Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bishop Bishoy: it is time to grow up about textual criticism of the Qur'an

An Egyptian Coptic bishop, one Bishop Bishoy, has dared to cast doubt on the authenticity of some verses in the Qur'an, suggesting that they may have been inserted after the death of Mohammed for religio-political purposes.

Predictably, all Jahannam has broken loose.

The principal weapon against quranic sholarship is the requirement for all Muslims to be literalists, which relies on claims that the Qur'an is the immutable word of God, as dictated over a period of around 23 years by the Angel Gabriel to an illiterate Arab, Mohammad (and from the Qur'an were spun the tales of the hadith, by several generations of pious but highly-imaginative storytellers).

The gospels and letters of Christianity, and the Pentateuch, psalms and the writings of the prophets of Judaism, have all withstood a century of the scrutiny and analysis of Higher Biblical Criticism - source criticism, form criticism and other deconstructive demythologising (in the literary sense of the term) to determine a text's Sitz im Leben.

Faith has nothing at all to fear from such a process.

Intelligent and discerning quranic scholars, of course, know this. His Grace posted about on matter some three years ago.

But Bishop Bishoy is a Coptic Christian speaking in Egypt, and so his words are deemed to be 'irresponsible' and a 'threat to national unity'.

Bishop Bishoy merely said that certain verses in the Qur'an contradict the Christian faith (isn't that a statement of the theologically obvious?) and that he believed they were added later by one of Mohammed's early successors, Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan (may he not express such a belief?).

The Bishop has since back-peddalled a little (or quite a lot), insisting now that 'there had been a misunderstanding' and that his 'remarks had been taken out of context':

"My question as to whether some verses of the Qur'an were inserted after the death of the prophet is not a criticism or accusation," he said. "It is merely a question about a certain verse that I believe contradicts the Christian faith."

It seems that doing theology is as difficult in Egypt as it is in the UK.


Blogger The Heresiarch said...

So this bishop questions the historical basis of a few Koranic verses on the basis that they contradict Christian dogmas? How does that work, exactly? Is not the existence of Islam in itself a contradiction of the most fundamental of all Christian beliefs, that Jesus is the Son of God and Christianity is the final and complete revelation of God?

26 September 2010 at 10:40  
Anonymous Michael said...

One wonders if public debate has become far too infantilised to be able to cope with the presence of theology in the public realm. And we're culturally, and politically, all the poorer for it.

26 September 2010 at 10:57  
Blogger Anabaptist said...


er... back-pedalled, surely?

I encountered many pedlars when I was in Egypt, but none of them ever showed a tendency to back away.

26 September 2010 at 10:58  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

'... a 'threat to national unity'.'

There's the rub, and the underlying curse of so much religious, theological and political trouble during the history of the last 1700 years or so.

It is the belief that religion is at least partly a territorial matter. The assumption is made that the inhabitants of a particular region, nation of area should all share the same religion, which binds them together and defines their national/regional identity. Therefore relgious dissent is seen as a threat to social cohesion.

Part of the genius of early (that is, New Testament) Christianity was to demolish that idea. But the Christians, fed up of persecution, and seduced by the blandishments of power, sold out to Constantinianism, and so Christendom developed: as persecuting and power-mad as Christians had once been persecuted and marginalised.

Thus all must subscribe to some article of some creed, or be fined, imprisoned or killed. Thus Roman Catholicism dominated mediaeval Europe, and tithes and church attendance were enforced by the force of arms. Thus dissenters such as Wycliffe and Tyndale were under threat of death. Thus Luther was in constant danger for his life. Thus Luther sought the armed protection of the Elector of Saxony. And so on, and so on...

In our beloved England, the post-Reformation 'Church' insisted on compliance, punishing unlicensed preachers with prison (e.g.Bunyan).

Only the Anabaptists saw through and disavowed the territorial idea. Believing religious faith to be the personal choice of everyone, they baptised only adult believers and refused to accept the state religion. And so they suffered as the first Christians had suffered.

Northern Ireland, Apartheid South Africa -- so many conflicts are the legacy of territorial religion. "No Pope Here!" some still scream.

Territorial religion was adopted by Mohammedanism, which was both a reaction against and a parody of what had become Christianity.

And now we are told we must accept Sharia law in Islamic areas, and Coptic bishops are threatened.

A curse on territorial religion.

26 September 2010 at 11:22  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Anabaptist,

Quite right, quite right. His Grace was a little pressed for time and typed this directly into Blogger. He apologises.

26 September 2010 at 11:22  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Cranny, you are as gracious as ever.

26 September 2010 at 11:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your article states:
'The principal weapon against quranic sholarship is the requirement for all Muslims to be literalists, which relies on claims that the Qur'an is the immutable word of God, as dictated over a period of around 23 years by the Angel Gabriel to an illiterate Arab, Mohammad'.
Whilst you go on to say that Christian and Jewish writings have undergone and withstood all forms of criticism, I think most free-thinking people will note that a fairly literal acceptance of the Bible is a pre-requisite to being accepted as a signed-up follower and believer and that the Bible is also to be regarded as 'the immutable word of God'.
There is much timeless goodness in both the Qu'ran and the Bible, but also much that is highly questionable and even decidedly unholy ... the unholy land. People pick and choose things to emphasise. For instance Cranmer gets extremely worked up and indignant about the issue of homosexuality being a sin, and is not to be persuaded otherwise. That's fine. Yet why get so very, very up tight about it when it wasn't even deemed important enough to be a commandment?
Personally I think it's about time people in the 21st century started looking at the words written down many years after the lives of both Christ and Mohammed in more metaphorical terms in order that they might be reasonably understood and applied today. I mean, would you really accept the owning of slaves and the stoning of women today, which is proposed in both those august holy books?
Frankly in some cases there are some passages that many people by today's standards seem thoroughly evil, sentiments and instructions from a time and place that, then as now, seems anything but 'holy' Quite the opposite in fact and rather like the delightful period of the Spanish Inquisition... "In our great goodness and spiritual highness we deem that you have done wrong by our holy book and should in the light of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit be horribly tortured and then cut into pieces or set fire to until you die an agonising death".
Hmmm, that to me is pure evil. It might retain POWER, but evil it nonetheless remains. And we all know just how prevalent it was in Christian societies, as it remains today in many Islamic ones.

26 September 2010 at 11:46  
Anonymous len said...

The religions which use Scriptures as the foundations of their 'authority' and consequently( by their teachings) deny the authority of the same scriptures seem to have exposed themselves as being hypocritical .

"And if thou (Mohammed) art in doubt concerning that which we reveal unto thee, then question those who read the scripture that was before thee’ (i.e. the Bible). Sura (chapter) 10.95. ‘O ye people of the book! Ye are not grounded on anything until ye observe the Taurat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospel) and that which has been revealed unto you from your Lord.’ Sura 5.68."

26 September 2010 at 11:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

If Islam is to be believed then Jesus actually said, "I am the Son of God. But there's a guy coming in a few hundred years who knows more about God than I do."


No line can be drawn between the truth Jesus revealed to us and the war-mongering desert warrior.

26 September 2010 at 11:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


His Grace does not respond to anonymice.

This is a pity.

Your lengthy contribution not only misrepresents His Grace; it displays all manner of fundamental schoolboy errors.

26 September 2010 at 11:56  
Blogger Demetrius said...

According to the Gospel of St. Thomas...........

26 September 2010 at 11:59  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I am sorry to note Mr Anonymous's ignorance and naivety in his knowledge and understanding of the Bible and of Christian theology. Sadly, such low understanding is common, but is regrettably shared with some Christians.

It is not biblical to treat the Bible as if it were one book and to say 'The bible says...' as if it were all saying the same thing: it is not. In fact many New testament passages relativise parts of the Old Testament, restricting their applicability. In fact, the Bible itself never makes the claim to be 'the word of God' even though a lot of Christians mistakenly so describe it.

Whilst we Christians understand that all scrupture was given by God, the ways in which it is to be understood and applied are many and varied.

The opening of the Letter to the Hebrews makes a clear distinction between the Old and New Testaments, echoing the sermon on the mount. The apostle Paul refers to some parts of the Old Testament as 'the ministration of death'.

What is depressing about Mr Anonymous's characterisations is their naive simplicity, in what should be seen as a very complex and nuanced matter.

I make no comment about the Koran.

26 September 2010 at 12:00  
Anonymous Terry said...

'Archbishop Cranmer said...Anon@11.46...'
I am no internet expert and tried to add Terry at tne end but it did not work, or so I thought. Apparantly it has been posted.
I never claimed to be an ecclesistical authortity, as both Cranmer and Anabaptist clearly do.
What gets up my nose with the both of you is you pompous piety and self-importance, looking right down your noses at others whilst faililng to come up with anything concrete to defeat their arguments, falling back as ever - and as authodox muslims do too - on bald statements that in essence cannot be questioned.
Beware of believing too much in the rightness and holiness of spiritual and philosophical debate. Ultimately truth and love lie far beyond all this and the path that leads to it is humility.

26 September 2010 at 12:15  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Gosh, Terry, that was a bit of a rant. Still, empty rhetoric will have to suffice in the absence of substance.

Tell me, O offended one, why somebody who knows something that somebody else appears not to know should be regarded as pompous and self-important when he mentions it. Must we all pretend that we don't know things in order to satisfy the sensitivities of those who really don't know them?

If you want to call people names you really should provide some substance to support your accusations.

So what are these unsupported 'bald statements'? I believe I alluded to a number of passages of scripture to demonstrate my contention that the Bible is not simply one book to be treated all the same.

Sadly, it appears to be the case that anyone who contradicts you or disagrees with you must become the object of your bile. And I say 'sadly' because it is saddening that you have to resort to infantile name-calling in lieu of substance. That doesn't encourage grown-up conversations

26 September 2010 at 12:33  
Anonymous PJ said...

Anabaptist, I sympathise with your worldview quite a lot and would agree with the majority of what you have said above. However you say that Christianity "sold out" to Constantinianism. You say this as if it was wholly a bad thing, but Christianity may have disappeared if it wasn't for that "sell out", or if not completely vanishing, it may have remained a minority religion for a long period of time. Constantine brought Christianity to people who may have never heard of it otherwise

26 September 2010 at 13:20  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Anabaptist,

His Grace is deeply appreciative of your contribution and patient exposition.

Mr Terry,

Now that you have discovered how to use Blogger, it would greatly assist philosophical discussion and theological debate if you could kindly support your reasoning with evidence. It would also facilitate congenial fellowship if you would desist from informing people what, in your opinion, they believe.

26 September 2010 at 13:54  
Anonymous len said...

Constantine ' paganised ' Christianity,instead of rejecting the Roman pagan gods Constantine merely added them to his form of 'christianity' thereby corrupting it.

Christianity in its original form was driven underground,persecuted, and eventually re-surfaced to run a parallel course with the' Roman version'.
Constantine was(arguably) one of the worst things to happen to Christianity.

26 September 2010 at 15:41  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Can you help me with the "Ministrations of death" reference? Chapter and verse.

Not a challenge but a genuine open question. I want to see the context which is always important.

26 September 2010 at 15:53  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Sure thing, Mr Sewell:

The ministration of death (KJV) is from 2 Cor 3:7. You really need to read the immediate and wider context. In that passage the apostle is comparing his own ministry with that of the law, which, he says, brought death to its hearers. He specifically refers to the ten commandments, which was the only part of the law 'written and engraven on stones'.

Whilst the role of the OT is not the heart of Paul's argument, it is necssarily implicated. A passage to similar effect is in Heb 12, where the writer contrasts the effect of the giving of law (fear, trembling) with that of the new covenant(blessing).

He had already, in chap. 8, characterised the old covenant as inferior, faulty and obsolete. And yet there was no question in the writer's mind that the law had been spoken by God, just as Paul (Rom 7) describes the law as holy, just and good. Nevertheless, it had a baleful effect on those to whom it came.

Whilst all this needs to be nuanced and carefully set in contexts, and various extremes of application and inderstanding need to be avoided, it is clear that there are very significant parts of the OT which don't get an ureservedly good press in the NT.

26 September 2010 at 16:30  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Your views on Constantine, Len - I wondered if you could explain a little? I know much of the story is unclear (e.g. as to why/whether he was baptised at death's door); and I suppose that to be understandable: given the state of evidence that has survived from the fourth century, and the nature of esp. Italian politics.

It seems fairly sure, though, that persecution of Christians diminished after Constantine's defeat of Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge (312). And then there's the legend of mama Helena and the Cult of the Cross... So I'm unsure what you mean by paganisation.

26 September 2010 at 16:39  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr PJ, your sort-of defence of Constantianism is well meant and does you credit. However, somehow Christianity ahd managed to survive (and grow hugely) up to the point where Constantine nationalised it.

Jesus was faced with a similar temptation, to be given all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow down and serve Satan: use Satan's weapons to overcome Satan. Nothing doing. Jesus preached and practised self denial and the way of the cross. He eschewed violence and force in defence of his kingdom, even though he could have called for twelve legions of angels.

And he defined his disciples as those who would follow him in this path. His disciples wanted to fight, but he forbade it, and they could have argued that that was the end of him, then, just as you have said was done by the Constantinians. But it was his very resistance to the violent powers, and his submission to their violence(Phil 2) that made possible his resurrection and brought salvation to the world.

Followers of the Constantinian/Christendom system will not follow Jesus in this most vital of all attitudes, and argue, as you have done, that they couldn't otherwise survive. They must wield power.

And, Len, whilst Constantine, among others, did indeed incorporate paganism into Christian practice, that wasn't the really big problem. It was the sell-out.

26 September 2010 at 16:45  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Well I wish I knew what you're talking about too, Anabaptist! Constantine's nationalisation of Christianity? A sell-out (what's one of those)?
What sell-out?

It's all rather vague, and are we not dealing in severely anachronistic terminology, here? While acknowledging that some anachronicity is unavoidable, I'd like to know you mean by this application of the modern concepts to a complex and difficult history.

And I say our own history would have been entirely different had there been no Constantine (made Emperor-elect by his troops at York, no less). Which is also to argue that euroland would have been culturally much the poorer - and Greek rhetoric would have been lost or perverted much sooner.

It was, of course, all pre-mo. Come to think of it, might he not have got here much sooner, but for Constantine's legacy of Constantinople?

26 September 2010 at 17:52  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

If you were to read my first comment in this thread, Mr non mouse, you might have a better idea of what I was talking about.

26 September 2010 at 17:59  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

At the end of the proverbial day it is the same God, the same Jesus, the same Holy Bible and the same Good News that we proclaim. God talks to me, I talk to God - the church is the fellowship with all its errors and faults and worldly nonsense that we must persevere with. And we should seek to make amends with God and love each other and do our best to serve and live out our Christian faith.

Non of this should include ripping each other's faces off over matters of interpretation. We should be showing tolerance and forgiveness for each other's stupidity.

There will always be brothers and sisters who although love God and hear His voice, and yet will still manage to misunderstand and get things wrong. If you find God speaking to you in your church then that is where you belong, and likewise for your brothers and sisters in their church. Why is it I that I feel no animosity towards other churches yet the hatred that flows out from some towards their brothers and sisters in Christ is quite bewildering?

Faith is as fragile as butterfly wings and more precious to me than all the worldly wealth in creation (not that I would turn down a lottery win). When I am hearing God's voice and feeling His direction and divine influence in my life then how on Earth am I to split hairs and tilt at windmills just to persecute my brothers and sisters for their own struggle and difficulties along the pilgrim's way?

Heaven will be full of sinners and souls who have gotten things profoundly wrong. Whether or not I manage to get there is quite something else, but I most certainly do not hold the keys to the gate just because of something I have read and made a personal interpretation out of. It is a journey built up out of information, choices and decisions, combined with a great divine mystery. If I was to guess then I would say that the closest thing to a key would be what lies in a man's heart and soul.

26 September 2010 at 18:03  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 September 2010 at 18:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a simple exercise to show that the book of Yusuf in the Koran is a plagiary or forgery of the Joseph account in Genesis.

Here's my comparison of the two.

How can the rest be any different?

26 September 2010 at 19:57  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. Anabaptist, I presume?

What follows both endorses and re- contextualises your own earlier remark: "... all this needs to be nuanced and carefully set in contexts, and various extremes of application and inderstanding need to be avoided."

I had read your first comments, but I know something of how Christianity proceeded in Britain-after the [largely] unholy Romans withdrew. My (interdisciplinary) reading of our situation suggests that the unity sought was of different earthly authorities (warring tribal leaders), who were all asked to acquiesce to the authority of the One Almighty God.

Certainly: i) Christians from Rome conveyed that ideal and Christ's teaching on the subject [who else could have done so-even if Joseph of Arimathea really was here?];
ii) Christians first allied themselves with political/military powers, through which the Church facilitated preaching to the greater populace; and
iii) neither Christians nor powers and dominions avoided synods, 'heresies,' schisms, wars, et al and ad infinitum. But I still don't see that Constantine was to blame for it all.

As to syncretism and paganism -there are degrees. It is true, for example, that Gregory the Great/Augustine and Alfred the Great adapted their approaches to different situations and different sets of pagans; and we have more substantial, and more, evidence available about the second case than the first.

As for the Way of the Cross - that probably came to us most strongly because Constantine had his Vision and then had his mother go and (allegedly) find the True Cross.

Please understand that I'm not taking sides: I may not have fared well with Constantine had I met him!! Furthermore, I agree as to the need for many of the reform movements over the centuries; but they could hardly avoid being political either, could they - whatever their specific contexts?

Overall, though, I tend to the view that faith develops and sustains itself through communication and communal support; as indeed does the writing and literacy that Christianity has nurtured so well. Did not Christ and the Evangelists illustrate that also - simply by preaching, forming their groups, and writing for even larger audiences?

26 September 2010 at 20:09  
Anonymous len said...

I agree with you, the Christian Church(or at least part of it) did sell out ,they compromised with the World to escape persecution,to gain respectability and power and it proved to be a tragedy for the Gospel.
In 325 A.D Constantine invited the Christian bishops from all over the Roman Empire to what would come to be known as the Council of Nicea.The church in effect married the Roman political powers. The Council of Nicea would forge a church-state accord which continues right up to this present time.Not all the of Church sold out at Nicea. The true church went underground. But they re-emerged among the reformers and the anabaptists in the 1400's. After a millennium of darkness, Gutenberg's printing press and the work of Bible translators brought the first glimmers of the true Gospel back into mainstream Europe.

26 September 2010 at 20:12  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

So, you are one day walking down (or up) the road when suddenly you see the light and truth that Christ is Lord, and you think to your self that you must go to church and give thanks to the Lord so you can get involved with the Christian community at large and do God's work and spread the good news.

You look around you and you see a sign that says "the church that Len goes to is this way". But you head off in the direction of the sign only to find nothing at the end of your journey except one man and a handful of objections and stubborn misgivings. You think to yourself, "how is this going to improve the world"? "What manner of church is this"? Hmmm! surely God has a bigger Christian fellowship installed on Earth than one man and load of moaning and whining? I mean I want to be a Christian and spread the good news, Oh wait! I know, I can blog the world into my way of thinking.

faith is such a small word isn't it? Yet it encompasses a gigantic warehouse of things like information, scriptures, ideas, thoughts, experiences and spiritual insights. How on Earth are we supposed to impart the totality of it to others when we try to explain what it is that we believe?

I have this friend who is so rigidly anti Christian to the point that he is full of hatred towards it. In my mind such strange levels of hatred can only be linked to some kind of mental trauma and personal conflict, but maybe this is only my Christian arrogance.

In the past I have tried to explain when he asks me what it is that I have to be so positive about, and as soon as I mention God and Jesus, it seems to fuel his hatred all the more. So now I simply make the statement that my faith is what fuels my engine and without it I would run dry and pack in. I have give up trying to explain the finer details because it only makes him worse. And although I have this faith, it is at times weak and fragile and I struggle with the most basic of things. Yet it comes and goes and I cling on to it for dear life and celebrate each precious moment of contact and revelation.

Like I said though, faith is such a small word yet is a gigantic warehouse of individual components and a million and one locked rooms. If I could download it and burn it to a CD or even an MP3, then nothing would give me more pleasure than to do this and post it on Facebook for all to share, but alas, it is not yet possible. But there again even it were, then who on earth would want to enter into my hell and Heaven?

26 September 2010 at 20:30  
Anonymous non mouse said...

OK then Len. I see. I'm sorry -you're talking about Christianity in euroland, not in Britain. If modern schools are teaching that we're all the same - why it's just propaganda: all that demoralisation and destabilisation stuff.

We've always had a different relationship with Christianity. The Roman Church had all kinds of trouble keeping us in line. Why else did Pope Alexander back up William the Bastard? That's when the real oppression started.

I must protest once more, then - as to "a millennium of darkness." No one, who has studied British Literature and culture of the Anglo-Saxon era, can honestly agree to that perception.

Part of our independence was due to geography: at the edges of the known world [Best place to be, I've always said!]. Part of it was because of the early Celtic conversion, which flourished among the Scots/Picts, Welsh, and Irish. It was the English that Augustine came to - the Celts had their reservations about making them literate, it seems.

The Irish/Scots nevertheless greatly influenced Northumbrian Christianity (Aidan, etc) - until the Roman faction drove them out (Synod of Whitby 663-4). That doesn't mean, though, that they disappeared altogether or never made a comeback...

There is nothing 'dark' about message of "The Lindisfarne Gospels" or the light that our scriptoria subsequently enabled for the euros. There is nothing dark about the very first translation of the Gospels into English: by glossing. Biblical translation had begun... as a result of the glosses that had first developed in the schools of Hadrian and Theodore (probably in the Greek/Byzantine tradition of favouring the vernacular).

Furthermore, preaching to the people in English is what Anglo-Saxon writing was largely about: that's how English literature began. That's not dark, it's wonderful. If modern writers had half the skill, brilliance, or insight, we'd be in a better world today.

The monks kept our English going throughout 3-400 years of frogification (the devils had to communicate with us somehow); but our tradition re-flowered in the days of Chaucer, Gower, and Wyclif; and even more fully in His Grace's time. When they told the euros to get lost, you know?

26 September 2010 at 22:01  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Anabaptist, your view about the inter-relationship between Church and State in Late Antiquity seems anachronistic. Whilst one can understand your point that religion cannot/should not be forced, is it not fairer to say that the early Church accomplished a trade-off rather than a sell-out?

And what alternatives did they have within the society of Byzantium in 325AD?

It is generally considered that Constantine was never a Christian himself, although his mother Helena undoubtedly was. And as to the various branches of Christianity, the Orthodox remain deeply adverse to what they regard as the caesaro=papism of Rome. Given the continuing role of Constantinople in Orthodox practice and bellief one somehow doubts that the early church was as coercive as you imply, even post the various Councils of Nicaea. On the other hand the mores of SPQR are embodied in the Church of Rome, even to this day, as recently demonstrated.

26 September 2010 at 22:08  
Blogger graham wood said...

I hesitate to rush in on this fascinating discussion with such excellent contributions by Anabaptist and Len, which I have only just found on Cranmer.

However for those sceptics who know little of the massive challenge that Constantiniasm brought to the Christian Gospel and the simplicity of its expression as set out in the NT doctrine of the church of Christ, I strongly recommend the following for enlightenment.

1. For a historical description of the impact of Constantine upon the
medieval and Reformation churches:
"The Reformers & Their Stepchildren" by Leonard Verduin.

2. For the terrible long term legacy of Constantiniasm in, and on, our churches today:
"Pagan Christianity" Co authored Frank Viola and George Barna.
(The latter is in print)

Both will, I suggest bear out the accuracy of Anabaptist's and Len's observations.

26 September 2010 at 22:25  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Intresting stuff on here tonight !

The business of historical research is important , it would appear to me though that the Quuran has the benefit of having early copies of whatever formulated in the deserts of Arabia in around 600AD , by which time constantine had been and gone , we seem to forget that Judaism and christianity were well known , so Islam is perhaps a contravening view or somthing to do with the fall of the roman empire .
Again though you simply do not come across any unbiased look at the quorans formation , like what has been endlessly done to the bible.I had to watch one program on Johns lving on papos in which it was pointed there was native mushroom growing that contained a form of LSD which explains revelation !
It is so oppresive that it cannot be studied or questioned by modern reason/research , which is one point, never mind the theology of the difference between saviour and mere prophet .
The Bishop is a brave man , any Imans willing to try it as topic , thought not .

26 September 2010 at 23:28  
Anonymous len said...

Jared Gates There is no'Church of Len'. Heaven forbid!
There is only one true'Church,' the Church of Jesus Christ.
Any Church headed up by any other than Christ would be a disaster.(which is my point)
Me stubborn?, possibly.
Refuse to compromise my faith for the sake of unity?. Certainly .
This is the whole point of this discussion.

27 September 2010 at 00:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: John at Patmos

It might help to understand that he was given a bird's eye tour of the heavenly throne room, up one side and down the other.

If you think of it something like a "combat information center" or "air traffic control room" it also helps. John witnessed what we might consider workstations or "holographic depictions" of the Almighty's plan for the end times.

The "workstations" are arrayed in a manner that Moses was given to pattern the tabernacle after.

That means that many of his views covered the same scenes from two different angels. The most obvious of which is that the Trumpets and Vials (cp. golden censer) are easily recognized as two aspects of the same set of events.

In effect, the worldly time sequence travels from the distant end of the throne room (altar / cross area) toward where John starts his travel at the throne (mercy seat / judgment seat area).

So traveling toward the distant end means that the series occur in reverse order, backwards in time sequence from what most people try to do with a chp. 1 to chp. 22 reading of the Revelation.

Chapter 12 is the pivot point at the distant end. It's basically a Passover event where the manchild is rescued from the Dragon. Jerusalem above (the Heavenly Mother) labors to extend the Kingdom of God into the world as the manchild.

In end time sequence the next series of events involves confrontations between the Two Prophets and the Two Beasts. Just as the Beast aren't individuals, neither are the prophets. The Two Beasts manifest the spirit of Balaam, i.e. false prophecy.

Same for Mystery Babylon later... the spirit of Jezebel.

I could go on, but the point is that what John witnessed meshes with the rest of the Bible very well, but most try to study it sequentially rather than spatially.

The key is that John was caught up to view what was going on in the throne room. Very simple. He started at the Throne in Rev. 4 and returned there down the other side from Rev. 12 in normal world time sequence order to Rev. 20.

No LSD explanation is necessary if you compare icons on computer screens with the much more grand "holographic" representations of the actual Throne Room / Temple of Heaven.

And that means that the actual start of the end time events becomes obvious when the Kingdom of Heaven begins to manifest openly in the world -- as a "beach head invasion" from heaven.

The labors of the heavenly saints come to full term in due season, as a "virgin birth," which was foreshadowed in Christ's own birth.

Just think spatial. /st

27 September 2010 at 00:56  
Anonymous non mouse said...

I like it. Thank you. I reckon Chaucer saw it that way too.

As to the latter day readings on Constantine - I'm beginning to feel quite sorry for the poor lad. Are his enemies, perchance, deconstructionists? Just doing what "what's expected" if they want to stay alive and publishing in post mod Academia? Marxists are so good at that kind of projection.

No wonder I don't think what they think I think.

I think His Grace is right, though.

27 September 2010 at 01:21  
Anonymous len said...

The evidence is there throughout history that whoever remains faithful to the Word of God will face opposition and persecution. Satan has a formula which he has used with success throughout history.Whatever(or whoever) satan cannot kill he will try to corrupt and render useless.
God however has always had a remnant who remained faithful to Him and His purposes( sometimes just a single man, as with Daniel)
Daniel was in the heart of Babylon and many attempts were made to corrupt him( eating food sacrificed to idols,worshipping the King in the form of an image etc,then an outright attempt to kill him when the priests found they couldn`t corrupt him.
John was on Patmos because he wouldn`t worship Caesar.
Constantine instead of converting pagans did the opposite and paganised Christianity.
How people would see this as a good thing is beyond me!

27 September 2010 at 08:10  
Anonymous bluedog said...

But Len, there's nothing to stop anybody reading the Gospels, it's not as though Constantine banned them. Didn't he just set up a syncretic religion in the interests of converting the pagan tribes to Christianity as defined by the Council of Nicaea. The genius of the Holy Catholic Church was that it created for the first time a religion that any individual could join. Possibly an extension of Civis Romanus Sum, but without Constantine's support Christianity may have gone the way of the preceding Mithraic cult. Christianity became the first universal religion, is that bad? Surely survival through slight compromise is preferable to death through doctrinal purity. Unless you are hanging out for martyrdom.

On another topic, have some fun and join the International Congregation of Hagia Sophia. An American politician called Chris Spirou with an unfortunate flair for self-promotion is trying to pressure the Turkish government to return Hagia Sophia to the Orthodox Church. You may think this is a bad idea, but given the relentless US/UK campaign to bring Turkey in to the EU, I think its a brilliant initiative and support it for a number of reasons.

Of course, it is only since the invention of the internet that it has become possible to establish a religion on a non-territorial basis. That must please the Anabaptists amongst the communicants at His Grace's Cyber Cathederal. The Hagia Sophia campaign is cyber based too and has millions of facebook entries, according to an Orthodox priest I was talking to last weekend.

27 September 2010 at 09:02  
Anonymous len said...

"But Len, there's nothing to stop anybody reading the Gospels,"
There would be no problem if anyone seeking God read the bible,studied the Scriptures and prayed for guidance.

But ( and this is what the whole controversy is about)
The Catholic Church teaches that Catholic tradition has as much authority as Scripture, and that only the church can accurately interpret the Bible. Catholics are not allowed to let the Bible speak for itself. They are required to find out how the Catholic Church interprets it. They are required to filter what they read in the Bible through the lenses of Catholic doctrines and traditions.
And they are taught that the Pope is 'infallible'even when he contradicts the Word of God!!

27 September 2010 at 10:29  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

This does illustrate the absurdity of relying on holy books as “evidence” for anything. Why not accept that they are all just stories dreamt up by the ignorant and superstitious in past millennia. Either they reveal the word of “god”, and need now further “interpretation” or they are the word of man in which case they are worthless.

27 September 2010 at 11:02  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Thank you for taking the trouble to explain your position, Len. I am familiar with the Catholic position which as an Anglican I am happy to politely ignore, especially the doctrine of papal infallibility. Having said that it is difficult to avoid be slightly alarmed by the direction of the Catholic Church. It seems to be in danger of a collapse of vocations, with at the same time a rapidly ageing priesthood. Any contraction of the Catholic Church would create a challenging vacuum.

Mr Graham Davis, there is a world of difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, wherein the synoptic gospels are eyewitness accounts, as you are almost certainly aware.

27 September 2010 at 12:21  
Anonymous len said...

Graham Davis ,
To do as you suggest would be to throw away the truth with the rubbish which has been added to it!
The 'facts' presented by Science are constantly changing does this make them all totally worthless?

Truth however doesn`t change which makes the Bible the only reliable source of Truth in a changing World.

27 September 2010 at 12:49  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Len there is no such thing as religious truth, but if there was then it would not need to be added to. Unlike religion science is dependent on the incremental increase of knowledge. Standing on the shoulders of giants may help those who follow but the search is not for truth but understanding.

27 September 2010 at 13:50  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Thank you, Bluedog - all my experience and reading (primary and secondary sources) suggest that you are right. The idea was to help pagans recognize how they could convert to (turn towards) the higher truth of Christianity. Constantine was as good a politician as he was a soldier, it seems; and he turned the tide on the wholesale slaughter of Christians - the abolition of Christianity.

But whatever the marxists (new historicists etc.) can do to re-turn the tide, they will do. Much of that depends from a policy of 'fragmentation': as we see daily...

Their campaign proceeds apace, in tandem with that of the idolaters.

27 September 2010 at 16:57  
Anonymous len said...

Bluedog, There are too many contradictions in Catholicism for me (and I would have thought anyone )who little more than a cursory look at the Bible to ignore.
However I realise that people will cling to what they know,and what they have be taught, and what they have accepted and to break with tradition would be difficult for them .

Thanks for your comments but I stand unconvinced and totally disagree with you.

27 September 2010 at 18:32  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Len, thank you for your brutal frankness, you may have saved me a lot of time.

Throughout this particular blog some of His Grace's communicants have helpfully offered a reading list of books for the infidel such as myself who do not recognise the evils of St Constantine the Great. Being lazy, I have sucessfully checked for reviews of these books on the internet rather than rushing off to purchase same. Imagine my complete surprise in discovering that the relevant reviews refer to these books as being written from the Anabaptist point of view. Now communicant Mr Anabaptist, currently on holiday in Catholic Tuscany, quotes you approvingly which rather suggests that you are Anabaptist too; correct me if I am wrong.

So if that is your position and if you totally disagree with my settled view that Constantine was the saviour of Christianity we are heading for a doctrinal brick wall. I therefore reluctantly conclude that whatever I read I will never reach the required level of Piety or Anabaptist orthodoxy to achieve acceptance. More to the point I have no wish to do so!

Best wishes

28 September 2010 at 12:14  
Anonymous len said...

Bluedog, Whenever I have checked a pro-Constantine article I have found it to lead back to a Catholic source. So all your Info comes from the same corrupt source.
So in this light(or lack of it) your chances of finding the truth are extremely remote.
Good luck.
(PS You chances of finding honesty(brutal or otherwise)amongst these catholic sources is practically nil , so good luck in your rummaging about in the rubbish.

28 September 2010 at 13:46  
Anonymous len said...

I would rather tell you the truth and offend you ,
than lie to you and have you call me your friend.

PS ( I have no denomination, although the Anabaptists seem to be on the right track so to speak.)

Best Wishes.

28 September 2010 at 13:50  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Len, I'm not offended. Each to his own.

29 September 2010 at 10:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Bishops Comments were unwise, so far as he is fully aware these draconian barbarians known as muslims are totally intolerant and do not know how to have constructive debate.
Islams greates enemy is scrutiny, examination, debate, or criticism.
What does that tell us.
Their faith is like a woven basket,
it holds no water and can not be justified or credited in any civilised deabte.
Let this serve as a warning to the rest of the world. DO NOT EVER ALLOW ISLAM TO TAKE OVER YOUR LAND>
Egypt use to be 100% christian, the desert nomads the arabs took over by stealth. now there are only 10% christians. Our ignorant western leaders want to try interfaith. Wake you fools, Islam know no interfaith, and dont be gulable, Allah said guys its cool to lie to the infidels.
A muslim can never ever be trusted, lying is in their makeup, blood and DNA.

30 September 2010 at 11:47  
Blogger srizals said...

Well said Anon-Amir. Err..Are you talking about yourself?

1 October 2010 at 13:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that each time someone opens intelligent debate about the Muslims there is uproar.

3 October 2010 at 16:53  
Blogger srizals said...

Uproar? Where? Intelligent debate? When? By all means, do start an intelligent debate and please, no bad-mouthing, cursing and accusation without proper proof. When it sounds intelligent enough, don't stop responding to show that you are proudly ignoring the loser...That would not be intelligent won't it?

3 October 2010 at 17:36  

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