Thursday, August 31, 2006

Allah, the moon god?

This is my research on Allah:
Muslims may claim that Allah is the same God that Christians worship however, the term Allah is a purely Arabic term used in reference to an Arabian deity. In fact Allah was known to pre-Islamic Arabs. He was one of many deities that already existed in Mecca. The tribe into which Muhammad was born was particularly devoted to Allah, which was the moon god. It was represented by a black stone that was believed to have come down from heaven.
In Arabia the sun god was viewed as female, and the moon god was viewed as the male god. In pre-Islamic times, Allah the moon god, was married to the sun god and together they produced three goddesses called The Daughters of Allah. They were viewed as being at the top of the pantheon of Arabian deities, those 360 idols in the Kaaba, at Mecca. When Muhammad took control of Mecca, he destroyed all the idols in the Kaaba except the stone deity, Allah.
Do not ever accept Allah as just another name of the true and living God! -MT

While I find some of your research to be in agreement with my own, I strongly disagree about the origins of "Allah".
Allah is truly just another name for the God of the Bible, even as the names "God" and "Jehovah" are but translations of Hebrew words, even so, "Allah" is also just a translation of the Hebrew word for God, "Eloyah". And so Muslims are worshipping the same God as the Christians and the Jews. But this does not mean that Muslims are necessarily worshipping or serving God in the way God wants—even as it may be that anyone who names themselves a Christian or a Jew might be serving God in a way displeasing to God. However, it does not help communicating a truth to a Muslim by presupposing a lie. Let us set petty differences aside, and get to the heart of the matter—what is the best way to please the Ruler of the Heavens? I could pull out a lot of references on my side-- saying that "Allah" is rooted in the words "El" and "Eloah" in Hebrew-- and you can pull up a bunch of references on your side, all to no avail, as we would not convince the other.
But let's say that the name "Allah" WAS rooted in a moon god. To then claim that whatever use that word is used in worship is actually going to a moon god is what is called in linguistics a "root fallacy". To claim that something is now what it's source was is simply not true.
For instance, let's take the Hebrew word "El" for God. This word has a Canaanite origin and was used by many languages for a creator god who sired many children, including Baal. Baal, in that religion, became stronger than El, and El depended upon him for his war-making skills. El was also defeated by Baal. Is this the God of the OT? Of course not. Then why did they use that word? Because it was the best word they had to explain who God was. It's origin isn't perfect, but they re-defined who "El" was in their literature so they could understand who the "real" El is. So we use the same term today when we say "El Shaddai" or "Beth-el". We don't worry about it's root, because WE know what we mean.
So let's use the same logic for Muslims and Allah. They know what they mean and they explain it very clearly and in many different ways. They certainly do not mean a moon god of any kind, but they are clearly articulating an ultimate spiritual power , ruler of heaven and earth, whose greatest characteristic is mercy. We need to just believe them, and not get tripped up on the roots of words. Because any old ancient meaning of a word is not what it means today.
A similar kind of thinking goes on when some Christians oppose Christmas. They say that the original holiday on Dec 25th had pagan origins, therefore it is pagan. Of course, Christmas is just as pagan or Christian (or commercial) as how one celebrates it and what meanings one gives to it. Even so, "Allah" is an Arabic word-- let's let the Arabs define what it means, not us to whom Arabic is foreign, even if we have some knowledge of it.

Proof in the Qu'ran

Steven, I would like to like your article ("Is Islam Evil?"), but there no cited sources or proof text. Can you rewrite the article using the text from the Quran? --Avery Moore
Thank you for your suggestion. Here are some references. I can incorporate them into the article at a later time. -- Steve
Allah (ăl'ə, ä'lə) , [Arab.,=the God]. Derived from an old Semitic root refering to the Divine and used in the Canaanite El, the Mesopotamian ilu, and the biblical Elohim, the word Allah is used by all Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others. -- Columbia University Encyclopedia

Jesus, in the name of Isa, is metioned several times in the Koran, as both a prophet and a messenger, and as the son of Mary. Just like it is in Christianity, Mary is a virgin, but Jesus is created in her womb (Sura 3,42), in the same manner as God creates whatever he wants. But never is he depicted as the son of God (Sura 4,169) but is compared to Adam, the first man (Sura 3,52). Jesus and his mother Mary is made as a "a sign unto the worlds" (Sura 21,91). In the Koran Jesus is also called Messiah (Sura 3.40).-- Encyclopedia of the Orient

God! There is no god but he, the Living, the Selfsubsistent!Slumber seizes him not, neither sleep.To him belongs whatever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is in the Earth.Who is there that shall intercede with Him except by His will?He knows what is present with men and what shall befall them, nothing of His knowledge do they comprehend, save what He wills.His throne is as high as the Heavens and the Earth, and the keeping of them wearies Him not.And He is High, the Mighty One.-Sura 2:256

The Koran addresses the Jews and Christians by saying, "O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God . . ." (Sura 3:64).The Koran finds commonality with Jews and Christians in the belief of strict monotheism, by which no prophet or saint is to be worshipped or venerated as divine alongside God.Muhammad is also told by the Koran to remind People of the Book that God alone is "our Sustainer and your Sustainer" (Sura 2:139). As such, there is no need for dispute between the Muslims and their fellow monotheists, says the Scripture.The Koran also attempts to fulfill its role as "The Reminder" by reminding Jews and Christians of their holy covenant with God, which among other things establishes belief and worship in God alone. The Koran confirms and praises the first Biblical covenant that says, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in the heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them . . ." (Exodus 20:4–5). This same understanding surfaces many times in the Koran (Sura 4:48, for example).The Koran also shares the Biblical understanding of God as Creator of the universe (Sura 7:54), and reflects the same comprehension of God's sovereignty (Sura 6:59) as the Bible's insistence that everything is run by divine Will (Matthew 10:29–31). With this spirit of unity in theological belief, the Koran encourages healthy dialogue (29:46) and coexistence in the form of marriage and the sharing of meat (Sura 5:5). -The Koran for Dummies

"Seek Allah's help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble." (Sura 2:45) "Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere." (Sura 2:153)

"Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it." (Sura 9 :103)

Sex Before Marriage

My girlfriend and I are planning on getting married and I’m a new Christian. So what’s so wrong with us being involved sexually? Is there something wrong with sex? --Mike
As a pastor, I have been involved in counselling many people before I marry them. And it has happened a number of times that people would go ahead and have intercourse because they were going to get married. I understand that, and the Bible has nothing to say against that, actually. However, it is just as likely that the couple decides after a bit that they weren't right for each other and then had a messy break-up. They didn't break up because of the sex, but the break up was messy because of the sex.
In our society that promotes "safe sex no matter what the cost" the ancient wisdom about sex is neglected. Sex is there not just for pleasure, but to create commitment. It is a physical act that creates a relational and emotional bond between two people. It is intense and powerful, and if we play loosely with it, we will end up in long-term depression and an inability to connect with other people, especially the opposite sex.
Sex is really meant to be between two people. The pleasure in sex actually increases if you continue having sexual activity with only one partner, as long as they are both concerned about the other's sexual and emotional needs. This is how we are made, this is one significant way that we have happiness in our lives.
So what's wrong with sex? Nothing. Sex is great, God made it and He made us sexual beings. And He also created us to be coupled-- to be with one partner who is concerned about our needs and does all he or she can to meet them. And he made us attracted to people who have different concepts of reality and love and emotion than we do, in order to increase that love. And He made us have children to test our love and to have it grow stronger in adversity. Sex is the foundation of human life and love. It is great.
But if we go against the principle of one partner-- if we get involved with sex before we are really ready to hook up with one person-- then our search for pleasure becomes a source of tremendous turmoil and sorrow and hatred and pain. This is what the Bible says, and this makes sense with what I have seen.

Is Islam Evil?

Many Christian teachers are speaking much about Islam. Some say that Islam is a terrible evil that God must destroy. Some declare that Islam is a religion similar to the Bible or Jesus. Both sides are exaggerating the truth, and it is our responsibility as Christians to make a decision about truth in accordance with mercy, not exaggerations that try to make our personal opinion. Below is the truth about Islam in relation to the teachings of the Bible.
Intellectually, Allah is the same as Eloyah
The word "Allah" is not the name of some moon god, but is the Arabic translation of the Hebrew word for God, "Eloyah", which comes from "Elohim," translated in modern translations, "God". There is less evidence that the word, "Allah" is blasphemous than the English word, "God". Also, when the Qur’an—the holy book of Muslims—and when Muslims themselves speak of Allah, they use the same description Christians and Jews do about Elohim—God is one, all-powerful, sovereign, forgiving, and merciful.
However, most Muslims limit God’s ability
Most Muslims do not emphasize what Jesus and the prophets emphasize—that God works through his people’s suffering, and that he gives his Spirit of power to those who ask. Most of the time, when speaking about God, they limit God’s ability to providence, or the moving of events in this world. They are unable to hear God or to ask for miracles from their devotion.
Father, we pray that you would give our Muslim friends the ability to understand you in fullness, and to worship you in Spirit and in Truth.
The Qur’an speaks higher of Jesus than Muhammad
The Qur’an says amazing things about Jesus. The Qur’an uses the name "Isa" for Jesus and says that he is the Messiah, the Word of God, and the receiver of God’s spirit. The Qur’an says that he was born of the virgin Mary, performed miracles, did no sin, that he died and was resurrected and that he would judge on the last day. However, the Qur’an, in speaking of Muhammad, says that he is a sinner, that he had performed no miracle, and that he be able to speak for no one on the last day.
However, most Muslims do not understand Jesus
Even though the Qur’an teaches all this about Jesus, most Muslims do not know this teaching. They just recognize Jesus as one of many prophets. And the Qur’an does not teach that Jesus’ death cleanses us from sin or that to have faith in God through Jesus is the only way of gaining God’s salvation.
Father, show our Muslim friends that salvation is only found in Jesus.
Islam is firm against idolatry
The subject of the majority of the Qur’an is opposition to worshipping false gods and idols. The most terrible sin in Islam is "shirk" which means the sharing of God’s majesty with another. The Qur’an often reads like a text from the Old Testament that denounces idolatry. It is a bold statement for the worship of the Most High God.
However, Islam judges some not participating in idolatry as guilty of shirk
The Qur’an denounces anyone who calls the Son as one with God, for that would be the sin of shirk. Many Muslims also denounce any representation of any prophet or symbolic representation of God as shirk. They would declare that anyone doing these things are heretics or apostates.
Father, teach our Muslim friends how to judge according to your word, not their own ideas.
The Qur’an speaks well of Christians and Jews
The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians "the people of the Book" and declare that they should not be treated as unbelievers. Rather, the Qur’an says that the Muslim should go to Christians and Jews to learn what is written in the Injeel (the words of Jesus) and the Tora (the words of Moses), as well as other prophets.
However, the Qur’an also speaks of enacting violence against unbelievers
Some Muslims have declared many Christians and Jews to be their enemies and unbelievers, and so should be counted among those whom the Qur’an says should be slain. Many Muslims teach that the Injeel and the Tora have been corrupted over the years and so are unworthy of being read. And a few believe that war should be declared against those who have opposed the truths of Muhammad they express. Before we judge Muslims for this, we must remember how many Christians support the killing of enemies, when their Lord commanded that they love their enemies.
Father, help both Muslims and Christians do good to one another and learn of the way of Jesus.
Muslims devote themselves to God many times daily
Most devote Muslims declare their loyalty to God many times a day, declaring him to be forgiving and merciful. They are faithful in their prayers, and they wish to show themselves as God’s servants. The word "islam" means "submission to God" and the word "muslim" means "one who is submitted." The whole purpose of being a Muslim is to devote ones whole life and community to God.
However, most Muslims act without regard to God’s ways
When it comes to everyday life, Muslims are as prone to follow their own desires as any other person. They will hate, gossip, lie and cheat in their everyday life—even as most Christians do.
Father, help us to live out your ways as well as speak your words. May we all have your Spirit to live your life.
Muslims give to the poor
Most devote Muslims separate 2.5% of what they earn specifically to the poor. This income is used to build orphanages and to help beggars in need. Although this sounds meager compared to a ten percent tithe, Muslims worldwide give a larger percentage of their income to the poor than Christians do worldwide.
However, most Muslims lack compassion in their giving
Muslims, however, lack the commands Christians do to give with compassion, love and without any self-interest. Many Muslims do give selflessly, especially through hospitality to strangers, but many more give out of their own self-interest and hopes of recognition. Jesus teaches that giving out of self-recognition would not be rewarded by God.
Father, through Jesus and the Spirit may your compassion rest upon our Muslim friends.
Conclusion: Is Islam evil? Not really—it is more incomplete than anything else. It does a fine job to teach pagans to worship the one true God, but it does not teach the ethical standards of Jesus, or show his example. Most Muslims are not evil, but they are misled. If they knew more about their own holy book, as well as the words of Jesus and Moses that the Qur’an affirms, they might know who the real Prophet and Savior is—Jesus. Let us pray for Muslims in our communities and around the world so that they could know the whole truth and that the truth would free them from oppression.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can a good Muslim be a Good American?

Q. I received the following item as one of those "pass-along" email messages. My knee jerk reaction is to agree with it -- but my Christian sensibilities warn me to be very careful of prejudice and sweeping generalizations. What is your logical response? Can a good Muslim be a good American?I sent that question to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The following is his reply:Theologically -- No, because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia.Religiously -- No, because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam.Scripturally -- No, because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran.Geographically -- No, because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.Socially -- No, because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.Politically -- No, because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of America, the great Satan.Domestically -- No, because he is instructed in the Quran to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him.Intellectually -- No, because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.Philosophically -- No, because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.Spiritually -- No, because when we declare "one nation under God," the Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran's 99 excellent names. Therefore after much study and deliberation -- perhaps we should be very suspicious of all Muslims in this country. They obviously cannot be both "good" Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish -- it's still the truth. If you find yourself intellectually in agreement with the above statements, perhaps you will share this with your friends. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future. Pass it on Fellow Americans. The religious war is bigger than we know or understand.

I am actually quite disturbed about this article. Frankly, the very things that are being mentioned here would have to apply to a good follower of Jesus or a good Buddhist or any other religion.
A good follower of Jesus would submit to Jesus first, before any national or local government.
A good follower of Jesus will listen to the dictates of the Holy Spirit-- a voice coming from God that does not follow the dictates of any state.
A good follower of Jesus obeys the Scripture which says that we must worship one God alone, and obey him and submit to him before any man or government.
Does the Scripture tell us to submit to government? Yes, as long as it does not interfere with what we have been told by God to do. But our primary obedience is to God. This is exactly what the Quran says as well.
This kind of thinking-- that a good follower of a religion isn't a real patriot because they follow the dictates of another power-- is the kind of thinking that generated religious persecution from the very beginning. If you wish to promote such ideas against Muslims, just wait, the persecutors will soon be knocking at your door to ask you to bow to the god of the state instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the basic principles of the United States is that we have the opportunity to abide by what religious dictates we wish. This is not a Scriptural idea-- the ten commandments tells the people of God to worship God alone and to not worship any idols. The United States determined not to persecute people because their religious ideas are different than ours, or Scriptures. This is right and good, for a secular government. This is how God rules the world-- he does not destroy nations for idolatry or worshipping other gods. Eventually, on the Final Day, he will, but not yet. Until then, we must recognize that vengeance belongs to God. And He will defend His own Name.
As for us, let us not stir fear of those who are fundamentally like us. A good Muslim is hospitable and kind to others. A good Muslim does all they can to assist those in need. A good Muslim never kills the innocent. A good Muslim prays daily and helps the poor. A good Muslim does not beat his wife-- no matter what people say about them. A good Muslim does what he can to be obedient to the laws of the nation he lives in. In these areas-- areas of good citizenship-- they are not so different than Christians.
If the government begins to persecute committed Muslims, then they will persecute committed Christians. Is that what we really want?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Am I Really A Christian?

Mark Wrote: Today I learned something. I was listening to an online sermon and I realized that I am not a real Christian. Sure, I said a prayer and asked Jesus to be my lord and savior, but does that mean He is the lord of my life? This sermon lead me to look into myself and showed me how worldly I am. I finally listened to Gods word given to us through Paul - Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! - (2 Cor. 13:5) and I was disgusted with myself. When I compare my faith to those of the New Testament or the Protestant Reformers or anyone who has suffered for Christ I feel shameful. How can I call myself a Christian when I embrace things God hates? Peace and love,Mark
Don't beat yourself up because you don't meet the standard of people when they were at their best. These people also had their worst times-- Peter denying Christ being the primary example. Jesus called him back to himself, and told him to repent, but Peter was never out of Christ. He was stumbling within Christ. Seeing that you have weaknesses doesn't mean that you aren't a "real Christian". Rather, it means that the Holy Spirit is calling you to a new level of holiness. Embrace that holiness and make it a part of yourself-- but never deny what Christ has already worked in and through you.
Steve K.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Discussion on War and the Bible

This was mentioned in another forum (on My Space): "When Jesus told us to "turn the other cheek" He was talking about the individual, not national. The idea of "just war" is seen all over the Bible, and punishment." I'm sorry, I don't remember who mentioned it, but I thought we could talk about it. While I agree that divine war-- not exactly "just" war as spoken of by Christians-- is in the OT, Jesus' and the apostles' ethic is clearly against Christian participation of war. They agreed that governments take part in war, but that Christians, being a part of a heavenly nation does not participate in it. This is why Paul said, "Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual rulers and authorities." and "The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but spiritual". Our war is on the spiritual reality, not the earthly one.Steve K.
We seek to be agents of reconciliation in all relationships, to practice love of enemies as taught by Christ, to be peacemakers in all situations. We view violence in its many different forms as contradictory to the new nature of the Christian. We believe that the evil and inhumane nature of violence is contrary to the gospel of love and peace. In times of national conscription or war, we believe we are called to give alternative service where possible. Alleviating suffering, reducing strife, and promoting justice are ways of demonstrating Christ's love.It is an error to say that God never supports a war. In a world filled with evil people, sometimes a war is necessary to prevent even greater evil. If Hitler had not been defeated by World War II, how many more millions of Jews would have been killed? If the Civil War had not been fought, how much longer would African Americans have had to suffer as slaves? We must all remember to base our beliefs of the Bible, not on our emotions (2 Timothy 3:16-17).Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, There isa time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. In a world filled with sin, hatred, and evil (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Some wars are more just than others, but all wars are ultimately the result of sin. Christians should not desire war, but neither are Christians to oppose the government God has placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can be doing in a time of war is to be praying for godly wisdom for our leaders, praying for the safety of our military, praying for quick resolution to the conflict. -Mark

We should be pure agents of reconciliation, not compromised ones.I am not saying that God never supports a war. Nor am I saying that we should oppose a government that is participating in a war. I am saying that Christians, if they are following Jesus, will never participate in a human war. Our task is much more effective. We are to focus exclusively on the war in the Spirit realm. Yes, Hitler was defeated on a fleshly level, but the Spirit of racism still exists. Slavery was technically ended, put the Spirit of arrogance over other races still exists. These wars could have been fought in the Spirit, and the outcome would have been much more effective. What has more power, human bombs or God's Spirit? What has more life changing force, armies or God's omnipotent power? What is the better outcome, the destruction of enemy forces (plus a percentage of civilians thrown in) or the repentance of the sinner? This is not naivete, this is faith in God's power which he has proven many times in the past.To participate in the death of our enemies makes us an enemy of God, and ready to be judged. As it was stated in ages past, "He who spills the blood of man shall of man have his blood shed." How will this cycle ever end? By the power of God's spirit. At times, vengeance and violence must be done. But the follower of Jesus gives that right over to God, surrendering to His power of vengeance, to His justice, which is infinately more than we can ever understand or accomplish with our hands. Leave it for God-- "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY, " says the Lord. BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:19-21Thus, it is not that war is an evil. It is just that if we take war into our own hands that it becomes evil. It is God's justice, it is God's authority to do violence. It is our responsibility before Jesus to "Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you, bless those who curse you..." And it is our responsibility to destroy the works of the evil one through the power of God, not by our own hands "Heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, preach the gospel." Steve K.

If the government reimplemented the draft and you were drafted would you go?but i agree peaceful resolutions should always be sought before military action.
I wouldn't need to go anywhere. In the U.S. anyone who disagrees with the use of arms as a conscientious objector need not ever take up arms. They can do work in the U.S. as a peaceful agent of service for two years instead. This has been the case since WWII. --Steve K.

I would agree partially with what was said about leaving the vengeance to God, but there are some issues I'm not sure about. First, Eph 6 in context doesn't imply pacifism but speaks simply of the cardinal difficulty of the Christian life: spritual battles. It gives the idea of armor because war was common and Christians should always be on the defensive (hence the armor, even the sword) against the tricks and schemes of the devil in their lives.Romans tends to be a bit stronger in the implication, specifically in the verse before where the Bible tells us "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." The inherent difficulty is the more vague language here in the "if it be possible" and "as much as lieth in you", meaning that there will be times where it is not possible, or where it does not lie in you. You could argue that logical opposites don't necessarily apply in Biblical doctrine, but seems to at least provide some perspective in this case.The reason vengeance is wrong is simply the motivation. Vengeance is not a condoned motivation for any action because vengeance seeks its own, no matter the law, rules, or people in its way. Vengeance views itself above the law. This is why vengeance cannot be in the hands of humans and must be in the hands of the Lord (the One Who wrote the law...).Governments are established as an authority over men to establish justice and maintain such things. We are to submit to our secular authority just as much as our religious authority because we are not above the law nor exempt from it. The law as it applies to salvation has been fulilled, but we cannot simply abolish it (Jesus Himself said that He didn't come to abolish, but to fulfill the law). If our government drafts us into a war, we should obey as much as possible. God uses war, and people in war, to accomplish His goals.I personally would say that a peaceful solution (as much as possible live peacably) should be seeked first, but if it came to the point of defense or no peaceful solution can be found, we cannot back down, we cannot hide, we must fight. Satan will use people, so we cannot hate people, we must hate the one who controls them, but that doesn't mean that we can spare all of them for if we do, we drop our defenses. That is my opinion, hopefully it doesn't inherently contradict itself or the Bible as far as the Lord has shown me. Ya'll have fun.
-Czar Chasm

[QUOTE]Czar ChasmWrote:Governments are established as an authority over men to establish justice and maintain such things. We are to submit to our secular authority just as much as our religious authority because we are not above the law nor exempt from it. The law as it applies to salvation has been fulilled, but we cannot simply abolish it (Jesus Himself said that He didn't come to abolish, but to fulfill the law). If our government drafts us into a war, we should obey as much as possible. God uses war, and people in war, to accomplish His goals.QUOTE]I don't want to respond to Ceaser's whole quote, but just this part. Even if you were to say that a draft is just submitting to the government, as it says in Rom 13, I have a couple issues with that:First, we have the example of the apostles in Acts 4 who refused to obey the established government because it disagreed with the expressed command of Jesus. Submission to government is not greater than submission to Jesus. And Jesus told us to love our enemies, and to bless them, not to kill them.Second, in the case of the U.S. and Canadian governments, even if you are drafted you can be a non-com. In fact, the U.S. govt has established with the Mennonites an opportunity for pacifist draftees to do work in the U.S., such as in hospitals, as firefighters, as forestry workers, etc. This is a legal and completely submissive to government way to obey Jesus, even if you are drafted. So the "submission to government" route doesn't work in the U.S. or Canada. If you believe that Jesus doesn't want you to kill anyone, no one can make you. Steve K.

Interesting points, but I have a question. I've always felt that good fought evil, and should destroy evil (could just be me). So, I'm throwing out a hypothetical: There is a small village of satanists who continually slaughter animals from a nearby Christian farmer and they also occasionally sacrifice their children. Now, a satanist could be saved (as could anyone). Obviously we could pray for the farmer and for the people, but at what point do we simply refrain from taking action? One could easily address the government for grievances (which is what should be done), but if you are against such violence, then addressing said government would be wrong. If this group is sacrificing children, it is a true evil. If we say they've been doing this for 100 years, passing on their corrupt teaching to the kids that do live, and so the process cycles, then what should be done. Now, let's avoid the whole origin and perpetuation of evil in this, but I personally would get to a point where a governmental body or even the church at some point would need to take action simply because we are allowing evil that we know of to continue.Now, this is a completely hypothetical and could possibly be a can of worms, but I wouldn't doubt to think that this is possible in today's world, especially in the thrid world countries where all sorts of evil runs amuck. I'm not trying to argue at this point, but I want to understand your view better (I haven't run into many mennonites). If you don't wanna answer no big, again I'm just curious. Thanks.
-Czar Chasm

I don't think it's a can of worms. It's a good question.In general, just because Jesus told us to love, this is not the same as not taking action against evil. There is a lot of action that we can do that falls short of harming others. For the most part, I think that we need to take action the way Jesus did:1. We need to pray for God's justice to be done2. We need to pray that the people would repent so that they could be forgiven.3. We need to tell people about their sins and the consequences of their sins4. We need to command the forces of Satan to be gone5. We can pray for certain people to be stopped or moved out by God's power (this isn't just words-- I've seen it in action)6. We can stand in the way of the sin to prevent it from happening7. We can sacrifice ourselves in order to save othersThere's other things we can do, but this is a quick list. In this specific instance, we can see the oppressers become sick by God's power to cause them to stop their evil. We could go to the people, invite them to our house, try to care for them, speak to them about the Lord. We could keep an eye on the house and if we see children going there, we can get involved-- even at the risk of our own lives! These are the kinds of things Jesus did, and he was successful-- in the long run. His mission seemed unsuccessful at first, but he was very successful, and evil was curbed overall. We just need to be loving and patient like God. Steve K.

Monday, August 07, 2006

You're Hired!

We have prayed that God should send out workers. God is now calling the workers he needs. He is calling you! These are the people God is looking for:
Those who trust in the Lord to provide their needs, even if their needs are not met for a time.
Those who do mercy to others, not just to the repentant, but to those who have the possibility of repenting.
Those who are directed by the word of Jesus and the Spirit.
Those who create a community which encourages discipleship.
Those who remain gentle when provoked—i.e. those who create trust in crisis.
Those who reveal the Lord in a tri-unity of action, attitude and word.
Those who confess and repent their own faults, especially reconciling with those whom they have done wrong.
Those who do not judge by appearances, but listen to find the hidden core of another.
Those who know that their wisdom does not rest in themselves, but they are dependant on the Lord for what little wisdom they have.
Those who know that if they fail to depend on the Lord, their leadership fails.
Those who are humble before those to whom one is giving hospitality or service.
Those who do not seek the world or worldly means to meet their goals in the Lord, but they are patient for the Lord’s timing.
Those who regularly wait in the presence of the Lord, listening to the Spirit.
Those willing and ready to do the lowest tasks joyfully, knowing that humility is the means of our exaltation.
Those not seeking titles or positions or authorities, but accepting responsibility when it is necessary and offered.
Those who will consistently pray for others in need, so guiding the Lord’s grace to them.
Those ready to use all resources at their disposal for the outcast, the needy and the seekers of God, so that they are known as generous.
Those who will do whatever whenever however, using whatever resources in order to draw other closer to the Lord.
Those who do not demand a salary, but will accept whatever the Lord offers—even if it is nothing—just in order to do the Lord’s work.
Those who will not give up on one who is soft toward the Lord for the sake of another, but will draw all toward unity in Christ.
Those who do not force the truth of God on anyone, but grant all the option of refusing to hear it.
Those who will create space for, opportunity for, and desire in others to listen to the Spirit.
Those who have experience of hard labor on earth and of hard rest in the Lord.
Those who will sacrifice their comfort, their well-being, their relationships, their possessions, their future in this world for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Anyone looking to apply for this job, you would be welcome at your local church.