November 18, 2009

Cross-Examination of Mr. Christian

Background: A trial is being held to determine, by jury vote, what one must do to have eternal life after death. You are a member of the jury panel, and will be called on at the end of the trial to vote on the question. Mr. Christian has just given his testimony that all of those, but only those, who believe in Jesus, and who confess, while living, that Jesus is the Savior of the World and the Forgiver of Our Sins, and who ask Jesus for forgiveness of their sins, will be granted eternal life in heaven with God. Mr. Skeptic is now going to cross-examine Christian.

Question, by Mr. Skeptic: Mr. Christian, you say that Jesus is God. Is that correct?

Answer: Correct.

Queston: And you say that God has many names. Is that correct?

Answer: That is correct. In the Old Testament alone God is called “I Am,” “Yahweh,” “Lord” or “The Lord,” “Adonai,” “Adonai Elohim,” “Jehovah,” “El,” which was a common word for “God,” and a number of variations of “El” such as “El Shaddai,” which means God Almighty, “El Elyon,” which means “God Most High,” “El ‘Olam,” which means “Everlasting God.” There are other names.

Question: If Jesus is God, and God has many names, could it be true that Jesus would answer to other names than Jesus?

Answer: Of course. Jesus also has a number of names and titles in the New Testament books. One author has cited 100 names and titles of Jesus from the Old and New Testaments.

Question: Is it possible that Jesus would answer to the name of Allah?

Answer: No, I don’t think so. That name is not in the Bible.

Question: Well, you believe that God is the one true God, isn’t that right?

Answer: Yes.

Question: And do you find it offensive that the Bible is translated into many languages, such that the name of God may be translated into other languages?

Answer: No, not at all. If a Spanish speaking person reads a Spanish language Bible and recognizes the name of God as "Dios," that would be commendable.

Question: But not commendable if an Arabic speaking person recognizes the name of God as “Allah?”

Answer: No.

Question: Did you know that the literal translation of “Allah” from Arabic to English is “the God?”

Answer: Yes, I know that. But the God which Muslims refer to as “Allah” is not the same God which Jews and Christians refer to as God.

Question: Really? Do you know that Muslims believe in most of the Old Testament teachings given to Moses by the God of Abraham?

Answer: Yes, I know that.

Question: And do you know that Muslims believe that God is the one true God, which, in their belief system is the God of Abraham?

Answer: Yes, I know that. Perhaps I should amend my previous responses. I think that “Allah” as the Arabic name for God is fine, provided the Arabic person speaking the name “Allah” has the correct understanding of God. And I’ll agree with you that Muslims do purport to believe in the God of Abraham, but their understanding of scripture is wrong, and in particular they have the wrong understanding of Jesus and what it means to be saved.

Question: What is your understanding of what it means to be saved -- and by that term I mean, to have eternal life after death?

Answer: This is what I just testified about. My belief is that, in order to have eternal life after death, one has to believe that Jesus is God and that he has the power to forgive sins. Then, understanding that only Jesus can forgive, one merely has to ask Jesus to forgive them for their sins. It’s that simple. If you do this you will be saved.  You will have eternal life.

Question: So, if Jesus is God, and he might answer by other names, wouldn’t it be possible for him, answering to the name “Allah,” to forgive the sins of Muslims who call on him by the name of “Allah” and who, believing that God, the God of Abraham, can forgive sins, asked for forgiveness of their sins?

Answer: That’s really blasphemous. Muslims who pray to Allah are not praying to Jesus. They think of Jesus only as a prophet, not as God.

Question: So you think that Muslims have a misunderstanding of Jesus?

Answer: Yes. Yes. They do not understand who Jesus was and is.

Question: But wasn’t that also true of the disciples of Jesus, who actually lived with Jesus – that they really didn’t understand who he was?

Answer: Well, yes. They didn’t understand in the beginning. Their understanding was an evolving thing. But at some point, they did come to a more complete understanding.

Question: Is the understanding of all modern Christians about Jesus complete?

Answer: No. Sadly no. Most Christians are either neophytes or blissfully uninformed.  Many Christians are baptized at birth and never really had any understanding of who Jesus is, so it really can't be said that they made an informed decision about him and a knowing petition to him for salvation.

Question: Do you believe you have a complete understanding of who and what God is?

Answer: Well, no. That would be impossible.

Question: And do you believe you have a complete understanding of who and what Jesus is?

Answer: Well, my answer would be the same, inasmuch as Jesus is God.

Question: Do you believe that God sent Jesus to the world – in other words, that God, himself, came to the world -- to accomplish the salvation of all peoples in the world?

Answer: Yes, that’s Biblical.

Question: Do you hope that all peoples in the world will be redeemed, and receive salvation?

Answer: Yes. That is the hope of all Christians. That is the mission of the Christian church.

Question: Would it offend you if God chose to redeem the world in a way that was different than what you understood?

Answer: No. Who am I to tell God what to do?

Question: If you could petition God, and Jesus, to forgive and redeem all those who don’t share your understanding of God and Jesus, would you do so?

Answer: Yes. I would. I do.

Skeptic: O.K. I don’t have any further questions for you at this time, Mr. Christian. I would like to call you back to cross-examine you on some other parts of your testimony at a later date.

Mr. Christian: Fine. I look forward to it.

[Admonishment to the jury members.  Ordinarily you would be asked not to talk about the testimony you have heard, or to begin deliberations until the trial is complete.  However, in this case, I am instructing you to begin your deliberations now and to continue with them until a decision is reached.]


  1. As you said, Alla simply means god. In one sense, there are many such gods. Paul says in 1 Cor. 8:4-6, in a discussion of eating meat sacrificed to idols, "we know ...that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him." The fact that people misunderstand who and what God is, however, is no proof that it does not matter, for salvation, whether one's understanding of Him is accurate. True, no one knows Him completely, but that is not to say that some do not know Him accurately, even if what knowledge they have of Him is incomplete. The only ones who have this kind of knowledge - an accurate, though incomplete knowledge - are those who 1) have come to this understanding from the Bible (2 Pet. 1:3), and 2) have been given by God a desire and ability to accept the Bible's teachings (John 17:3; 1 Cor. 2:10-16).

  2. God being God, if He can grant eternal salvation, and being able to forgive those who do not know Him by any name, can see in their hearts and provide that salvation no matter what.... I know.
    I vote against limiting the Limitless.