Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sharing with an Islamic inmate

While at the Regional Justice Center in Kent last week, I had the privilege of interacting with a Muslim inmate for about 20 minutes.  Our conversation was mutually very respectful, unusual as these kinds of discussions may be highly charged. I actively asked the Lord for a peaceful spirit and His words to speak. We shook hands graciously and thanked each other for a respectful interchange after we finished.

Justin asked me if God was a man in Genesis 18:1-21.

We discussed verses 1-3--

1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth  and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.

He clearly intended to prove another Christian inmate wrong and even called this other man over to our table to hear my answer.  Their brief conversation was tense. Debating is not productive. I stated that God is not a man but is described by Jesus and He takes a form as a spirit in John 4.

In Genesis 18, He (the Lord) miraculously appeared as man.  God is not a man.  We struggled together, on that point, and moved on.

Justin cited Moses talked to God "as a man talks to a friend."  So, then, did God speak man-to-man, or face-to-face with Moses?  No, Moses had clear conversation with God, as one friend would talk with another friend, so Moses did not talk with a physical or fleshly man that was God. 

In Revelation 4, then, Justin asked who the Lamb took the scroll from? It was the Father, but Scripture doesn't say what He looks like.

I concluded our time with:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.  Hebrews 1:1-4

1 comment:

DSJulian said...

Excellent as always Chaplain Mark! While Bev and I were on our cruise a couple of years ago our Islamic cabin steward was feeling depressed one day. He confided to us that he had a bad dream that his wife at home was being unfaithful to him. Like you, we were quite surprised when he agreed to let us pray for him and his marriage. Changing the world begins with one random act of kindness and then another and another. Your blog reminds me that we also have to be ready, willing, and able to answer the hard questions as they come up!