Comment on post about Jesus Christ and Christian Church | a dialog

"After my departure there will arise the ignorant and the crafty, and many things will they ascribe unto Me that I never spake, and many things which I did speak will they withhold, but the day will come when the clouds shall be rolled away, and the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth with healing in his wings" ~ Jesus, The Essene Gospel of Peace

Sufi mystics with profound respect consider Jesus Christ, upon him be peace, as one of the greatest Murshid, Sufi Master. The life of beloved Murshid Isa ibn Maryam (the name and title used in Quran, the Final Testament, meaning Jesus, son of Mary) fascinates me and has been one of my most favorite area of independent study / research. Specially his lost years prior to his becoming a wandering teacher and start of his open ministry and also the post-crucifixion events and what really happened.

So far i have posted few posts related to the life of Jesus. Specially on post-crucifixion events, the possibility that Christ travelled to India and Jesus the unauthorized versions.

Nathan, recently made couple of very interesting and thought provoking comments. I highlight from one of the comments. In the post, Gospel of Judas- Jesus actually, Nathan writes:

Salaam 'Alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakaatuhu, Sadiq.

I've enjoyed reading your blog. I am interested in Islam and Sufism, and your opinions have been much food for thought. I am also interested in studying how Islam and Sufism can offer me valuable external perspectives on my own practice of Russian Orthodox Christianity. It is because I belong to this tradition that I want to defend the essential authenticity of the Church and its preservation of Jesus teachings.

It is easy for people to blame “the Church.” Unfortunately, this gets to be irresponsible because “Church” is a nebulous term meaning many things. I believe when people blame a “Church” they are thinking of it in very concrete human terms: an institution that has lost its focus and is more concerned with power and worldly issues. This is true, but is it not so in Islam? Or Judaism? Show me a religion whose very human adherents haven’t committed some sin because they refuses to see the deeper implications of their religious doctrine.

Yet despite this every century in the Christian world – East and West – has brought forth great saints, masters of the paths of love, knowledge, and service. The Church is also the “Mystical Body of Christ.” Whatever historical corruptions or deviations there may be – some of which are unavoidable because we are all finite creatures and must make political decisions to survive, sometimes sacrificing things that shouldn’t be sacrificed.—the Church is essentially still a school for saints.

When the Church was founded it was like a Tariqat, with the Apostles as the Murshidun. If Christianity wasn’t originally intended to be another religion, it is not the fault of Christ’s followers that it is. There are larger than life historical forces that dictate such things: social and economic conditions in Judea, the Roman Empire, the expulsion of Jewish believers in Christ from the Synagogues and their persecution by the Jewish establishment as well as the Roman; and most importantly, the Apostles’ belief that the revelations of Jesus, especially his Resurrection, were not just for those who were exoterically Jewish but for the whole known world. In short, the idea that Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion is, respectfully, not too relevant.

With regard to claims of distortion of Christ’s “original” teachings by his followers, I know these are often held by Muslims, Jews, and Christians who have been turned off by their institutional Churches. But if we examine the experience of many of the saints and fathers and mothers of the Church, both in its early years and through the intervening time to the present day, we find still that vital life-giving spirituality, call it gnosis or love, that links us with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit.

The fact that our scriptures are canonized, and that some things that were probably good and authentic (many sayings of Jesus in other gospels are not necessarily unorthodox) were left out is not a sign of corruption. The fact is, there are unhealthy formulations of spiritual experience. Some of the early Christian groups held ideas that held Jesus to be the opponent of the material world and the demonic or foolish (depending on the sect) God who created it. Now should Orthodox Christianity be slandered because a few heretical sects had some beautiful spiritual sayings framed in erroneous doctrine? Can we, Christians and Muslims, seriously believe Christ would slander Allah, al-Khaliqu? I think not. Not all teachings are correct, although they may contain real gems, we still have to separate the dirt and rock out of the mixture.

With regard to the revelation: it doesn't matter when the different gospels were written, or exactly by whom. We Christians have a different experience of Revelation than you Muslims. Essentially, God’s word is revealed to you in the ayats of the Qur’an, in classical Arabic. For Christians, God’s word is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ existing both historically and eternally. The New Testament isn’t so much of a revelation (in the sense of Christ, or of the Qur’an) but a body of sacred and inspired literature which is meaningless without Christ as its subject. The gospels are not The Injil (which is Christ’s teaching, word and deed—not least of which is his Resurrection to Eternal Life) as much as they are hadith. St. John’s gospel ends with the message that Jesus said many things not recorded, and that if they were, the whole earth couldn’t contain the books they would be written in. Likewise, the other books of the New Testament contain elements of hadith, tafsir (on the Old Testament in relation to Christ), tawil/midrash, etc. The only book of Christian scripture which comes close to the Qur’anic experience of revelation is the final book, the Apocalypse of St. John (“Revelation”).

Walikum Salaam wa rahmatullah wa barakaatuhu, Nathan,

Thanks for sharing your beautiful insight and i deeply respect your knowledge. Indeed Prophet Muhammad also had great respect for the Christian monastery and the churches and he gave specific instruction that people belonging to them are not to be harmed or disturbed to the least. Yes i do agree, the wholesale idea to blame everything on Church doesn't do justice to its greater significance as you very rightly pointed out that the word "Church" is a nebulous term meaning many things.

Orthodox Church, from my own personal understanding is probably the most closest to upheld the original commandments of the Scriptures and follows the reform that Jesus Christ's message contained. i did enjoy reading very much and pondering on the other points that you made and it contains great illumination on the both side of the truth which as a mystic, i greatly appreciate.

what i loved about your comment is it is very informative. we so much hear about engaging in interfaith, intra-faith dialog, but often get disappointed about the fact that two opposite parties are so ignorant about the other. Here your comment beautifully illustrate your knowledge and your informative points. Your excellent comparison "When the Church was founded it was like a Tariqat, with the Apostles as the Murshidun" ... is a great example how distance can be bridged with informed dialogs and it makes so easy to appreciate other's view point when we are able to speak in each others language and terminology.

i will post your other comment regarding the Quranic verse about the crucifixion event of Jesus Christ in another future post and indeed i value what you pointed out. God willing, we will share our thoughts on this and probably other friends also can join.

dear Nathan, may the loving glance of Beloved Lord be upon your heart and be illuminated with His Light. amen.



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Technology of the Heart: Comment on post about Jesus Christ and Christian Church | a dialog
Comment on post about Jesus Christ and Christian Church | a dialog
Technology of the Heart
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