gospel to moral living and the American way of life. Even those of us in the church act as if God is powerless and we have to do everything for Him.  The early church knew a supernatural God who didn’t always do things the way they thought He ought to.  Maybe we should look to and rely more on Him and less on ourselves.”

ISLAM: Paganism Re-Worked

A glance at the origins of Islam:

[found here: http://bibleprobe.com/muhammad.htm]

WHO IS ALLAH?

The Black Meteor inside the Kaba


The stone has been attacked many times and is now composed of several pieces and fragments, bound together by a silver ligature.

When Muhammad was born in Mecca, each Arab tribe in Mecca had their own deity.  There was a large black meteor found in the desert which many Arabs believed was sent to them by astral deities.  This rock was placed in the southeast corner of the cube-shaped structure in Mecca.  The arabs knew this rock as the Ka’ba, which means stone.  The black rock’s diameter is about 12 inches.  It is reddish black in color, and has red and yellow particles.During this time before Islam this stone was part of the shrine to worship of a chief male god (among over 350 other gods) who was known as Hubal.  The black meteor stone was said to symbolize a nature god known as al-Hajar al-Aswad.  Hubal was an oracular deity whose statue — in human form and made of red carneol — stood in the Ka’ba until Muhammad destroyed it.  The Kaba is about 50 feet high, and the walls are about 40 feet long.  The facade contains the door, which starts at 7 feet off the ground, and faces N.E.. To enter the Kaba, a ladder must be used.  Also built in the eastern corner, is another stone called “lucky”.  This stone is only touched, not kissed.  Pagans called out the names of their pagan gods as they circled the Kaba the same as Muslims do today, calling out Allah’s name.  Early Meccan Pagans also ran between the nearby hills. Muhammad authorized Muslims to do that in the Quran, and Muhammad probably ran between the hills himself. So, even before Muhammad pagans were worshipping this black stone in the Kaba.  Are we surprised that although Muhammad  proclaimed only one God, he continued to participate in idol worship at this pagan shrine (Kaba); and Muslims still do idol worship there today?  The black stone of Ka’aba is nothing but a holdover within Islam, from pre-Islamic paganism.

There is evidence that black stones were commonly worshipped in the Arab world.  In 190 A.D. Clement of Alexandria mentioned that “the Arabs worship stone”.  He was alluding to the black stone of Dusares at Petra.  In the 2nd century, Maximus Tyrius wrote; “The Arabians pay homage to I know not what god, which they represent by a quadrangular stone”.  Maximus was speaking of the Kaaba (Ka’ba) that contains the Black Stone.

The Qurash (aka: Quraish) tribe which Muhammad belonged to was in charge of idol worship at the Ka’ba Shrine.  The chief god of Muhammad’s tribe was one of the three sister goddesses called al-Uzza, the youngest of the three daughters of the pre-Islamic Allah and the patron goddess of Mecca.  Her name means “the mighty one”.  The other two were named “al-Lat and “al-Manat”.  It was only by chance that a fortune teller counseled Muhammad’s grandfather against sacrificing Muhammad’s father to this al-Uzza pagan diety.  The head of these pagan, animalistic deities was “Al-llah”.  It is believed that “al-llah” in Muhammad’s time before Islam referred to a vague moon god and that Muhammad believed that al-Uzza was a daughter of this “al-llah”.

The Qurash tribe’s Allah corresponded to the god Bel, which is another name of the Assyrio-Babylonian gods En-lil and Marduk. It has the same meaning as Baal.  The Arabic today translates the word Allah as “God”.  Muhammad’s father’s name was Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd al-Mullalib.  “Abd-Allah” means slave of Allah.   When Muhammad says there is only one god – Allah – now you have an idea what his background / thinking was; and who this Allah actually is.

ISLAM: More Than A Religion!

Among all the programs I’ve heard about Islam, this one by the folks at the White Horse Inn is probably at the very top:  Christianity Confronts Islam

Muslim scholar and former professor of Shari’ah law, Sam Solomon, helps answer questions like:

What is the meaning of Jihad?

Is Islam really a religion of peace?

What does the Koran say about terrorism?

There is little doubt in my mind that our (and our children’s) days will continue to be filled with conversation and (mis-) information about what Islam is and how/why it functions in the manner it does.  This program helps provide a sieve whereby we can begin to sift through the glut of so-called information thrown our way.

A sample of what’s discussed in this program:

  • God created only Muslims.
    1. All who don’t submit to Allah are ultimately those who are apostate, having broken away from Allah’s original design.
  • Christians and Jews are the worst of Allah’s creatures
  • Islam is not a mere Religion, but is a system containing ALL of the following dynamics:
    1. Socio-economic
    2. Socio-judicial
    3. Socio-legislative
    4. Socio-militaristic
    5. Socio-religious
    6. Socio-familial
    7. Etc. (it is a complete worldview; a culture-wide system; ALL is to be made holy…in EVERYTHING being brought into open/active submission to Allah!)
      1. ALL crime is sin
      2. ALL sin is crime
      3. Insubordinate (apostate) ones are enemies of Islam/The State
  • Muslims can lie (even under “oath”), and in this not only avoiding violating the way of Allah but actually enhances it.
    1. Particularly in cases involving non-Muslims (infidels)
    2. Shake hands with the infidel, you may; but be sure to wash before going to prayers.
  • The Koran is not to be subjected to any criticism whatsoever!!!
    1. Not a single teaching of the Koran is to be question.
      1. A child is not to ask: “Was Mohammad really a prophet of Allah?”
  • The Koran is to be treated with TOTAL reverence.
    1. There is to be no questioning of the historical veracity of the Koran.
    2. A good Muslim is to ignore the open contradictions of the Koran:
      1. I.e., “Mary is both:  Moses’ sister / Jesus’ mother!”
  • Blind “submission” is to be given to the Koran, without any hesitance whatsoever.
  • Hitler and the Nazis were greatly appreciated by Islam
    1. Nazis protected Muslims, providing safe havens for them in European countries.
    2. Nazis persecuted Jews and Christians, for which Islam is grateful.
  • Europeans (governments and churches) have come to embrace the role of Islam, both abroad and at home (in Europe).
    1. Liberal European Churches
      1. The Council of European Bishop’s Conferences
        1. Quote:  “Another important area of work is relations with Islam in Europe, carried on jointly with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences.”
      2. They accept Mohammad as a Prophet of the Old Testament and that Jesus was a Muslim.
        1. Quote from Issues in Christian-Muslim Relations: Ecumenical Considerations“The prophets, many of whom are the great figures of the Bible Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, John the Baptist and Jesus Son of the Virgin Mary – all brought essentially the same message. Ultimately, God sent Muhammad as His final Prophet, confirming and validating the messages of all earlier prophets and entrusting him with the Qur’an, the literal, complete, perfect revelation of God’s message and will. Consequently, Islam claims to be at one and the same time both universal and particular. Every child born into the world is by nature a “Muslim”, for Islam is held to be the primordial and natural religion. In the Qur’an, figures like Abraham, Jesus and his disciples, who lived before Muhammad, are called “Muslims”.”
      3. Just a glance at this book The European Union, Turkey and Islam will give one a flavor for what’s taking place.
    2. European Governments
      1. There is something of an Islamic Revolution taking place in Europe, to which books like this one attests: Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis
  • The so-called “War on Terror” fails to see the whole picture.
    1. “Jihad” is incarnate in the entire Muslim way, not merely in an “Insurgency”.
      1. The challenge that the West faces is that Jihad is often ‘faceless’, as it operates in the West.
  • The Koran espouses “terror”
    1. “The Jews and Christians say: ‘We are the children of God and His loved ones.’ Say: ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins?” (Surah 5:18)
    2. “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:36-)
    3. “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
    4. “Slay them wherever you find them…Idolatry is worse than carnage…Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme.” (Surah 2:190-)
    5. “…make war on the leaders of unbelief…Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them…” (Surah 9:12-)
    6. “If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men.” (Surah 9:37-)
  • The Koran denies Christ’s incarnation and crucifixion:
    1. “‘How shall I bear a child,’ she [Mary] answered, ‘when I am a virgin…?’ ‘Such is the will of the Lord,’ he replied. ‘That is no difficult thing for Him…God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!…Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood…” (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)
    2. “The God will say: ‘Jesus, son of Mary, did you ever say to mankind ‘Worship me and my mother as gods besides God?’ ‘Glory to You, ‘he will answer, ‘how could I ever say that to which I have no right?” (Surah 5:114-)
    3. “Say: ‘Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom…” (Surah 17:111)
    1. “Christ was not crucified (Surah 4:157) but those who believed He never died should ponder over this verse (i.e. 33 of Surat al-Maryam)”.

TRANSLATION: Relativizing the Gospel

Another good program over at the White Horse Inn, featuring William Willimon: Faulty Translations

Willimon sees “Christianity is kind of like a foreign language that one is not born with,” which sadly “many preachers today are attempting to “translate” …into familiar and comfortable terms that people are used to, but the result, he argues, is that things get “lost in translation.””

Willimon points out the following:

1)       The Gospel is not to be translated as Therapy.

2)       The Gospel is not another Commodity.

3)       The Gospel is not another Life-Style Choice.

4)      The Gospel is not something you are born with.

5)       The Gospel is not User-Friendly.

6)      The Gospel does not make sense to/in this World.

7)       The Gospel creates a different world, with a different focus (i.e., Cross-eyed).

8)      The Gospel creates a counter-culture.

9)      The Gospel can make Life a bit more difficult.

10)    The Gospel is not a word about Glory (God’s making all things glorious now).

11)     The Gospel is a word of Grace (God’s condescension to sinners).

Willimon suggests asking this one question:

“When listening to a sermon, would Christ need to be CRUCIFIED in order to make this sermon work?”

Meaning, if the sermon works without Christ’s birth/godly-life/death/burial/raising/reigning, then, the sermon is not Christian.  It may be informational and/or ethical, but to be fails to be CHRISTIAN (rooted in the New Covenant!) by not preaching Him (1Cor.1.23; 2 Cor.1.19; 2Cor.4.5; Col.1.28; 1Tim.3.16).

CIVIL: USA as Political Messiah

Richard Gamble on Civil Religion:

“America’s anointment as the world’s political messiah did not end when demobilized troops returned from Europe in 1919. It did not end with America’s opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, nor with America’s refusal to join the League of Nations. The cumulative product of generations of reflection, experience, and anticipation, the American identity reached too deep and far to have been uprooted in a moment of supposed renunciation. Transcending party politics and most ideological boundaries, nearly all of the language of universality and emancipation, of the “city on a hill” and the world’s rebirth, of light and dark, Messiah and Armageddon, reverberates down to the present moment. Like Woodrow Wilson before them, few modern presidents have been able to resist the allure of America’s global redemptive consciousness. In the 1940s, Franklin Roosevelt planned for a future refounded on four freedoms, freedoms that would prevail “everywhere in the world.” In the fourth of these universal freedoms, freedom from fear, he anticipated a day when “no nation will be in a position to commit and act of physical aggression against any neighbor – anywhere in the world.”

“In countless speeches from the 1960s through the 1980s, moreover, Ronald Reagan reached back to the earliest metaphors of America’s divine destiny” to reaffirm the nation’s special calling as a “city on a hill.” Combining the Puritan errand with the Enlightenment dream of earthly regeneration, he also embraced Tom Pain’s longing to “begin the world over again.” And on September 11, 2002, George W. Bush, speaking with the colossus of the Statue of Liberty behind him, called America the “hope of all mankind” and appropriated the world of John 1:5 as if they described not just the Incarnation of Christ but the mission of the United States: “And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness will not overcome it.” To one degree or another and with varying motives and consequences, each of these men continued to speak of the United States as if it were the Salvator Mundi, following a pattern of thought that has endured for more than four centuries.”

[HT: DG Hart]