In the early 1970’s, my wife Beth and I were privileged to live in Turkey for 3 years. Beginning In 1972 while serving in the U.S. Air Force, we lived in the Turkish village of Karamursel. This city was about 5 miles east of the Air Base (KCDI) and 30 miles southeast of Istanbul and 20 miles from Iznik which was the old city of Nicea. Remember in 325 A.D. Constantine convened a church council there to discuss early Christian Church matters. Istanbul (Constantinople) was the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire. When the Western Roman Empire fell around 500 A.D., the Eastern Roman empire, whose capital was Constantinople, lasted for another 1000 years.
Beth and I were young and full of energy, running up and down the hills traveling as much as possible. It seemed that we were right in the middle of a history vortex. We could not take a step without crossing paths with the ancients. At the time, we were trying to see and go to absorb as much of the area as we could. We visited many of the places that Paul the Apostle talks about in the early expansion of the Christian Church.
My granddad and cousin had influenced me to take many pictures and just travel! We did our best at the time to accomplish that. We never came home to the States during that time, we just traveled. One year while there, we spent the whole 30 days of leave at one time and just traveled around Europe. Other times we would take shorter trips in Turkey or the Middle East. At that time, we could fly on military airplanes for free or commercial space available for 1/3 the average seat price. There were trains, buses, and ferryboats, no car was needed. What an opportunity!
This had quite an impact on us. Once you live in another culture different from you own, the world is never the same. New questions arose in our minds that needed to be answered. What do different cultures believe? Why do they act a certain way? What is different about their faith and religious practices? The world is no longer simple, it is vast and diversified. Beth and I were both raised attending Sunday School in a Christian church. We were in another land that held to another faith. It makes one think and wonder!
While over there we were just busy traveling and experiencing new adventures. It wasn’t until we were home some years later that these things really began to stir my mind to seek answers that would quiet down all the questions that were popping up. Nothing can stir a person’s mind like questions of faith and eternity. Each of us chooses what we will believe, and our lives are an extension of those choices.
WHY IS THE HOLY BIBLE UNIQUE?
We chose to follow the Christian faith. We chose to put our faith and hope in the promises of Jesus Christ. We chose to believe that the Bible is the Creator God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Why?
At this time in my life I am in my seventies and love to read books of all kinds, sometimes those dealing with the cultures of other faiths. I still use some of my military training seeking truth from presented facts to make judgments.
We all in our thinking tend to go along with the traditions that we have been taught. Different families, cultures, and countries influence our decisions. Those beliefs and practices produce consequences. What results do we want for the future, for eternity, and even for the present NOW?
Beth and I knew of our Christian heritage. Since we were living among Muslims an obvious curiosity arose about wanting to know more about Islam. The core beliefs are very different. They are not the same! They are not compatible! One must choose one or the other.
In Islam, the Koran is used as divine authority.
In Christianity, the Bible is used as divine authority. Jesus Christ is the central figure.
The Koran states in Surah 4:157
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah"; - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for, of a surety they killed him not.
The Koran states that Jesus Christ was not killed, that he was not crucified.
The Bible states in Luke 24:45-47
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
The Bible states Jesus Christ would suffer on a cross and then rise from the dead on the third day. With repentance we would be forgiven of our sins through faith in Christ. Without the crucifixion and Christ’s resurrection there is no Salvation, no Redemption; but only a lingering question of Judgment.
One has to choose. To be a fence walker with these two faiths is impossible.
Many books have been written about the Bible and some are
good and truthful to add knowledge of the ancient culture and doctrines. However, the contents of the Bible are
unique. It is the proof text that all
truth is weighted and compared against. It
is in the Bible where the mind of the Creator God is spoken. The Holy Scriptures tell what God is thinking
and what is important to Him. In the Old
Testament, God speaks directly or through His prophets to reveal his directions
to mankind-- His Creation. In the New
Testament, He speaks through Jesus
Christ and His prophets concerning redemption and future events. The information
concerning redemption and salvation are covered fully. We can get along without the other books, but
we can’t get along without the Bible.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
1 John 2:5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:
2 Timothy 3:16-1716 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God also makes it clear that each individual has a responsibility to choose what they will do with information about Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
John 3:35-36 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
The Bible makes it clear that there is a responsibility for each individual to make a decision of what to do with Jesus Christ!
What have you decided to do?