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Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ Category

love god on sand

 

I’ve been thinking this question since Friday:  Who is the most easiest person to love?

Before answering that question I think it’s important to think through the implication of this answer.

Whoever is the most easiest person to love must be the loveliest person.

When we say “loveliest person” we are not talking what we merely subjectively thinking about that person, but who that person really is and one whom we still find easy to love and perhaps even desire to love more with the passing of time and with the more we know of that person.

Have you realized that when you love someone, there is a porportional relationship of how the more you love that person, the more you are willing to do the things that pleases them?

So who is the world’s most easiest person to love?  I think the answer is out of this world: God.

God Himself is LOVE.

Note 1 John 4:8=

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

But it isn’t as if love is just an emotion, it’s manifested by action.  How did God reveal His love?  The next verse goes on to say:

By this the love of God was manifested [b]in us, that God has sent His [c]only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

When you are struggling with obedience to God, realize it’s not just an issue of works righteousness; it comes down to the issue of how much you love GOD.

Before you go about saying what to do or what not to do I think it’s best to revisit your love for God.  If you realize your lifestyle reflect the truth of your level of love of God, then ultimately any combat of sin involves growing in your love for God that changes your attitude to compel obedience.

Now how do we cultivate our love for God, who is the most easiest person to love?

Know Him.

Know Him from His Word.

Study the Word, and study it deeply.

Study Theology.

Be consume and be entralled by God, find Systematic Theology and Theology Proper to be the source of feeding that knowledge that leads you to love the most easiest person to love.

Deeply meditate and be reminded of the Gospel and the person and work of Jesus Christ in saving us from our sins through the Cross, Death, Burial and Resurrection.  He Ascended to Heaven, seated on the right hand of God and still intercede for us!

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humpty_dumpty!

“Pastor” Jaeson Ma of the New Apostolic Reformation movement has released a new music video called “Rise and Fall.”  At core it’s a Pelagian gospel instead of a Biblical gospel.

To begin with note what is omitted in the video:  The Gospel of how Jesus Christ actually saves us from our sins through Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection.

Now I realize that not every Christian song must be a three point sermon.  I’m not imposing a harsh standard that he has to use theological terminology like “Extra calvinisticum,”  “Supralapsarian” and “Asiety.”

The criticism here is more than nit-picking on what Jaeson Ma omitted; I don’t want to conclude that Jaeson Ma’s new song is heretical based merely on an argument from silence since that would be fallacious. We must also see what is in the content of the actual song: What is it’s message?

We must ask what is every song’s message or “gospel.”  Every song does reflect a worldview; the question is, which one does it reflect, the Christian worldview or a non-Christian worldview?

But how can we discern a song’s worldview?  Ask yourself, what does the song say about

  1. Man–Is he basically good or sinful (as Romans 3:10, 3:23 teaches)?
  2. God–Is He all Love without Holiness or is He Holy, and a God of Love and Wrath?
  3. The Problem–Is man’s basic problem with sin or something else?
  4. The Solution–Is Jesus the Savior or something else has become our functional gods and saviors?

Note what Jaeson Ma says between 3:16-26:

I know I made some mistakes in my life, No matter what you do right, no matter what you do wrong, you got to know you’re just human.”

Just “mistakes?”  God has revealed in the Bible that we have more than just mistakes–we have serious sins against Him.  It’s not picking on word choice–note also after pointing out how “no matter what you do wrong,” Jaeson Ma wants to comfort his hearers with the fact that “you got to know you’re just human.”  Does the Bible ever give that as a solution for man’s wrong doing and sin–to just know we are humans?  Is knowing we are humans then make everything wrong okay?

What a terrible means of justification; it’s fall short of being Biblical.

Note what  else is in minute 3:16.  The back ground lyrics between 3:16-24 says

You can knock me down I’ll get up standing tall, we rise and fall.”

Sounds like Moralistic Therapeutic Theism to me with its emphasis on one’s own effort.  The whole song has that theme but it’s at minute 3:16 that the content clearly is antithetical to gospel both with what Jaeson Ma has to say and the background chorus.  Come to think of it, it’s ironic that Jaeson Ma’s 3:16 is contrary to John 3:16, since one presuppose sin (John 3:17) while Ma present Moralistic Therapeutic Theism assurance that we’re just human.

That is not the Biblical Gospel since the Bible shares that the Gospel is about Jesus Christ who died and rise for our sins when Adam and all mankind has fallen.

The most disturbing part of the song that brings the brightest clarity that Jaeson Ma is preaching the Gospel of Pelagianism is towards the end of the song between 3:35-42:

Hold on to Hope.  Know that inside of you, there’s something good, so rise up.”

Jaeson Ma’s message is contrary to the biblical understanding of man’s total depravity.  Note how his lyrics contradict Romans 3:1-12:

as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”

No doubt some might object that Jaeson Ma’s song can’t be heretical because it has a picture of Jesus.  Merely having a picture of Jesus doesn’t make one song Christian.  The question is whether or not the song is faithful to Jesus’ message.

In conclusion, Jaeson Ma’s Pelagian gospel attempt to rise, but it fall because of his lack of depth in understanding about the Fall.

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Basic Christianity John Stott

 

I know we have focused a lot last month on the problems of Charismatics, Pentecostals, Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospel preachers.  We don’t just want to say what’s wrong but we also want to encourage people to look more towards Christ than all the other superfluous “glitters” in some Charismatic quarters.

One book we would recommend is Basic Christianity; it’s important for us yet once again to be reminded of the pure faith in Christ and the Gospel.

I was expecting this book to be a mini-systematic theology, an introduction to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity but it turned out to be quite a devotional and worshipful read that largely focused on the question of “Who is Jesus?” John Stott paints a beautiful portrait of Jesus Christ from the Scriptures and must definitely read it to see how challenging, wonderful, and awesome Jesus Christ truly is. This work is evangelistic, being conscious of nonbelievers reading this work while remaining faithful to the Scriptures in a winsome manner. In fact, it’s clear that Stott wishes that it would be the Scriptures and the verse cited that will do it’s work in the readers. Again, a great book and also practical towards the end of how to walk in Christ after one comes to repentance and trust in Jesus. Even older Christians will benefit from the work’s discussion about Jesus. There’s a reason why this work has been a classic for over fifty years and I’m glad I got around to reading it.

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Who is Jesus

 

On Thursday, August 22, 2013 there was a debate/dialogue between the Christian apologist Samuel Green and Muslim Abdullah Kunde on the topic of who is Jesus.  It took place in Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia and was sponsored by a Muslim student group and an Evangelical student group.  I still need to watch this later but I’m putting it up here first!

Here is the You Tube Video:

Enjoy!

 

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Unfolding Mystery Edmund Clowney

You can purchase the book by clicking HERE.

Recently there have been several books published on the topic of Jesus in the Old Testament.  While technically not a new book, P&R will be releasing the 25th Anniversary edition of The Unfolding Mystery on August 28th 2013.  In the introduction Edmund Clowney makes the point that it is possible to know a story from the Bible and yet miss the Bible’s story.  I agree with Clowney of the importance of seeing the Scripture as a whole pointing us towards Jesus Christ whether prophetically, typologically or directly.  This includes the Old Testament.  In nine chapters, Clowney provides the reader with a survey of selected passages from the Old Testament and how it points us towards Christ.  In most instances Clowney does this well.  I enjoyed how he observed the meaning of names of various Biblical characters has significance in anticipating Christ through a redeem lineage:  Seth is related lexically to the verb meaning “appoint” or “establish” that is echoing Genesis 3:15 of how God has appointed enmity between the Messianic “Seed” and the devil’s seed.  Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude” that reflects the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.  Issac’s name meant laughter—with the mother Sarah laughing not in unbelief as she did previously but because of incredulous joy.  Israel’s name meant “God Prevails,” which indicate who really won when Israel wrestled with the Divine Angel of the Lord.  There were however instances that Clowney was trying too hard to put Christ into the text such as the account of Jacob wrestling in the dark was described by Clowney as foreshadowing Christ’s agony in the darkness of Gethsemane.  He also wrote that “the theocratic law of Israel as the people of God is continued in the church,” but also add that “its sanctions are spiritual, not physical.”  I would say the theocratic laws of Israel is for the state and not the church, and that they are not “spiritual,” if by spiritual Clowney means “non-physical,” since there can not be any such thing as a non-spiritual law if it’s coming from God.  This is not to take away the bigger portion of the book that is good, and that Clowney does a good job of unfolding Christ in the Old Testament.  The format of the book is also helpful:  Clowney’s granddaughter has written study and application questions that are included at the end of each chapter that are excellent for personal reflection and also group discussion.

NOTE: This book is provided to me free by Presbyterian and Reformed and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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The Man Jesus Christ Bruce Ware

 

Appreciated Bruce Ware’s work which got me thinking about the humanity of Jesus Christ more deeply than before. I have always been more amazed at the deity of Jesus Christ more than His humanity until about a year ago when I started realized how much the book of Hebrews has to say about the implication of Jesus’ humanity. The book is an excellent treatment of the topic. I’m convinced by Ware’s argument in chapter two that much of Jesus’ life and ministry was Christ’s humanity empowered by the Holy Spirit rather than Jesus invoking or utilizing His Divinity. Of course there are exception such as Jesus’ ability to forgive sin, which only God can do. It was moving to read this book and see the humility of Jesus, who though in being very nature God became incarnate as a man and had to increase in wisdom and even grow in his faith just like everybody else. Chapter four powerfully demonstrated that Jesus also needed to grow in His humanity spiritually to be ready to face the cross for our sins. The chapter on Jesus’ temptation was worth buying the book alone: entering into the classic debate about Jesus impeccability, Ware argues that there is a distinction between Jesus “could not sin” versus Jesus “did not sin.” He gives a wonderful illustration of a swimmer who could not drown because his friends were in a boat behind him while the reason why he did not drown was really because he did the work of swimming! The book also had a chapter focusing on why Jesus had to be a man, that is a response to some egalitarians and Evangelical feminists who see Jesus’ masculinity is accidental to Him being the Messiah. Overall, an excellent book to read. I appreciated how each chapter ended with an application section and questions for discussion. I was worshiping God as I read the book!

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Brief_Illustrated_Guide_To_Understanding_Islam

Three months ago I refuted a frequent Muslim argument that the Bible in Deuteronomy 18 is a prediction about Muhammad, specifically as it was presented in A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam.   In today’s post, I want to revisit a quote from the book in order to reinforce the Christian claim that Deuteronomy 18 is a predication about Jesus Christ and not Muhammad.  According to the booklet:

So, this prophecy refers to Muhammad  and not to Jesus, because Muhammad  is more like Moses than Jesus.” (Page 34)

One of course has to ask, “In what ways is Jesus like Moses?”  Rather than point out trivial similarities  between the two (something I think A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam commits in trying to “prove” Muhammad), I think a better way is to ask how the Bible in the New Testament presents Jesus as the paralleling “New Moses” (while remembering that the Quran obligates the Muslim to believe in the veracity of the New Testament as I have argued elsewhere on our blog).

Here it would be appropriate to read the account of Moses in Exodus, and Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.  Both were originally written for a Jewish audience.  Thus it would be reasonable to expect Matthew to make allusions and echoes of events of Moses’ life recorded in Exodus if Jesus was the one predicted in Deuteronomy 18.  It turns out that the Gospel of Matthew intentionally presents Jesus as the New Moses.  The following are ways Jesus was like Moses.

  1. Born during the reign of an oppressive king (Moses with Pharoah in Exodus 1:8-14; Jesus with King Herod in Matthew 2:1)
  2. The evil ruler decree the killing of children that threaten the newborn’s life (Exodus 1:15-16; Matthew 2:16-18)
  3. The witnesses of the birth of the child obeyed God and therefore disobeyed the ruler (Midwives in Exodus 1:17-22; Magi in Matthew 2:12, 16)
  4. God protects the witnesses (Midwives in Exodus 1:17-22; Magi in Matthew 2:12)
  5. The newborn survived by hiding in Egypt (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13-15)
  6. When the child grew older, God leads them to depart from Egypt (Exodus 13-14; Matthew 2:19-23)
  7. After leaving Egypt, water around them symbolizes a new era (the parting of the sea Exodus 14:13-31; Baptism, Matthew 3:13-17)
  8. Both enter the Wilderness for a considerable time of testing (Forty years, Exodus 16:35; Forty days, Matthew 4:1-11)
  9. Both expounds on God’s law to God’s people in a mountain (Mount Sinai, Exodus 19-20ff; Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7)

The parallels are astounding.  A Muslim might say that the above are “trivial” parallels.  I would say look up the passages and let the Holy Spirit bear witness through His Word.  Moreover, if these parallel are insignificant and trivial, what do we have to say about the Muslim’s case for Muhammad being like Moses?  However, readers must not forget the conclusion made in the previous post on Deuteronomy 18 that the New Testament explicitly teach in direct didactic passages of epistolary literary forms, that Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.  Muslims are in a dilemma here when their own Qur’an affirm the authority and textual reliability of the Bible while the parallel of Jesus to Moses is much more greater than the parallel of Muhammad to Moses.  The right thing to do would be to surrender to Jesus, and start hearing Him speak as a Prophet about Himself in the Bible.  Then by the grace of God, may any reading this who do not know Him come to the saving knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

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did-JESUS-exist-book

A month ago I noted Bart Ehrman’s strange claim that somehow the Jews didn’t deny other God’s existence in his book Did Jesus Exists?

Today I want to focus on his claim that the Bible does not teach that Jesus is God, as he sets forth his case in chapter 7 of his book.

Ehrman on Philippians 2

From pages 233-238 Ehrman discusses Philippians 2.  The relevant portion, Philippians 2:5-10 states

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He labor the point that many people have spent a long time studying the passage from all spectrum of scholarship.  But merely saying that there’s many views on a passage in of itself is not a refutation of the view that Philippians 2 teaches the deity of Christ.  Ehrman also fail to engage or interact with scholarship arguing for the view that Philippians 2 teaches the deity of Christ.

The other disappointment I had with Ehrman is the fact that he failed to deal with the text itself.  For instance, the Greek word for “form” in “form of God” in verse 6 is μορφη.  Lexically, the word μορφη refers to the inward essence of a “thing” or “person” while rarely referring to the outer appearance.  Ehrman also failed to deal with the adjective ισα, which in the English NASB is translated as “equality.”  Lexically it has the idea of equal and later became the root for isosceles, isometric, etc.  There is no acknowledgement or denial of these two Greek words in the book, which is unacceptable since they are the key reasons some see Philippians 2 as teaching the deity of Christ.

Ehrman on the Gospel of Mark

Ehrman then stated the following:

In Mark Jesus is certainly not God.  In fact, in one passage he clearly indicates that he is not to be thought of as God (Mark 10:17-18; a man calls Jesus ‘good,’ and Jesus objects because ‘no one is good but God alone’).” (Page 238-239)

Challenging the assertion that “Jesus is certainly not God” in Mark requires examining the entire book of Mark carefully and is beyond the scope of this blog post but I recommend watching what James White has to say about this assertion:

Note also that Ehrman looks to Mark 10:17-18 as support for his claim that Mark teaches us how Jesus “is not to be thought of as God.”  But careful reading of Mark 10:17-18 reveal Jesus did not say “Don’t call me good because I’ m not God.”  Rather Jesus asked a rhethorical question, one that the rest of context indicates the reason why Jesus asked it is to question the young man’s conception of what is good rather than ultimately being an issue about Jesus let alone being an indicative statement about Himself.

Ehrman on the Oldest Christian traditions

Ehrman writes:

So frequently was Jesus called Christ in the oldest Christian traditions that already by the time of Paul, “Christ” had become Jesus’s name (Jesus Christ, not Jesus God).  Jesus is called Christ in Paul, Mark, M, L, John, Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, and so on.” (239-240)

First off, Ehrman here commits an either/or fallacy.  Ehrman has not demonstrated how just because Jesus is called Jesus Christ that necessitate a denial of His deity according to the Christian faith.

Secondly, contrary to his assertation some of the the sources he mentioned does indicate the deity of Christ.  Concerning Mark see the above video by James White.  Then there’s Pliny the Younger who wrote:

They were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, not to deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of a meal—but ordinary and innocent food.

(Emphasis added)

Note that Pliny as an outside observer gives a window into the early Christian church and how they worshiped Jesus.  In light of Jewish Old Testament background undergirding Christian theology, one must not worship anything except God alone.

Much of what has been said also applies to this last quote from Ehrman:

Jesus is not called God in Q, M, L, or any of the oral accounts that we can trace from the synoptic Gospels.  But we can go yet earlier than this.  As I pointed out, we have very primitive views of Jesus expressed in such pre-Pauline traditions as the one he cites in Romans 1:3-4 where Jesus is said to have become the son of God (not God) at his resurrection.” (Page 232)

Again, Ehrman commits a fallacious reasoning from Romans 1:3-4 that just because it teaches that Jesus is the Son of God does not mean He is not divine in origin.  Ehrman fail to interact critically with the orthodox formulation of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and how it balances the Diety and humanity of Christs that account for His titles such as Christ and Son of God.

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did-JESUS-exist-book

As I slowly make my way through agnostic Bart Ehrman’s latest book, Did Jesus Exist?, I can’t help but to notice the logical fallacies.  For instance, about a week ago I posted on Bart Ehrman’s straw man and contradiction against the fundamentalists.  Three weeks ago I posted on his fallacy of a false dilemma.

Today’s post will focus on the fallacy of argument from silence.

Mime argument

Ehrman knows that an argument from silence is a fallacy.  That’s because he’s able to identify it as a fallacy when others commit it.  For instance, in talking about Rene Salm, who denies the historical existence of the town of Nazareth, Ehrman writes

The most recent critic to dispute the existence of Nazareth is Rene Salm, who has devoted an entire book to the question, called The Myth of Nazereth…Like so many mythicists before him, Salm emphasizes what scholars have long known: Nazareth is never mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, in the writings of Josephus, or in the Talmud.  It first shows up in the Gospels.  Salm is also impressed by the fact that the early generations of Christians did not seek out the place but rather ignored it and seem not to know where it was (this is actually hard to show; how would we know this about ‘every’ early Christian, unless all of them left us writings and told us everything they knew and did?).” (Page 193)

A Slam Dunk on Salm.  After all, silence only proves…silence. And don’t forget the difficulty of proving a universal negative.  Note how Ehrman calls out Salm that he does not know what every early Christian have done in their lives and therefore Salm can not establish his premise that no early Christians ever looked for Nazareth.

Does Ehrman commit the same fallacy?

Here’s an example of Bart Ehrman’s argument from silence in Did Jesus Exists? :

Before the Christian movement, there were no Jews who thought the messiah was going to suffer.” (Page 173; emphasis not in original)

No Jews?  To apply Ehrman’s own refutation quoted earlier against himself: “this is actually hard to show; how would we know…” “unless all of them left us writings and told us everything they knew and did?” (Page 193).

The same problem applies to the following:

According to Luke’s story, a tax was imposed on ‘all the world’ by Caesar Augustus, and everyone had to register for a census.  Since Joseph’s distant ancestor David was born in Bethlehem, that is where he had to register.  While he was there his betrothed, Mary, gave birth.  There is no way this can be historically correct.  There was no worldwide (or even empire-wide) census in the days of Augustus…” (Page 184; emphasis not in original)

And:

So too it is completely implausible that when Jesus was put on trial at the end of his life, Pilate offered to release one of his two chief prisoners  Barabbas or Jesus, as was allegedly his custom at Passover (see Mark 15:6-15).  We have no historical record of any such custom being carried out by Pilate or anyone else.” (Page 184)

Again, an argument from silence to prove a claim.  Ehrman should realize the difficulty of his position with the realities that he admitted earlier in the book that the Romans did not keep a detailed complete record of everything they did and that we should not interpret that to mean that something couldn’t have been historical if it’s cited elsewhere (see pages 44 through 46).  Keep in mind that an argument from silence here is further problematic when one consider the fact that the majority of the Roman imperial record did not survive the passage of time.

Can you spot other arguments from silence in Ehrman’s book?

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Two weeks ago I wrote about a problematic statement agnostic Bart Ehrman made in his recent book Did Jesus Exist?.  While I appreciate the main thrust of Ehrman’s work, which argues for the historical existence of Jesus, there are nevertheless logical problems such as the one we shall examine  below.

did-JESUS-exist-book

Here I want to focus specifically on his misrepresentation of the fundamentalists/conservative Christians’ position on inspiration and the Bible, and how Ehrman ends up contradicting himself when he criticizes the fundamentalists/conservative position on the Bible’s historicity/factuality.

Bart Ehrman stated that there

are certain agnostics and atheists who claim that since, say, the Gospels are part of Christian sacred scripture, they have less value than other books for establishing historical information.  As odd as it might seem, the nonbelievers who argue this are making common cause with the fundamentalists who also argue it.  Both groups treat the Gospels as nonhistorical, the fundamentalists because the Gospels are inspired and the atheists (those who hold this view) because the Gospels are accepted by some people as sacred scripture and so are not historical.” (Page 72; Emphasis not in the original)

Note what is stated in bold.  Ehrman here is asserting that the fundamentalists’ understanding of the Gospel means:

Inspiration=nonhistorical

Ehrman really said this and it’s not just a quotation out of context.  Earlier in the previous page Erhman writes:

Sometimes the Gospels of the New Testament are separated from all other pieces of historical evidence and given a different kind of treatment because they happen to be found in the Bible, the collection of books that Christians gathered together and declared sacred scriptures.  The Gospels are treated in this way by two fundamentally opposed camps of readers, and my contention is that both of them are completely wrong.  However else the Gospels are used–for example, in communities of faith–they can and must be considered historical sources of information.” (Page 71;  Emphasis not in the original)

Here the two camps refer to the same polarizing groups of Christian fundamentalists and secularized skeptics mentioned on page 72.  Ehrman is going against the fundamentalists because he thinks the fundamentalists’ view of inspiration means the Bible is taken as nonhistorical.  Readers who are fundamentalists/conservatives or even familiar with the works of fundamentalists will no doubt find Ehrman’s claims rather strange.

Point 1: Ehrman should have footnoted and cited some example of fundamentalists who ” treat the Gospels as nonhistorical,” “because the Gospels are inspired.”  As a Reformed Conservative Evangelical, I am not familiar with any fundamentalists who holds to Ehrman’s claim that the Bible’s inspiration means it is nonhistorical.

Point 1a: The demand here in point 1 that Ehrman should provide some kind of citation for his claim is reasonable.  The burden of proof is on him to demonstrate a claim which he even acknowledge is counter-intuitive: “As odd as it might seem, the nonbelievers who argue this are making common cause with the fundamentalists who also argue it” (Page 72; emphasis not in the original).

Point 1b: Again, the demand that Ehrman should have provided a reference to support his description of fundamentalists’ view of inspiration is reasonable.  Throughout the book Bart Ehrman does a really good job documenting and footnoting the position of the Jesus mythicists he is refuting, even when he considers them “nonscholars.”  On page 132 Ehrman himself acknowledges that the fundamentalists camps does have capable scholars. If he is able and willing to footnote and cite the nonscholars he opposes, how much more so then, should he be able to document and give references to fundamentalist scholars and their view of inspiration that he is rejecting.

Point 2: A survey of fundamentalists’ literature would reveal that their doctrine of inspiration presupposes the Bible to be historical rather than nonhistorical in it’s truth claims.  A good case in point can be demonstrated by citing The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, a key document expounding a conservative bibliology.

Point 2a: “Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.” (The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Summary Statement 4; emphasis is not in the original).

Point 2b: “We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.” (The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Article XII).

Point 2c: “When Adam fell, the Creator did not abandon mankind to final judgement, but promised salvation and began to reveal Himself as Redeemer in a sequence of historical events centering on Abraham’s family and culminating in the life, death, resurrection, present heavenly ministry and promised return of Jesus Christ.” (The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Explanation A; emphasis is not in the original).

Point 2d: “No hermeneutic, therefore, of which the historical Christ is not the focal point is acceptable.” (The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Explanation B; emphasis is not in the original).

Point 2e: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is concern with history, since the word history appears a total of 12 times throughout the document.

Point 3: Oddly enough elsewhere throughout the book Ehrman’s criticism of fundamentalists’ view of the Bible contradicts his claims that fundamentalists does not take the Bible to be historical.  In fact, whether explicitly or implicitly presupposed, Ehrman’s other criticisms of fundamentalists is that they take the Bible in it’s entirety to be historical rather than nonhistorical.  It’s as if Ehrman’s criticism of fundamentalists’ view of the Bible is Schizophrenic.

Point 3a:  After Ehrman claim that fundamentalists ” treat the Gospels as nonhistorical” on page 72, he then contradicts this understanding of what fundamentalist believes about the Bible just two pages later when he wrote: “Once it is conceded that the Gospels can and should be treated as historical sources, no different from other historical sources infused with their authors’ biases, it starts to become clear why historians have almost universally agreed that whatever else one might say about him, Jesus of Nazareth lived in first-century Palestine and was crucified by the prefect of Judea.  It is not because ‘the Gospels say so’ and that it therefore must be true (the view, of course, of fundamentalist Christians)” (Page 74; emphasis not in original).

Point 3b: If fundamentalism did not subscribe to the historicity of the Bible which includes the Gospels, how could he have said the following: “But in a historical and worldwide perspective, highly conservative Protestant Christianity, whether fundamentalism or hard-core evangelicalism, is a minority voice.  It is the voice that says that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, with no contradictions, discrepancies or mistakes of any kind.  I simply don’t think this is true” (Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exists?, 36; emphasis not in original)?

Point 3c: As mentioned in Point 1b, Ehrman acknowledges that scholars who are fundamentalists exists in the area of historical Jesus studies and Pauline studies.  In the chapter arguing that Paul’s epistles contain historical content concerning the historicity of Jesus, Ehrman notes the scholarly consensus about the contribution of the Apostle Paul’s writing to the study of the historicity of Jesus:  “I personally know scores of scholars who have spent twenty, thirty, forty, or more years of their lives working to understand Paul.  Some of these are fundamentalists, some are theologically moderate Christians, some are extremely liberal Christians, and some are agnostics and atheists.  Not one of them, to my knowledge, thinks that Paul did not believe there was a historical Jesus” (Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exists?, 132; emphasis not in original).  Yet if Ehrman is correct that the fundamentalists’ doctrine of inspiration means that Scripture (including the Pauline epistles) are nonhistorical in character, how can they participate in the consensus with other scholars that the Apostle Paul believe in the historical Jesus?

Point 3d: There are more examples one can cite in Ehrman’s book and the corpus of his work of his criticism that fundamentalists believes in the literal and total historicity of the Bible.

Conclusion

Ehrman’s criticism that the fundamentalists’ doctrine of inspiration makes them view the Gospels as nonhistorical suffer from the problem of (1) not being proven by Ehrman, being asserted despite the absent of evidence, (2) is contrary to the evidence found in fundamentalists’ literature and (3) contradicts Ehrman’s own criticism of fundamentalists’ view of inspiration for assuming the Bible to be thoroughly true and historical.  In essence, his misrepresentation of the fundamentalists’ view of inspiration and historicity of the Bible is unfounded and irrational.

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Brief_Illustrated_Guide_To_Understanding_Islam

INTRODUCTION

There is a popular colorful pamphlet arguing for Islam titled, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam.  Not too long ago I looked into one of the evidences it gave for Islam here, while for this post I want to consider another argument the booklet presents for Islam in which the author(s) claims that the Bible made a prophecy pointing to Muhammad.  At the outset, I want the readers to know that this discussion cannot be divorced from one’s methodology of apologetics and I think the best method of Christian apologetics interacting with Islam is to begin with the Bible as the authoritative and infallible Word of God.  No doubt Muslims will object, saying the Bible has been corrupted while some Christians will dismiss this strategy as ineffective in light of the predictable Muslim reaction to such an apologetic.  However, as I have argued here on this blog, the Muslim is not permitted to dismiss the Bible as corrupt and no longer authoritative because the Quran’s teaching is contrary to this, expounding explicitly the view and appealing directly to the Bible as authoritative and a reliable text.  Thus, the benefit of this methodology is three-fold: (1) it makes the Muslim conscious of the issue of authority, and allow the Christian to quickly press them on the internal tension within the Muslim’s own worldview concerning the Bible, (2) while the Christian continues to have the Word of God as his foundation even in his apologetic (3) and also exposes the Muslims to the Bible, God’s Word, which does it’s work among the hearers and readers. (Note: This approach would be consistent with the apologetic methodology of Presuppositional apologetics.)  Of course, when the Muslims read the Bible they will read it as a Muslim and might be inclined to see it pointing to and validating Islam which require a Christian to look more closely at their own Scriptures concerning these claims.

THE PROPHET AN ISHMAELITE?

Such a claim for the Bible as evidence for Islam appears on page 33 of the booklet: “The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad  are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible.”  It then quoted Deuteronomy 18:18-19 as evidence.  Whereas Muslims believe Deuteronomy 18:18-19 predicts the coming of Muhammad, Christians believe that that this passage was fulfilled by Jesus.  Deuteronomy 18:18-19 as quoted from the New American Standard Bible states,

 I will raise up a prophet from among their [l]countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.

The book then tries to extrapolate from Deuteronomy 18 that this coming prophet

must have the following three characteristics:
1) That he will be like Moses.
2) That he will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the
Ishmaelites.
3) That God will put His words into the mouth of this prophet
and that he will declare what God commands him.

Of these three characteristics, the second seems to be the most problematic: that the prophet must be an Ishmaelites (which Muslims believe Muhammad was a descendant of).  Ishmael was the son of Abraham through his wife’s slave Hagar, as the Bible in Genesis 16 records.  Since the nation of Israel was a descendant of Abraham through the line of Issac, one might say that Issac and Ishmael were “half-brothers.”  So the Muslim argument here is that Deuteronomy 18 teaches this “Prophet” will be coming from their “brothers,” that is from the Ishmaelites, and since they say Muhammad is a descendant of Ishamel, he must be the Prophet predicted.

The Muslim no doubt will object to the NASB translation of “countrymen” in verse 18 and prefer it to be translated “brothers” which they do have a point.  The Hebrew word that the NASB translated as “countrymen” is the Hebrew word אֲחֵיהֶם.  Literally, אֲחֵיהֶם is from the Hebrew word meaning “brother” in the plural form with a third person masculine plural suffix that’s functioning possessively  thus a woodenly literal translation would be “their brother.”  The NASB here interprets “their brother” to refer to fellow Israelites, hence the translation of “countrymen.”  Just because the Hebrew word translated literally would be “their brothers” does not necessarily entail this is a prophecy for Muhammad however, since “brothers” can possibly refer to Ishmaelites or the Israelites themselves.  Determining the referent must be done in light of the consideration of the context of Deuteronomy 18, which suggests that Moses here has in mind that the Prophet will be Jewish rather than an Ishmaelite.  There are three reasons that opposes the interpretation that Deuteronomy 18 is talking about an Ishmaelite.

The first reason against the Muslim interpretation is the fact that the context of Deuteronomy 18 has no reference to Ishmaelites.  There is nothing explicit (“Ishmaelites” or “Ishmael”) or implicit (“Hagar,” etc).  The Muslim then has no warrant to suddenly assume “their brothers” to refer to Ishmaelites.  No doubt the Muslim might say this is an argument from silence for the view that Deuteronomy 18 refers to a Jew, but here I am not using an argument for silence to prove that Deuteronomy 18 is referring to a Prophet of Jewish descendant  but I am only showing that the Muslim has no justification to read into the text that an Ishmaelite is the referent.  The other two points below is my basis for interpreting the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 must be a descendant of Israel.

The second reason against the Muslim “Ishmaelite” interpretation is within Deuteronomy 18:18 itself.  The Hebrew word following אֲחֵיהֶם (“their brothers”) is כָּמֹוךָ, which has a preposition of comparison (“like, as”) coupled with a second person plural suffix.  The second person plural refers to those whom Moses is addressing, which specifically were the second Generation Israelites that left Egypt and waiting to enter into the Promise Land.  This Prophet will be as an Israelite, a Jew, and not an Ishmaelite.

The third reason against the Muslim “Ishmaelite” interpretation is from the contextual flow leading up to Deuteronomy 18:18-19.  Deuteronomy 18:15 is similar to Deuteronomy 18:18-19:

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your [j]countrymen, you shall listen to him.

And like Deuteronomy 18:18, the NASB translation of “your countrymen” here is the same Hebrew word in verse 18 that refers to “brothers.”  Verse 15 narrows and specify whom Moses meant by “brothers” when he said “from among you.”  The phrase “from among you” in Hebrew is מִקִּרְבְּךָ, which is a construction of a preposition indicating source coupled with the noun קרב and second person plural suffix.  According to Holladay’s concise Hebrew lexicon, the noun קרב always refer to something internal as opposed to outside or external in all it’s lexical range of meaning whether it refers to the inward nonphysical parts of a person (compare Genesis 18:12, 1 Kings 17:21, Isaiah 19:3, Jeremiah 4:16), the inner physical body (compare Genesis 41:21), inner part of a city (Genesis 18:22), or sacrificial animal (Exodus 12:9).  This is also true when it is referring to people (for example, Exodus 34:12, 1 Samuel 16:13).  When the preposition מִ appears before the nounקרב, it has the idea of “from among” (for example, compare Numbers 14:13), that is, internal from within one’s group.  The source of the Prophet’s origin is indicated by the second person plural suffix, which again refers to the second generation Israelites that left Egypt waiting to enter into the Promise Land.  Thus, this Prophet can only be from among the Jews and not some external group of non-Jews.  Though it is not visible in our English translation, in Hebrew the construct מִקִּרְבְּךָ (“from among you”) is even nuanced, appearing before the phrase “like me,” or “from your countrymen.”  That is, the author Moses was emphasizing to his readers so that they won’t miss the truth that this Prophet will be from among their own kin, effectively ruling out Muhammad as a candidate for fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18.

A DENIAL OF JESUS’ FULFILLMENT OF DEUTERONOMY 18

As demonstrated above, Muhammad cannot be the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18 because he is not a Jew.  The other reason why Deuteronomy 18 cannot point to Muhammad is because Jesus fulfills the prophecy in Deuteronomy as “The Prophet.”  Of course, most Jews would disagree but Christians following the New Testament are obligated to believe this, since the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.  Likewise, Muslims are also obligated to believe this since the Quran teaches that the Bible  including the New Testament is authoritative and not corrupted (as it is established elsewhere in our blog).  Muslim however reject this conclusion, instead arguing against Jesus as the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18.  On page 34 of A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, the author (s) argued

If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.1  We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18.

The footnote in the book indicates that the source used for cross-referencing John 1:21 is from the NIV Study Bible.  Reading John 1:21, one wonders how the book can conclude from this passage that Jesus is not the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18.  For context, John 1:19-23 states:

19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not [q]the Christ.”21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

Note that this passage records the conversation John the Baptist had with the Jewish priests and Levites from Jerusalem (v.19).  From verses 19 to 23, the Jewish religious leaders were trying to figure out who John was, by first asking him “Who are you?” (v. 19), then specifically whether he was Elijah (v.21a), or the Prophet (v. 21b).  In both instances, John denies being Elijah and “the Prophet” (v.21), with the Prophet being an allusion to Deuteronomy 18.  Instead, John identifies himself as the one predicted in Isaiah 40:3 as preparing the way for the Messiah.  Yet how could the booklet then “conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18″ when the passage record John the Baptist denial of himself being the Prophet?  John the Baptist’s denial of being the Prophet is not the same thing as him denying Jesus as the Prophet of Deuteronomy and neither is it the equivalent of Jesus denying Himself to be the prophet.  This is rather fuzzy thinking on the part of the author (s) of A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam where once again there is a confusion of referent nor does the conclusion follow from the text.

JESUS IS THE PROPHET OF DEUTERONOMY 18

The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus is the one who fulfilled Deuteronomy 18.  If the New Testament does teach this, as re-iterated before, the Muslim is obligated to believe this because of the Quran’s bibliology.  Any Muslim who deny Jesus as the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 faces the internal tension between the Muslim’s interpretation of Deuteronomy 18 and the Quran’s teaching concerning the truth of the Bible.

In a sermon that Peter preached to the Jews during the early days of the church after Pentecost, Peter paraphrased Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 in Acts 3:22-23:

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet [k]like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23 And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

The contextual flow of Peter’s sermon is the preaching of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people (v. 12-21). For instance, right before verses 22-23, Peter states in verses 19-21:

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the [i]Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the [j]period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

For the Muslim critic, Peter’s inspired message from God cannot be taken to refer to Muhammad as the referent of the Prophet since verse 24 makes it clear the timing of everything he is talking about (the Suffering Servant, the Prophet to be listened to, etc) were taking place “these days” (that is during the time of Peter’s contemporary) rather than six hundred years later (Muhammad and Islam):

And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days.

What other event could be more central to Peter and the early believers than the suffering and death of Jesus Christ which Peter keeps on talking about in chapter 3?  It is important to remember that Peter’s citation of Deuteronomy 18 is situated in a context dominated by the centrality of Christ.  Note again how verse 24 mentioned that “all the prophets who have spoken…announced these days.”  This is similar to how Peter have said earlier in verse 18 that “all the prophets” were making prophecies in the Old Testament that Jesus has now fulfilled:

 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Because Jesus have fulfilled these Messianic prophecies, Peter assigns Messianic titles to Jesus such as “His Servants” (v.13 and 26, an allusion to Isaiah’s prophecies), “the Holy and Righteous One” (v. 14), “Prince of life” (v.15) and Christ (v.18 and 20).  In such a context the reference to “that Prophet” of Deuteronomy 18 is just one more Messianic Old Testament titles that Peter is saying Jesus fulfilled.

If Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18, verse 15 of that chapter makes it clear that He must be listened to, which Acts 3:23 paraphrases.  That’s exactly what God Himself announces during the Transfiguration.  The same author of Acts, the Physician Luke, also recorded in Luke 9:35 echoes of Deuteronomy 18:15, when God declared that Jesus is the one whom people must listen to:

Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”

Thus, Jesus is the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18 according to Acts 3.  Since Jesus is the referent in Deuteronomy 18, this does not give room for Muhammad to fulfill this prophecy especially since Muhammad is not Jewish, a criteria of Deuteronomy 18.  Muslims should read the Holy Bible (both Old and New Testament) and come to know Jesus as their Lord God, and Savior of their sins.  Have faith (trust) in Jesus and repent (turn away) from your sins.  Trust in Jesus as your Prophet, Priest and King.

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Chris Kyle Navy Seals

Part of the reason why I’m making a post on this news story is due to the fact that those of us on Veritas Domain have strong sentiments with the military, and some of us have served in the US military.  Chris Kyle was a Navy SEALs sniper who also happened to have the most confirmed kill in US history, and was engaged in every single major conflict in Iraq this last decade.  I have previously reviewed his autobiography on this blog previously before HERE.

Yesterday, milliblogs lit up with news of his murder.  Here’s the story on this tragedy from ABC NEWS:

Eddie Ray Routh, 25, is the alleged suspect.

Eddie-Ray-Routh-killer

While details are sketchy it seems that he was shot by a former Marine in the back.  When I heard the news I was rather shocked.  Chris Kyle is a real life American hero and the reason why I like him so much is because of his strong love for his family evident in his book and also his love for the average soldier, Marines and sailors he was protecting with his sniper role.

Even being out of the military he tried to help Marine veterans who had Post Tramatic Stress Disorder according to the reputable milliblog SOF REP.

What a tragedy.  Shot by the very person he was trying to help.  The risk that Chris Kyle took to help…

I can’t help but to think about another Person who risked His life to save the very people that are His enemies–Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)

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Earlier this fall the Christian apologist James White had a tour in London engaging in a lot of debates and teaching concerning Christian apologetics concerning Islam.  One of the debates was on the topic of whether Jesus was crucified, which video done by the Muslim Debate Initiative is featured here.

Don’t forget to check out James White’s other debate on whether the Bible prophecied about Muhammed here.  For those interested in our blog’s small feeble attempt at providing resources on Christian apologetics addressing Islam with this summer’s marathon series on Islam, click here.

 

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GO TO PART 4

This is the last installment in this series (unless another pressing passage needs to be addressed).  Surah 4:157 is probably the strangest passage Muslims try to use to prove that the Quran teaches that the Bible has been textually corrupted.  Instead of establishing that the Bible has been corrupted, Surah 4:157 is an excellent example of how the Quran has the problem of conflicting and contradicting the teaching of the Bible while suffering from the problem that the Quran as a whole upholds the Bible as authoritative and having been faithfully transmitted.  Thus, any contradiction that the Quran has with the Bible poses a problem that is internal to the Islamic religion/worldview.

Below are three English translations of this passage, though afterwards all citation of the Quran will be from Yusuf Ali’s translation:

Sahih International

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

Yusuf Ali

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

Shakir

And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.

From this verse, a Muslim apologist proceeds with the following reason:

Here is another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption, the Quran states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nuthing but CONJECTURE which is corruption. Which book today tells us that Jesus died and was crucified? The Bible, so hence the Quran here does call the Bible corrupt. So it cant get anymore clear than that.

But does this verse really teaches that the Bible has been corrupted?  Let’s take a closer look at the Quran itself and this Muslim apologist’s argument.

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 157 is situated in a section beginning at verse 153 through 176 which focuses on the subject of the unbelief of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).

Exegesis

(1) It is rather strange that anyone can say of Surah 4:157 that this “is another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption” when nowhere within this verse or the surrounding context does it have anything to do with Scripture nor the Bible.  Furthermore, there are not any verbs for  “writing,”  hence this verse cannot be the basis for proving that the written transmission of Scripture has been textually corrupted since it does not even address the topic of writing, let alone the Scriptures of the Jews or Christians!

(2) Again, this verse cannot be “another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption.”  Our Muslim apologist wrongfully thinks that following conjecture is the same thing as textually corrupting the text of Scripture when he states: “Quran states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nuthing but CONJECTURE which is corruption.”  Again, looking at Surah 4:157, following conjecture is not the same thing as corrupting the transmission of God’s revelation in the Old or the New Testament!

(3) Closer examination of Surah 4:157 further refutes our Muslim assumption that following conjecture is equal with textual corruption of the Bible from what it originally says.  The Muslim apologist asked rhetorically, “Which book today tells us that Jesus died and was crucified? The Bible, so hence the Quran here does call the Bible corrupt.”  Of course, it’s the Christian portion of the Bible (the New Testament) that teaches “Jesus died and was crucified.”  However, Surah 4:157 was not talking about Christians and the followers of Christ when it describes those who had “only conjecture to follow.”  The beginning of the verse shows clearly that the subjects are those that “said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.’” Surah 4:157 is talking about the Jewish religious leaders who were against Jesus and had Him put to death, not Christians and their Scriptures!  If conjecture is the same thing as changing the transmission of Scripture as this Muslim assumes, and in light of his other assumption that the corrupt change done to the Scripture (Old Testament) was to teach “Jesus died and was crucified” (I’m not talking about Messianic prophecies but that “Jesus” was the name and referent of the one who died and was crucified) then how come there are no textual evidence of Old Testament manuscripts mentioning “Jesus died and was crucified?”  It is a puzzling quagmire the Muslim apologist has gotten himself into when he tries to force Surah 4:157 to talk about the Scriptures, when it’s not talking about it at all.

(4) Furthermore, in the greater context of Surah 4, Surah 4:157 could not possibly teach that the Bible has been textually corrupted unless Muslims want to say that this verse contradicts with what the rest of the Surah’s view of the Bible: namely, that the Bible is still authoritative and without textual corruption.  Readers should consult part 2 of this series to see how Surah 4:46 at first glance might seem to deny the Bible’s faith textual transmission ends up affirming instead, along with the discussion of Surah 4:47 as further support.

(5) Everything stated earlier is not to say that Surah 4:157 does not conflict with the New Testament’s teaching that Jesus Christ the Son of Mary was killed and crucified.  Of course it does, but Surah 4:157 does not say that the Bible has been corrupted from it’s original content.

(6) Can the Muslim apologist reason that since Surah 4:157 contradicts what the Bible teaches, and that the Quran and the Bible ought not to contradict then therefore it’s the Bible that has been textually corrupted?  The Muslim cannot resolve this difficulty with this conclusion since the door to this conclusion is closed by the context of Surah 4 and the whole of the Quran when it affirms  the Bible’s authority and accurate transmission.  Instead, this allows the Christian apologist to make the case that in light of Surah 4:157 contradicting with the Bible’s Matthew 27-28, 1 Corinthians 15, etc., in light of the Quran’s own bibliology, it’s the Quran’s that’s in trouble when it conflicts with the Bible’s teaching.  And that’s the dilemma for the Muslim: Why does Surah 4:157 not submit to the authority of God’s revelation in the Bible but conflict against it?  If the Muslim affirm what the Quran teaches, that the Bible is authoritative and has not been lost nor forgotten, then they ought to reject what the Quran teaches in Surah 4:157.  However, if the Muslim instead affirm Surah 4:157 as true while rejecting the New Testament teachings, inherently they still reject what the Quran teaches, concerning the Bible’s authority and faithful transmission.  Either way, the rational dilemma is there: Muslims will have to deny the Quran themselves sooner or later.

Instead, hear the Words of the New Testament and it’s organic unity with the Old Testament:

For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

(1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

As verse 3 makes it clear, Christ did die–and he died “for our sins.”  That’s what the Bible teaches.  I pray that those Words go deep and God will use it to bring about faith in anyone reading this who have not yet trusted in the Person and Works of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection to make righteous those who realize their sins and need to be reckoned right with God.

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It’s on the news of Jackie Kennedy’s tapes released.  It’s quite revealing what she has to say.  Of most interesting note is what she has to say about Martin Luther King and Lyndon B. Johnson.  I thought it was interesting how this new release of Jackie’s tapes would bring more light to Martin Luther King’s drunkard sins and adultery, something most people might not know–and perhaps suppressed from certain quarters.

Read some of the excerpt HERE from the BBC.

It made me thought about how all things hidden will be revealed one day and God will judge it during the Judgement Day.

All things will be exposed, even your darkest hidden secret.  Your darkest sin.  Revealed.

Jesus said,

But I tell you that every [a]careless word that people [b]speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

But God has also revealed the grace of God to forgive sins through Jesus Christ who died for those who would trust in Him alone (apart from their own works, etc).  Jesus death and sacrifice is the answer to our sins.

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