Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fodder for thought - cultural shifts

Occasionally I read No Compromise. The text of the latest post (links added by me):

NC asks: How many can you check off that’s already happened?
Hat Tip Amil Imani
1. Terminate America’s freedom of speech by replacing it with statewide and nationwide hate-crime bills. [I did not vote for Ron Paul, but he is a reasonable candidate.]
2. Wage a war of words using black leaders like Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other visible religious personalities who promote Islam as the religion of African-Americans while insisting Christianity is for whites only. What they fail to tell African-Americans is that it was Arab Muslims who captured them and sold them as slaves. In fact, the Arabic word for black and slave is the same, ”Abed.”
3. Engage the American public in dialogues, discussions, debates in colleges, universities, public libraries, radio, TV, churches and mosques on the virtues of Islam. Proclaim how it is historically another religion like Judaism and Christianity with the same monotheistic faith.
4. Nominate Muslim sympathizers to political office to bring about favorable legislation toward Islam and support potential sympathizers by block voting.
5. Take control of as much of Hollywood, the press, TV, radio and the Internet as possible by buying the related corporations or a controlling stock.
6. Yield to the fear of the imminent shut-off of the lifeblood of America – black gold. America’s economy depends on oil and 41 percent of it comes from the Middle East.
7. Yell ”foul, out-of-context, personal interpretation, hate crime, Zionist, un- American, inaccurate interpretation of the Quran” anytime Islam is criticized or the Quran is analyzed in the public arena.
8. Encourage Muslims to penetrate the White House, specifically with Islamists who can articulate a marvelous and peaceful picture of Islam. Acquire government positions and get membership in local school boards. Train Muslims as medical doctors to dominate the medical field, research and pharmaceutical companies. (Ever notice how numerous Muslim doctors in America are, when their countries need them more desperately than America?) Take over the computer industry. Establish Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the U.S. to connect planners of Islamization in a discreet way.
9. Accelerate Islamic demographic growth via:
  • Massive immigration (100,000 annually since 1961).
  • Use no birth control whatsoever – every baby of Muslim parents is automatically a Muslim and cannot choose another religion later.
  • Muslim men must marry American women and Islamize them (10,000 annually). Then divorce them and remarry every five years – since one can’t legally marry four at one time. This is a legal solution in America.
  • Convert angry, alienated black inmates and turn them into militants (so far 2,000 released inmates have joined al-Qaida worldwide). Only a few ‘’sleeper cells” have been captured in Afghanistan and on American soil.
10. Reading, writing, arithmetic and research through the American educational system, mosques and student centers (now 1,500) should be sprinkled with dislike of Jews, evangelical Christians and democracy. There are currently 300 exclusively Muslim schools in the U.S. which teach loyalty to the Quran, not the U.S. Constitution. In January of 2002, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Washington mailed 4,500 packets of the Quran and videos promoting Islam to America’s high schools – free of charge. Saudi Arabia would not allow the U.S. to reciprocate.
11. Provide very sizeable monetary Muslim grants to colleges and universities in America to establish ”Centers for Islamic studies” with Muslim directors to promote Islam in higher-education institutions.
12. Let the entire world know through propaganda, speeches, seminars, local and national media that terrorists have hijacked Islam, when in truth, Islam hijacked the terrorists.
13. Appeal to the historically compassionate and sensitive Americans for sympathy and tolerance towards Muslims in America who are portrayed as mainly immigrants from oppressed countries.
14. Nullify America’s sense of security by manipulating the intelligence community with misinformation. Periodically terrorize Americans with reports of impending attacks on bridges, tunnels, water supplies, airports, apartment buildings and malls.
15. Form riots and demonstrations in the prison system demanding Islamic Sharia as the way of life, not America’s justice system.
16. Open numerous charities throughout the U.S., but use the funds to support Islamic terrorism with American dollars.
17. Raise interest in Islam on America’s campuses by insisting freshman take at least one course on Islam.
18. Unify the numerous Muslim lobbies in Washington, mosques, Islamic student centers, educational organizations, magazines and papers by Internet and an annual convention to coordinate plans, propagate the faith and engender news in the media.
19. Send intimidating messages and messengers to the outspoken individuals who are critical of Islam and seek to eliminate them by hook or crook.
20. Applaud Muslims as loyal citizens of the U.S. by spotlighting their voting record as the highest percentage of all minority and ethnic groups in America.
Think this over. If you are a Muslim reading this, please try to look at it from a non-Muslim American's point of view.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jesus as the Son of God: clarification

This post is especially for Damilola, who asked a good question over on Nashida's Facebook page. I will add to this post (clearly delineating where additions have been made) as I gather more information or better explanations. On Jesus' deity, see this page.

The question:

I think where many Christians go wrong is by taking Paul's view of Christianity! A pity! Where did all this talk of Jesus being the Son of God come from? Have you heard of the Council of Nicea and what happened there? Are you aware that a majority of the early Christians did not believe Jesus was the 'Son' of God but just a prophet?

Many people, especially Muslims, have asked these questions before. Many Christians do not know very well how to answer them, however. An extremely good resource on what exactly "Son of God" means can be found here. The gist of that article's explanation is that the meaning of the phrase is quite different than the concept of a biological son, which is of course heresy. Rather, Jesus Christ, being one and the same with the Father (again, not biological), is of the closest possible relationship to God the Father.

This is a very confusing topic, I admit. But to lessen confusion, it is important to remember the concept of the Trinity - a tri-unity - to which an analogy may be in order. Think of a candle burning. You see its light, taking up the entirety of the flame. It is not one-third light, but all light. In addition, you see its form, taking up the entirety. 100% form. Thirdly, you feel its heat, emanating from 100% of the flame. In the same way, each Person of the Trinity is fully God, and God is fully the Trinity.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I was intrigued by this story, about a truly horrendous exhibit. It highlights, as several of my posts have before, the stark contrasts between the holy books of Christianity and Islam. The Pope did the right thing; there's a reason that gays etc. feel oppressed. Guess what? 1 Corinthians 6:8-10.

I can't help being just a little snide. Oh well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's funny how Christians are never the ones suing, doncha think?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Luther and the Word, part 6

Here is the final part of the paper, followed by Works Cited.

Luther had a disagreement concerning the Lord’s Supper with Zwingli and his followers. Zwingli believed that the body and blood were not truly present, but that the bread and the wine were mere symbols of the body and blood. Zwingli believed that when Jesus said, “This is my body,” he meant it in a figurative way. Luther firmly disagreed. He argued that there was no reason given inside the text itself or the rest of Scripture to believe that “is” was not literal. When Zwingli tried to show Luther other passages that are symbolic, Luther responded, “There is no proof of symbolism in the additional passages they quote. For instance, when Christ says: ‘I am the true Vine’ (John 15:1), He is speaking of the true spiritual vine. He really was this and did not merely symbolize it.”[45] Besides, verses such as these, Luther pointed out, did not concern the Lord’s Supper, and so could not be used as proof against the Real Presence. Zwingli again tried to argue against Luther by claiming that if Christ ascended into heaven then He could not also be physically present in the bread and wine. However, Luther had no problem believing that Jesus was both in heaven and in the bread and wine. If Jesus is God then He is able to be bodily in multiple places if He chooses. To say Jesus is not bodily present in the Lord’s Supper was for Luther doubting God’s Word, replacing it with reason, and doubting Christ’s omnipotence.

Luther believed the Lord’s body and blood, just like Baptism and the spoken Word, were present regardless of whether or not the pastor or layperson had faith in it or not. The faith, while it received the benefits, did not make it the Sacrament. What made it the Sacrament was the Word. This led Luther to some startling conclusions:

“It does not rest on man’s belief or unbelief but on the Word and ordinance of God – unless they first change God’s Word and ordinance and misinterpret them, as the enemies of the sacraments do at the present time. They, indeed, have only bread and wine, for they do not also have the words and instituted ordinance of God but have perverted and changed it according to their own imagination.”[46]

What Luther meant was that, even if the churches of Zwingli used bread and wine and kept the Words of Institution, it was no Sacrament, for they had no Word of God. While they had the outer Words of Institution, because they changed the meaning of the words, they did not have God’s Word, for God’s Word is not merely a voice, but the thoughts in one’s heart and the meaning behind the words. Luther’s understanding of the word “Logos” led him to believe that Zwingli only had worthless bread and wine and no Sacrament. Such was the importance of the Word. There simply was no Sacrament without it. However, those who had the Word received exactly what the Word promised them: the body and blood of Christ, as well as “forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation,” to those who put their faith in Christ’s promise.[47]

The Word was a major part of Martin Luther’s theology. He saw the Word as being God’s way of revealing Himself to mankind. God did “not choose to do it through his unveiled, brilliant, and glorious majesty, out of consideration for us poor, weak, and timid mortals and for our comfort, for who could bear such majesty for an instant in this poor and sinful flesh?”[48] Instead, God sends His Word, who veils Himself in very plain, ordinary elements: human flesh, words on a page, and the comforting voice of a Christian, water, bread, and wine. By becoming man Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, revealed the love and mercy of His Father. Holy Scripture, the written Word, is the source of all the Church’s teachings, and all of these teachings center on and contain the Incarnate Word. When a pastor preaches and teaches the teachings of Scripture, or when a Christian comforts his neighbor with the Gospel, Christ is truly present. Through the spoken Word the Gospel is proclaimed and Holy Spirit creates faith. Through the visible Word, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Christ Himself assures us of our salvation so that none may doubt His promises. It is no wonder that Martin Luther believed the Word to be of such great importance. It is no wonder that Luther said that “the withdrawal of God’s Word from men [is] the greatest plague and manifestation of God’s wrath,” and that “there is no greater manifestation of grace than the sending of His Word.”[49]

Works Cited:
  • Klug, E. F. From Luther to Chemnitz: On Scripture and the Word. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971.
  • Kostlin, Julius. The Theology of Luther in its Historical Development and Inner Harmony. Trans. Charles E. Hay. Vol. 2. Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1897.
  • Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott. Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, (abridged): The Little Liddell. Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007.
  • Lueker, Erwin L., ed. Lutheran Cyclopedia. Rev. ed. St. Louis/London: Concordia Publishing House, 1975.
  • Luther, Martin. Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings. Ed. Timothy F. Lull. 2d ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005. pp. 197-201, 239-258, 317-336, 337-361.
  • Luther, Martin. What Luther Says: An Anthology. Compiled by Ewald M. Plass. Vol. 3. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959.
  • Luther, Martin. Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, Chapters 1-4. Ed. Jaroslav Pelikan. Trans. Martin H. Bertram. Luther’s Works. Vol. 22. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1957.
  • Luther, Martin. Word and Sacrament ???. Ed. Helmut T. Lehmann. Luther’s Works. Vol. 37. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1961.
  • Luther, Martin. Church and Ministry ???. Ed. Helmut T. Lehmann. Trans. Eric W. Gritsch. Luther’s Works. Vol. 41. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1966.
  • Luther, Martin. Sermons ??. Ed. Helmut T. Lehmann. Trans. John G. Kunstmann and S. P. Hebart. Luther’s Works. Vol. 52. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1974.
  • Maschke, Timothy. “The Purified Word: A Point of Issue and Response.” Concordia Journal. 3, no 2 (1977) pp. 70-73. EBSCOhosts. [online.]
  • Saarnivaara, Uuraas. “Written and Spoken Word.” Lutheran Quarterly. 2, no 2 (1950) pp. 166-179. EBSCOhosts. [online.]
  • Watson, Philip S. Let God Be God! An Interpretation of the Theology of Martin Luther. Philadelphia, PA: Muhlenberg Press, 1950.
  • Wood, A. Skevington. Captive to the Word. Martin Luther: Doctor of Sacred Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Luther and the Word, part 5

The purpose of the Word is to bring men certainty of salvation. When Martin Luther heard God’s very Word tell him that God loves him and has won for him salvation, this brought him comfort and certainty. However, God knows how sinful human beings fall into doubt and even despair. God, in His mercy, gave to mankind external signs so that Christians would be assured of God’s love, and “more certainly believe that God is favourable and merciful.”[38] These signs, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are called Sacraments and are the visible Word. Each Sacrament has a plain, earthly element that man can see and touch. In Baptism the element is water, and in the Lord’s Supper the elements are bread and wine. Attached to that visible element is the Word of God, along with all His promises. According to Luther, “the Word of God is the chief thing in the Sacrament.”[39] In Baptism, though the water itself is merely plain water, the Word attached to Baptism promises to wash away man’s sins, give him life and salvation. Luther believed that in Baptism, because of the almighty power of God’s Word, man is covered with Christ and shares all of His righteousness. In the Lord’s Supper, Luther believed that the Word made the bread and the wine Christ’s true body and blood, which gave to those Christians who ate and drank assurance of salvation.

Christ, the Word of God, is present in both Sacraments giving to Christians all of His gifts. In Luther’s theology, everything depended on the Word. “Where the Word is proclaimed, Christ is present; where it is not, He is not.”[40] Luther said, “So the Lord’s Supper is nothing if the divine Word is not present; just so Baptism.”[41] This understanding of the Word and its presence in the Sacraments caused division among his followers and other Protestants and sects that were developing at that time.

The Anabaptists were teaching that children must not be baptized. If one was baptized as a child they must be re-baptized as an adult. Some concluded that this was so on the basis that the child may not have had faith at the time they were baptized. Luther saw this as sheer foolishness and a lack of faith in the power of God’s Word. Luther knew that the Word is greater than faith, for the Word is eternal, but faith can and does change. He knew that faith was built on God’s Word, not God’s Word on faith. He asked, “Is it fairer to assume that the Word of God would change faith, if a right one were lacking than that faith would change the Word of God?”[42] Such an assumption would be correct, he concluded. If this were so, even if the infant had no faith one ought to baptize that child, for the Word present in Baptism may create faith inside the child, and that faith may continue to be built on said Word. That Word given in Baptism is eternal, and so Luther concluded, no one should ever be re-baptized. Luther argued:

“The unchanging Word of God, once spoken in the first baptism, ever remains standing, so that afterwards they can come to faith in it, if they will, and the water with which they were baptized they can afterwards receive in faith, if they will. Even if they contradict the Word a hundred times, it still remains the Word spoken in the first baptism. Its power does not derive from the fact that it is repeated many times or is spoken anew, but from the fact that it was commanded once to be spoken.”[43]

Without faith of course the grace given in Baptism could not be received. However, faith could receive it at any time, because the Word given in Baptism is eternal and it is “through the Word the water in Baptism has the power to wash away sins.”[44]

Questions? Comments?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Luther and the Word, part 4

Part four.

However, is there any difference between the Incarnate Word and the spoken Word? Luther was once asked such a question, and as reported by Klug, he answered:

“By all means. . . The former is the incarnate Word, who was true God from the beginning and the latter is the Word that is proclaimed. The former Word is in substance God, the latter Word is in its effect the power of God, but isn’t God in substance, for it has a man’s nature, whether it’s spoken by Christ or the minister.”[29]

Klug further explains this difference, saying, “The difference is one of essence, or nature.”[30] The words of a pastor or a Christian are not the Word of God in their own essence, that is, in and of themselves. In other words, it isn’t the Word because a certain individual said it or they made the right sounds come from their mouth, but because these words reveal God’s love and plan of salvation. If Christ crucified for sinners is the center of the spoken message, then it is the Word of God. It is also the Word of God only in so far that it agrees with Scripture. If it does not agree with the written Word it is not the spoken Word. However, if the same truth is proclaimed that is in Scripture, then their words “have their source in the written word of God and must take place according to it.”[31] Their words are in fact the very Word of God for they are “inseparably connected with the Scriptures.”[32] In other words, it is the content behind the words of the preaching pastor or the message that the Christian is proclaiming that matter and makes it the Word of God. What does not matter is the person speaking. As long as the content of their message agrees with Holy Scriptures, then Luther believed that it would remain God’s Word and retain all its power, “even when proclaimed by ungodly men.”[33] This brought Luther certainty, for he realized that he can be sure it is the Word of God he hears, no matter how evil the preacher secretly is. Luther said:

“This is also the real difference between godly faith and human faith: human faith clings to a person; it believes, trusts and honors the word on account of him who speaks it. But godly faith clings to the word, which is God Himself; it believes, trusts and honors the word not on account of him who has spoken it, but feels that here is such a certainty of truth that nobody can ever tear it away from it, even if the very same preacher should try it.”[34]

This spoken Word of God was given to men for the chief purpose of salvation. While Holy Scripture teaches men, for Luther it was the spoken Word that brought to men the forgiveness of sins and created in them the faith to receive it. Christians are saved when they hear the promise of the Gospel preached to them and believe the promise is for them. Luther speaks of this in his Christmas Day sermon written in 1530. The Christian hears the Word and says, “This child who is born of the virgin is not only his mother’s son. I have more than the mother’s estate; he is more mine than Mary’s, for he was born for me, for the angel said, ‘To you’ is born the Savior. (Emphasis mine)”[35] The spoken Word promises and gives to those who hear it the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. The Holy Spirit comes through the Word and creates faith which clings to and trusts in that Word, that promise of grace. Luther believed that if there is no spoken Word then there can be no faith. This is as Luther said, “For it is the nature and essence of faith that it builds and relies on the word of God, and where there is no word of God there can and shall be no faith.”[36] Faith needs an object in which it may believe, something it can trust. This object was for Luther the Word, for “what could or would God’s people believe, if there were no word of God?”[37]

Questions? Comments?