Review of “Hardball Religion” by Wade Burleson

When they attempted to silence Wade Burleson they only amplified his voice because he is a man of integrity who saw “no valid reason to remain silent when fellow Southern Baptists are being destroyed by a political machine hiding behind a mask of spirituality.”

Wade Burleson began his blog Grace and Truth to You in response to the countless abuses he witnessed by the leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a true “insider” – he is a conservative Bible believing Baptist and has been the senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid Oklahoma since 1992. His book tells the story of how he was recruited to sit as a trustee on the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) by henchmen associated with Paige Patterson. They hoped his vote could be swayed to help unseat Patterson’s enemy, IMB President Jerry Rankin. Burleson records their tactics which were exceedingly unethical and corrupt by anyone’s standards, let alone those who profess Christ.

I highly recommend this book. Thumb Thumb

PS: As an aside, this book helped me understand why Patterson protege Ergun Caner went out of his way to slam Jerry Rankin as a “liar” and a “heretic.” It appears that Patterson was simply using Caner as his “attack dog” which is completely consistent with Patterson’s behavior as record by Burleson in his book.

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14 Comments

  1. Lydia
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    If you can find it, get Too Great a Temptation by Joel Gregory. He went to be the pastor of FBCDallas when the famous Criswell was to retire (but never did) and gives an inside look at the SBC mega world. Patterson was president of Criswell college at the time and as usual, one step ahead of the firing ax but the big boys saved him at the imfamous airport meeting where all the SBC big wigs gathered to deal with another Paige problem. And of course, found him another big job. He just keeps getting promoted and moved along.

  2. Posted June 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    There are lot’s of copies on Amazon. I just ordered one. Thanks for the tip.

    Last month I noticed that Criswell College looks like a nexus of racism and sexism. This is all new to me … I have never been a denominational Christian, so I never paid any attention to these kinds of conflicts. Thus I was shocked when I found that the founder of Criswell College was an ardent opponent of racial integration which he described as going against “everything” that Baptists believe! So I started seeing a pattern of Caner’s racists remarks, and Lamar Cooper’s recent “wetbacks” remark, and Patterson’s dismissal of Klouda for being a woman teaching men Hebrew, and so on and on. I’m planning on mapping out the relations between these people and Criswell college. It seems like a very tight “good ol boys” club – they are all Presidents of Southern Baptist Seminaries.

    Which Paige problem was that? I know the got fired from Criswell because of Gilyard. It is interesting that the news article quoted Ergun Caner as Patterson’s assistant way back then. And what do you think about my hypothesis that Caner called Jerry Rankin a liar and heretic because of Patterson’s hatred of him?

    And as for Gilyard – Patterson had no trouble protecting that pedophile and serial liar. Ironic isn’t it? That’s why Jerry Vine’s use of that attack on Muhammad seemed hypocritical to me (besides being really stupid because it does not help the world).

  3. Lydia
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    No, he was not fired because of Gilyard. And he was not really fired but eventually moved to another position as Pres of SWBTS that they had to free up for him. Some of the deacons at FBCDallas were very unhappy with his performance but one does not just fire the bulldog of the CR who worked alongside Judge Pressler. Gregory writes about the airport meeting over Patterson’s job. He was there.

    Criswell was very racist but “changed” his mind. Joel Gregory writes about this in his book.

    Be careful about attributing racism to the SBC as a whole. I was raised SBC and it was totally different before the CR was in full swing. In the 60’s, my SS teacher when I was 6 was a wonderful black woman. Racism was not something we would have dared stood for. Not only that, but the SBC I was raised in focused on Priesthood of Believer and soul competency. Each believer, a priest. I was taught that it was ONE woman in Ephesus who could not teach a man. Not all women for all time. And my family was very involved in the convention back then and the SBTS seminary. Most of my extended family graduated from SBTS. I was in some SBC church or the seminary every week as my mom was a professional musician who played all over town at events and churches. And we were conservative orthodox. We just did not major on secondary issue that are non salvic. We focused on primary salvic issues. The CR is what elevated secondary issues to a salvic position. Now, in the SBC, a woman is saved if she stays in her ‘role’. It is now a works religion.

    BTW: You can spot the Patterson protege’s. they are brash, arrogant and use tons of ad hominen. They are so political that they cannot seperate the things of Christ with American politics. They were taught to think this way as young men in seminary. The internet is showing them or what they really are. You can imagine how effective these tactics were when done in secret. Now they are forcued to operate in the sunlight and it does not look so good. But it is all they know.

    BUT, I m noticing the same type of “thinking”coming from some who are going after Caner. This is most dangerous. We are to be thinking people. We must think critically, logically and factually. And we must use reason and not emotion.

    And it is ok to have disagreement. It is not something to take personal if we stick with facts and reasoned opinion. Something I appreciate from you.

    It is wrong to draw sides and put each individual on one side of the line. Just because I am outspoken about Caner’s lies does not mean I believe that the Koran teaches a peaceful Islam. I believe there are peaceful Muslims but they exist in spite of what the Koran (whatever interpretation) teaches. This is not about Caner insulting Muslims or
    even because some think he misrepresents Islam. That is playing right into Liberty’s hand. They WANT it to be about defending Islam.

    My problem is NOT that Caner gets Islam wrong because many folks on both sides get Islam wrong…I am not sure we CAN get Islam right…..no,my problem is that Caner is a long time liar while he gets paid as a leader and is a role model for many young Christian people. His lies are facts that exist in several formats. What more do we need?

    We go down rabbit trails and actually HELP Caner because we keep changing the subject from his lies to defending Islam. I know how these guys operate and they are masters at changing the subject. The focus is Caner and his lies. I really agreed with White’s video on this. Anyone can speak truth. But if the Caner defenders can make this about Islam vs Christianity, they will. Let’s not help them.

    (BTW: Caner is what I all a shock jock preacher. I detest this sort of self promotion preaching which is really entertainment. But it is the norm with the rise of cult of personality in Christendom)

    “That’s why Jerry Vine’s use of that attack on Muhammad seemed hypocritical to me (besides being really stupid because it does not help the world).”

    You know, that depends on what you mean by helping the world. I would never insult an individual Muslim about truth about Mohammad. But on blogs and in larger groups, why should we not tell the truth in love? The facts about Mohammad are out there: He was illiterate, he married a 6 year old and consummated the marriage when she was 9. I could go on and on. But why are the facts about Mohammad insulting?. Now, I agree that Vines was not presenting this because he loves Muslims. You can tell that. Since I grew up around Muslims, my view is a bit different. We should never shy away from truth with them. They usually come from honor/shame environments and being deferential to them is considered cowardly. They like truth. They tend to like debate…not from women, of course. But you get my drift.

  4. Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the detailed post Lydia. I very much appreciate your well-reasoned approach, especially your admonition to avoid the obvious error of attributing racism to the SBC as a whole. That is patently absurd given that there are folks of all races in the SBC! And even the corrupt leadership like Paige Patterson promoted Gilyard, a black man.

    And thanks for the correction about why Patterson was removed from Criswell. I really haven’t researched this very much yet and got my circuits crossed.

    And I agree that the changes that happened after the CR began it’s takeover are very significant to keep in mind.

    As for Criswell’s “change of mind” – this extremely informative article shows that he remained a racists but changed his public policies out of political necessity.

    Your analysis of “Patterson protoges” as “brash, arrogant and use tons of ad hominen” is spot on. That’s exactly how Caner comes across to me – and if Caner is typical, I would add “ignorant” and “willing to invent whatever suits the storyline” to the list.

    Now as for our ongoing discussion about Islam – I agree that Caner supporters LOVE to divert the conversation to Islam and we should never allow them to get away with that. But it does not change the fact that Caner lies are centered on his false presentation of himself as a former devout Muslim who was really “in the know.” Therefore, the demonstration that he is ignorant about most things Islamic is an important aspect of this battle. I just saw a new one yesterday that was really hilarious (link). Caner said:

    “I was a Sunni Muslim and a jahideen not a mujahideen, not a holy warrior, but I had not made it that high, but I was a jahideen when I got saved.”

    There’s NO SUCH THING as a “jahideed” and the “mujahideen” does not indicate any kind of “rank” that one ascends to. The word “jahideen” does not even exist in Arabic. So again we see PURE CRAP coming out of the mouth of Ergun Caner. This never ceases to amaze me.

    Similar loads of crap are found in his book “Unveiling Islam.” For example, on page 47 he quoted only half of Surah 5:82 because the first half made Islam look “vituperative” against the Jews, but the second half made Islam look friendly towards the Christians. So Caner the Chronic Liar hid the evidence that contradicted his slander against Islam. Exposing his ignorance, bias, and lies against Islam is not the same as “defending Islam.”

    I have much more I would like to discuss with you on this. I will continue in another post.

    All the very best my friend. I very much appreciate your contributions to this discussion.

    Richard

    You say you “grew up around Muslims.” Where? What variety? You certainly would have had a very different experience if you grew up in Wahhabi Saudi Arabia as opposed to Malaysia or with Sufis in India. Ed Husain titled a chapter “Saudi Arabia: Where is Islam? and explained that the Saudi super-fundamentalist government was ANTI-ISLAMIC in that they killed devout Muslims and destroyed Islamic holy sites associated with Muhammad because they considered devotion to the prophet as idolatry. I have asked a few times if you have read Husain’s The Islamist or any other books written by folks who are not explicitly anti-Islamic but as yet you have not answered. This is very important – are your views coming only from anti-Isalmic books and localized personal experience?

  5. Lydia
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    “But it does not change the fact that Caner lies are centered on his false presentation of himself as a former devout Muslim who was really “in the know.” Therefore, the demonstration that he is ignorant about most things Islamic is an important aspect of this battle. I just saw a new one yesterday that was really hilarious (link). Caner said:”

    I agree with this as long as we stick with facts like Arabic and use of words. But when we start going down the rabbit trail of defending “What is Islam” we fall into the abyss. Many Muslims do not agree on what is Islamic practice. The average person is not going to understand this but they DO understand when someone says that they were both born in Sweden and Turkey. And they change this lie repeatedly over 9 years. That is consistently lying and they can understand that. I think Caner was a “Muslim” as most in the West would undertand that term. I do NOT think he was a devout Muslim. In the Muslim countries, they think most Americans are Christians. It is the same thing.

    Just to let you know, I have several Muslim outfits: Burqa, Hijab and Abaya. That should give me some gravitas! The Burqa is the worst…has a woven grill across the eyes the woman must look out of. It is ONE piece including the head cap and pure silk with millions of tiny pleats and it is sky blue. Was a Christmas gift from Afghanistan.

    My experience is varied and started when I was about 12. My mom was involved in a University Hospitality program. Almost all the students were Muslim foriengers. Some lived with us off and on for about 7 years and our home was full of them during University breaks. They were from all over: SA, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and even Taiwan! The debates in our home was lively and civil. They revered my mom as their American mother. And would invite their many cousins at other universitites around the state to come for Christmas with us.

    I have family who went to Afghanistan with a John Hopkins program to eradicate a disease caused by the sand fly. they were there for 4 years and were also Christians who helped other Christian humanitarian groups that I was involved with get in the country and find a place to operate. (No addresses so all supplies had to sent by GPS). The Islam they found in remote areas was a form of folk Islam. Some of the people they met came back to the states with them. One Muslim friend frm there lived with us a few summers ago. The group I was involved with who made many trips there is still operating and even built a large guest house in Kabul. (I will not give the name, if you understand…there was lots of cooperation in the beginning for aid but now it has changed and is more dangerous)

    There are some very intense stories when dealing with tribal chiefs to get women basic health care. Our group even built a home for a tribal chief so he would allow the women in his remote tribe to get exams by women doctors! Of course the hosue only cost 300 bucks.

    I have other family members who are missionaries in another Muslim country I cannot mention but are in Asia. This is not all but just a short synopsis of my experience with Muslims. Ironically, my experience with women muslims did not come about until about 10 years ago when I started working with them here in the states. I met my first woman Muslim when I was about 20 when a student brought his mom over to visit. But she was westernized from Jordan.

    One thing I want to mention that most folks miss. Muslims on their home turf are different than Muslims who come to Western countries. I am by no means an expert. I have family that have learned Arabic, Persian, Pashto, and other languages in order to work in these country’s.

    I AM Anti Islamic because it is a religion of death and hate. I am NOT anti Muslim because they are humans created in the Image of God. Can we not be thinking people when it comes to the distinctions? Do we always have to accuse people of hate because they hate Islam and what it does to people? Can we hate Islam and not Muslims? I hate Judaism but love Jews, too.

    One last thing: The reports I have been getting from many of my family and friends in these country’s is incredible. God is using dreams to gather Muslims to Him. My friends have been approached secretly by many Muslims asking about Isa because they dreamed about Him.I did some research on this and found that Brother Andrew saw the same thing in Muslim countries where he had missions and he wrote a book about it. But it could mean death to publicly become a Christian. At the very least, your family disowns you.

    We must constantly pray for this. And that we are ready with truth so Jesus Christ will set them free.

  6. Posted June 7, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Lydia,

    Great post! Very informative and helpful. Thanks.

    But my primary concern remains. You paint all Islam as “a religion of death and hate.” That is a very broad brush! And it sounds similar to the claim that Southern Baptist Christianity is nothing but “a religion of racism and sexism” – a position you rightly warned against. I get the impression that this is the difference: You believe that “peaceful Muslims” are going against the teachings of the Quran, whereas “hateful Christians” are going against the teachings of the Bible. Is that pretty much it? If so, I can very much understand since that is the position I held until recently. I think it is obvious that a fundamentalist Muslim can find a lot more support for violence in the Quran than a fundamentalist Christian can find in the Bible. And I think that it is equally obvious that the teaching of the Bible on the subject of love for others is infinitely superior to the teaching of the Quran.

    But does that mean that Islam is a “religion of hatred and death”? I don’t think so. I’ve seen one count that says the Quran has 109 verses that can be used to insight “violence.” That’s 109 out of roughly 6200 verses or about 1.7%. What would the ratio be in the Bible? Granted, many of the “violent” verses of the Bible are in the OT and are “abrogated” through our Christian hermeneutic, but the peaceful Muslims also have hermeneutical methods to eliminate the violent verses in the Quran. Therefore, it is the fundamentalist hermeneutic that creates “a religion of death and hate” using the Quran just as many have used a faulty hermeneutic to create abominable religions based on the Bible.

    So again, it seems to me false to label “Islam” per se as a “religion of death and hate.” I think it is the hermeneutic that determines the nature of the religion, whether Christian or Islamic. Basically, you seem to believe that the wicked history of Christianity says nothing about the “religion of Christianity” whereas the wicked history of Islam defines the “religion of Islam.”

    Would I be correct to say that you define Christianity and Islam solely on the basis of the raw, uninterpreted texts of the Bible and the Quran? No, that can not be correct. I’m pretty sure that you define Christianity upon a specific interpretation of the Bible, right? For example, I know that you reject the “Dominionist” interpretation. So when it comes to the Quran, you must be choosing a particular interpretation, right? Have you read even ONE book on Islamic Hermeneutics, written by a Muslim? If not, then would not your judgment against Islam be the same as a Muslim rejecting Christianity on the basis of reading only books by Ahmed Deedat?

    I hope you see what I am getting at. You have given me some excellent anecdotal information about your experience with Muslims, but I don’t see that as justifying your anti-Islam position which still appears to be uninformed (from a scholastic point of view).

    Again, I can not tell you how much I appreciate your efforts to work with me on this issue. I trust you see from my recent posts that I am not ignoring the violent aspect of Islam. But neither am I accepting that as the “whole picture.”

    You are an excellent fellow-laborer in the fields of the Lord.

    Many blessings in Christ,

    Richard

  7. Lydia
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “Granted, many of the “violent” verses of the Bible are in the OT and are “abrogated” through our Christian hermeneutic, but the peaceful Muslims also have hermeneutical methods to eliminate the violent verses in the Quran. ”

    But what is the progression in the Koran? From peace to violence? Violence to peace? Does your hermeneutic for the Koran make allowances for this?

    “Therefore, it is the fundamentalist hermeneutic that creates “a religion of death and hate” using the Quran just as many have used a faulty hermeneutic to create abominable religions based on the Bible”

    Again, I have to look to the progression. In the Word it is revealed or progressive revelation from God. The OT points to Jesus Christ.

    What is the progression of the Koran? Mohammad was just a man. Not a prophet of God. So lets look at the historical facts surrounding the progression of Mohammad’s religion:

    *Initially, Muhammad expected both Jews and Christians to receive his new revelation. So early on passages in the Koran speak well of “the people of the Book.”

    *These are the passages that many Muslims quote in their effort to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion. An example is Sura 5:82 which says, “You will find that those who are nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] are those who say, ‘We are Christians.'”

    But the Jews and Christians rejected Muhammad and he turned against them, and later passages in the Koran are different:

    •Sura 5:51 commands Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as friends.
    •Sura 9:29 commands Muslims to fight against Jews and Christians until they either submit to Allah or else agree to pay a special tax.
    •Sura 2:65-66 and Sura 5:60 contain references to Jews as “apes and swine to be despised and rejected.”

    *Jews and Christians were not the only ones who rejected Muhammad’s new revelations. The people of his own tribe, the Quraysh, also rejected him. In response, Muhammad succumbed to the temptation to appease his tribe by announcing that it would be okay for them to worship the three daughters of Allah — named Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Ma-nat.

    This declaration led to the infamous “Satanic verses” of the Koran which were later deleted when Muhammad reverted back to monotheism. Muslims have tried ever since to cover-up this diversion from the faith. You may remember that in 1989 an Indian writer by the name of Salman Rushdie brought up this topic when he wrote a novel entitled, The Satanic Verses. The Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran condemned him and called for his assassination. A three million dollar bounty was placed on his head, and he has been in hiding ever since.

    *The opposition to Muhammad in his home town of Mecca continued to grow until he was forced to flee 250 miles to Medina where his message was received. The Islamic calendar dates from this year when Muhammad fled to Medina and found a receptive audience, resulting in the formal establishment of Islam as a religion. It was the year 622 A.D., and that date represents year one of the Muslim calendar, which is a lunar calendar.

    *After the death of his wife, Muhammad married at least 11 other women He also took several concubines. He married one girl who was only six years old and had sexual relations with her when she was 9 According to the Koran, only the prophet could have unlimited wives. All other Muslim men are limited to four (Sura 4:3).

    Muhammad died on June 8, 632 A.D. in Medina at age 63. He left no successor, and Islam soon broke into warring sects such as the Shiites and the Sunnis.

    “Basically, you seem to believe that the wicked history of Christianity says nothing about the “religion of Christianity” whereas the wicked history of Islam defines the “religion of Islam.”

    Here is why: The Word is Inspired. It is the Word of God. The “translations” are not Inspired but we have the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth to us.

    We either believe it is Inspired or not. the Koran is NOT. So what is it? Tell me what the Koran is? If it is not the Word of God (of course it is not) then we have to look at the historical facts about Mohammad to understand the progression in the Koran.

    The history of Christianity shows how badly we lost our way from the truth of the Word. We only have to read the Word…seeking illumination from the Holy Spirit to see how badly we have lost our way!

    It is ironic that the big shift came when Christianity was declared legal by Constantine. He basically ushered in the Institutional church as we know it today. It is NOTHING like the Body of Christ as taught in scripture.

    We have no excuses today. WE have everything at our fingertips for free…many translations, Lexicons, Greek/Hebrew translation software, etc.

    How could I find a Dominionist interpretation in the New Covenant? Why do you think they allow no dissent?

    I cannot compare the Bible with the Koran. I think that is where you make your mistake. How can basic hermenuetics really work in this comparison? History tells us Mohammad started out by being peaceful. He changed his tune as he was rejected.

    One is Inspired, revealed by God. The other are the writings of a mere man who made up a religion.

  8. Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    “Granted, many of the “violent” verses of the Bible are in the OT and are “abrogated” through our Christian hermeneutic, but the peaceful Muslims also have hermeneutical methods to eliminate the violent verses in the Quran. ”

    But what is the progression in the Koran? From peace to violence? Violence to peace? Does your hermeneutic for the Koran make allowances for this?

    “Therefore, it is the fundamentalist hermeneutic that creates “a religion of death and hate” using the Quran just as many have used a faulty hermeneutic to create abominable religions based on the Bible”

    Again, I have to look to the progression. In the Word it is revealed or progressive revelation from God. The OT points to Jesus Christ.

    What is the progression of the Koran? Mohammad was just a man. Not a prophet of God. So lets look at the historical facts surrounding the progression of Mohammad’s religion:

    *Initially, Muhammad expected both Jews and Christians to receive his new revelation. So early on passages in the Koran speak well of “the people of the Book.”

    I don’t understand what the progression within the Quran has to do with anything. The only question that matters is “What does the Quran mean to Muslims?” And that is a question of hermeneutics.

    Consider the “progression” within the NT. Almost all scholars believe that there is a clear progression from Jesus as just an itinerant apocalyptic preacher in the earliest traditions and that he “progressed” to higher and higher status until he finally “became” divine in the Gospel of John which they believe was written very late. If you want to assert that historical “progressions” are the basis of truth, then we will have to admit that Jesus began as a man and “evolved” into God. I don’t think we want to go there.

    I agree that the OT points to Jesus, but that’s only because I accept the NT hermeneutic that interprets the OT as types and figures of Jesus. E.g. “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Without this hermeneutic, no one in the world could assert that the OT “points to Jesus.” It’s all hermeneutics.

    *These are the passages that many Muslims quote in their effort to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion. An example is Sura 5:82 which says, “You will find that those who are nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] are those who say, ‘We are Christians.’”

    But the Jews and Christians rejected Muhammad and he turned against them, and later passages in the Koran are different:

    •Sura 5:51 commands Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as friends.
    •Sura 9:29 commands Muslims to fight against Jews and Christians until they either submit to Allah or else agree to pay a special tax.
    •Sura 2:65-66 and Sura 5:60 contain references to Jews as “apes and swine to be despised and rejected.”

    Again – it’s all hermeneutics. Case in point, the word “friends” really means “allies” as in “political allies.” Liars like Caner say this means he could never have any Christians “friends” as a kid. There are many explanations of the correct interpretation of this verse on the net.

    As for the other verses – yes indeed, they can be read to imply horrible things, just like the “Jews killed our Lord Jesus” passage (1 Thess 2:15) that has been used to justify murdering them as “Christ killers.” Again, it’s all hermeneutics. If Christians are free to “interpret” the OT so that we don’t have to stone our rebellious children and can eat pork, then I think the Muslims should be granted the freedom to interpret their Quran in a way that does not demand that they kill the infidels. It’s all hermeneutics. Personally, I think it’s all a test. Folks interpret the Bible or the Quran in accordance with their HEARTS – and so their hearts are revealed.

    “Basically, you seem to believe that the wicked history of Christianity says nothing about the “religion of Christianity” whereas the wicked history of Islam defines the “religion of Islam.”

    Here is why: The Word is Inspired. It is the Word of God. The “translations” are not Inspired but we have the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth to us.

    We either believe it is Inspired or not. the Koran is NOT. So what is it? Tell me what the Koran is? If it is not the Word of God (of course it is not) then we have to look at the historical facts about Mohammad to understand the progression in the Koran.

    Granted – we Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God. I’ve been saying that for nearly a decade here on my site. But the “Word of God” is interpreted by fallible men and abused by wicked men to rule over others, and so we understand the history of Christianity. But we don’t understand why God let history unfold this way.

    And neither do we understand why God allows all the falsehoods to prosper. There are countless groups who claim the Bible – RCC, LDS, JW, etc., etc., etc.. How could an outsider ever hope to discern the truth through the cacophony of conflicting claims? Why does God allow this? What does “having the Bible” have to do with truth? Again, it looks like a test to me. Given any body of “Scripture” – that Scripture is interpreted according to the hearts of the believers. I know with certainty that there are Muslims who interpret their Quran in a way that speaks the truth of God better than many Christians with their sectarian bigoted “hell-fire for everyone else” interpretations of the Bible.

    The history of Christianity shows how badly we lost our way from the truth of the Word. We only have to read the Word…seeking illumination from the Holy Spirit to see how badly we have lost our way!

    It is ironic that the big shift came when Christianity was declared legal by Constantine. He basically ushered in the Institutional church as we know it today. It is NOTHING like the Body of Christ as taught in scripture.

    Nice words, but every cult that has ever existed claims to be “Seeking illumination from the Holy Spirit.” Indeed, one of the first cults on record, Montanism (which I just happened to be reading about yesterday), was based precisely on the claim that the Church of the Second Century had drifted far from the Truth and they could no longer hear the “Holy Spirit” because of their sins. So along comes Montanus to “show them the way …”

    And this was all happening before “Constantine legalized the Church.”

    We have no excuses today. WE have everything at our fingertips for free…many translations, Lexicons, Greek/Hebrew translation software, etc.

    Yep … and what is the fruit of all this information? Exactly what the Catholics said it would be … more and more confusion since every man is his own interpreter! But don’t get me wrong – I think this is a GREAT thing! We are finally at the brink of becoming free from two thousand years of religious oppression that says we need to “believe” a logical proposition in order to be “saved” from “an eternal hell of conscious torment.”

    I cannot compare the Bible with the Koran. I think that is where you make your mistake. How can basic hermenuetics really work in this comparison? History tells us Mohammad started out by being peaceful. He changed his tune as he was rejected.

    One is Inspired, revealed by God. The other are the writings of a mere man who made up a religion.

    I think that is the basis of your misunderstanding. The Quran and the the Bible must be “compared” if there is to be understanding. And what do we see in that comparison? We see that nearly everything in the Quran is drawn from the Bible, and that there are only a few points which differ sufficiently for us to argue about! The vast majority of statements in the Quran plainly confirm what we read in the Bible – e.g. One God, Omnipotent, Eternal, Creator of heaven and earth who sent Jesus Christ to be Messiah born of a virgin and who gave him power to heal the sick and raise the dead! The source of almost all the disagreements between Islam and Christianity arise from Christians and Muslims who WANT TO DISAGREE for political purposes. With a very slight hermeneutical shift, 90% of the disagreements would disappear. And then we could discuss the “real issues” that are buried under the mountain of misunderstandings.

    Great to be chatting.

    Richard

  9. Posted June 8, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    For God to allow the course of history to lead us to the place we are today with such a jumble of doctrines and interpretations – must be a test of our hearts as you said: “Folks interpret the Bible or the Quran in accordance with their HEARTS – and so their hearts are revealed.”. I can see no other explanation….for how do we truly know what is good, but by the witness of our hearts. All things can work together for good if that is the intent of the heart, but if the heart is dark even something good can be turned and used destructively.

    Organized religion tends to control ideas, it keeps people from the freedom that is found in knowing God personally – and keeps them in bondage under rules, thus those in authority achieve power. If your mind can be conformed to a specific doctrine and taught to view concepts from a certain perspective – Mind Control is achieved – only with true freedom of thought can each individual attain the place of truly knowing God.

    Rose

  10. Lydia
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    “Consider the “progression” within the NT. Almost all scholars believe that there is a clear progression from Jesus as just an itinerant apocalyptic preacher in the earliest traditions and that he “progressed” to higher and higher status until he finally “became” divine in the Gospel of John which they believe was written very late. If you want to assert that historical “progressions” are the basis of truth, then we will have to admit that Jesus began as a man and “evolved” into God. I don’t think we want to go there. ”

    Whoa, we are not on teh same page at all. Jesus is God. Was God in the Flesh. I could care less what scholars say. He was both God and Man. How on earth is that comparable to the Koran.

    You do not understand what I mean by progressive revelation or I am not explaining itwell. It is probably me. The OT points to Jesus Christ. That is the progression I speak of….the last OT prophets being John the Baptist…pointing to Christ. Again, by progression I think of Jesus telling them at the Last Supper this is the New Covenant and their jaws dropping because they new the OT scriptures and what that implied. Even from Ezekial to Jeremiah..

    The God of the Scriptures is described as a Triune God. Different than Allah.

    I agree that the Koran has bits and pieces of the OT and the NT and some paganistic stuff. Mohammad made up his own religion.

    Before we go any further, I need to ask if you think they worship the same God as we do? If you do, we really should not debate anymore because we have no foundation on which to debate. But no hard feelings if you do?Ok?

  11. Lydia
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Rose, Your comment is interesting since I am re reading the testimony’s and accounts of Anabaptists who were persecuted in the 1500’s in Europe both by the reformers and the catholics. The testimony’s are awesome. Some are eye witness accounts from by standers and some are even by religious leaders. The accounts go like this:

    So and so was a very decent citizen who loved people, helped anyone in need, was a very good family person, never cussed, drank, gambled, but refused to recant that he believed in adult baptism. Therefore a heretic.

    The testimony’s are all like this! And what kills me reading this stuff is that one King, Ferdinand (?) said of them, The more I kill them, the more they increase.

    But they are hardly remembered and you have to dig to read about them. Some of them wrote prison confessions or tracts to be distributed but it was hard to find printers because the printer would be considered a heretic.

    They gave up a lot to not go along with the institutional church. Many of them were educated. They ended up living in caves and hiding out in forests to escape the state church. Some of them started out as reformers but thought the reformation did not go far enough in ridding the state church and sacraments which were not biblical.

    I say all this to suggest there has probably been a remnant of believers outside the institution all along. I have been doing some research on this for the past 2 years. Even finding those who rebelled against Constantin legalizing Christianity and making the pagain temples churches.

    I personally believe the institutional church is spiritually dead as a whole. I think there are true believers within some institutional churches and they are there because they do not know where else to go. But more and more are leaving. And it is those who want something deeper and real. they want to be a part of the Body…not a spectator.

  12. Posted June 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    You do not understand what I mean by progressive revelation or I am not explaining itwell. It is probably me. The OT points to Jesus Christ. That is the progression I speak of….the last OT prophets being John the Baptist…pointing to Christ. Again, by progression I think of Jesus telling them at the Last Supper this is the New Covenant and their jaws dropping because they new the OT scriptures and what that implied. Even from Ezekial to Jeremiah..

    I understood what you meant by progression … but my example was not very good. Sorry.

    A better example, which seems almost exactly parallel to Islam is the history of Christianity. It began as a weak group of a few believers in Jesus. Then it developed into organized churches with rules and authority to control people. Then finally, it became the State Religion and heretics and other enemies of the church were murdered in the name of God, and the church went to war with the world of infidels.

    Now I know that you will say that this is “different” than Islam, because Islam became went through these stages while Muhammad was alive, whereas Christianity changed after Christ died. But I don’t by that because the Christian doctrine is that Christ was only dead for three days, so he was very much alive and directly guiding the Christian church throughout all it’s history. So we need to come up with some explanation as to why Christ let his church become a murdering monster. Why would Christ do that? And if we are able to find a nice excuse for thousand years of Christian murder, then why can we not have a bit of charity for the Muslims?

    Now the argument that the God of the Quran differs from the God of Bible because Allah is “not Triune” is based on a false understanding of the Trinity. The Doctrine of the Trinity declares that there is ONLY ONE GOD. This is identical to the statement of the Quran. The statements in the Quran that appear to be speaking against the Christian Trinity are in fact speaking against heretical interpretation of the Trinity, such as the idea that Mary was part of the Trinity, or that the Trinity implied “Partners with Allah” (which it does not) or that Allah had sex with Mary like a man (as is taught by the Mormons).

  13. Posted June 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lydia, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the Church began…with only the Holy Spirit sent to be the Teacher. Those first individuals at Pentecost had no Pastor or Priest of an organized denomination to fall back on! They were the foundation of the Church, and the Holy Spirit was the Teacher and Comforter that witnessed to their hearts. Those first believers (men and women) gathered together in houses to share the knowledge of their faith – period. We need to literally go back to our “Roots”.

    What institutionalized religion has turned into is an abomination. It is so far from the original intent that I see little hope of it being able to be salvaged. It’s all about power and control and the message of the “Good News” has gotten lost in the struggle to have the biggest Church and the most members.

    I know that Churches are full of sincere, loving, Godly people, but little by little they are losing their ability to think freely because the organization they belong to tells them HOW and WHAT to think instead of encouraging their members to follow their hearts and seek guidance and truth from the Holy Spirit. If the individual witness of the Holy Spirit was good enough for the first Church to build its foundation upon…it’s good enough for us!

    The job of the “Body of Christ” is to spread the “Good News” of freedom in Christ….not to establish an institution that seeks to put people in bondage and take their money.

    Rose

  14. Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

    “Personally, I think it’s all a test. Folks interpret the Bible or the Quran in accordance with their HEARTS – and so their hearts are revealed.” DEEP! By Allah the most profound sentence I have read on any blog, in any book for a long long time.

    It’s interesting because Sheikh Hamza (zaytuna first American Muslim university in the bay area) said that Allah is one. Allah’s revelation is also one.

    However, it is being refracted through the prism of the human mind. Just like light is one but when it goes through a prism it turns into 7 colours.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refraction

    Please investigate the difference between light refraction and light reflection.

    He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. (Holy Qur’an chapter 3 verse 7)

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