Friday, May 23, 2008

For Memorial Day Newton Presbytery Forgets Jesus

Here's a kicker for your Memorial Day weekend.

The Newton Presbytery has petitioned the 218th General Assembly of the PC(USA) to say that Christians (um...I should say "the PCUSA") believe in the same God as Muslims. Here's the critical text.
2. State that the PC(USA) affirms that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship a common God, although each understands that God differently;
Now anyone who is a solid Trinitarian (that is, a Christian) can smell the horsehockey on this one. After all, James warned us that even demons believe that there's one God...and they shudder. This kind of faith, I guess, explains why their "About Us" page is so expansive, but their "Spiritual Life" page hasn't been updated in nearly 1 ½ years.

But what got me was a point buried in the rationale.
The Qur'anic message taught by Muhammad is that of a special regard for Christians and Christianity and the Qur'an is the only Holy Book other than the New Testament that describes the miraculous birth of Jesus. 16

16. Qur'an, Maryam, Surah 19, 19–22.

Oh how thoughtful. They threw a bone to us fundies. Let me retort:

  1. I'll bet that there are precious few who believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ who support this document. I could probably count them all on one elbow.
  2. This same rationale (execrable exegesis) needs to be tested in reference to Jesus' propitiating death. Let's see what the Qur'an says: "And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain." Sura 4:157ƒ
They don't even talk about the same Jesus. If the PCUSA still believes Jesus is God, then this is not a common deity. Well... Arianism seems so in vogue with their "let's throw Jesus under the bus" attitude, I guess they'll swallow Docetism, too.

This is what happens when you make tolerance your god . . . Jesus Christ gets denied his rights!


Tim said...

Good grief.

That smell in the air is apostasy that's gone ripe.

will said...

Chris - thanks for blogging on this. ACREC endorses the overture and the understanding it advocates; 4 other presbyteries concur. The GAC comment is non-committal. The thing is - nothing so far indicates that anyone has a problem with this.

Thing is, it would be OK - if we were willing to reject Jesus as God the Son. Wondering why so many IN THE CHURCH seem to be for doing this.

Newton presented a variation of the same idea in 2006 - which was voted down at the GA. But there were no institutional endorsements then.

Jim Jordan said...

I'd like to think that this is pure naive stupidity but it clearly shows an apathy or even a hostility toward Christ. This is not Christianity.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

Yet another reason why Machen's words on Liberalism ring true today.

Mac said...

"They don't even talk about the same Jesus." Absolutely! In Surash 19:88-92, those who acknowledge Jesus to be the very Son of God are called blasphemers.

[19:88] They said, "The Most Gracious has begotten a son"!

[19:89] You have uttered a gross blasphemy.

[19:90] The heavens are about to shatter, the earth is about to tear asunder, and the mountains are about to crumble.

[19:91] Because they claim that the Most Gracious has begotten a son.

[19:92] It is not befitting the Most Gracious that He should beget a son.

Muslims deny His deity. But Christ revealed is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father."

So if we say Christ is God and the Muslims say "Is not!", how can anyone say we believe in the same God?

Anonymous said...

Of course they believe in the same God. That does not mean they can obtain salvation. Since only through Jesus Christ we may enter the kingdom of heaven. All characters in the old testament would be in dire straits today if they did not profess Jesus Christ.
There is no contradiction there. The problem is that many in the right were making all kinds of statements against Muslims that could be made against Jews. We all know that without the old testament the new testament has no leg to stand on. There are other groups like the Samaritans for instance that are in the same boat. As a Jewish believer I see no contradiction. Acknowledging the creator does not mean you are guiltless before Him!

Chris said...


Thanks for stopping by. I think it's fair to say that most Christians believe Jews pray to the same God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - through whom we have the promised Messiah, Christ). That God is personal and covenant-making.

The deity of Islam is neither personal nor covenantal. That's a pretty big shift. Add to that the explicit Quranic statements and you'll see that Muslims repudiate the ideas of Christianity in a way that Christians never did with Jews.

Beyond that theological stuff, the PCUSA's latest political grandstanding makes it very clear what they intend. This is but one snub in a long line of Anti-semitic positions and actions (esp. buddying up with terrorists) taken. It has nothing to do with reaching out to the Jewish people. It has everything to do with embracing the enemies of the seed of Abraham.

It's hateful to Jesus and they get a rebound shot at the Jews. For the PCUSA, that's a two-fer!