Archive for July 19th, 2012

To Allah, there are no animals viler than those who do not believe and remain unbelievers” (Surah 8:55).

Here is the fate of those who fight Allah and his messenger: you will put them to death or you will make them suffer the torture of the cross; you will cut their hands and their feet alternately. They will be driven from the country” (Surah 5:33)

And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surah 9:5)

So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds.” (Surah 47:4)

Do not display cowardice, and do not call the infidels to peace when you are superior to them” (Surah 47:35).

Those who reject (Truth) among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will abide in hell-fire, they are the worst of creatures.” (Surah 98:6)

This is the question that the West needs to understand, what part of kill don’t they not understand?” ~ Walid Shoebat

This is not an allegorical kill, but a literal kill.” ~ Walid Shoebat

Here is another video of an Egyptian Imam that sings of apes, pigs and the annihilation of Jews on Judgment Day:

Song of Death

Hebrews 13:3,

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body” (NASB).

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In my first post, titled Muslim Writers’ Attack Against Traditional Authorship of the Gospels: Part 1, I briefly spoke about the “Scripture references that supports the orthodox understanding of the Gospels” and a snippet of the “apologetical methods for traditional authorship of the Gospels.”  I won’t get into the details of the apologetical methods, because SLIMJIM already did a great job in one of his earlier posts, titled, WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE.  Therefore, there is probably no need to repeat it at this time.  Please refer back to the link above in terms of how to witness to Muslims.   With that said, let us now journey into the arguments for traditional authorship of Matthew and Mark.  I believe that the defense of the traditional authorship of the Gospels is fundamental because some Muslim apologists will play the trump card strategy by questioning who wrote the Gospels in order to justify their reasoning that Christianity has no evidence for itself.  However, there is evidence that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the Gospel writers.  It is my prayer that this post concerning the internal and external arguments for the orthodox understanding of the Gospels,  will embolden you more when you are witnessing to a Muslim who is in dire need of Christ for salvation.  May we never doubt who wrote the Gospels.  To do so, will open the floodgates of rationalism.  And to do so would be a self-defeater for the Muslims.  If Muslim apologists play that game, then one could do the same thing with other religious books such as the Qur’an.  Therefore,  God’s Word is the starting point for the basis of reality and truth.

Arguments for Traditional Authorship of Matthew 

Before I get into the internal arguments for the traditional authorship of Matthew, I will first cover the external arguments.  Critics such as Muslims and other groups will often say that the Gospels have no proof of evidence unless it could be proven externally outside of Scripture.  Opponents usually request for evidence externally because they have a low view on Scripture.  In their view, Scripture is not the authority, but man’s rationalism is.  As a result, they will propose that different people wrote the Gospels.  What they have done is that they have exalted themselves above God’s holy Words.

Although I believe internal evidence is enough because God is the starting point for the basis of reality and truth, I will go ahead provide external evidence for the sake of interest.

In regards to the internal evidence, I will provide quotes from Papias who was a bishop of Hierapolis in the Phrygian region of the province of Asia, which was a city that was about twenty miles west of Colossae and six miles east of Laodicea.[1]  Not much detail is gathered from Papias’ life beyond the description of Irenaeus who said that he was “one of the ancients” who was in close contact with John and the eyewitnesses to Christ’s ministry.[2]  Unfortunately, many of Papias’ writings are not extant anymore and only a couple of fragments are preserved.  But by God’s grace, some fathers and especially Eusebius, who is considered the “father of church history,” was able to preserve some of Papias’ writings.[3]  A series of five treatises, entitled Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord, Eusebius was able to bring in some invaluable information from the first living eye-witnesses account who namely are John and other original disciples of Jesus such as Ariston, when it came to dicephering what the apostles had said or done[4]  In regards to Papias, it is safe to say that what Papias said are credible resources because they were based off of first-eyewitnesses account; and if Papias wrote approximately A.D. 95-110, then the information he provides, reaches back to the first century, which is a very invaluable resource.[5]

In Papias’ brief account of Matthew’s authorship in his Exposition, here is what he says about Matthew,

Matthew collected (synetaxato) the oracles (ta logia) in the Hebrew language (Hebraïdi dialektō), and each interpreted (hermēneusen) them as best he could.”[6]

For those who think that Papias was careless or not a discerning church father, I think it would be wise to see the astuteness of his own words as collected by Eusebius’ The History of the Church book, which says,

But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the truth itself.  If, then, any one came, who had been a follower of the elders, I questioned him in regard to the words of the elders–what Andrew or what Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not think that what was to be gotten from the books would profit me as much as what came from Eusebius the living and abiding voice.”[7]

Clearly in this quote, there are some very significant points we can draw from.  The first major point you will notice is that Papias would rather get information from the apostles because the apostles were first-eyewitnesses of Christ.[8]  Second point is that he did not desire to get information from secondhand-eyewitnesses because their information about Christ may be unreliable.  If their information is unreliable then they are unreliable.  Reliable information would be from the apostles and the disciples that were with Christ when He was on earth.  Thirdly, what we see about Papias’ discernment is that even if he received information about Christ from the apostles or from the disciples like Ariston, Papias would still question the information like the Bereans did in the Book of Acts.

Before getting into a detail discussion of the internal evidence, it will be beneficial to cover the issue of Matthew’s name in the Gospel.[9]  The issue is not really about the name of Matthew, but the issue is in regards to the way the name is used.  What is precipitating the issue is Matthew’s name being used in the third person.  Matthew 9:9 confirms this.  Matthew 9:9 says,

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him.”

Opponents think that it is out of place for Matthew to refer to himself in the third person.

However, what these opponents forget is that many examples of ancient works indicate that authors of their own works, use their own names in the third person.[10]  Some examples of ancient works that use their names in the third person are Thucydides’ The Peloponesian War (B.C. 460-395), the Greek historian and philosopher Xenophon’s (B.C. 430-354) work called Anabasis, Julius Caesar’s (B.C. 100-40) works called Gallic War and Civil War.[11]  Clearly, the external evidence provides that an author using their name in the third person is nothing new and gives no justification to negate traditional authorship of the Gospel.

As for the internal evidence that supports the traditional authorship of Matthew, I believe that covering the names, financial transaction terminology, the use of coins in Matthew’s time, and the upholding of the tax rules by Jesus, are significant evidences for supporting traditional authorship.

What is significant about the names in the Book of Matthew is the use of two names referring to Matthew himself.  As stated earlier, the author of the Gospel of Matthew is called Matthew and Levi (Matthew 9:9).  On another note, the Apostle Paul, who is the author of many of the New Testament writings is referred not only as Paul, but Saul (Acts 11:30; 12:25; 13:7).  As for Apostle Peter, he is also called Simon (Luke 7:43; Acts 15:14).  The use of Matthew, Paul, and Peter were the names given when these three became disciples.  Many will consider their new names as a symbol of their new life.

A second reason why traditional authorship of Matthew is viable is the use of passages that have to do with financial transactions (17:24-27; 18:23-35; 20:1-16; 26:15; 27:3-10; 28:11-15).[12]  Another point to consider are the coin terminologies used.  For example in Matthew 22:19, Jesus implements this by saying,

’Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.’ And they brought Him a denarius.” 

As you can see, Jesus uses the word δηνάριον (dēnárion) and the word νόμισμα (nomisma; state coin).  The nuance you see in this verse is the term “state coin.”  The term νόμισμα (state coin) is the only term used in Matthew and nowhere else in the Gospels, but a “denarius” is used in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 20:24) and John (John 6:7).  On another note, the term “νόμισμα” is a more precise term, which is why it is the only term used in the New Testament.[13]

The fourth point to consider that gives credence to Matthew being the sole author of the Gospel of Matthew is Jesus’ upholding of the tax laws when the tax collectors wanted to collect tax from Peter and Jesus (Matthew 17:24-27).  Matthew would not oppose the tax laws since he was a tax collector himself.[14]  When analyzing Matthew’s (the tax-collector) account of the coins, the use of financial terminology, and Jesus upholding of the law, demonstrates that the elements used, resonates the idea of Matthew as the true author.

Arguments for Traditional Authorship of Mark

As for the external evidence regarding Mark’s authorship, here is what Papias says concerning Mark’s writing,

This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.  These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.”[15]

First thing we see is that Papias affirms the authorship of Mark through the presbyter that is based on Peter’s eyewitness testimony.  As stated earlier, Papias was careful whom he got his information from.  He got it from the elders and presbyters that could be traced back to the apostles.[16]  Secondly, Papias indicates that Mark was the interpreter of Peter.  Thirdly, Papias indicates that Mark was a man who was careful not to omit anything that came from Peter’s eyewitness testimony.

As for the internal evidence, there are many significant points that must be considered that authenticates Mark as being the author of his Gospel.  Mark (Acts 15:39; Colossians 4:10; 1 Timothy 4:11) who is also called John Mark, can be found in these following passages (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37).

Besides Mark also being known as John Mark, Philemon 1:24 points out that Mark was in Rome; and we know that Peter was in Rome as well in the latter part of his life.[17]  For more evidence regarding Mark being an acquaintance of Peter, please see Acts 12:11-17 and 1 Peter 5:13.  1 Peter 5:13 for example, says this about Peter’s close relationship to Mark,

She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark.” 

The word son is familial term used to denote the idea of family and closeness to one another.  Hence, Mark was not a stranger to Peter.

Since John Mark was known be around Apostle Peter, it is safe to say that Mark was familiar with the language that was implemented in Rome, which was Latin.  Because Latin was the dominant language used, you will find Mark using Latinisms—which are Latin terms contained in a Greek work.[18]  Some examples would be the use of the courtyard and praetorium in Mark 15:16 and the terms legion and denarius in Mark 5:9 and Mark 6:37.[19]

Please stay tune for the next installment as I will cover arguments for the traditional authorship of Luke and Acts.  Although Acts does not belong in the Gospels, I think it is important to cover it because Acts is associated with Luke since he wrote not just the Gospel of Luke, but the book of Acts too.

Until then, let us remember those who are being persecuted for glory of Christ Jesus.  Hebrews 13:3,

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body” (NASB).

[1] Robert L. Thomas and David F. Farnell, “The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship” (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 39.

[2] Ibid, 39.

[3] Ibid, 39.

[4] Ibid, 39.

[5] Ibid, 39.

[6] Ibid, 39.

[7] Eusebius (2010-05-23). The History of the Church (p. 68). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

[8] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, 3.

[9] Ibid, 2.

[10] Ibid, 2.

[11] Ibid, 2.

[12] Ibid, 2.

[13] Ibid, 2.

[14] Ibid, 2.

[15] Eusebius, The History of the Church, III.39.15 (p. 69). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

[16] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, 6.

[17] Ibid, 4.

[18] Ibid, 4

[19] Ibid, 5.

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As it was outlined in an earlier post, the fact that the Quran does not deny the Bible has been corrupted but rather affirm it’s authority should shape the way a Christian engage in apologetics and evangelism with a Muslim.  Thus, the Christian in evangelism and apologetics can cite the Bible in sharing the gospel, prove a doctrine, etc.,  and upon the Muslim rejecting what the Bible has to say, the Christian can say that the Quran affirms both the Bible’s authority and the fact that the text has been faithfully transmitted.  Thus, when the Bible conflict with the Quran, in light of the Quran’s own statement about the Bible, it does raises problem for the Muslim’s faith.

However, some Muslims would object to the fact that the Quran does not teach the Bible has been corrupted.  In the next few installment in this series, we will consider other verses from the Quran that Muslims might cite to try to prove otherwise.  Again, this series assumes what has been covered  in the original outline, “WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE,” and is intended to consider other verses beyond the ones already covered.

Before we begin our survey, one must remember a methodological issue.  It is important to be reminded that in order for a verse from the Quran to demonstrate that the Bible has been corrupted textually, it is not enough to cite Surahs that teaches the following point:

1.)The people of the Book (Jews and Christians) and/or subgroups of it  are evil.

2.) The Bible can be or has been misinterpreted.

3.) There are followers of the Bible (Jews and Christians) who are wrong in what they believe.

The reason why these type of verses in the Quran is insufficient is because assuming that they are true, it does not logically follow therefore that the Bible textually itself has been corrupted.  One way to illustrate the flaws of this kind of reasoning is to note that this kind of faulty argumentation can also be turned back on the Muslim as well:  There are Muslims or subgroups of Muslims who are evil, the Quran can be and has been misinterpreted, and followers of the Quran throughout history might have been wrong in what they believe, should the Muslim therefore think this demonstrates that the Quran has been corrupted textually?

Now that we know what it is we are looking for in the Quran and what we are not looking for, the second installment will begin our evaluation of the Muslim’s attempt to prove from the Quran that the Bible has been totally corrupted!



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Have you ever wondered what it was like for the first Christian missionary to go reach out to the Muslims?  Who was that first missionary anyways?

You can read about this first missionary name Raymund Lull online for free if you click HERE.

The author himself, Samuel M. Zwemer, was also a missionary to the Muslim people.

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