The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for October, 2007

Muslims Believe In Jesus

veil1.jpgA gentleman who read yesterday’s blog informed me that Muslims believe in Jesus because his wife saw an Islamic lady on Oprah who answered, “Yes!”, when the talk-show hostess asked, “So, Muslims believe in Jesus?”  Well, that depends on what the definition of “believe” is.

Many people think that belief and faith are synonymous — but such is not the case.  I can say, “I believe I will go to town tomorrow,” but that doesn’t mean I will definitely go to town.

John the Baptist and Jesus (‘Isa’ in the Quran) are seen as members of the righteous family of ‘Imran, among the Children of Israel.  Jesus holds a place unique among the prophets of Islam.  He is born of a virgin “purified above all women,” he is the promised Messiah, “The Word of God and a Spirit from Him,” an almost superhuman figure who spoke from the cradle and worked great wonders by the power of God.  He was a miracle worker and one of the greatest prophets.

But the Quran depicts Him as expressly disclaiming deity and emphatically denies that He ever died on the cross.  There was no atonement and no resurrection, instead when the Jews sought to crucify Him, God caught Him up to heaven and threw His likeness on Judas who was crucified, by mistake, in His place.

Christians are held to have deliberately falsified the Scripture He brought, and worship the Messiah blasphemously.

Now you know why Christians are considered infidels by our Muslim friends.

Diplomacy Not Theology

bush.jpgLast week, President Bush said in an interview with Al Arabiya television that he believes all the world prays to the same God — promoting the doctrine of universalism.

“I believe there is a universal God.  I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to.  After all we all came from Abraham.  I believe in that universality.”

Wrong!  There is a God of the universe but not a universal God.  There are many religions that do not recognize, much less worship, the One true God…Animism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto to name a few.  So what about the President’s belief that Christians and Muslims all worship the same God.

Let us compare Islam with Christianity as recorded in the “Apologetics Study Bible” — Holman Bible Publishers 2007 edition.

Doctrine of God

Islam:  No God but Allah; a unitarian monotheistic faith which sees Allah as determining every specific event that happens in the world.  Allah is virtually co-terminous with his world, part of which is found in the Koran.

Christian:  Monotheistic, trinitarian belief; Father, Son and Spirit are equal and eternal and sovereign over all; God is love and is also holy; He is both transcendent and immanent, but is never dependant upon the world; His true nature is most easily seen in the Person of His incarnate Son, Jesus.

Human Predicament

Islam:  Humans are finite in contrast to the infinite sovereignty of Allah;  they are foolish and need instruction, which comes from the Koran; they are also sinners, such sin being especially seen in violations of Muslim taboos or prohibited behavior and failure to do the will of Allah perfectly.

Christian:  In their natural condition, humans are dead in trespasses and sins; they require a specific work of the Holy Spirit to rescue them; they cannot be saved by their own goodness and efforts.

Way of Deliverance

Islam:  Embrace the Five Pillars (daily recitation of creed, prayer, giving alms, pilgrimage to Mecca, fasting during Ramadan); complete and utter devotion to Allah; final salvation is reserved only for the most diligent of Muslims.

Christian:  Receive the gift of God’s grace by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, which He purchased with His shed blood; this initial experience of justification is followed by a life of fellowship with other Christians and faithfulness to the Lord.

Ultimate Goal

Islam:  Future resurrection of the righteous unto eternal bliss in a heavenly Paradise; all of the physical pleasures that one may not have access to in this life will be available in Paradise; infidels spend eternity in a most torturous hell.

Christian:  Immediate entering into the spiritual presence of God at death for believers; future resurrection of the body at the Second Advent of Christ; new heavens and new earth in an eternal realm of peace and righteousness for believers; eternal punishment in hell for the finally impenitent

Not only do Muslims not believe Jesus is the Son of God, they don’t believe atonement for sin is necessary.


freemasoney.jpgMany people have a false impression that Freemasonry is some form of the occult because they do not understand some important precepts of Masonry. A Freemason should, or I should say, must apply these precepts to his daily living if he is to be exemplary of the tenets of our profession.  If we are to be an encouragement to those we encounter during our travels — if we are to be of consideration to our community.  If we truly believe the biblical teaching, “By their fruits ye shall know them” then we must believe that the secrets of Freemasonry really do help make a good man better.

Freemasonry is a fraternity developed from lodges of operative or stone masons.  The Masonry of today is distinguished from the stone masonry of old by being referred to as “Speculative Masonry.”  Speculative, or Freemasonry, does not work with stone but instead works on the lives of men.  Its teachings take the imagery of carpentry and architecture and use that imagery to teach, by symbols, about building good character.

There is an abundance of biblical imagery used in the rituals of the degrees.  The central biblical image used in Masonic ritual is that of the building of King Solomon’s Temple, as meticulously described for us in the Old Testament books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles.

Whenever a Masonic lodge is in session, the Holy Bible is open upon the lodge’s alter.

In a speech before the Republican State Convention of Springfield, Illinois on June 16, 1858 Abraham Lincoln used Mark 3:25 — he said, “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” to expound his conviction that “the government could not endure, half slave and half free.”

So it is with Freemasonry.  We are an enormous and diverse group with certain values and beliefs that we hold in common.  We are not a clique, social club, nor a religion.  All of us can define the views and truths that separate us from those who are not Masons.

Emphasizing and building on those elements we share will be our source of strength, and the basis for shaping the role we must play now and in the future.  Freemasonry is one form of dedication to God and service to humanity — I believe the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is a bright light in an otherwise bleak moral landscape.

The influence of Masonry is like the influence of the home and the influence of the church…it does not produce perfect human beings.

Despite the best efforts of the home there has never been a perfect child.  Despite the best efforts of the church there has never been a perfect Christian.  Despite the best efforts of Masonry there has never been a perfect Mason.  Nevertheless, there is a place for all of these in our society.

Man’s basic nature is such that he needs every good influence he can get.  He needs the powerful influence of a good home.  He needs the powerful influence of a dedicated church made up of dedicated believers.  He needs the influence of dedicated teachers in public schools.  And he needs the influence of dedicated men who square their actions by the square of virtue, and adhere to the tenets of brotherly love, relief, and truth.

Each lesson learned from Freemasonry can and should be applied to our daily lives.

One such lesson is the manner in which we should use each day.  A Mason is taught to divide his day into three parts, not equal parts, but a portion of each day should include a time of service to God, his brethren, and their widows and orphans.

A portion of each day is to be spent in honest labor for a livelihood unless he is physically unable to do so.

And of equal importance, he should set aside a portion to rest and refresh his body.

Masonry is a way of life, and good men are taught to live better lives by the lessons it teaches.

Masonry is a way of life that admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man.

It is a system of morality which teaches moral lessons while encouraging its members to practice ethical conduct toward each other.

It is a brotherhood of equality whereby no station in life is above another.

And, yes, Freemasonry is a system of men of good will who seek to make themselves better than they are — not better than others.

Freemasonry is all this and much more.  It has existed since time immemorial because it is based upon the indestructible foundation of the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the immortality of the soul.

There are approximately two-and-one-half-million Masons in the United States and nearly six million in the world, and many of he world’s most respected and most admired men have been, or are Masons.  To name a few…Sixteen of the presidents of the United States, the majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Twenty-two of the men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Wolfgang Mozart, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill, Douglas MacArthur, Will Rogers, Red Skelton, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Norman Vincent Peale, George W. Truitt…and the list of those who brought us inspiration, freedom and joy goes on and on.

So, what is a Mason?

A Mason is a man who has decided that he likes to feel good about himself and about others.

A Mason is a man who cares about the future as well as the past, and he does what he can to make the future better for everyone.

Many men over many generations have tried to answer the question, “What is a Mason?”  Some answers are eloquent, some elementary, and some have said you cannot completely define Freemasonry.  But one of the most complete and eloquent answers was given by the Rev. Joseph Fort Newton……

“When is a man a Mason?

When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage — which is the root of every virtue.

When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble. as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellowman..

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins — knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds.

When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself.

When he loves flowers, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child.

When he can be happy and high-minded amid the drudgeries of life.

When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead.

When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response.

When he feels good in every faith that helps man to lay hold of divine things and sees the majestic meaning of life.

When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond the mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin.

When he knows how to pray, how to love and how to hope.

When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellowman, and with his God; in his hand a sword against evil, in his heart a bit of a song — glad to live, but not afraid to die.

Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.”

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