Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God: The God who Jesus Christ worshipped


I am somewhat astonished/puzzled that the question concerning the God who Jesus Christ worshipped is rarely raised. And yet, I am convinced that the answer to this question is foundational to understanding who the true God is.

I would like to begin my exploration into the answer of this question by quoting an exchange Jesus had with a Pharisee/scribe:

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (Mark 12:28-34 - KJV; see also Matt. 22:34-40; Luke 10:25-28.)

I am going to suggest that within the above dialogue, we have the very essence of what constitutes true faith; the true faith that forms the foundation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The essence is this: first, belief in and love of the One God; and second, love of your neighbor as yourself.

Now, this One God is the God who Jesus Christ worshipped, "the God and Father" of Jesus Christ, the God who he addressed as "my God", the God of "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". This One God is the source of everything else that exists (including the Son of God and the Holy Spirit).

Concerning the love of your neighbor as yourself, apart from the love of God, there is no greater commandment. If one loves their neighbor as oneself, "all the Law is fulfilled" (Gal. 5:14; see also James 2:8), and one will "inherit eternal life" (Luke 10:25-28).

Jesus Christ loved the One God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength; and he loved his neighbor as himself. He taught us that all mankind should follow his example, and that those who do so will inherit eternal life, the kingdom of God.

Who am I to second guess his example and exhortation...


Grace and peace,

David

18 comments:

Ellie M. said...

I appreciate this discussion very much Dave. It is very important and has caused me to do some thinking.

1) Do I think it was necessary for the salvation of the human race that the Son of God should have become incarnate?

2) Do I think the Son of God is ontologically inferior to the Father?

3) Do I think that there are two natures and two wills in Christ?

4) Do I think that the prayer of Christ to the Father is revealed to us as an example by Jesus who worshiped and implored God's aid as Man, as God, or both Man and God?

I am not sure how you would answer those questions Dave. As a Catholic, they are answered for me as you know, and this makes me have grave doubts about the salvation of those who would minimize or even deny the revelation of the Son. Different answers to the third question will lead to very different ways of understanding the prayer life of the Son of Man. It might even make room so that one could have eternal life apart from Jesus Christ. I cannot believe in that.

"Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Jn. 17:3

The Son came to glorify His Father, but that does not mean we are free to fail to recognize the Son:

"He who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent him." Jn 5:23

"And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him you believe not. Search the scriptures, for you think in them to have life everlasting; and the same are they that give testimony of me. And you will not come to me that you may have life." Jn 5:38, 39

I cannot have a good and reasonable hope that there are many who while rejecting the necessity of the Incarnation, and who reject the One God revealed as Father, are adopted as His Sons, incorporated into the Body of Christ, and vivified by extraordinary supernatural graces (the ability to love God and neighbor) apart from any of the Sacraments.

"But I know you, that you have not the love of God in you. I am come in the name of my Father, and you receive me not:" (Jn 5: 42, 43)

"I am the way and the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (Jn 14:6)

I am not arguing that as a Catholic, I get to treat Muslims or Jews badly. Nor does it mean that I would minimize the great importance of their recognition of One God. But we must be good to our neighbors without watering down the Gospel. It seems to me like I would need to diminish the revelation of the One God as Father, if I could ever have good hope that those who deny that truth are Christians without knowing it.

It appears to me that the motives behind this Common Word movement are political and worldly. My concerns are the salvation of my own soul and bearing fruit for a kingdom not of this world. I think that explains why they wish to overemphasize what Judaism, Islam, and Christianity have in common while minimizing the distinctives of each.

That Jews and Muslims hold that "Our Father who art in heaven" is instead "One God who is not a Father" is the reason I would be uncomfortable with extending to them the name of brother. You know that I believe in Rom. 2 and baptism of desire. I will not say that they are all assuredly damned if they do not convert, but I have better reason to say they are damned, based on the solemn words of Christ in the Gospel, than to extend to them some false assurance of salvation.

Regards,

Rory

Rory said...

Dave. Sorry for any confusion about identity. Daughter has been here for a couple days.

Rory

Terence Smith said...

Whilst thinking about brotherhood we might spare a thought for those Christians in Syria currently being exterminated by the Syrian rebels.The papal decree of 2000 Dominus Iesus also provides useful clarification on the issues discussed here.1 John 2 v 22 - 23 would seems to make it crystal clear that you cannot have the Father without the Son whilst those who have the Son have the Father also; indeed it is hard to see how the holy apostle could be more clear on this point.
Pax

Rory said...

Terence Smith, hello.

Thank you for that powerful quote from I John and also for pointing me to Dominus Iesus. It was approved by Pope John Paul, but was created by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect.

I had never read it before. My loss! It seemed to me to substantiate why a Catholic ought to be apprehensive about deemphasizing Christ in favor of a more theocentric dialogue based on the One God.

It appears to me that it was the product of some erroneous ideas that were springing up, (and still springing up?) stemming from mistaken assumptions about inter-religious dialogue. My good friend and blog host is not Catholic so I do not believe I can convince him on the basis of quotations from this document that his current position is untrue. But I do think he might be able to see why I would affirm that my position, and not his, is more consistent with the intent of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council and the principles of inter-religious dialogue according to John Paul II and the future Pope Benedict XVI.

Pax

"No one therefore can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit." (end of para. 12, quoting John Paul II in his encyclical Redemptoris Missio)

Terence Smith said...

Hello Rory,

I am very pleased to have been able to bring Dominus Iesus to your attention ! Thank you for your further elaboration. I think people mistake the pastoral intent to commend those who claim they worship 'the God of Abraham' found in the catechism etc for an acknowledgment of the truth of such claims,which it is not; St John makes this extremely clear of course.I think the papal correspondence with a muslem ruler should also be seen in this light - it was after all written at a time when the Church very robustly affirmed nulla salus extra ecclesiam. Perhaps the crux of the matter is that post incarnation we have come to understand as Catholics ( and not only Catholics of course) that the Lord of the Old Testament is not just the Father but the Holy Trinity. And this would appear to be supported by those passages in the Old Testament which refer to the Lord which are then applied to Christ in the New.Hence as St John clearly tells us,we cannot have the Father without the Son and we have the Father if we have the Son. Your friend,the very learned host of this blog,believes that the Lord or One God is the Father alone, despite confessing the nicene homoosion - albeit according to the gloss of Eusebius of Caesarea.He believes, if I understand him correctly, that the Son is divine in so far as he is indeed generated from the substance of the Father but that the Monarchy of the Father,particularly as it was understood in the East- as the guarantor of divine unity - there is one God because there is one Father,in contrast to the post Augustinian understanding of the Trinity in the West as one godhead of father ,Son and Holy Spirit, means that we can legitimately speak of those who reject Christ as worshiping the same God if they worship the Father, for the Father is the one God.Now quite apart from this appearing to be precisely what St John tells us we cannot do,however we understand the Trinity, I am not sure that this characterization of the Eastern or even Eusebian Trinity is as helpful to this view as it may seem.As your friend will know from his reading of Lewis Ayres and scholars associated with him, isn't it the case that all St Augustine is saying is that using the 'grammar' of divine simplicity ( I do not speak of ADS) if the the Son is indeed derived from the divine substance of the Father then it follows that he must be God in the same way that the Father is God for they both share the same divinity?
Pax

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory and Terence,

I just now was finally able to check in on the blog. Some very interesting posts for sure !!!

I am just too tired tonight to put in the necessary reflection needed to for a cogent response; should have the time to do so tomorrow.

However, until then, I would hope that Terence could expound a bit more on what is entailed in the, "the gloss of Eusebius of Caesarea".

Time to veg before bed and watch the USA vs. Slovakia hockey match I had recorded earlier...


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Terence Smith...

I was thinking about this passage today: "Search the scriptures, for you think in them to have life everlasting; and the same are they that give testimony of me."

Spoken to the lawful Jewish hierarchy, and warning them that they give testimony of Himself. In what way? The Psalms that obviously speak of the crucifixion? Is. 53? Perhaps.

I am thinking that we need to allow that our Lord is speaking more generally. As He said to Philip that he who sees Him sees the Father, He is affirming his complete unity with the God of Abraham. "Before Abraham was, I am."

I am suggesting that Christ is not merely referring to Messianic Scriptures, but of Himself, consubstantial with God the Father for all eternity, before it was revealed to the faithful of the New Testament. In speaking of God's dealings with Israel, the Son was no mere spectator observing the First Person of the Trinity, and waiting His turn. No. The Son was fully God, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I would value your thoughts on this. What you said below makes me think I am on the right track:

"Perhaps the crux of the matter is that post incarnation we have come to understand as Catholics ( and not only Catholics of course) that the Lord of the Old Testament is not just the Father but the Holy Trinity."

I welcome criticism of my speculation. I could be wrong, but I am thinking that John 5:38 and 39 means much more than prophetic foreshadowing of the activities of the Messiah. "The same are they that give testimony of me". I am thinking pretty much Genesis to Maccabees, we are seeing the work of the Blessed Trinity and this is what Jesus means. It isn't a few isolated verses. The whole thing "give(s) testimony of me."

Rory


David Waltz said...

Hello again Rory and Terence,

I am going to attempt to respond to your posts in order, so I shall begin with Rory's 02-12-14 4:47 PM contribution, wherein he wrote:

== 1) Do I think it was necessary for the salvation of the human race that the Son of God should have become incarnate?==

Me: Theoretically speaking, no; and this, because God is omnipotent. However, the fact remains that the Son of God did become incarnate for the redemption of mankind. A coupe of verses from the pen of John the apostle speak on these issues:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2 - KJV)

==2) Do I think the Son of God is ontologically inferior to the Father?==

Me: Yes and no. Yes in that the Son of God is not autotheos and owes his existence to the will of the Father; but no, in that the Father has communicated His divinity to the Son.

==3) Do I think that there are two natures and two wills in Christ?==

Me: Yes. (And for the record, I tend to lean more towards Nestorius than Cyril on this issue.)

==4) Do I think that the prayer of Christ to the Father is revealed to us as an example by Jesus who worshiped and implored God's aid as Man, as God, or both Man and God?==

Me: As "both Man and God".

== I am not arguing that as a Catholic, I get to treat Muslims or Jews badly. Nor does it mean that I would minimize the great importance of their recognition of One God. But we must be good to our neighbors without watering down the Gospel. It seems to me like I would need to diminish the revelation of the One God as Father, if I could ever have good hope that those who deny that truth are Christians without knowing it.==

Me: And do not wish to diminish what our Lord Jesus Christ said to those during his earthly ministry when the issue(s) of eternal life and the Kingdom of God were raised. I also cannot help but think that so many modern day Christians and Muslims are approaching these issues through 'lenses' that have underwent centuries of development (for better or worse), sometimes ignoring the fact that important divisions exist (and have existed) within each of their respective paradigms that in my mind much be taken into consideration before drawing any firm conclusions.


More to come, the Lord willing.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

On 02-12-14 @ 4:50 PM Terence posted:

==The papal decree of 2000 Dominus Iesus also provides useful clarification on the issues discussed here.==

Me: I use to be a subscriber to the magazine, Inside the Vatican, and when Dominus Iesus was released in English, all subscribers were sent a very nice hard copy of the document as a "Special Supplement". I still have my copy and remember all the internet chatter from Prots concerning use of the phrase, "ecclesial communities", to describe those groups which, "have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery." (Section 17 - page 11 in the "Special Supplement".)

==1 John 2 v 22 - 23 would seems to make it crystal clear that you cannot have the Father without the Son whilst those who have the Son have the Father also; indeed it is hard to see how the holy apostle could be more clear on this point.==

Me: I think the understanding of the above verse has a good deal of complexity that is often overlooked. The section begins with:

"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."

Me: I cannot help but think that the emphasis given to Jesus' Messiahship is somehow related to the following:

"I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 15:24b)

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he." (John 4:21-26)

And speaking directly to the Jews, Jesus said:

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24)

This emphasis on Jesus Messiahship, coupled with his declaration that he, " was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel", gives me cause for some deep reflection when addressing the full meaning of 1 John 2:22, 23.

To be continued...


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Terrance on 02-13-14 wrote:

==Perhaps the crux of the matter is that post incarnation we have come to understand as Catholics ( and not only Catholics of course) that the Lord of the Old Testament is not just the Father but the Holy Trinity. And this would appear to be supported by those passages in the Old Testament which refer to the Lord which are then applied to Christ in the New.==

Me: I would like to recommend THIS THREAD, which delves into the issue/s surrounding the NT's use of certain passages with reference to Yahweh; especially the most often quoted OT verse in the NT: Psalm 110:1

==Your friend,the very learned host of this blog,believes that the Lord or One God is the Father alone, despite confessing the nicene homoosion - albeit according to the gloss of Eusebius of Caesarea.He believes, if I understand him correctly, that the Son is divine in so far as he is indeed generated from the substance of the Father but that the Monarchy of the Father,particularly as it was understood in the East- as the guarantor of divine unity - there is one God because there is one Father,in contrast to the post Augustinian understanding of the Trinity in the West as one godhead of father ,Son and Holy Spirit, means that we can legitimately speak of those who reject Christ as worshiping the same God if they worship the Father, for the Father is the one God.==

Me: First, thanks much for your generous/kind words. Second, your synopsis of my position is correct. I side with many Eastern Orthodox Fathers and theologians on this issue For a couple of modern examples (i.e. Fathers Behr and Hopko) see the links provided in THIS THREAD.

[I would also recommend reading the 5 propositions concerning God and the Godhead... thread, which offers some clarity to my view.]

And, once again, I would ask for some clarification on what you mean by, "the gloss of Eusebius of Caesarea."

Thanks much for your thoughtful participation. I am looking forward to your response (and Rory's too).


Grace and peace,

David

Terence Smith said...

Hello Rory and David,

Thank you both for your replies to my comments. I apologize for the tardiness of my own reply;I shall respond more fully this evening hopefully,when I have had time to follow the links David has so kindly provided.

Rory,I think your reasoning is quite correct! I also think that your friend David,in terms of his answers to your comments, is not very far from the catholic position,after all,we all - including St Augustine - accept the Father as the single 'source' of the Trinity - the Catholic Church does not teach the the Son is 'auto theos' - we can all accept that he who sends is in this sense greater than he who is sent and David says that the Father communicates his divinity to the Son which I would think means that the Son on this view,shares the same divinity as the Father. All St Augustine is saying, if I don't misunderstand, is that if we draw a clear distinction between creator and created and limit the ascription of God to the creator side of this line then to say that the Father communicates his divinity to the Son by begetting is to say that the divinity of both is the same, for what other divinity could it be ? And given that we all accept that the Father creates through the Son while the Old Testament repeatedly affirms - in the prophets, Psalms , Book of Job - that Yahweh alone is creator - who else is there beside him? - then it seems reasonable to understand the divine name as referring to all the persons of the Trinity.It would follow that after the nature of God was fully revealed in Jesus,those not accepting him cannot be said to have God.

David,first I should say that your blog is an amazing and erudite resource, conveniently bringing together and carefully digesting many sources and materials not easily found elsewhere. I have found those parts of your blog I have read and the discussions attached very helpful.

Whilst I accept that 1 John 2:22 may well be referring to Jesus' Messiahship, this does not seem to be so obviously the case with verse 23, but I shall read your further comments with interest.I also think that we can see that even on your reading,St John does not appear to be saying anything very positive about deniers of Jesus' Messiahip, indeed he says they don't have the Father; the term 'Antichrist' is used several times in the Johannine writings and perhaps understanding what this term really means might be helpful.

My comment re Eusebius of Caesarea was partly to help clarify - for me - your position,though in any case you have now done this.In his letter to the Church in Caesarea explaining the sense in which he ascribed to the creed of Nicea, Eusebius makes clear as you know that he understands the homoosion in a generic sense,he sees the generation of the Son as willed and I suspect that this is connected with his concern that the term not be used to indicate that the Son is a part (meros)of the substance of the Father in a material sense. Secondly I use this to flag up that there were a number of competing understandings of what homoosios meant;the views of Eusebius differ greatly from those of Athanasius or Marcellus of Ancyra ,for example.

In view of your interest in Eastern Orthodoxy you may find it mildly ironic that, following the maxim Lex orendi Lex credendi, should you follow an orthodox service you might think their conception of the Trinity thoroughly Augustinian.Following the Roman Rite,either Novus Ordo or Tridentine you might imagine this embodied the trinitarian teachings of Fathers Hopko and Behr.

Pax

Rory said...

Dave, Terence, hello again.

My thrust in recent posts has been concerned with a statement that Dave made to me as follows: I have pondering over your responses and am wondering how they 'fit' with certain statements made in Lumen Gentium and Nostra aetate. Those two documents seem to expand those who are 'brothers' to a much greater extent than you have been willing to do.

Have I 'missed' something ?


Dave has some knowledge of my mind on this question, but in the interest of full disclosure, Terence, I assist at Masses of the Society of St. Pius X. If you are not aware of it, the Society is frequently condemned for its alleged "non-acceptance of Vatican II." If I understand correctly, the Society of St. Pius X "accepts" Vatican II no less than the rest of the Church. I personally hold that almost all of it can be reconciled with the Tradition of the Church. My son, who will be ordained to first minor orders on Palm Sunday weekend has been receiving priestly formation at the Society's American Seminary, which seems to me to be in full compliance with one of the Council's most important documents, Optatam Totius, on the training of our priests.
It seems to me like those in the Church who complain against the Society for how it "accepts" Vatican II ought to have a look around. Maybe they should actually read it and examine themselves to see how in love they are with Vatican II. If Vatican II doesn't always thrill Traditionalists like me, neither is it quite the completely liberating Council that the radical ecumenists and feminists imagine. Perhaps this explains my sensitivity to the question of whether Lumen Gentium and Nostra Aetate "expand those who are 'brothers' to a much greater extent" than I have been willing to do.

With that said, I want to explain that my primary concern in my latest posts have been to explain why I would be uncomfortable with publicly embracing Jews and Muslims as brothers. To do so would give the impression that I have good reason to believe that they are in a state of grace. I want them to be saved, not comfortable in their errors. The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are defined as the outward sign of inward grace. Since grace is interior, what sign can I look for besides the Sacraments? Is belief in One God, a truth that can be derived from reason according to Vatican I and Romans 1, not even requiring faith, an outward sign of an inward grace?

---continued

Rory said...

Part Two:

I am glad and willing to admit on this blog that, regarding a most important truth of nature, there is a significant fundamental agreement between Muslim, Jews, Catholics, and most other Christians about the One God. I am also glad to note that the Quran expresses ideas similar to those in the Gospel about the importance of loving our neighbor. But this is a truth that is almost universal. Was John Lennon showing an outward sign of an inward grace when he spoke of the need for love? From Haight-Ashbury hippies to CNN today, everybody believes we need to love our neighbors. But we don't get there without Jesus Christ. I don't see any sign of getting there without the Church of Jesus Christ and the Sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church.

Virtually all the world is my brother if a "love is all you need" philosophy were an outward sign of inward grace. My own salvation is far from sure. Thankfully, through the Sacraments Christ has ordained, I have a sign of good hope for myself. Others who share that sign are my brothers. Baptism of desire is a doctrine affirmed at the Council of Trent with which I am fully comfortable. This affirms the teaching of St. Paul in Rom. 2, in revealing to us that in His wisdom, God saves those who through no fault of their own, having good will toward God, are given the gifts of baptism apart from the actual Sacrament. I have slight hope that any of the "unfaithful departed" are nevertheless saved without the ordinary outward signs of unity with Christ and His Church. But I can't have good hope for them. I especially can't have good hope when confronted with the truths of Christ's Gospel; there is no apparent hunger for the fulness it offers. It seems reasonable to me to fear that it is of these that St. Paul spoke, that the preaching of the cross is foolishness. I am accountable before God if I should make such an one complacent about their rejection of the Cross, the Church, and the Gospel of Christ, by granting them the designation of my brother anyway.

Even though I get some balance as one of those rigid Tradionalists, I think I tend to have a sentimental and affectionate temperament. It becomes exaggerated when I drink! I want to call Mormons and Muslims and Jews and friendly evangelicals my brothers. But I cannot. David, I love you, and you are my best friend in the world. But I cannot in its fullest sense, call you my brother at this time. I know you. I know you will not take offense at this. Neither should the Muslim or Jew. If it makes them and me feel good to extend such an expression to them, it is NOT CHARITABLE. I cannot extend that brotherhood to those who lack the outwards signs of inward graces.
I am hoping this clarifies further my fears and reluctance to be guilty of overextending the brotherhood beyond the bounds of those who have the signs.

A later post might discuss the Catholic position on the connection between love of neighbor and supernatural grace, charity, the love that covers sins. I doubt that everyone means the same thing as Catholics when we speak of love.

Rory

Rory said...

Terence said:

In view of your interest in Eastern Orthodoxy you may find it mildly ironic that, following the maxim Lex orendi Lex credendi, should you follow an orthodox service you might think their conception of the Trinity thoroughly Augustinian.

Hah. I love that. It does not surprise me in the least. Let us pray that through the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the wounds and breaches of the centuries will be healed through her promised intercession as Our Lady of Fatima!

Terence also said:

Following the Roman Rite,either Novus Ordo or Tridentine you might imagine this embodied the trinitarian teachings of Fathers Hopko and Behr.

You might be interested to know that because of Dave's discussions about the Monarchy of God, I began to take notice of the way the Church addresses Herself to God in the Traditional Mass. It was after seeing how the Catholic Church prays, that I a went from mild discomfort with Dave's emphasis to a position of positive affirmation with what Dave has been saying for the past couple of years.

I now take the position that when East and West apparently disagree about the Filioque, they are both emphasizing important truths that are reconcilable. One reason I say this is because of my knowledge that the Catholic Church permits some of the Eastern Rite churches in communion with Rome, the liberty to recite the Creed, sans Filioque. Such restraint is great wisdom and will prove fruitful to both East and West in my opinion.

Terence Smith said...

Hello Rory,

I haven't time now to comment fully on either what you have said, or David's previous comments,but I think you are correct to say that it is a misunderstanding to think Vactican II gives carte blanche to a sort of universalism,though many interpret it that way and I don't think Assisi helped clarify this misunderstanding.To take the matter under present discussion,the Council's acknowledgment and commendation of those who claim to worship the God of Abraham does not speak to the issue of whether these claims are valid.Re the issue of those outside the Church,while the Church speaks of the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance for example,it is difficult to see how we can have any knowledge of how and in what instances this is accomplished and so I think your concern for the salvation of those outside the Church is well placed.

As for brotherhood, I should have thought this should apply both ways.At present in Syria,Iraq and Egypt etc Copts,Orthodox ,Catholics and Assyrians (Nestorians) are being persecuted by Islamic extremists to the point of extinction. It is possible that soon no Aramaic speaking Christians will be left in Syria owing to the activities of various Islamic militants. And not to forget Pakistan where Christians of every ilk are severely repressed. Now I know we should love our enemies and pray for those persecuting us but this does not imply such are brothers. Perhaps the Islamic world needs to attend to this matter with some urgency if it wants to be accepted as a force for justice and peace.

Pax

Ken said...

Most of what Rory said in his first comment/post is the correct and doctrinally sound position, except replace the word 'catholic" with "Christian", and exclude the stuff about "baptism of desire"- that is not correct.

But the rest, as far as I can tell, believing Conservative Protestant Evangelicals would agree with.

Otherwise, you gut evangelism and missions to zero.

Muslims do not worship the true God. They think they do, but they cannot even reach Him without Christ as the one mediator. They cannot be saved with Christ and all that He is - eternal Sonship, Deity, atonement, resurrection, One mediator (Acts 4:12; John 3:18; Romans 10:13-15; Romans 15:20-21; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6)

Jesus in His earthly nature and time on the earth is modeling true worship as the Incarnation - the Son of God - to the Father. That does not mean He is also "not God" by nature.

You are excluding the Son and the Holy Spirit from the Trinity and the Deity and the "One God" and that seems like heresy to claim the God of the Bible is like the Allah of Islam. (without Deity of Christ and without the doctrine of the Trinity)

The western view of the Trinity is exegetically, theological, by nature and necessarily is true, if the eternal Sonship and eternal procession of the Holy Spirit is true, and that there is only one God is true, which they are.

The Monarchy of the Father view does not negate the Augstinian/Calvin view, since there is only one God and all three persons are eternally God in substance; then the western Augustinian-Calvin view is also true. In fact, it completes fuller exegesis of the Scriptures on the issue of the Trinity.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Somehow, I missed/overlooked your 02-17-14 (9:46 AM) post—sorry about that—but now that I have discovered it, I would like to share a few comments. The following is from your post:

==Jesus in His earthly nature and time on the earth is modeling true worship as the Incarnation - the Son of God - to the Father. That does not mean He is also "not God" by nature.==

Me: So, are you saying that Jesus, the Son of God, worshipped the One God ?

==You are excluding the Son and the Holy Spirit from the Trinity and the Deity and the "One God" and that seems like heresy to claim the God of the Bible is like the Allah of Islam. (without Deity of Christ and without the doctrine of the Trinity)==

Me: Did Jesus exclude the Son and the Holy Spirit when he worshipped the One God ?

==The western view of the Trinity is exegetically, theological, by nature and necessarily is true, if the eternal Sonship and eternal procession of the Holy Spirit is true, and that there is only one God is true, which they are.==

Me: "The western view of the Trinity is exegetically, theological, by nature" seriously flawed; it contradicts the Bible, the early Church Fathers, and the original Nicene Creed.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

As 100% human, Jesus prayed to and worshiped the Father (You don't expect Jesus to be an atheist, do you?), but that does not contradict that Jesus Himself is also God by nature and substance and eternally existed into the past. The Triune God was in reality and existence all through the OT; it is just that the details of that were not revealed to us until the NT.


Me: "The western view of the Trinity is exegetically, theological, by nature" seriously flawed; it contradicts the Bible, the early Church Fathers, and the original Nicene Creed.

IF the Son is eternal into the past and the same substance of the Father (which He is), and the Holy Spirit is eternal and same substance as Father and Son (which He is), and if they each have personal love relationship into the past with each other (which they do); and there is only One God, then the western view of the Trinity (Augustine, Calvin) is a necessary and natural outgrowth of sound Biblical exegesis and the Nicene Creed, etc.