Thursday, May 15, 2008
Last Saturday closed a four year chapter in our life: I graduated from seminary! It was a great time of celebration for us, especially as my parents came up from Missouri and my sister and nephew came from Kentucky. We are grateful for the work that God has done in us and through us here, but we are also eager to move on to the ministry He's prepared us for. Above is a picture presentation of a few photos from graduation.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Well, I handed in the final paper of my seminary career on Saturday--quite relieving and bewildering all at the same time. Anyhow, the paper was for my Islam course, and I wrote on the Muslim view of Jesus, or 'Isa, as He is known to Muslims. It was quite an interesting study. According to the Qur'an, Jesus was born of a virgin but not divine, not the Savior, and was rescued by Allah before being crucified on the cross (Allah could not allow one of his prophets to be shamed so deeply). Instead, Muslims see Jesus as a great prophet who came to teach and lead his people back to the straight path of Allah. The Qur'an even goes so far as to call Jesus the "Word of God," the "Masih" (Messiah, though it doesn't mean the same thing for Muslims) and an "Apostle from God," but he could never be the Son of God; such thinking is blasphemous. He is not the suffering Savior of the world because the problem of humanity is not really sin and relational separation from our Creator for Muslims; we are simply ignorant and sometimes led astray, which is why we only need prophets to guide us back to the right ways from time to time.
As I reflect upon my study, I have just one observation: the Muslim 'Isa pales in comparison to the Jesus of the Gospels. The Gospels give such profound, rich insight into Jesus' humanity and divinity that the Qur'an hardly alludes to (the divinity of Christ, of course, is attacked by Muhammad). Literally, the Muslim 'Isa is paler than the Biblical Jesus, as well; Muslim tradition says that 'Isa was fair skinned and had red hair and freckles. An Iranian movie of the Muslim Jesus, called "The Messiah," is coming out in Iran sometime this year (a poster for it is above). It should be interesting to see what the reaction or response to it will be, as well as if and how God uses it to draw people to Himself through His Son Jesus.