Saturday, October 17, 2015

Muhammad's Intercession is Useless

Some time ago I posted a hadith about Muhammad being an intercessor on the Day of Judgment.

But here is another hadith wherein he clearly says that such intercession is useless:
When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Apostle got up and said, 
"O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment."
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, Number 16
All in all the topic of the intercession of the Prophet is ambiguous and very unclear. Did Muslims impose on Muhammad sayings about him being a savior later in order to exalt him above Jesus? This strikes me as likely.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Worry about conversions to Christianity spreading

This article is about a member of the royal Kuwaiti family who recently converted to Christianity. There are some questions as to his identity, but the story has spread.

What caught my attention though was at the end of the article:
After Heidar Moslehi, the Iranian intelligence minister, asked Muslim seminaries to become proactive in stopping the spread of Christianity, a high-ranking cleric declared that Evangelical Christianity is the most horrifying intelligence and security organisation in the world. This statement seems to have appeared on press agencies close to the Revolutionary Guard. In a conference on “New Age cults” held in Varamin, a district south of Teheran, Akhond Mohsen Alizadeh declared: “We should not allow these cults to question Islamic jurisprudence under the cover of mysticism.” He went on to add: “They tell the youth that God is wrathful and horrible in Islam but is love in Christianity. Also, Christian preachers answer the questions and doubts of youth in their own interest and try to attract them.” Nevertheless a whole series of signs seem to indicate that non-traditional Christianity – there are Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Iran as well as a large Armenian community – is spreading. The regime’s press recently spoke of them with concern and the number of cases of repression and condemnation following conversions is growing.
I think these two paragraphs communicate to us two things: 1) the authorities don't understand evangelicalism at all, and 2) they are worried.

In any case, let's pray that we would continue to see these conversions. And let's also pray for the traditional churches that they would be more active in welcoming in converts from Islam.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bp John Harrower on context and Bible

I really liked this quote from the outgoing Anglican Bishop of Tasmania:
I often say to people when they say 'Christians should be reading the Bible', 'well, Christians should be reading the newspaper.'
HT to VirtueOnline for this tidbit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

RIP, Anglican Communion

It looks like the Anglican Communion is over. But maybe it is too early to let us wait.

Right now the Anglican Communion (theoretically) is not a confederation, but a true communion of national/regional churches. Over the years I have ministered with and been ministered to, among others, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, The Episcopal Church of the USA, The Episcopal Church of Scotland, the Church of England, and others. These are the regional churches, we call them provinces. The head of each province is called a primate. There are 37 or so of these provinces around the world (and they cover most of the globe), and these form the Communion.

Previously, a priest of one province was a priest of all the other ones. In other words, they shared their sacraments and holy orders, which is important.

But now it looks like the titular and historic head of the Communion, the archbishop of Canterbury, will call for this communion to became a mere confederation or something like that. Who knows...It is sad news for me because this communion is the only truly global communion of the Protestant tradition.

Anyway, if you are interested, read more here:

Archbishop calls for Primate Gathering

Saturday, August 08, 2015

PDF of Twenty-three Years by Ali Dashti

Twenty-three Years, by Iranian thinker Ali Dashti, is one of my favorite lives of Muhammad. Written by an Iranian Muslim who had a critical and questioning mind, I am happy to share this link to a PDF of the book which I have found online:

Twenty-three Years, by Ali Dashti

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Dutch give up on multiculturalism

I can't say I'm really surprised about this. But the reality is that it is too little too late, I suspect. 

Immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language and no exceptions to obedience to Dutch law will be allowed for followers of sharia.  In addition, the government will stop subsidizing Muslims and making special criteria for their employment...and will ban the burqa...

Read more: 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Newbigin: "The secular society is a myth..."

Hear the words of this great prophet!

The secular society is a myth, and it has the power of a myth to blind people to realities. A powerful myth, such as this, has in it the power about which I was speaking in the chapter on “principalities and powers.” Christian affirmation in this context requires the unmasking of the powers. It calls for a new kind of enlightenment, namely the opening up of the underlying assumptions of a secular society, the asking of the unasked questions, the probing of unrecognized presuppositions.

Newbigin, Lesslie (1989-10-30). The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (p. 220). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

Newbigin on the myth of secular modernity

I read this book many years ago when I was new to Christian mission. I am rereading it and it is as refreshing and powerful as it was all those years ago.

Here is a great quote:

I am suggesting both that the belief in a secular society is an unproven belief accepted uncritically to justify a social institution, and also that the belief is mistaken. Put very briefly, the belief is that modern society is on a steady and irreversible course toward increasing secularization, and that this is to be welcomed since it enables us to put the wars of religion behind us and to create a society in which the conflicting truth-claims of the religions do not tear society to pieces.

Newbigin, Lesslie (1989). The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (p. 211). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Great Quotes from Francis Schaeffer

Schaefer really influenced me a great deal as a young Christian in college. I read all of his collected works (five volumes!)

Here are some great quotes of his:

Christianity, the Church and Responsibility

Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched.
Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years.
Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.
Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.

Culture & History

When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, ‘not many men are in the room’ – that is although world views have many variations, there are not many basic world-views or basic presuppositions.
Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, an evidence that we are made in the image of God.
Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion by the barbarians. Rome had no sufficient inward base, the barbarians only completed the breakdown – and Rome gradually became a ruin.
There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people … The results of their thought world flow through their fingers of from their tongues into the external world.

Life and Abortion

Certainly every Christian ought to be praying and working to nullify the abominable abortion law. But as we work and pray, we should have in mind not only this important issue as though it stood alone. Rather, we should be struggling and praying that this whole other total entity “(this godless) worldview” can be rolled back with all its results across all of life.
Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.
But the dignity of human life is unbreakably linked to the existence of the personal-infinite God. It is because there is a personal-infinite God who has made men and women in His own image that they have a unique dignity of life as human beings. Human life then is filled with dignity, and the state and humanistically oriented law have no right and no authority to take human life arbitrarily in the way it is being taken.

Truth and Sin

The beginning of men’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.
I have come to the conclusion that none of us in our generation feels as guilty about sin as we should or as our forefathers did.
In passing, we should note this curious mark of our own age: the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute.
The inward area is the first place of loss of true Christian life, of true spirituality, and the outward sinful act is the result.
Truth always carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong.

Read more:

Read more: