Brad L. Burge
God desires that ALL people would accept God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ. God has compelled me to share information with the world relating to the biblical seven year tribulation in order to share Truth in a deceived world.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)
Jesus answered, "I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
Monday, October 22, 2007
It is hoped that this document will provide a common constitution for the many worthy organizations and individuals who are carrying out interfaith dialogue all over the world. Often these groups are unaware of each other, and duplicate each other’s efforts. Not only can A Common Word Between Us give them a starting point for cooperation and worldwide co-ordination, but it does so on the most solid theological ground possible: the teachings of the Qu’ran and the Prophet r, and the commandments described by Jesus Christ u in the Bible. Thus despite their differences, Islam and Christianity not only share the same Divine Origin and the same Abrahamic heritage, but the same two greatest commandments.
While acknowledging that we and other Jewish scholars might already frame the words of Dabru Emet somewhat differently, I am pleased to note deep resonances between Dabru Emet and A Common Word. I believe A Common Word represents a comparable opening to theological dialogue. Here is a sampling of ways:
Love of God: For the authors of Dabru Emet, the first principle of Torah is that God is One. As noted in A Common Word, “The Shema in the Book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5) is a centrepiece of the Old Testament and of Jewish liturgy, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Love of Neighbour: For the authors of Dabru Emet, the purpose of Torah is to instruct us in God’s ways and to call us to follow those ways. Primary among these ways is love of neighbour (as in Lev. 19:18).
The Call to a Common Word: For the authors of Dabru Emet, God’s ways are disclosed to us through the study of God’s word. The primary practice of study is chevruta, studying texts and commentaries of Torah in the company of fellow-students, so that dialogue and love of fellow are primary means of instruction in God’s ways. Dabru Emet extends this study, as well, to circles of Jewish and Christian study. Many signatories to Dabru Emet also support or contribute to The Society for Scriptural Reasoning, which extends such study to circles of Muslims, Christians, and Jews (see http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/journals/jsrforum/).
Supplemental Wisdoms. A Common Word notes additional wisdoms that underlie Muslim dedication to these loves of God and neighbour. These wisdoms resonate deeply, as well, in traditional Judaism and are cherished by the authors of Dabru Emet:
The Heart: for Jewish scholars, lev (“heart”) is indeed the seat of mind-and-sentiment-and-will, the “spiritual heart” to which love of God is commanded and in which knowledge of God is nurtured. Thus, “love YHVH your God with all your heart” (Deut. 6).
Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom: In the words of the rabbis’ traditional morning liturgy, reshit chokhmah yirat YHVH, “fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (and all who fulfil His commandments gain good understanding).”
A Goodly Example: For traditional Jewish scholars, to cling to God (to “set God before me always,” shiviti YHVH l’ negdi tamid) is to imitate the ways of the saints before us, the prophets, patriarchs, sages, the tsadikkim v’chasidim, “the righteous and holy ones.”
In the Best Stature: For these scholars, humanity is created in the image and likeness of God. All humans are therefore made of one form: the image of God. As different as we may live and as burdened as we may be by suffering and sin, our true devotion and obligation remains one and single: to fulfill our lives in God’s image.
Let us be humbled by our tasks of serving God and the good of humanity and, in that humility, find one another indeed.