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Messages - mallm

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1
Islam / Re: Faking Qur'an on da net & ........
« on: March 29, 2004, 11:47:53 AM »
The faking of Holy books is not new it has been going on for centuries.  I think it may be useless to just generalise and say a book is faked, for the simple reason that some of the changes are very subtle and unrecogniseable until you read closely.  So it is very important to state those books and what has been faked rather than just saying they are fake, for the interest of those who may not be able to pick the changes or descrepences that are included in fake ones.

I would like to point out that there is also a difference between a fake holy book or the pointing out real or percieved inconsistencies in a holy book.  This type of problem arises either out of misunderstanding and misinterpretation or it is just a delibrate attempt to smear.  This requires discussions and not outright condemnation.  You can never understand the next person if you do not understand (or atleast try and understand) the context of his existence.

So rather than call for the heads of those who fake holy books, pray for them that God has mercy on them.  Remember sometimes people do these things out of lack of knowledge so educate them do not fight them.  Before we knew of them God already knew of them and has set out their punishment so let us let God be God and not take matters in our own hands, but we must totally reject and denounce the act as that He has called us to do.

I say for those that fake holy books (in this case the bible) God have mercy on them for the word of God says whosoever adds or removes from the word of God would surely be judged by God, vengence is God's not mine or anyother being.

2
General Board / Re: RELIGION :Problem Of Mankind
« on: March 15, 2004, 01:01:24 PM »
Barkan ku da yau

I have read this string while I thought the question or issue raised was very relevant and deserving of proper objective and intellectual discussion, I was dissapointed with the direction it took.  My understanding of the issue is why the violence in the name of God?  This is a simple straight forward question yet answers went at a tangent!  The writer never mentioned any specific religion as the problem yet reponses were to the effect that this or that religion has done that or this how does that help the present situation if I may ask?  Why the defensive posture rather than a discussion?  People are asking for statistics, is even one death or act of violence due to intolerance towards a religion not too much?  

As commented in one of the posts the issue of the early christain crusaders, this issue and others like it has embarassed true christains around the world and appologies have been rendered for the act, because that act has NO biblical basis.  they bible never instructs any christain to attack or kill anyone under any circumstance.  So to even use that episode in the history of the church to justify current violence is irresponsible!

Some one questioned the relationship between religion and violence citing the need for statistics and goes on to suggest that it is secularism that is the cause of the religious violence.  But maybe we should look at what causes secularism, it is almost always out of despair, loss of faith and hope in religions!  What will you tell a secular person when you the non secular ones all you do is kill each other?  Whereas it is simpler to understand why secular communities may engage in violence, the execution of such acts defies logic.  A simple question will come to the mind of a secular person will be how can a person professing the love, compassion, supremacy of God/Allah, peace etc of their religion decide to take matters in their hands?  Is it a sign of lack of faith and trust in their God/Allah?  Does their God/Allah have a limitation?  So how tolerant religions are will have an effect on how secular populations increase or decrease.

Unless we accept that religionous violence is wrong and speak out against it irrespect of our religious belief we will remain in denial, and do not forget it is not only people and property that are destroyed, the image of the country in the comity of nations is also affected!

3
General Board / Re: Senate Impeaches OBJ........!
« on: March 05, 2004, 06:16:11 PM »
OBJ is a complete disaster!!! my worry is that all this impeachment moves will die out like all the others that were tried.  Money will change hands and everyone will keep quite.  The greed amongst our people is just alarming it is the stumbling block of any chigaba in nigeria.  This man came to power full of vengence and greed now we are in a worse state than we ever were.

Public utilities are completely run down with corruption and they have decided to pivatise them by selling them to OBJ's family and friends.  In a country with nigeria's resourses and in a democratic environment a minister is killed and the govt con not even find the killers, senior members of political parties are murdered no almost on a monthly basis, armed robbers are having a field day and evn attack convoys of govenors.  The armed robbers are better armed than the police and army put togther and he say he is president.  How do we really expect the police even with their corruption to fight crime? they do not have patrol vans, no proper guns and equipment etc yet mr president is flying around the world!

Police in nigeria do not have communication radios!! in 2004 can you believe that in a country that is the 6th largest oil exporter.  The man has focused on Abacha and his family for what? Yes Abacha may have had his own failings and wrongs but you can not have a president whose rule is all about getting abacha and northerners! what about himself how did he get otta farm? or has he forgotten that he signed the decree into place that was used to execute almost 200 military officers and civilians in 1975?  This fixaation with Abacha and the so called abacha loot is rubbish what has been done with the present loot the country has?

I stay in a country where health facilities we would consider as first class and only for top people in nigeria is a common place! the drugs are there you get an accident on a road abulances, police are there within minutes, yet this is not a place with more resources than nigeria!

Anyway the bottom line is for as long as he is not taken out it is just another scheme to make money!!!!

4
General Board / : Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 08, 2004, 09:35:29 PM »
Barde

Its good to see you are begining to agree to a more sequential approach (even though we have jumped the issue of violence in the name of God). And no your long reply is most welcomed (that is if I am included in the apology), we should expect that in discussions of this nature, it is safer than reckless statements that are baseless and lacking in any type of methodological study.

So let us look at what you are saying.  You say you do not understand the portion dealing with the origin of the word Allah in my posting?  Well it is just that a history based on historical fact on where the word Allah originated from references have been given which you can also check.  So do you agree with that? If not please let me have you own study on the origin of the word.  This is a very important aspect because it will give perspective to the discussion.

Now on the matter of the Trinity you still do not seem to understand what the word description is I have tried and broken it down as best as I can, I will continue though.  Now I have said it (Trinity) as a word is not in the bible it is a word to describe the the concept of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  And this concept is found from the very first book of the bible.  Let me put it this way for you you have a mind, a body and a spirit right?  When people talk to you do they refer to the part of you they are talking to or to Barde?  Now when did your mind, body and spirit come into existence is it when you were born and named or was it upon conception by your mother?  I think you should ask youself these questions and answer them.

I find it interesting that you make an issue out of the fact that the word Trinity does not exist in the bible yet listen to you (posting dated 7/3/04) "You said that the net total of Allah's attribute is only found in two verses, does it really matter how many times it is been mentioned? if it does, why then as you said trinity cannot be found in the bible? (both new and old testaments)"  Let me tell you why the number of times Allah's attributes are mentined is important.  The number of times you call a person is an indication of how important/urgent a matter is.  If a matter is important it will be stressed over and over again it will not just be mentioned once off.  That is why it is important to observe the number of times a thing is repeated.  I find interesting that you find nothing wrong is an attribute which is important in describing Allah appearing in a very limited way in the quran, but find it strange that a word used to describe a biblical concept does not appear in the bible.

You said and I quote "Does it really matter where al-Adl is found? whether qur'an or hadith is okay for us as Allah says in surah 4:170..........True muslims accepts anything that comes from Muhammad (saw) so far it has been accurately narrated." Carefully look at what you said, but before I go on, I should enlighten you to the fact that christians all over the world believe that the bible is the only book in the world that contains the undisputed word of God, and therefore only its contents can be made reference to as authoritative word of God NOTHING ELSE!  Look at the first part of the qoute, you make so much of an issue out of the word Trinity not being in the bible, yet you find nothing wrong if al-Adl is not in the quran and you believe and accept it.  May I ask you then how many books did Mohammed (SAW) get from Allah? Why are you bringing the hadith into the frame?  Is the hadith the word of God? if so why is it not in the quran but a seperate book? Should we then take it that Allah gave two seperate books?  And I agree with you about the importance of true and accurate interpretation of holy books, however any interpretation that can not give us references with the relevant holy book must be veiwed with some suspicion, because we must remember that interpretations are done by men.  Who does the interpretation the hadith? the prophet (SAW) or men? What do you believe in as the word of Allah? the quran or the hadith? If it is the quran then show me where in the quran used the term al-Adl for Allah.

I qoute you again "You said Allah does not have justice as his attribute, if i may ask you, what does this verse (4:124) talking about? and i quote, "Whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a believer, such will enter paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a speck on the back of a date-stone, will be done to them". qur'an (4:124). and another one says and i quote,  "So whoever does good equal to the weight of an atom shall see it and who so ever does evil equal to the weight of an atom shall see it". (qur'an 99:7-8).  Look at both your qoutes there is non that says categorically clear that Allah is just. Your qoutes do not describe being just as an inherent attribute of Allah but just tells us that Allah will be just on a case by case basis. Look at the first qoute, it starts with "Whoever........" this is a condition and goes on to say "such will......." this is what is termed a reward or consequence statement.  Look at the second qoute the same applies condition statement "So whoever does........" reward or consequence statement "...shall see it......".  There is no point or indication that Allah is inherently Just which is quite the opposite in the bible where God is clearly and categorically refered to as a just God therefore leaving no one in doubt.

This is from my posting "Another common term used for sin is 'haram' (forbidden). It indicates that nothing is right or wrong by nature, but only becomes such if Allah says so. What he forbids is sin, even if he forbade what seems to the human conscience right and lawful. What Allah allows is not sin and cannot be sin at the time he allows it, though it may have been before or after. (E.g.: Muttah, 4:28, the marriage of convenience still practised by Shias today, direction of prayer, 2:119, 2:145, number of daily prayers, 30:17, 11:116, drinking of alcohol, 2:216, 5:92 etc.) "

I qoute you "You also made mention of Muttah, it is not only a marriage of convenience but also a temporary marriage practiced by discples of prophet when they are away from their families for long time and they cannot control their sexual desires. As stated in qur'an 4:28.  And again you said ".....all the commandments were not revealed at once, considering the kind of activities people were doing at that time, he did not tell them to stop everything at once, if for example, they are drinking 12 bottles of alcohol in a day, he will start by telling them to drink like six bottles daily, then with time he will tell them to stop completely.

Now look at what you said closely and think about the implications carefuly, does it not bother you that prophets of a Holy Allah will indulge in that kind of activity (I suggest you also look up the word temporary)?  Look at the second qoute I made from your posting, even in mortal human terms laws are not put in place gradually, does it not make you wonder how a just Allah that hates sin will on the one hand have a sliding scale of justice, while also permiting sin for as long as it is less than the previous? is sin not just sin? is wrong not just wrong?

The catalogu of the 700 sins is of no importance to the discussion it was used as a reference to butress a point.

I qoute you "Don't know much about the sufis, talkless of their pantheistic belief...."  What you are making reference to here is information provided to you which is a historical fact I am not surprised you are not aware of it but I hope you have learnt something that will also raise your curiosity and encourage you to search for truth.

This is from your qoute "Why do you call me good, Jesus asked? only God is truely good". (Mark 11:18) (Remember trinity). Yes I know our discussion on Trinity.  My understanding of why you are making this reference is that you are questioning if we say Jesus is God why then does Jesus say only God is truly good. First of all you are wrong with your reference you must be refering to Mark 10:18. The start of the verse tells you that somebody asked a question and was refering to Jesus as good and the verse is Jesus's response to the question.  So what was the question?  the question was ..."Good Teacher, what shall I do to get eternal life?" (Mark 10:17).  Now remember as I told you and also I also qouted verses for you in the bible, christains believe in only ONE God!  You have tried and pushed a particular veiw point that is not supported in the bible, which is to try and imply that christians are saying there is more than one God.  Read again my posting covering the Holy Trinity please!!!!! Mark 10:18 Jesus was challenging the man's faulty perception of good as something measure by human acheivement (Mat 19:17; Luke 18:19; John 5:41-44).  No one is good absolutely perfect, except God alone, the true Source and Standard of goodness.  The man needed to see himself in the context of God's perfect character.  Jesus's response did not deny His own deity but was a veiled claim to it.  The man, unwittingly calling Him "good" needed to perceive Jesus' true identity.  If you noticed, the man later dropped the word "good" verse 20.

I noticed once again you conveniently qouted only the last line of the verse. Your qoute of 1Timothy 3:16 "He was taken up into the heaven" wait a minute and ponder about the statement (remember trinity).  1Timothy 3:16 reads: Beyond ALL QUESTIONS (my emphasis), the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in BODY (my emphasis) was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world was taken in glory.  I see the last line is your concern when you read the whole verse in context you will see that the last line was refering to the resurection of Jesus.  So I do not get your point except if you are trying to bring in the ressurection which I will suggest we wait for another time and another thread.

You wrote and I qoute "what kind of uniqueness is Mallam talking about? when the God he is worshipping, felt thirsty as stated in John 20:28. Also God cried, seeking for help from another God, as stated in Mathew 27:46 and i quote
 
"Eli,Eli, lema sabachthani"? meaning My God, My God, why have you foresaken me? (Mathew 27:46). We all know that these two verses (john 20:28 and Mathew 27:46) are among the commonest attribute of mankind. Tell me how is he unique? Remember trinity."

In the first place as I said I am begining to feel there is a delibrate attempt on your part to misqoute the bible completely or else where did you get your qoute on John 20:28? John 20:28 reads: Thomas said to him "My Lord my God."  So Barde where did you get your thirst story? On Mathew 27:46, you have touched on one of the central themes of christainity for here we see God love for mankind and His desire to save man.  You see in christainity, Jesus laid His life for us sinners His life was never taken away, because it was the plan all along.  Lets start from verse 45 Note that before Jesus uttered those words, darkness came over all the land. It is in this period of darkness that Jesus became the Sin-offering for the world (John1:29; Rom.5:8; 2Cor.5:21; 1Peter 2:24; 1Peter 3:18) and remember God is Holy as far as we christians are concerned and our bible continously reminds us of that, He can not look at sin no matter the size, it goes against the Holyness of God.  Now it is at this point when Jesus took over the sin of the world that God turned away (seperated from Jesus), near the end when Jesus could not bear the seperation with the Father, He cried out Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? (My God My God why have You forsaken Me?).  Jesus sensed a seperation from the Father He had never known, for in becoming sin, the Father had to turn judicially from His Son (Rom. 3:25-26).  So do not use this passage in you case on the Trinity if anything, this verse only confirms it futher.  Remember my advise to you please read contextually and cross reference.

You wrote and I qoute "Mallam,find below lists of how God was described in your bible and let me know your responses on each and every verse......"

1. Jacob wrestles with God (Genesis 22:30).

ANS:  Firstly there is nothing like Gen 22:30 I suppose you are refering to Gen 32:22-28.  Please note that from verse 24 the wrestle was with a man who appeared out of nowhere.  It is also significant to note that this fight was at night and Jacob was also seized with fear and uncertainty.  You must also note that Jacob never lost the fight until an extraordinary supernatural act was evoked to gain advantage and the fight lasted till day break.  This wrestle was with an Angel of God (see also Hosea 12:4) and because the Angel of God is God's representative he bears God's name (see also Exodus 23:21) and that is why you have in verse 28 ".......you have struggled with God.....".  Also note that this struggle was not just physical but was also spiritual.
 
2. Smoke from God's nostril and devouring fire from his mouth(2 Sam 22:9).

ANS: I wonder if you understand what an attribute is.  Again your qoute says nothing.  This is just a description by David of God's anger over His enemies and it continues with what He (God) will do to them.  This does not describe God at all, so I do not see your point.
 
3. Brutality and showing no mercy on the part of God, ordering that there shouldn't be any treaty. (Deutronomy 7:2).
Go and read about the treaty of Hudaybiyya.

ANS:The command to destroy them totally should be seen in this light.  Firstly we know that the wages of sin is death and these nations that are being spoken about here were known for their sins (see also Deutronomy 9:4-5)  Studies of their religion, literature, archeological remains reveal that they were the most morally depraved culture on the earth at that time.  Secondly they persisted in their hatred of God (see also Deuteronomy 7:10), had they repented God would have spared them as He spared the Ninevites who repented at the preaching of Jonah, repentance was out of the question for these people. Thirdly the Canaanites constituted a moral cancer (see also Deuteronomy 20:17-18; Num 33:55; Josh.23:12-13), one of them even a child left alive had the potential introducing idolatory and immorality which would spread.  You must understand that it is only God who knows the heart of men so He knows the future, the killing was not because He did not give them a chance, but He knew their heart and in His infinite wisdom acted accordingly.

4. The lord will bring a terrible curse on a whole nation and cause its people to experience greater terror (Isiah 7:17). Is your God a terrorist?
 
ANS: Yo see you determination to misqoute the bible has hardened your heart you are not even interested in checking your facts.  The verse contains judgement God is visiting Ahaz a branch of the house of David, for his iniquity. So I wonder how Gods warning of judgement can classify Him as a terrorist in islam.  Please read the whole chapter first.  Does not Allah also promise grave judgement in the quran? And about terrorism well I will leave you with that you know the rest.

5.  God rested and refreshed (Exodus 31:17). Your God became exhausted after creating the heaven and the earth. What a unique attribute. See qur'an 55:29, it will give you an idea of a unique attribute.

ANS: I see your conclusion of the verse is that God rested as you would rest again please read the chapter again note please the rest is symbolic and not God catching a nap or something.  Note that it was on the seventh day, this is the day that is considered the sabbath day by the Jews, on this day they do no work but is a day set aside to rest and worship and praise God.  I see you really do not know the meaning of attribute, how can you lack of study and investigation into a matter be a sign of lack of an attribute of God?
 
6. God repents for making Saul king of Israeel (1Samuel 15:10&30).

ANS: I think you meant 1 Samuel 15:11.  Here God had determined Sauls rejection and aquainted Samuel with it.  Repentance in God is not as it is in us - a change of mind NO! Here we see a change of method or dispensation.  He does not alter His will but wills an alteration.  See Genesis 6:6, 2 Samuel 24:16, Psalm 110:4, Jeremiah 18:7-10, Amos 7:3, Jonah 3:10 and 4:2.  Please read these references to understand your 8 word sentence which you are using as the basis of you ill informed notion.
 
7. God behaves like a drunk(Psalms 78:65). Waiyya zhubillah.
 
ANS: I suggest you read start from Ps 78:1-4 please note that it starts as a story in form of a parable. You should always as a rule find context please.  This is the Paslm o Asaph the speech is all figurative.  Here it is a way or likening the wake to the rise of a mighty man. Of course if you are to read it literally and out of context you get a different message and that is what I am trying to get to you.  You must contextualise each time you read the bible, go to the root of what is being said or else one would end up with a warped sense of interpretation like yours.  You have said in you posting Allah allows some level of promiscuity as shown when some prophets were involved in it, I sincerely will be waiting for your explanation on that.

8. 1Timothy 6:16 states and i quote "He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No one has ever seen him, nor ever will. To him be honor and power forever" (1Timothy 6:16). Remember trinity?

ANS: This does not contradict the Trinity, I have written alot about the Trinity now, I think it is time you tell me based on all I have posted on the subject what you understand by the Trinity and stop this childish run aroun flinging same verses everytime yet not picking on what I have posted in that regard.  to me it appears it is not the whole picture you are interested in but just a statement you can read and interpret your own way without investigating what the statement means from the bible.  Let me give you a little background, early in his ministry Paul was convinced Christ will return soon.  Now near the end of his ministry he showed awareness that Christ might not return before he died and a desire to encourage Timothy to leave the timing of this great event up to the Lord.  Hence Paul stressed that God will bring about Christ's appearing in His own time.  So contrary to what you are trying to say that particular verse as qouted by you is refering to Christ's second coming (please note that King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the title of Christ see Rev 19:16)

9. Mark 11:12-14. Am still appealling to my freinds to allow me Narrate this short story. According to the book of Mark chapter 11 verses 12- 14, Jesus curses a fig tree.
"The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus felt hungry. He noticed a fig tree a little way off that was in full leaf, so he went over to see if he could find any figs on it. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then jesus said to the tree, May no one ever eat your fruit again! And the disciples heard him say it."Remeber trinity?

The point i want to make here is that Jesus(remember trinity), was completely ignorant of the season, he taught he could get something to eat on the tree. Remember Genesis?God created everything and yet, he felt hungry and wasted his time going to a fruitless tree, and after that he became angry to the extent that he cursed the tree.

ANS:  You are really fixated by the word Trinity.  I am glad verse after verse I have shown you the concept of the Trinity and you do not have anything to say about that or to disput instead you keep going back to the same things.  You have an insatiable appetite to want to decieve.  Let us see how ignorant you are, you say Jesus did not know the season.  It is a fact both historically and even presently that in Palestine (the area of the story) fig trees produced crops of small edible buds in March followed by th appearance of large green leaves in early april.  these early green "fruit" (buds) was common food for local peasants.  Eventually these "fruits" (buds) dropped off when the normal crop figs formed and ripen in late may june - the fig season.  So I hope you have learnt something, and have recognised how ignorant you are. I do not get the point you want to make on the Genesis part.  Do not feel bad about your ignorance please if you do not raise such points nobody will see them and give you the right information and you will remain ignorant.

5
General Board / Re: Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 05, 2004, 02:57:13 PM »
Barde

Oh my friend no no no I have and will never avoid the questions you raised about sharia for me to answer, you see I find it more important to educate you about my faith than to go into a debate that may be unneccesary about sharia, because i have seen and i know that there are lots of people like you that are completely ignorant about christianity yet you want to go bashing it or completely misrepresenting it in forums where God has through His grace provided you to speak on matters that may affect christianity.  So to me your understanding christianity far out weighs a debate on sharia.

If I remember i saw in one of your postings an indication that you are a Masters degree student and I am very glad because then I expect you will understand what research is all about.  Now for your reference to my 29/02/04 posting you are right with your qoute.  If you look carefully what I was talking about was the origin of the word Trinity not the concept.  If you look again at the posting and the last one I did on the Trinity alot of references were given on the multiplicity of God and if you check you can never find the word Trinity in the bible.  

You see it is like a description of you if you are described properly aand to the last t, aperson who knows you and reads the description will immediately say this is Barde, you see he attaches a name to you from a statement of the various components that describe you.  Again your parents gave you a name when you were born, but when did you start existing? the time you were given a name after birth or when you were in your mothers womb?  The fact that you got a name after birth from your parents does not mean you only started existing after birth? you were there all along.  So please read again carefully the word trinity indeed came about after Christ but the concept which it describes is before Christ and if you read the bible carefully you would see the concept actually starts from Genesis 1.

I am glad to see you say that you are in the learning process.  However I am very suprised you accuse me of kept mute on the sharia issue but I noticed you and all those that have read my postings have kept extremely silent on the questions they raise instead you have found it more prudent to either attack my person or other by th way issues.  I recall on one or two remarks that showed an inkly to respond but both thought i should start a new discussion.  Now if you or anybody had anything to say about the postings to either clarify me or dispute the posting why did you not say it or start a discussion on the matter surely you can always refer to the posting.  My first posting ended with a question put in the form of a thought and statement on the burning of religious houses and a comment on the supremacy of God (it was a christian perspective) and yet nothing was said.  This is despite the fact that you know in nigeria and in the north the burning of religious buildings and other religious violent acts is always started under the guise of islam.  You know and recent history of such happening is there for you and everyone to see.  But to my amazement not a word from anyone to even try to explain or give clarity of these happenings from a muslim perspective.  On my post of the 29/2/04 I did not expect people like you to have kept silent I expected a discussion on the issues I raised nothing was forthcoming instead I was personally attacked.  If you profess your faith as strongly as you claim to be doing why are you not answering the issues raised in the posting?  Surely you would want me to understand your faith better to remove any misconceptions? Except of course if you agree with my postings or you were not aware of the facts that I presented to you.

So maybe instead of you accusing me of being mute, it may be an opportuned time for you to now start answering some of the issues raised.  You have ask and raised questions on the Trinity I have sent a posting but you tell me it is too long.  I however plead with you to take sometime to read the posting, print it if possible and read it carefully it will help your learning process

6
General Board / Re: Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 04, 2004, 03:29:49 PM »
Barde

Here is the continuation

---------------------------------------------------------------
Pt 2

B. Trinity makes personal relationship with God possible

Because sin is so severe and separates the Holy One from unholy men, God the Father sent God the Son to die for our sins on the cross. Without belief in the Trinity such a divine rescue operation would have been impossible. If God was One in the Muslim sense of the word who would have ruled the Universe during the time he died for us? Nobody and that can not be since God rules for ever. He who believes that Jesus died for his sin on the cross must believe in the Trinity. It is impossible to believe in the one without the other. Only through the work of Jesus on the cross men is enabled to stand in the presence of the Holy God.

Andrei Roubliev, a Russian artist, has painted a most interesting picture. It depicts God's visitation to Abraham and Sarah in the form of three angels. (Gen 18:1-8) One sees three men who are eating on a table. There is an empty space reserved for YOU! You are invited to enjoy the fellowship of God the Holy Trinity! We have a hard time to grasp such an incredible thought because when we think about God we stand in awe about the fact that he is One, Almighty, Powerful, having all things under his sovereign control. This is all true but it is only one side of the picture. God reveals himself not only as the sovereign One but also as having an intensive, passionate relationship within the Trinity. Through faith in Jesus and his works God invites us into a relationship as his children, who have the potential to become his grown up sons and daughters, his friends!

'And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast.' (Eph 2:6-9)

'His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.' (2 Pet 1:3)

'The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 Joh 1:2-3)

Jesus: 'I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.' (Joh 15:15)

Good friends treat each other as equals even though they may come from different backgrounds, have different jobs, and may not belong to the same social class. In spite of the differences their friendship unites them. Friends respect and listen to each other. Everyone is invited to share their opinions, feelings and ideas freely without having to fear they will be rejected as persons. Constructive criticism is allowed. Someone said, 'a friend is one who knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts who you have become, and still gently invites you to grow.' As incredible as it may sound but if we have become friends with God! Through faith in Jesus he offers us such a friendship! We are invited to participate in it! God rejoices over us and our uniqueness. In taking part in God's unity our being different from everyone else will honour and glorify him. It is true, we have not deserved to be treated in such a way, it is not our right but God offers his friendship as a privilege.

Of course, as friends of the perfect God we will make mistakes here on earth. However, God is so great that he can even turn around the bad and make it work for our good.

'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.' (Rom 8:28)

God's will can be compared with a river. Within the river bed it will always find a way. Our sins and selfishness are like debris, stones and mud. They can not stop the river for ever. It will find a possibility to get around the awkward hindrances. As long as we stay in the friendship with God he will finish the work he has started in us. (Phi 1:6) Is that not good news indeed?

C. Trinity makes personal relationship with people possible

Relationships are absolutely vital for a healthy upbringing, in fact for our very survival as human beings. Babies, orphaned during the second world war died for a lack of attention. A small child who got lost in a French forest for years started to act like an animal. Similarly, sin, selfishness, is the single most devastating problem that mars relationships and cuts people off from each other. It turns their existence into a kind of hell on earth. Since God the Holy Trinity dealt with our rebellion against him, forgiveness is available through faith in Jesus. Only they who are forgiven by God can truly forgive others. Then God's ultimate goal for us becomes possible. In the Westminster Catechism it is described as, 'The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.' This happens when we who are made in God's image, reflect him by living in loving relationships with him and each other in marriage, family, the church and the wider society. Whatever we do has to be a reflection of God's community, the Holy Trinity. God's goal is to reproduce His community:

'Jesus said: 'My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.' (Joh 17:20-23)

Dr J. Robert Clinton, professor of leadership at Fuller Theological Seninary, USA, believes after having conducted extensive research that less than 30% of all leaders world wide finish well. (Clinton, 1992, page 7) The main thing that is going to help us finish well is community with God and with each other. Because we are fallen we are called to suffering in the process.

'For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.' (1 Pet 2:19-21, see also verses 22-25 and Phil 2:1-14)

We must adopt this theology of suffering. Like the Russian Christian we should be surprised if we do not suffer! God allows suffering in our lives because he trusts us.

'And we, who with unveiled faces (we must take off our masks) all reflect (as a result of being real and honest not of doing) the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.' (2 Cor 3:18-4:1)

We are called to enter the pain caused by living in a fallen community not to run from it. We are to stay in the 'tunnel of chaos until we bump into God.' As we do this we will learn to ask different questions about the same realities and we will be freed up to move more in our giftedness. Community with one another is sitting in the pain knowing that we can not fix it. By being loved in that way people are being freed up to be changed by God. An important issue is not to build up trust in each other only (Joh 2:24) but to get willing to open ourselves up to be hurt by others. Tears are an open door where others invite us to share their pain. When someone challenges us we should take what they say or do, unwrap it like a gift, examine it, rather than react against it superficially. To do this we need solitude in God's presence. 'Lord, why do you allowed this to happen? What do you want me to learn?' We are to be accountable to each other regularly. If more than one person tells us the same we will be more likely to listen. If sinful patterns repeat themselves we have either not pursued each other enough to keep a superficial peace or rebellion against God takes place in peoples lives. In case of the latter, as a last resort because we live in a fallen world, separation will have to occur.

D. Trinity teaches that diversity is necessary

The tree Persons of the Trinity have different roles but the same goal, namely to enable us to enter into fellowship with God and to grow in that profound relationship. God the Father is the One who sends, God the Son is the One who saves and God the Holy Spirit is the One who lives in the Christian and helps him to grow spiritually. What a tremendous example of diversity within unity, one for us to follow. To do so we desperately need the help of God the Holy Spirit. Without him we are more drawn to people that are like us in terms of where they come from, what they do and who they are. Therefore, we are in danger of judging those who are different from us, even though they may still be within biblical boundaries. Quickly we are tempted to say, 'the way we do it is better.' Perhaps we should say, 'we are doing this differently, not necessarily better or worse.' Young Christians should not say 'the way we worship God with modern songs is better than how our fathers did it.' Our style of worship is just different, that is all. Especially when Christians come together for worship and service of God they are told to do so in diversity according to the giftedness of each. (See 1 Cor 12)

The same principle, that diversity contributes to the richness, the quality of our relationships, is also applicable in the areas of marriage, family, friends, relatives and at work. Developments where things are done differently but still to the glory of God should make us rejoice. We ought to support not try to hinder them out of fear. Oneness with the people we relate is important as long as we make room for others to be different if they choose to do so. In the beginning of life a child would like to be one and the same with his parents. At a later stage it also wants to be different to live out its own God given uniqueness. If someone experiences too much one and the sameness they feel uneasy and suffocated. He who does not feel enough unity will get lonely. These paradox desires are a sign of God's life in us.

British economist Brian Griffiths describes poignantly the practical implications of the Trinitarian doctrine for political and economic life in his book, 'The Creation of Wealth' (Downers Grove, III, IVP, 1984, page 55): 'When in religion the One is given preference, as in Islam, the consequence has been a form of totalitarian state which attempts to discern the will of Allah. When the many are given priority the result is anarchy. But the tension is one which extends to economic philosophy. Fascism and Marxism are both an attempt to emphasise the one to the exclusion of the many and to find salvation in economic terms through the state. Libertanianism is an attempt to emphasise the many at the expense of the One and is a prescription not just for laissez faire but also for anarchy. The relevance of the Trinity is to emphasise both the individual and the state, as well as a large variety of mediating institutions which form the basis of a pluralistic society. As far as economic life is concerned these include corporations, partnerships, trade unions, professional associations, committees concerned with setting standards, and so on.'

The current move towards multiculturalism and its over emphasis on diversity in Europe and the USA is threatening the balance exemplified in the Trinity. The unity in these societies which previously resulted from faith in the same Biblical world view is being replaced by a post modernistic belief that there is no absolute truth. The latter is self contradictory since its claim is a statement of absolute truth itself. Part of the confusion can be found in today's perversion of the word 'faith'. Most often it is used to mean 'a position held despite a lack of evidence or despite opposing evidence'. The biblical word 'pistis' is derived from 'pitheo', a legal term meaning 'to be convinced by argument' or 'to yield to the evidence.' As distinguished intellectuals such as C.S. Lewis or Francis Schaeffer have shown over and over again, the case for Biblical Christianity is solid and can be believed to be true in the biblical sense of the word. (See also www.biblicalchristianity.freeserve.co.uk for the article 'Which religion, if any, holds the truth?') A society built upon the Biblical world view will respect, protect and assimilate minorities but they will not be able to dominate it with their own world views.

As we have seen above, God made man in his image therefore those who follow him and his teaching become like him to a certain extent. This principle is also applicable the other way round. Psalm 115:3-4, 8 teaches that those who follow idols and what they command will also become like them:

'But our God is in heaven: he has done whatever was pleasing to him. Their images are silver and gold, the work of men's hands...Those who make them are like them; and so is everyone who puts his faith in them'.

All man-made gods represented in today's religions teach that human beings are basically good with the capacity to do bad. When reality fails to match this ideal a totalitarian political system is created to maintain order. As a result leaders like Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Idi Amin slaughtered millions of people in the name of progress. To the contrary the Bible teaches that man is basically a sinner with the capacity to do good. Democracy, despite all its abuses and excesses is built on the truth of man's depravity. It is designed to cope with a society of sinners. Free markets keep them honest by providing an open, competitive system. None of the alternatives, mercantilism, monopolism or consumerism measure up to it. Free markets, the product of democracy, also encourage enlightened self-interest a Biblical idea derived from passages where man is commanded to love himself for God's sake but also to love others for their sake, too. (Luke 10:27, 1 John 3:16). Because men are sinners democracy has built up laws to protect the people from its leaders. Power corrupts, therefore it is diffused into the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

E. Trinity teaches that mission originates naturally from it

Have you ever wondered why God created the world in the first place? Within the community of the Trinity he has absolutely no unmet needs. So why would he want to bother with creation and all the hassles we brought him through our rebellion against him? Could it be that he created the world and gave life to us as an overflow of his love existing within the Trinity? He who truly loves wants to give. That profound truth has to be at the heart of every missionary activity. The result of it is also a new creation. Those who believe in Jesus are born again. (Joh 3) They who know God the Holy Trinity personally, they in whom God lives through his Holy Spirit, can not but tell others about Jesus. He said: 'For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.' (Mat 12:34) Mission is at the very heart of God. It is his heart beat, the centre of his life. What kind of place does the subject of mission take in our life? When have we last told others about Jesus?

F. Trinity teaches about unity of life

Life originates from God the Holy Trinity who is life and from whom all forms of life begin. Therefore God is everywhere. He can be found in nature and in all other of his works.

'(God) You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.' (Psa 139:5-12)

'From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone - an image made by man's design and skill.' (Act 17:26 -29)

The teaching that God is everywhere is Biblical as can be seen from the passages above. New Age ideologies too believe that God is everywhere. Whereas according to those teachings God is equal to nature and is confined to it, Jews and Christians believe that God exists not just in his works but his presence far transcends, exceeds his creation. Therefore Christians do not worship the creation because God is much bigger than it. The consequences of this truth have the potential to revolutionise our daily lives! Since God is present everywhere we can fellowship and enjoy him during our love for mountain climbing, country rambling, swimming, just as much as in a Church service. All these forms of life are having God, the Holy Trinity as a source. His being can not be boxed and put in different categories, such as general life and spiritual life. Therefore we can worship him in and through everything good, be it while reading the Bible, praying, working on the computer, cleaning dishes, working in a factory, looking after children and so on. What a liberating truth! In case you would rather like to go for a walk then to a Church service you do not need to feel guilty. Out in the fresh air you can experience the all present God just as much if only you keep your eyes and ears attentive to him. Of course, everything has got its time. The ideal thing is doing one without neglecting the other. God, who lives in all his works and far beyond wants us to enjoy them and by doing that, him as well. God created such a rich variety of things for us to delight in. That is why we read in 1 Timothy 6:17:

'Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.'

E. Trinity teaches that a passionate life is possible

Within the community of the Holy Trinity God passionately feels, thinks, speaks and wills and works. These signs of life are naturally found in his creation too, especially in man who is created in God's image as male and female. It follows that our passions are a sign of God's life in us. As a result of sin those intense desires have sadly been subject to the likelihood of distortion and perversion. Our longing to be unique, to do something special is God given. But if we live it out wrongly we are in danger of becoming proud and selfish. God has put the desire in us to love and to be loved. Lived out in an ungodly way it can turn into lust, being overbearing, acting in a dictatorial manner, controlling. Nevertheless, the root of our passion is still God given. C.S. Lewis, a professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University put it in this way: '...wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way...badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled...All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things-resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself.' ('Mere Christianity', New York, Macmillan, 1943, pages 49-50) These thoughts are confirmed by the teaching of Christianity that Satan was originally created by God as an angel. Since everything else brought into being by God was good in the beginning, he too only became evil, a fallen angel, after his rebellion against God. Inspite of the dangers that lie in a passionate live we must not avoid it all together. After all we do not stop eating just because we are in danger of eating too much food.

The following teaching of our Lord in Matthew 16:24 has often been misunderstood to mean one should not live a passionate life:

'Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.'

To deny ourselves does mean to say 'no' to our wishes and desires if they go against the wishes and desires of Jesus. Yes, God's unity demands that we are one with him in saying 'no' to evil and selfishness. But God's holy Trinity equally asks us to say 'yes' to our good passions, to that what makes us unique, what differentiates us from others. If you love playing chess and you are good at it, then use that passion for God's glory. How? By passing on the praise people give you to God in telling them about him. Have you got a passion for dress making, sowing, knitting? Do not feel guilty if you spend hours on doing that. Use your gift for God's glory by telling others about his goodness, perhaps also by giving the finished product to someone as a gift. Do you love football, cricket, tennis? Then use these passions to praise God. How? By enjoying them and by building relationships with others in order to share your passion for God with them. If we say 'no' to our good passions we actually sin because then we say 'no' to God who is the source of all passion.

When we submit ourselves to the King of kings , the source of all our passions, he will enable us to live with unfulfilled desires too. God who is at the root of our passions is more important than their fulfilment. Therefore we can rejoice about the good things we desire without always having to consume them. Those of us who live in rich countries where everything is set towards instant satisfaction will find this truth particularly helpful.

In view of the fact that God is at the source of all passion we can even learn from our bad desires. Let me give you an example: A Christian went to a retreat centre to spend a few quiet days reading the Bible and praying. In the evenings participants were invited to share what they had learnt during the day. One day the poor soul had to fight a lot against sexual temptation and lustful thoughts. Once he pulled himself together to share about all this he expected his counsellor to say something like: 'If you really want to grow in spiritual maturity you have to rid yourself of such thoughts.' Much to his surprise he got this response: 'The sheer intensity of your temptation are a weak indication of how much God passionately loves you.' That is an unusual way to learn about God's intensive love for us from the source of passion that later turned bad.

The message of the Gospel enables us to have good passions.

At the centre of the gospel message is the proclamation that God loves us. (Joh 3:16) Sin, our rebellion against him, has spoiled the privilege of having a loving relationship with our maker. In his love he prepared a way for us to be restored again into fellowship with him by sending Jesus, God the Son, into this world to die for our sins. The punishment for our rebellion is death, separation, as seen above. Human beings are absolutely powerless to bear a sentence that is so radical because of God's holiness. In his perfection he must not have a relationship with imperfection otherwise he would cease to be God which is impossible. Whoever believes that Jesus died for their sins on their behalf will be saved from hell, the eternal separation from the Lord. They experience cleansing from evil passions in a unique, almost unbelievable way:

'Jesus said: 'If you love me, (based on the context one could also say 'if you believe in me') you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.' Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, 'But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?' Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.' (Joh 14:15-23)

Can you imagine, the Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, the Holy Trinity, promises to dwell in all those who put their faith in what Jesus has done at the cross! God lives in them, similarly as the three persons of the Trinity indwell each other without diminishing the full person hood of each. To have such a friend in one's live will naturally lead to a perfect peace but also to chaotic circumstances at times. It is encouraging to know that these crises too are a sign of new eternal life. Now, with the help of God who lives in the believer, he gets the strength to say 'no' to bad passions. He can also say 'no' to good passions if they hurt others or if it is too early to express them. That gospel is truly good news!

4. CONCLUSION

Far from being unintelligent and unimportant, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity provides the very center of a unique Christianity. Without it there would be no cross, no resurrection and consequently no grace, no meaningful life and no assurance of salvation. The Trinitarian God is absolutely instrumental in the success of all our relationships.

'Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.' (1 Tim 3:16)

7
General Board / 1. INTRODUCTION Re: Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 04, 2004, 02:10:36 PM »
Barde

You see one of the things you do is exactly what lots of false teachers do.  That is you take a verse and make it the whole story. Their is no book that can interpret the bible better thatn the bible that is why in christianity cross referencing is a vital part of bible study.  What you do is like picking a sub task in a project plan and saying you now know the project, it is impossible. Ask the question and look for the answer in the bible ask for explanations were you do not understand.  For I tell you the bible interprets itself, but as Jesus reponded to the Pharases in the book of John you can see it is not always that people ask questions to be enlighted or to understand an issue but rather to try and ridicule, so my friend motive is very important!  Here is a study that tries to explain the Trinity, but I can assure you you are not the only one who is confounded by it, however I can tell you this that it is not difficult if you know God or open you heart in all honesty and truth to look for Him.  I suggest you print this and study it closer.

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Part 1

1. INTRODUCTION

The main stream of Christianity throughout all the world believes in one God, the Holy Trinity. It is indeed a mystery, as God Himself is. Many attributes of Him are accepted by both Muslims and Christians, yet are simply not fully comprehensible to the human mind. We all accept that God has no beginning, yet do we understand this? The common question asked by children, 'If God made everything, who made God?' is just as puzzling to adults. Muslims and Christians believe that God is independent of space and time, yet how on earth can we satisfactorily explain how this might be? How is it that God can be nearer to us than our most secret thought, yet be this for the billions of other people on earth just as much simultaneously? These confusing facts apply also to all people in history and the times to come. 'Impossible!' the sceptic cries out, yet true. Then why should it be such a problem if there is some aspect of God's essential nature (his Trinitarian existence) which is difficult for us to grasp? Someone said, 'if you can understand it then be sure it is not God.' Both, the Bible and the Quran speak about God anthropomorphically (human terms are used to describe him). Orthodox Muslims do not explain the 'how'. Similarly, it is a fact that God's word was revealed in a book, but how the infinite can be expressed in the finite is not clarified. Let us now set the basic framework for our study. The Bible categorically pronounces that there is only one God!

Jesus: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.' (Mar 12:29, or Rom 3:29-30, Jam 2:19)

The Quran too testifies that Jews and Christians, the people of the Book, believe in one God. Surah 29, Ankabut, verse 46:

'And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury); But say, 'We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).'

A. CLARIFYING MISUNDERSTANDINGS

The blasphemous idea of Christians worshipping three gods comes from a wrong understanding of the Trinity. In the fifth century AD there was a Christian cult called Maryanya which spread the false belief that Jesus and his mother Mary would be two separate gods besides God. The Quran was right to speak out against such impiety. Surah 5 Ma'idah, verse 116:

'And behold! Allah will say: 'O Jesus, the son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, 'Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?' He will say: 'Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.'

To say, as the minority cult of the Maryanyas did, that Mary was the mother of God through whom He produced a physical son, and both were to be taken as separate gods besides God, is absurd! This ludicrous and heathen concept of the Trinity is completely condemned by both Islam and Christianity! The Quran rejects it in clear terms in Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 171. The triads of gods worshipped by pagans are always three separate gods, not one God. In addition to this big difference to the Biblical concept of Trinity, non-Christian Trinitarian beliefs are mostly three gods at the top of a list of many other gods. The Trinity has also been misunderstood to mean that God is three persons and only one person at the same time and in the same sense. Neither are there three substances in one substance.

2. EXPLORING THE TRUE CONCEPT OF TRINITY

A. Biblical facts as basis for Trinity

While the word 'Trinity' does not appear in the Bible the concept of it is quiet clearly taught throughout its pages. Similarly, the Muslim Creed, known as 'Kalimah' does not occur in the Quran. The whole sentence is put together from two different Surahs. Muslims call Allah 'El Adl', meaning 'the Just', 'El Wajid', meaning 'The Inventor or Maker', 'Edh Dhur', meaning 'The Harmful', etc. based on the list of the 99 names of God. However these words are nowhere found in the Quran but Muslims still accept these attributes as belonging to God. (see 'The Muslim doctrine of God', by S.M. Zwemer, American tract Society, 1905, pages 39-45) Let us now examine the verses in the Bible upon which the teaching of the Trinity is built.

'Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' (Deu 6:4-5)

Firstly we need to look at the definition of the word 'one'. 'The idea is not, Jehovah (later translated as 'LORD') our God is one (the only) God, but 'one Jehovah'...(it) simply states that it is to Him alone that the name Jehovah rightfully belongs, that He is the one absolute God, to whom no other Elohim can be compared. This is also the meaning of the same expression in Zechariah 14: 9, 'Jehovah will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Jehovah, and His name one' where the words added 'and His name one,' can only signify that in the future Jehovah would be acknowledged as the one absolute God, as King over all the earth' (Keil-Delitsch Commentary)

'The word used for 'one' is the ordinary Hebrew numeral. God is all on his own. He has no 'relations'. As far as his Godhead is concerned he is alone, unique.... Some passages use plural forms for God. One form of the name for God, Elohim, is itself plural. This is remarkable in view of the Old Testament emphasis on the unity of God. It cannot be explained as a plural of 'majesty'; this was entirely unknown to the Hebrews. It has been seen as on a level with the words for 'water' and 'heaven', which both also happen to be in the plural in Hebrew. Water can be thought of in individual raindrops or in terms of the mass of water in the ocean. The plural in this case points to 'diversity in unity'. Some believe that the same is true of the plural 'Elohim'. But there are also passages where God speaks of himself in the plural. We find them in particular in the first chapters of Genesis.

'God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...'

and,

'The Lord God said, 'Now the man has become like one of us...'

But we find it also in Isaiah's vision:

'And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' (Lion Bible, article on 'The Trinity in the Bible' by Klaas Runia)

The following verses teach also that Jehovah, God the Holy Trinity is His own community built upon a loving relationship as the essence of reality. It brings forth a perfect and beautiful unity:

'In the beginning God ('elohim', plural, the Father) created ('bara' singular verb) the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, (God the Son who is known as His word in Joh 1:1 through whom he created all things according to Col 1:16)

'Let there be light,' and there was light.' (Gen 1:1-3)

'...hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord GOD has sent me and his Spirit.' (Isa 48:16)

Ultimately, these verses find their fulfilment in Jesus (Joh 10:36, Luk 4:1,14,18).

'I will tell of the kindness of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us - yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindness. He said, 'Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me'; and so he became their Saviour. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.' (Isa 63:7-10)

There are a number of verses in the New Testament that call Jesus and the Holy Spirit God, besides God the Father. (Joh 8:58, compare with Exo 3:14; Act 5:3-4 etc.) In the light of this truth the following verses are understood to be speaking about the Trinity:

'And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.' (Mat 3:16-17)

'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name (singular!) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,...' (Mat 28:19)

'May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.' (2 Cor 13:13)

'Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.' (1 Pet 1:1-2)

In Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:4 people are baptized in the name of Jesus only. Since Jesus is now included in a way he was not in John's baptism (19:4), the abbreviated form is used in the beginning to emphasize the distinctive quality of the new baptism. For more verses speaking about the Trinity when one considers the Biblical context see, Ephesians 4:4-6, 5:18-20, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Romans 8:9-11.

B. Doctrine of Trinity explained

The word 'Trinity' is derived from the Latin 'trinitas,' being a combination of the words 'tri' for 'three' and 'unitas' for 'unity.' The Christians definition of Trinity based on verses like the above is expressed in the Athenasian Creed:

'We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding (mixing up) the Persons; nor dividing the Substance (Essence)'

The word 'Person' is here used in the sense of 'self with a particular function.' ('The Illustrated Bible Dictionary' by F.F. Bruce, IVP Leicester, 1962, see 'person') It has to be stated emphatically that Christians do not worship three gods but one God because '...each member of the Godhead in some sense indwells the other, without diminishing the full person hood of each. The essential unity of the Godhead, then, is found both in their intrinsic equality of divine characteristics and also in the intensely personal unity that comes from mutual indwelling.' ('The self-giving triune God, the imago dei and the nature of the local church: an ontology of mission', paper by J. Scott Horrell, Th.D, professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary)

Thus when God the Son died at the cross, God did not cease to exist but was separated from himself regarding the relationship within the Trinity not regarding his essence. To think that God gave up a perfect relationship for a time shows how great his love towards us is!

'It is held that although the doctrine is beyond the grasp of human reason, it is, like many of the formulations of physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be apprehended though it may not be comprehended by the human mind.' (See, 'Encyclopedia Americana', 'Trinity', by F.C. Grant, Danbury, Con.: Americana Corp., 1980) The Trinity of God, like many other facts about him does not have to be understood fully, but to be believed in. Faith, the simple childlike trust that God is and acts as he revealed himself in the Bible, is sufficient for salvation. Similarly, one does not have to understand how a Television set works in order to enjoy a program about nature. A simple touch of the right button will bring about the blessing.

The danger one faces when confronted with extreme or complicated ideas, is, 'to throw the baby out with the bath-water,' this means to reject everything about a matter, even the true and the good. Here is what C.S. Lewis, professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University has to say about such an attitude: 'If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.' ('Mere Christianity', Macmillan Company, New York, 1943, page 145)

C. Illustrations

When it comes to finding illustrations for the Trinity, to explain that which can be apprehended but not comprehended, one can easily fall into modalism. This is a false teaching holding that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three successive 'modes' in which the one God manifested himself to bring salvation to the world. It would mean that God the Father was made flesh, died, and rose from the dead. The Biblical teaching, however, is that Jesus, God the Son took on a human nature died and rose again from the dead. Jesus is a person, in the sense of self with a particular function, distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. The oneness is still maintained by stressing the fact that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of the same substance or essence. As mentioned before each member of the Godhead is indwellt with the other which further confirms God's oneness. Keeping this important difference in mind, the following examples have to be viewed as applicable only in a limited way.

In trying to come to terms with this subtlety it will be helpful to realize that everything in this world consists of a kind of Trinity, namely substance, form and purpose! To put this statement to the test let us think of a pencil. Like everything else it is made out of a substance that is formed into something, in our case into a pencil. Its purpose is to enable people to write, in the same way as all other things have some purpose!

The geometric illustration of the Trinity is found in a triangle. The tree corners are inseparable and simultaneous. The one that represents Jesus is touched by a circle that stands for his human nature, whereas the corner indicates his divine nature. (Phil 2: 5 -11) Questions and apparent contradictions regarding Jesus being God (e.g. 'How can God eat, die, etc. like Jesus?') are easily solved by taking his two natures into consideration. What he did in one he did not in the other.
You, dear reader, have got a body, a soul and a spirit according to Hebrews 4:12. Yet, in spite of this you are unique, you are the only one who is like you in the whole wide world.

Nature is another example where we find diversity within unity. On one hand one can find nowhere a bigger variety. When God created flowers he did not just design red roses. There are countless different forms, shapes and colours. On the other hand is nature's unity evident in the fact that the extinction of one kind of animal effects many others.
St. Augustine, an early church father, compared the Trinity with love that involves a lover, the loved one and a spirit of love between them.

It may also be valuable to see the one universe as made of space, matter and time.

Time by itself consists of past, present and future. If any one of these is removed then universe and time will cease to be!
Fire generates heat and light. Thus fire, with its light and heat is one thing that has different functions.

Multiplicity in unity is a very common phenomena. This kind of spiritual unity which reflects the Biblical understanding of the Trinity is distinguished from mathematical unity where 1+1+1 = 3. In mathematical terms one could compare Trinity with 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.

'Further, some have pointed to the fact that Muhammad was simultaneously a prophet, a husband, and a leader. Why then should a Muslim reject the idea of a plurality of functions (persons) in God.' ('Answering Islam', by N.L. Geisler&Abdul Saleeb, Baker Books U.S.A. 1993, page 269)

This brings us to another analogy for the truth of the Trinity, that of man's mind. He has one mind, which is capable of thinking thoughts and expressing them in words. Mind, thoughts and words are one. No one can say that God has no Mind that expresses itself in Thoughts and Words. God in Mind and Thoughts and Words is one God and He never claimed that there would be two other gods beside Him! The Trinity of Christianity is truly representative of the Mind of God (commonly referred to as God the Father), His Thoughts, (commonly referred to as God the Holy Spirit) and His Word (commonly referred to as God the Son). In the Gospel according to John we read: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word (Greek: Logos) was God. He was with God in the beginning...' The Word became flesh (in Jesus) and made his dwelling among us. (Joh 1:1,14) The context shows clearly that Jesus is God in the flesh: He was in the beginning, that means he is not created, he is eternal as God is eternal. Verse three states that through Jesus, the Word, all things were made, that means that he is God the Creator. Some people have doubted that Jesus is really called God in this verse because in the Greek language the first word for 'God', 'ton theon' is different from the second, 'theos'. However in Greek it does not suggest this sort of shift in meaning. 'This can be seen by reading other passages in the New Testament where 'theos' appears in the same context both with and without the definite article, yet with no change in meaning (Joh 3:2, 13:3, Rom 1:21, 1 The 1:9, Heb 9:14, 1 Pet 4:10-11). Whenever the word 'theos' is used in the same construction, it always clearly refers to the true God (Mar 12:27, Luk 20:38, Joh 8:54, Phi 2:13, Heb 11:16, 'Why you should believe in the Trinity', by R.M. Bowman,Jr., Baker Book House, 1993, pages 93-94) The 'word' proceeds from the 'mind'. Both words derive their meaning from the Greek original 'Logos'. The word 'Logos' has many meanings. One form 'Logo' gives us the English 'logic', which means not just ordinary speech (words), but mind expressed or intelligent expression. God created the world by His intelligent Mind, or by His Thoughts, or by His Word, all of which mean the same. For God and His mind are the same being. An example of this is when we say, 'We solved the problem with our minds.' Is it us who solved it or our minds? Both are essentially the same thing. This distinction between us and our mind is merely intellectual and does not involve separation but difference of function. Likewise, when we speak about God, His Mind of which His Thought and Word proceeds, we are not separating them, but only clarifying the issue.
The last illustration finds support in the Quran where Jesus is called 'a Word from God'. Surah 3, Ali 'Imran, verse 45:

Behold! the angels said: 'O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him; his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;...'

The English translation uses the relative pronoun 'his' to render a masculine personal pronoun in the Arabic language. Since 'Kalima' (Arabic for 'word') is in the feminine gender it becomes clear that 'a word' does not just mean 'a word of language' but a person! We also find this clarified in the sayings of one of the Muslim scholars. ('Fusus al Hukm', Part II, pages 13,36, by Al Shaikh Muhyi al Din al 'Arabi)

The Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit being God:

'Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit...You have not lied to men but to God.' (Act 5:3,4)

In a similar way the Quran (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 171) mentions Jesus as being a Spirit proceeding from God! In other parts people are described as having been strengthened with a spirit from God (Surah 58, Al Mujadilah, verse 22). At the creation Allah has breathed into man of His spirit (Surah 15, Al-Hijr, verse 29), but Jesus only IS the Spirit from Allah! This is why Islamic tradition calls Jesus 'Ruhullah', that means 'Spirit of Allah'. Neither the Spirit of Allah (the Thoughts) nor the Word (the mind expressed) of Him can have been created since whatever proceeds from God Himself is part of Him and must therefore have existed eternally. If God was without Mind at any time He would not be God; or if he was without Thoughts at any time He would cease to be the Almighty One which is impossible! Muslim theology confirms this belief by stating that the Quran is uncreated and has existed in eternity with God. There again we find plurality within unity, something that is other then God but it is at the same time one with God.

D. Trinity answers difficult questions about God

The concept of God being a unique community within Himself stands in opposite to the Muslim concept of Allah being one in the strict numerical sense of the word. This Muslim understanding raises three questions:

i) 'How could Allah have been self sufficient and loving before the creation of angels and of the earth?' Since true love is always giving and Allah according to Islam is a lone God, according to logic there must have been a time where he was incomplete, where he could not have had the attribute of love? However, according to both the Quran and the Bible, God has always been and always will be perfect.

ii) 'Is Allah selfish?' Since love is described as having '...no envy;...no high opinion of itself,....no pride;...no thought for itself...(1 Cor 13: 4-5) some people like sceptic John Stuart Mill, Mark Twain or Pablo Picasso have come to the conclusion that God is utterly selfish. They say that by asking us to worship nobody else but God, he himself commits the sin of seeking glory for himself only for which he condemns man. While many Muslims would say that Allah, the creator can be selfish if he wants, Bible believing Christians find the answer to this apparent contradiction in the Trinitarian nature of God. He shares his glory among himself.

iii) 'Is God limited?' Of course that can not be, but he who thinks of God as an absolute unity where there is no room for multiplicity at all, is forced to believe in a god who does not know himself. Self-knowledge demands a distinction, a multiplicity, between knower and known. Self-consciousness, the recognition of a creature by itself as a 'self' can only exist in contrast with an 'other', a something which is not the self. Only a Trinitarian concept of God allows for such a vital distinction.

E. Doctrine of Trinity held by early Christians

Tertullian, an early church father, used the word 'Trinity' the first time at the end of the 2nd century after the birth of Christ (AD) The Church adopted it as an official doctrine at the council of Nizea in 325 and in its final form at the council of Constantinople in 381 to defend Christianity against false teachings. (See also, 'The Illustrated Bible Dictionary' by F.F. Bruce, IVP Leicester, 1962, 'Trinity')

However, the content of the Trinitarian doctrine has been believed in and taught about by Christian writers living before the council of Nizea already. They do not always reflect the general theological beliefs of common Christians of their day but nevertheless give some indication regarding doctrinal issues. Statements in support of the Trinity were made by:

Justin, martyred 165 AD: 'The Father of the Universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.' (see, Justin Martyr, First Apology 63, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, rev.ed. A. Cleveland Coxe (Grand Rapids: William B. Eedmans Publishing Co., 1969 reprint, 1:184; hereafter cited as ANF.)

'Christians worship God the Father, the Son (who came forth from Him...), and the prophetic Spirit.' (Justin Martyr, First Apology 6 in ANF, 1:164)

Irenaeus, 130-200 AD: 'The Church has its faith in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God...Christ Jesus, is our Lord and God and Saviour, and King.' (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.10.1, in ANF, 1:330)

Clement of Alexandria, 200 AD: 'Christ is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son.' (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen 10, in ANF, 2:202)

3. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES TRINITY MAKE ?

At one stage in the growing up process of my daughter she developed a new phrase that soon became her favourite saying, thankfully only for a short time. When she was told to come in for dinner after play she would often fearlessly proclaim, 'so what?' That was her way of saying, 'what you are saying is irrelevant to me. I want to continue playing outside.' She thought wrongly what we were asking her to do did not have any practical influence on her situation. Once convinced of the truth behind the Trinity many people still ask 'so what, this doctrine has no practical consequences for my life.' As we shall see, the Bible disagrees with such a hasty conclusion.

'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number;' (Gen 1:27-28)

As an interesting detail the thought that all men originated from one kind was not known in the ancient world. Greeks called themselves 'Autochons,' 'made from the earth of Greece.' All others they called 'Barbariens,' 'foreigners.' The Jews, being eager to stress there uniqueness as people, would never have invented such a teaching that made them having the same ancestors as other people. Only because God said so they were willing to accept it without a full understanding. This proofs once more the accuracy of the Bible.

The passage above declares that only men and women are created in God's image, in his likeness. Contrary to New Age and radical environmentalist belief animals, plants and inanimate things are less valuable. That is why materialistic possessions, sadly so important to many, are really one of the lowest forms of wealth. This is not to deny that God created all things good but they do gain in value as they serve what is above them in the right way. Precious minerals become even more precious when being used as food for plants and raw materials for a multitude of man's products. Plants increase their value as food for animals and humans. They can also provide us with medicines, beauty, clothing and shelter. Animals too raise in the level of usefulness when they give humans companionship, power and transportation. It comes as no surprise that human beings reach their true value only when they serve God by taking care of his creation. (For more details see, 'Discipling Nations' by Darrow L. Miller, YWAM Publishing, 1999, page 89)

The literal meaning of 'image', 'to shade' shows that man is not the same as God but similar in certain aspects, such as in his ability to think, feel and will. Even though badly damaged through sin, these are our God given tools to love and relate with him and each other.

Calvin, the French Theologian an Reformer said: 'Do you want to know God, get to know yourself. Do you want to know yourself, get to know God (because we are made in his image).'

The word translated 'image' was used in ancient times by kings of the Near East to describe statues of themselves which were placed in all the main cities of their vast kingdoms. Because they could not be physically present everywhere, the kings images served as a reminder to everyone of their authority and rule. 'The statue was not the same as the king, but it represented the king and was due the same glory and honour. To dishonour the statue of the king was sacrilege, treason.' ('Intimate Allies' by Allender and Longman, Tyndale House Publishers, USA, 1995, page 18)

The Bible confirms this profound truth when it says what God is in big we are in small::

'When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, :what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings (or, than God) and crowned him with glory and honour. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.' (Psa 8:3-6)

'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.' (Gen 9:6)

The command above is so radical because if we touch men, the image of God, in a sense we touch God! War in its various forms would cease if that principle was understood. What I do to my fellow beings I do to God in some ways. We either cultivate beauty or do harm. We must learn to look beyond the depravity and see the beauty of men. We are more glorious than a beautiful sunset. No matter what we do we therefore are still worth loving, even the worst criminal.

'The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Mat 25:40)

Islam teaches to do good to our fellow beings in order to influence the scale of good and bad deeds positively so that perhaps one can go to heaven, if Allah wills. However, the real reason for treating them with dignity and importance is to bring glory and honour to God. If man is created in God's image, similar to him, what practical lessons can we learn from the doctrine of the Trinity? How does it affect our daily lives?

A. Trinity teaches that relationships are most important

A loving relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is at the heart of the Trinity. The Father loves the Son (Mat 3:16-17), the Son submits to the Father (Luk 22:42) , the Holy Spirit brings honour and glory to Jesus. (John 16:14) Because we are made in God's image relationships must be our first priority in life. What is most important to us? Success in business? Riches, material things? Degrees? Knowledge? Health? Reputation? If they are more important than relationships then we sin and have to ask God for forgiveness.

Continued as Pt2

8
General Board / 1. INTRODUCTION Re: Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 04, 2004, 02:08:44 PM »
Barde

You see one of the things you do is exactly what lots of false teachers do.  That is you take a verse and make it the whole story. Their is no book that can interpret the bible better thatn the bible that is why in christianity cross referencing is a vital part of bible study.  What you do is like picking a sub task in a project plan and saying you now know the project, it is impossible. Ask the question and look for the answer in the bible ask for explanations were you do not understand.  For I tell you the bible interprets itself, but as Jesus reponded to the Pharases in the book of John you can see it is not always that people ask questions to be enlighted or to understand an issue but rather to try and ridicule, so my friend motive is very important!  Here is a study that tries to explain the Trinity, but I can assure you you are not the only one who is confounded by it, however I can tell you this that it is not difficult if you know God or open you heart in all honesty and truth to look for Him.  I suggest you print this and study it closer.

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Part 1

1. INTRODUCTION

The main stream of Christianity throughout all the world believes in one God, the Holy Trinity. It is indeed a mystery, as God Himself is. Many attributes of Him are accepted by both Muslims and Christians, yet are simply not fully comprehensible to the human mind. We all accept that God has no beginning, yet do we understand this? The common question asked by children, 'If God made everything, who made God?' is just as puzzling to adults. Muslims and Christians believe that God is independent of space and time, yet how on earth can we satisfactorily explain how this might be? How is it that God can be nearer to us than our most secret thought, yet be this for the billions of other people on earth just as much simultaneously? These confusing facts apply also to all people in history and the times to come. 'Impossible!' the sceptic cries out, yet true. Then why should it be such a problem if there is some aspect of God's essential nature (his Trinitarian existence) which is difficult for us to grasp? Someone said, 'if you can understand it then be sure it is not God.' Both, the Bible and the Quran speak about God anthropomorphically (human terms are used to describe him). Orthodox Muslims do not explain the 'how'. Similarly, it is a fact that God's word was revealed in a book, but how the infinite can be expressed in the finite is not clarified. Let us now set the basic framework for our study. The Bible categorically pronounces that there is only one God!

Jesus: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.' (Mar 12:29, or Rom 3:29-30, Jam 2:19)

The Quran too testifies that Jews and Christians, the people of the Book, believe in one God. Surah 29, Ankabut, verse 46:

'And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury); But say, 'We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).'

A. CLARIFYING MISUNDERSTANDINGS

The blasphemous idea of Christians worshipping three gods comes from a wrong understanding of the Trinity. In the fifth century AD there was a Christian cult called Maryanya which spread the false belief that Jesus and his mother Mary would be two separate gods besides God. The Quran was right to speak out against such impiety. Surah 5 Ma'idah, verse 116:

'And behold! Allah will say: 'O Jesus, the son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, 'Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?' He will say: 'Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.'

To say, as the minority cult of the Maryanyas did, that Mary was the mother of God through whom He produced a physical son, and both were to be taken as separate gods besides God, is absurd! This ludicrous and heathen concept of the Trinity is completely condemned by both Islam and Christianity! The Quran rejects it in clear terms in Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 171. The triads of gods worshipped by pagans are always three separate gods, not one God. In addition to this big difference to the Biblical concept of Trinity, non-Christian Trinitarian beliefs are mostly three gods at the top of a list of many other gods. The Trinity has also been misunderstood to mean that God is three persons and only one person at the same time and in the same sense. Neither are there three substances in one substance.

2. EXPLORING THE TRUE CONCEPT OF TRINITY

A. Biblical facts as basis for Trinity

While the word 'Trinity' does not appear in the Bible the concept of it is quiet clearly taught throughout its pages. Similarly, the Muslim Creed, known as 'Kalimah' does not occur in the Quran. The whole sentence is put together from two different Surahs. Muslims call Allah 'El Adl', meaning 'the Just', 'El Wajid', meaning 'The Inventor or Maker', 'Edh Dhur', meaning 'The Harmful', etc. based on the list of the 99 names of God. However these words are nowhere found in the Quran but Muslims still accept these attributes as belonging to God. (see 'The Muslim doctrine of God', by S.M. Zwemer, American tract Society, 1905, pages 39-45) Let us now examine the verses in the Bible upon which the teaching of the Trinity is built.

'Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' (Deu 6:4-5)

Firstly we need to look at the definition of the word 'one'. 'The idea is not, Jehovah (later translated as 'LORD') our God is one (the only) God, but 'one Jehovah'...(it) simply states that it is to Him alone that the name Jehovah rightfully belongs, that He is the one absolute God, to whom no other Elohim can be compared. This is also the meaning of the same expression in Zechariah 14: 9, 'Jehovah will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Jehovah, and His name one' where the words added 'and His name one,' can only signify that in the future Jehovah would be acknowledged as the one absolute God, as King over all the earth' (Keil-Delitsch Commentary)

'The word used for 'one' is the ordinary Hebrew numeral. God is all on his own. He has no 'relations'. As far as his Godhead is concerned he is alone, unique.... Some passages use plural forms for God. One form of the name for God, Elohim, is itself plural. This is remarkable in view of the Old Testament emphasis on the unity of God. It cannot be explained as a plural of 'majesty'; this was entirely unknown to the Hebrews. It has been seen as on a level with the words for 'water' and 'heaven', which both also happen to be in the plural in Hebrew. Water can be thought of in individual raindrops or in terms of the mass of water in the ocean. The plural in this case points to 'diversity in unity'. Some believe that the same is true of the plural 'Elohim'. But there are also passages where God speaks of himself in the plural. We find them in particular in the first chapters of Genesis.

'God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...'

and,

'The Lord God said, 'Now the man has become like one of us...'

But we find it also in Isaiah's vision:

'And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' (Lion Bible, article on 'The Trinity in the Bible' by Klaas Runia)

The following verses teach also that Jehovah, God the Holy Trinity is His own community built upon a loving relationship as the essence of reality. It brings forth a perfect and beautiful unity:

'In the beginning God ('elohim', plural, the Father) created ('bara' singular verb) the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, (God the Son who is known as His word in Joh 1:1 through whom he created all things according to Col 1:16)

'Let there be light,' and there was light.' (Gen 1:1-3)

'...hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord GOD has sent me and his Spirit.' (Isa 48:16)

Ultimately, these verses find their fulfilment in Jesus (Joh 10:36, Luk 4:1,14,18).

'I will tell of the kindness of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us - yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindness. He said, 'Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me'; and so he became their Saviour. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.' (Isa 63:7-10)

There are a number of verses in the New Testament that call Jesus and the Holy Spirit God, besides God the Father. (Joh 8:58, compare with Exo 3:14; Act 5:3-4 etc.) In the light of this truth the following verses are understood to be speaking about the Trinity:

'And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.' (Mat 3:16-17)

'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name (singular!) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,...' (Mat 28:19)

'May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.' (2 Cor 13:13)

'Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.' (1 Pet 1:1-2)

In Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:4 people are baptized in the name of Jesus only. Since Jesus is now included in a way he was not in John's baptism (19:4), the abbreviated form is used in the beginning to emphasize the distinctive quality of the new baptism. For more verses speaking about the Trinity when one considers the Biblical context see, Ephesians 4:4-6, 5:18-20, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Romans 8:9-11.

B. Doctrine of Trinity explained

The word 'Trinity' is derived from the Latin 'trinitas,' being a combination of the words 'tri' for 'three' and 'unitas' for 'unity.' The Christians definition of Trinity based on verses like the above is expressed in the Athenasian Creed:

'We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding (mixing up) the Persons; nor dividing the Substance (Essence)'

The word 'Person' is here used in the sense of 'self with a particular function.' ('The Illustrated Bible Dictionary' by F.F. Bruce, IVP Leicester, 1962, see 'person') It has to be stated emphatically that Christians do not worship three gods but one God because '...each member of the Godhead in some sense indwells the other, without diminishing the full person hood of each. The essential unity of the Godhead, then, is found both in their intrinsic equality of divine characteristics and also in the intensely personal unity that comes from mutual indwelling.' ('The self-giving triune God, the imago dei and the nature of the local church: an ontology of mission', paper by J. Scott Horrell, Th.D, professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary)

Thus when God the Son died at the cross, God did not cease to exist but was separated from himself regarding the relationship within the Trinity not regarding his essence. To think that God gave up a perfect relationship for a time shows how great his love towards us is!

'It is held that although the doctrine is beyond the grasp of human reason, it is, like many of the formulations of physical science, not contrary to reason, and may be apprehended though it may not be comprehended by the human mind.' (See, 'Encyclopedia Americana', 'Trinity', by F.C. Grant, Danbury, Con.: Americana Corp., 1980) The Trinity of God, like many other facts about him does not have to be understood fully, but to be believed in. Faith, the simple childlike trust that God is and acts as he revealed himself in the Bible, is sufficient for salvation. Similarly, one does not have to understand how a Television set works in order to enjoy a program about nature. A simple touch of the right button will bring about the blessing.

The danger one faces when confronted with extreme or complicated ideas, is, 'to throw the baby out with the bath-water,' this means to reject everything about a matter, even the true and the good. Here is what C.S. Lewis, professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University has to say about such an attitude: 'If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.' ('Mere Christianity', Macmillan Company, New York, 1943, page 145)

C. Illustrations

When it comes to finding illustrations for the Trinity, to explain that which can be apprehended but not comprehended, one can easily fall into modalism. This is a false teaching holding that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three successive 'modes' in which the one God manifested himself to bring salvation to the world. It would mean that God the Father was made flesh, died, and rose from the dead. The Biblical teaching, however, is that Jesus, God the Son took on a human nature died and rose again from the dead. Jesus is a person, in the sense of self with a particular function, distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. The oneness is still maintained by stressing the fact that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are of the same substance or essence. As mentioned before each member of the Godhead is indwellt with the other which further confirms God's oneness. Keeping this important difference in mind, the following examples have to be viewed as applicable only in a limited way.

In trying to come to terms with this subtlety it will be helpful to realize that everything in this world consists of a kind of Trinity, namely substance, form and purpose! To put this statement to the test let us think of a pencil. Like everything else it is made out of a substance that is formed into something, in our case into a pencil. Its purpose is to enable people to write, in the same way as all other things have some purpose!

The geometric illustration of the Trinity is found in a triangle. The tree corners are inseparable and simultaneous. The one that represents Jesus is touched by a circle that stands for his human nature, whereas the corner indicates his divine nature. (Phil 2: 5 -11) Questions and apparent contradictions regarding Jesus being God (e.g. 'How can God eat, die, etc. like Jesus?') are easily solved by taking his two natures into consideration. What he did in one he did not in the other.
You, dear reader, have got a body, a soul and a spirit according to Hebrews 4:12. Yet, in spite of this you are unique, you are the only one who is like you in the whole wide world.

Nature is another example where we find diversity within unity. On one hand one can find nowhere a bigger variety. When God created flowers he did not just design red roses. There are countless different forms, shapes and colours. On the other hand is nature's unity evident in the fact that the extinction of one kind of animal effects many others.
St. Augustine, an early church father, compared the Trinity with love that involves a lover, the loved one and a spirit of love between them.

It may also be valuable to see the one universe as made of space, matter and time.

Time by itself consists of past, present and future. If any one of these is removed then universe and time will cease to be!
Fire generates heat and light. Thus fire, with its light and heat is one thing that has different functions.

Multiplicity in unity is a very common phenomena. This kind of spiritual unity which reflects the Biblical understanding of the Trinity is distinguished from mathematical unity where 1+1+1 = 3. In mathematical terms one could compare Trinity with 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.

'Further, some have pointed to the fact that Muhammad was simultaneously a prophet, a husband, and a leader. Why then should a Muslim reject the idea of a plurality of functions (persons) in God.' ('Answering Islam', by N.L. Geisler&Abdul Saleeb, Baker Books U.S.A. 1993, page 269)

This brings us to another analogy for the truth of the Trinity, that of man's mind. He has one mind, which is capable of thinking thoughts and expressing them in words. Mind, thoughts and words are one. No one can say that God has no Mind that expresses itself in Thoughts and Words. God in Mind and Thoughts and Words is one God and He never claimed that there would be two other gods beside Him! The Trinity of Christianity is truly representative of the Mind of God (commonly referred to as God the Father), His Thoughts, (commonly referred to as God the Holy Spirit) and His Word (commonly referred to as God the Son). In the Gospel according to John we read: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word (Greek: Logos) was God. He was with God in the beginning...' The Word became flesh (in Jesus) and made his dwelling among us. (Joh 1:1,14) The context shows clearly that Jesus is God in the flesh: He was in the beginning, that means he is not created, he is eternal as God is eternal. Verse three states that through Jesus, the Word, all things were made, that means that he is God the Creator. Some people have doubted that Jesus is really called God in this verse because in the Greek language the first word for 'God', 'ton theon' is different from the second, 'theos'. However in Greek it does not suggest this sort of shift in meaning. 'This can be seen by reading other passages in the New Testament where 'theos' appears in the same context both with and without the definite article, yet with no change in meaning (Joh 3:2, 13:3, Rom 1:21, 1 The 1:9, Heb 9:14, 1 Pet 4:10-11). Whenever the word 'theos' is used in the same construction, it always clearly refers to the true God (Mar 12:27, Luk 20:38, Joh 8:54, Phi 2:13, Heb 11:16, 'Why you should believe in the Trinity', by R.M. Bowman,Jr., Baker Book House, 1993, pages 93-94) The 'word' proceeds from the 'mind'. Both words derive their meaning from the Greek original 'Logos'. The word 'Logos' has many meanings. One form 'Logo' gives us the English 'logic', which means not just ordinary speech (words), but mind expressed or intelligent expression. God created the world by His intelligent Mind, or by His Thoughts, or by His Word, all of which mean the same. For God and His mind are the same being. An example of this is when we say, 'We solved the problem with our minds.' Is it us who solved it or our minds? Both are essentially the same thing. This distinction between us and our mind is merely intellectual and does not involve separation but difference of function. Likewise, when we speak about God, His Mind of which His Thought and Word proceeds, we are not separating them, but only clarifying the issue.
The last illustration finds support in the Quran where Jesus is called 'a Word from God'. Surah 3, Ali 'Imran, verse 45:

Behold! the angels said: 'O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him; his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;...'

The English translation uses the relative pronoun 'his' to render a masculine personal pronoun in the Arabic language. Since 'Kalima' (Arabic for 'word') is in the feminine gender it becomes clear that 'a word' does not just mean 'a word of language' but a person! We also find this clarified in the sayings of one of the Muslim scholars. ('Fusus al Hukm', Part II, pages 13,36, by Al Shaikh Muhyi al Din al 'Arabi)

The Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit being God:

'Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit...You have not lied to men but to God.' (Act 5:3,4)

In a similar way the Quran (Surah 4, Al Nisa, verse 171) mentions Jesus as being a Spirit proceeding from God! In other parts people are described as having been strengthened with a spirit from God (Surah 58, Al Mujadilah, verse 22). At the creation Allah has breathed into man of His spirit (Surah 15, Al-Hijr, verse 29), but Jesus only IS the Spirit from Allah! This is why Islamic tradition calls Jesus 'Ruhullah', that means 'Spirit of Allah'. Neither the Spirit of Allah (the Thoughts) nor the Word (the mind expressed) of Him can have been created since whatever proceeds from God Himself is part of Him and must therefore have existed eternally. If God was without Mind at any time He would not be God; or if he was without Thoughts at any time He would cease to be the Almighty One which is impossible! Muslim theology confirms this belief by stating that the Quran is uncreated and has existed in eternity with God. There again we find plurality within unity, something that is other then God but it is at the same time one with God.

D. Trinity answers difficult questions about God

The concept of God being a unique community within Himself stands in opposite to the Muslim concept of Allah being one in the strict numerical sense of the word. This Muslim understanding raises three questions:

i) 'How could Allah have been self sufficient and loving before the creation of angels and of the earth?' Since true love is always giving and Allah according to Islam is a lone God, according to logic there must have been a time where he was incomplete, where he could not have had the attribute of love? However, according to both the Quran and the Bible, God has always been and always will be perfect.

ii) 'Is Allah selfish?' Since love is described as having '...no envy;...no high opinion of itself,....no pride;...no thought for itself...(1 Cor 13: 4-5) some people like sceptic John Stuart Mill, Mark Twain or Pablo Picasso have come to the conclusion that God is utterly selfish. They say that by asking us to worship nobody else but God, he himself commits the sin of seeking glory for himself only for which he condemns man. While many Muslims would say that Allah, the creator can be selfish if he wants, Bible believing Christians find the answer to this apparent contradiction in the Trinitarian nature of God. He shares his glory among himself.

iii) 'Is God limited?' Of course that can not be, but he who thinks of God as an absolute unity where there is no room for multiplicity at all, is forced to believe in a god who does not know himself. Self-knowledge demands a distinction, a multiplicity, between knower and known. Self-consciousness, the recognition of a creature by itself as a 'self' can only exist in contrast with an 'other', a something which is not the self. Only a Trinitarian concept of God allows for such a vital distinction.

E. Doctrine of Trinity held by early Christians

Tertullian, an early church father, used the word 'Trinity' the first time at the end of the 2nd century after the birth of Christ (AD) The Church adopted it as an official doctrine at the council of Nizea in 325 and in its final form at the council of Constantinople in 381 to defend Christianity against false teachings. (See also, 'The Illustrated Bible Dictionary' by F.F. Bruce, IVP Leicester, 1962, 'Trinity')

However, the content of the Trinitarian doctrine has been believed in and taught about by Christian writers living before the council of Nizea already. They do not always reflect the general theological beliefs of common Christians of their day but nevertheless give some indication regarding doctrinal issues. Statements in support of the Trinity were made by:

Justin, martyred 165 AD: 'The Father of the Universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.' (see, Justin Martyr, First Apology 63, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, rev.ed. A. Cleveland Coxe (Grand Rapids: William B. Eedmans Publishing Co., 1969 reprint, 1:184; hereafter cited as ANF.)

'Christians worship God the Father, the Son (who came forth from Him...), and the prophetic Spirit.' (Justin Martyr, First Apology 6 in ANF, 1:164)

Irenaeus, 130-200 AD: 'The Church has its faith in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God...Christ Jesus, is our Lord and God and Saviour, and King.' (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.10.1, in ANF, 1:330)

Clement of Alexandria, 200 AD: 'Christ is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son.' (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen 10, in ANF, 2:202)

3. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES TRINITY MAKE ?

At one stage in the growing up process of my daughter she developed a new phrase that soon became her favourite saying, thankfully only for a short time. When she was told to come in for dinner after play she would often fearlessly proclaim, 'so what?' That was her way of saying, 'what you are saying is irrelevant to me. I want to continue playing outside.' She thought wrongly what we were asking her to do did not have any practical influence on her situation. Once convinced of the truth behind the Trinity many people still ask 'so what, this doctrine has no practical consequences for my life.' As we shall see, the Bible disagrees with such a hasty conclusion.

'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number;' (Gen 1:27-28)

As an interesting detail the thought that all men originated from one kind was not known in the ancient world. Greeks called themselves 'Autochons,' 'made from the earth of Greece.' All others they called 'Barbariens,' 'foreigners.' The Jews, being eager to stress there uniqueness as people, would never have invented such a teaching that made them having the same ancestors as other people. Only because God said so they were willing to accept it without a full understanding. This proofs once more the accuracy of the Bible.

The passage above declares that only men and women are created in God's image, in his likeness. Contrary to New Age and radical environmentalist belief animals, plants and inanimate things are less valuable. That is why materialistic possessions, sadly so important to many, are really one of the lowest forms of wealth. This is not to deny that God created all things good but they do gain in value as they serve what is above them in the right way. Precious minerals become even more precious when being used as food for plants and raw materials for a multitude of man's products. Plants increase their value as food for animals and humans. They can also provide us with medicines, beauty, clothing and shelter. Animals too raise in the level of usefulness when they give humans companionship, power and transportation. It comes as no surprise that human beings reach their true value only when they serve God by taking care of his creation. (For more details see, 'Discipling Nations' by Darrow L. Miller, YWAM Publishing, 1999, page 89)

The literal meaning of 'image', 'to shade' shows that man is not the same as God but similar in certain aspects, such as in his ability to think, feel and will. Even though badly damaged through sin, these are our God given tools to love and relate with him and each other.

Calvin, the French Theologian an Reformer said: 'Do you want to know God, get to know yourself. Do you want to know yourself, get to know God (because we are made in his image).'

The word translated 'image' was used in ancient times by kings of the Near East to describe statues of themselves which were placed in all the main cities of their vast kingdoms. Because they could not be physically present everywhere, the kings images served as a reminder to everyone of their authority and rule. 'The statue was not the same as the king, but it represented the king and was due the same glory and honour. To dishonour the statue of the king was sacrilege, treason.' ('Intimate Allies' by Allender and Longman, Tyndale House Publishers, USA, 1995, page 18)

The Bible confirms this profound truth when it says what God is in big we are in small::

'When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, :what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings (or, than God) and crowned him with glory and honour. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.' (Psa 8:3-6)

'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.' (Gen 9:6)

The command above is so radical because if we touch men, the image of God, in a sense we touch God! War in its various forms would cease if that principle was understood. What I do to my fellow beings I do to God in some ways. We either cultivate beauty or do harm. We must learn to look beyond the depravity and see the beauty of men. We are more glorious than a beautiful sunset. No matter what we do we therefore are still worth loving, even the worst criminal.

'The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Mat 25:40)

Islam teaches to do good to our fellow beings in order to influence the scale of good and bad deeds positively so that perhaps one can go to heaven, if Allah wills. However, the real reason for treating them with dignity and importance is to bring glory and honour to God. If man is created in God's image, similar to him, what practical lessons can we learn from the doctrine of the Trinity? How does it affect our daily lives?

A. Trinity teaches that relationships are most important

A loving relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is at the heart of the Trinity. The Father loves the Son (Mat 3:16-17), the Son submits to the Father (Luk 22:42) , the Holy Spirit brings honour and glory to Jesus. (John 16:14) Because we are made in God's image relationships must be our first priority in life. What is most important to us? Success in business? Riches, material things? Degrees? Knowledge? Health? Reputation? If they are more important than relationships then we sin and have to ask God for forgiveness.

Continued as Pt2

9
General Board / Re: Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 03, 2004, 08:11:29 PM »
Haji Barde

Barka da yau, ina fata kana lafiya.  Ok it appears once a again you did not read my write up you glanced at it.  What i said was people leave places like Kano and Zamfara to Zaria to indulge in all the undiserable vices.  Another thing you must note in my write up is that sharia in itself is not what the problem or issue is rather the adopting it (or any other religious law for that matter) as a state religion.  I hope you do get the difference. Again I wll be very intetrested to know where yo got the idea that i said christians and christianity are being wiped out.  You also said that sharia is not the kind of democracy were are having were things are getting from bad to worse (I am not an OBJ fan on the state of the nation I agree with you), you acknowledged that there are some lapses in the sharia implementation process however with time hopefully things will be ok, but why do you think that democracy in nigeria does not also need time to be ok or better?

Now on the issue of deterants, I agree with you that there alot of things have to be dealt with, i suppose that one of the mistake that some muslims in nija make is to think that christians are against all the provisions of sharia law, it is completely wrong.  For instance alot of the neccessary laws required to check social ills in the state could be enacted and enforced without resorting to the adoption of a state religion.  Issues of alcohol and prostitution must really be handled seriously, you do not need sharia to deter people you need to be serious about an office and ensure that the law is enforced justly and fairly.  In the US alcohol consumption under certain circumstances and conditions is a crime and is dealt with seriously so is prostitution in some states in the US, people go to jail for these offences and they (the offences) could actually destroy a persons feature.  Now where I live, it is an offence to be seen drinking on the streets, you are arrested charge then fined or jailed, now these are not islamic countries or countries under sharia, we could on such basis develope our on laws and punishment.  One of the things I find appalling is the proliferation of drinking places in kano and especially in sabon gari, now we do not need sharia to know that we need real and proper laws to regulate these drinking places.

It is not true that christainity has been dominant in Nigeria that is a big LIE! The problem with most of our muslim brothers is that you are not able to diffrentiate western culture from christainity, western laws and christian laws the two are as far apart as the east is from the west.  Nigeria has never had christian rule or education (apart maybe in missionary schools, still there it is a mixture of western education system and christain education).  So maybe you would like to give me some examples of the domination you are talking about.

As to the volatility of some of the places you mentioned I am abit confused on what you are talking about since I never refered to any place based on the safety of the place. Only twice were references made to Lagos, PHC, and Abuja.  The first time was with respect to the behaviour of some of our people (hausas) especially hausa muslims in those cities, whom have left arewa to work there, and i may agree with you that my statement may not have been very clear.  The only other place was when I discussed investment and I think international investors or travellers, so please get your facts right they are right in front of you.

I do hope I have answered you by the way I expected you to comment on my response regarding who is Jesus and also you comments, observations etc with regard to my posting on the Difference between the Christain God and the Muslim God, you may be able to through some more light on some of the issues raised.  Please be factual and give references.

-------------------------------------------------------------
myadudu

Ba yanda zakayi da ni ko kaki kokaso zaman nan dai ta zama dole

do you know the meaning of mallam? that is just by the way

You sit in your previlaged position in the US able to make your choices freely, not bother about what to eat or wear and you make all these noise? shame on you! By the way seeing that you are crediting yourself with being the one to persued me to join do you mind just checking my joining date you are free to get the information from the admin and please post that date on the group for all to see (hmm it will be interesting)    

10
General Board / Re: Chriatian Muslim Dialogue
« on: March 03, 2004, 02:13:04 PM »
mallam barde

I am sure u are joking when you suggest that qoutations be made from verses refered to from either the bible or quran, you will agree with me that that will make postings unnecessarily long and it is not a good writing style.  However if you do find that references made are wrong please feel free to highlight them.

Now to the points you raised

On th issue of God the Son I refer you to my write up regarding in this topic which you made reference to suggesting that I qoute go to the section where the Trinity was explained as best as possible. I suggest you ask me questions based on the explanations given there.

Now to Mark 13:32 you understand that the Son is part of the Trinity and while on earth was in the form of man, in His Incarnation, Jesus voluntarily accepted human limitation in submission to the Father's will.  And you would have noticed if you have been a scholar of the bible that this is the first and only time that Jesus used the title "the Son" instead of the usual "Son of Man" this revealed His own awareness of His deity and sonship.  You should also cross reference this verse with Mattew 24:36.  You must note that one of the essential teachings in christianity is that Jesus in the form of a man was exposed to all the hardship, temptations and other human frailties yet He never succumb and thus never sinned and that is what christians are called to, we can not give excuses of situations so as to commit sin we are called to be holy just as Christ was holy.  In other words we are not being called to do or experience anything Christ has not gone through and our remaining sinless is the measure of our faith in God.

About equality of God and Jesus I refer you once again to the section in my earlier posting dealing with the Trinity.  However, on the issue of 1 Timothy 2:5, you have misquoted the verse or you did not qoute from a bible 1 Timothy 2:5 reads:  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,.... I would like you to please check again and qoute the right thing.  I would like to refer you to Deutronomy 6:4, Isaiah 44:6, Mark 12:29, John 17:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6.  I could go on and on refering you to verses in the bible proclaiming one God. Christians believe in only one God please, you should kindly read the earlier posting.  So what 1 Timothy 2:5 is telling us is that there is only one God and the only way to approach Him is through the Man who was God in flesh (Christ Jesus).

I hope i have been able to answer your questions/points, I would also like you to tackle some of the issues raised in my earlier write up.  

By the way the stlye or manner in which you refered to a Bamaguje are you implying or suggesting that they are lesser beings than you? Just a question

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