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Keltoi
03-07-2007, 07:15 PM
I started this thread to explore the various sects of which many Muslims suggest is "true" Christianity, as a couple of them deny the divinity of Christ. There are many misconceptions about what these sects and heretics represent and what their place is in the overall belief of Christianity.


The Circumcisers (1st Century)



The Circumcision heresy may be summed up in the words of Acts 15:1: "But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’"

Many of the early Christians were Jews, who brought to the Christian faith many of their former practices. They recognized in Jesus the Messiah predicted by the prophets and the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Because circumcision had been required in the Old Testament for membership in God’s covenant, many thought it would also be required for membership in the New Covenant that Christ had come to inaugurate. They believed one must be circumcised and keep the Mosaic law to come to Christ. In other words, one had to become a Jew to become a Christian.

But God made it clear to Peter in Acts 10 that Gentiles are acceptable to God and may be baptized and become Christians without circumcision. The same teaching was vigorously defended by Paul in his epistles to the Romans and the Galatians—to areas where the Circumcision heresy had spread.



Gnosticism (1st and 2nd Centuries)



"Matter is evil!" was the cry of the Gnostics. This idea was borrowed from certain Greek philosophers. It stood against Catholic teaching, not only because it contradicts Genesis 1:31 ("And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good") and other scriptures, but because it denies the Incarnation. If matter is evil, then Jesus Christ could not be true God and true man, for Christ is in no way evil. Thus many Gnostics denied the Incarnation, claiming that Christ only appeared to be a man, but that his humanity was an illusion. Some Gnostics, recognizing that the Old Testament taught that God created matter, claimed that the God of the Jews was an evil deity who was distinct from the New Testament God of Jesus Christ. They also proposed belief in many divine beings, known as "aeons," who mediated between man and the ultimate, unreachable God. The lowest of these aeons, the one who had contact with men, was supposed to be Jesus Christ.


Sabellianism (Early 3rd Century)



The Sabellianists taught that Jesus Christ and God the Father were not distinct persons, but two aspects or offices of one person. According to them, the three persons of the Trinity exist only in God’s relation to man, not in objective reality.


Arianism (4th Century)



Arius taught that Christ was a creature made by God. By disguising his heresy using orthodox or near-orthodox terminology, he was able to sow great confusion in the Church. He was able to muster the support of many bishops, while others excommunicated him.

Arianism was solemnly condemned in 325 at the First Council of Nicaea, which defined the divinity of Christ, and in 381 at the First Council of Constantinople, which defined the divinity of the Holy Spirit. These two councils gave us the Nicene creed, which Catholics recite at Mass every Sunday.


I hope people pay particular attention to the Gnostic and Arianist heretics. These two sects are pointed to repeatedly by some Muslims as being the true representation of Christianity, which of course is a falsehood.
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snakelegs
03-08-2007, 01:14 AM
thanks - i learned something today.
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جوري
03-08-2007, 02:11 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Arius taught that Christ was a creature made by God. By disguising his heresy using orthodox or near-orthodox terminology, he was able to sow great confusion in the Church. He was able to muster the support of many bishops, while others excommunicated him.

are pointed to repeatedly by some Muslims as being the true representation of Christianity, which of course is a falsehood.
A creature? or a Man?... I feel like you are hiding behind ambiguous terms to elude to heresy, and at the end close with an assertion; but that is not sufficient to pass him as a heretic. I have given a far more expansive view of (Arius) in the previous post and you are most welcome not to like it!... in the end I didn't affirm to you the "of course" and the falsity of that which you propose... thus leaving the discerning reader to decipher what he may!

We Muslims don't want to pass him (Arius) as the truth or the non-truth, the distilled version of Christianity if you will ... the decisive judge in the matter isn't Arius but the criterion the (noble Quran)... until you can prove without a reasonable doubt that, the Quran isn't the word of G-D... we will take its contents to be the absolute truth... as in indisputable! In the very least evidenced by its lack of corruption through the ages. I will not get into the bible has been changed bit!

But if I am going to appreciate a book from a non-theological rather a historical light, I'd in the very least demand preservation of its text. And thus far the Quran is the best preserved book dealing with this subject matter of Jesus' so-called divinity!
peace!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 02:30 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
A creature? or a Man?... I feel like you are hiding behind ambiguous terms to elude to heresy, and at the end close with an assertion; but that is not sufficient to pass him as a heretic. I have given a far more expansive view of (Arius) in the previous post and you are most welcome not to like it!... in the end I didn't affirm to you the "of course" and the falsity of that which you propose... thus leaving the discerning reader to decipher what he may!

We Muslims don't want to pass him (Arius) as the truth or the non-truth, the distilled version of Christianity if you will ... the decisive judge in the matter isn't Arius but the criterion the (noble Quran)... until you can prove without a reasonable doubt that, the Quran isn't the word of G-D... we will take its contents to be the absolute truth... as in indisputable! In the very least evidenced by its lack of corruption through the ages. I will not get into the bible has been changed bit!

But if I am going to appreciate a book from a non-theological rather a historical light, I'd in the very least demand preservation of its text. And thus far the Quran is the best preserved book dealing with this subject matter of Jesus' so-called divinity!
peace!
I'm sure you do believe that the Quran is the "best preserved" book dealing with the subject. I, and most Christians, believe that the New Testament is the "best preserved" book dealing with the subject. This isn't about who is "right" or "wrong", it is about the early Christian church and what their beliefs actually were.

As for the word "creature" used in the description, that is repeatedly used in reference to Arius's doctrine.

http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/arianism.php

http://www.bartleby.com/65/ar/Arianism.html

http://www.monksofadoration.org/arianism.html

The word "creature" in the context of Arianism is used because Arius and his followers believed Christ to be more than Man, but not divine. In other words, Arius believed Christ to be more than a Man, but not eternally coexisting with the Father. That was not the belief of the early Christian church, but was a doctrine created out of different understandings of Scripture. By using Scripture to defend his doctrine, Arius created a major problem and one that had to be addressed by the entirety of the Church. However, portraying this episode as "true" Christianity coming into conflict with some revised form of the religion backed by Constantine is proposterous. Constantine didn't even understand what the argument was about.
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جوري
03-08-2007, 02:38 AM
The argument is about making Jesus (PBUH) more in concert with the pagan beliefs so they can be better digested and incorporated into this new society that was not willing to accept the concept of Monotheism.
Zeus having a child with a mortal woman brining about Hercules so to speak.... so very similar with G-D having a child with Mary thus producing Jesus (astghfor Allah). I'll maintain that there were Christians that were strictly Monotheistic, before all this derangement courtesy of St. Paul....and Asthanthius...... one of them was admittedly Jesus' enemy during his life on earth! and you are most welcome to call them heretics.
peace!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 03:11 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
The argument is about making Jesus (PBUH) more in concert with the pagan beliefs so they can be better digested and incorporated into this new society that was not willing to accept the concept of Monotheism.
Zeus having a child with a mortal woman brining about Hercules so to speak.... so very similar with G-D having a child with Mary thus producing Jesus (astghfor Allah). I'll maintain that there were Christians that were strictly Monotheistic, before all this derangement courtesy of St. Paul....and Asthanthius...... one of them was admittedly Jesus' enemy during his life on earth! and you are most welcome to call them heretics.
peace!
That is completely false. The belief of the early Christian church was that Christ was and is divine. The Council of Nicea was concerned with defining that divinity in the context of Arius using Scripture to muddy the waters.

The following quotes show that the doctrine of the Trinity was indeed alive-and-well before the Council of Nicea

Polycarp (70-155/160). Bishop of Smyrna. Disciple of John the Apostle.
"O Lord God almighty...I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever"

Justin Martyr (100?-165?). He was a Christian apologist and martyr.
"For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water"

Ignatius of Antioch (died 98/117). Bishop of Antioch. He wrote much in defense of Christianity.
"In Christ Jesus our Lord, by whom and with whom be glory and power to the Father with the Holy Spirit for ever" (n. 7; PG 5.988).
"We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For ‘the Word was made flesh.' Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts."

Irenaeus (115-190). As a boy he listened to Polycarp, the disciple of John. He became Bishop of Lyons.
"The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: ...one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father ‘to gather all things in one,' and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all...'"

Tertullian (160-215). African apologist and theologian. He wrote much in defense of Christianity.
"We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern of salvation...[which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three, not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in power but in kind. They are of one substance and power, because there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

Origen (185-254). Alexandrian theologian. Defended Christianity and wrote much about Christianity.
"If anyone would say that the Word of God or the Wisdom of God had a beginning, let him beware lest he direct his impiety rather against the unbegotten Father, since he denies that he was always Father, and that he has always begotten the Word, and that he always had wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever can be imagined in priority...There can be no more ancient title of almighty God than that of Father, and it is through the Son that he is Father"

This could go on and on. Note these quotes are long before the Council of Nicaea. The Trinity, while not clearly defined in Church doctrine until the Council of Nicaea, was very much the belief of the early church. One should also note that publicly practicing Christianity was illegal until right before the time of the Council of Nicaea.
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جوري
03-08-2007, 03:21 AM
Yes! I also see the dates corresponding with all these events! And it speaks volumes to me.
Peace!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 03:30 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
Yes! I also see the dates corresponding with all these events! And it speaks volumes to me.
Peace!
Why should that speak volumes? The dates are before the Council of Nicea which occurred in 325.
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جوري
03-08-2007, 03:01 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Why should that speak volumes? The dates are before the Council of Nicea which occurred in 325.
yes the earliest being "(70-155/160)"

If I told you a story by the time it reaches the tenth person it will have already deranged and I am talking just one day or one week..... not "(70-155/160)." Let alone in a different tongue all together than that which Jesus (PBUH) spoke!

At this stage in the game we can agree to disagree! And, I can certainly respect that you'd appreciate the opinion of those who withhold your faith as you know it today rather than a very radical opposing opinion!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 03:09 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
yes the earliest being "(70-155/160)"

If I told you a story by the time it reaches the tenth person it will have already deranged and I am talking just one day or one week..... not "(70-155/160)." Let alone in a different tongue all together than that which Jesus (PBUH) spoke!

At this stage in the game we can agree to disagree! And, I can certainly respect that you'd appreciate the opinion of those who withhold your faith as you know it today rather than a very radical opposing opinion!
I'm slightly confused on what your point is. Are you saying that the message these men were speaking was somehow corrupted by word of mouth over the years? Where is the evidence for that? Your first point was that the concept of the Trinity was designed by the Council of Nicea, and now that I've supplied quotes from early church figures before the Council you have changed your position to the message was corrupted to them. I understand you feel the need to believe the message of Christianity has been corrupted, but the point is that the early church leaders were very much understanding a Trinity. I understand that you don't accept the doctrine of Christianity, that is your choice and between you and God, but throwing out falsehoods about the origins of the Trinity and the beliefs of the early church leaders isn't the way to make your case.
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Pygoscelis
03-08-2007, 03:23 PM
I thought muslims believed Christ to be not devine but just a phrophet, just a normal human being who God chose to communicate to the rest of us through. Is that incorrect?
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 03:25 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
I thought muslims believed Christ to be not devine but just a phrophet, just a normal human being who God chose to communicate to the rest of us through. Is that incorrect?
Well, I'm not a Muslim, but yes I believe that is correct. However, I started this thread because there have been many claims on this forum and other places that the "true" message of the Christian church was somehow altered at the Council of Nicea, which isn't true.
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جوري
03-08-2007, 03:26 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I'm slightly confused on what your point is. Are you saying that the message these men were speaking was somehow corrupted by word of mouth over the years?.
Not just by word of mouth but active distortion.

Originally Posted by Keltoi
Where is the evidence for that?.
I have provided ample evidence-- for starters you've no two bibles that are the same or in Semitic tongue! Surely much will be lost to you from Aramaic to Greek or Latin..... E. x. I can use the word Rab in Arabic to describe (G-D) or I can say (Rab Al-beyt)... which can denote the head figure of the house, certainly in that sense it wouldn't mean (G-D) but the male figure in charge.... Same can be applied when you say Jesus calls (G-D the father).. You translate you might just end up taking it literally.... Do consider the possibility!..... else where is your first Aramiac bible that tells us otherwise?
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Your first point was that the concept of the Trinity was designed by the Council of Nicea,?.
Nope, I stated St. Paul propagated that notion of Jesus being divine.... and he was a known enemy of Christ during his life who went by the name of Saul.... You were the one posted of your council -- My mention of Arius and Asthansius wasn't meant to speak of your council so much as to prove that there were early christians who were pure monotheists.
Originally Posted by Keltoi
and now that I've supplied quotes from early church figures before the Council you have changed your position to the message was corrupted to them..
I don't think any of the figures you have provided had even known or met Christ in person am I correct?.

Originally Posted by Keltoi
I understand you feel the need to believe the message of Christianity has been corrupted, but the point is that the early church leaders were very much understanding a Trinity. I understand that you don't accept the doctrine of Christianity, that is your choice and between you and God, but throwing out falsehoods about the origins of the Trinity and the beliefs of the early church leaders isn't the way to make your case.
Again, we are having a circular argument here... hence I stated we can agree to disagree, but "your or my need to believe" is running on the infantile side at this stage! At some point we'll all have a chance to look at truth, and I don't think a barrage of tactless insults will really matter then!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 04:10 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
Not just by word of mouth but active distortion.


I have provided ample evidence-- for starters you've no two bibles that are the same or in Semitic tongue! Surely much will be lost to you from Aramaic to Greek or Latin..... E. X. I can use the word Rab to describe G-D or I can say Rab Al-beyt... which can denote the head figure of the house.... Same can be applied when you say Jesus calls G-D the father.. You translate you might just end up taking it literally... Do consider the possibility..... else where is your first Aramiac bible that tells us otherwise?


Nope, I stated St. Paul propagated that notion of trinity and he was a known enemy of Christ who went by the name of Saul.... You were the one posted of your council...



I don't think any of the figures you have provided had even known or met Christ in person am I correct?.



Again, we'll have a circular argument here... hence I stated we can agree to disagree, but "your or my need to believe" is running on the infantile side at this stage!
What evidence of distortion? You made the claim, so where is your evidence for this distortion? If you are referring to different translations, then I wouldn't call that a distortion. Yes, some words have slightly different meanings that can't be translated perfectly, but the overall message of Scripture was effected not at all.

As for St. Paul. Yes, he was an enemy of Christ before his conversion and martyrdom. As for him formulating the trinitarian understanding of God himself, there is no evidence of that at all.

Did any of the martyrs and church leaders I quoted personally know Christ? No, but that has nothing to do with reality of the early church doctrine. These men were followers of the Christian faith, before the Council of Nicea, and were representative of Christian doctrine at the time.

As for being "infantile", how else can I describe your claims about Christian history and doctrine other than belief? You speak of all this evidence you have cited, but I haven't seen it....
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جوري
03-08-2007, 04:21 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Yes, some words have slightly different meanings that can't be translated perfectly
Originally Posted by Keltoi
As for St. Paul. Yes, he was an enemy of Christ
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Did any of the martyrs and church leaders I quoted personally know Christ? No
Originally Posted by Keltoi
As for being "infantile", how else can I describe your claims about Christian history and doctrine other than belief?
Cutting through all the extraneous details. I thank you for being forth coming!

A belief includes with it an emotional drive that is usually missing from a historical fact! & you have done your best describing a belief!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 04:27 PM
Taking sentences out of context now? Surely if you are so convinced of my error you can do better than this.
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جوري
03-08-2007, 04:39 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Taking sentences out of context now? Surely if you are so convinced of my error you can do better than this.
I took the portion that we agree upon... all the rest from either side at this stage will be a matter of faith a "belief" if you will!
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Keltoi
03-08-2007, 07:25 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
I took the portion that we agree upon... all the rest from either side at this stage will be a matter of faith a "belief" if you will!
What is a matter of faith? That a trinitarian doctrine was part of the belief of the early Christian church? That isn't a "belief", that is backed up by many sources, including but not dependent on the teachings of Christian leaders before the Nicean Council.
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Pygoscelis
03-08-2007, 10:34 PM
I'm not sure why this is such a hot button issue for you two.

But I think the fact of the matter is that we do not know if the earliest Christians believed in the trinity or not. Based on the bible writings I doubt it (you'd think it would be presented more frequently and explicitly), but maybe they did. Who knows when the trinity idea was born.
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wilberhum
03-08-2007, 10:57 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity is the result of continuous exploration by the church of the biblical data, thrashed out in debate and treatises, eventually formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD in a way they believe is consistent with the biblical witness, and further refined in later councils and writings.[1] The most widely recognized Biblical foundations for the doctrine's formulation are in the Gospel of John.[1]
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Ninth_Scribe
03-09-2007, 08:43 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I started this thread to explore the various sects of which many Muslims suggest is "true" Christianity, as a couple of them deny the divinity of Christ. There are many misconceptions about what these sects and heretics represent and what their place is in the overall belief of Christianity.

The Circumcisers (1st Century)
Gnosticism (1st and 2nd Centuries)
Sabellianism (Early 3rd Century)
Arianism (4th Century)

I hope people pay particular attention to the Gnostic and Arianist heretics. These two sects are pointed to repeatedly by some Muslims as being the true representation of Christianity, which of course is a falsehood.
Question: What category of heretic does Marcion fall into? So far, all I've uncovered about him is the fact that he disputed the Old Testament, and wanted to create his own New Testament.

Ninth Scribe
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Talha777
03-09-2007, 08:54 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
The Circumcisers (1st Century)

The Circumcision heresy may be summed up in the words of Acts 15:1: "But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’"

Many of the early Christians were Jews, who brought to the Christian faith many of their former practices. They recognized in Jesus the Messiah predicted by the prophets and the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Because circumcision had been required in the Old Testament for membership in God’s covenant, many thought it would also be required for membership in the New Covenant that Christ had come to inaugurate. They believed one must be circumcised and keep the Mosaic law to come to Christ. In other words, one had to become a Jew to become a Christian.
But God made it clear to Peter in Acts 10 that Gentiles are acceptable to God and may be baptized and become Christians without circumcision. The same teaching was vigorously defended by Paul in his epistles to the Romans and the Galatians—to areas where the Circumcision heresy had spread.
But didn't Jesus (alaihi salam) according to the New Testament instruct his disciples and followers to follow EVERYTHING the Pharisees and Jewish teachers of the law tell them, which necessarily includes circumcision? Paul definitely wrote many things which contradicted the Gospel of Jesus Christ (alaihi salam).
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Keltoi
03-09-2007, 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by Ninth_Scribe
Question: What category of heretic does Marcion fall into? So far, all I've uncovered about him is the fact that he disputed the Old Testament, and wanted to create his own New Testament.

Ninth Scribe
What you have just stated is pretty much all I know about him, although I think he also believed that Christ descended from Heaven a fully grown adult, which is obviously not the teaching of the church. Most of the writings about him come from rather biased sources, including the rumor that he seduced a consecrated virgin.

I should also point out that while Marcion wanted to scrap the OT completely, he went a step further and stated that the Old Testament God was an evil entity and while the text was divinely inspired, it came from evil sources. So you can see why his beliefs would fall under the umbrella of heresy.
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Keltoi
03-09-2007, 10:31 PM
Originally Posted by Talha777

But didn't Jesus (alaihi salam) according to the New Testament instruct his disciples and followers to follow EVERYTHING the Pharisees and Jewish teachers of the law tell them, which necessarily includes circumcision? Paul definitely wrote many things which contradicted the Gospel of Jesus Christ (alaihi salam).
Christians believe that Christ brought a New Covenant. You are correct that Jesus instructed his followers that He did not come to change the laws. "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets." Matthew 5:17. Scripture tells us that Christ didn't come to change or end the OT law, but to end the hypocrisy and to obey God not only in our actions but also in our hearts. "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
To summarize what I've been taught and believe about Christ's teachings in relation to the Old Testament law, Christ taught us that salvation can only be obtained through Him, and that God is the only one who can judge. In other words, what determines whether one will be blessed with the Kingdom of Heaven will be determined by our works. One way to think of the OT laws in relation to Christians is to think of these laws as being 'spiritualized" for Christians. Spiritualized in the sense that right action and works are now a part of us spiritually, we cannot be judged by our fellow man. Why?, because we believe the OT Covenant to have been a temporary Covenant until the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would fulfill OT prophecy and bring about a New Covenant, one that is based in right action and the criteria I just mentioned. It isn't the perfect explanation, and I'm sure Grace Seeker, being a pastor, could explain it much better than I.

As for Paul's contradictions, could you give me an example of the contradiction you are speaking of?
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Grace Seeker
03-12-2007, 07:53 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
yes the earliest being "(70-155/160)"

If I told you a story by the time it reaches the tenth person it will have already deranged and I am talking just one day or one week..... not "(70-155/160)." Let alone in a different tongue all together than that which Jesus (PBUH) spoke!

At this stage in the game we can agree to disagree! And, I can certainly respect that you'd appreciate the opinion of those who withhold your faith as you know it today rather than a very radical opposing opinion!
You refuse to accept the Bible as authentic. When some one provides Christian writings from the time immediately following the writing of the New Testament, you claim they are too late in dating to accurately reflect the beliefs of the original church. What that sounds like to me is you have made up your mind, no matter the facts.

Nonetheless, here are some writings from the first century and 2nd century writers who were disciples of the companions of Jesus:

excerpts from the Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians:
Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God's will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life's blood for us -- he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.

Let the one truly possessed by the love of Christ keep his commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love?

Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God's grace have spoken of repentance;

excerpts from the Letter of Barnabbas (not to be confused with the 14th century document supposedly known as the Gospel of Barnabbas)

Barnabas 2:5
What to Me is the multitude of your sacrifices, saith the Lord I am
full of whole burnt-offerings, and the fat of lambs and the blood
of bulls and of goats desire not, not though ye should come to be
seen of Me. or who required these things at your hands? Ye shall
continue no more to tread My court. If ye bring fine flour, it is
in vain; incense is an abomination to Me; your new moons and your
Sabbaths I cannot away with.

Barnabas 2:6
These things therefore He annulled, that the new law of our Lord
Jesus Christ, being free from the yoke of constraint, might have its
oblation not made by human hands.

Barnabas 5:1
For to this end the Lord endured to deliver His flesh unto
corruption, that by the remission of sins we might be cleansed, which
cleansing is through the blood of His sprinkling.

Barnabas 5:5
There is yet this also, my brethren; if the Lord endured to suffer
for our souls, though He was Lord of the whole world, unto whom God
said from the foundation of the world, Let us make man after our
image and likeness, how then did He endure to suffer at the hand
of men?

Barnabas 5:6
Understand ye. The prophets, receiving grace from Him, prophesied
concerning Him. But He Himself endured that He might destroy death
and show forth the resurrection of the dead, for that He must needs
be manifested in the flesh;

Barnabas 5:7
that at the same time He might redeem the promise made to the
fathers, and by preparing the new people for Himself might show,
while He was on earth, that having brought about the resurrection He
will Himself exercise judgment.

Barnabas 5:9
And when He chose His own apostles who were to proclaim His Gospel,
who that He might show that He came not to call the righteous but
sinners were sinners above every sin, then He manifested Himself
to be the Son of God.

Barnabas 5:10
For if He had not come in the flesh neither would men have looked
upon Him and been saved, forasmuch as when they look upon the sun
that shall cease to be, which is the work of His own hands, they
cannot face its rays.

Barnabas 5:11
Therefore the Son of God came in the flesh to this end, that He might
sum up the complete tale of their sins against those who persecuted
and slew His prophets.

Barnabas 6:12
For the scripture saith concerning us, how He saith to the Son; Let
us make man after our image and after our likeness, and let them
rule over the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the heaven and
the fishes of the sea. And the Lord said when He saw the fair
creation of us men; Increase and multiply and fill the earth.
These words refer to the Son.

Barnabas 12:10
Behold again it is Jesus, not a son of man, but the Son of God, and
He was revealed in the flesh in a figure. Since then men will say
that Christ is the son of David, David himself prophesieth being
afraid and understanding the error of sinners; The Lord said unto
my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand until I set thine enemies for a
footstool under Thy feet.

Barnabas 12:11
And again thus sayith Isaiah; The Lord said unto my Christ the
Lord, of whose right hand I laid hold, that the nations should give
ear before Him, and I will break down the strength of kings. See
how David calleth Him Lord, and calleth Him not Son.

Barnabas 15:8
Finally He saith to them; Your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot
away with. Ye see what is His meaning ; it is not your present
Sabbaths that are acceptable [unto Me], but the Sabbath which I have
made, in the which, when I have set all things at rest, I will make
the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another
world.

Barnabas 15:9
Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which
also Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended
into the heavens.

excerpts from the Didache

Now about food: bear what you are able to bear. But watch out for the idol-sacrifices, for this is a religious service of dead gods.

Now about baptism, baptize this way: after first uttering all of these things, baptize "into the name of the Father and of the son and of the holy Spirit" in running water. But if you do not have running water, baptize in other water. Now if you are not able to do so in cold water, do it in warm water. Now if you don't have either, pour water three times on the head, "into the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the holy Spirit." Now before the ritual cleansing, the baptizer and the one being baptized should fast, and any others who are able. Now you will give word for the one who is being baptized to fast for one or two days beforehand.

Now according to the Lord's day, gather together and break bread and give thanks, after acknowledging your wanderings to one another, so your sacrifice would be a clean one.

excertps from the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians

Polycarp 1:2
and that the steadfast root of your faith which was famed from
primitive times abideth until now and beareth fruit unto our Lord
Jesus Christ, who endured to face even death for our sins, whom God
raised, having loosed the pangs of Hades;

Polycarp 3:2
For neither am I, nor is any other like unto me, able to follow the
wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who when he came among you
taught face to face with the men of that day the word which
concerneth truth carefully and surely; who also, when he was absent,
wrote a letter unto you, into the which if ye look diligently, ye
shall be able to be builded up unto the faith given to you,

Polycarp 6:2
If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us, we also ought
to forgive: for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we
must all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must
give an account of himself.

Polycarp 7:1
For every one who shall not confess that Jesus Christ is come in
the flesh, is antichrist: and whosoever shall not confess the
testimony of the Cross, is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert
the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and say that there is
neither resurrection nor judgment, that man is the firstborn of
Satan.

Polycarp 8:1
Let us therefore without ceasing hold fast by our hope and by the
earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ who took up our
sins in His own body upon the tree, who did no sin, neither was
guile found in His mouth, but for our sakes He endured all things,
that we might live in Him.

Polycarp 12:2
Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal
High-priest Himself the [Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in
faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all avoidance of wrath
and in forbearance and long suffering and in patient endurance and in
purity; and may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints,
and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall
believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father that
raised him from the dead.
excerpts from St. Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp

3:2 Be thou more diligent than thou art. Mark the
seasons. Await Him that is above every season, the
Eternal, the Invisible, who became visible for our
sake, the Impalpable, the Impassible, who suffered for
our sake, who endured in all ways for our sake.

8:3 I bid you farewell always in our God Jesus
Christ, in whom abide ye in the unity and supervision
of God. I salute Alce, a name very dear to me. Fare ye
well in the Lord.
What I note is that we have the themes of Jesus' identification not only with God but as being co-eternal with God, indeed as being God reaffirmed over and over again. And yet we also see it affirmed that he came in the flesh, died a sacrficial death by which he gained atonement or forgiveness of the sins of those who belong to him, that the Father raised him from the dead, and that Jesus will ultimately serve as a divine judge of the the righteous and unrighteous.

I also noted the Polycarp spoke very highly of Paul, even though he was a disciple not of Paul but of John.

We also see use of the Trinitarian forumlaic expression of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" used as part of the instructions for how to perform Christian baptism in the Didache, something written and used by the church even before the Gospels. It predates even most of Paul's letters, so one cannot say that Paul invented it.

Note also that the Didache speaks of the gathering to break bread and give thanks (in other words the Eucharist) on the Lord's day, a reference to the Resurrection, which would mean that worship on Sunday was very early in the life of the church.

The evidence is overwhelming, from the Christian scriptures, from other Christian writings of the first generation of the church, from the church fathers over the next 200 years before Nicea, a belief in Jesus as God, and of the Holy Spirit as divine has been a part of the Christian faith from the beginning. No one labelled it Trinity until 325, but the beliefs that they labelled as such were present all along.
Reply

Grace Seeker
03-12-2007, 08:27 AM
Originally Posted by Talha777

But didn't Jesus (alaihi salam) according to the New Testament instruct his disciples and followers to follow EVERYTHING the Pharisees and Jewish teachers of the law tell them, which necessarily includes circumcision? Paul definitely wrote many things which contradicted the Gospel of Jesus Christ (alaihi salam).
Greetings Talha

:sl:

I am sure you are familiar with the story of Muhammad's (pbuh) pilgrimage to Mecca in 628. His followers recalling Muhammad's words "Truly did Allah fulfill the vision for His Messenger. Ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque, IF ALLAH WILLS, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what ye knew not, and He granted, besides this, a speedy victory." had anticipated that they would would have access to Mecca that very same year. When that did not occur, Muhammad answered saying, "Yes, did I tell you that we would go to Ka'ba this year?" Answer: No, he did not. They were in Mecca the next year.

Similarly, one has to be careful not to take Jesus' statement and apply it where it does not apply.

Jesus is speaking: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Mattew 5:17)

Now what was he going to fulfill? We get that answered by Jesus himself after the resurrection:
Luke 24
44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

48And ye are witnesses of these things.
So, Jesus did indeed fulfill the Law. It did not pass away, it was completed. One attends school until one completes the course before you. Once completed, one does not say that the school passed away, rather it is completed. One no longer serves the school, but the school in essence serves you as you take what you gained there and apply it to life.

Jesus having completed that course that was set for him in his life, now moves to apply it to the lives of others.

Jesus is speaking to his disciples. Might it apply for all people as a universal principle, or does it apply to just a few? The Law that God gave to Moses has yet to pass away. The Jews (and Jesus' first disciples were all Jews) still live by the Law. This is the Old Covenant that God made with them. But in Christ we have a New Covenant. This New Covenant provides a way for non-Jews to gain access to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ.

Just as God made covenant with Abraham and then asked for Abraham's son, so God the Father has his own son become the sacrifical lamb whose blood redeems us. Why does God seek blood atonement? It is a gastly, gruesome thing. I truly don't know. But I do know that from the beginning, with Cain and Abel even, God preferred the blood sacrifice offered by Abel. I can see why an athiest might be repulsed by all of this, but I cannot understand why it would offend either a Jew or a Muslim as it is part of the history of both.

And so, God now makes covenant with all people through this sacrifice, that all who would look to Jesus and believe (and again, I define that as trust, not just believing concepts about Jesus, but really trusting in what he has done for them) can have new life free from sin in Jesus' name. And those who are not Jews do not have to become Jews to be partakers of this expanded promise of God's grace. This grace is available for Jew and non-Jew alike. Or Jews, if they prefer, can continue to live a life of keeping 613 laws of God, and I trust that God will honor their efforts, but it will be Christ's sacrifice that actually enables them (any of us) to get to heaven as well.
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