Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Living faith

It appears that many Muslims in Syria and Iraq are beginning to realize that the Wahabi branch of Islam is not their friend. As long as Wahabi-inspired terrorism seemed to be mainly directed at Jews, Christians, and Western civilization in general, they could cheer for supposed Islamic victories and overlook attacks against other Muslims. But now ISIS is aimed solely at other Muslims and people are rethinking their admiration for the teachings of the Wahabi movement.

Muslims like to claim that Christians are divided into many conflicting denominations and Muslims are all one. This ignores the fundamental differences between Sunnis and Shiites that are behind many Middle East conflicts. Then there are the Alawis, Druzes, Ahmadiyas and other smaller groups, regarded as heretics by both Sunnis and Shiites. The Wahabis are the hardline ultra-orthodox wing of the Sunnites and consider all the others to be apostate. This doesn’t sound much like unity to me.

The confusion of so many differing conflicting voices, all claiming to speak for the Christian faith is not a strong argument for Christianity. We will not improve matters by trying to paper over those differences and pretending to all get along, which would mean agreeing to not believe much of anything.

Is the only alternative to try and prove everybody else wrong and stridently drown out their voices? How do we seek the truth, take a stand for the truth, without being curmudgeons? How did Jesus do it?

Jesus used many uncomplimentary terms to describe the pharisees, such as “blind leaders of the blind.” But he never stooped to using personal insults. He was pointing out the disconnect between what they professed to believe and the way they conducted their lives. The gospels report that many of the pharisees believed in Him.

In all He said and did, Jesus was uncompromising in His denunciation of sin, yet sinners still felt His love. As Christians, we often claim to “hate the sin but love the sinner,” but do people living in sin really feel that from us? Or do they experience scorn and rejection?

It is not within our human ability to produce a genuine Christ-like attitude. It is when our lives are animated by the presence of the Holy Spirit that we can reject sin in all its forms without rejecting the people captured in those sins.

All the squabbling over truth does nothing to prove the truth of the Christian faith. Yet truth is important, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Truth in the abstract form can never set us free. Truth that transforms our lives and makes us more like Christ is the only real evidence of the reality of Christian faith.

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5 responses to “Living faith

  1. blessings2u November 21, 2014 at 07:59

    Although I hear what you are saying, I have to disagree with the idea that Jesus didn’t personally insult the hypocrites, Pharisees, and scribes. This is what I love about Him and this is what people, who often preach OSAS, bury. Jesus was a lion. Amen. He was not afraid of what people thought, was not afraid to tell the truth, and he hated those who claimed to know His Heavenly Father, but did not know Him.

    Examples:
    “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” Mat 23:24
    “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam of thine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Mat 7:5
    “But woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Mat 23:13
    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Mat 23:15

    These statements make my heart go pitter-pat and are not about stooping to a low level, but they are definitely highly insulting — and I am not in awe because of the insults, but rather the strength of our Lord’s manli, no, Godliness❤️❤️❤️. Remember, He spoke in parables to them as well because He knew they would never receive Him so He was basically rebuking the devil and wasn’t opening a door for them to enter in because it starts with faith and they didn’t have it. (Without faith, it is impossible to please Him… Heb 11:6)

    Today’s general Christianity is watered down. I do believe that we can reach out to the Muslim in love to preach the gospel, however, if they do not receive it, then dust off our feet and move on without thinking or hoping the worst for them. Many people in the “grace movement” embrace grace to the hilt, as if it’s the whole purpose of the Bible, but it’s grace through FAITH (Eph 2:8). Faith is the message.

  2. Bob Goodnough November 21, 2014 at 09:05

    Jesus simply spoke the truth, often using forceful and colourful words. The pharisees didn’t try to refute the truth of His words, they couldn’t, but the message cut deeply. The only way they could think of to defend themselves was to kill the Messenger. Some accepted the truth and repented.

  3. blessings2u November 21, 2014 at 09:59

    When do we use exclamation points?

    To say that the Pharisees didn’t try to refute is not accurate according to the scriptures,

    Luke 6:7 KJV
    [7] And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him.

    Ultimately, because they could not reply intelligently, this infuriated them.

    Luke 6:11 KJV
    [11] And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

    This is an example of them accusing Him at their press conference,

    Mark 15:1 KJV
    [1] And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.

    Mark 15:3 KJV
    [3] And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing.

    Jesus answered nothing because His time had come to lay Himself down as a Lamb. All the other times, Jesus rebuked them harshly like a Lion and was able to escape through power and authority because His time was not yet.

  4. The Gospel of Barney November 21, 2014 at 10:36

    Astute observations!

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