Basic Islam – Part 4

Part four in John’s series on Islam. I would add that this post is important to understand.Mohammad led an army that conquered the Middle East and Islam was spread by force. Eventually Islam conquered most of the Iberian peninsular as well as great parts of Europe.I think John hit it on the nose when he wrote that violence is in the DNA if Islam. Have a blessed day, David

Veracity

Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27, NET

Islam and Violence

In our previous post on Basic Islam, we introduced the question, “Has true Islam been hijacked by radical elements, as many claim, or do the acts of terror that are so prevalent in the world today have epistemological roots in Islamic doctrine and theology?”

It’s been an interesting week. I met Nabeel Qureshi and asked him how he would answer that question. (I also attended several conference presentations on Islam, and heard some diverse opinions on how to respond to Islam and how to deal with Muslim refugees.)

It’s an extremely loaded question. On one hand, those of us who have been blessed with close friends who are Muslim have a hard time accepting that Islam equates necessarily to violence. On the…

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Basic Islam – Part 3

Part three in John’s series on Islam. David

Veracity

(Photo credit: PrayForQatar.com) (Photo credit: PrayForQatar.com)

Editorial Note

While writing this post, Islamic terrorists carried out a series of attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, friends, and all those affected by these atrocious acts of barbarism. At such a time as this it is quite difficult to think about Islam in any objective light. Has true Islam been hijacked by radical elements, as many claim, or do the acts of terror that are so prevalent in the world today have epistemological roots in Islamic doctrine and theology? Political leaders call for a war on terrorism, and we think about drone strikes and military missions. Sadly, people everywhere are being drawn into this war—whether it makes sense to them or not.

I am not inclined to run around claiming that the apocalyptic end of mankind is at hand, but regarding war Jesus said,

“For many will come in my…

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Basic Islam – Part 2

Part two in John’s series on Islam. David

Veracity

In our previous post on the basics of Islam, we noted that Islam is defined by:

The Quran is believed by Muslims to be the word of God dictated by the angel Gabriel to Muhammad. The Hadith are the recorded sayings and actions of Muhammad. There are thousands of them, and many have questionable authenticity, so there is a grading system. The biographies of Muhammad, or sīra, are considered by some to be part of the Hadith. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the exemplar of their faith and they aspire to imitate him. The sīra provide information that helps in their practice.

All Muslims accept the authority of the Quran. As you get more into the Hadith, the faith divides into sects with differing interpretations and beliefs (not unlike Christian denominationalism). The authority framework is all important, and shapes the derivative interpretations of Islam.

If you’re going to understand…

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Basic Islam – Part 1

I have been taking a break from blogging and the computer.After spending almost my entire 38 year career using computers, from the first PC as well as mainframes, it was a nice break. I want to share this series written by my friend John at Veracity. Considering all that is happening in the world today it is helpful to see what and why Muslims believe what they believe. Have a blessed day, David

Veracity

Mecca Mecca, 2015
(Photo credit: Ahmad Masood / Reuters)

At a recent apologetics conference, one of the speakers I was most interested to hear could not finish his presentation on Islam. He was thoroughly prepared, but the audience interrupted him with so many questions that he only got through a few slides. It was clear they were eager to know more about Islam.

Most Christians, myself included, have spent little time studying Islam. Don’t agree? Did you recognize the photo above without reading the caption? I’ve heard about Mecca all my life, but can’t recall ever seeing a single photograph of it—as if it were a mythical place. The Atlantic Monthly did a recent photo essay showing the development of Mecca over the past 128 years. The development has caused quite a bit of controversy, even within the Islamic world.

Truth be told, our ignorance can be a barrier to understanding why there is so much strife between…

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Friend of Sinners

Earlier this month we went on a road trip to Williamsburg Virginia to see Colonial Williamsburg as well as Jamestown and the battle fields at Yorktown. It was a long trip, just about 3,000 miles round trip as well as the driving while at our destination. Along for the ride were my wife Gail and my mom. Along the way we listened to a number of CDs as music helps me while driving. One song got me to thinking. It was “Jesus friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns. It fit well with the post I was writing about Luke 17:1-4 where Jesus admonishes us not to cause others to sin. The first verse and chorus are:

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away

We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing

Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see

The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me

Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded

A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

 

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners

Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers

Let our hearts be led by mercy

Help us reach with open hearts and open doors

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours. Yeah…

 

I believe one of the main obstacles to people coming to Jesus is how Christians act. We are quick to point out the sins we see in others but too slow to show these same sinners the love of Jesus. As I slowly make my way through the Gospel of Luke one thing is very noticeable, Jesus hung around sinners. He ate with them. Almost the entire middle of Luke is the telling of what Jesus said to the Pharisees while dining with them.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, was a tax collector. In the first century being a tax collector was tantamount to being a thief. One of the arguments of the Pharisees was that Jesus associated with sinners. Yes Jesus judged their sins but Jesus also loved them and forgave them. Today we tend more to the judgmental than the forgiving.

What can we do? First and foremost is to be accepting of the person. Jesus called out the sinners and ministered to them. He did not dwell on their sins but on their salvation. He did not give up on sinners. Read how often He talked with the Pharisees. Second we need to make our churches open to sinners and welcome people into our churches. Make them feel at home. Remember that the new comer is just as we were once. If we spend more time loving others rather than pointing fingers, God’s church will grow. If we spend time pointing fingers then our churches will wither. Third we need to be out in the world proclaiming the love of Jesus. Jesus’ final command was for us to go to all the world proclaiming the Good News and baptizing all in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

One final thought not really connected with today’s message. On our trip to Williamsburg Gail and I were blessed to get to meet one of my fellow bloggers, John Paine with Veracity. John and his wife hosted a small dinner party for us and we spent a delightful evening of good food and good fellowship. Other than my friend Glenn, John is the first fellow blogger I have had the privilege to meat in the flesh. Once again, thanks John for a great evening.

Have a blessed day,

David

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Pay attention to yourselves!

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:1-4

God gives parents and in fact every Christian one very important job, to raise up children in the ways of the Lord. We are commanded by Jesus in today’s verse not to cause children to sin. In fact Jesus tells us that “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” But we are also told to rebuke a brother’s sin but if that brother repents we are to forgive them. Then Jesus tells us that even if the brother continues to sin but also repents each time we are to forgive him each time. Even if he does this sin seven times a day. In this instance Jesus is not necessarily talking about a family relationship but a brother in Christ.

There is a lot in these four verses so let’s take things one by one. First, how can we cause children to sin? I think the main way is by our actions. Children are remarkable in picking up our habits. One thing they are really good at is doing what we do in the very worse place possible. Do you cuss? Then guess what, that bad word you use, it will be the one your five year old decided to impress when the pastor pays a visit.

Don’t think so then let me share something I did when I was five. Back in the 50’s one certain word was used to describe African Americans that was not and is not considered nice. In the South though white people used this word without thinking. Now both my parents worked and we had a young lady of color who babysat us and did minor household chores. One day I called her the “N” word, after all how could that word be bad, my dad and family used it. Well she told my dad and he told me that it was not a nice word and even though he used it he shouldn’t use it. Then dad made me apologize to her. Guess what? That word was stricken from my vocabulary.

But we can cause our kids to go wrong in other ways. If you cheat others, talk about others behind their backs, lie or take something that is not yours then you are teaching your kids to dishonor God, teaching them to sin. Jesus had a special place in His heart for children. So should we.

Next Jesus tells us that when a brother sins we are to rebuke them. Now too many Christians take this to mean they are to really go after the person who sinned. However, we are to do any rebuke with the love of Jesus. We also tend to forget that Jesus also tells us to forgive our brother when he repents. We tend to have an issue with the forgiving part. But what I find interesting is that Jesus tells us to forgive each time the person sins and repents. Jesus is telling us that our brothers and sisters can and will sin repeatedly but that even though they sin again we are to forgive them just as Jesus forgives. Jesus tells us to forgive seven times a day.

Now I know that it is hard to keep forgiving someone when they do the same thing over and over but then what Jesus asks us to do is rarely easy. I only have to look at my own life to realize that I am far from perfect and I do commit the same sins over and over. Now I may think my sins are minor compared to others but to a perfect God there is no minor sin only sin. So we are instructed to not cause others to sin but also to forgive others when they sin and repent. Tough to do but that is what we are supposed to do.

Have a blessed day,

David

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How Dark Were the Dark Ages?

A very interesting video from my friend Glenn’s blog. David

Thomistic Bent

A good video from Prager U. I suggest starting reading Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Contra Geniltes.

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