Thursday, February 24, 2005

????

What are people thinking? This was passed on to me by a friend of mine.

From: The Berean Call
To: updates@lists.thebereancall.org
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 8:18 AM
Subject: TBC Today : Ecumenical Echoes
Episcopal Church Hires Muslim Cleric
The newest staff member at St. John's Episcopal Church in Denver, Colorado, is a Muslim Imam. Ibrahim Kazerooni was formally installed on November 14, 2004 as the director of the church's Abrahamic Initiative, a bridge-building effort among Christians, Jews, and Muslims ("Reaching Out, church hires Muslim," "The Denver Post," November 11). This is probably the first time in history that a Muslim cleric has become a staff member in a church. Church representative Greg Movesian said, "We hope this appeals to people who don't look upon people of other religions as a target for conversion but rather potential partners in maintaining a civil society" (O Timothy, Vol. 22, No.1).
[TBC: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).

24 comments:

The Madjai said...

I'm sorry.. maybe it's because I'm new to your blog... but... I take from your opening tone that the hiring of a muslim cleric doesn't sit well with you?

I'm.. sorry.. but maybe I'm just spitballing here, but wasn't the whole purpose of Christ to bring unity to a fractured humanity? Weren't the twelve a ragtag group of sinners and hotheads? Wasn't God's most outspoken do-gooder a convert from his most heated adversary?

But, you're probably right. How dare we open our arms to those different from us. My bad.

J Walker said...

I have to agree with madjai.

I cannot see a problem with two religions trying to converse with one another on their similarities and differences.

Did you know that Islam actually holds the New and Old Testemant as the word of God? Additionally, contrary to the belief of many a Christian, Allah is not some odd made-up diety that Muslims choose to worship instead of God. Allah is in fact simply the word "God" in Arabic.

It is only by starting up conversations between religions that we can truly understand each other. And it is only after we really understand each other that we can stop the violence between religions.

witw said...

I'm sorry ... but the purpose of a church isn't so that we can all just get along. For a Christian, one of the main reasons we are in church is to become more like Christ our Savior . Muslims don't believe Christ is God or our Savior, so it would seem a little contrary to the purpose of church to have one on staff now wouldn't it? Nobody is saying we can't all get along and be civil. Of course that is a noble goal, but it is ridiculous to hire on someone to be part of your staff whose purpose is not the same as yours. This would be similar to the chairman of the DNC being a Republican. Of course Democrats and Republicans should be able to get along, but it doesn't really seem like he would be accomplishing the goals of many Democrats. Else he isn't a good Republican, or they aren't good Democrats. Those are pretty much the options. Apply that to this church situation as you see fit. Doctrinal differences matter. We don't all believe the same thing.

Roger R. said...

I find the first two comments amazing. Are the a 'Christian' church or not? Is Christ the centre or not? Are they obedient to the gospel imperative (Matt 28:19-20)?

"All one is Christ Jesus" does not mean we are all one happy family of mankind... it means being 'In Christ'.

One way... Christ.

Anissa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pilot Mom said...

This is from Pilot Dad: My thoughts on this are that is vital that one understand that all roads do not lead to heaven. The Bible states that the road to heaven is a narrow one and the road to destruction is wide. In other words, to get to heaven one must do what God requires which is specifically, to trust in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation. Jesus himself says that He is the way and the truth and the light and no one comes to the Father, but through Him. It is imperative that we show Christ love to anyone who does not know Him as Savior. However, the truth is not to be watered down or fragmented into different beliefs that do not agree with the Bible.

J Walker said...

"I'm sorry ... but the purpose of a church isn't so that we can all just get along."

What, then, is the purpose of the church. To make its members feel better about themselves? No. The church is not a crutch for your personal spiritual growth. The purpose of the church is to spread Christ's message of peace in the world. Peace is IMPOSSIBLE without understanding the beliefs of the people you live next to. And understanding is impossible without learning about each other.

To Roger R. - Matthew 28:19-20, the passage most Christian's use as a Biblical basis for the belief in a Trinity, does not say "All one is Christ Jesus"...not in any real transaltion.

And finally to PilotDad... Remember that Christianity has a slight lead over Islam as the world's LARGEST religion. Now, tell me, how is it that the world's largest religion fits down this "narrow path"?

Becky said...

I'm a bit stunned...did the first writer forget that the "ragtag group of sinners and hotheads" left behind everything they had, gave up all that they had previously believed to be 'religious truth' to follow the teachings of Christ. And Paul...yes...a convert! Even his name was changed. We are called to go into all the world and share the gospel, the life changing, religious squashing gospel of Christ. Christs purpose was not to bring unity between us, it was to bring us into an everlasting relationship with Him because without him, we were all damned to hell. As a matter of fact He promised that we would be outcasts and shunned by the world. And because of our salvation, we are called to love others just as Christ loved us. Don't be fooled. God is not a sweet little feel-good, lets all hug and get along God! He is fearsome and jealous and pure goodness. He wants us to give it all up for Him. He wants us to die to our own beliefs and take on the person of Jesus. If thats what this Muslim Cleric is wanting to do, than awesome! If he wants to hold on to his religious beliefs about Christ, than I pray that he will find the truth and that the love of those around him will bring him to an eternal decision for Christ.

J Walker said...

"As a matter of fact He promised that we would be outcasts and shunned by the world."

I suggest you see my previous statement about the "narrow road".

It is nice that you folks think of yourselves as a "outcasts" that follow a "narrow road" and are "shunned by the world". I'm sorry, though. You are none of those things. You are the largest religion that has the most widespread acceptance in the world. Does this mean Christians are wrong? No. But it does mean that you misrepresent yourselves. You are no longer a small flock of sheep, you are a stampede!

Poor-Con said...

Wow PM, I visit your blog today and you've started a riot. Just kidding. We should do as Jesus did, show our love to all, especially the lost and sinful of the world. But, and this is a BIG one, the teaching must be from the bible, not watered down as not to offend anyone or any belief. If they are doing this and reaching out to more of the lost then praise Jesus!

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I am not even going to apologize, about my comments, so if you are offended, back up why you believe what you believe with scripture. Opinions are good, but clearly there is a HUGE difference between the Muslems and Christian cultures. I dont see any problems with conversing with other religions, but to integrate them to make a religion cant be justified. What proof do you have that God is Allah? God has 17 names, and none of those are Allah, and if you ask any Muslem, they will tell you that Allah is THEIR god. Distinctly different from ours. Also, since when did you hear or Christians going on suicide missions in the name of Christ? Your theory JWALKER is seriously flawed. THE MADJAI......no, the purpose of Christ was to win souls because we as humans were born into sin. Nowhere does the Bible say that we are to bring unity to the world. If so, find it for me. In fact, if you study the Bible, you will find that there will be a one world religion, government, and that will be led by the false prophet.

The purpose of the Church JWALKER is not to promote peace. Let me ask you, do you go to church? What is your reason for going? Do you feel like you are promoting peace at church? Why arent you there now then? Your very words are contradicting themselves, because you believe that the purpose is to promote peace, but you arent even there now....hhhmmmm

It comes down to one thing, logically, your theories are full of holes. Since this is about the Bible, then you support your beliefs with Biblical scripture, and I will change mine.

Roger R. said...

Thanks Claire for all this... one thing for our friends who do not seem to hold fast to Christ: Why is it that a Muslim that becomes a Christian is likely to be killed by his erstwhile 'brothers'... and why not try being a Christian in an Islamic society. You will quickly find out that all is not quite as you seem to think.

Christians open their hands and hearts to all races, all of humankind... we are truly a 'rainbow' nation. And don't make the mistake of thinking that all who call themselves Christians actually are so. We are fewer than you might be led to think, but we are everywhere.

Roger R. said...

Oh... and I forgot:

General Booth of the Salvation Army once said, "The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, Heaven without Hell." It has arrived, welcome to the modern preaching of the gospel.

Magvou said...

It seems to me that it's one thing to open up a discussion about religion to create friendships between people of different faiths, and it's quite another thing to hire someone from a different religion into God's Holy church where the TRUTH is supposed to reign just to make some sort of politically correct point.

For those of you who think Christ came for peace, then reading Matthew 10:34-38 will come as a big surprise to you. I'll quote it here so you don't have to look it up: Jesus says, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household'. Anyone who loves his father and mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Jesus was not an "outspoken do-gooder". He was God, who came down to reconcile humanity to Himself, which is the only way that a "fractured humanity" could ever become whole.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Episcopal church tied to the US Anglican church? Would you call the Anglican church "God's Holy Church"?

Is anyone surprised this would happen especially knowing what's going to happen before the Christ returns? Lukewarm churches? One world religion?

The truth is that we're in a time where Truth does not reign. It's not going to until Christ returns. There isn't going to be peace until Christ returns. I don't think we should expect the Truth to reign in lukewarm churches any more than we should expect it to reign in the Wal-Mart across the street.

God's in control.

J Walker said...

To the anonymous comment...

First. I am not a Christian. The reason I do not back up my comments with the Bible is because I personally do not hold the Bible to be anymore of a source of truth than the Quran or the Jewish Talmud or Torah. I have, however, spent much time in study of the differences and similarities between the three monotheistic faiths (Chrisianity, Judaism and Islam).

Second, you are right to say that many Muslims will identify Allah as "their God". This is because they believe Arabic to be a holy language and, since Allah is the Arabic translation of God (more than simply another name of God), it is true that their God is God. But the Allah that they speak of is the God of Abraham, of Moses and even of Jesus. You would find, if you studied the Quaran, that they think of Jesus as being one of God's highest prophets.

Next, I am not offended by what you said. Nor should I be. I believe that my opinions (which I base on real world knowledge, my studies and my reason) are more valid that your opinions (which are Biblically based). I think it quite odd of you to say that my theores are logically flawed, when you yourself use faith and beliefs to back up your theories...not logic.

As to your argument that "Also, since when did you hear or Christians going on suicide missions in the name of Christ"... First, those committing these acts are a small percentage of the world's Islamic population. It would be similar to a smaller denomination of Christianity doing something horrible, and the rest of the world blaming all of Christianity on it. Second, while I don't know of any current killings being done in the name of Christ, I certainly can think of many millions of deaths that have been in the name of Christ throughout history (The Crusades, for example. And that is just one of many wars fought in the name of Christ.)

I'd also like to point out that this Imam was hired by the church, not to convert Christians to Islam, not to run the church, not even to try and blend Islam with Christianity. His job was to run this Arbraham Initiative, which is a program designed to do exactly what I was promoting...a conversation of learning and understanding between the two religions.

If you're against understanding each other, that you're FOR the killings and fighting that are products of misunderstanding.

Magvou said...

I didn't mean any specific denominiation by "God's Holy church". I meant the Body and it is true that the Truth reigns in His believers. If the aforementioned church that hired the Muslim clergyman is claiming to represent Christ and His teachings, then their representation of the truth has become skewed. Reguardless of the predictions of false prophets in the end of the world, or that people are "lukewarm" or not accepting the whole truth, we as Christians still strive to make it known. Churches may be imperfect, but He is not and He is who should be praised and lived out among us. God does overpower all and any other power of this world. And He always wins. So you're right, Annonymous, God is in control and we are here to allow His will to work through us and reveal the truth, not to compromise it.

Magvou said...

JWalker, you have a point that this Imam was not hired to convert, but to educate and to establish conversations between the two religions. I think the point that most of the other people on this blog were trying to make is that a position on a church staff doesn't seem like the wisest place for this guy. It is simply not the goal or direction that Christian churches are meant to go. If your research has told you that Islamic churches see Jesus as the highest prophet, that is still not the same as saying He is Lord of all and the Only way. He is the only person who died and rose again when he said he would. Then he ascended into Heaven and will come again. I don't think the other religions believe that. There's the difference.

J Walker said...

Magvou,

I understand that there is a difference. My point was not to convince Christians that Islam is correct, nor that they should accept it as such. My point is primarily this: no good purpose is served by the segregation of religious conversation.

It seems like the people here simply wish to say "I'm right, you're wrong, and so I don't even want to know you." It is one thing to say that your views are right. It is another to say that we shouldn't even bother understanding what other people think.

Being Christians, I would think it in your best interest to really understand Islam. At the very least you could use it as a tool in your ministry. At most it could inspire a more peaceful world.

(Just so you all know, I've had this same argument with some Muslims who feel similarly about Islam as you do of Christianity.)

Magvou said...

I'm not arguing. Nor am I trying to say that I am right or that I am uninterested in what other people think. I simply worship a God who has time and time again been faithful to me and knows more than I could ever dream of understanding. It is only through a relationship with Him that I am able to say that life is so precious and worth living and loving other people. He alone has the power to truly reconcile people and change our lives on a personal level. Overall, each person's relationship with Christ is more important than the workings of any church. It is the church's job to help nurture that relationship, but in the end, all comes down to where your heart is with God, your Creator and Lord.

It's obvious that understanding what other people think is important, but more important is to know what God thinks and to try and live accordingly. This is why mixing up the doctrines, as witw commented, is not the best way to run a Christian church, which is representative of the Bible. Get it?

J Walker said...

Like I said. I "get it". As a former-Christian I understand your views. I feel your fears of "mixing up the doctrines" is baseless, though. The hiring of this man isn't going to cause that. Especially not in the capacity of the job he is being hired to do.

Anonymous said...

JWALKER......I am the anonymous at 9:43...for clarification, you can call me ChristChosen or CC for short....

1st, You say you arent a Christian, so we differ on a foundational level. Since we disagree on our doctrine, theres really no reason to discuss the faith vs. logic issue. I would guess that you would agree to that...correct?

2nd, How can you (Muslems) believe in God "Jehovah", when they dont even believe that Jesus was his son? They claim that he was a prophet.....The Bible is clear as to what he is, so how can they be the same person? I dont understand that. Please explain.

3rd, do you know how a banker can tell a counterfeit from a real bill? They dont study the counterfiets, they study the real thing. I study the Bible because I dont have time to study all the different religions in the world. Just within "Christianity" there are numerous beliefs. Christianity is such a generic label. Call me a Bible believer. That way, it doesnt associate me with Baptists, Methodists, AG, ect...My point is, I do care about those who dont know the Bible. What they study is a false doctrine, but to say that I dont want to know them is a severe misunderstanding.

Becky said...

JWALKER...there's no such thing as a former Christian. If you truly were a child of God, a believer in the salvation brought to you through the blood of Christ, then I'm sorry my friend...You are His and His forever. I pray deeply that you will, through dialogue here and on other blogs and through the searching of your heart, find your way back to your Father. He will never, ever leave you. You're stuck...with all of us. I know...I was once a former christian. It didn't work. He refused to let me go. Sadly, I've had to find out through some pretty harsh lessons that God will not let His children run away for too long. And He is a fierce some and jealous God, not just the God of grace and comfort and compassion and love.

J Walker said...

CC...

First...I will agree that we disagree on a foundational level. Discussing the relationship of faith v. logic will go nowhere with us. =)

Second, although I am not Muslim, I would say that Muslims can believe in God "Jehovah" in the same way that Jews believe in God "Jehovah". They believe He is the one true God, creator, all-knowing, all-powerful.

You say, though, that the Bible is "clear" as to what Jesus was. I disagree. The Bible is NOT clear. The 4 books of the gospel each paint somewhat different pictures of Jesus. In addition, whole chunks of Jesus' life are never even discussed in the Bible (it jumps from his teens to his 30s!!!) Moreover, while there are many verses that point the unity of the son and the father, there are just as many that show Jesus Christ as subordinate to his father. (for example, why would Jesus pray to the father, if he WAS the father? Why would Jesus call out to God while he hung on the cross? It doesn't make sense if Jesus and God are one and the same.)

I imagine that they believe something similar to what I believe...God exists, Jesus existed as a man. God is great, and so was Jesus. That doesn't make Jesus divine, and it doesn't make him one with God.