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Do Babies Go to Heaven?

2016 February 5

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
First Sunday after Christmas
December 27, 2015

Sermon Link: Do Babies Go to Heaven?

Alone

2016 February 5

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Christmas Eve
December 24, 2015

Sermon Link: Alone

Mary the Revolutionary

2016 February 4

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 20, 2015

Sermon Link: Mary the Revolutionary

Be Repentant

2016 February 4

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Third Sunday of Advent
December 13, 2015

Sermon Link: Be Repentant

Be Prepared

2016 February 3

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Second Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2015

Sermon Link: Be Prepared

Ask Father Paul – Allah and Jehovah, Same God?

2016 February 3

Paul MasseyDEAR FATHER PAUL:

I frequently hear someone in the media, a professor, a politician, or some “religious leader” say something like, “Muslims and Christians need to learn to get along together. After all, we both worship the same God.” Is that true? Are the God of Islam (Allah) and the God of Christians (Jehovah) the same God? What do you say?

-Barbara.

DEAR BARBARA:

Thank you for your excellent and timely question which has become so important in the current era of strife between Islam and Christianity. Do both religions indeed worship the same God?  Please keep in mind that this is an “opinion” column. Having said that, my opinion, after years of studying both religions, is that Muslims and Christians do not  both worship the same God. Here’s why.

First, while there are similarities in both religions’ descriptions of God, there are also some distinct and major differences. And while many in academia, the media, politics, and both the Muslim and the Christian communities sincerely “wish” and sincerely “proclaim” that a sameness exists between the two religions… “wishing” and “proclaiming” simply cannot make a myth into a fact. Indeed, it has been my experience upon probing the background, views, and history of those making the claim that both groups worship the same God that one inevitably finds such folks most often have never… ever done any serious, focused and in-depth study of BOTH religions’ holy books, the Bible and the Koran.  Why? Because it is far too much work. It’s much easier to simply mouth the propaganda of progressives who proclaim the idea of sameness than it is to do the hard work of digging out the truth. Besides, speaking against the prevailing opinion that both Gods and both religions are essentially the same is not politically correct.

Second, the personalities, temperament, tone, and declarations (spoken words) of Allah and Jehovah, as revealed in the Koran and the Bible, simply are too vastly different for them to be from one and the same God. I challenge you to read their words for yourself.  Third, what are some attributes of both religions that demonstrate clearly the fact that they do not worship the same God? Here are just a few of the most basic. There are hundreds, but I am limited by space.  While both religions do affirm that “there is only one God.” That he is eternal, all powerful, all knowing and present everywhere, Christianity is radically different from Islam in that Christians espouse the doctrine of their God as a “Trinity” …three manifestations of the same God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) …while Islam denies this and accuses Christianity of blasphemy and teaching polytheism… the worship of many Gods. Christians believe that mankind is corrupted by an inherited sinful nature that cannot be overcome by any human means, but by faith in God and Jesus alone. But Islam denies that humans have a deeply sinful human nature, claiming that we sin because we are weak and ignorant but we can attain heaven by obedience to Allah, the Koran and works.  Adherents to Islam point out that the Arabic word Allah means “God,” and that Allah inspired the Hebrew prophets including Jesus, but that Jesus was nothing more than a great teacher and the last prophet before Mohammed. Thus, Jesus was not and is not God in the flesh, he was not crucified and was not resurrected from the dead. Koran 5:7 says as much.

These views and many others present a huge problem for people of good will on both sides. God cannot be part of a Trinity (Christian) and part of a Non Trinity (Islam) at the same time. The fact that there are so many other key differences in the two religions has absolutely nothing to do with “hate and intolerance” as some claim, but rather the simple fact that the two religions are so opposite in beliefs that they are indeed, in many ways, irreconcilable. The fact that a growing element in Islam has been hijacked by violent extremists bent on the submission or total destruction of Christianity and the West should give everyone (including Muslims) serious pause. Things are very close to getting out of hand and total war between the world’s two largest religions is not out of the question in my view.

Do you have a question? Email it to me at paulmassey@earthlink.net and I will try to answer your question in the paper.

Father Paul Massey is Pastor Emeritus of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com for information.

On Evaluating Presidential Candidates

2016 January 23
Comments Off on On Evaluating Presidential Candidates

Bishop David EppsOn a recent edition of “The Five,” on Fox News, Dana Perino stated that she believed that the most important characteristics for a candidate for President of the United States were “trust and character.” I thoughta bout that for a bit and decided that I would add a third: competence. If even one of these qualities is seriously deficient in a candidate, their presidency,if elevated to that office may suffer serious consequences. Worse, the nation will be poorer as a result of their having sat in the Oval Office.

Richard Nixon, for example was, by most accounts, competent.He held the trust of a majority of the American people who elected him twice.Yet, his character led to his humiliating resignation and the dominant memory of his reign is that of the Watergate scandal. On the other hand, Jimmy Carter was a man of impeccable character; He was a man of strong faith and was, one could argue, honest to a fault. Yet his inability to deal with Iran, the hostage crisis, and the oil crisis led many to question his competency. This led to a diminishing of trust with the result that he was a one term president.

Candidate George Bush the elder was accomplished and competent. No one questioned his character. But when he abandoned his campaign pledge, “Read my lips—no new taxes,” it no longer mattered that he had scored a phenomenal victory in the First Gulf War. Trust was gone. He was not re-elected.

Now, in both the Republican and Democrat parties, voters are assessing a plethora of candidates. Whatever their politics and whatever their promises, these three issues must be considered;

1) Character. Does this person possess the moral integrity and character to lead the mightiest nation ever to grace the planet? Are there core values that guide this individual? A person that I once met said of President Bill Clinton, to whom this person was known, “He’s a great guy. He is a man you’d love to have a burger and a beer with. He’s just not the man you’d leave alone in a room with your wife or daughter.” One could argue that, even though he served two terms,a poor character did affect the Clinton presidency. Yet, it is the historian who will eventually make that call at sometime in the future.

2) Trust. Is this a candidate that your can trust with serious issues—issues, literally,of war and peace, life and death, prosperity and adversity? Does the candidate tell the truth even when it does not benefit him or her? When their lips are moving, can you trust what they say? Can you trust them to do right for the country or do you believe that they do what they do for their own benefit?

3) Competence. Do they have the skills to do the job? Do they have the ability, and humility,to surround themselves with people more knowledgeable than themselves in critical areas? And do they have the ability to listen and take advice? Can they, as so many promise to do during the campaign, work across the aisle with the other party and can they help heal the deep divisions in the nation? Do they have a proven track record of success and can they learn from their mistakes and failures? Do they have the ability, based on past performance, to formulate a plan of action and can they execute it? Do they have the personal courage and strength to confront powerful foes and deal with the criminals and mad men of the world?

These and many other questions should be asked about every candidate regardless of political party. In less than a year, a new President of the United States will be sworn in. His or her term of office will either be a blessing or a curse upon the American people.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.