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COLLECTIONSEssays and short articles, Introductory
TITLEChristianity and the Bahá'í Faith: Warwick Leaflets
AUTHOR 1 Warwick Bahá'í Bookshop
TAGSChristianity; Interfaith dialogue
CONTENT Members of the Christian faith accept the Prophets and Messengers of the Bible, up to and including Jesus Christ. Bahá'ís accept all these too, but believe that the Revelation of God did not end with Christ. On the contrary, Bahá'ís believe that throughout history, God has provided guidance for mankind and, by His Grace, will continue to do so. Bahá'ís believe that the spirit of Christ has returned in the person of Bahá'u'lláh, whose name translates as "The Glory of God" or "The Glory of the Lord".

The Station of Christ

Christ is often referred to as "the Son of God", but He usually referred to Himself as "the Son of Man". Indeed, in the New Testament it is clear that all His followers are sons of God, for example: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1 v12)

Over the centuries, people have tried to explain the station of Christ in various ways. Bahá'ís believe that Christ was special because of the Message which He brought from God about how we should live our lives and also because of the example of the way in which He lived and died. Bahá'u'lláh explained that each of the Messengers sent by God has a double station:

"The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself... The second station is the human station..."

This is why a Messenger sometimes speaks with the authority of God, and sometimes as a human being. For example, at one time Christ said, "I and my Father are one," (John 10 v30) and at another time He said, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." (Mark 10 v18)

The Messengers of God manifest, or show, the face of God. For this reason, Bahá'ís refer to Them as "Manifestations of God". They are like mirrors reflecting the light of God. If we look at the sun in a mirror, we can say we have seen the sun. But the sun has not come down into the mirror, what we have really seen is a reflection of the sun. This, to Bahá'ís, explains the reality of Christ and the other Holy Messengers.

The Coming of "The Father"

Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh was the One promised by Christ. Christ's own sayings point repeatedly to a time when the Son of Man would return, "in the glory of the Father":

"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels." (Matt 16 v27)

Christ also made it clear that He was the path to "the Father":

"I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14 v6)

A further title given to the divine figure promised by Jesus is that of "Comforter":

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever?" (John 14 v16)

Another title which Jesus used when referring to the Promised One is the "Spirit of Truth":

"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth?" (John 16 v13)

Bahá'u'lláh fearlessly made His claim:

"This is the Father foretold by Isaiah, and the Comforter concerning Whom the Spirit [Christ] had covenanted with you."

Bahá'u'lláh was born in the 19th century in the country now known as Iran, thereby fulfilling many Biblical prophecies as to time and place. Details of some of these prophecies can be found in the companion leaflet "The Return of Christ".

Progressive Revelation

In the same way that Christ's teachings built on the laws of Moses, the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh take forward the teachings of Christ. For example, Christ said "Love thy neighbour as thyself", whereas Bahá'u'lláh said "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself."

Each Messenger, speaking as the Voice of God, builds on the Messages of those who have gone before. For instance, in ancient times, goodwill was shown only within the tribe. Christ taught that someone from another group was also to be considered as a neighbour. Now Bahá'u'lláh has made it quite clear that every person in the world is our neighbour, for "The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens."

In the time of Christ, the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh on world peace, world government and a world currency would not have made sense. World unity was impossible because half the world did not know that the other half existed. Likewise, Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on investigating truth for oneself would have been difficult when most people could not read. Also, at that time society was not sufficiently developed to accept the principle of the equality of men and women. Now that we have instant worldwide communications, the need in this age is to create a world in which the whole of mankind lives together in harmony.

For a fuller explanation of the progressive revelation of Divine Teachings, see the leaflet "All Religions are One".

A Selfless Sacrifice

Each Person Whom God entrusts with His Message is persecuted by those who do not believe and accept His Message. Their suffering, however, only serves to make the cause of God progress. Bahá'u'lláh explains:

"Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole of creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things."

Bahá'u'lláh, likewise, endured extensive suffering at the hands of His persecutors:

"The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness?"

The Promised One of All Religions

It was not only Christ Who promised that He would return. Every one of the major world religions has the expectation of a world teacher. He has many titles in Judaism, including the "Everlasting Father" and the "Lord of Hosts". Shíah Islám promises the return of Imám Husayn. Sunní Islám promises the "Spirit of God". The Zoroastrians expect the Sháh-Bahrám. The Hindus expect the reincarnation of Krishna and the Buddhists expect the "Fifth Buddha", the Buddha of Universal Fellowship. Despite the different titles by which the Divine Messenger is known, all religions have similar prophecies of a time when all mankind will come together. As Christ promised:

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10 v16)

Surely, this is the time of fulfilment for which Jesus taught us to pray:

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6 v10)

The text of all these leaflets remains the copyright of Warwick Bahá'í Bookshop. The Bookshop is happy for people to download individual copies for their own purposes. Printed copies can be purchased from the Warwick Bookshop. Individuals or communities wishing to translate or print these leaflets in other countries please contact the Bookshop for permission.
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