QUESTIONS FOR SHANDON L. GUTHRIE
Jamey Cannedy: Basically, what is a Christian and how would you describe Christianity?
Guthrie: Well, it is interesting in what you brought up in several points about Christianity and I do want to get to those in just a moment. The Christian, to someone like me, is someone who accepts Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. He admits (1) That Jesus is the divine Son of God (that He is God Himself in human form), (2) In agreement with Muslims, we believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ. We also believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith and not that of ourselves.(1) We have nothing to do with our salvation. We simply acknowledge that Jesus died on a cross for our sins and we accept Him into our lives and establish a personal relationship with God. Furthermore, Christians do not accept any one particular name for God because God is given all types of titles in the Old Testament. "Elohim," I believe he made a reference to "El," is considered "Allah" and I disagree with that because in the Hebrew "Elohim" was used to refer to "gods" and sometimes even "angels." So, "Elohim" is itself a word that actually has no ties to the Arabic. Furthermore, Christians revere the Bible as the written word of God and that it is infallible and does, in fact, contain the complete message of scripture. It dictates in Jude 3 that we are to "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered unto the saints." This seems to signify no further revelation, but not exclusively. We can allow for that possibility, and Muhammad could very well be the prophet we need and could have very well written the Qur'an as dictated by God. But we'll get into that in just a moment.
Jamey Cannedy: Okay. Concerning God, and as a Christian you believe in the Trinity, could you explain that?
Guthrie: Okay. The doctrine of the Trinity (and it is sometimes . . . like Jehovah's Witnesses and other religions sometimes botch the definition of the Trinity) is this: Not more than one God, but there are three Persons that are co-existent, co-eternal, within the nature of the one God. And I am well aware that the Qur'an explicitly renounces any such belief of God being three-in-one, etc.(2) But this is the Christian doctrines and this, I believe, is one of the major dividing points of Christianity and Islam; that within the nature of the one God are the three centers of consciousness: Jesus (the Son), the Father, and the Holy Spirit. And evidence of this can be found in Matthew 28 where we are told to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.(3) In John 20:28, again we see Jesus is worshiped as Thomas said, "My Lord and my God." In John 1:1 it says, "In the beginning was the Word; the Word was with God (the Word being Jesus) and the Word was God" (John 1:1 and verse 14).
Jamey Cannedy: So, Jesus Christ being God, what would be his purpose to come as a human?
Guthrie: The purpose was, and when we go back to the Garden of Eden where the Fall occurred (and when I say "Fall," I mean that Adam and Eve were basically created as perfect individuals and they were given choice - they were given freedom. Well, they chose to disobey God and accept the message of the serpent and in so doing, they introduced sin in the inherent nature of mankind - you see that in Romans 5:12. And because of this sin, we became eternally separated from God. There is no way we can reconcile to God in and of ourselves because we are contaminated with sin), God gave us, basically, a second chance. He came to earth in human form (according to Isaiah chapter 7 and Isaiah chapter 9 where it talks about "Emmanuel" - which means "God with us"). God came in human form, died on a cross for our sins, to ransom for many.(4)
Jamey Cannedy: Okay. And, you as a Christian, what would be your testimony as to becoming a Christian and how did that come about?
Guthrie: Well, I was at a difficult point in my life a long time ago when I was involved in little things like the occult and other worldly items. I was never a die-hard rebel. I never went out and slept around and things like that. But I was at a low point in my life when I realized that I needed somebody outside of myself to pull me out of my mess because my mind-set was carnal. So, Jesus Christ came into my life and I accepted him into my life. I acknowledge the fact that I am a sinner and that I needed Jesus Christ's atonement applied in my life. So I accepted him into my heart as Lord and Savior and he helped me. He is the solution, and just because he is the solution doesn't mean that all of our problems are over. We still encounter worldly problems, but with Christ's help (according to Philippians 4:13) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." According to Christ's help we can get through tomorrow. He helps us along in our daily activities in our lives.
Jamey Cannedy: Going back to the Bible, can you explain a little bit more on where the Bible proceeds that Jesus Christ is God?
Guthrie: Okay. As I pointed out before, John 1:1 and John 20:28 make good references but I can show a plethora of texts (about 700 references to the Trinity in the entire Old and New Testaments). It's riddled in the Old Testament. For example, Genesis 1:26 has God speaking and he says, "Let us (plural) make man in our image after our likeness." So there is a plurality in the Godhead. Second of all, the Hebrew Shema (in Deuteronomy 6:4) dictates, "Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord." So there is composite unity within the Godhead establishing monotheism. And in the New Testament it is clearly unfolded. For example, Titus speaks of (I think it's Titus 2:13) where it says, "Our Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" where Jesus is given the titles that are only attributed to Jehovah God.
Jamey Cannedy: Okay. We're getting ready to take a break here. So, when we come back, I would like to open up the phone lines if there is anyone that would like to call in with something to say or ask of either Shandon or Quadar or Raheem, please go ahead and do so. The number of the studio is [censored]. We'll be right back after these messages.
1. This is an allusion to Ephesians 2:8.
2. Cf. Sura 5:119. The passage here, however, mistakes the doctrine of the Trinity as a plurality of gods including Mary as a trinitarian member.
3. Matthew 28:19.
4. Mark 10:45.