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Denying Christ–Again

Michelle Schiefelbein | Mar 14, 2015

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Michelle Schiefelbein | Mar 14, 2015

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

For Baha’is, there is no greater joy than sharing the message of Baha’u’llah.

When I tell people about the Baha’i teachings, I usually hear positive, interested and excited responses. However, the response I sometimes receive when sharing this beautiful, hopeful message with the more zealous followers of Jesus can sometimes fall into one of three potential categories:

  1. “You are going to hell;”
  2. The person recites the verse from John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” or,
  3. I’m simply warned to “beware of false prophets.”

Man-holding-bibleI can completely understand why steadfast and faithful believers in Jesus might respond in this manner to the message of Baha’u’llah when they first hear it–but perhaps the old adage “history repeats itself” rings true here. In the present day, it seems as if we’ve traveled back to the days of Jesus. The only difference? Jesus has a new name.

In the days of Jesus the Jews awaited the Messiah, and believed his return would happen under the conditions foretold in the Torah. Today, Christians expect Jesus’ return, too–but only under certain conditions. The Baha’i teachings say this about Christ’s time and the Jew’s expectation that he would “come from an unknown place:”

Steeped in the literal interpretation and imitating the beliefs of fathers and ancestors they failed to understand the fact that although the body of Jesus came from Nazareth, the reality of the Christ came from the unknown place of the divine Kingdom. They also said that the sceptre of His Holiness Christ would be of iron, that is to say he should wield a sword. When His Holiness Christ appeared, he did possess a sword but it was the sword of his tongue with which he separated the false from the true; but the Jews were blind to the spiritual significance and symbolism of the prophetic words. They also expected that the Messiah would sit upon the throne of David whereas His Holiness the Christ had neither throne nor semblance of sovereignty; nay, rather, he was a poor man, apparently abject and vanquished; therefore how could he be the veritable Christ? This was one of their most insistent objections based upon ancestral interpretation and teaching. In reality His Holiness Christ was glorified with an eternal sovereignty and everlasting dominion, spiritual and not temporal. His throne and kingdom were established in human hearts where he reigns with power and authority without end. Notwithstanding the fulfillment of all the prophetic signs in His Holiness, the Jews denied him and entered the period of their deprivation because of their allegiance to imitations and ancestral forms. – Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 74.

Just as many people in his time reflexively considered Christ a false prophet and failed to investigate his teachings, today some think of Baha’u’llah as a false prophet and summarily deny the Baha’i Faith without any sincere investigation:

…during the days of Jesus Christ the Jews were expecting the appearance of the Messiah, praying and beseeching God day and night that the Promised One might appear. Why did they reject Him when He did appear? They denied Him absolutely, refused to believe in Him. There was no abuse and persecution which they did not heap upon Him. They reviled Him with curses, placed a crown of thorns upon His head, led Him through the streets in scorn and derision and finally crucified Him. Why did they do this? Because they did not investigate the truth or reality of Christ and were not able to recognize Him as the Messiah of God. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 62.

The early adherents of both religions confronted the same kind of skepticism. Jesus’ followers faced persecution and in many cases, went to their deaths for their beliefs. Similarly, thousands upon thousands of souls died during the early history of the Baha’i Faith, just for believing in Baha’u’llah’s message. For hundreds of years after Christ, his believers were persecuted and scoffed at. The same is true a little more than a hundred and fifty years after Baha’u’llah declared his mission—even though the Baha’i Faith has now spread to every corner of the Earth.

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Comments

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  • Mar 24, 2015
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    In Luke 18:7-8 it is written of this day: "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" The question seems to answer itself in the negative. So the question to Baha'is seems to be how do we, not convince, but offer some slight alternative to those who suggest these biblical passages?
    One approach is to encourage them to read the very passages they cite. Such as, "No man cometh unto the Father", which is Baha'u'llah, for Christ is the Son of God. And again, the warning of false prophets says ...that many, not one, shall come in Christ's name, like the many Christian leaders "in sheep's clothing", "and you will know them by their fruits." Baha'u'llah's fruits can be found in the history of His life, His kindness to a world that persecuted Him and yet still he spoke the Word of God for our benefit. And what of the fruits of the rich religious leaders?
    Still at other times it might be advisable to take this passage to heart, "And should any one reject thy offer, turn thou away from him and put thy trust and confidence in the Lord, thy God, the Lord of all worlds." --Baha'u'llah
    Read more...
  • Mar 16, 2015
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    Coming from a Christian background myself, one thing I wrestled mightily with (not only as a Baha'i, but earlier on in my journey as an atheist/agnostic) was that idea that one risks one's very mortal soul by questioning the primacy of the one and only "right" way. I ultimately found that rather burdensome and toxic, and decided such an idea could not come from God. And furthermore, it's an offensive notion that God would guide, spiritually nourish or educate only one of his peoples, and simply leave the rest to languish in ignorance or error until missionaries finally reached ...them.
    Read more...
  • Mar 16, 2015
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    This is a common argument in the Muhammadan Traditions that the new prophet brings new insight into an Ancient and ongoing Tradition of Revelation spring directly from God, the source of all Truth. And at face value that seems reasonable and even beautiful and true. However...when attaching oneself to the Christian Tradition one has a few significant hurdles to leap. They aren't small and cannot in any way be ignored. 1. If one says he is of Christ and of His Spirit then he is typically baptised. There is no simple way past this. To come into Christ you pass ...through physical water. No exceptions. None. 2. Christianity is a Stewarded Faith. Christ sent out His Apostles with His Own complete authority. That of Priest, Prophet and King. These roles were given in fulness to the Bishops that came after them by the laying on of hands. Trusted men. Each Bishop carries the Fulness of each of these Offices completely within his local jurisdiction. As Prophets each in their own right where do they lack or have need? These Offices are granted, obtained and maintained through the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of God Himself. The Holy Spirit is ever increasingly bound to each Christian through the Sacraments, a set of Traditions largely abandoned by Protestants bu Pillars of the Faith. Neither Muhammad, the Bab or Bahaullah were aware of their importance. A study of them will serve you well. The Death of Christ sent the Holy Spirit and we are bound to both Persons through Baptism and Eucharist. No one outside Christianity can make such a claim. Not Muhammad, Bahaulla, Pastor Russell, Joseph Smith or even Martin Luther. The Apostolic Church, warts and all, can justifiably make some very strong claims. Those that claim more have a very high bar to leap. With love to you all, continue your quest ;)
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  • Mar 15, 2015
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    Finally I'm beginning to understand why it was so easy for a Baha'i to violate MY Good Friday! Yes, I've read all of your teachings, so I know that no Baha'i should do any work related activity on Fridays, but that does not seem to count when it comes to insulting a Christian as well as a dedicated employee! From now on, please show some respect, and you'll have mine!
    • Mar 24, 2015
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      Thx, Becky. I must correct myself: On Fridays, a Baha'i should not do any work related activity that could be done on any other day. Which implies that MY Good Friday was picked deliberately! No, I don't wear a tin foil hat, but I do believe that some (not all) high rank Baha'is have a secret assignment: "Insult as many Christians as possible; no matter how or when." Good Friday was already picked, and then came 9/11. All the world stood still, but this date seemed to be perfect to file a lawsuit against me. You might want to say ...that this was merely a coincidence, but I do not want to buy that. Some (not all) high rank Baha'is must also have prior knowledge of world events!
      Read more...
    • Mar 16, 2015
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      Mr. van Dijk, I've been a Baha'i since 1970, and have never heard of Baha'is not working on Fridays, so I have no idea what happened in the instance which clearly and understandably upset you so much. When it comes to Christian holidays/holy days (especially Christmas), many Baha'is specifically seek to cover for Christian co-workers so that they can be sure to have the day off, exactly the opposite of what your experience was on this particular Good Friday. It seems clear to me that some sort of misunderstanding took place, and I am sorry that your heart ...was offended in this way. I'd like to respectfully suggest that what one person did or said is not necessarily representative of an entire religion or its followers.
      I have read that in the future, the Baha'i Sabbath will be Friday, but that's way down the line somewhere, a decision to be made in the very distant future by the Baha'i Universal House of Justice as to when that will begin. In the Baha'i calendar, other than occasional, very specific holy days, every day of the week is the same as every other day.
      Baha'is believe that our hearts should be so consecrated to the love of God and service to all the members of the human family that we essentially live in a state of prayer, our actions and thoughts essentially acts of worship. Or as close to it as humanly possible!
      Read more...
  • Mar 15, 2015
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    It would do Christians well to study the life of Baha'u'llah's forerunner, the Bab, and see the similarities in His story, and the story of Christ. There is no two greater sacrifices made in the annals of human history by two individuals, whom I believe, was the same individual. When you study scripture, prophetically, there were two Messiah's that we're mentioned, not one.
    • Mar 24, 2015
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      Christ was not the Báb, and the Báb was not Christ. Furthermore I believe there was only one Messiah, the Risen Christ.
  • Mar 15, 2015
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    I became a Baha'i in Warrensburg, Mo, in 1973. We did a lot of teaching nd visiting in KC area. Beautiful Baha'i community er had. I accepted the Faith immediately, hearing about it on th phone from my sweetheart (later husband) who had become a Baha'i in Denton, Texas. We left Mo. to pioneer in Belgium.
    • Mar 24, 2015
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      Hope to meet you somewhere in Holland.
  • Mar 14, 2015
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    HI MICHELLE ! HOW'S THE FAST GOING ? I'M DON MAC DONALD ,IN CALGARY ALBERTA CANADA EMAIL : ornamentaldon@telus.net
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