Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Addendem on Burkas


In a previous post, I likened bargaining with the Taliban (Obama's recent not-so-brilliant policy statement) to bargaining with Nazis. My driver back and forth from the car repair today was wise to mention that bargaining with Nazis would be easier. They were less religious and didn't think they'd get a passel of virgins in paradise when they died in jihad. Good point, Bob!

12 comments:

Steve Schuler said...

Will you feel a bit embarrassed if you get to Heaven and find any Muslims residing there? Laugh! I am!

Doug Groothuis said...

This is no laughing matter, Steve. Salvation is found through the Mediator alone, Christ Jesus. Muslims deny their need of such a one, sadly. As The Apostle John says, "He who denies the Son, denies the Father."

Paul said...

Steve:
Where do you get the notion that God grades on a curve?

Seems to me that you seriously underestimate the price of salvation, which was of infinite worth. To dismiss it in unbelief as Muslims do requires nothing less than infinite condemnation (cf., Heb. 10:26-31). That he saves any and only all who trust Christ by faith alone is sheer grace and mercy.

Steve Schuler said...

I probably do laugh too frequently at, or about, things that are really not that inherently funny. I do think that human beings having been allowed or granted a sense of humour might serve as a pretty good indicator of a benevolent God. That we are made in His Image makes me wonder if God, at least in some aspects, is not the ultimate Cosmic Comedian. Job might not have shared that possibility, but who knows? Maybe at times Job would break out in laughter at the apparent absurdity of his plight. I am not trying to insert into the Bible what is not there, but I do wonder if Job ever thought, "This is all just too insane!", and just had a good laugh about it all?

I do not mean to be sacrilegious and I am not trying to offend you or what your sense of humour may encompasse. It may not be apparent, but I am actually attempting to "tread lightly" in this response. I am not sure if I am suceeding or not.

Pertaining to Muslims in Heaven:

I do not propose that I know the mind of God and the who, where, when, how, and why by which divine justice may be meted out. The late Billy Graham said,

“…that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven."

I realize that many Christians would consider this statement by Mr. Graham to be blasphemous heresy. I know that I do not know and I think it is generally a good thing to be aware of what what one does not really know.

I know I am not a theologian, and I will leave it to the theologians to fight their theologies out. I guess a wiser man than me might say, "I don't have a dog in that fight."

Steve Schuler said...

Paul,

I responded to Doug's comment that precedes yours. It has not been posted yet. If Doug decides to post my comment it may afford you some insight into my thinking. If not, then I'm afraid a response to your question at this time would likely not be posted either. I'm sorry to not be able to provide you with a better reply, but it is due to circumstances that are truly beyond my control.

Lisa said...

Dr G.,
Yes I know that Jesus is the way the truth and the life, No one come to the Father but through Him…but, in my life I have run into 2 different Muslims that both were either used by God or seemed to reflect God’s grace. The first was a man who owned several convenience stores in Ohio, who was a very kind and gentle man and seemed to have a lot of grace on his life and was offering me extra food when I needed it (yes I know that giving to the poor is a pillar of Islam) and the other is a woman who is a dear friend of mine, who I have known for 6 years; she helped me to get the job I have now, which ultimately lead to my receiving my healing…I know she was used by God to help me.

In my job, I work with people of various ethnicities and religious beliefs; I find it interesting that those who have a true sincerity about their beliefs seem to reflect the gifts of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 but those who just give “lip service” to their beliefs are obviously run by the “world” and their god is their lusts. And this goes for the Muslims and the Buddhist (Tibetan or other) that I work with. But on the same token, I do run into Christians who aren’t being “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
It was brought home to me today to remember that we are one body [of Christ] when my sister in the Lord (who is Hmong) knew I needed prayer; and in the lunch room, grabbed my hand and we both bowed our head and she proceeded to pray in Hmong…the only thing I understood was the “amen”, but I was so blessed that she would do that for me, on the spot. Of all the prayers I have received, that was for me the most significant.

Steve,

As referring to Job; that happens to be my favorite book in the bible because I understand it so well. I personally have lived it. I don’t know if you understand the issue with Job’s “friends” or not, but they may have quoted things that were God’s word, but they missed the most important point; that God is love; and in all they said to Job, they never shared love or mercy with him. They were more concerned with being right. But did you ever consider what it did for Job’s faith to come face to face with the Almighty…”I have heard of you with my ears, but now I see you. Therefore I retract, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6 my paraphrase) Job understood about God’s love, God had Job pray for those guys! Could any of us show God’s grace enough to be able to pray for people who spent ages tearing us down!

But as to humor, I truly live by the scripture “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10(b), and “a merry heart is like good medicine…” Proverbs 17:22(a).
Lisa

Southern Dreaming said...

The late Billy Graham? I'm not sure where Mr. Schuler is getting his info.

Steve Schuler said...

Lisa,

You seem to have a very kind and gentle nature. That you can recognize a depth of goodness that you associate with divinity in people of the Islamic faith that you have known makes me wonder if there is not some truth to what Billy Graham said about Heaven being accessible to people other than Christians. As I said, I am not a theologian and do not profess to know who warrants Heaven. You say that your work has given you the opportunity to meet people from different religions. If you don't mind me asking, how do you think about those people with regards to this question of what constitutes a truly religious life? Also, how do you relate to people of different faiths as a person with a Christian identity? I am asking this question as a person who is seeking understanding, not as a person who believes he has found it.

Steve Schuler said...

Southern Dreaming,

OOPS!!! If you run into Billy PLEASE don't tell him I thought he was already dead! I need to be more careful and make sure that people who I think should be dead are actually dead before I pronounce them dead. This not my first mistake and I'm sure it won't be my last. Sorry.

Lisa said...

Steve,
What I am discerning in the people that I work with mainly is an unforced care that these people are showing. They have a genuine care for me, wanting to help, not because they have to, but because they want to. It is an example to me of Matthew 7:16-18 “knowing a tree by its fruit.” I really can see (feel?) the difference. I just know if this person is helping me because they have to, or they are helping me because they like to help people. On the assembly line it is a willingness to help whether I like you or not.

My Muslim friend (who escaped from the Taliban in Afghanistan) and I have had coffee together to talk about God, and how good He is. I almost got her to join me for our Christmas Eve service (of course, I told her I was singing) but she was doing something else. She asked me to please pray for her to be hired on to this company as a permanent (she still works for the temp. agency). I haven’t talked to her in a couple of months, and writing this reminds me that I should give her a call tomorrow. But she didn’t have to almost literally drag me from my old job, to interview for the job I have now. She just went out of her way to help me (and at the time, I didn't know I needed help).

So my meditation over this is what I may be seeing is God drawing them. That His grace is on their lives; and this could be a representation of the Holy Spirit working on their hearts, getting ready to receive God’s redemptive grace. Or another thought I had; I know that in all I do, I let my “light shine”…I could just be projecting on them the hope I feel for them to receive Jesus in their lives, and maybe some of that is reflecting back to me. I don’t know. “…For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Lisa

Lisa said...

Steve,
This morning I had an interesting “revelation.” It hit me what I posted last night, about my Muslim friend escaping from the Taliban…a Muslim running from Muslims. But the reason for their escape was the fact that they were “moderate” and that was because the whole family is educated…teachers, doctors and engineers. My friend taught mathematics to high school aged girls and boys. So could the moderating factor for Muslims be education? And with that education, an introduction to Western moral values that are from Christianity-So a rather circuitous means of introducing Muslims to Jesus!

So maybe the answer to the problem with the Taliban is to send them all back to school! You know, I’m not really being entirely facetious.
Lisa

Steve Schuler said...

Lisa,

Thanks for responding to my questions. I thought that they might have become lost in cyberspace, but I could have lived without having them answered.

You said, " It is an example to me of Matthew 7:16-18 “knowing a tree by its fruit.” I really can see (feel?) the difference." This is one of the passages in the NT that I have reflected on a good bit. I apply that concept while trying to understand myself as well as others. Between the ages of 10 and12 I lived in the Republic of China. That provided me the opportunity to experience a non-Christian culture first hand over an extended period of time. While I had been raised as a Christian, I think that is when I first began to question whether self identification as a Christian had very much to do with true spirituality. I still have that same question. Would a just God condemn people to eternal torment because they happened to grow up in a Buddhist culture and not convert to Christianity? Would the same God open the doors of Heaven to others who had come from a Christian society merely because they professed faith in "Jesus Christ"? These questions remain unanswered, although they do not have the same sense of urgency that they did 40 years ago.

I agree with you that education is critical to realizing a world that can live in Peace. Sometimes I think it is all of us (myself included) and not just the Taliban than would benefit from a process of re-education!

“…For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Obviously I can not evaluate you based on your outward appearance having never seen you. I have only been able to "see" a little bit of you by what you have written here. Still, I "feel" that you have a very good heart. I write this because of what you said, ..."I really can see (feel?) the difference." I agree that very much of what may might matter most in life is contained within the world of feeling, not less, and possibly more, than the world of thought.

Thanks again for your response. You make me feel better about the world!