Archive for the ‘Interfaith Encounters’ Category.

Evangelical Essentials: Correcting Ill-Informed Muslim Activists and Fitnah Against Christians

Many social critics have ridiculed Azril Mohd Amin, CEO of CENTHRA for his ignorance when he called for Evangelicalism to be outlawed in Malaysia [Outlaw Evangelicalism in Malaysia, says Islamic Coalition]. Some even questioned whether Azril is intellectually competent to address the issue when he confuses and conflates such elementary terms like “Evangelism” and “Evangelicalism”.

“Evangelism” refers simply to the sharing of good news that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) In contrast, “Evangelicalism” refers to the trans-denominational global movement which emphasizes the divine inspiration of the Bible with its central message of Christ work of atonement on the cross, and the necessity of experience of conversion.

In any case, the ignorance displayed by Azril is easily remedied by giving a concise history of Evangelicalism which includes many distinguished thinkers and social reformers. Continue reading ‘Evangelical Essentials: Correcting Ill-Informed Muslim Activists and Fitnah Against Christians’ »

Is Zakir Naik is too Stubborn to Understand Jesus’ Claim to be God?

Zakir Naik has just challenged Christians to produce a verse in the bible where Jesus unequivocally claims to be God, and as such people should worship him. This would require a direct statement like “I am God” or “worship me” from the lips of Jesus. The challenge is either misguided or insincere.

Zakir Naik displays a simplistic mindset in failing to understanding Jesus’ teaching. His demand that Jesus gives a direct proclamation shows no appreciation of Jesus’ wisdom that is needed to address an audience that is hostile and threatening violence towards him. Continue reading ‘Is Zakir Naik is too Stubborn to Understand Jesus’ Claim to be God?’ »

Zakir Naik Exposed

Dr. Zakir Naik Makes 25 mistakes in 5 min

Zakir Naik gives the impression that he is a very learned man as he effortlessly quotes [selected] verses from the Bible. However, there is much less than meets the eye. Often times he quotes Scripture out of context in order to impose an alien teaching on the Bible, like claiming that the Bible teaches about the coming of Muhammad. I shall leave the easy task of refuting his ludicrous claims to other writers.

For the moment I invite readers to view the following YouTube episode which exposes Zakir Naik’s habit of making flippant and misleading claims (some people would call them lies). LINK – Zakir Naik Makes 25 Mistakes in 5 MinutesContinue reading ‘Zakir Naik Exposed’ »

God, Christ & Humanity: Christian & Muslim Perspectives (Part 2)

Part 2: Jesus Christ-Eschatological [Final] Prophet And Incarnate Savior: A Christian Proposal To Muslims

Muslims assert the utter transcendence of God. Divine revelation therefore takes the form of revealed commandments rather than a revealed person. The issue that separates Christians and Muslims is whether or not the claim that Jesus Christ as the decisive revelation of God compromises the utter transcendence of God. Resolving this issue requires an inquiry into the prophetic calling of Jesus. We need to ask whether Jesus ministry went beyond mere proclamation and constituted an adequate, if not decisive, act of divine salvation for humankind. Continue reading ‘God, Christ & Humanity: Christian & Muslim Perspectives (Part 2)’ »

God, Christ & Humanity: Christian & Muslim Perspectives (Part 1)

Part 1: God and Humanity in Islam & Christianity

Thesis: Ultimately, the difference between Islam and Christianity is that the former views the relationship between God and man within the field of power. The Divine-human encounter becomes a contest of strength where human submission is a matter of expediency in the face of sheer dominant power. In contrast, Christianity views the relationship as one that is moral: God, despite his sovereignty, treats human beings as persons with inherent dignity (since they are created in His image). God seeks allegiance from man based not on expediency but as a grateful response to a God who passionately cares for his welfare (c.f., pathos in Abraham Heschel’s work).  Man may fail to perceive the depths of divine pathos. Without a personal revelation from God, man can only be dimly aware of divine pathos in pale and fragmented forms, described as divine sorrow, pity, wrath, and compassion because of his psychological limitations, although divine pathos must be perfect and complete within the divine Trinity. However, these partial perceptions of divine pathos are fully revealed and experienced as divine love when manifested at the cross. Hence the glorious declaration in 2 Corinthians 5:19 – in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself. Continue reading ‘God, Christ & Humanity: Christian & Muslim Perspectives (Part 1)’ »

Penerangan Ringkas Tentang Kepercayaan Kristian

Al-Quran menegaskan bahawa umat Islam yang awal percaya kepada apa yang diturunkan kepada Ahli Kitab – Al-Ankabut 29:46

[Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book, except with those of them who act unjustly. Say, ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you; our God and your God are one [and the same]; we are devoted to Him.’ M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

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 Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” Yusuf Ali

Dan janganlah kamu berbahas dengan Ahli Kitab melainkan dengan cara yang lebih baik, kecuali orang-orang yang berlaku zalim di antara mereka; dan katakanlah (kepada mereka): “Kami beriman kepada (Al-Quran) yang diturunkan kepada kami dan kepada (Taurat dan Injil) yang diturunkan kepada kamu; dan Tuhan kami, juga Tuhan kamu, adalah Satu; dan kepadaNyalah, kami patuh dengan berserah diri.” http://www.iium.edu.my/deed/quran/malay/

 

Walau bagaimanapun, ramai orang Islam hari ini menolak pengajaran Alkitab kerana salah faham. Untuk menyelesaikan salah faham mereka, kami ingin menawarkan penerangan ringkas tentang kepercayaan Kristian seperti yang berikut:

 

SOALAN-SOALAN LAZIM (FAQ)

JAWAPAN KEPADA PERTANYAAN YANG SERING DIAJUKAN OLEH ORANG ISLAM

1. ‘Mengapa orang Kristian percaya kepada Tritunggal? Adakah kamu percaya kepada tiga tuhan?’
Orang Kristian tidak percaya kepada tiga tuhan! Kami percaya kepada Allah yang esa sahaja, sama seperti orang Muslim. Apabila kami berkata tentang Allah Bapa, Allah Anak dan Allah Roh Kudus, ia bukan merujuk kepda tiga tuhan yang berlainan. Seperti Islam, agama Kristian adalah agama tauhid.  Istilah “Tritunggal” tidak terdapat di dalam Alkitab, tetapi idea itu diajar di dalam Alkitab.

2. ‘Mengapa kamu berkata bahawa Yesus itu “Anak Allah”?’
Kerana Yesus menyatakan dirinya sebagai ‘Anak’ dan memanggil Allah sebagai ‘Bapa’ dan ‘Bapa-Ku’. Kami tidak percaya Yesus adalah anak Allah hasil dari satu penyatuan fizikal. Idea seperti itu bertentangan dengan kepercayaan kami, sama seperti orang Islam.

Kami percaya bahawa ‘Allah itu Kasih’ di dalam persona-Nya, dan terdapat satu perhubungan kasih antara Allah Bapa, Allah Anak dan Allah Roh Kudus, bahkan sebelum dunia ini dicipta. Yesus adalah lebih daripada seorang nabi, kerana Dia adalah 100% manusia dan 100% Allah pada masa yang sama. Apabila kami merujuk kepada Yesus sebagai Anak Allah, itu adalah satu istilah yang paling mudah untuk menyatakan bahawa Yesus sama seperti Allah, dan ini tidak pernah dan tidak akan berlaku kepada mana-mana manusia lain. Apabila kita menujukan pandangan kepada Yesus, kita mempunyai satu idea tentang Allah.

 3. ‘Mengapa kamu percaya Yesus disalib?’
Kerana itu yang diajar oleh Kitab Suci. Perjanjian Baru menyatakan bukan kerana kelemahan Allah yang menyebabkan Yesus disalib, tetapi itu adalah cara-Nya untuk menunjukkan kejahatan sifat manusia yang sebenar.  Tetapi ia juga adalah cara Allah menunjukkan betapa besar kasih-Nya terhadap manusia kerana ingin mengampuni dosa kita. Orang Kristian melihat penyaliban Yesus sebagai satu ‘korban untuk penebusan dosa’ yang terakhir dan sempurna, sehingga tidak memerlukan korban lain yang selanjutnya. Allah membenarkan Yesus untuk mati kerana semua manusia akan mati apabila tiba waktunya. Tetapi dengan membangkitkan Yesus semula, Allah bukan sahaja menampakkan diri dan identiti sebenar Yesus, tetapi juga memusnahkan kuasa kematian untuk selama-lamanya bagi mereka yang percaya kepada Yesus.

4. ‘Alkitab kamu telah dipalsukan.’
Saya tahu ini adalah yang telah diajarkan kepada anda untuk sekian lama. Tetapi adakah anda pernah membaca Alkitab?  Menurut Al-Quran, mesej yang diturunkan oleh Allah kepada Nabi Muhammad mengesahkan Kitab-Kitab Suci yang terdahulu – Taurat Musa, Zabur Daud, dan Injil Yesus. Jika semua Kitab Suci tersebut yang berada di dalam tangan kaum Yahudi dan Kristian pada zaman Nabi Muhammad telah dipalsukan, bagaimanakah Al-Quran boleh mengesahkan Kitab-Kitab Suci yang dinyatakan? Bolehkah anda memberitahu saya siapa yang memalsukan Kitab-Kitab Suci tersebut, dan bilakah ia berlaku? Mahukah anda membaca riwayat Yesus yang terdapat di dalam Injil kami? Bagaimana anda boleh mendakwa bahawa Alkitab telah dipalsukan kalau anda sendiri tidak pernah membacanya?

5. ‘Alkitab penuh dengan kesilapan dan percanggahan.’
Orang Kristian tahu tentang percanggahan yang anda dapati di dalam Alkitab kerana cendekiawan Kristian telah lama mengetahui hal tersebut.  Tetapi cendekiawan Kristian mempunyai cara sendiri untuk menerangkan perkara tersebut, malah kebanyakannya boleh diterangkan dengan mudah. Yang lain memerlukan tafsiran yang lebih mendalam lagi. Adakah anda sedia untuk mendengar penjelasan kami?

Sebenarnya ini juga boleh berlaku kepada anda. Ada orang Kristian yang mengatakan bahawa ada banyak  percanggahan di dalam Al-Quran. Bagaimanakah perasaan anda jika saya mengkritik Al-Quran?  Tetapi saya tidak mahu melakukan itu kerana saya tidak berminat untuk mengkritik Al-Quran. Jika orang Islam tidak suka orang Kristian mengkritik Al-Quran, mengapakah orang Islam berbuat demikian terhadap Alkitab?

Anda mempunyai masalah dengan percanggahan di dalam Alkitab kerana anda  membuat perbandingan di antara Alkitab dengan Al-Quran.  Anda percaya bahawa Al-Quran telah diturunkan kepada Nabi Muhammad secara langsung, dan mengandaikan Injil juga sedemikian.  Orang Kristian percaya bahawa Alkitab adalah Firman Allah, dan melalui Roh Kudus Allah telah mengilhami para penulis untuk menulis kitab-kitab di dalam Alkitab. Tetapi Firman Allah di dalam Alkitab ditulis oleh ramai penulis. Jadi bagi orang Kristian, Alkitab adalah Firman Allah dan juga perkataan manusia.  Masalah asas di antara kita berdua adalah kita mempunyai pandangan yang berbeza tentang cara Firman Allah diturunkan kepada manusia. Orang Islam percaya bahawa wahyu teragung daripada Allah diturunkan di dalam bentuk sebuah buku, iaitu Al-Quran. Tetapi bagi orang Kristian, kami percaya bahawa wahyu teragung diturunkan melalui satu peribadi,  iaitu Yesus.

6. ‘Kami percaya bahawa Yesus seorang nabi. Mengapakah kamu tidak percaya bahawa Muhammad juga seorang nabi’
Kalau kami mengiktiraf Muhammad sebagai seorang nabi seperti umat Islam, maka kami semua menjadi Muslim. Kami dengan sukacitanya menerima ajaran daripada Al-Quran bahawa Allah itu Esa, sama seperti yang diajar di dalam Alkitab. Tetapi kami tidak percaya pada seluruh Al-Quran kerana pengajarannya berbeza dan bercanggah dengan ajaran di dalam Kitab Suci kami.

Kami percaya bahawa Yesus adalah nabi yang terakhir, Kalimahtullah yang terunggul dan terakhir untuk seluruh dunia. Yesus adalah wahyu Allah yang sempurna dan lengkap di dalam bentuk manusia, dan kami tidak percaya bahawa terdapat wahyu yang lebih sempurna tentang Allah selepas Yesus.

7. ‘Mengapa kamu tidak percaya bahawa Alkitab bernubuat tentang kedatangan Muhammad?’
Ada dua ayat Alkitab yang sering dipetik untuk menyampaikan idea tersebut. Yang pertama dipetik daripada kitab Ulangan, di mana terdapat nubuatan tentang seorang nabi yang akan datang: ‘Seorang nabi dari tengah-tengahmu, dari antara saudara-saudaramu,  sama seperti aku, akan dibangkitkan bagimu oleh TUHAN, Allahmu; dialah yang harus kamu dengarkan.’ (Ulangan 18:15).  Ini tidak mungkin merujuk kepada Muhammad kerana Musa berkata nabi tersebut akan datang ‘dari antara saudara-saudaramu’, iaitu dari bani Israel.

Ayat kedua adalah pernyataan Yesus tentang kedatangan seorang Paraclete: ‘Aku akan minta kepada Bapa, dan Dia akan memberikan kepadamu seorang Penolong yang lain, supaya Dia menyertai kamu selama-lamanya.’ (Yohanes 14:16; sila rujuk juga kepada 14:26, 15:26, 16:7). Orang Kristian sentiasa mentafsirkan kata-kata Yesus ini tentang kedatangan Roh Kudus. Yesus tidak pernah bercakap tentang seorang nabi yang akan datang selepas Dia.

Sumber: Colin Chapman, The Cross and the Crescent IVP Books 2008.

Artikel Berkaitan – FAQ: JAWAPAN KEPADA SOALAN-SOALAN ORANG ISLAM

Jawapan Kepada Soalan-Soalan Orang Islam

Kesusasteraan polemik yang menyerang kepercayaan Kristian mudah didapati di kebanyakan kedai-kedai buku di Malaysia. Namun daripada merasa takut, umat Kristian mengalu-alukan serangan seperti itu kerana ia memberikan peluang kepada orang Kristian untuk menjelaskan iman mereka.

Tetapi dengan tulus hormatilah Kristus sebagai Tuhan dalam hidup kamu. Hendaklah kamu sentiasa bersedia memberikan jawapan kepada sesiapa sahaja yang meminta kamu menjelaskan harapan yang kamu miliki. Tetapi lakukanlah hal itu dengan lemah lembut dan hormat. Hendaklah hati nurani kamu murni, supaya apabila kamu difitnah kerana hidup dengan baik sebagai pengikut Kristus, orang yang memfitnah kamu itu akan menjadi malu (1Petrus 3:15-16).

Lebih penting lagi, ada orang Islam yang secara ikhlas bertanya soalan mengenai kepercayaan Kristian dalam mencari persefahaman antara agama. Untuk orang-orang Muslim yang ikhlas seperti inilah kami tawarkan, “Jawapan Kepada Soalan-Soalan Orang Islam”. Semoga Allah memberkati umat Kristian dan umat Islam di Malaysia dengan persefahaman dan saling menghormati.

 

FAQ: JAWAPAN KEPADA SOALAN-SOALAN ORANG ISLAM Continue reading ‘Jawapan Kepada Soalan-Soalan Orang Islam’ »

A Christian Social Vision for Malaysia: Call for Dialogue

A group of Christian leaders and professionals call upon all Malaysians to dialogue on how to work together to build a shared nation.

 A CHRISTIAN SOCIAL VISION FOR MALAYSIA

I. PREAMBLE

Malaysia was formed as a multi-racial and multi-religious nation with a constitutional democracy which grants equality and religious liberty to all citizens under the law. However, recent social-political developments have caused deep concerns that the rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution are being undermined by racial and religious extremism resulting in political marginalization of minority groups, increasing authoritarianism in government and society leading to the restriction of freedom of speech, assembly and association of citizens as well as encroachment by religious authorities on the fundamental liberties of all citizens.

Many individuals and groups have expressed similar concerns. As Christians, we are mindful of the call from the Holy Bible to be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). As such, we, members of Kairos Dialogue Network would like to share our Christian social vision and call upon fellow-Malaysians of good will to come together for rational discourse and open dialogue. Our hope is that with commitment, we will succeed in building consensus, regardless of our colour, creed or confession and work together to build a harmonious, peaceful and progressive society.

II. OUR CHRISTIAN CONVICTIONS

A. OUR AFFIRMATION

To read the full statement go to:

Kairos Dialogue Network
— Website http://kairosdialoguenetwork.org/
— Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/kairosdialoguenetwork/
— Twitter https://twitter.com/kairosdialogue

Kota Kinabalu Declaration 2014 on Malaysia Day

An important declaration calling the Federal government to honor the Malaysia Agreement (1963) and implement just governance that gives due recognition and respect for the rights of citizens of Sabah and Sarawak.

Highlights

7 AND WHEREAS the proliferation of oppressive laws that violates our fundamental civil liberties continues unabated, the legislative, executive and the judiciary must take urgent measures to remove such offensive laws and selective prosecutions and to restore just, fair, and democratic principles of governance as envisaged by the framers of our Constitution and our founding fathers.

12 AND WHEREAS Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practised and people of other faiths shall have the constitutional right and freedom to profess, practise, propagate, and manage their respective faiths without interference and intervention by the State. 13 AND WHEREAS the Constitution provides for laws to be enacted for the administration of Islam, such laws shall not be applied to non-Muslims nor non-Muslims be subject to Shariah law.

14 AND WHEREAS freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and set out in the first of the 18 and 20-point conditions of Sarawak and Sabah respectively to be part of the Malaysia Agreement, but the legislative, executive and judiciary have persistently and wilfully trampled upon such rights of people of other faiths by making laws and decisions that militate against such freedom. The prohibition of the usage of the word ‘Allah’ by Bumiputera Christians to refer to the one true God and the restricted ban on the use of the Alkitab, the Malay language Bible, since the early 1980s are instances of gross violations of human rights.

19 AND WHEREAS there are extremist dakwah elements who undertake aggressive Islamisation by both covert and overt means to convert Bumiputera Christians through intimidation, deception, or inducements particularly targeting remote and poor villagers as well as conversions of school children living in government hostels. The National Registration Department despite its denials are also classifying native Christians with ‘bin’ or ‘binti’ in their names as Muslims in their MyKad without their knowledge or consent. Such unlawful and oppressive practices must stop immediately. Continue reading ‘Kota Kinabalu Declaration 2014 on Malaysia Day’ »

Answers to Questions Muslims Ask Part 2

In response to questions raised at the controversial “Seminar Kalimah Allah & Kristology Nusantara (“The word ‘Allah’ and Christology in the Malay Archipelago”) held on 6 May 2014 at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Shah Alam, I would like to invite sincere Muslim inquirers to read the FAQ document given below.

QUESTIONS MUSLIMS ASK – Also available in PDF format Questions Muslims Ask

ABOUT WORSHIP

QUESTION 1: It seems that you Christians have no “Religion”. You do just as you like, when you go to pray, some of you beat drums, some clap, some dance, some sit, some stand. Have you forgotten the way of worship which God laid down for you through the teaching of Moses and Jesus?

ANSWER: The “Religion” which Jesus Christ ordained for us is that we should worship God “in spirit and in truth”. Jesus emphasized that it is the pure in heart who will see God (John 4:24; Matthew 5:8).

Certainly every Christian must worship God; such worship helps us to cleanse our hearts and our lives. The essential part of Christian worship is the same in all Churches. In all services of worship we read the Bible, praise God, give thanks to Him, confess our sins and pray for others as well as for ourselves. But Jesus did not give us detailed rules about the form of our worship. He didn’t prescribe one form of service which every Christian must follow. So we are free to use our own language, and to worship in accordance with our own customs, so far as these do not conflict with our faith in Christ.

Of course Muslims as well have some small differences among themselves in the way that they perform their Ritual Prayer. At a certain point in the prayer there are some who put their hands to the sides, while others fold their arms across the breast. Continue reading ‘Answers to Questions Muslims Ask Part 2’ »