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« on: January 19, 2004, 12:05:22 AM »

ONE NOTE - ALLAH in this thread should  ONLY be used as a reference to the God of Islam.
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2004, 01:23:40 AM »

ONE NOTE - ALLAH in this thread should  ONLY be used as a reference to the God of Islam.

It would be much easier to simply say 'Islam's god', 'the Muslim god', or 'God in Islam is....'.

If 'Allah' is to be used, then I will add the condition that that name not be demeaned or used in any way one would not use 'God'.  Clarifying the subject being addressed does not excuse abusing the name.

Now, to address this thread's question, I personally have not come to a conclusion based on reason and study.  I can certainly say I'm culturally conditioned to accepting the more lenient answer, as our speech is constantly punctuated with references to God and our manner of speech leads us to accept that we recognise the same God, whilst remaining aware of the fact that our Muslim friends do not know Him perfectly due to their rejection of Christian Revelation.

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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2004, 10:48:39 AM »

When a Muslim can say God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost then his god will be the same God worshipped by Christians.

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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2004, 11:22:54 AM »

When a Muslim can say God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost then his god will be the same God worshipped by Christians.

Steve J.

I tend to see things the same way.  If someone denies the inherent nature of God - TRINITY - how can it be said that thy worship the God of Christianity?  (The exception being Judaism which is the root of Christianity - which in fact does worship the trinity, but they are too blind to see it.)
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2004, 11:28:02 AM »

I voted "absolutely not," although I did not like the "Allah is not the God of Christianity" part.

I learned from SamB a long time ago that Allah is simply the Arabic word for God and is used by Christians as well as Muslims.

I don't think Islam is about the same God worshiped by Christians, but I do think that sincere Muslims are seeking Him.
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2004, 12:02:54 PM »

ONE NOTE - ALLAH in this thread should  ONLY be used as a reference to the God of Islam.
Given this additional clarification, I voted the first option. However, I grew up with many Arab Orthodox Christians and understand SamB's position.
Samer:
You mention "millions" of Christian Arabs; I only wish that were still true :'(

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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2004, 12:19:08 PM »

Samer:
You mention "millions" of Christian Arabs; I only wish that were still true :'(

Over half of the Palestinian Christian population in the diaspora.  Yes, the haemorrhaging of the Arabic countries has been very disastrous for us.  I believe we are somewhere between ten to fifteen million.

.....but back to the thread.  Let's not create tangents.

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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2004, 01:39:36 PM »

If someone denies the inherent nature of God - TRINITY - how can it be said that thy worship the God of Christianity?  (The exception being Judaism which is the root of Christianity - which in fact does worship the trinity, but they are too blind to see it.)

I don't know how I feel about this statement, personally.  If we are saying that someone who denies the inherent nature of God (namely, Trinity) does not worship the same God as Christians worship, then why do we make an exception for Jews?  Certainly, it is the root from which Christianity grew, but the Trinity has been revealed as the "inherent nature of God", and the Jews now reject it.  They even reject Jesus, which is something that Muslims do not do (at least to a certain extent).  While I suppose we can say that Christians worship the God of the Jews, and more fully since we understand/know a little more about Him, can we say the reverse?  That the Jewish people who know the Christian teaching regarding the Trinity of God and consciously reject it on its own terms worship the same God now as we do?  Or rather, having heard the proclamation of the Truth and rejected it, have they ceased to worship the same God as we do, but a "God" according to their current understanding?  Or if we can say that the Jewish people worship the same God as the Christians even while denying the Trinitarian doctrine on its own terms, what makes the Muslims any different?  My understanding (perhaps wrong, but it is what I've been taught by Muslims) is that the Muslim objection to the Trinity is substantially the same as the Jewish objection to the same teaching.  Admittedly, Romans 11, I think, might address at least part of the problem with regard to the Jewish people, but if the Muslim objections are the same as the Jewish, and they profess to worship the God of Abraham, just as the Jews do, then why are we making a distinction between Jews and Muslims, at least in terms of Whom they are worshipping and His Reality, if any?
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2004, 02:00:37 PM »

Friends,

I am going to try and explain this but I get really flustered when I discuss the finer points of theology. So if anything I say sounds confusing or what not I will try to clarify.

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.

That being said, for me it is easy enough to say that the God Muslims worship is the Father but in an incomplete way.  The incompleteness is due to the fact that they do not worship the Father through the Son as Christians do, which is the only way that God is known.

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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2004, 03:16:38 PM »

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.

I somewhat follow and this will require a thread of its own, but please do expand on the above, Dustin.  You mentioned the same before, and I have found it to be, no doubt because of the inadequacy of the manner these theological nuances are expressed in words, rather unsettling and sounding somewhat Arian (as in 'God and Jesus').  The Father's Monarchy notwithstanding, His being the eternal Principle and Source of the Trinity does not somehow slightly tip the scales of equality amongst God's Hypostases (of course you're not implying this, but the statements above can't but give the impression).  By saying they are different somehow, we have to study what we consider as essential theological distinctions that separate the Three.  Usually, one would answer that the only differences involved when all is said and done are the relationships of each Member to the Others.

A little more elucidation would be appreciated.

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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2004, 03:20:15 PM »

Mor Ephrim -


The Jewish worship the Trinity, but fail to realize it.  Look at the OT.  In Genesis - “Let US make man in OUR image” - In the shema the plurality of God is proclaimed - In the Matzah of passover the trinity is proclaimed . . .

Our church was originally a Jewish synagogue.  We refurbished it of course, but one of the things we did not change were the windows.  One of my favorite windows is a depiction of Jacobs ladder rising up from the earth to heaven - and directly at the top of it, a triangle.  Another window depicts the blessing of the OT priests over Israel.  The arms of the priest are extended,, hands up - palms outward.  The index fingers of each and are touching, as are the thumbs - forming a triangle - but as if that is not enough - the ring and middle fingers are touching each other on each hand, but the index and little fingers are extended away from the ring and index fingers - again proclaiming the trinity with the ring and index fingers representing the two natures of Christ.  These are only just a few examples.

As for the God of Islam being the God of Christianity - I would be inclined to accept that notion if the nature of Allah was like that of YHWH.  A cursory reading of the koran refutes the impression of Allah being Elohim.  The islamic deity is a carnal creature ruled by whims and passions and prone to acts of extreme vindictiveness.  Elohim, on the other hand never acted in an arbitrary or vindictive fashion and was always quick to forgive.

Islam if anything is a corruption of the Christian faith with so little resemblance to the true faith that I would never dare to call it a heresy.  Like mormonism, it has strayed so far from the truth that its only connections to the real faith are superficial and hardly worth noting.


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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2004, 09:48:49 PM »

 "Orthodoxy in Indonesia"
An Interview with
Archimandrite Daniel Bambang Dwi Byantoro
by Thomas Hulbert

From:  Road to Emmaus Vol. 2, No. 3 (#6)

Thomas Hulbert is the Western European correspondent for Road to Emmaus

Thomas: How do you approach the souls that come to you? If they are
Moslem how do you work with them and how do you explain the difference
between Christianity and Islam. How do you draw them in?
Fr. Daniel: I think that in any missionary work, you must first of all understand
the culture of the people and you have to be able to speak within the
bounds of that cultural language, because otherwise your word cannot be
heard or understood. So, when you talk with a Moslem, you must understand
the Moslem mind. Don’t just try to throw in words and phrases that are
familiar to Christians, to Orthodox, because they will not be understood by a
Moslem. First of all, when you talk to a Moslem, you have to emphasize that
God is One.
Thomas: Because they already believe this?
Fr. Daniel: Not only because they already believe this, but because they accuse
us [the Christians] of having three gods. That is the problem. So, you
have to clear up the misunderstanding that we worship three gods. Don’t try
to use our traditional language, like Father, Son and Holy Spirit - because for
them, that is three gods! In their minds, the Father is different, the Son is
different, the Holy Spirit is different. For myself, I emphasize that God is
One, that this One God is also the Living God, and as the Living God He has
Mind. Because if God didn’t have a mind, I’m sorry to say, He would be like
an idiot. God has to have a mind. Within the Mind of God there is the Word.
Thus, the Word of God is contained within God Himself. So, God in His
Word is not two, but one. God is full with His own Word; He is pregnant
with Word. And that Word of God is then revealed to man. The thing that is
contained within - like being impregnated within oneself - when it is revealed,
it is called being born out of that person. That is why the Word of
God is called the Son: He is the Child Who is born from within God, but
outside time. So, that is why this One God is called the Father, because He
has His own Word Who is born out of Him, and is called the Son. So, Father
and Son are not two gods. The Father is One God, the Son is that Word of
God. The Moslem believes that God created the world through the Word. So
what the Moslem believes in as Word, is what the Christians call the Son! In
that way, we can explain to them that God does not have a son separate from
Himself.
Thomas: So the Moslems see our idea of the Son of God in terms of physical
sonship.
Fr. Daniel: Yes, of course. And God does not have a son in that way, that’s
true. He is not begetting in the sense of a human being giving birth. He is
called the Father because He produces from Himself, His own Word, and
that Word is the Son.
So because God is the living God, He must have the principle of life
within Himself. In man, this principle of life is man’s spirit. God is the same.
The principle of life within God is the Spirit of God. It is called the Holy
Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is not the name of the Angel Gabriel, as the Moslems
understand it. The Holy Spirit is the living principle, the principle of life
and power within God Himself. This One God is called the Father because
He produced from Himself His own Word, which is called the Son, and the
Word of God is called the Son because He is born out of the Father eternally,
without beginning, without end. This One Living God also has Spirit within
Himself. So, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one God. This is the way we
explain to Moslems about the Trinity, and we should not try to use our language
of “Father and Son, co-equal, co-...” something like that. Even though
it is our Christian terminology, they will not understand this. The purpose is
not to theologize to them but to explain the reality of the Gospel in a way that
is understandable to them. This is point number one: you have to be clear
about the Trinity.
The second point is this: the basic difference between Islam and Christianity
concerns revelation. In Islam, God does not reveal Himself. God only
sends down His word. “Revelation” in Islam means “the sending down of the
word of God” through the prophets. And that word is then written down and
becomes scripture. So in Islam, revelation means the “inscripturization” of
the word of God while in Christianity, it is not the same. The Word was sent
down to the womb of the Virgin Mary, took flesh and became man. Namely,
Jesus Christ. So, the two religions believe that God communicated Himself
to man by means of the Word, but the difference is how that Word manifested
in the world. In Christianity it is manifested in the person of Jesus
Christ and in Islam it is manifested in the form of a book, the Koran. So, the
place of Mohammed in Islam is parallel to the place of the Virgin Mary in
Orthodox Christianity. That is why in Islam the Moslems respect Mohammed,
not as a god, but as the bearer of revelations. Just as the Orthodox Church
respects the Virgin Mary not as a goddess but as the bearer of the Word of
God, who gave birth to the Word of God. Incidentally, the two religions both
give salutations, to Mohammed for the Moslems and to the Virgin Mary for
Christians. The Moslems also have a kind of akathist, like a paraclesis but to
Mohammed! It is called the depa abarjanji - in Orthodox terms it would be a
“canon” to Mohammed, because he is the bearer of the revelation.
Thomas: So Mohammed is venerated like a saint?
Fr. Daniel: He is venerated, yes. Very much so. But there are also the Sufi
Moslems, who sometimes believe that Mohammed was “already there,” like
the Arian misunderstanding of Christ. In their view, Mohammed was the
“first created soul,” for whom the world was created. This is called the Nor-
Mohammed. So, the purpose of Islamic mystics is to be like Mohammed, to
imitate him.
Thomas: To be the bearer of the Word?
Fr. Daniel: As Mohammed was.
Thomas: So, that is why Sufi mystics are perhaps not so legalistic?
Fr. Daniel: Yes, they are more mystical.
So, for us, the image of the Church is the Virgin Mary. We are called to
be like the Virgin Mary in our submission to God. The Virgin Mary is the
picture, the image, or I should say, the icon of the Church. Mohammed is the
“icon” of the ideal Moslem man, and because of that the way we worship
diverges. In Christianity, because the Word became a man, became flesh, for
us to be united with that Word we have to be united with the content of that
revelation. What is the content? The incarnation, crucifixion, death and resurrection
of that Person. In order for us to be united with the content of that
revelation, we have to be united in that Person, namely in the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ. How? Through baptism. And we also have to be
united with the life of the resurrection of that incarnate Word. How? By the
Holy Spirit, through Chrismation. So, the sacraments are very important for
us because God became man. He sanctified the physical world so that the
physical elements of nature can be used as the means by which we are united
with the person of Christ in the sacraments.
In Islam, however, because the word becomes a book, the content of the
book is writing. It is not flesh. So, that is why in order for a Moslem to unite
with the content of the two-fold revelation (that God is one and that
Mohammed is His prophet) one has to recite the source of revelation - because
it is a book. But you cannot be united with or immersed in a book, you
can only memorize the content of the book in the original form, namely in
Arabic. So, Arabic scripture is the form of that revelation. The God-Man
Jesus is the form of that revelation in Christianity. In order for a person to be
initiated into Islamic revelation, you must confess the creed: “I confess that
there is no God except Allah, and that Mohammed is the Apostle of Allah.”
When you confess that, you become Moslem. There is no baptism, you are
not united in the death of anyone, you are only united to the form of the
revelation. To stay united to the revelation, you must keep the prayers. In
prayer you recite the Koran, so five times a day you pray, five times a day you
immerse yourself in the ocean of divine revelation, which is the Koran. Prayer
itself is the sacrament of Islam. In order for us Christians to be immersed in
the form of the revelation, which is Jesus Christ, we have to partake of the
Body and Blood of Jesus Christ continually. In that way we are united to
Jesus Christ, while in Islam the recitation of the Koran is the most important
thing, because it is a form of sacrament to the Moslems.
So those are the basic differences. This is a way to understand the Moslem
mind instead of just arguing against them.
Thomas: Would you say that most Muslims are conscious of this theological
aspect of God and man’s relationship to Him?
Fr. Daniel: Yes, of course, through the Koran, through the prophets.
Thomas: In Islam, is a person’s manner of life of secondary importance to
the correct understanding of the form of revelation?
Fr. Daniel: In the manner of life, Islam refers again to the form of revelation,
which is a book. The content of the book is writing, the writing is law, so the
law has to be obeyed. If we have the imitation of Christ and His teachings,
they have the imitation of Mohammed and the Koran. That is why the life of
a Moslem is dictated and governed by the law of the Koran, while our life is
dictated by the law of Christ in the Holy Spirit.
Thomas: What is the difference then between following these two laws?
Fr. Daniel: In Islam, there is no new birth, just a return to God, which means
repentance. This is called submission to God.
Thomas: And that is the meaning of the word Islam, “to submit?”
Fr. Daniel: Yes. Islam means submission to God. That is the way we have to
understand the difference between the way of life of Islam and of Orthodox
Christianity. There are some parallel ways of thinking, but very different content.
The main difference is that in Orthodox Christianity the Word became
flesh and in Islam the word became a book. That is the main difference.
Thomas: How do Moslem converts to Orthodoxy sustain their belief in the
predominantly Moslem society of Indonesia? Do you have communities of
Orthodox Christians who live together and support each other in the hostile
religious environment, or is the parish way of life more common?
Fr. Daniel: No, we don’t really have any special kind of community where we
live together. We are spread out geographically like other Christians, and we
come to the church for services. But as to how we withstand the environment
- the way I do it is that I teach very strong Bible classes in Indonesian. Every
day I have Bible study before Holy Communion. In between Orthos [Matins]
and Liturgy there is always Bible study. And in my Bible study, there is
always a comparison between Christianity and Islam, all the time. It reminds
people that this is Christianity and this over here is Islam. For example, I ask
questions like: “OK, in nature which is higher, a human being or a book?”
Being formed by Moslem culture, some of them say “a book.” So then I’ll ask
them, “Which is higher, then, revelation of God in the form of a human
being or in the form of a book?” Of course, revelation is higher in the form of
a human being. They can see that from God Himself. So, God the Word
become flesh, the Word become man, is higher than the word which became
a book. That’s number one. Second, if in the past God sent down His word
through the prophets in the form of a book, namely the Old Testament, and
the Old Testament has been fulfilled completely in the form of man, Jesus
Christ, is it possible, after the Word of God has been fulfilled in man, that
God would revert to the old way, sending a book again? Of course not! When
the Word has become man, it is already complete. And that Man, Jesus Christ,
is still alive! So, it is impossible that God would again send another revelation
in the form of a book. From our point of understanding, it is not possible.
For us, the most perfect prophet and the last revelation of God is Jesus Christ.
There is no need for any other revelation. This is the point I emphasize again
and again. They understand this quite well. So this is how we keep holding
onto the path of Christ in spite of so many attacks from the Moslems.

______________
I know nothing about this stuff.  I would like to think that God shrugs His shoulders at the Muslims and says "What the heck are they doing?!?!  That's not what I ment at all!"  But I just don't know.  Thought I'd post a bit from this excellent interview from an expert.  The original is downloadable as a PDF at the following link:
http://www.farahfoundation.org/Indonesia.pdf
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2004, 12:01:51 AM »

In the shema the plurality of God is proclaimed - In the Matzah of passover the trinity is proclaimed . . .

If you could, I would appreciate more information specifically on these, Br. Max.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2004, 10:00:53 AM »

Mor Ephrem:  In the shema - the plurality of God is proclaimed by the use of a plural in reference to God.  This is often looked upon as the "royal we."

As for the passover - Not only is the Matza striped and pierced as we Jesus Christ, but - there is a pouch thingy (I can't for the life of me remember what it is called right now . . .)  into which they place 3 matzah crackers.  Two are visible, one is hidden.  The hidden one is broken before it is hidden.  It was this piece of bread of which Christ said - This is my Body - and the apostles ate.
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2004, 11:21:01 AM »

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.

Have you read 'Being and Communion' by Bishop John Zizioulas? I have not finished it yet and it gave me great pause for thought and reflective consideration as he says more or less the same thing. I wish that I had found some good theological reviews of it from an Orthodox perspective to help me judge what he says in relation to the Fathers.
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2004, 07:53:15 PM »

Mor Ephrem:  In the shema - the plurality of God is proclaimed by the use of a plural in reference to God.  This is often looked upon as the "royal we."

Where does this plural, in Hebrew, fit in the Shema which says "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One"?
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2004, 08:36:16 PM »

Mor Ephrem: the word for ONE - echad denotes a composite oneness - as in the oneness between a husband and a wife - one flesh.
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2004, 12:48:52 AM »

Friends,

I am going to try and explain this but I get really flustered when I discuss the finer points of theology. So if anything I say sounds confusing or what not I will try to clarify.

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.

That being said, for me it is easy enough to say that the God Muslims worship is the Father but in an incomplete way.  The incompleteness is due to the fact that they do not worship the Father through the Son as Christians do, which is the only way that God is known.

anastasios

Beyond the theological discussion I still do not see that the Muslims worship the same Father we do, even in an incomplete way.

They put words in God's mouth that He never uttered.

They deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Didn't St. John say that anyone who denies the Son doesn't have the Father either (1 John 2:23)?

If the Muslims worship the Father in an incomplete way, then the Greeks worshiped Him in an incomplete way in Zeus, and the Germanic tribes worshiped Him in an incomplete way In Wotan/Odin, and the early Indo-Europeans worshiped Him in an incomplete way in Dyaus Piter, and so on and on.

I do not feel that the present-day Jews worship the same God we worship either.

Their spiritual predecessors turned their backs on Him when they rejected His only-begotten Son.

I know someone will now bring up St. Paul's speech on the Areopagus and his remarks about the Greeks' worship of "the unknown god."

But did St. Paul literally mean that in dedicating a monument to "the unknown god" the Greeks were really worshiping the Father, or was he making a rhetorical point?
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2004, 03:42:04 AM »

I know someone will now bring up St. Paul's speech on the Areopagus and his remarks about the Greeks' worship of "the unknown god."

But did St. Paul literally mean that in dedicating a monument to "the unknown god" the Greeks were really worshiping the Father, or was he making a rhetorical point?

Areopagus is a case of God preparing the way so that people could accept the truth when they heard it for the first time. Islam is taking the truth that has been heard and distorting or corrupting it so that it is no longer truth. Not much in common really.

John.
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2004, 12:55:01 PM »

I've been thinking hard about the use of "allah" by arabic Christians and the very defensive way that they protect the word.  In light of the Dhimmi status they suffered for hundreds of years, I am not surprised that they cling so strongly to a word which has kept them safe from the islamic sword.
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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2004, 12:55:55 PM »

Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. (Sahih Muslim, book 19, no. 4294).
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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2004, 01:40:28 PM »

I've been thinking hard about the use of "allah" by arabic Christians and the very defensive way that they protect the word.  In light of the Dhimmi status they suffered for hundreds of years, I am not surprised that they cling so strongly to a word which has kept them safe from the islamic sword.

You just don't give up, eh Max?  How clever it was for those poor dhimmis to adopt Allah as a protective strategy against the Islamic sword.

Let it go, fella.  Instead of searching for convoluted explanations suited to your comfort level for something you persistently find to be unusual, perhaps you should consider our defence of the Name to be no different in the reason behind it from anyone else's version, and that people's habit to assume it to be the exclusive property of Muslims tends to provoke a rise in its irreverent use that calls for its tight protection on our part.

Enough of this topic, please.

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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2004, 03:30:25 PM »

Samb: I know of no one who would say that "God" is the Lord's name.
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« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2004, 06:09:45 PM »

Does 'G-d' ring a bell, Max?

Very well.  You've made your statement; it speaks for itself.  I have nothing further to add to it nor do I see how it ties into anything regarding the post addressed to you.

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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2004, 06:58:12 PM »

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.

     This is absolutely true.  However, there are some other issues to keep in mind.  First, historically, what is called Judaism today is not the same religion as the religion of the Old Testament.  The most obvious example of a major difference is that the religion of the Old Testament was centered entirely around the worship of the temple and a complex sacrificial system as outlined in the Torah.  Judaism today has no sacrifices and no Temple, and is completely reoriented.
     Historically, at the time of Christ, the religion of the Old Testament had blossomed into a vast number of different sects and groups.  We encounter a few of them in the pages of the New Testament.  Out of those various inheritors of the Old Testament/Israelite religious tradition, following the destruction of the Temple, and then Jerusalem, only two groups survived.  One is Christianity.  The other is Rabbinic Judaism.  Rabbinic Judaism is the continuation of the religion of the Pharisee sect from the time of Christ.  In the first and early second centuries, the chief debate was between these two groups, as to which one represented the true continuation of the Old Testament Faith.  This is manifested in the pages of the New Testament, and in the early debates with the Quartodecimians.  It even plays out in the issues of Old Testament canon, with Rabbinic Judaism forming the Masoretic text after several failed attempts to re-edit the Septuagint and de-Christianize its renderings.  Therefore, it is incorrect to say that Christianity came from Judaism.  Rather, Judaism and Christianity come out of a common root, the religion of the Old Testament.
     That said, the clear testimony of Scripture and the Fathers is that Judaism is a completely invalid religion that is /not/ the Faith of the Old Testament.  As Jesus says to the Pharisees:

     "You do not know me or my Father.  If you knew me, you would know my Father also." (John 8:19)

     Therefore, Judaism's god is not God the Father, because if they knew Him, they would also know Christ.  And again:

     "If you were Abraham's children, then you would do the things Abraham did.  As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.  Abraham did not do such things.  You are doing the things your own father does....You belong to your father, the Devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a muderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him....The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."  (John 8:39-41, 44, 47)

     Therefore, Judaism, because it does not share Abraham's Faith in Christ, is not 'descended from Abraham', and is not the Old Testament Faith, but Christianity is.  Likewise, we have to look at Islam in this context.  They cannot be worshipping God (the Father) because they do not know Christ.  Likewise, their claim to Abraham's faith is equally as false as Judaism's.  One can debate whether Judaism and Islam worship the same god, I suppose, but that god isn't the Father.
     This is the clear teaching of Scripture and the Fathers, but in today's politically correct climate, no one wants to be accused of being intolerant or anti-Semitic for saying it.  For references in the Fathers on this issue, I'd refer everyone to St. John Chrysostom's sermons against the Judaizers, and the excellent little volume of Melito of Sardis "On Pascha" put out by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.
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« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2004, 07:03:57 PM »

Welcome John!

Very interesting post. Tell us something about yourself.
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« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2004, 07:09:48 PM »

I agree.

Great post, John Cassian!

I like your screen name, too. St. John Cassian is one of my favorites. I like the way he, St. Vincent of Lerins, and St. Faustus of Riez took on the extremes of Augustinism in their writings.

Anyway, I agree completely with what you posted above.

And, as Tom said, welcome!
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« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2004, 09:57:35 PM »

     Thanks for the kind words.  I guess that was my first post, wasn't it?  Smiley

     St. John Cassian is my name saint, hence my screen name.  I'm a former Dutch Reformed pastor who's converted to Orthodoxy.  I completed an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and currently I'm in the St. Stephen's Course through the Antiochian Archdiocese.  I'm a member of St. Nicholas Church in Shreveport, LA, so I actually commute across state lines from Texas.  And I read alot.

     Thanks for the welcome. Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2004, 10:56:13 PM »

Wonderful!

What a great saint for a former Calvinist to choose!

Haha! I love it!

(I used to belong to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church myself.)

I like that "Not a Semi-Pelagian" thing, too.

Sts. John Cassian, Vincent of Lerins, and Faustus of Riez were really "Semi-Augustinians."
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« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2004, 02:48:04 AM »

Mr. de Young, my compliments for submitting the most constructive post on this thread so far.  Welcome to the list, and thank you for your perspective on this issue.

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« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2004, 04:33:11 AM »

Not only Islam, all the other Non-Christian religions, are false religions, and the work of men themselves, and they are certainly not from God.

This does not mean that they're all bad, they can have universal values that are good, and they represent the desire of men to be united with God in a certain way, waiting and yearning for his true religion.

Although in the case of Judaism or Hindusim that are ancient religions is more difficult to "prove" their falseness, Islam is easy to beat.

Compared to Holy Books of other religions such as the Popol Vuh of the Mayans, the Bhavagad Ghita of Hindus, etc. the Q++ran is extremely deficient. It's a mishmash of sayings, thoughts, speeches and oral stories which mix traditions from Arab Paganism, Gnostic Christianity and Judaism.

From Judaism Muhammad brought the fastings and the moon calendar, and the genealogy of the semitic people (with several mistaked though), and from Arab Paganism he preseved the ablutions, 5 prayers, etc.

I am led to think that Muhammad was a very political and ambitious man, who repented from the stupidity of adoring stones and pieces of wood as the Arabs of his time did. If the Muslims of our times are as savage and uncivilized as we know them just imagine how they were before Muhammad! He wanted to unify the religion and make it acceptable for Arab tribes, by imitating Jews and Christians whose teachings knew only from indirect traditions.

This is very obvious by examining the Christian elements within the Quran. In the Quran, there are a few narratives of some "miracles" performed by Jesus-Child that were taken from apocryphal Christian books used by heretical gnostic sects at that time (these are not contained in any of the four gospels recognized by the Church). Then the Jesus of the Quran does not die in the cross (another one is put in his place, or he just faked his death). This idea also comes from apocryphal gospels whose material was Doscetic. The Doscetists were heretics who denied the crucifiction and the resurrection.

Sadly, as you can see, Muhammad only knew these poor apocryphal texts. If he had read the true Gospels he would have been a promoter of Christianity, and not of the horrible heresy of Islam, which has thousands of souls in Pagan darkness.
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« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2010, 06:47:04 PM »

Friends,

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.
anastasios

wow, It looks like some kind of semi-arianism. So you are trying to say the Son is not the God but a god? Come on I can show you many verses in the New Testament where the Father is addressed as theos without the article. Son is homousios to the Father it means is not an icon of the Father but is the same nature as the Father is. Incarnated Logos as God in flesh is the Icone of Father becouse we can see that isn't able to be seen etc. There is only one THE GOD - the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2010, 07:10:24 PM »

Friends,

I think it is important to realize that the Church Fathers did not teach that the TRINITY is God (o theos -- i.e. WITH the article) but that the FATHER alone is o theos.  The Son is addressed in the New Testament as simply theos--sure it means God but it does not mean it in the strict THE GOD sense.  He is an image of God and is divine therefore.  He is one in essence with him.  But they are not the same.  The divinity is not derived from the common essence but rather from the personhood of the Father.
anastasios

wow, It looks like some kind of semi-arianism. So you are trying to say the Son is not the God but a god? Come on I can show you many verses in the New Testament where the Father is addressed as theos without the article. Son is homousios to the Father it means is not an icon of the Father but is the same nature as the Father is. Incarnated Logos as God in flesh is the Icone of Father becouse we can see that isn't able to be seen etc. There is only one THE GOD - the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit.

Based on my studies, "God" is the Divine Essence, which is the common substance of the Trinity. But the source of the Divine Essence is the Father's Person. So, of the three Persons, the Father alone is deity proper. The Son and Holy Spirit both have sources in the Father, so they are not self-existing and not deity proper. Only the Father is autotheos -- self-existing God.

This is in contrast with Calvin, for example, who rejects this model and says that the Trinity is actually three self-existing entities, which implicitly means the Trinity is three separate Gods.
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« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2010, 07:53:22 PM »

This sermon by Fr. Behr may be helpful:

http://www.myocn.net/index.php/20080612873/Special-Moments-in-Orthodoxy/Special-Moments-in-Orthodoxy-Trinitarian-Theology.html
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« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2010, 08:20:35 PM »

i LIKE FR. BEHR.
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