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An Open Letter – by Robert T. Pardon
The following original piece was written for the Proclamation by AIIA Resource Associate Robert Pardon. Rev. Pardon is founder and executive director of The New England Institute of Religious Research (NEIRR). He holds an earned Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and an earned Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He writes, travels, speaks, and teaches extensively throughout New England and America on the subject of how to recognize a cult and how to reach out in truth to those trapped in a cult. He may be contacted c/o NEIRR at: PO Box 878 Lakeville MA 02347-0878. Telephone: 508-947-9571. E-mail: email@example.com
This is an open letter to my good friend and Baha’i, Edwin. I have always been impressed by your deep commitment to Baha’u’llah and the Baha’i Faith. It has certainly effected your life in many good ways. But as we have often noted, sincerity and goodness are no proof that something is true. We both know good, decent people who are very sincere about their beliefs, and yet are very deluded. So my concern is not only the outward “fruit” of one’s beliefs but also whether those beliefs are true. You have told me that the Baha’i faith is consistent with Christianity, and that Baha’u’llah is the second coming of Christ. But there are major difficulties with that position, Edwin. Let me mention just a few.
1. As you have often quoted, “…all the great religions are of divine origin…they differ only in non-essential aspects of their doctrines.” If such is the case there should at least be agreement regarding each founder’s teachings on God. However, just the opposite is the case. Krishna taught that God is pantheistic. Buddha was agnostic and indifferent to God’s existence. Muhammad was intensely monotheistic. And Jesus taught of a triune God. Edwin, either these founders contradict each other (making it impossible to discern between a true founder and a false one), or the nature of God is contradictory (which is self-defeating and absurd), or the Baha’i Faith is false.
2. You have also told me that Baha’is consider the Bible to be the infallible, inerrant word of God. Yet whenever Christian beliefs, based upon the clear teachings of the Bible, contradict Baha’i teachings, the Bible is “spiritualized” to fit Baha’i doctrine. One of your leaders, Abdu’l Baha, taught that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead “…is a spiritual and divine fact, and not material…,” even though the Bible is
3. Perhaps most critical of all is the Baha’i claim that Jesus is only a manifestation of God, like the many other manifestations who have founded religions. You say, Edwin, that they are all “perfect mirror images” of God, but not God Himself. But Jesus claimed to be God, not just a mirror image of Him. He is incarnation, not manifestation (John 1:1,14; 8:58; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13). The Baha’i concept of Jesus is based upon the revealed word of Baha’u’llah, and you believe his interpretation is true because he has said so. This is circular reasoning. “I know Baha’u’llah’s statement ‘God cannot incarnate’ is true because Baha’u’llah told me it is true.” Such pronouncements are easy to make because there is no accountability, and no way to objectively test such claims. It is analogous to saying fairies really do exist in a dimension parallel to ours that we have not yet discovered. Such statements, neither verifiable nor falsifiable, are of no value.
Edwin, Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Your contention is that this was only for Jesus’ dispensation, and ended with the coming of Muhammad. However, there is no indication in the text that this is time-dependent. On the contrary, this statement could only be made by Him because of what He uniquely has done-died upon the cross for the sin of the world. If you truly believe that the Bible is an infallible record of God’s revelation to man then I would urge you, Edwin, to leave all the pretenders and come to God incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.