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Archive for July, 2012

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Surah 4:46 is a  proof text Muslims use to try to establish that the Quran teaches the Bible has been corrupted.  Here I provide three English translation of this passage, though afterwards all citation of the Quran will be from Yusuf Ali’s translation:

Sahih International

Among the Jews are those who distort words from their [proper] usages and say, “We hear and disobey” and “Hear but be not heard” and “Ra’ina,” twisting their tongues and defaming the religion. And if they had said [instead], “We hear and obey” and “Wait for us [to understand],” it would have been better for them and more suitable. But Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few.

Yusuf Ali

Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: “We hear and we disobey”; and “Hear what is not Heard”; and “Ra’ina”; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: “What hear and we obey”; and “Do hear”; and “Do look at us”; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe.

Shakir

Of those who are Jews (there are those who) alter words from their places and say: We have heard and we disobey and: Hear, may you not be made to hear! and: Raina, distorting (the word) with their tongues and taunting about religion; and if they had said (instead): We have heard and we obey, and hearken, and unzurna it would have been better for them and more upright; but Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief, so they do not believe but a little.

As one Muslim apologist expounded,

So as you can see, the Jews intentionally miss-interpreted what they were given and made several things up, so their book is indeed corrupt, they have added their own desires into the Torah.

But does this verse really teaches that the Jewish Scripture has been corrupted?  Let’s take a closer look.

Establishing the Context:  Surah 4 is titled “The Women.”  It is a long chapter in the Quran that addresses many social issues such as sex, marriage, inheritance, etc.  Verse 46 is situated in a section beginning at verse 43 which instructs how to pray righteously, with the attention then turning to the Jews as contrast with their wicked ways (v.44-46) followed by a direct appeal to unbelieving Jews to repent and turn to Allah (v.47-49).

Exegesis

It is clear that the Jewish Scripture is in view here.  The crux of the matter rests with the Arabic verb that is translated “displaced” by Yusuf Ali, “alter” by Shakir and “distort” in Sahih International.  It seems that the action done does not refer to the tampering of the actual written text of the Jewish Scriptures (and that, at a global scale) for the following reason:

(1) Even if one were to grant the Muslim that the verbs does refer to the tampering of the text of Scriptures itself, note that this verse does not support a global corruption, since the action were done only by some of the Jews as the beginning of verse 46 states,  “Of the Jews there are those who…”  This point is important because if some of the Jews were wicked to tamper and attempted to corrupt the text of Scriptures, there are the other subset of Jews that were not doing so.  Thus, there cannot be a global textual corruption of the Bible.

(2) Note that this verse has nothing to do with “writing.”  This verse cannot be the basis of proving that the written transmission of Scripture has been textually corrupted since it does not even address the topic of writing.

(3) Verse 46 even suggests that the distortion of the Word of God has to do more with what was verbally said rather than what has been written down as Scripture with the phrase, “with a twist of their tongues.”  That is, the distortation is by means of spoken words rather than by means of written words.  Shakir’s translation makes it more explicit that the tongue is the instrument of distortion  at view here, with the translation, “distorting (the word) with their tongues.”

(4) That the distortion has to do with spoken words rather than written text of the Scriptures finds further support when the verse states that the Jews “say: ‘We hear and we disobey’; and ‘Hear what is not Heard.'”  Note the focus on what is spoken audibly, as indicated by the verb “hear” and “heard” being mentioned a total of three times in this phrase and  a total of five times in the entire verse.

(5) Apparently, the Scripture could not have been textually corrupted or otherwise verse 46 could not go on to say about the Jews, “If only they had said: ‘What hear and we obey’; and ‘Do hear’; and ‘Do look at us’; it would have been better for them, and more proper;”  What the Jews can hear is good enough for them to follow and actually obey, which this verse even deem as “better” and “proper.”  This suggests very strongly that the verse is talking about not practicing the Scriptures they have and heard, rather than the Scriptures being textually corrupted.

(6) If this verse teaches that the Jewish Scripture has been corrupted, how could “Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief?”  For Allah to curse them for their willful unbelief presupposes that the Jews had access to the truth for them to believe in the first place and since this verse is talking about the Jewish Scripture (and not the Quran), it indicates that the truth of the Jewish Scripture has been preserved.
(7) In the same line of reasoning, if this verse teaches that the Jewish Scripture has been corrupted, how could any Jews believe in the truth?  And yet verse 46 teaches “and but few of them will believe?”  No matter how few, the fact that any can “believe” in the truth reveals that they had access to the truth in the first place, and that truth can be found in the Jewish Scripture since this verse is talking about the Jewish Scripture and not the Quran.
(8) The next verse, verse 47, reinforces the view that Surah 4:46 is not teaching that the written text of Scripture has been corrupted.  Note the verse goes on to say, “O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you, before We change the face and fame of some (of you) beyond all recognition, and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers, for the decision of Allah Must be carried out.”  Of course, Muslims would expect that the Quran would appeal to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) to believe “in what We have (now) revealed,” ie., Islamic revelation.  But the verse goes on to say to the People of the Book, that this Islamic revelation would be “confirming what was (already) with you.”  That is, the claim here by the Quran itself is that Islamic revelation would confirm with the Scriptures already possessed by the people of the book.  It would be strange for verse 47 to say “confirming what was (already) with you” if the Bible was already textually corrupted!
Thus, Surah 4:46 does not establish that the Bible has been corrupted as Islamic apologists might want to claim.

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Robert Morey vs Shabir Ally

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Farhan Qureshi would later leave Islam.

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Sam Shamoun vs Shabir Ally

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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!

 

GO TO PART 2

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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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Some Muslim writers assert that no one really knows if Matthew, Luke, Mark and John are the actual authors of the Gospels.  They claim that the traditional understanding or the orthodox understanding is not maintainable.  Because it is not maintainable, these writers will often cite liberal scholars, who are notoriously known to implement the higher-critical methodology to the Bible.[1]  To make matters worse, in order to justify their reasoning against traditional authorship of the Gospels, some Muslim apologists will go so far by using quotes from conservative scholars.[2]  For example, whenever a conservative scholar is seen quoting that  Matthew, Luke, etc. does not identify themselves as the author clearly, the Muslim apologist will use that snippet of information as a weapon against orthodoxy, while ignoring the positive arguments (internal and external) from the conservative scholar who argues in favor of traditional authorship.[3]

Before we get into the details concerning arguments against traditional authorship, I think it would be beneficial to first go through some Scriptures and what the early church fathers say regarding traditional authorship of the Gospels.  It is my prayer that Muslim apologists or even rationalists who implement the higher-critical methodology will see that God authorized Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to write the Gospels.  Let us now move in to some Scripture references that supports traditional authorship.

Scripture References for Traditional Authorship

The traditional authorship reveals that Matthew, who is a tax collector that went by the name of Levi and also Matthew, is the author of the Gospel of Matthew.  The following passages that speak of Matthew or Levi are: Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27-29; Matthew 9:9 and 12:3.  This disciple who is described as a tax-collector appears in all the lists of the twelve apostles (Matthew appears in all the lists of the twelve apostles (Mt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15; Acts 1:13).[4] As an apostle, Matthew witnessed Christ and His resurrection.

Traditional authorship of the Gospel, reveals Mark as the interpreter/secretary and companion of Peter.[5]  He could be found in passages such as Acts 12:12, 25, and 15:37.

The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts reveals that Luke the physician and the companion of Paul is the author.  Luke was clearly one of the companions of Paul who sent his greetings in Paul’s letter to Colossae  (Col. 4:14).[6]  He could also be found in the following passages such as Philemon 1:24.

The fourth Gospel, which is the Gospel of John, reveals that John the son of Zebedee who was one of the twelve disciples, who can be found in passages such as Matthew 4:21; 17:1; Mark 3:17; 9:2; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13; and Galatians 2:9.[7]  John was not only an apostle and the only one who was not martyred, but He, including James and Simon Peter—the privileged three, were able to witness the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37), the glorious transfiguration (Mark 9:2); and they were there with Christ at the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33). According to the New Bible Dictionary, although the name John was not mentioned in the fourth Gospel, he is mentioned as the son of Zebedee in John 21:2 and he is clearly the disciple whom Jesus loved, and the one whom lay close to the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper as stated in John 13:23.[8]

Hence it is clear, that I will be arguing for the traditional authorship of the Gospels—by affirming that the Gospels were written by disciples in the case of Matthew and John; and based on the testimony of the disciples by those who knew them – in the case of Mark and Luke.[9]  Before I cover Matthew, I think it is important to first address the apologetical methods concerning the traditional authorship of the Gospels so that Christians will have a good understanding concerning the opponents they face.

Apologetical Methods for Traditional Authorship of the Gospels

When it comes to arguments surrounding the traditional or biblical authorship of the Gospels, I think that it is vital to presuppose the truth of Christianity as the proper starting point for discussing the traditional authorship of the Gospels.[10]  When debating a depraved person who does not respond to divine stimuli, but the stimuli of rationalism, the Christian must assume the truth of the Bible and the Christian worldview regarding the traditional authorship of the Gospels; and must not concede ground to neutral assumptions with a unregenerate person.[11]  Here is what Apostle Paul says about the unregenerate person in 1 Corinthians 2:14,

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”[12]

If Apostle Paul’s writings were inspired in 1 Corinthians concerning the condition of the unregenerate regarding the notion of the spiritual topics, how much more careful should we be when dealing with the unbeliever.

As Christians, we must be committed to the lordship of Christ as stated in Rom 10:9 and 1 Cor 12:3.[13]  For the purpose of this context, that means being committed to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of life and reality because there are no areas in this universe that should be interpreted outside the knowledge of God’s Word and sovereignty.[14]

In regards to commitment to and the use of the Word of God as our ultimate authority, here is what Pastor Greg Bahnsen said,

God’s word has been seen to be foundational to all knowledge. It has absolute epistemic authority and it is the necessary presupposition of all knowledge which man possesses.”[15]

If one does not embrace the biblical truths of Christianity as Pastor Bahnsen had stated, then one will open up the floodgates for “reason” to be placed on neutral ground.  If this is allowed, then epistemic bias will creep into the debate concerning traditional authorship of the Gospels; and the unbeliever will use his polluted epistemic authority to decide whether he or she should believe in the God of the Bible who authenticated the authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’s Gospels.[16]  However, this epistemic authority is never granted to the unbeliever.[17]  If the Christian does not presuppose truth in the area traditional authorship of the Gospels, then I believe what Eta Linnemann said should be taken to heart.  Here is what she says,

The concept of Holy Scripture is relativized so that the Bible’s is nothing more than a religious writing like all other religious writings.  Since other religions have their holy scriptures, one cannot assume that the Bible is somehow unique and superior to them.  This is why it gets treated like any other book.  There comes to be no distinction between how the Bible is regarded and how the Odyssey is read, even though it is clear enough upon careful study that there are differences between them.”[18]

I really believe what Eta Linneman says, hits the nail on the head.  By implication, it hits the nail on the head because if the Bible is not superior to other religions or humanistic, or uninspired books like the Qur’an, then the Bible will be treated just like any other book and everything will be relativized.  If that is the case, then no one has the epistemic fiat to dictate who is the real author of the Gospels and other books of the Bible.  There needs to be a standard in order to account for truth and reality when it comes to traditional authorship.  Otherwise, there will circular reasoning without ever coming to the truth.  As a result, as Christians, we must presuppose that the Bible accounts for truth and reality in terms of traditional authorship and humans must abide by them.  We must not concede ground to the Muslim apologists.  We have an inspired book – they do not!

Stay tune for the next installment.  I will be covering arguments for traditional authorship of Matthew.


[1] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, http://answering-islam.org/authors/thompson/gospel_authorship.html (accessed May 31, 2012), 1

[2] Ibid, 1.

[3] Ibid, 1.

[4] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 739.

[5] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, http://answering-islam.org/authors/thompson/gospel_authorship.html (accessed May 31, 2012), 1.

[6] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 703.

[7] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, 1.

[8] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 592.

[9] Keith Thompson, “Who Wrote the Gospels? Internal and External Arguments For Traditional Authorship,” Answering Islam: A Christian-Muslim Dialog, 2.

[10] Michael Vlach, “Apologetic Systems,” (unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2011), 26.

[11] Michael Vlach,”What is Presuppositional Apologetics,” (unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2011), 30.

[12] All Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update.

[13] Michael Vlach, “What is Presuppositional Apologetics,” (unpublished syllabus, The Master’s Seminary, 2011), 32.

[14] Ibid, 32.

[15] Ibid, 32.

[16] Ibid, 32.

[17] Ibid, 32.

[18] Eta Linnemann, Historical Criticism of the Bible Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical: Methodology or Ideology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 84-85.

 

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(NOTE: I believe that what I have written here is an original counter-argument against a common Muslim argument in that I am bringing in the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer as a defeater to the discussion.  If this is not original, I would not be totally surprised since nothing is new under the sun.)

In a popular work titled, “A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam,” the book presented one of the arguments for the Qur’an’s divine origin is the fact that it reveals that the deep sea is dark.  The passage from the Quran that is cited to prove this comes from Surah 24:40.  Here I cite three popular translation:

YUSUFALI: Or (the Unbelievers’ state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his hands, he can hardly see it! for any to whom Allah giveth not light, there is no light!
PICKTHAL: Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness. When he holdeth out his hand he scarce can see it. And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light.
SHAKIR: Or like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another; when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light.

In context, Surah 24 deals with the issue of punishment of sexual sins, how these sins ought to adjudicated along with commands for Chasity and purity.  Verse 40 is situated in the logical section of verses 35-57 that deals with the topic of God as light, and the theme of punishment of darkness for the unbelievers and light for believers.

After citing the verse, the book goes on to say,

This verse mentions the darkness found in deep seas and oceans, where if a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it. The darkness in deep seas and oceans is found around a depth of 200 meters and below. At this depth, there is almost no light.  Below a depth of 1000 meters there is no light at all.  Human beings are not able to dive more than forty meters without the aid of submarines or special equipment. Human beings cannot survive unaided in the deep dark part of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters.  Scientists have recently discovered this darkness by means of special equipment and submarines that have enabled them to dive into the depths of the oceans.

(PAGES 20-21)

What is implied here is that humans in the seventh century during Muhammad’s days could not have known about the sea being dark.  It therefore must have been revealed by God.  As the book states, when summarizing all the arguments given,

The only possible answer is that this Qur’an must be the literal word of God, revealed by Him.

(PAGE 31)

Concerning those who live in the day and age before modern submarine, the argument assumes this,

P1. In order to know that the deep sea is dark, a human being must be able to enter into the deep sea.

P2. No human being has been able to enter into the deep sea.

C1. Therefore, no human being can know that the deep sea is dark.

With this understanding, the  core of the argument seems to be as follows:

P3. A book that reveals that the Deep Sea is Dark must be authored by God.

P4. The Quran reveal that the Deep Sea is Dark.

C2. Therefore, the Quran was authored by God (the Word of God).

I think this argument is not without it’s problem.

(1) First off, the Quran is not the only book that assumes that the deep of the sea is dark before the modern technological error of submarines.  Here the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, a Jewish collection of Rabbinic sayings and interpretation of the Jewish Scriptures, can be a defeater against the Muslim argument.  This is noted in the tenth chapter of the work, where it gives an account of the “history of Jonah.”  According to Rabbi Tarphon, the fish that swallows Jonah had eyes like windows to look out into the sea, even giving lights for illumination:

Rabbi Tarphon said: That fish was specially appointed from the six days of Creation ” to swallow up Jonah, as it is said, ” And the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah ” (ibid.). He entered its mouth just as a man enters the great synagogue, and he stood (therein). The two eyes of the fish were like windows ^ of glass giving light to Jonah.

(GERALD FRIEDLANDER’S TRANSLATION PAGE 69)

Another Rabbi also added

Rabbi Meir said: || One pearl was suspended inside the belly of the fish and it gave illumination to Jonah, like this sun which shine with its might at noon ; and it showed to Jonah all that was in the sea and in the depths,^ as it is said, ” Light is sown for the righteous ” (Ps. xcvii. 11).

(GERALD FRIEDLANDER’S TRANSLATION PAGE 69-70)

This being the case, the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer could also be a substitute referent into the original Muslim argument:

P3. A book that reveals that the Deep Sea is Dark must be authored by God.

P5. The Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer reveal that the Deep Sea is Dark.

C3. Therefore, the  Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer was authored by God (the Word of God).

In light of this, should Muslims also accept the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer as Divinely authored as well?

(2) Secondly, invoking the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer as a defeater might bring some possible objections by Muslim apologists.  I anticipate two possible counter-arguments: (a) That the Quran predates Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, and (b) the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer is dependent upon the Quran as its’ source.

(a) Possible Objection: The Quran predates Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer

Some might object that the Quran predate the  Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer.  Three things can be said in response to this.  First off,  when we take the citation at face value, one must note that the two Rabbis describing the darkness of the sea lived centuries before the Quran was written down.  Thus, these citation might predate the Quran itself, before the seventh century advent of Islam: Tarphon was from the first to the second century, and Rabbi Meir was also from the second century A.D, along with Rabbi Eliezer who supposedly collected these Rabbinic citations.  Secondly, any argument put forth to demonstrate that the citations cannot be attributed to Rabbi Tarphon, Meir or Eliezer as the editor,  would seem just as equally speculative as the position that these quotes are from these Rabbis.  However, it would seem that the methodology behind such arguments would engage in the same Source/Redaction criticisms that Liberals employ against the Quran, and one that a Muslim apologist should reconsider pursuing to avoid the charge of being inconsistent and engaging in methodological double-standard.  Thirdly, one must not forget the bigger picture: the point is that the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer still predate modern Ocean studies and mentioned that the sea is dark.  Thus, the objection that the Quran came first before the edited version of Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer was completed does not really resolve the dilemma that this work, like the Quran, does mention about the deep of the sea is dark.  The difficulty it raises against the Quran still stands.

(b) Possible Objection: The Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer is dependent upon the Quran as its’ source.

This hypothetical objection, if it works, would undercut the conclusion that the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer is divine if it can be shown that it is dependent upon the Quran as a source.  If one were to make this objection, the it would be ironic since historically scholars have attributed  the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer as one of the source for the Quran, though there is no consensus with this today, as Muslim apologists correctly points out.  It is true that one can make a case that the Quran came before the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer.  However, to argue that the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer is dependent upon the Quran as its’ source is another matter.  Two things can be said in addressing that matter.  First off, while there are some correlation between some of the stories in the Quran and Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, this does not necessarily mean that the Quran was the source for Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer or vice versa.  For instance, there might be a third source that both the Quran and Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer shared.  Even assuming the Islamic view of the origin of the Quran, the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer might happen to record accounts of events that happen to have been handed down as true and which the Quran affirms (that is not to say that I personally believe this is so, or that the accounts both mentioned in the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer and Quran are true, but I point this out to show that correlation does necessitate that the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer is dependence upon the Quran as a source).  Secondly, noting the polemical tendency in Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer makes it unlikely that whoever the Jewish writers/editors were, they would have been inclined to go to the Quran as a source material.  As GERALD FRIEDLANDER notes in his introduction to his translation of the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer,  the work alludes unfavorably towards the Islam:

§ 8. Polemical Tendency in P.R.E.

Apparently there is no direct reference to Christianity. On the other hand, there are several allusions to Islam as the ” Fourth Kingdom ” destined to persecute the Chosen People prior to the dawn of the Messianic Kingdom.

(GERALD FRIEDLANDER’S TRANSLATION PAGE lv)

The “Fourth Kingdom” is an allusion to the book of Daniel in the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament), who will persecute the Jews, and this fact makes its improbable for the author/editor of the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer to borrow from the religion or the culture that it is against, much less so if it is persecuted by it.  In fact, a survey of Jewish rabbinic materials and the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer indicate that the Jews Rabbinic writting projects were always consciously trying to be set apart and different in their beliefs and practices from other people.  All this makes it unlikely for any Jewish Rabbi to read the Quran in the first place for the purpose of incorporating it into the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, much less an obscure reference to the darkness of the deep of the sea found in a verse in a Surah, buried deep within the Quran.

Therefore, it would seem that the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer provides a defeater to the Muslim argument that the reference in Surah 24:40 to the darkness of the deep of the Sea is an argument for the divine authorship of the Quran, if Muslims would not hold also that the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer is God’s divine word (which being Jewish, is contradictory to the teachings of Islam).

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It seems that 9/11 sooner or later will pop up in any discussion about Islam.  No event in the recent history of the West have sparked more curiosity and questions about Islam than what that dreadful day and the bloody decade that followed afterwards.

Can there be a just war theory that can justify responses to terrorists within a Christian worldview?

For those interested in this philosophical/ethical discussion from a Christian worldview, I thought this was a good hidden/open treasure available online for those who want to have a serious reading on this topic.

The following is a 2003 thesis by a student at the Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) name Dale Courtney.  The thesis is titled, “A Just War Response To The 11 September 2001 Terrorist Attack.”

A PDF file of it is available by clicking HERE.

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What happens to Muslims who wish to embrace another religion?

Those who turn their back on Islam are to be executed.  This is confirmed by the words and deeds of Muhammad.

The Quran:

Qur’an (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them”

Qur’an (9:11-12) – “But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief – Lo! they have no binding oaths – in order that they may desist.”

The Hadith:

Bukhari (52:260) – “…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.’ “  Note that there is no distinction as to how that Muslim came to be a Muslim.

Bukhari (83:37) – “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”

Bukhari (84:57) – [In the words of] “Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

Bukhari (89:271) – A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to “the verdict of Allah and his apostle.”

.

Further reading

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Re-posting it from December 1st 2006.

A group of Indonesian men ambushed four girls (men vs girls) as they walked to their Christian school. One of the three survived with serious wounds. The school had been burned down during a previous round of sectarian conflict and later rebuilt.

The police said the heads of the three victims were discovered by local residents some distance from the bodies. The surviving student told the police that there had been six assailants wearing masks and black shirts. The victims were identified as Yarni Sambue (15) Interesia Morangke (16) and Alfita Paulina (19).

The survivor has been identified as Noviana Malewa, who is currently in intensive care at a nearby hospital. The bodies of the girls were left at the site of the attack near a cocoa plantation. The heads were found at separate locations two hours later by residents. One of the heads was found near a church.

They have found the men responsible for the beheadings. Three Muslim men have been charged in the beheadings of three girls in an Indonesian province filled with sectarian tension. More news here, here and here.

Update: The “three Christian high school girls who were beheaded” was a Ramadan “trophy” by Indonesian militants who conceived the idea after a visit to Philippines jihadists, a court heard yesterday.

The girl’s severed heads were dumped in plastic bags in their village in Indonesia’s strife-torn Central Sulawesi province, along with a handwritten note threatening more of such attacks.

The note read: Wanted: 100 more Christian heads, teenaged or adult, male or female…

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As stated before, beginning on July 15th, we began a week long focus her on Veritas Domain on the topic of Islam, with the hope of providing Christian apologetic addressing Islam, as a way of keeping our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world under the oppression of Islam in our prayers and also with the hope of having Christian defense resources on the web being offered or promoted largely with them in view.

Continuing from yesterday’s posted outline on how to witness to Muslims in light of the Quran’s view of the Bible, it seems appropriate to follow through with a video featuring the discussion between David Wood, Sam Shamoun and Paul Rezkalla concerning just who it is exactly is behind the Muslim claims that the Gospels have been corrupted.

Both Sam Shamoun and David Wood have done so much for the cause of Christian apologetics in dealing with Islam, and Islam’s attack on Christianity.  Keep these men in your prayers and may I add, financial support!

[HT]

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NOTE: The following is the outline I used when I teach people on how I evangelize to Muslim.

I. Introductory Matters

a. Why this lesson is important.

i.      Islam is going to be more and more on the news for the West.

1. The issue of Radicalism.

a. Quasi-international scene: Al Qaeda style terror.

b. Local radical clerics in the West.

2. The issue of Tolerance.

a. For Muslims.

 i.      People taking their frustration with Islamic terror on random law abiding muslims.

ii.      A general Xenophobia.

b. From Muslims.

i.      Muhammad Drawing.

ii.      Murdering apostates, Christian converts, etc.

ii.      Globalization will bring us face to face with Muslims on the internet, at work, tourism and your neighborhood.

1. Muslim propagation will bring more people to their faith.

2. Immigration will bring Muslims around the world.

iii.      Christians are called to understand the times, and evangelize everyone including Muslims.

1. Therefore, it is important one understand Islam more than some soundbites on Foxnews or articles by Huffington Post “reporters.”

2. Christians should have a general plan of how to witness and give an apologetics towards Muslims.

a. The old saying goes: “Without a plan, you have already planned to fail.”

b. Any good lawyer knows what he knows and what he does not know and makes his defense plan accordingly.  Likewise, preparation with a plan makes you able to have an informed discussion with what you know, while you can also humbly admit your ignorance and willingness to learn on some other sub-topic on Islam with a Muslim.

b. Purpose of this lesson: Give a guide for the Christian of how to defend the faith when it comes to the concerns of Islam, so that you can be an effective witness to your Muslim friend.

c. Important terms and individuals.

i.      Allah The Islamic/Arabic word for God.

ii.      Quran- Islam’s Scripture, believed by Muslims to contain the Word of God.

iii.      Surah- Chapters in the Quran.

iv.      Mohammed- Founder of Islam, the last major prophet according to it’s teaching.

v.      Abdullah Yusuf Ali- Translator of the Quran, whose English version is the most popular in use.

vi.      People of the Book: Jews and Christians, because they follow the Bible.

II. An Evangelistic and Apologetic Method

a. Important Methodological principles.

i.      Principle 1: The Bible is the Word of God.

ii.      Principle 2: Islam’s teachings contradict the fundamentals of the Bible.

1. Denial of the Trinity (Surah 112).

2. Jesus did not die on the cross.(Surah 4:157)

iii.      Principle 3: Muslims believed the written Bible has been corrupted and changed (deleted, additions).

iv.      Principle 4: The Quran does not teach the written Bible has been corrupted and changed but rather it teaches the Bible’s is authoratitive and remains.

1. This does not mean the Quran does not teach that men have twist the reading (INTERPRETATION) of the Bible.

2. Some Muslims will be surprised themselves when they hear you say this.

3. Controversial claim that the rest of this outline will seek to explore more.

b. The Strategy

i.      The game plan

1. The main goal is to share the gospel from God’s Word.

a. Why: God’s Word is what changes people’s heart from unbelief to belief!

b. Share about God as Creator, man as sinner, Jesus Christ as Savior, etc.

c. You can use the “Bridge”, Romans Road, the Way of the Master, etc.

2. When the Muslim object at any point in the presentation that a doctrine goes contrary to the Quran, ask them where in the Quran it says it.

a. Why: To challenge the Muslim to examine their own beliefs in light of the authority of the Quran in their worldview, and to see whether or not a certain belief they hold to is based upon the Quran.

b. Feel free to use the index of the Quran to look things up.

3. Then show from the Bible where you as a Christian get your belief.

a. Why: This exposes them to the Word of God, which does not go forth void.  It also shows that what you believe in is not just your opinion but taught from the Bible.

b. Hopefully, you know the Bible well enough to show where you get your beliefs from!

4. When the Muslim object that the writing of the Bible has been corrupted, changed, etc., ask if the Quran teaches this, and where does one find this teaching.

a. Why: Asking them puts the burden of proof on them and makes them think about what the Quran teaches about the Bible.

b. Be gracious: let him or her use the index of the Quran to look things up without attacking them that they don’t know their Quran.

5.  Showthat the Quran does not teach the Bible has been corrupted in two ways:

a. Refuting how their Quranic proof text does not teach the WRITING of the Bible has been corrupted.

b. Presenting verses from the Quran that presupposes the authority and perseverance of the Bible as the Word of God.

6. Press the antithesis to the Muslim that when the Quran’s teaching contradict the Bible, it’s Islam that the Quran itself is in trouble for being inconsistent with the Bible, and not the Bible itself.

a. Reasoning

i.      If the Quran has a high view of the Bible’s authority and perseverance,

ii.      And the Bible warns against teaching going contrary to the Bible,

iii.      So when the Quran contradicts the Bible,

iv.      By the basis of the Quran’s view of the Bible, Islam itself is incoherent.

b. Illustration: If someone said she’s finished custom knitting an outfit for your baby in one week, and it turns out that what she gave to you was too small for your child, the problem is not with the baby but with outfit that was claimed to fit neatly the child.  In the same way, the Quran is like the baby outfit.

7. Continue with the Gospel, repeat cycle if an objection to the Gospel is raised again.

ii.      Illustration of the General strategy:

The Marines in 2003 had the object of heading toward Baghdad.  They only fight when there are obstacles along the way.  After they clear the obstacle hindering them, they continue on toward their objective.  Since the Christian’s main goal is to share the gospel, removing the obstacle is not the goal in of itself, but for the purpose that one can get back towards sharing the gospel without any rational/irrational resistance.

III. Survey of the Quran’s affirmation of the Bible

a. The Quran does teach the Bible is the Word of God that has not disappeared

i.      Muslims are to believe in the Bible (Surah 29:46)

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” 

      1. In context, the verse earlier (v.45), the Quran exhorted Muslims to recite “the book of inspiration to you.”
      2. Then in this verse, it tells Muslims not to “dispute” with the the People of the Book (Jews and Christians).
      3. This verse then tells the Muslim to say the People of the Book that Muslims also believe “believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you…”
      4. Muslims during the writing of the Quran are to believe the revelation that has been given to them in the Bible.

ii.      Koran is to be tested by previous revelation (Surah 5:46-48)

v.46  And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

V.47 Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.

V.48 To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;

      1. Note in verse 46, Jesus had to confirm the Law that was before Him.
      2. Then in verse 47, there is the call for the “people of the Gospel” (Christians) to judge the teaching of Islam.
      3. Verse 48 explains that the basis would be with pervious revelation (Old Testament, New Testament Gospels cf v.46-47) since “To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety:”

iii.      The Quran teaches the Bible will not be abrogated or forgotten (Surah 2:106)

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?”

      1. Previous verses in our survey above establish that the Bible is the revelation of God
      2. This verse teaches these “revelations” will not be abrogated nor forgotten.

IV. Survey of possible Quran’s denial of the authority and perseverance of the written Bible

Remember: The Quran does teach that men have twist the reading (INTERPRETATION) of the Bible.  What needs to be proven is that the Bible has been changed in it’s writing.

a. Surah 3:78

“There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, “That is from Allah,” but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!”

i.      This text does not say the writing of the Bible has been changed.

ii.      Rather, this verse teaches that people distort the teaching of the Book “with their tongues.

iii.      Then the verse also describe “how they say…” which means the verbal interpretation was twisted not the written content.

iv.      These word twisters apparently “tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!”

1. In order for someone to lie, they have to know they are not aligning with the truth, and thus have an idea of what the truth is to begin with.

2. Which means that the “Book” is still a possible source of truth.

b. Surah 2:59

“But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them; so We sent on the transgressors a plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly.”

i.      This text does not say the writing of the Bible has been changed.

ii.      It does mention “the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them…”

iii.      Then in the context, the next verse (2:60) it quotes from Exodus 17:6 (Moses striking the rock), showing that the Quran still appeal to the Bible.

iv.      Verse 59 cannot teach the Word of God in writing is changed since later in verse 62, the Quran appeal to the Jewish Scripture as a means of salvation:

“Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

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