Monday, July 09, 2007

A Muslim Christian or a Christian Muslim?

Perhaps you heard about this a few weeks ago: An Episcopal priest made the news because she declared herself to be both a Christian and a Muslim. Sound silly? It ought to. Such a synthesis is only possible when both faiths are stripped of everything that makes them meaningful and are reduced to banal platitudes and empty theology. Unfortunately, that's not uncommon in the Episcopal church in America, at least if the news stories are any indication.

In any event, the church hasn't descended too far into lunacy, as she's been stripped of her position and leadership roles for a year. I imagine she'll need to rethink her faiths until then. She seems a bit defiant, but a year is a long time.

Hat tip: Dr. Mohler


Meera said...

i hope the following question makes sense. i'm not entirely positive how to phrase it. (in my head, it's related to the actual post though it may not be in yours :))

i ALMOST understand how a whole lot of christians/muslims/whoever can say "our god is the only right one. the way we think is the only right way." (i don't agree, but i can see where people are coming from.) that being said, how does that sort of attitude excuse the varying beliefs of different denominations? who decides which denominations within the religion are more right than others? are the nuances ignored because at least everyone believes in the same god?

also: i'm not sure if it's sad or awesome that an online comic can sum up how i feel about most "we're the only right ones" religions:

Hal said...

Yeah, I saw those comics. Pretty funny all the same.

As for your question, it's not an uncommon one. It's one non-Protestants will ask quite often (Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.).

It can be summed up by this statement: In the essentials, unity; In all else, charity.

In other words, when you consider Christian teaching and scriptures, there are certain issues which cannot be evaded and cannot be changed without ignoring the actual text and history. These things include the divinity of Christ, the purpose of his death, the means of salvation . . . central issues to Christianity. With these, you could put someone from any denomination in a room and find that they would be in agreement on said issues.

Then, there are other issues where differences can be chalked up to a difference of interpretation, or a different tack on the historical traditions. These will cover a huge range of doctrines and ideas, but baptism and communion are two common doctrines found in this category. Is baptism by immersion or by sprinkling? Infants or believers? In these cases, though, the difference in practice between two denominations will (or at least should) not cause one to label the other "non-Christian." This is because some issues may not be clear from scripture, or even covered at all.

I hope that answer was sufficient.