Do Christians and Jews worship the same God?

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  • A further short note on Paul's words in Acts 17:22, which shows Paul rather wisely opening his statement with what seems a carefully selected statement.

    Acts 17:22 (NASB)

    So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.

    It seems obvious to me that Paul was by no means crediting them with worshiping the true God, seeing that he made reference to their many idols in town. Paul's word choice for the expression "very religious" also indicates that Paul did not consider them to be worshiping the true God, not even unknowingly.

    The two words "very religous" in the NASB are the translation of the Greek word δεισιδαιμονεστέρους (deisidaimonesterous) from deidō (“to fear, to revere”), daimōn (“demons, deities, evil spirits”), and stereos (“firm”). The word conveys that the Athenians were rather firm in their reverencing of their "deities". Of course, while the Athenians would have thought of their various deities as gods, Paul's use of this word implied that these Athenian deities/gods were actually evil spirits or demons, but not really gods.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,605

    @Mitchell posted:

    What practically speaking does 'superior' mean? Does this really mean that at some point Paul thinks of idol worship as an inferior yet somehow valid form worship of the One true God?

    In my view, your comment misapprehends my use of the word "superior," an adjective, other than to contend that Paul believed his God was better, I did NOT use to quantify the value of what in your previous post you called "the numerous know gods the Athenians also built shrines for" (I'm not sure what you meant by "know gods"). But remember a God who IS God IS "superior" to a god who is NOT God in any way. "[G]ods out of 'gold, silver, or stone,'" which were the specific ones my "superior" sentence referenced, were not gods at all in Paul's view, a fact in light of which I claimed that Paul "certainly" believed his God was "superior."

    A quick example: As tea, a cup of brewed tea is "superior" to a cup of plain water. The water is not tea at all, so my claim of brewed tea's superiority in this instance clearly does not impute any tea-based value to the water.

    In other words, I don't believe an idol - who is NOT God - has to have ANY value for it to be "inferior" to the god who IS God, so my answer to your second question is no.


    What does the Athenians' worship of an unknown mean? And, were there Athenian individuals that were only worshiping the unknown God, or were Athenian individuals worshiping the unknown God in conjunction with the other gods signified by the various shrines? And, if so does Paul consider these expressions of faith to be permissible for people in general and/or for Christians?

    Both in its context and on the basis of the Greek word used in the text ("agnoeo") "unknown" seems to mean not well- or perhaps at all understood. An interesting verse to consider in this regard comes from Jesus' John 4 encounter with the woman at the well in which he tells her, "You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews." Samaritanism was related to but not the same as Judaism, so by his comment Jesus seems to extend the reach of his God to a non-Judaistic faith. Two faiths, but the same God.

    As for your questions about the spiritual demographics of the Athenians, I don't think the text identifies the permutations in which they worshiped the various gods. Paul was "deeply troubled" by all the idols he saw in town (Acts 17.16, NLT), which leads me to conclude he would have been deeply troubled by anyone's allegiance to any combination that included an idol, whether Christian or not. (Though I must note that by definition, a "Christian" is one who does not worship idols, but rather the one God who sent Jesus into the world as Messiah and savior. So in my view, your inquiry into Paul's view of whether Christians could permissibly include idol worship in their faith answers itself.)


    If, the above is the case I wonder why it is that Paul can on one hand feel such spiritual fellowship/Friendship with Anthenians but on the other hand be so very critical of his Jewish brethren whom actually share at that point in history the very same scriptures as him, and much of the same understanding of the one true God him, and who are by heritage his brothers/sisters.

    I don't think Paul exhibits spiritual "fellowship" with the Athenians. I used the word "camaraderie" to describe his connection with them NOT as a signal of intimacy, but as an indication of shared interest in spiritual matters. He tells the Athenians that he's noticed they are "very religious in every way" (Acts 17.22, NLT).

    As for his comparatively more critical comments about his Jewish brothers and sisters, I think he explains that in Romans 9.2-5: The Jews are HIS OWN people; the Athenians are not. Don't we all address more directly, less carefully, more bluntly the family members and others with whom we have long-standing friendships than people new to us, people on whom we're trying to make a good first impression? I'm not at all surprised by the difference in Paul's tone between the two audiences.


    However as mentioned before Paul's Jewish brothers and sisters did share far more in common with him than did the Athenians and his Jewish Brothers and sisters knew the one true God in ways that the Athenians clearly did not as they were refering to the One true God as an unknown. If Paul feels fellowship with the Anthenians just because they have an altar to an unknown God why would he not feel much, much, much more connection with his Jewish brother/sisters and with the individuals mention in the book of Galatians?

    Again, I dispute your use of the word "fellowship" to describe Paul's connection with the Athenians. I think he considers them and himself both spiritually curious. I don't think he believes they travel the same spiritual road.

    I also dispute your apparent contention that he doesn't feel "much, much, much more connection with his Jewish brothers/sister." From the Romans text I cited above, it's clear that he DOES feel far closer his Jewish spiritual family than he does to the Athenians. Recall that in my previous response to you, of Paul I wrote, "I don't think he would call those [Athenian] worshipers his brothers and sisters in Christ, however, because Christ is a specific manifestation of God's self-disclosure, one not common to all who worship God."

    In my view, Paul can be both evangelistic and civil to the Athenians without feeling a spiritual connection to them that's comparable to his connection with his Jewish spiritual kindred. I see no evidence in the Acts 17 text of such a connection.


    And, I thought you maintained that all expressions of faith were some how directed at the one true God? Well, then in your paradigm how does one discern the worship of the One true God from the worship of false gods?

    In a previous post to you, I wrote, "The point I've tried to make is that observers of God who disagree with each other's conclusions are still talking about the same God, whether those observers think so or not." That's the case, so I've argued, because there's only God for those observers to be commenting about. That is, my comments in this thread have been much more about who God is than about who the observers of God are.

    Specific to polytheistic faiths, in a previous post I acknowledged to you that they "clearly propose a formation that is at odds with my central claim of one and only one God. That reality poses an existential threat to some of the claims I made in my last post. So for the moment, my claim that ALL who seek God must believe in the same God, however differently described and experienced, is on life support." I'm open to your suggestions as to how I can make that acknowledgement any clearer.


    If, all faiths/religions are expressions of worship to the one true God(as you seemed to claim earlier), why would it be necessary to make disciples? Or rather what would the making of disciples mean in such a paradigm? Would this mean that people convert or move from on expression of faith to another? Or would it mean that people continue in whatever expression of faith they belonged to but are 'disciples'?

    I've obviously not made myself very clear in this thread. I apologize.

    My comments have been about God more than they've been about people of faith. Adherents to each faith community have what seems to me to be an obligation (or at least some responsibility) to share/pass along the claims and witness of their faith. I continue to make disciples because Jesus commanded me to. That I believe Muslims believe in the same God as I do doesn't make me a Muslim any more than it makes Muslims Christians! I contend by faith that Christ is God's revealed to the world, but I respect and appreciate that for Muslims, God's revelation is different. Can God speak through voices other than Jesus? Yes. Is God revealed to some degree in the Islamic faith? Yes. How much? I don't know.


    You've asked basically all the questions in our exchange in this thread. Please address a couple of mine: Do you believe your God speaks in any form, fashion, or amount through religions other than Judaism and Christianity? When a religion other than those two commands its adherents to love of others and the pursuit of justice, do you believe your God is the origin of those commands, or do you credit other sources as their origin?

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,605

    @Wolfgang posted:

    I do not see Paul anywhere identifying the true God with the idol behind the altar "to the unknown God" the Athenians were worshiping. The Athenians had this altar to an "unknown God" solely in order to sort of not miss any "god" (from a Biblical view, an "idol") and thereby perhaps invoke this "god's" wrath. The Athenians were NOT ignorantly worshiping the true God, but instead were consciously worshiping idols, and that to a degree which the record in Acts 17 describes as "city was given completely to idolatry" (Acts 17:16).


    When Paul says to the Athenians...

    "...for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about."

    ... what identifying information about their "unknown God" do you believe Paul is offering to them? Where in that text or any other part of the Acts 17 passage do you find support for your claim that "[t]he Athenians had this altar to an "unknown God" solely in order to sort of not miss any 'god'," or that Paul believed such to be the purpose of that altar? [FWIW, in THIS POST I presented at least three other "Where in the text..." questions for your response.]

    Furthermore, they seemed rather hostile to anyone preaching "a foreign god" as the scene as a whole and what is recorded in Acts 17 indicates to me.

    It's relevant to note that the result of Paul's engagement with the Athenians was that 1) some scoffed, 2) others wanted to hear more (both, Acts 17.32), and 3) still others joined Paul and became believers (Acts 17.33-34). It seems to me that such a result indicates, at minimum, there were limits to the Athenians' hostility.


    If the true God gave such commandment and rules [to commit genocide], you would be describing the one true God. If the true God did not give such commandment, you would be giving a false report of Him.

    As I'm sure you know, such commandments ARE made by God in the OT. So in your view that means the "one true God" wanted women and children to be wiped out in the cleansing of certain cities in the OT? If so, what do you believe happened to change God's view of genocide from an appropriate tool of territorial conquest, to something that today nearly all Christians and Jews understand to be a horrific sin in the one true God's eyes?

  • @Bill_Coley posted

    "...for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about."

    ... what identifying information about their "unknown God" do you believe Paul is offering to them?

    SInce Paul in opening his argument stated that the Athenians were rather firm devil spirit (deities) worshipers, I do not think that he was identifying the Athenians' "unknown deity" as the one he was going to tell them about. Paul did NOT consider any of the Athenian deities (whether they had a name, or were sort of like "in case we forgot one, here's an altar that can be used for any such deity" to be the true God.

    Thus the question arises as to the true meaning and use of Paul's words in picking up on this "altar to the unknown deity/god". Since Paul would not be believing the true God to be one of the Athenian deities, his use of the words carried a different meaning ... and the best I can try and describe is that he used sort of a play with a different meaning of the word "unknown" ... whie the Athenians had in mind an "unknown deity" in a general sense so as to be on the safe side and not bring wrath from a deity on them, Paul used the term "unknown" in a very literal sense that the God he was to talk about was indeed "unknown" to them.

    Paul's words sound simply like "You have an altar to an unknown deity/god .. I'll tell you about the God who is REALLY unknown to you."

  • @Bill_Coley posted

    @Wolfgang wrote:

    If the true God gave such commandment and rules [to commit genocide], you would be describing the one true God. If the true God did not give such commandment, you would be giving a false report of Him.

    @Bill_Coley replied

    As I'm sure you know, such commandments ARE made by God in the OT. So in your view that means the "one true God" wanted women and children to be wiped out in the cleansing of certain cities in the OT? If so, what do you believe happened to change God's view of genocide from an appropriate tool of territorial conquest, to something that today nearly all Christians and Jews understand to be a horrific sin in the one true God's eyes?

    I think that God is not influenced by what many or few Christians today understand or think He should or should not do.

    Many who consider themselves to be Christians today have ideas of what would be Godly which from a biblical point of view seem rather Ungodly ... and I would say that they do so due to a lack of understanding of the one true God. Example: Many are into a LOVE God, but would declare that a judgment brought on them by their own sin can't have anything to do with God, because God is "a good guy".

    I know people who have the modern day picture of slavery in mind, insert that into the Biblical records about masters and slaves, etc and then claim something wrong with the Bible and the true God.

    I know so-called Christians who declare homosexuality as equally good in God's eyes as the natural design hetero sexual makeup. Nowadays, those who in their minds are set that they are not really genderwise what they obviously are, are called normal ... Biblically speaking, they are mentally deranged (also called plagued by evil spirits).

    Let's not take our sick modern day ideas and psychologies and use those to judge the one true God Nor does the one true God need a defense for the plain truth He has declared and how He has designed things.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667
    edited February 2020


    @Bill_Coley posted: You've asked basically all the questions in our exchange in this thread. Please address a couple of mine: Do you believe your God speaks in any form, fashion, or amount through religions other than Judaism and Christianity?

    No, for my assumption is that today in general God speaks through the inspired canon of scripture and to anyone who has ears to hear that inspired text not through 'religions', sects or denominations intrinsically. If one takes the Biblical record at face value then I think he/she will find a number of different ways, concluding with his son, that God spoke to people (Hebrews 1:1). However, God apparently did not use organized religion as a tool to speak to people or at least I have yet to find a verse that directly articulates such a belief. God did however on occasion speak about organized religions and to directly to some individuals in organize religions.

    When I visit a congregation and hear a good or moving lecture/sermon have I heard the voice of God. I would answer No of course not, rather I heard a good/moving sermon about God and/or about the text.

    I am a religious individual because it is one way for me to communicate my faith to God and to others of the faith, not because it was a vehicle for God to communicate to me. I however, and a follower of the Messiah/Christ because I believe in that Jesus is the Messiah according to the word of Scripture.

    @Bill_Coley posted: When a religion other than those two commands its adherents to love of others and the pursuit of justice, do you believe your God is the origin of those commands, or do you credit other sources as their origin?

    I believe that some religions (such as Islam) are offshoots of Judaism and Christianity so those systems 'may have' simply borrowed and adapted ideas for the texts of Judaism and Christianity.

    Having said that I consider ideas like Love and the pursuit of Justice be universal ideas that no individual, ethnic group, race, nation, political system nor religion have a monopoly on.

    Did those concepts come from God? Most likely as God created humankind in his image and blew the spirit of life into humankind this I believe spirit remains in humankind regardless of religion, belief, or lack of belief. In general all people love their children, family, and friends and I believe that also in general all people want justice. This why it is difficult to find a society where there are no laws, rules, or values.

    @Bill_Coley posted: I also dispute your apparent contention that he doesn't feel "much, much, much more connection with his Jewish brothers/sister."

    That was not (and is not) my contention at all but rather that was part of a rhetorical question with a bit of sarcasm.

    @Bill_Coley posted: I've obviously not made myself very clear in this thread. I apologize.

    No, need for apologies it is clear that on this topic we simply do not understand/get each others paradigms. Just I do not fully understand what you are trying to communicate or have little to no experience dealing with your paradigms I am equally sure that you probably do any experience hearing anyone my paradigm either.

    Grace and Peace

    Post edited by Mitchell on
  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,605


    @Wolfgang posted:

    SInce Paul in opening his argument stated that the Athenians were rather firm devil spirit (deities) worshipers, I do not think that he was identifying the Athenians' "unknown deity" as the one he was going to tell them about. Paul did NOT consider any of the Athenian deities (whether they had a name, or were sort of like "in case we forgot one, here's an altar that can be used for any such deity" to be the true God.

    Where in the Acts 17 text do you find support for your claim that Paul argued "the Athenians were rather firm devil spirit (deities) worshipers"? I see that he was "deeply troubled" by the idols (Acts 17.16), that he considered the Athenians to be "very religious in every way" (Act 17.22), that he believed the God they called "Unknown" was the god he told them about (Acts 17.23), that they shouldn't think of God "as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone" (Acts 17.29), and that God overlooked people's "ignorance" about these issues before now (Acts 17.30), but I don't see any reference to "devil spirit worshipers."


    Thus the question arises as to the true meaning and use of Paul's words in picking up on this "altar to the unknown deity/god". Since Paul would not be believing the true God to be one of the Athenian deities, his use of the words carried a different meaning ... and the best I can try and describe is that he used sort of a play with a different meaning of the word "unknown" ... whie the Athenians had in mind an "unknown deity" in a general sense so as to be on the safe side and not bring wrath from a deity on them, Paul used the term "unknown" in a very literal sense that the God he was to talk about was indeed "unknown" to them.

    Paul's words sound simply like "You have an altar to an unknown deity/god .. I'll tell you about the God who is REALLY unknown to you."

    Paul says to the Athenians: "This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about." So often you have advocated for the plain, simple, and obvious meaning of Bible texts, Wolfgang. Isn't the simplest, most obvious reading of that verse that Paul believed the God they worshiped as "unknown" was the same God he was telling them about?

    As for your argument that the Athenians "had in mind an 'unknown deity' in a general sense so as to be on the safe side and not bring wrath from a deity on them," Paul says they worshiped this "unknown" God (Acts 17.23). Is it your view, then, that a portion of the Athenians' worship was generalized to any god(s) not represented by their altars and idols? I think of "worship" as necessarily more targeted than that.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited February 2020

    Where in the Acts 17 text do you find support for your claim that Paul argued "the Athenians were rather firm devil spirit (deities) worshipers"?

    I see it (a) from all over the context, and (b) in particular from Paul's opening statement in Acts 17:22, where he stated that they "were very religious" ("very superstitious").

    I mentioned details already in a post above where I referenced the particular expression "very religious" from the Greek word he used https://www.christiandiscourse.net/discussion/778/do-christians-and-jews-worship-the-same-god#

    Paul says to the Athenians: "This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about." So often you have advocated for the plain, simple, and obvious meaning of Bible texts, Wolfgang. Isn't the simplest, most obvious reading of that verse that Paul believed the God they worshiped as "unknown" was the same God he was telling them about?

    Well, since Paul immediately proceeds to NOT talk about "a god who is worshiped via man made altars and temples, etc." but rather introduces the God about Whom he is talking as "The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:24 ASV), this is plain to me that Paul was by no means of te opinion, that the Athenians were in fact worshiping the true God, just unknowingly.

    Furthermore, I contend that from the overall perspective of Scripture there is no such thing as worshiping or serving the true God (or any other god/idol) "unknowingly" Man is held responsible by God for who he worships ...

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,605

    @Wolfgang posted:

    I think that God is not influenced by what many or few Christians today understand or think He should or should not do.

    The significance of the views of modern Christians and Jews as to the morality of genocide to which I referred had nothing to do with their influence on God's actions, but rather to do with the unanimity of those views that genocide is immoral and evil.


    Many who consider themselves to be Christians today have ideas of what would be Godly which from a biblical point of view seem rather Ungodly ... and I would say that they do so due to a lack of understanding of the one true God. Example: Many are into a LOVE God, but would declare that a judgment brought on them by their own sin can't have anything to do with God, because God is "a good guy".

    Assuming that you consider me to be one among those who "consider themselves to be Christians today" but contest some the Bible's depictions of "Godly" actions (and I AM such a person!) I ask one of my questions again, and rework the other one: 1) Does the fact that in the OT God DOES command genocide in your view mean the "one true God" wanted women and children to be wiped out in the cleansing of certain cities? 2) Do you believe God's view of the morality of genocide is in any substantive way different today from what it was in OT times?


    I know people who have the modern day picture of slavery in mind, insert that into the Biblical records about masters and slaves, etc and then claim something wrong with the Bible and the true God.

    Here's one of the many examples of slavery as reported in the biblical record:

    42 The people of Israel are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt, so they must never be sold as slaves. 43 Show your fear of God by not treating them harshly. 44 “However, you may purchase male and female slaves from among the nations around you. 45 You may also purchase the children of temporary residents who live among you, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, 46 passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat them as slaves, but you must never treat your fellow Israelites this way(Leviticus 25.42-46)

    People treated as "property" passed on to one's heirs as a "permanent inheritance," people who may be treated in ways one's fellow citizens must never be treated. Do you think there's anything wrong with such a view of human beings?


    I know so-called Christians who declare homosexuality as equally good in God's eyes as the natural design hetero sexual makeup. Nowadays, those who in their minds are set that they are not really genderwise what they obviously are, are called normal ... Biblically speaking, they are mentally deranged (also called plagued by evil spirits).

    Given that I seem to be one of the "so-called Christians" to which you refer, I ask this: Where in Scripture are homosexual persons or those who "are set that they are no really genderwise what they obviously are" reported to be "mentally deranged" and/or "plagued by evil spirits"?


    Let's not take our sick modern day ideas and psychologies and use those to judge the one true God Nor does the one true God need a defense for the plain truth He has declared and how He has designed things.

    FWIW, I agree God doesn't need a defense. But I also think Scriptural passages in which God commands genocide or slavery or the execution of homosexual persons DO need one.

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,404

    Brethren,

    Let's step back and look at the context. Paul preached Nine sermons in the book of Acts:

    • Acts 13: 16-41
    • Acts 14: 15-17
    • Acts 17: 22-31
    • Acts 20: 18-35
    • Acts 22: 1-21
    • Acts 24: 10-21
    • Acts 26: 2-23, 25-27
    • Acts 27: 21-26
    • Acts 28: 23-31

    Paul preached to Jews, Christians, and Gentiles. Some were delivered in:

    • Synagogues
    • Public forums
    • The trial setting
    • Ship­ wrecked survivors on an island and one in a house were Paul was under arrest.

    Of the above sermons preached, three of them called for some attention, in light of the discussion in this thread:

    1. The first sermon was delivered to the Jews in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:16-41).
    2. The second was delivered to the Gentiles at Mars Hill who were pagans (Acts 17:16-34).
    3. The third to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus (Acts 20:17-37).

    The second sermon (Acts 17:22-31) is the one many are referring. While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he was taken back to see that the city was full of idols. He reasoned with the people (Epicurean and Stoic philosophers) daily. They invited Paul to present his ideas to them. They engaged in name-calling. Paul was called He had been called:

    • A “babbler
    • A preacher of “foreign gods
    • New teaching
    • Strange ideas” (Acts 17:18-20)
    • Although they were nasty, they wanted to hear what Paul had to say. as a preacher Paul saw an open door and took advantage of the opportunity.

    Paul started with a commendation:

    “Men of Athens! I see that in every way, you are very religious” (Acts 17:22).

    Paul began with the known and went on to the unknown. An excellent introduction! I can feel that the men were agreeing with him. He knew and respected what those people believed.

    As pagan philosophers and secular humanists, they believed that you can achieve happiness without God. The Stoics had:

    • “High ethical standards and contributed many good things to their communities. They believed that personal satisfaction derived from service.”

    The Epicureans were responsible citizens:

    • They believed that the “nobler things of life, education, art, beauty and public service, produced pleasure.
    • They were the despisers of religion.”

    Paul quoted from their own writers (poets) who had said that “we are His (God’s) offspring” (Acts 17:28). Paul expended on this idea he told them:

    • We all come from God’s hands.
    • They instinctively reached out for this God but could not name Him.
    • Did not know how to relate to Him.
    • God communicates in different ways other than Judeo-Christian tradition and that
    • God is close if they will “seek” Him, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him.

    Bailey Believed that Paul used a classical syllogism in his discussion of God in vss. 24 and 25. He says that if

    God made the world, he needs nothing, therefore service to idols is useless ... God made all humanity, He made them to seek Him, (implied) you are human, created to seek Him...common in philosophical debates and this point would have been easily grasped by his audience.”

    It is believed that this touched the Stoics’ and Epicureans’ sense of natural order. Did you get from reading of Paul's preaching to move things on, he did so with an enthymeme on God’s relationship to humanity (vss. 26 and 27)? Afterward, Paul stated that God will overlook ignorance about Him because they didn't know Him, but now that we know Him. Even for the then audiences, they needed to “repent.” Of course, repentance for each person is different:

    • For the Jews in Paul's time -- to repent meant to stop rejecting Jesus as the Messiah.
    • To the Stoic, it meant turning away from his ignorance of God.

    Each person must make his own repentance in his own way, in light of the situation in which the gospel finds him. After this evangelistic sermon, a “few men . . . believed” (Acts 17:34).

    Paul’s message reflected a form of psychology as he spoke of God, creation, resurrection, repentance, and judgment. Everything was contextualized in the culture of his hearers and climaxed by a call to commitment. The thing Paul left out by design, the crucified Christ. He mentioned His resurrection from the dead but did not say how or why He died. He consciously avoided Calvary’s cross. Why? He did not want to offend his audience. His strategy backfired. Few were converted. Paul left Athens disappointed.

    Heading to Corinth, he pondered what happened and reached a firm conviction. He said to the Corinthian church: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:1-2).

    Paul decided not to use fancy rhetoric anymore, just Christ and Him crucified. We need to preach the full gospel and let the Spirit convict and convert the individual.

    SOURCES:

    • Raymond Bailey, Jesus the Preacher (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1990), 96, 100-101, 104-105

    PS. Let's not get lost, but next time, a word about Syllogism. 

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited February 2020

    @Bill_Coley posted

    I ask one of my questions again, and rework the other one: 1) Does the fact that in the OT God DOES command genocide in your view mean the "one true God" wanted women and children to be wiped out in the cleansing of certain cities? 2) Do you believe God's view of the morality of genocide is in any substantive way different today from what it was in OT times?

    (1) I believe that what God commanded means that such is what He meant to be done. Now, why should the true God lie and command things which were contrary to what He meant?

    (2) I believe that God's view on morality is the same ... however, certain circumstances present in OT age are no longer the same as in the OT age

    I ask this: Where in Scripture are homosexual persons or those who "are set that they are no really genderwise what they obviously are" reported to be "mentally deranged" and/or "plagued by evil spirits"?

    In Scripture scope overall it is VERY obvious what God's design for humankind is in regards to gender and sex ... and deviation from god's design and turning it into the opposite, does NOT change God's design which is evident in nature.

    For starters, God created mankind male and female, God gave the male Adam the female Eve as his partner, etc etc). Furthermore, those deviating do so in their mind, they have changed what God designed in their vain imaginations ... Scripture describes people who are vain in their imaginations and not in their right mind as being "demon possessed". Once delivered from those spirits/demons the record mentions that they then were in their right and sound mind.

    I am a simple old folk ... just happen to know a little Bible, a little bit about life. Humans are either male or female ... no other option (and please don't come and try and make the very few biological disorders, such as with hermaphrodites, into "the norm", because they are NOT). If a male thinks he is a female and starts to think in this wrong direction more and more and finally convinces himself of being a female, this male has a severe mental / psychological problem .. he does NOT have a problem with his biological male primary sex organs, etc. People thus convinced in their mind and unable to control their mind in regard to certain points are biblically speaking demon possessed.

    There is no need to a verse to state in a particular wording a certain truth; at times various statements already provide the full picture. Example: There is no need for a verse saying "God is not a Trinity", when many scriptures state and describe God as a SINGULAR Supreme Being.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,404

    Wolfgang,

    The OP: "Do Christians and Jews worship the same God"? Besides, you seen to be gearing up to oppose the homosexual person and lifestyle; another thread will be nice. CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667

    The OP: "Do Christians and Jews worship the same God"?

    Answer:

    IF by 'Christians' you happen to mean 'individuals who worship the Triune God' and IF by Jews' you mean:

    (1) Messianic Jews (or ethnic Jews who have accepted Yeshua/Jesus as the divine son of God): Then the answer is affirmative

    (2) Agnostic and Atheist ethnic Jews: then the answer is negative

    (3) Ethnic Jews who have embraced other world faiths that are not Messianic/not accepted the divine Messiah: the the answer is negative

    (4) Orthodox Jews, Masorti/Conservative Jews, Reconstructionist Jews,and Reform Jews: then the answer is negative.

    The above Jews accept the God described in the Hebrew/OT however they do not accept the NT as scripture nor do they accept the concept of a Triune God nor for that matter Yeshua/Jesus Messianic claims. However, 'Christians' and 'Jews' often refer to how God is described or expressed in the Hebrew Bible/OT.


    Earlier on this thread I answered this question, but I believe that my claim that one can not answer this question without respect to individual was not understood. By this I meant partly that the terms in the question must be clearly defined before one can answer the question as the terms above have a range of different meanings in the minds of modern English speakers and can vary depending on who is using the term. A 'christian' who does not embrace the concept of a Triune God may very well be worshiping the same God in some of the same ways as religious 'Jewish' individuals normative Judaism who like ways do not understand God to be triune.


    Grace and Peace

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 2,605

    @Mitchell posted:

    No, for my assumption is that today in general God speaks through the inspired canon of scripture and to anyone who has ears to hear that inspired text not through 'religions', sects or denominations intrinsically.

    In case vocabulary was at issue, in my use of the term, "religions" meant far more than institutional and hierarchical expressions of "organized religion." It also meant the faiths embraced and communicated by those religions as well as the people who serve as their members, participants, witnesses, and representatives. I don't think that information will change your response to my question, but I offer it in the interest of full disclosure.

    As to your response itself, I'm curious about the significance of your phrase "in general." That sounds intentionally unspecific, as if to allow for the possibility of other modes of divine expression. It's clear from your post that you believe God speaks today through the inspired Canon. What's not clear is whether you believe God today ever speaks through any means other than the Canon.


    If one takes the Biblical record at face value then I think he/she will find a number of different ways, concluding with his son, that God spoke to people (Hebrews 1:1). However, God apparently did not use organized religion as a tool to speak to people or at least I have yet to find a verse that directly articulates such a belief. God did however on occasion speak about organized religions and to directly to some individuals in organize religions.

    So is it your view that God stopped speaking to humanity with Jesus? For the last 2,000 years, humanity's only word from God has come through the Canon? In my view, God continues to speak through and to people in a wide variety of ways, including but not limited to the Canon.


    When I visit a congregation and hear a good or moving lecture/sermon have I heard the voice of God. I would answer No of course not, rather I heard a good/moving sermon about God and/or about the text.

    Have you ever experienced a sermon and concluded the preacher's words were inspired by God, that the preacher's particular word selections and presentation style in the sermon didn't come only from the preacher, but must have had the assistance of divine inspiration? I have. In fact, I give thanks to the preacher, but glory and credit to God for every such sermon, including the ones I preach.

    I have a passion for creating intensely personal and atypical funeral services. Every one I write and present amazes me, and often moves me to tears, tears rooted in my acknowledgement of God's central role in the entire process. I am convinced that the words and phrases that come from me in a funeral aren't my words; they are God's words provided to people through me.

    I don't think preachers speak with the voice of God per se, but they CAN AND DO speak with the authority, gifting, and inspiration of God.


    I believe that some religions (such as Islam) are offshoots of Judaism and Christianity so those systems 'may have' simply borrowed and adapted ideas for the texts of Judaism and Christianity.

    Having said that I consider ideas like Love and the pursuit of Justice be universal ideas that no individual, ethnic group, race, nation, political system nor religion have a monopoly on.

    Did those concepts come from God? Most likely as God created humankind in his image and blew the spirit of life into humankind this I believe spirit remains in humankind regardless of religion, belief, or lack of belief. In general all people love their children, family, and friends and I believe that also in general all people want justice. This why it is difficult to find a society where there are no laws, rules, or values.

    But isn't it Paul's point to the Athenians in Acts 17 and his point to the Romans in Romans 1 that what they THINK is something other than God is actually God? For example:

    19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. [Romans 1.19-21]

    and...

    And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. [Acts 17.23b]

    In those verses isn't Paul telling the Athenians and the Romans that the realities for which people often give others credit are actually expressions of God in their midst?


    You and I apparently disagree about this, but I am convinced that love and justice are from God, and without God, neither exists. 1 John 4 seems to say as much about love...

    Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.... We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. [1 John 4.7-8,16]

    I read those verses to mean that all genuine love - even the love attributed to other sources - is actually from God, and that in the absence of God there can be no love.


    That was not (and is not) my contention at all but rather that was part of a rhetorical question with a bit of sarcasm.

    Nothing about your question struck me as either rhetorical or sarcastic, so I missed the mark with my comment. My bad.


    No, need for apologies it is clear that on this topic we simply do not understand/get each others paradigms. Just I do not fully understand what you are trying to communicate or have little to no experience dealing with your paradigms I am equally sure that you probably do any experience hearing anyone my paradigm either.

    When you're me, there's ALWAYS a need for apologies! 😀

    I appreciate our exchanges, however little or often we may understand each other's paradigms.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667


    Bill_Coley posted: In case vocabulary was at issue, in my use of the term, "religions" meant ...

    Thank you for the explanation. I do believe that God can and has communicated to people outside of the Christian faith in order to bring them into the faith, to rescue them, to warn them, or to make the reconsider something. How often I do not know but I do believe that it does happen.


    Bill_Coley posted: As to your response itself, I'm curious about the significance of your phrase "in general." That sounds intentionally unspecific, as if to allow for the possibility of other modes of divine expression.

    Your reading is correct. To me is clear from the Biblical recorded that God communicates to mankind through a number of different conduits and in a number of different way not limited sacred literature.


    Bill_Coley posted: So is it your view that God stopped speaking to humanity with Jesus?

    No, for if I did embrace such a theory I would need to throw away much of the literature found within the NT canon.


    Bill_Coley posted: In those verses isn't Paul telling the Athenians and the Romans that the realities for which people often give others credit are actually expressions of God in their midst?

    What I do see is that Paul is telling the Athenians about the God they do not know which of course begs the question what does it mean for them to worship a god they do not know? The very fact Paul juxtaposes the comment about the religiosity of the Athenians do to their many shrines and the altar to the unknown god leads me to be very skeptical of the claim that Paul felt any sort of camaraderie with them or was giving them some sort compliment for their pantheism. Rather I think Paul was simply following his method cross-cultural communication in order to win people to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19 - 23). Thus Bill your understanding of significance of the verses at hand and mine are at great odds. This in a nutshell is what I trying to express through my sarcastic rhetorical questions in my most recent reply to yours.


    Bill_Coley posted: Nothing about your question struck me as either rhetorical or sarcastic, so I missed the mark with my comment. My bad.

    Sorry for any miscommunication, from now on I will try to be more direct and alert you to when I am being sarcastic.


    Bill_Coley posted: Have you ever experienced a sermon and concluded the preacher's words were inspired by God, that the preacher's particular word selections and presentation style in the sermon didn't come only from the preacher, but must have had the assistance of divine inspiration?

    As, of yet never.

    There have been a handful of sermons that I felt were very educational or enlightening and one or two I thought were genius.


    Bill_Coley posted: I appreciate our exchanges,

    I feel the same way

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,404

    I get the impression the we are putting too must emphasis what a person, man or a particular group believed or have said about God. Therefore, too little of what what God has revealed of himself in this thread. It's probably wise for one to consider what God has said and revealed of Himself. This, in my view, sets the guidelines and standards for who worships God or not. Man efforts are only good until he knows better. I will encourage all to re-read what God says through the inspired writer (Rom. 1:18-20; 2:11- 16). Do we not see that God reveals Himself to us in various ways? Namely:

    • (1) By internal revelation to our reason and conscience.
    • (2) By external revelation in the works of creation (Ps. 19:1-4).
    • (3) By special revelation in the Scriptures, especially in the Person and work of Christ.

    God gave us reason, conscience, and made us capable of seeing and investigating His works. By these means is it possible even "heathen" or an atheist can recognize and acknowledge the power of an intelligent Being in the works of creation? CM

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,404

    Mitch,

    You said:

    A 'christian' who does not embrace the concept of a Triune God may very well be worshiping the same God in some of the same ways as religious 'Jewish' individuals normative Judaism who like ways do not understand God to be triune.

    Can they be truly, called "A 'christian'" or Christians? CM

  • C McC Mc Posts: 4,404
    edited April 2021

    What is worship? What is the nature and the object of worship? CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 667
    edited April 2021

    @C Mc Can they be truly, called "A 'christian'" or Christians? CM

    Was or is former president Trump a Christian? Depending on who you ask you are probably going to get various opinions on the matter. Some claim Trump was a good Christian and Obama was not, others claim Obama was a Christian and Trump was not. Perhaps there are various popular definitions of what it means to be a Christian? Anyway...

    I think it very interesting that people with a very wide variety of beliefs (sometimes contradictory beliefs) readily call themselves Christian, but it is very rare to hear anyone claiming to be a devoted disciple of Christ/Messiah. BUT....

    Personally, if I had to choose between a congregation where people were fiercely claiming to be 'Christians' and a congregation where people were claiming to be of disciples or followers of Christ/Messiah I would choose the latter rather than the former.

    Okay, I guess I did not answer your question yet, so below I will do so:

    If we start searching for the Biblical definition of what it means to be a Christian we will find that term is used in the NT only 3 times (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16) and neither the writer of Acts nor the writer of 1 Peter takes the time to define the term and the theological beliefs that one holding the title of Christian must believe furthermore the terms "triune God" and "Trinity" do not appear proximity to the term Christian. For the formerly mentioned reasons, Theologians and various communities have come up with their own definitions as to who can truly be called a Christian. For example, some communities feel the need to have Creeds, Confessions of faith, and statements of faith.


    Grace and Peace

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