Friday, March 18, 2011

Ramblings on the Bible desecration conflict in Malaysia

Dr. Ng Kam Weng says is so much better than what I can manage so I will just point you to his blog posts..

Read the first link before the second

I however want to add my two cents to the matter for what its worth.

1. I am glad many Malaysian Church leaders have decided to be bold and speak out and show strong leadership in correcting what I think has been letting PC and politics (as in national politics) set the tone ...

I think of this episode in Acts and I leave it to you to interpret what I mean :-)

Acts 16: 35-40
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men."
 36 The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."
 37 But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out."
 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed.
 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.
 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

2. I think certain Muslim ulamas have made a valid point - that in a real way the Bible is a "dangerous" book that threatens the security of Islam in Malaysia (though the politics of the matter is that for the ruling party, this is equated with threatening national security).

It is to me a valid and much needed recognition that the Bible when truly understood and embraced as God's Word has the power to turn lives inside out and hand upside down - but for the better! The Gospel is real good news and when properly lived should transform not just one's "personal religious rituals" but should transform our lives radically for good that in turn affects whole communities and the whole world.

What makes me more sad than the politics and Bible desecration (for me it is not the letters of the printed page but the message of truth and life (the spirit) of the printed page seems too often forgotten or even ignored by Christians.

It seems ironic that some Muslims understand how "subversive" the Bible message can be as it tells us in no uncertain terms that we must put God (Jesus Christ) first above all things.... but many Christians don't?
The Bible is too often treated like another book to be taken apart and critiqued (not against scholarship but against the attitude!) where we are assumed to be above the Bible, standing over in judgment and in authority over the Bible rather than humbly study under the authority of the Bible.

The Bible with its call to discipleship and obedience to God is so radical that, for example, even the love we have and must have for our family when compared to our devotion to God is in comparison like hating them.

I think these ulamas are dead wrong and unjust in how they express their devotion to the cause of Islam BUT I do wish that more Christians would catch some of their raw passion and commitment and make a stand for Christ, the Bible and the Gospel.

Some passages that came to my mind as I wrestled with this on going political cum religious conflict(?)

Acts 2: 41-47

 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Luke 14: 26-35
 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-- yes, even his own life-- he cannot be my disciple.
 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
 28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?
 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,
 30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
 31 "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
 34 "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Romans 1:14-17

 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

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