Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mark Dever on Allah and Yahweh

23 comments:

Jonathon said...

Great video.

Dever is so helpful on so many issues. He is extremely articulate and passionate about Christ.

May we preach Christ!

Anonymous said...

This guy constantly hits home runs!

Louis

debbiekaufman said...

I do agree with you on this Bart. I think it's important that when we are witnessing we speak of the God of the Bible, not try to form him to other cultures or others view of God.

Scott said...

I find it interesting you make such as case against using "Allah" for God, when you never have had a problem for the name for Yahweh that Chinese Christian universally use. The Chinese Church uses the word "Shang-di" which Wikipedia rightly writes "Shangdi (上帝, pinyin: Shàngdì, Wade-Giles Shang Ti) is the Supreme God in the original religious system of the Han Chinese people (see traditional Chinese religion), a term used from the second millennium BC to the present day, as pronounced according the modern Mandarin."

Now that you are aware of this are you planning to begin a campaign to criticize Chinese Christians choice of the "Shang-di"?

I assume you don't speak Mandarin and didn't know about this, but then again not knowing Arabic hasn't stopped you for criticizing the use of Allah for God.

Bart Barber said...

Scott,

Whatever your linguistic credentials, I think you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

The topic at hand has nothing to do with what word people use to refer to God. It has to do with whether the false god of Islam is the same entity as the true God revealed in the Bible. That is the sum total of Dever's argument and of mine. I'm thrilled to stipulate that the "Shangdi" of the Han is also not Yahweh.

If Chinese people are running around that nation telling people, "This deity revealed in the Bible of whom we preach, He is none other than the Shangdi of our fathers!" Then they'll have trouble with Dr. Dever and Dr. Barber.

The conversation is important because people like "From The Middle East" argue an ontological identification between the Muslim Allah and the Christian God.

Scott said...

Well...actually, since the time of Robert Morrison in 1813, Chinese Christians have been saying "This Shangdi revealed in the Bible of whom we preach, He is none other than the Shangdi of our fathers!"

But like "From The Middle East" or Rick Love they also go to say that the Bible reveals a true teaching of Allah or Shangdi. (For Rick Love see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/november/30.71.html?start=2)

Bart Barber said...

Scott,

Then the question is not really one of knowing Mandarin or Arabic at all, then, is it? For we are not quibbling over which word to use; we are discussing who God is.

From the Middle East said...

Brother Bart,

Dever's entire argument is based on Muslims' rejection of Jesus as the image of the invisible God. I wonder whether he would say present-day Jews attempt to worship another God? Or even Jews in the day of Paul who rejected Jesus as the Messiah and image of God? What would you say to those questions?

I know we have had this discussion before on your site, but I am curious as to whether or not you read my post on it entitled God, Allah and Good News for Muslims

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

volfan007 said...

Many of the Jews of OT times did worship the One, True God. But, the Jews of today do worship another God. As a people group, they turned away from the one, true God when they rejected Jesus. The God they now worship is some other god of their making.

Allah, Shangdi, Buddha, Krishna, and all the others are false gods. Only God is God. The others cant see, nor hear, nor talk. Only the Creator God of the Heaven and Earth can truly see and hear and tell us truth.

David

From the Middle East said...

Brother David,

It is interesting that the Apostle Paul went to the Temple to worship with those who had rejected Jesus as the Messiah and image of God. In order to fulfill his vow, it appears he would even be sacrificing animals... yet those he was there with rejected Jesus. This is quite interesting given his instruction to other communities to separate themselves from and cease worshipping with those who worship false gods.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

volfan007 said...

John the Apostle had a lot to say in his writings about the worship of the Jews being a false worship.

FME, are you saying that the Jews worship the true God now...in our day and time? Are you saying that Jews are saved?

David

johnMark said...

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I will be leading our Sunday evening service soon with this verse being my focus. So why am I posting it here? Because this is one of the few times as far as I can tell that I am in 100% agreement with Bro. Volfan. :)

I was recently in a staff meeting sitting next to Dr. Dever. Very nice and godly man. I appreciate what he says in this video.

Mark

From the Middle East said...

Brother David,

To answer your questions, I would say that Jews attempt to worship the only Creator of the heavens and earth. However, due to their rejection of Jesus, their worship is not received by the Creator. Which brings me to your second question: No, they are not "saved."

My question to you is whether or not the Apostle Paul sinned when he worshipped with these Jesus-rejecting Jews in Jerusalem at the Temple.

You may also want to review our discussion here as I think (did not review the whole discussion) we did interact on this topic on that comment stream.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

volfan007 said...

FME,

No, Paul did not sin by going to their worship services, because he went there to witness to them...to win them to Christ.

As far as Paul still taking vows and such....that was fine. The NT Christians in Paul's day in his part of the world had a very Jewish flavor to them. But, I doubt that Paul sacrificed any lambs after his conversion.

Do you go into Muslim temples, or synagogues, or whatever they call them and pray to Allah and teach the Koran? as God's Word?

David

From the Middle East said...

Brother David,

If you doubt Paul sacrificed any lambs, you may want to reread chapter 21 of Acts and consider exactly what "fulfilling a vow" meant in New Testament times in Jerusalem - check a commentary of two for confirmation ;^) Now do you think he sinned by sacrificing to that "other" Jewish god?

And, no I do not go into Mosques and teach the Generous Qur'an as the Word of God. When I teach, I teach the biblical Jesus.

I believe it would be fair for me, given your last question, to ask you a related question: When you teach at your local church do you worship America and teach the Constitution? Don't forget to consider your July 4 and Memorial Day music before answering.

Peace to you my brother,
From the Middle East

volfan007 said...

FME,

Acts 21 does say that Paul paid for the four men who took a Nazarite vow, and he paid for their sacrifices to end the vow. And yes, Paul did continue to have a Jewish flavor to his life after his conversion, as did much of the Early Church...they were Jewish. But, they werent Jews. They were converted Jews.

FME, Do you think that Paul still offered lambs as a sacrifice for his sins? Do you think that Paul would offer up a sacrifice in the Temple for the cleansing of his sins? as a Christian?

Also, when the Apostle John refers to the Jews and to thier feasts and ceremonies....do you not think that John was trying to make a distinction between the Jewish religion and Christianity? I mean, all thru out the Gospel of John, you see John saying the Feast of the Jews...the Jews sent Priests and Levites...the Jews Passover was at hand...etc.??? I believe we see a clear distinction being made between the Jewish religion and Christianity. Do you?

David

From the Middle East said...

Brother David,

Let me cite the text here:
"take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expense, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.... Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them." - Acts 21:24 & 26

According to your theology, the verses cited above put Paul worshipping with idolators in the Temple. From my perspective, it seems, reading through the book of Acts, that Paul considered himself a Jew right up until the end. This would mean that the Jews were not worshipping another god, but attempting to worship the one true God.

Are you saying that Messianic Jews are not in the Kingdom of God?

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

volfan007 said...

From what I know about Messianic Jews, they are Christian. They are Christ followers, not Jews. They just happen to be Jewish Christians. So, what's the point?

It's like if Maasai people in Africa get saved, then they're still Maasai. They are Christian Maasai, but they are still Christ followers, and they're still Maasai.

Take me for instance...I'm a redneck hillbilly from TN. I'm also a Christian. I'm a Christian, redneck hillbilly. But, I'm still a Christ follower.

But, being Jewish Christians is a lot different than being Jews. A Jew is not following the One, True God anymore if he rejects Jesus as the Messiah. He is now involved in a false religion. They deny that Jesus is Lord and Christ. You tell me...what did John the Apostle say about people who deny that Jesus is both Lord and Christ in 1 John?

Muslims also worship a false god of thier own making. He is not the true God of Heaven. The Koran is full of lies...is it not?

David

From the Middle East said...

Brother David,

I do not have the time to restate my views on this. I'm sure Brother Bart would prefer I did not as well since this is a rabbit-trail from Dever's statement anyway (though Dever seems to agree with your thesis that Jews are worshipping a false god).

Please follow this link and reread what was written there. If you have further questions regarding my views, positions, etc after rereading that post and comment section, I will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

From the Middle East said...

Brother David,

Cleaning up for the week and I realized I gave you the wrong link in my last comment. Here is the correct one:

God, Allah and Good News for Muslims

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

Anonymous said...

As a Christian who speaks Arabic, this really turned me off. I think of the statue to the unknown god and how the people were told, "let me tell you about this god". Cultural understanding does not mean that we need to tell Muslims that everything they know about Allah is correct. It means we should say, "hey, let me tell you want you're missing!" Middle Eastern Christians refer to God as Allah, and they believe Him to be the One who sent Jesus Christ to die for their sins. This is a characteristic of Allah that Muslims are missing. Incidentally, this is a characteristic of God that Jews are missing. Let's tell them the good news that they are missing rather than make linguistic arguments that only turn people off.

The discussion on Shang Di is interesting. I have a tattoo that says "Shang Di gives in mercy" in Chinese, because it seems to me that this is a word for God that the Chinese people have more respect for than the newer, Americanized Chinese character that is included in many Chinese Bibles. It's a character that was originally associated with lesser spirits. Which has more power in cultural context, lesser spirits or an ancient Creator God?

Bart Barber said...

Anonymous,

You might take another look at Acts 17, where Paul told those people:

"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

Paul told them that their beliefs about the "Unknown God" were (1) "ignorance," (2) something of which they needed to "repent," and (3) the partial focus of God's coming judgment.

Yes, by all means, please follow Paul's example in your interaction with Muslims. Tell them that they must repent of their ignorance of who God really is, or else they will face God's judgment.

Now, of course, Paul waited an entire nine sentences before he became that blunt with the Greeks, so feel free to spend as much as a paragraph or two on subtleties before you get to the point.

Anonymous said...

"Allah" is a proper noun and therefore is inappropriate to refer to the God of the Bible.
"Al-Ilaah is the common Arabic noun for God, and would therefore be an appropriate word to use to refer to the God of the Bible.

From the Arab Bible project
http://www.arabbible.com/t-Allah.aspx