Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Deity of Christ and the Deen Show

This is a repost of something that was on my old blog, and was inspired by an e-mail I received with a link to an episode of The Deen Show. For those who don't know, The Deen Show is an independently funded internet show about Islam run by Muslims and often featuring Christian converts to Islam who critique Christian theology. They have had some famous converts such as Yusuf Estes on there, as well as popular Muslim apologists such as Zakir Naik.

This particular episode was called Top 10 Reasons Why Jesus Christ Isn't God, and (as expected from the title) gave ten reasons why Jesus Christ was merely a prophet. The following is what I e-mailed back in response; except for a few minor changes and some editing to hide the identity of the person, it is pretty much what I said. What I essentially did was just respond to each point made in the video one by one. I hope it serves to enlighten readers of this blog, both regular and passing visitors.

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10) God cannot be born; Jesus was born

This assumption coincides with the Islamic belief that God can never never take part with His creation in any way, shape or form (which I'll get to later). It ignores the teaching of the Incarnation, from which we are taught the Word of God took flesh and dwelt among us. In order to do this, He needed to enter as a man and live as a man.

First, it must be understood why this must be done. Mankind had fallen since Adam and Eve, and since then mankind had become a slave to sin. This was not to say they could not conquer sin itself or through individual struggle, but that through sin they were enslaved to death. They were disconnected from God. Thus, when Christ came, lived among us in a sinless life, then died on the cross and was resurrected, He gave man a way to conquer the devil. We were reunited with God, and were able to dispose of our sinful nature. Death no longer enslaved us, for we had obtained eternal life through Christ.

Now, the significance of circumstances surrounding Christ's birth must be understood. He came in through the line of David, fulfilling prophecies that the Messiah would come from "the stem of Jesse" (Jesse being David's father). Both the gospels of Matthew and Luke detail Christ's lineage all the way back to Abraham (in one) and Adam (in another), thereby showing that Christ comes from a human and divine source. We know Christ as born divinely as the Virgin Mary was impregnated through the Holy Spirit. We also know that Christ was born in a human manner, for He grew in the womb and was born as any other child would have. This leads into the next point: Christ's two natures and wills.

Christ had two natures and two wills - entire ecumenical councils were debated in order to make this was clear. He had a human will and divine will, and a human nature and divine nature. He was not half and half, as some might assume, but He was true-Man and true-God. In this manner He did not lose His divinity and retained a humanity. It was through His divine nature He could perform great miracles, and through His human natures that He did such things as eat, sleep, and drink. It was through His divine will that He carried through the prophecies up to His torture and death, and through His human will that He felt fear before the arrests and isolation on the cross.

If this can be understood, then the divinity of Christ, as well as the reason for God's birth, can be made clear.

9) Jesus never explicitly says, "I am God"

This argument is a common one for Muslim apologists, but the problem is that it invents a scenario then asks us to prove it. Unless Christ outright said, "I am God" (all three words combined and in that exact order) then the Muslim apologist will not be pleased. This is a fallacious argument that simply doesn't work. Picture this: if someone were to tell me, "This man is racist because he says he hates blacks and thinks that Asians are a subspecies," and I replied, "Unless you can quote him directly saying 'I am racist,' I won't believe you," wouldn't it sound as if I was trying to avoid the point?

In any case, Evans takes two passages commonly used to support Christ's divinity and attempts to respond to them. First, he takes John 1:1, which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Muslim argument, of course, is that the Word was given to Jesus, but I will get to that later. Second, he takes the famous line in which Jesus says, "Before Abraham was, I AM," and claims that it is only understood saying Christ was divine if you look at it from that mindset. However, this does not work in the context of the passage.

We are told that if you know nothing about what came after the gospels were written, this passage won't suggest Christ was divine. In fact, the Jews in this passage - who lived before any of this became a matter of debate - understood plainly what Jesus was saying. In fact they understood it so well they were about to stone Him! Let's look at the entire section of the gospel, not just what Evans quoted:
Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death."

Then the Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.' Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead? Who do You make Yourself out to be?"

Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad."

Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"

Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham, was, I AM."

Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Jesus was clearly stating He was eternal, and that His word - not God's - would help another man never taste death. Did Mohammad ever call the Koran his word? Did the prophets of old ever refer to God's word as theirs? Of course not. Yet Christ here does, and not only that, but he implies that He existed before Abraham, and does so using the same title God gave Himself to Moses in Exodus. The Jews understood this and tried to stone Him. Likewise, the Jewish elders understood what Christ meant when He said to them at His trial "I AM," and added, "You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." It was this statement that sealed Jesus' condemnation.

There are other examples I can give. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:16 the famous line:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Christ affirms He is not only God's one and only Son, but that whoever believes in Him, the Son, "shall not perish but have eternal life." Why would Christ not say, "Whoever believes in God," rather than this? Again, it was clear to all those who listened exactly what it was Jesus was saying.

Also, later on when Christ speaks of the Bread of Life, He first speaks of the manna given to Moses and the Hebrews in the desert (John 6:32), then states "the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." (John 6:33) Only two passages later Christ explains, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35) Thus Jesus identifies Himself as the bread God sent down from heaven to give life to the world. No prophet ever "came down from heaven," only angels and God could. We know Christ was not an angel. The conclusion is clear. In fact, this conclusion was so shocking to some of the disciples listening that they deserted Jesus on the spot.

To give yet another example, look to the part of John's gospel where Lazarus is raised from the dead. When He arrives at Lazarus' home, and Lazarus' sisters (Mary and Martha) criticize Him for not coming sooner, He replies:
Your brother will rise again...I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. (John 11:23, 25)
Again, has any mere prophet ever spoken like this? If Christ was simply a man, He would have said, "God is the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Him will live even if he dies." Instead, He gives Himself this status. Note too, when Christ goes to Lazarus' tomb, He does not pray for God to revive Lazarus as Elijah and other prophets who raised men from the dead did. Instead, He looks into the tomb and shouts, "Lazarus! Come out!" Out comes Lazarus.

This is similar to the story about Christ and forgiveness. When He sees a paralytic, Jesus says, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2) Who has the power to forgive sins alone but God? Even Mohammad confirmed (in a prayer he taught to Muslims) that God alone had the power to forgive sins. The Jews of Christ's time knew this as well, in fact they criticized Him for saying such a thing (Mark 2:7). Jesus therefore not only has the power to give life to dead men, but to forgive sins, both traits of which only God has. He can neither be a prophet nor a mere man.

Again, if someone told me a man was racist because he made racist comments and upheld racist beliefs, and I said, "I won't believe it until he says, 'I am racist,'" people would think I was oblivious. Likewise, why should I not believe Christ is divine when He clearly makes divine comments regarding Himself, or makes comments about Himself that a prophet would never make? This does not even touch on the subject that He did not oppose those who worshiped Him, but I will get to that later.

8) No one has ever seen God

Christians agree wholeheartedly. No one has ever seen God the Father...except Christ. The Son has seen the Father. This is confirmed in the gospels, from which Evans quotes two passages to support his argument: John 1:18 and 5:37. However, he fails to understand their context. John 1:18 states:
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
Evans only quoted the first part (the part I put in bold), and when reading the entire passage one sees why. The entire section is speaking of Christ and His approaching ministry. When John the Baptist speaks of "the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father," he refers to Christ, the Word incarnate - not the Word separated from God, but the Word of God who dwelt among us in flesh.

Of course, the Muslim belief regarding the Word is that Christ was endowed with the Word but He was not the Word incarnate. This poses a problem, as John of Damascus (a Christian Arab who lived during the 700's) showed in his evaluation of Islam in his work Fount of Knowledge.
And again we say to them: 'As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit, why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.
While the Holy Spirit may be used through someone or at someone's request, it cannot be separated from God. I cannot say, "I have the Holy Spirit inside me," and claim that it is THE Holy Spirit. That would mean I became part of God. If we believe that Jesus was the Word but not God, then we have a problem.

Moving on, John 5:37 states:
And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.
This ignores what follows in the same section:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)
If Christ was a mere prophet, He surely would have argued that God was the source of life. He surely would have said, "Come to God," (as John the Baptist said) and not "Come to Me."

The additional comment that Jesus' repeated statement "I and the Father are One" simply meant they were one in purpose overlooks the context of the statement. As I pointed out earlier, the Jews listening to Christ were perfectly capable of discerning what He was saying so much so they were ready to stone Him. After John 10:30, in which Jesus says, "I and the Father are one," the Jews quickly pick up rocks and prepare to stone Him. When Jesus speaks to them again, He states, "The Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (John 10:38) Once again I must point out, what prophet would make the claim they were in God? It is one thing to say, "God is working through me," and an entirely different thing to say, "I am working through God"! Therefore, how can one not discern even at least some divinity within Christ?

7) This was not taught by Jesus or His disciples, or the early fathers of Christianity

This segment, quite frankly, nearly sent me through the roof. It was clear here that the young convert knows neither his Bible nor his church history. He is either ignorant of the facts (in which case he should not be on The Deen Show talking to Muslims about it) or he is blatantly lying.

He makes the claim that not only Jesus didn't teach that He was God, but that His disciples and the Church Fathers of the first and second century never did either. He supports this by saying the early apostles were all Jews, and went to the synagogues to preach as Jews would, and that if they had been teaching something else they would have been kicked out, and then simply states the early Church Fathers didn't teach Christ's divinity as well, not quoting any one directly.

I don't mean to sound rude or egotistical, but…this simply does not hold up, neither according to scripture nor to history. The first, most blatant error is the statement that the disciples weren't kicked out or harassed. They were. Look at Acts 4:1-3:
Now as they [Peter and John] spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
And Acts 5:17-18:
Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
Now look at what the apostles said when being interrogated in Acts 5:29-32:
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
Here we have Peter preaching Christ being Prince, Savior, and sitting at the right hand of God. He also is given the ability to give repentance and forgive sins - however, we know only God can do this. Would these traits ever be given to Mohammad? Was Mohammad given the power to forgive sins? As I pointed out in an earlier e-mail, even Mohammad taught in a prayer that only God could forgive sins.

If one still needs evidence that things were not all honky-dory for the synagogue traveling apostles, check Acts 6:8 through to 8:2. It details the arrest, trial, and stoning of the apostle Stephen for preaching Christ's message, followed by the scattering of the early Christians outside of Jerusalem.

As for the claim that early church fathers of the 1st and 2nd century not teaching Christ's divinity, this is also blatantly false. Take, for example, what Saint Ignatius of Antioch (disciple to the apostle John) wrote to the Philadelphians. Note, too, if you will, the mention of the Trinity at the very beginning - this letter was written long before the Council of Nicea.
Since, also, there is but one unbegotten Being, God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man; and one Comforter, the Spirit of truth; and also one preaching, and one faith, and one baptism; and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ, and by their own sweat and toil; it behooves you also, therefore, as "a peculiar people, and a holy nation," to perform all things with harmony in Christ.
Now look at the words of Saint Irenaeus from Book V and Chapter 1 of his Against Heresies.
Since the Lord thus has redeemed us through His own blood, giving His soul for our souls, and His flesh for our flesh, and has also poured out the Spirit of the Father for the union and communion of God and man, imparting indeed God to men by means of the Spirit, and, on the other hand, attaching man to God by His own incarnation, and bestowing upon us at His coming immortality durably and truly, by means of communion with God—all the doctrines of the heretics fall to ruin.
These are not random names or documents I simply snatched from a Google search - these are major Church figures with ties to the apostles. There are plenty of more examples along this line.

Now, I have to point out there are some great contradictions here. Evans first states that the trinity was formed at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, and this was the first time it was ever used - he then states that Paul, who lived during the 1st century among the apostles, was the first to come up with the idea of trinity and the term "Christian." There is nothing to support this. It is also confusing as to how Paul and the Council of Nicea are related, as they existed with a separation of 300 years (it almost sounds like Evans suggests Paul was at the Council of Nicea, but he could just have worded it wrong).

The other major contradiction with this is, just earlier, Evans had stated that the early apostles and early church fathers were traveling among the synagogues with no problems and didn't change the teaching of Christ. Now we are told Paul, who worked with the apostles and was considered their equal, ruined the faith. There's no evidence of this. Even reading individual chapters of Acts can show us that Paul worked in cooperation with the rest of the church, not against them or over them. Paul was an apostle, along with many others, not just the original disciples.

Incidentally, Muslim apologists often distort Paul's conversion story, making it seem that only he heard it, only he saw it, and only he could confirm it - all this is false. Paul was not the only one to see it, for the men traveling with him also saw the light (Acts 22:9). Paul was not the only one to hear it, for the men traveling with him heard the voice (Acts 9:7). Finally, he was not the only one to confirm it; God revealed Paul's apostleship to another man, Ananius, who went and baptized Paul (Acts 9:10-19). Even then, Paul went away and worked quietly in a single location before he began travelling across the Mediterranean. I'm sorry to say, but it is ironic for Muslims to make this false claim against Paul when the only leader of a major religion who was the only one to hear his divine message, see his divine message, and confirm his divine message was Mohammad.

On a final note, Paul never tried to gain a personal following, or a following contradictory to the Church. This is clear in his first letter to the Corinthians, where certain factions had formed, one supporting Paul, another supporting fellow apostle Apollos. In his letter Paul is found not attacking his foes nor attacking any one who might disagree with him...but attacking the people following him.
Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe - as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
I'd suggest reading the entire third chapter from the epistle, as it goes into detail about the most important figure in the Church: Jesus Christ. Paul considered himself nothing more than a man sent to spread Christ's message; a bond servant sent to carry out his master's orders.

I might also add that if Evans believes the gospels to be an accurate representation of Christ's life, while at the same time claiming early Christianity was tainted, then he believes Christ is a liar. Christ says, plain and simple in the gospels, at Matthew 16:18.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the Gates of Hell will not overcome it. [emphasis mine]
But according to Evans and any Muslim who uses the gospels as historical data, the Gates of Hell did prevail against the Church. In fact, it was so bad that God had to send another messenger, Mohammad, to set things right. So did Satan win against God? Did Satan prevail against the church given to the apostles? According to this logic, it would seem so. This implies that either Christ was a liar, God is weak, or both Christ and God (according to Muslim theology) are victims of fatalism.

The reason Evans may have made such a strange statement is because it would comply with the Koran at Surah 57:27, which says:
Then We made Our messengers to follow in their footsteps, and We made Jesus son of Mary to follow, and We gave him the Gospel. And We put compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. [emphasis mine]
Thus, Evans had to believe that the early apostles and church fathers didn't believe in Christ's divinity; to disagree with that idea would be to disagree with the Koran. Something becomes incredibly clear from this: not only is Evans unaware of his scripture and Christian history, but neither was Mohammad.

6) Jesus ate, slept, and prayed – could God do this?

Yes He could! And we have evidence of it in the Old Testament; look at the beginning of Genesis 18.
The God appeared to him [Abraham] at the oak of Mamre, as he was sitting in the ten door during the noon hour. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood before him...Then Abraham ran to the herd, took a young calf, tender and good, gave it to his servant, and he hastened to prepare it. He also took butter and milk and the calf he prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
God manifested Himself to Abraham in the form of three men, then sits and eats with him. This is a perfect example of God, even if temporarily, taking part with creation, taking on human form, and taking on human attributes. This completely contradicts the staunch Muslim belief that God would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever under any circumstances have anything to do with His creation, hence why it is often ignored when Muslim apologists attempt to refute the Incarnation.

5) Jesus said God's knowledge was greater than His

This is confusing subordination of the Son with obedience of the Son. The three Persons of the Trinity are equal in Essence, and serve specific roles within the Being of God. The Son serves for the Father, and serves as our tie to the Father. This coincides with what the Church Fathers called the procession of the Holy Spirit and the monarchy of the Trinity. The Son is not subordinate or put in a lower position (as Oneness Pentecostals and Unitarian Christians misunderstand) but does serve His Father. This is why Christ speaks as He does about the Father.

Some very bad analogies of the Trinity (three people in a carriage, the yoke of an egg, etc) are mentioned in this segment, followed by the conclusion that the Bible says God is not the author of confusion, hence if a doctrine is confusing then someone must have created it. This is a subjective opinion. You cannot say a doctrine is false simply because it confuses you. In my Muslim days I knew people who were confused by certain Koranic teachings, particularly regarding Christians and Jews, but this did not mean the teaching itself was wrong. To get off religion, a common layman would not be able to understand nuclear physics - this does not mean nuclear physics isn't real, or simply an invention of someone's imagination.

The Trinity is actually quite simple to explain: one Being of God, with three Persons (hypostases) united by a common Essence (ousia). It is as plain as that.

4) Jesus says He is not God

I must point out that this is a double standard. Earlier we are told Jesus never said, "I am God," and that this belief had to be deducted from scripture. Now we are shown that Jesus clearly never said, "I am not God," but this statement is deducted by Evans from scripture.

In any case, John 17:3 is quoted, which says:
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
This is said to be evidence of Christ saying, "I am not God." However, it ignores what Christ says later on at John 17:5.
Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
If Christ was just a prophet, He would not have existed "before the world was." Likewise, if He was a prophet, He would not ask God, "Glorify Me together with Yourself." This would be putting him on equal terms with God. This, combined with the passages discussed earlier, brings to light that it is nigh impossible to prove Christ was not divine unless one ignores what comes before and after certain passages.

3) Son of God and "Only Begotten Son of God" should not be literal

Some discussion is made about the use of "my Lord" in reference to Christ, and it is said that this is simply a title.

However, in the case of the blind man healed in the ninth chapter of John's gospel (who calls Jesus "My Lord"), it is clearly said that he worshiped Christ. The Greek word used (prosekunēsen) means worship. When we compare the word's other uses in the New Testament, we see that it is always used in reference to worshiping God and Christ. The only time it is ever used for a man is when Cornelius bows to Peter in Acts 10:25, however we see in the following verse that Peter accosts Cornelius, telling him, "I am only a man." Likewise, another version of the word (proskunēsai) is used in Revelation twice, both in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8, where John bows down to worship an angel and is immediately criticized for it, being told, "Worship God!"

Also, in John 20:28, where Jesus appears before doubting Thomas, the disciple exclaims to Christ, "My Lord and my God!" The word for God (Theos) is clearly used. Did any one ever call Mohammad "my God"? Did any one ever call the old prophets "my God"? Jesus does not accost Thomas in the same manner Peter does Cornelius or the angel does John. In fact He praises him, saying, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed."

If I were to prostrate before a Muslim, cry out "my Lord and my God" and began to worship them, would they just let it go? Of course not! You'd immediately lecture me on just how haram (spiritually bad) it was to act that way. Why then, if Jesus was simply a prophet, would He allow someone to do that to Him? Why would He allow others to worship Him? Not God, but Him. He was either taking glory from God for Himself, which wouldn't work if He was a great prophet, or He was accepting worship because He was divine.

2) God cannot change

Again, Christians agree. God cannot change. He is not fickle nor does He change His mind. However, what is ignored here is the concept of salvation and God's covenant with mankind. It is interesting that Evans quotes from Malachi at the beginning of this segment, because had he read deeper into the later prophets, he would have realized the purpose of Christ's salvation.

God's people had gone far astray. They had forgotten their covenant with God, and were breaking it on a regular basis. It got to the point that their worship ultimately meant nothing. As the word of God says in Amos 5:21-23:
I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
Thus a new covenant was being prepared, as God promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
First, notice the metaphor of God being husband to Israel. This was a common metaphor for the prophets and early Church Fathers, who would call God (metaphorically) husband or bridge-groom and Israel the wife (or even a prostitute in some instants). Look at Hosea 2:19-20.
I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.
Here we discover God is a loving husband to His bride, and no matter how unfaithful His bride may be, He will bring her back to Him. This gives new meaning to the many parables Christ spoke of that involved a bridegroom. I'm sure you're very familiar with many of them: the story of the ten virgins, five foolish and five wise (Matthew 25:1-13); the example of the servants who fast only when the bridegroom has left them (Matthew 9:14-16); and John the Baptist's own comparison of himself as the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29). Christ is the bridegroom, and His bride in the new covenant is the Church, the new Israel.

Jeremiah also prophecies how the Law shall be written in the new covenant. The Law, so prevalent in the old covenant, will now not only be written on stone or parchment but "within them and on their heart." Christ provides this by teaching and interpreting commandments so that they no longer can simply be followed, but they must be adhered to. For example, it is not enough to simply be chaste in action, but chaste in mind, for even if a man looks at another woman in lust he has committed adultery in his heart. When the day of judgment comes, we will not be judged by our good works or what we say in church, but by what is in our heart. It is certainly important to do good deeds, but if the source of those good deeds is not a warmth similar to the warmth shown by Christ to sinners and sick alike, then it is a meaningless work.

Yes, it is true God cannot change. God has never changed. To change would imply imperfection, which God has not a sign of. However, mankind can change; we are all fickle beings who can, either individually or as a people, disgrace ourselves before God. The covenant was between God and His people, and His people had broken it. However, because God loves mankind, and because He is the good husband who seeks to bring His repentant wife back to Him, He seeks to reconnect, and deepen that connection, with mankind.

1) God is the essence of worship

Once again, Christians would agree. God is the essence of worship. I worship no one else but God. To Him I pray, and to Him I give thanks. This, however, does not disprove Christ was not God, particularly if we understand Christ through the Trinity.

I must point out that there is a major flub here. Evans quotes Matthew 15:18 and says that it reads, "In vain shall you worship me." However, this is not what Matthew 15:18 says. Rather, it tells us:
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man "unclean."
Where does it say you shall worship Christ in vain? The passage Evans quotes is actually Matthew 15:9...but he has completely distorted its original meaning. This passage reads:
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.
Christ is quoting Isaiah 29:13, in which God speaks with discuss at the hypocrisy of the Jewish worship at the time. He is using it to attack the Pharisees, who had turned the Law into a legalistic ritual with no meaning. It does not mean Christ is saying worshiping Him will be in vain. There is no way, reading the entire context of this passage, that one can come to this conclusion.

Again, Evans either does not know his scripture, or he is purposefully twisting scripture to suit his beliefs. If either is the case, he should not be on The Deen Show feeding Muslims this false information. All in all, there is no real divine truth in this video.

3 comments:

  1. Seems God has by design of His providence answered half of my un-spoken wish: that you'll re-publish this, and your conversion story (from Islam to Christ), on your new blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there!

    Placing subversive little link.

    Bye there! :-)

    ReplyDelete