In my Women's Bible study the other day, Muslims were brought up. One lady said that all Muslims are not like the radical ones. She defended the Muslims saying they were peaceful & the peaceful ones were the true ones. Actually, 2 of the ladies said this while 2 of us disagreed. I'm going to call those who defended the Muslims Side A & I'm calling those who oppose their religion Side B. Side A gave the example of the 'Christians' who blew up abortion clinics. She was saying they are the radical Christians. Side B disagreed & said that those so-called Christians who committed acts of violence against the abortion clinics weren't true Christians. They said, our point exactly. They are not true Muslims.
I, Side B, then gave an example of a video I had seen. It was a radical Muslim standing before all Muslims. He was having a show of hands. He said, "Please raise your hands if you are a radical Muslim." No one raised their hands. Then he began reading the Quran or quoting some of the Scriptures asking them if they believed people should be put to death for certain offenses. They all raised their hands in agreement to the multiple examples. The guy said So There. There is no difference between the radical Muslims & the regular Muslims. When I gave this example, Side A began to say things about the Christians in the New Testament.
After this, Side B just sat back & didn't say anything else. In a case like this when confronted with the Old Testament, how does one defend those actions? I know they were acts of God or God-led but He was quite violent back in the day. He never took hostages & would kill the women & children. I know there were always reasons & purposes behind these decisions of killings. However, what if they return with the argument that the Muslims could argue the same? What would you say in a case like this? Does this make sense with the back & forth & stuff? I can see it in my head but not sure I expressed it correctly here.
Let's first establish that in the Christian faith there are those who ...
... profess to be Christian and are not.
... profess to be Christian and are, but are misguided.
... profess to be Christian and do well at obeying the Word of God.
We conceded that there are similar categories found in the Muslim system.
... not really a Muslim.
... Muslim, but misguided.
... Muslim and devout to their book.
Since we acknowledge that in each system we have false, misguided and true people we have to ask ourselves do we evaluate a system (though we believe Christianity is more than a system, for discussion sake we will classify it this way) by the actions of undetermined people within a system? No, we do not. Our best source is to go to the founders of each system and examine their immediate followers.
We find Jesus, who is the founder, was not a man of violence. Nowhere do we find Him causing physical harm or advocating it as part of the mission of the church. Then we have His followers. The NT gives us a picture of the first 70 +/- years following His departure. Nowhere do we find the followers of Christ advocating violence (only Acts 5 even comes close).
When we study this religion and examine the actions of the founder and his followers we find a completely different path. Their lives are marked with much bloodshed.
Thus, if we examine the teachings and actions of the founder, and their respective followers early on, of each system we find a stark difference.
Hope that helps.
What about the part of her saying that the Old Testament has many stories of killings by the people of God?
Depends on which part. Are we talking about when God told the Israelite people to take the promised land?
A few thoughts:
1) If a person refers to a place where we have clear commands given by God as recorded in the Word of God we are left with two choices. 1) We trust God which includes His actions recognizing in those cases the people were being obedient to His commands ... or 2) We, mere men/women, attempt to put God on trial over His actions which He is not ashamed of as He put it there in His Word for all to see. We also note that God used other nations to judge and discipline Israel. Lastly on this one point is do we give the actions of Muslims the same authority as the nation of Israel who was under the direct leadership of God? I surely hope not. People get really confused on this next point at times ... we do not worship the same God and thus only one, or neither (as some would think) can truly be under the authority of the one true God.
2) If a person refers to war, such as various campaigns led by David (who BTW sought the counsel of the Lord as recorded in most cases) do we then put war that took place in a different culture and time on trial?
3) Some times people did stupid things and were not authorized by God such as the battles between the tribes of Israel, or David's son rebelling against him. These actions all carried consequences.
4) Though there is only one God and He is the same yesterday, today and forever, do we also recognize that the nation of Israel (chosen people) and the church are two different entities. So much that is recorded in history regarding Israel does not transfer and apply to the church ( I reject replacement Theology).
Thus, regardless of what happened in the OT, whether when God ordained or when people took stupid actions, these are not the marching orders of the church, nor does that legacy apply directly to the church. We know that the church began (did not preexist) in the time of Christ. Some believe it started in John 20, some the resurrection and others Acts 2. Regardless it began without history and is moving forward with instructions for reaching the world with the gospel message.
Also, as we have the rest of the story through prophecy, though veiled to where we only understand in part, we do know that the seven seals, bowls and trumpets will play out and all of that is by the order of God ... so, those who only focus on a "loving" God will have a hard time reconciling the end times with that belief.
At this point I would ask five questions of the person/people:
1) Do you believe the Word of God to be true?
2) Do you believe Israel was God's chosen people in the OT?
3) Do you believe that Christians are God's children?
4) Do you believe Muslims are God's children?
5) Are you defending religion, a people, or challenging God (specifically regarding the OT) by trying to bring the Christian experience down to the same level as another religion for comparison (noting my previous comments about three distinct groups of people who profess to be Christian)?
Food for thought.
Thanks LT. I think it's possible that she believes they have the same God as we do. When she was talking about the OT, I was going to mention about it being led by God but I was getting in the flesh cause I talk about Islam, my blood pressure shoots up. I felt it best to leave it alone for now. It may never come up again but I wanted to know what some answers are I could give instead of rewinding my brain to try to come up with some. I really do appreciate this.
You are welcome.
We let you go to Bible Study........and see what happens.........
Listen, what came up in you ladies' discussion is on a lot of people's minds these days. It is real, and most folks don't have a clue what's going on......because it's very complicated.
To start with, I think LT has pretty well summed up the dynamics of details of the happenings. I agree with him=
Two important facts = (1) God is the same Almighty God in both the Old and New Testaments (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17.
And He doesn't have to consult or explain anything He does.... with us.
(2) So important - God's chosen people ( Israel) are not same as Christians. The Jews are still waiting for their Messiah. He is coming back for them, also.
Now, some interesting facts that we should think about:
God protected Hagar (Ismael's mother) Genesis 16:3-16. Check out the description of her son, 16:12.
God protected Hagar and Ismael....Genesis 21:9-21.
I think these facts of ancient history are starting to form the end of the end times today.
It is my opinion that the 200 million man army will be the Muslims, not the Chinese, nor the Russians (Revelation 9:14-16.
Abraham is the human father of the world's three major beliefs - Christianity, Hebrews, and Muslims.......the three groups discussed in the Book of Revelation.
In the meantime, I'll be civil and friendly to Muslims in my corner of life.........but I will fight any who might attack me, my family or my neighbor.
O.K. Tammy...........material for next Bible study. Behave yourself.....and keep your blood pressure down........
Grace and Peace.
lolol. Yea, you can't take me anywhere.
Thank you for the information. Interesting about the end times. I had not even considered them as far as any significant group in the book of Revelation. I need to go back & reread the end times again. It's been a good many years since I have read it in a deep way.
You got that right about protecting my family.
Yes, I will behave myself. It was tough biting my tongue but I refrained. Plus I wanted to make sure I had crossed my t's & dotted my i's before I venture into it again. I can reply to someone on here because I have the information at my fingertips but to do it face to face is a different issue. I wanted to make sure I had my info correct plus anything that can be added to what I had. All of this information has been great. Thanks Richard
Yes, you're correct. Thank you Eric.
I'm interested in other folks point of view, regarding God knowing us in that "experiential" way.
Our experience with God can be seen in various stages of relationship. Because of the fall and what that did to the relationship between God and Adam we now reap what was sown. We start out as His creation, but born with a sinful nature. We can see His creation and even believe that there is “a” God, but because of sin we are dead to Him (in a matter of speaking) and He to us. When God illuminates our hearts and minds we become cognitively aware that there is a living God and spiritually we begin to recognize that there is something missing in our lives. When we receive Jesus Holy Spirit comes to live in us. This understanding is precious to me. God is not a far off God unconcerned with His creation. He is so close to His creation that He inhabits His children. Colossians 1:27 says “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Is it really needed for His full existence - experience ?
God is self-existent (Exodus 3:14; 1 Timothy 1:17). He requires nothing beyond Himself to exist and sustain existence. God, for His good pleasure created and specifically created man in His own image. God does not need us, but rather wants us. I have always looked at that statement with awe. I am glad God does not need me … and am overjoyed by the knowledge that He wants me.
If being in the flesh as well as Spirit was always in His will, then material existence is fundamental.
I would say it is fundamental only because it is the form that God chose to create us in. I have no idea what others forms are at His disposal, but am convinced as sovereign God there are other alternatives to Him, yet He chose this existence for us and this existence for Him to come and experience all of humanity from birth to death and resurrection. (Hebrews 4:10-16)
But if it wasn't always in existence does this constitute change to a changeless being?
God does not change. That is a fundamental understanding from Scripture. He created and yet is in and outside of His creation. Creation exists within His being. I know that sounds weird, but the best way to understand that is to recognize He is omnipresent. Thus, no matter where you go, there He is (Psalm 139:6-12). Another thing to consider when we think of Jesus taking on the flesh there are those who see this as God changing if Jesus be God. The best way to see it is to recognize that Jesus clothed Himself with human flesh. He, as God, did not change one bit. A point I try to emphasize often is that Jesus is complete God and complete man. Often it is stated (and is acceptable for sure) that Jesus is full God and full man. I personally think this confuses people because they then try to figure out how full God and full man can be one as they often see it as two. Complete God and complete man to me harmonizes this.
Does God experience creation or only we do?
We are partakers of life given by God and experience this life in the creation He has made. He is eternal and existed before creation and lives outside of creation as we understand it. So, yes He experiences it as a living being and the Creator thereof, but is different than how we experience creation.
Hope that helps. Feel free to inquire further and I trust others will join in as well.
I think I understand what you are asking. If I miss the point of the question please correct me.
I will attempt to state it as fact, with the understanding there are those who would debate some of, if not all of, what I am going to say. God is eternal without beginning or end. We cannot understand that ... simply beyond us. As eternal I don't see a eternity expanding in both directions, for He created time and lives outside of that creation. Therefore time is not a factor to God. We are created in time and are affected by the linear timeline. We did not preexist, though we were fully know by the God who exist outside of time. Thus we were not awaiting to be given flesh as some teach, but are newly born into flesh from a non-existence to the exception of being known by God and by this knowing meaning it was absolutely going to happen. Because of the fall we are born into sin with a sin nature that separates us from God ... we are dead in sin. In the timeline we are dead to God, but in the existence of God He knows all who are His. When we receive Jesus we are born again ... literal spiritual birth. That which was not alive in now alive and are partakers of the eternal life that is God. Thus, when we talk about eternal life, life without beginning or end, we are referencing the life of God and His bestowing that life on us and in us as we become alive spiritually and joined with Him by Holy Spirit who indwells us. To be careful here I must add we do not become God or gods, we are benefactors of God's life and existence as He indwells us.
Regarding the Book of Life I will simply add that we are recorded not he book because God sees the all of His creation from beginning to end without exception. The book, not saying you implied this, does not determine our salvation, but rather because God sees us as His we are recorded there.
I wonder some things, too, about God and time and eternity, such as if everything is happening without any present intervention by God because God already experienced and acted through all of the history of mankind before time began and then once it was set in motion, it all just began to play out, and there is no need for God to step in with causal influence as time successively passes because God already acted and experienced it all, e.g. the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.