Saturday, August 19, 2006

"Jesus is either God or a blasphemous liar"

Last week, Anony wrote: "I had an interesting conversation the other day with my non-Catholic friends. I asked them if they believed in the risen Christ and they said they did. Actually they believed all the aspects of Jesus. I then asked why didn't they convert to Christianity and the answer was they believed in all prophets that came to the world whether it be Muhammed, Buddha etc. Their fundamental belief was that all religions were the same. They went on to say that all the prophets have said "Follow me and you will attain salvation." What are your thoughts on this?"

Thanks for the question, Anony, and great witness! My first reply to someone who puts other prophets on the same level as Christ is, "how many of them have risen from the dead?" Christ is the only one. That's what separates him from any other prophet or religious leader. The Resurrection of Christ shows us that he has power that no other human person has: power over death. It reveals that Christ is not just a man, like all the other prophets are. It shows that all that he taught is true, and that He is the Son of God and the Savior for whom mankind has been waiting.

St. Paul says that if Christ isn't risen from the dead, Christianity is pointless. "If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith" (1 Cor 15:14). C.S. Lewis wrote, "In the face of foolishness that contends that Jesus was a good man or a prophet or a wise moral guide, but that He was only a man, that Jesus is either God or a blasphemous liar". Msgr. Thomas Wells added, "Let us play no games of trying to make Him into a teacher of unforgettable sayings. He is either the God who will judge me or a liar".

Anony, this is a direct challenge to your friends who believe "all the aspects of Jesus" but only on a level of being a good prophet or something. Either he is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6) or he is not. Either "no one comes to the Father except through (Christ)" (Jn 14:6) or not. Either Christ is "I AM" (Jn 8:58) -the God revealed in the Old Testament - or he is not. Either he is the "living bread that came down from heaven" (Jn 6:51) or he is not.

If we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the one to follow. All of the Old Testament points to Christ, and the New Testament looks back on Christ. Christ is the Word of God. He is written about indirectly in the Old Testament and directly in the New. If someone rejects Jesus as the Christ, then they reject that the Bible is the written Word of God. Either Sacred Scripture is the Word of God or it is not.

What would Jesus say about others who claim, "follow me and you will attain salvation"?
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them" (Mt 7:15)

"If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect" (Mt 24:23-24).

6 Comments:

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Bible Discernment said...

For more info on Bible Versions go to www.biblediscernment.com

 
At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally awesome explanation. Seeing Jesus as a prophet only is part of the broad term "new age"
religion. It is insidious because it sounds all good, all accepting, politically correct EXCEPT it is not true! Just a minor detail.

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

For those who visit the site that Anon # 1 encourages, I would strongly encourage you to be careful. While it appears that it is a site run by people who love the Word of God, it strongly promotes the King James Version. The King James Version is NOT A CATHOLIC BIBLE! Too many Catholics don't know that there are significant differences between this Protestant translation and a Catholic Bible.

We are certainly inspired by the love of God's Word by our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters. They have a great passion to grow in their relationship with Christ through Sacred Scripture. Unfortunately, they aren't studying the translation of the Bible that God has written through his inspired authors.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church (which was formed about 300 years before the Bible was) declared what was the inspired Word of God in assembling the books of the Bible in 325 A.D. (Council of Nicea). This canon has remained the same in the Catholic Church ever since.

However, "protesters" of the Church during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s changed the canon as well as some translations to fit the theology of their new Churches. While the Catholic Bible contains 72 books, KJV has 67 books (I'm pretty sure about these numbers; anyway, they took out a few books).

Also, examples of different translations: "this is my body" (Catholic) was changed to "this symbolizes my body" (Protestant)...
"salvation by faith and works" (Catholic) was changed to "salvation by faith alone" (Protestant).

Does it really make sense to believe that "the REAL version of the Bible" didn't come along until 1500 years after Christ came to Earth? With this line of thinking, 1)the Church that Christ founded has been in error all this time; 2)the Spirit that Christ sent to guide his Church has been in error all this time; and 3)Christ himself has been in error because he speaks through the Church -he says to the Apostles, "whoever hears you, hears me" (Lk 10:16).

Like I said, be careful with this site and with the KJV.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tradition 1st, bible 2nd, What also does not make sense.....Almost ALL of the first Christians could NOT read. Only the elite, wealthy few were taught to read any written language. So I always have trouble with Protestants who say "well, if it's not in the bible, then it is not true" HELLO? THe Church grew because of the apostles and their successors passing on TRADITION via word of mouth. Changing the bible in 1500, no that does not make any sense either. What is the best Catholic bible out there, Father Greg? In your opinion? "To know history, is to be Catholic."

 
At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the Catholic Bible contains 72 books, KJV has 67 books (I'm pretty sure about these numbers; anyway, they took out a few books).

The Bible translation prepared under King James actually did include all the books of the Catholic canon, though the books missing from "Protestant Bibles" were collectively identified as "the Apocrypha" and given their own place between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Since 1611, of course, many published editions have left out these books, and KJV-only advocates don't regard them as Scripture. In this, of course, they lack Wisdom. Also Judith and Tobit.

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Anon #2, I like to use the New Jerusalem Bible, but also use the NAB (New American Bible) which is the translation on which the Lectionary (for Mass readings) is based. One of our Scripture professors in the seminary told us that we can't always trust the notes of the NAB, with which I agree.

 

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