A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What is the difference?

Intolerance---the unforgivable sin of the twentieth century. Christian orthodoxy has always taught that those who do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God will not go to heaven. Islamic orthodoxy teaches that the Christian infidels will not go to heaven. Although there may be different views about the nature of reward and punishment in the next life, the conviction of the two major religions of the world are similar in this respect: it is good to believe our religion and it is very bad not to believe in our religion.

They teach the same thing, right? Wrong. There is a superficial similarity only if you do not take the time to understand distinctions. True definitions are always in the distinctions, not the similarities. Men and chickens are similar in that they are both bipeds. The definition is in the difference.

Faith to Islam is submission to the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. Faith to Christianity is submission to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Similar, right? Again, wrong. Where in Islam is it taught to "Render unto the Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"? To Islam Caesar's things are the things of God, and Caesar must use all in his power to subject everything to the teachings of Mohammed.

It is true that there have been at times popular teachings within Christianity to bring all government and rule under the laws of Christ and a theocratic system. The horrors of this thinking are equal to the horrors of Islam. The difference is this: Those who taught such things to the Church do not derive their teachings from Christ, who said that His kingdom is not of this world. They got their teachings from Moses and misapplied them to the church, forgetting that Moses did not give us the bread from heaven. Those who only followed Moses ate the bread in the wilderness and died.

This preacher is not a pacifist. Government has the authority to go to war to defend the liberties of its people. Those who threaten the liberty of a free people should feel the wrath of those free people, as God gives them opportunity. But I am strongly opposed to any war for the spread of the Christian faith. True faith does not come from any kind of coercion, but only by the free work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men by the Gospel.

I am for war against lawless regimes would impose their idolatrous rule on free people. A person that hates Christianity so much that they cannot see this difference is a dangerous person. In times of religious uncertainty people have a way of returning to the original teachings of the founder of their faith. We have seen that happen in the last fifty or sixty years as Islamic people all over the world have sought to return to the teachings of Mohammed. That is not encouraging. The only kind of Muslim that the West can live with is the modernistic, liberal Muslim who allegorizes the teachings of Mohammed in terms of the Western enlightenment. In other words, non-dogmatic Muslims who do not take the teachings of the Koran too seriously or the teachings of Mohammed seriously.

It would be a great thing if Western Christianity would return to the teachings of Christ, our Founder. The two great advantages that Chistianity has over all the religions of the world are the character and teaching of our Founder, the Lord Jesus. "Love your enemies"; "Do good to those that despitefully use you"; "Do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith": "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's"; "Forgive your enemies"; "If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask;" "It is not that which enters into the man that defiles the man, but that which comes forth from the man;" "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...."; “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly”; "The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep."

Read the New Testament.
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