Monday, June 20, 2016

Solus Christus

A friend of mine (we'll call him Sam) posted the following to Facebook. Bob and Joe (not their real names) joined the conversation, centered around whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. I entered the discussion, which went back and forth between Bob and myself. To protect their identities, I have removed anything in their posts that would identify them.

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Sam - I grew up in the 70s which means I got to watch the whole careers of Bird, Magic, Jordan, Ripken, Payton, etc. In the boxing world it was a time like no other. Frazier, Foreman, Norton, Quarry, Shavers, and of course, Muhammad Ali. He was absolutely amazing!

Ali boasted and truly believed he was the greatest. History has, with little room for doubt, revealed this to be the truth. Many years ago, Ali made a decision to commit his life to the Muslim faith. "There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." Last night, Muhammad Ali found out if he made the right decision.

Bob - You know, that's always been a confusing point for me. The God that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in is the same God in the Old Testament. We just differ when it comes to Jesus, Muhammad, and messiah yet to come. Yet, in this world, we treat each other with such hate and venomous vile towards each other, spewing forth so much violence. If we all believe the same God and pray to the same God, why hasn't God just stopped this confusion and hate? We all pray to him, he hears all of us, so why let all his children fight and kill each other in his name and glory? That's like the president letting the different military branches fight and kill each other to see which branch is the best. That wouldn't happen because we all are Americans and the president (no matter which president) would order the branches in a clear and precise way to stop fighting and focus on enemies abroad. And the branches would all listen to him because he is the one they are all following. So why isn't that happening with God? Does he want us to fight and kill each other? This fighting has been going on for at least a thousand years.

I'm ranting, but you hit a nerve when you said that Ali will find out if he made the right decision by picking Allah. Allah is the same God we as Christians worship. Allah means God in Arabic. If Ali picked the wrong God, then we as Christians have too.

And I know that we Christians pick Jesus and Muslims pick Muhammad, but if Jesus and God are one and the same person, then Muslims pick Jesus too, they just don't realize it. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. That who so ever believes in him, shall not parish, but have ever lasting life.

Well, if you believe in God, and God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one, then you believe in Jesus as well. Thus all Muslims and Jews also would go to heaven when they die.

Sam - A true believer in Jesus Christ must be a believer in ONLY Jesus Christ. He claimed that He was the only way, the truth, and the life, and that NO ONE could come to God without Him. If this is not true,then Jesus is either mentally disturbed and deluded or He is flat out lying, either of which would disqualify Him as a Savior. If He is speaking the truth then He cannot be simply one of the ways.

In a search for truth, if you start with a flawed premise you will eventually end up with a wrong conclusion. Jehovah God of the Bible and Allah are absolutely NOT the same. I will not debate this on Facebook but I challenge you to do diligent research on this. It won't take you long to see the difference.

Bob - What I am questioning is if we as Christians/Jews and if Muslims can stop hating each other based on religion bc technically we all worship the same God. I'm trying to make sense of a thousand year old war and finding common ground for more peace and less death and violence. But the more we make differences that separate us with something as important as who we worship, the harder it would be to ever find common ground. We will never find peace and will continue to fight and kill each other over something as silly as religion.

Joe - My understanding is that Ali accepted Christ into his heart as his savior in his early years. If that is true, I believe he's in pretty good shape right now. Just my opinion

Brian - The Bible never references the notion of "accepting Jesus into one's heart." It insists that repentance is necessary for the forgiveness of sins:

Luke 24:45-47 - Then he [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

In Acts 17 Paul is preaching to the philosophers in Athens and here is how he ends his sermon (v.31-32) "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Nothing in either of these passages about "accepting Jesus into one's heart," but a clear emphasis on repentance.

Bob - I could have sworn it was all about just believing in Jesus. Say it with me, "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that who so ever believes in him shall not perish, but have ever lasting life." Could you hear yourself saying it in your kid voice? So if Ali believed in Jesus at some point in his life, then he's good. I'm sure he asked to be forgiven of his sins at some point, but it's not a requirement for heaven.

Brian - You show a lack of understanding the Gospel when you insist that forgiveness of sins is not a requirement for heaven.

Bob - Look, I'm not saying as sinners we shouldn't repent and ask for forgiveness for our wrong doings. What I'm say is if a man on his dying breath proclaimed Jesus as his lord and savior and then died, without asking for forgiveness of his sins, he would still be in heaven.

Brian - No, that man would not. The Bible is clear that one must first recognize that they are a sinner and that Christ is the only Savior of sinners. That leads to repentance and faith. A man cannot proclaim Jesus as Lord without the above understanding.

Bob - Well then sir, this is where we were taught differently. I go off of John 3:16 as do a majority of other Christians. God seemed very clear in the bible verse about simply believing in Jesus as lord and savior to get to heaven. My church even reinforced that idea.

But if you believe differently, then that's up to you and I'll pray for you. God bless.

For more articles on the subject of Solus Christus see Monergism

All scripture quotations are English Standard Version
unless otherwise noted.

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