At AllFaith.com I share numerous studies into the world's religions based on my personal quest for Truth. Over the years this research has led me to embrace Judaism. That is now the main focus of the domain.
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~ John of AllFaith
Thursday, May 07, 2009
God is More than ANY religion conceives
Welcome to AllFaith.com!
True Religion is Not Muslim, Christian etc. Because God is More!
This post is part of a conversation between a Muslim and I on the authenticity of the Christian faith. The topic is contrasting the teachings of Paul and Master Y'shua (Jesus) but goes far beyond that. In this response I share what I believe is very important information.
You: now ther are minute similarities but many many and numerous differences between the teachings of jesus (PBUH)and st. paul's.Below is only one example.
JoA: Agreed, but the similarities are much more than "minute." There are several differences between the teachings of Jesus and those of Paul and other New Testament writers. However as I explained before, Christianity is not based on Jesus' teachings but on the letters to the Churches and developed Church tradition (especially the Nicean Creed). Master Y'shua (Jesus) was teaching Jews who lived under the Laws of Moses during the first century CE. Gentiles (Christian or not) are not under these laws and never were. The Torah's laws (other than the Seven Universal Laws given through Noah) are applicable to Jews only.
Master Y'shua was sent by God to the Jews only, not to the Gentiles.
This is confirmed here:
Matt 15:23 But he [Master Y'shua -- Jesus] answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
The Master only taught Jews: the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
After the majority of Jews rejected his teachings (largely because he rejected their Oral Torah and refused to lead an army against Rome: Moshiach/Messiah is to be a King not a peaceful preacher according to the Hebrew Prophets), after Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE (Moshiach is supposed to establish Jerusalem and Israel, not oversee its destruction according to the Hebrew Prophets), then the Jewish followers of Master Y'shua (after Y'shua granted instruction to Paul on the rooftop -- Acts chapter 9) began actively teaching and recruiting the Gentiles and eventually what we call Christianity became a mainly Gentile religion (Y'shua's followers called it simply "the Way" and viewed it as a Jewish sect prior to this). The Book of Acts describes how this Jewish sect developed into Christianity during its early phases.
Christianity therefore is understandably different from Judaism and from Master Y'shua's teachings to Jews.
This is similar (but not exactly comparable) to how Sunni Islam is based on not only al Qur'an but also al Hadith. Al Qur'an is, in this example, "The direct Word of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala" and yet the vast majority of Muslims also accept the teachings of al Hadith. In the same way, Christians accept the Hebrew Scripture used by Master Y'shua and his Jewish followers (Torah and Tanack) but understand them through the lens of the New Testament and established Church tradition believing that Jesus "fulfilled the Law of Moses."
The Hadith, may I say with all due respect to the deen and ummah, go beyond the teachings of al Qur'an. If Islam united its sects and only embraced al Qur'an and rejected all the corollary writings and traditions it would be a very different religion.
The same is true with Christianity. BUT reality is that both religions have long and well established teachings, sources of religious authority and traditions that are fundamental and that must be acknowledged. In Christianity this includes the Nicean Creed which lays out the essential Christian faith in a few words:
The Nicean Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.
This creed, along with the Apostles Creed etc. was written well after the time of Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles and yet are accepted as the essential dogmas of the traditional Christian religion.
Do the teachings of Master Y'shua support or disagree with certain of the teachings encoded in the Creed? Its a matter of belief, understanding and faith.
We could discuss the impact of Constantine, the rise of Catholicism and the Vatican, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Protestantism and so on in the Christian religion, but the simple fact is, religions like people always develop and change with the passage of time. Without change they would stagnate and die, with too much change they are fundamentally altered into something different (Master Y'shua warned this would happen to the Church and blamed it on "the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes"). Where the proper balance is can always be debated. God is alive and life is fluid.
Christianity is what it is.
Islam is what it is.
And God is... More... always More.
"Allahu Akbar" does not remind us that "God is great" but that God is greater than the greatest and greater still...
When you come right down to it Paul was correct:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [faith] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We are ALL completely and utterly dependent on the Grace of the One God however conceived and however conceived we are only partially correct because God is Always More.