Resolving the Allah Controversy: Going Beyond Polemics and Call for Constructive Dialogue

Proposition 1: We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.

Proposition 2: We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.

Proposition 3: We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy.

Proposition 4: We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy

 

The official statement released by Pas Ulamak Syura Council (USC) LINK on 13/1/2013 has caused confusion and concern. The statement affirms that,

Kalimah Allah adalah kalimah khusus yang Allah menamakan diri-Nya Allah. Kalimah itu tidak boleh diterjemahkan ke dalam mana-mana bahasa dunia kerana tidak menepati kehendak sebenar dari kalimah ini. Demikian juga tidak boleh kalimah asing hendak diterjemahkan kepada kalimah Allah.
Oleh kerana itu, menterjemah kalimah God atau Lord dari mana-mana kitab agama bukan Islam kepada perkataan Allah tidak dibolehkan kerana ianya salah dari segi makna dan salah guna, tidak menepati kehendak sebenar yang boleh membawa kekeliruan yang nyata. Oleh kerana itu ia hendaklah dicegah

Translation: The holy word Allah is used specifically by Allah himself to name himself “Allah”. The word cannot be translated into any language in the world because it does not meet the real requirements of this word. Similarly other foreign words cannot be translated into “Allah”.

Therefore, translating “God” or “Lord” from any non-Muslim religious books into the word Allah is forbidden because it is wrong in terms of meaning and use, does not fulfil the actual requirement and can bring confusion. Therefore it must be prevented.”

 

It is noted that Abdul Hadi Awang, the President of PAS earlier stated that Islam cannot prohibit non-Muslims from using the word Allah (“Penggunaan Kalima Allah” dated 7 Jan 2010). He cited a few Quranic verses (Surah Luqman 31: 25-26; Surah Az-Zumar 39: 38; Surah Az-Zukhruf 43: 9, 87) to demonstrate that even the Quran assumes that both Muslims and non-Muslims use the same reference to Allâh even though there was theological disagreement: “Perkataan Allah disebut oleh orang Arab atau pengguna bahasa Arab yang menganut berbagai agama, sama ada penganut Yahudi, Kristian dan penyembah berhala sejak dahulu kala. Al-Quran menyebut secara jelas bahawa penganut agama-agama itu menyebut dan menulis perkataan Allah.”

He concluded,

“Kesimpulannya, kita tidak boleh melarang mereka menggunakan perkataan Allah di kalangan mereka sendiri, dalam ibadat mereka dan amalan mereka, walau pun salah maksud dan maknanya yang asal mengikut bahasa kita” (In conclusion, we can not prohibit their use of the word God among themselves, in their worship and practices, even though the original purpose and meaning is wrong according to our language).

Hadi Awang added, “Demikianlah keterbukaan Islam terhadap kebebasan beragama dengan batas sempadan yang tidak menegangkan hubungan dalam masyarakat berbagai agama” (Such is the openness of Islam towards religious freedom with boundaries that do not strain relations in a multi-religious society).

It seems there are inconsistencies between the USC and President Hadi Awang. Clarification from PAS should be forthcoming.

 

Meanwhile, should the Malaysian church respond to the present confusion?

1) We respect the right of PAS to spell out clearly its theological position on Allah.

The USC has spelled out clearly its position and this deserves respect. Still, our response is that with all due respect, we do not agree with its theological interpretation of the word Allah. PAS is entitled to hold the view that only Muslims have understood and used the word Allah accurately. But by the same token Christians are also entitled to hold to their view of God and to use the word Allah accordingly.

The issue is not that Christians and Muslims hold different views of God. Religious difference has existed since the dawn of mankind. The issue is whether we are prepared to respect the right of people of other faiths to uphold their own religious conception of God.

 

2) We respect the right of people of different faiths to interpret their holy books and profess their faith in their mother tongues.

Muslims have every right to interpret the Quran and profess their faith in any mother tongue, whether it is Arabic, English or Malay. Likewise, Malay-speaking Christians should have the same right to interpret the Malay Bible (Alkitab) and profess their faith in Malay in their mother tongue.

Muslims will not accept and rightly feel offended if Christians were to tell them how they should profess their faith. Conversely, Christians have the right to reject any Muslim telling them how they may profess their Christian faith.

Freedom of religion is an inalienable and fundamental right. Freedom of religion is authentic precisely because people are entitled to uphold different belief systems. Muslims have every right to believe that the word Allah is specific to the God of Islam and that people of other faiths are not using the word Allah rightly if judged according to criteria internal to Islam. By the same token Malay speaking Christians have the same right to use the word Allah in the Malay Bible (Alkitab) even though their idea of God may not be consistent with Islam.

Muslims have the right to disagree and even critique those who hold to different ideas of God or Allah. For example, PAS statement explicitly critiques and rejects the Christian concept of God as unsuitable when used with the word Allah. However, Christians take no offence at the critique as intellectual integrity entails a critical reception of truth claims.

However, religious differences must be addressed with sensitivity. There should be no misrepresentation of the beliefs of another religion. It is desirable that leaders from both the Christian and Islamic community meet together and exercise their statesmanship to resolve amicably their difference through fair and frank discussion.

 

3) We must go beyond polemics in addressing the Allah controversy

Both Christianity and Islam are rich religious traditions that require nuanced and careful understanding. This being the case, it would be inappropriate to rely on public pronouncements, fatwas and press statements to help believers from both sides to arrive at mutual understanding. Indeed, the brevity and generality of such pronouncements means they are easily misunderstood. Regrettably some politicians have exploited the controversy for their political agenda.

 

4) We invite Muslim leaders to engage in constructive dialogue with Christian leaders to resolve the Allah controversy

It is imperative for religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim community (regardless of whether they represent UMNO or PAS) to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the Allah controversy in a spirit that is consistent with the ethical and spiritual aspiration of their respective religious traditions.

Leaders from the Malaysian church would readily welcome dialogue with Muslim leaders. Hopefully such dialogue would restore good will and harmony to our beloved nation.

 

 

Sura 29:46 al-ankabut (The Spider)

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam). Yusuf Ali translation.”

 

1Peter 3: 15-16. Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

This article is also published at the following news portals:

The Malaysian Insider

Malaysiakini

 

 

18 Comments

  1. Paul Sebastian says:

    So aptly put.. how can we raise more people to discourse in this manner. :D

  2. arah says:

    IS THERE ALLAH IN THE BIBLE?

    Some of the biggest misconceptions that many Muslim and non-Muslims have about Islam have to do with the word “Allah.” For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is totally false, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” – and there is only One God.

    Let there be no doubt – Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus – peace be upon them. All the stories of these Messengers are clearly mentioned in the bible and the Quran.

    God says in the Holy Qur’an:

    Say (O Muslims): We believe in God and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. / And if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then are they rightly guided. But if they turn away, then are they in schism, and God will suffice thee against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. (Quran 2:136-137)

    However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims – like Jews – reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation or having a begotten son.

    They say: “God hath begotten a son!” – Glory be to Him! He is self- sufficient! His are all things in the heavens and on earth! No warrant have ye for this! say ye about God what ye know not? Say: “Those who invent a lie against God will never prosper.” A little enjoyment in this world!- and then, to Us will be their return, then shall We make them taste the severest penalty for their blasphemies.” (Quran 10:68-70)

    “They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary.” They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a trinity: for there is no God except one God Allah. If they do not desist from their word of blasphemy, verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Christ the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him.” (Quran 5:72-73, 5:75)

    The God that tired, rest and wrestle with human as mentioned in the bible is surely not Allah since Allah clearly explain Himself in the Quran:

    Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great ( Quran 2:255)

    This, however, does not mean that each of these three religions worships a different God – because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be Abrahamic Faiths”, and all of them are also classified as “monotheistic.”

    However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.

    First of all, it is important to note that “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word “Allah” being used where “God” is used in English. This is because “Allah” is a word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word “God” with a capital “G”. Additionally, the word “Allah” cannot be made plural, a fact which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic concept of God.

    It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word “El”, which is the word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in sound to the word “Allah” than the English word “God.” This also holds true for the various Hebrew words for God, which are “El” and “Elah”, and the plural or glorified form “Elohim.” The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. It should also be noted that in translating the Bible into English, the Hebrew word “El” is translated variously as “God”, “god” and “angel”! This imprecise language allows different translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the word to fit their own views. The Arabic word “Allah” presents no such difficulty or ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One -and-Only God” or “The One True God.”

    Let observe the most important commandment of Jesus in the bible

    Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

    And also:

    But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

    And the teaching of Prophet Moses as mentioned below:

    “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”( Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

    More importantly, it should also be noted that the Arabic word “Allah” contains a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it stems from the Arabic verb ta’allaha (or alaha), which means “to be worshipped.” Thus in Arabic, the word “Allah” means “The One who deserves all worship.” This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam.

    Many people, including some Muslims, claim belief in “One God” even though they’ve fallen into acts of idolatry. Certainly, many Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of idolatrous practices in regards to the saints and the Virgin Mary. Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church is considered “idolatrous” by many other Christians because in much of their worship they use icons.

    However, if you ask a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox person if God is “One”, they will invariably answer: “Yes!.” This claim, however, does not stop them from being “creature worshipping” idolaters. The same goes for Hindus, who just consider their gods to be “manifestations” or “incarnations” of the One Supreme God.

    If there were more than one God, they would have taken away what they created. The Qur’an says:

    “No son did Allah beget,Nor is there any god Along with Him: (if there were
    Many gods), behold, each god Would have taken awayWhat he had created,
    And some would have Lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free)
    From the (sort of) things They attribute to Him!”[Al-Qur’an 23:91]

    When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan after he fast for 40 days, he didn’t asked Satan to worship him but to worship Allah the Almighty Creator..

    “.. the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” ( Matthew 4:9-10)

    But Jesus warn the Israelites regarding false prophet who teach blasphemy .

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (16) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (17) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (18) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) Therefore by their fruits you will know them.( Matthew 7:15-20)

    We have to differentiate the teaching of all the Messenger of Allah in the Quran and the bible with the false teaching of Paul or Saul Tarsus. He worship Jesus instead of Allah the Almighty God .

    (8) Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One) (Phil3:8-9)

    Finally in the Holy Qur’an, Almighty God enjoins Muslims to issue the following call to Christians and Jews:

    Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (Aal ‘Imran3:64)

    araharah2012@gmail.com

  3. Wesley Wong says:

    Dear arah, you’re certainly not helping the dialogue by preaching your Islamic understanding of Christian faith (a flawed one, to us Christians) by pitting the message of Paul against Jesus.

  4. Jason Loh says:

    Dear Arah,

    Inviting Christians to abandon their belief in the Trinity is not an invitation to dialogue. Please be absolutely clear about the distinction between the two.

    Dialogue is a TWO-way process. Yours come across as a MONOLOGUE. We do not question your sincerity however. And therefore thank you for dropping by.

    Having said this, in a dialogue, BOTH sides must have the space and opportunity to SPEAK & LISTEN.

    Now that you have “spoken,” albeit in a monologue fashion, let me gently and kindly share with you about the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

    Actually, the Trinity is not a doctrine in a sense that Muslims would understand doctrine. Doctrine implies proposition, words which are in textual form.

    The Trinity, however, is not a concept, i.e. that can be fully, adequately, perfectly understood, formulated and expressed in propositions. The propositions only “describe” ENCOUNTERS, i.e. the DIVINE REVELATION but never God IN HIMSELF. Otherwise the Creator-creature distinction is obscured.

    This is why the Trinity is a divine MYSTERY. The Trinity is not about understanding God in Himself (ad intra) but God as He reveals Himself as the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth from Whom the Son is begotten and became incarnate and crucified, and the from Whom the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, proceeds.

    The ONENESS of God therefore cannot be conceptually grasped by the human mind. God is not a substance by which we can understand Him as we understand creation. In other words, the oneness of God — “that” which makes God to be God does not share the same logical status as a mathematical one. You and I do not count the oneness God as in “1, 2, 3, …” Creator-creature distinction again …

    The Oneness of God, the Unity of God, therefore is to be sought in a Person, i.e. God the Father Almighty. The oneness of God is structured around PERSONS … not a “essence,” “substance,” — terms of which are borrowed from Aristotelian ontology.

    God-ness of God is beyond affirmation and negation. We do not know what “it is,” we only know that God IS God. All divine ascriptions are “predicated” (for lack of a better term) to PERSONS Whom Christians encounter in the proclamation of the Holy Bible in preaching.

    So faith is not a mental assent to some propositions but faith is being incorporated into the propositions themselves since the Holy Bible is the living Word of God as proclaimed in preaching and again in the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

    We see this a vivid manner e.g. Baptism when in accordance with the Great Commission in Matthew 28, sinners are baptised into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The Trinitarian formula is no mere words but the divine ACTION/ ACTS which incorporates Christians into the very life of the triune God.

    Again we see that the Word of God is living and no mere static letter. The Son became Incarnate. In other words, God became man. Or the Creator is now a creature. Christians do not believe in the divinisation of man but the HUMANISATION of God — again contrary to human logic.

    As the eternal Word of God, Jesus embodied the divine work in redeeming sinful, lost, depraved sinners. The Person IS the Work and the Work is the Person. We see in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament that what the Work does the Person is, and the Person does the Work is also. In other words, Jesus Christ is TOTALLY divine and TOTALLY human one and the same time, simultaneously …

    Why did God (the Son) became man? God HIDDEN in human flesh – the omnipotence, almightiness of God as the One Who does ALL IN ALL takes on mortality (and yet without sin which even the Quran testifies). The answer is that instead of climbing the ladder to heaven, God (the Son) comes down to give of HIMSELF, holding nothing back. God does not demand but GIVES His very “SELF.” The demand belongs to the Law: “Do this and it is never done.” The GIFT belongs to the Gospel: “Believe this and everything is done.”

    So, for Christians what matters (ultimately) before God is not works, but our very person. Christians confess that we are not justified in our persons but by a Person (i.e. Jesus Christ, God, Who died on the Cross). On the other hand, what matters before humanity is not our person but our works. Our religion, race, status, does not matter but our character, performance, works.

    Hope that this brief “precis” clears up the confusion many Muslims have regarding the Trinity and Incarnation.

    Thank you.

  5. Jason Loh says:

    Mari-lah kita sama sama menuju ke arah dialog peradaban …

    Let us together strive to move towards a inter-civilisational dialogue that forges and fosters, promotes, greater mutual understanding, acceptance, celebration, cooperation etc. etc. for the good of HUMANITY.

    Thank you.

  6. Jason Loh says:

    May I also add that the THREE-NESS of God, i.e. multiplicity is also absolutely unique and without parallel. In fact, unity and multiplicity are NOT DISTINCT concepts at all that can be independently, separately understood … that the Unity of God “BELONGS” to the Multiplicity of God and vice-versa.

    To put it simply, the Allah of Christians is not a solitary one, but a “social one.”

  7. Hj. Lee says:

    Mr. Jason,

    I would like to know, if Trinity is a centered doctrine of Christianity, can you point out to the readers here, where can we find the word ‘Trinity’ in the Bible?

    Thanks.

  8. Jason Loh says:

    Dear Haji Lee,

    The readers here are mainly Christians, unless you’re referring to Muslim readers.

    For Muslims readers who have never read the Bible, and I assume that you too have never read the Bible, please refer to Matthew 28 where Our Lord Jesus Christ gave the Church the Great Commission to proclaim the Gospel to all the world.

    I refer to verse 19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost …”

    Notice that the NAME is SINGULAR and yet the PERSON referred, that is the NAMED is in PLURAL.

    The Oneness of Allah in/ of the Bible is simultaneously Three-ness and vice and versa.

    Thank you.

  9. Jason Loh says:

    ONE God, Three Persons …

    Inconceivable to the human mind, illogical, paradoxical, impossible …

    Precisely … only by DIVINE REVELATION …

  10. Jason Loh says:

    Christianity is FULL of SCANDALOUS doctrines …

    I say this not to offend Muslims … but merely highlighting what is fact of the matter …

    God Who is God — The One Who does ALL in ALL – none can resist His will, He Who elects and reprobates UNCONDITIONALLY … according to His good pleasure from all eternity to eternity is in His hidden in the form of WEAKNESS, OPPOSITE to human reason … Christians have no other God than the Man Jesus Christ, the One hanging on the Cross as an accursed, a common criminal, a pariah … the GREATNESS hidden in LOWLINESS … it is on the Cross that Jesus Christ is the SAVIOUR of the world …

    The doctrine of Original Sin whereby the sinner is totally depraved, totally wicked in the sight of God … whose desire is to be like God in his (i.e. sinner’s) divine ambition to climb the ladder to heaven … is NEGATED by God the Son coming down – down to earth so that in being humanised, the sinner can once again be humanised …

    FAITH, not free-will establishes and expresses and completes the relationship between the CREATOR and creature.

    Free-will is the EFFECT not the cause; faith in the Creator as He comes in His Word makes a person justified because faith is the WHOLE person … justified …

    The justified then “turns back” into the world received as a GIFT to be CARED for, for the sake of the NEIGHBOUR … in love …

    He/ She who has been justified is FREE from SELF-justification … so that GOOD WORKS is directed at the neighbour who needs our good works …

    In justification, God gives of HIMSELF completely, holding nothing back … so that instead of we surrendering/ conforming to His will, He surrenders to sinners on the CROSS …

    It is only after justification that as NEW creatures … the New Man whose Old Adam has been KILLED by the WORD in Preaching and the Sacraments … that we surrender/ conform to God … and serve the neighbour as FELLOW human beings …

    SO CHRISTIANS DO NOT DISTINGUISH THEMSELVES FROM NON-CHRISTIANS ON THE BASIS OF ***DO-ING** WHETHER RELIGIOUS OR NOT BUT ONLY ***BE-ING*** WHEREBY THE CHRISTIAN IS COMPLETELY PASSIVE.

    THAT IS, GOD ALONE IS THE SOLE ACTOR AND NO ONE ELSE. THIS IS THE CHRISTIAN’S CONFESSION …

    The GOSPEL is from another world, another dimension … without the Law, no Law … which is complete and total FREEDOM, spontaneity …

    Our good works done for the sake of the neighbour is no different than non-Christians … whatever righteousness Christians have is NOT ***IN*** US but totally OUTSIDE of us, in a PERSON – JESUS CHRIST WHO BECAME SIN FOR THE SAKE OF SINNERS(!)

    So, understand that in any dialogue with Christians, Muslims must come to terms with Christianity’s scandalous doctrines since these are the very essence of Christianity.

    Thank you for your kind attention.

  11. Jason Loh says:

    Another common misconception about Christians by SOME Muslims is this: Christians do not make the Word of God holy … the Word of God is ACTIVE, it is the Word makes Christians who are PASSIVE holy …

    The actions of the Christians do not make the Word of God holy, it is the Bible when proclaimed in Word (preaching) and Sacraments that make Christians holy … so we hope that Muslims understand that for Christians … verbal CONFESSION in word and written confession cannot be separated anymore can than the Father can be separated from the Son.

    As I have mentioned, the One-ness of God is not a concept … whereby you and I can reason according to human logic … but it is an ENCOUNTER whereby the divine word of God is experienced as … God breaking-in, breaking through into this lost, sinful, hopeless, alienated world (in the sight of God no less) as Redeemer, Saviour, of His people — hence the Old Testament … which is full of the divine ascriptions … Shepherd, Rock, etc. etc.

    In other words, even in the Old Testament, God the Son Who revealed Himself to Abraham, Moses, David, etc. came into this world in the “signal” events of the history of salvation … the divine words are the very PROMISE of God to His people … these are now recorded in the Old Testament which is part of the Bible … The promise is no empty word … the promise does what it says and says what it does … This is why God the Son is the WORD of God …………..

    The divine word is also experienced as LAW and GOSPEL; JUDGMENT and GRACE … simultaneously, and “sequentially” … opposites which cannot be reconciled at all or subsumed into a oneness concept … these are REAL distinctions, not merely notional …

    The Law always judges, accuses of sin … the Law kills the sinner … condemns him so that the Law says NO EXIT … it is not an escape route to heaven but TRAP, PIT-FALL …

    The Gospel JUSTIFIES the sinner by raising up the new Adam in him/ her …

    So that CONTRARY to psychology, philosophy, etc. the Christian is ALWAYS two PERSONS … one and the same time and space, simultaneously … the Old and New Adams … battling and struggling and fighting against one another … until the end of the world.

    The Old Adam is SELF-RIGHTEOUS … he looks down on his fellow man! He thinks he is religious and holy and thus superior to his fellow man who is not all that …

    The New Man is ALREADY justified by the sheer pronouncement of the Word that does what it says and sys what it does … he/she is grateful to the triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the unconditional grace, unconditional love, that is NEVER EVER deserved or earned ……….

    Hope this clears up any misconceptions, prejudices, confusion, etc. by some Muslims regarding the Bible and Christianity …

    Thank you.

  12. Jason Loh says:

    Interfaith dialogue is ESSENTIAL …

    Any superior or ketuanan attitude must be rejected, renounced, denounced as destructive of national unity, national harmony, confidence-building, mutual trust, etc. …

    We must see each other as fellow members of the SAME HUMANITY …

    We must emphasis what is common and celebrate our differences …

    We must be sincere in wanting to promote mutual understanding, good will and solidarity …

    We must see the GOOD in each other …

  13. Jason Loh says:

    To finally answer your question, Hj Lee and Arah …

    No, the TRINITY is not central to Christianity in the way that Muslims understand it …

    You see, we do not believe in the One-ness of God by (human) reason … it could well be the God of Judaism, the God of Islam, the God of Aristotle, etc. etc. since the concept of oneness as a MATHEMATICAL one is universally understood by humanity …

    We believe in the One-ness of God because of the Gospel, again not by human effort (reason) but by divine ENCOUNTER(the sovereignty of God) … in the PROCLAMATION of the Gospel in Word & Sacraments.

    In other words … and this is a very important point to understand … Christians believe in the Trinity precisely because they have been BAPTISED into the NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT …

    So, the Gospel of justification of faith … of Baptism … of the Lord’s Supper … of Absolution (“I forgive you”) is CENTRAL to Christianity …whereby God ALONE as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the SOLE ACTOR of salvation …

    Hope this clears up any confusion or misunderstanding ….

    Let us therefore strive towards greater understanding of one another at a time when the term, “Allah” is POLITICISED …

    Thank you.

  14. Hj. Lee says:

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for your brief answer, however you failed to show me where is the word ‘Trinity’ ever existed in the Bible. Regarding Matthew 28:19 that you have pointed out in above, some of the scholars have suspected that this verse is a concoction for many reasons. The church fathers like Origen and Eusebius have quoted Matthew 28:19 differently such, “..baptist in my name (only Jesus)” rather than, “..in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Quotation by Origen and Eusebius have supported by many other verses such as Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5, Galatians 3:27, Rom 6:3 and many other verses whereas Matthew 28:19 not even existed in any other Gospels including Mark Gospel – the most earliest Gospel which Matthews himself has copied from. SO which is the right baptists’ formula – Matthew 28:19 or Acts 2:38, 8:16, 19:5, Galatians 3:27, Rom 6:3?

    Not only the word ‘Trinity’ is not existed in Bible but the word like ‘God the Son’ too never existed any where in the Bible and yet Christians here are busy claiming another God – ‘Allah’ which I don’t know where you will put this Divine’s Name in your Bible among other divine terms that still unproven biblically. For me this is ridiculous and so rude.

  15. Jason Loh says:

    Dear Haji Lee,

    You are not interested in dialogue but simply want to DENY Christians the right to use the word, “Allah.” Yes, the Christians who use the word, “Allah” are POOR, DEPRIVED, UNDERPRIVILEGED ***BUMIPUTERAS.***

    So much for you asking a question.

    Now, I challenge you to show me from the Quran no less where does it mention “muhammad”? Muhammad is not only a name; in fact it can refer to a TITLE such as the PRAISED ONE. The tite Muhammad only appears 4 times in the Quran, a shaky foundation to claim prophethood.

    The ARABIC inscription on the Dome of the Rock does NOT mention Muhammad at all but only Jesus – which implies that whoever placed the inscription were perhaps a Judaeo-Christian sect.

    I also challenge you to prove from the Quran, the Hadith and whatever traditions there to show that Jews, Christians, Sabeans, and even “Pagan” are prohibited from claiming the word, “Allah” …

    The burden of the proof is on you to dispute what is an UNBROKEN tradition …

    Where are the fatwas or rulings from the MIDDLE EAST that Christians are not allowed to use the term, “Allah”? Even in their most severest PERSECUTION, Christians have never been forbidden to use the term, “Allah” whether in profession and practice.

    What about Indonesia? Are the Muslims in Indonesia apostates too???

    The PROFESSION & PRACTICE of a religion other than Islam is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, A FOUNDATIONAL RIGHT that is PROTECTED by the CONSTITUTION. Denying Christians the fundamental right to use the word, “Allah” is an ABSOLUTE INFRINGEMENT of the fundamental right to FREEDOM of religion.

    Remember also that this is not only an encroachment into the religious space of Christians, it is also an infringement of the fundamental rights of SIKHS, BAHAIS, ETC. even the Sacred Scriptures of Hinduism contain the word, “Allah.” In short, this not only a Christian issue but emphatically involve the fundamental rights of non-Muslims to profess and practice their religions free from interference and intervention from outsiders.

    It is therefore downright rude and ridiculous of you to come to a Christian forum under the pretext and pretense of dialogue to then try to IMPOSE you views on us and other non-Muslims.

    As I have said, the issue of Allah has been POLITICISED. It is a non-issue that has been politicised by certain quarters which does nothing to promote interfaith relations.

    The only way to go is for DIALOGUE which means Muslims must come to terms with the scandalous teachings of Christianity in order for there to be understanding and empathy.

  16. Jason Loh says:

    For any interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims, it is essential to remember that Oneness of God (Unity) is NOT unique to either religions. The Oneness of God is FUNDAMENTAL to Judaism. Hinduism in its original form is also monotheistic. Zorostoarianism is monotheistic. Sikhism is monotheistic. And so on and so forth.

    It is how the Oneness of God is expressed which makes the uniqueness, not the concept itself. As it is, the doctrine of the Trinity is not a concept in the normal sense of the word though it can and must be expressed, formulated, articulated in propositions …

    And that which requires the MENTAL assent of Christians though it DOES includes that but primarily the ENCOUNTER between the Divine PERSONS and human PERSONS. Christians are baptised INTO the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This is why the divine and human can have a RELATIONSHIP.

    A person is not a WHAT; a person is a WHO. The “who” of a person is unique, unrepeatable and ultimate. That is the doctrine of the Trinity asserts the PRIMACY of the Person, not Essence. Essence (“Nature”) is what “constitutes” the Person; Person EXPRESSES the Essence. So, in Christianity, EXISTENCE *precedes* or comes before “Essence” – which is why I shared that the Trinity is not a concept.

    “Essence” therefore is an ABSTRACTION. There is no Essence apart from the Person. One does NOT “know” the Essence DIRECTLY but indirectly “through” the Person. This is why there is an ANALOGY between the divine and human person (which allows for a relationship expressed in “union and communion”). This is why we do not say refer the origins of the human race or humanity to human nature itself but to ADAM (person).

    Genesis 1:26 (Old Testament) records the following verse:

    “And GOD said, Let US make man in our image, after OUR likeness …”

    The Hebrew word for God here is Elohim which I understand in Genesis 1:26 is employed as a PLURAL noun. In other words, plurality is “ascribed” to the One God.

  17. CosmicBoy says:

    Dear Hj Lee,

    Does the word ‘tauhid’ existed in the Quran. Kindly show me, please???

  18. Dennis Baru says:

    The muslim idea of ‘tauhid’ exists as a concept in islam and the koran. Christians can also play ‘lee’s’ childish game (and the others like him) to demand for that precise term ‘tauhid’ to be extracted from it..!

    The Holy Trinity certainly exists also as a concept in the Bible, not just in the NT but also in the OT, even in the book of Genesis. The Trinity exists as a definite concept in Jesus’ teachings and in the canonical gospels as well in the Johanine, Jesus proclaimed his unique Sonship, his divinity and his unique divine authority not only by his words but moreso by His actions, deeds and public behavior.

    Jesus earliest followers’ already caught this at the very outset, and it became an essential part and parcel of the church’s confession as part of their creed. It was not ‘created’ at Nicea but merely affirmed there as what was already confessed by the church and traced back to Christ’s apostles.

    We can also ask our muslim friends if their ‘shahadah’ or the 2-part islamic confession creed, is found in the koran as-is. Can we find it in it’s two parts formula, together in one sentence or ayat, there? There’s none. That was man-made and put together by theologians in its current formula, as a confession of the mukmin and for the new converts.

    Dennis.