Apologetics

Are the Ethics of the Bible Just as Bad as Those in the Qur’an?

The Qur’an has ethics which do not belong in any century, you are right, but should not the same be said about the Bible?

No. The same should not be said about the ethics of the Bible. If you think about the ethics of Jesus Christ and the ethics of Muhammad, they are completely different.

Think about Jesus Christ. He lived in a first-century context, a context wherein women were considered chattel. They were on the lowest rung of the socioeconomic ladder. Their testimonies were not considered valid in a court of law. But Jesus takes women and elevates them to complete ontological equality with men in that culture. He has women in His inner circle (Luke 8:1-3).

Not only is this true with Jesus Christ, it is true with the followers of Jesus Christ. Paul famously said, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NIV). Genealogy does not matter. Gender does not matter. Station in life does not matter.

We in fact get the inherent worth of human beings from the Bible — from a biblical ethic. I think if people knew a little bit about history, they would know that we are still benefitting from the ethos and morays of the Bible, which have been thrown to the wind in our culture, but we are still benefitting from them. Even though we are no longer living in the pages of the Bible, we are living in the shadow of the Bible, we are still benefitting from a biblical worldview.

When someone cavalierly says, “The ethics of the Qur’an do not belong in any century and the same thing should be said about the Bible too,” I sometimes wonder whether or not the person is familiar with the Bible, and whether or not the person is able to read the Bible in the sense in which it is intended. I challenge all in the spirit of humility, gentleness, and respect to read the Bible. Perhaps start with the Book of Proverbs.

Every single maxim or principle for successful daily living is encapsulated in the Book of Proverbs. I still remember one time many years ago doing a seminar for a large corporation, and I was extemporaneously quoting the Proverbs. “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts” (Proverbs 24:3-4 TLB). As I was going through proverb after proverb, people were going, “Wow, that is amazing! I’ve never heard such erudite business principles.” Then I told them, “I am simply quoting from Solomon from the Bible.”

— Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following equip.org resources:

Is the Qu’ran Credible? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Could the Bible Command a Rape Victim to Marry Her Rapist? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Could a Good God Sanction the Stoning of a Disobedient Child? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Can Christians Legitimize a God who Orders the Genocide of Entire Nations? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Muhammad Believe in Women’s Rights? (Mary Jo Sharp)

Five Differences between Sharia and Old Testament Law (David Wood)

Fundamentalist Faith and the Problem of Holy Wars (Elliott Miller)

Hollywood vs. History: Kingdom of Heaven and the Real Crusades (Daniel Hoffman)

Was Israel Commanded to Commit Genocide? (Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan)

Is the God of the Old Testament a Proponent of Total War against Noncombatants? (Matthew Flannagan)

A full-orbed assessment of Qur’anic ethics can be found in MUSLIM: What You Need to Know about the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion by Hank Hanegraaff. More information on how the Bible (biblical ethics in particular) shaped Western civilization can be found in The Book That Made Your World by Visahal Mangalwadi, How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin J. Schmidt, and Christianity on Trial: Arguments against Anti-Religious Bigotry by Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett.

This blog is adapted from the October 19, 2017, Hank Unplugged episode “MUSLIM: What You Need to Know.”

Apologetics

Christ, Allah, and the Sword

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39 NIV).

Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Does this not contradict His message of peace? If the “sword” mentioned by Jesus is never to be taken literally, can Christians concede that the “sword” mentioned in the Qur’an was never meant for Muslims to take literally? 

The “sword” Jesus talked about is not literal. It symbolizes conflict. Someone says, “Well, then do not take Islam literally when you have the Surah of the sword.” But, the reality is that one should be taken literally; the other quite obviously should not be taken literally. I say that because if you look at the history of Islam, you have fourteen centuries of advancement by sword. If you look at the model of Christ, you have almost two thousand years of advancement by word.

Do you ever see Jesus Christ doing what Muhammad did? Do you see Jesus in Jerusalem slaying people? Do you see Him killing the Jews that would not listen to Him? Muhammad beheaded hundreds of Jews. One is quite literally using the sword; the other is using, in this case, the sword as a metaphor.

Jesus’ metaphor of the sword is quite plain. The sword divides, and ultimately truth divides even more. We follow the one who is the way and the truth, but when we do, there is a division between mother and father, and sister and brother.

In the end, Jesus was very plainly living by a dictum. That dictum was shown in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:47–55; cf. Mark 14:43–52; Luke 22:47–53; John 18:1–11). There the soldiers come to arrest Him and one of the disciples — Peter — takes out a sword and whacks off the ear of a solider. So, Jesus did not suddenly say the rallying cry, “Let us kill them; pull out your swords!” No. Jesus healed the soldier missing the ear. Then He said to Peter, “Put your sword back in its place…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52 NIV).

The distance between Muhammad and Jesus is the distance of infinity.

— Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Muhammad and Messiah: Comparing the Central Figures of Islam and Christianity” (David Wood)

Five Differences between Sharia and Old Testament Law” (David Wood)

Is Religion the Root of Evil?” (Hank Hanegraaff)

If Christianity Is True, Why Are So Many Atrocities Committed in the Name of Christ?” (Hank Hanegraaff)

Learn more about Islam in MUSLIM: What You Need to Know about the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion (B2043) by Hank Hanegraaff

Apologetics

The Only Solution to Western Erosion and Islamic Resurgence


The reason I wrote the book MUSLIM: What You Need to Know about the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion is that despite its incoherence, the Muslim cult (by the way, it is a cult — a cult of Arabian paganism, Judaism, and Christianity, and a muddy mixture of all of them at best), this cult one-billion-six-hundred-million strong and growing, is poised to fill the vacuum left by a Western culture that is slouching inexorably toward Gomorrah. Demographics are alarming. While polygamist Muslims boast a robust birthrate, native Westerners are moving rapidly toward self-extinction. Filling that void are multiplied millions of Muslims who have little or no intention of assimilating into Western culture.

Equally grave is the specter of global Islamic jihadism. That is calling it like it is. A global Islamic jihadism network that is now exacting mass genocide on Christians in the East and ever-multiplying terrorist attacks throughout the West. Just before I went on air, I did an interview with the Associated Press. During that television interview, I wore a button, and that button has the fourteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet on it: ن. The reason I wear it, as I explained to the AP reporter, is that I stand in solidarity with Christians who are facing mass genocide in the Middle East, which is squarely in the blind spot of the West. This symbol, the fourteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet — we use the word “nūn”; that is how you pronounce it, to describe this letter — has been scrawled on churches and homes of Christians throughout the Middle East, as they have been taken by Muslims. It is not just ISIS; other people have been plundering the homes of Christians as well. So I wear this, although it is used as a term of derision by Muslims against Christians who serve the Nazarene, Jesus Christ. I wear it in that I am standing in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are being maimed and murdered. Most of them I will not see this side of eternity, but I will see them in eternity. What more can I say?

We are witnessing the cobelligerency of fantastically wealthy Saudis. They are spending billions of dollars exporting virulent Wahhabism to the West. We think about ISIS or ISOL or Daesh, or whatever you want to call it, the fact of the matter is we have an alliance — because we are addicted to the alliance’s oil — we have an alliance with Saudi Arabia, the very country that is exporting something equally as bad or perhaps worse than ISOL itself. Exporting this virulent form of Sunni Islam to the West.

Worse still, Western governments, academic institutions, and media outlets are bent on exporting a false narrative respecting the religious animus that is animating global Islamic jihadism. I hope when you hear the monikers that are used on television, you will insert these words, at least mentally in your mind, for what is really going on. The best moniker to use is not radical Islam; it is global Islamic jihadism. That of course serves to recapitulate a problem, but what begs our attention are solutions.

Some might suppose that the solution lies in an aggressive use of Western military power. Now, that is wholly necessary in some cases, just as World War II was wholly necessary, but it is not sufficient. Sebastian Gorka, who was part of the Trump administration until, I guess, he could not stand anymore the political correctness going on in this regard, he wisely noted that you cannot win a war if you cannot talk honestly about your enemy. I should also say that the problem is not ultimately fixed either at the ballot box, because, as with military might, political activism plays a necessary yet insufficient role. The despotism of militant egalitarianism, radical individualism, multiculturalism, political correctness, and religious pluralism are not magically redeemed by political victories. That ought to be pretty clear to us by now. Even during the Reagan Revolution, illiberal liberalism — I love that moniker because it shows just what we have to deal with: an oxymoron — illiberal liberalism continued, even during the Reagan years, to hold sway in the educational, entertainment, and environmental industries, the very industries that create, manipulate, and disseminate ideological constructs that are driving Western civilization in a very, very dangerous direction.

Again, that is why I wrote the book MUSLIM: What You Need to Know about the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion. I am using the acronym MUSLIM so that you can remember, or get your arms around, what Islam is all about.

The only real solution to a disintegrating West, to a resurgent Islam, is what the prophetic pen of Os Guinness wisely designated renaissance. In other words, it is the power of the gospel, however dark the times. “The challenge,” said Guinness, “is to shake ourselves free from the natural despondency of those who look only at circumstances and at the statistics of decline and gloom.” As Christians, we do well to realize that the West has been one place before, and now it appears that the West has almost been lost a second time. Now partly in response to the courageous faith of those who have achieved it twice before, but more in response to the Great Commission itself, it is time, it is high time, to set our minds and hearts to win back the West to our Lord again.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from the September 7, 2017 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Separating the Fact from Fiction about Islam and Manchester

On May 22, 2017, a great tragedy in England happened. It is almost beyond comprehension what happened there, but this is the new normal. It is going to continue to get worst as the days drag on, partly because of how Western leaders are reacting to these kinds of tragedies. You think of what Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said right after the tragic terrorist attack. She vowed to “defeat the ideology,” but she does not understand the ideology; she has a false narrative with respect to the ideology, and goes so far as to render what happened a function of a “warped and twisted mind.”

What is behind all of that? I am not going to get into a lecture on Islam right this minute, although I did do a Facebook live session on it. Let me say, all of Islam is segmented into two parts. Bifurcated if you will. One part is the house of Islam, and the other part is the house of war. If you are not part of the house of Islam, then inevitably you are part of the house of war.

Lest someone think this is hyperbole, all one needs to do is get out one of the legal books, the Sharia books. There are five schools that can be counted, four prominent schools. But, you look at a book like Reliance of the Traveler, a classic book on Islamic law, and you find that this very presupposition is not only communicated but underscored.

We need to know what Islam means with respect to women. Inequality is enshrined as a core value. We need to know what Islam portends when it comes to war. We need to know more specifically what it portends with respect to Western civilization.

My heart goes out, as the hearts of many of you, probably all of you, to those who suffered the horrific tragedy in Great Britain. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I can say that because this is a systemic problem. There is migration without assimilation, which is the python swallowing its prey with a long, slow digestion.

Recommended for further study:

MUSLIM: What You Need to Know about the World’s Fastest Growing Religion (Hank Hanegraaff)

Jihad, Jizya, and Just War (David Wood)

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up? (David Wood)

Ambiguous Islam (John Ferrer)

Submit or Die: The Geostrategic Jihad of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (Part One) (Charles Strohmer)

Submit or Die: The Geostrategic Jihad of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (Part Two) (Charles Strohmer)

Did Muhammad Believe in Women’s Rights? (Mary Jo Sharp)

This blog is adapted from the May 23, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Grieving the Palm Sunday Terrorist Attacks in Egypt

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Palm Sunday Attacks in EgyptI came into the studio today (April 10, 2017) with a great deal of sadness. As I was worshiping on Palm Sunday, in Egypt there were more than forty-four people killed and over a hundred injured in two Palm Sunday suicide attacks at Orthodox Churches, each carried out by Islamic jihadists. They were at Saint George’s Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, and then at Saint Mark’s in the coastal city of Alexandria. The attack came just after the leader of the Orthodox Church in Alexandria finished services.

An Islamic State affiliate released a video on Monday vowing that Egyptian Christians are their favorite prey. “God gave us orders to kill every infidel,” cried one of the militants.

Of course, this is nothing new. I think back to a short while ago in Syria. Muslim militants tried to force two Christian women and six Christian men to convert to Islam. Upon refusal, the women were brutally raped and then they were beheaded alongside the men. The same day, militants cut off the fingertips of a twelve-year-old boy in a failed attempt to force his Christian father to convert. When the father refused the forced conversion, he was tortured and subsequently crucified in adherence to the Qur’anic command “Cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” (Surah 8:12).

This has been going on in a place that was once won by the Word. The early Christian church was willing to do all because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They left their sacred fortunes, all that was dear to them, because they loved Jesus Christ. As a result, Asia Minor became Christian. But what was gained by the Word was retaken by the sword, the sword of Islam. Today, the mass genocide of Christians in the Middle East is squarely in the blind spot of so many Christians.

I suppose I start of the broadcast today by simply saying, Pray for the persecuted church, particularly in the Middle East, but all over the world, pray for the persecuted church. Pray. Prayer ultimately is firing the winning shot.

—Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from the April 10, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Infidels on the Run from ISIS

CRI-Blog-Belz, Mindy-InfidelsWe are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NIV).

Hank Hanegraaff: As prologue to an interview with Mindy Belz, let me say this: While Christians are being marginalized in the West, they are being martyred in the East. In Iraq a vast majority of Christians have been either executed or exiled. In Mosul, this is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, almost every Christian in the city fled after the Islamic State offered exile or death. Churches across Iraq now stand empty. We can say the same thing about Syria. Islamic State has almost wiped out Christians in that country altogether. Added to the persecution problem is a very real propaganda problem. Over and over and in a myriad of ways the West is being seduced into believing that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, on the other side of the coin, Christianity is a Crusader religion, and as such the epitome of intolerance. In the midst of the propaganda and the persecution often in the blind spot of the West you need this resource: They Say We are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East

Well, Mindy Belz, you are an incredible human being and you just returned from your travels to places like Iraq and Syria—places that have recently been liberated from the Islamic State. You have seen firsthand the destruction and the challenges for Christians who would deeply love to return to their homes and churches. Tell us a little about that.

Mindy Belz: I get a lot of encouragement from being with the Christians in the Middle East and particularly the Christians who are now displaced as refuges in Iraq. But I have to tell you that this most recent trip I just returned from was incredibly discouraging to me, walking through the cities and towns that have been liberated in Nineveh Provence, which is all the surrounding area outside of Mosul and actually walking through Mosul itself. Seeing the destruction of churches. Seeing the way everything connected with Christianity has been desecrated and the way that lives past, present and future were attacked by ISIS. It is monumental and it continues to be really amazing to me that in the West we are not calling this what it is, were not calling it genocide, were not calling it war crimes, when every time I go there I am confronted with the evidence of war crimes.

Hank: So many people in the West think that we could have established a democracy very easily in Iraq, we failed to do that, but what you experienced, and you have traveled throughout the Middle East, is the very reality that in the Middle East Sharia is state and state is Sharia; therefore, it is very, very difficult to establish a genuine democracy that would keep safe Christians without them having them to pay a gangster protection tax—the jizya. .

Mindy: That is right. I think definitely Christians have been caught in what sometimes is referred to is a war within Islam, there is a lot of debate of what that actually constitutes. I think it is really clear that radical Islam—fundamentalist Islam, whatever you want to call it, Jihadi Islam—is on the rise. I trust the Islamic experts who say that if you trace the origins of violence of Islam back to the original text, they are there for everyone to see. What we are seeing now among Muslim majority countries is this return to a sort of Islam as it originally was, which as we know is a conquering beast that spread out across three continents within less than the first 100 years of the coming of Muhammad. We are seeing violent Islam as we have not seen it—not in my lifetime until recent decades. We are seeing that the victims of it are people that we Christians in the West would consider to be brothers and sisters in Christ.

Muslims are victims too. I meet plenty of people who without wanting to participate in terrorism and without wanting to see their families be victims of this kind of Islam, you know have been caught in the midst of it, they too are homeless. They too sometimes have children—I was in a hospital where a 10-month-old child had lost both of her arms due to an ISIS explosion—these are everyday realities and they do affect Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, Turkmens every group there.

The reality that we keep coming back to is that ISIS is really targeting all of these groups and most especially non-Muslims to adhere to and come into conforming to its brand of Islam. It is its stated goal not to stop this kind of fighting, this kind of war, until that happens. We have this tremendous battle that we militarily, culturally, ideologically, and evangelistically, and I fear that we just do not see it quite that way in the West as people in the Middle East are confronted with.

Hank: I spoke in Iran at the University of Tehran and Allameh Tabataba’i University. I walked the streets in the middle of the night, and I was met with one random act of kindness after another. You can say, on the one hand, that Islam has many people, who are adherents, who are genuinely peaceful and tolerant. I have met many of them personally. On the other hand, if I would have taken my Bible out and sat in a public square reading the Bible, or if I have been speaking publicly about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you would immediately see the lack of tolerance. I think as someone that knows this better than probably most on the planet, Mindy, you can give us a little insight on that distinction. On the one hand, there are peaceful and tolerant Muslims, on the other hand, Islam is anything but peaceful and tolerant.

Mindy: I think what we see is the fear of ISIS and the fear of radical militant groups. Groups that are blowing up children. ISIS is now using drones armed with grenades in Mosul. That is kind of a new thing that has been happening in the last couple of weeks. Those are falling on marketplaces and soldiers and all kinds of places. There is a kind of evil here is really hard even as I have looked at it up close. It is really had to fathom. The fear it instills makes a lot of people want to conform to the brand of Islam, if you will, that they are teaching, and that is having an effect all across the region. You encounter the kind of things you are talking about, where there is freedom but only to a point.

I see churches continuing to operate, continuing to hold worship services, and continuing to gather on regular basis. They are doing it against incredible odds. They are incredibly brave believers. If you have decided to stay, I feel like anybody who is still worshipping Christ openly in this part of the world is doing it having counted the cost and having chosen to in spite of that cost. They have a lot to teach us about the depth of their faith and the depth of their commitment in the faith of the kind of peril that you are describing.

You know I think that it’s a great moment. We too sometimes succumb to a sort of fear of ISIS and we forget that we have a God who is bigger and a Gospel that is better that what the Jihadists are holding out. I met a refuge in Europe this past summer from Iraq who told me that after making this incredible trek, an illegal trek that we have heard a lot about, and arriving in western Europe. The first thing he said when he met someone was “Can you find me a church?” This person looked at him because he is clearly an Iraqi Muslim man and said, “Why are you looking for a church?” He said, “Because Islam has brought me nothing but trouble.” In the midst of all of this trouble there is a great moment where many Muslims are asking questions and are looking for this better Gospel, and this loving God that we have. It is a real challenge to continue to hold that out in the midst of the dangers and the fear. That is what keeps me going back is that I keep seeing the Iraqi Christians and other believers in the Middle East doing just that.

Hank: I find it quite ironic in that while the faith is being deconstructed in the West, often times Western Christians regard Christians in the Middle East as suspect because they are involved in what they think are dead churches that are just repeating liturgies that are without any life whatsoever, but you found the opposite to be true. You found that through the liturgies people have stayed with a fantastic fidelity to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I was very struck by reading that in your book.

Mindy: That is sort of my story. In many ways, I am a cloistered Western Christian. I have lived on the Eastern seaboard, and had a somewhat sheltered upbringing. My forbearers came here in the 17th century, and here we have been ever since.

In many ways, these Christians (in the Middle East) have been through tumultuous times not just in this century but in centuries previous. One of the things that has been eye opening to me was visiting the old churches. Keep in mind that there are young evangelical churches that continue to meet and worship in Iraq as well. One of the things that was really striking to me is that part of the isolation that these groups have felt, part of the effect of being shunned, if you will, by the Western Church, is that they have also been somewhat kept from a lot of the liberalizing influences that we have seen in the Western Church. They have continued to hold on Scripture in its original form. Many of the churches that I have been in are still worshiping in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, they are chanting their liturgy, and they are singing in that language. They feel very strongly about holding onto what came before them. That also means holding on in some ways to an unadulterated Gospel. That is not always the case. Obviously, there are going to be dead churches and people who have fallen away from the faith, and we see that here in the United States as well. But, it is striking how many have held onto what many of us would recognize as vibrant faith.

Mindy Belz is Senior Editor of World Magazine and author of They Say We are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

This blog was adapted from the February 23, 2017 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Exposing the Whitewashing of Jihad

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-whitewash-jihad

On February 16, 2017, many businesses and restaurants across the nation closed in protest against President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban. The next day there were students on various campuses, particularly in Charlotte, North Carolina where I live, staging a walk-out. This in protest to the ninety day ban on travelers from seven countries that were identified by the Obama Administration as sources of terror—the countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

I can understand the worry that the list is insufficient. What about Pakistan? What about Saudi Arabia? One should never forget that no less a luminary than Hillary Clinton acknowledged that Saudi Arabia is not just a source of terrorist funding, but the source. “Donors in Saudi Arabia,” said Clinton, “constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

Even more alarming still is the fact that according to former Democratic Senator from Florida, Bob Graham, Saudi Arabia has direct ties to the massacres of September 11, 2001. In fact, Graham said there was “a solid case for the position that there was significant Saudi involvement going up at least to the Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar in the time leading up to 9/11.” Not insignificantly fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi nationals. (Graham overtly dubbed ISIS “a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money, and Saudi organizational support.”)

All of this of course is being whitewashed because Sharia subservient states, including Saudi Arabia, are portrayed as peace loving allies in the fight against terrorism. Little wonder then that when the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia declared it necessary to destroy every church in the whole of the Arabian Peninsula, Western governments did not so much as blink. To date the worst co-belligerent to Islamic jihadism—and I hate to say this but it is absolutely factually based—has been the past eight year Obama Administration. I wonder why there were no protest then?

As painful as it is to remember, the Obama juggernaut actually advanced the agenda of Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi. We all know who he was. Well known for proud membership in the Muslim Brotherhood. That despite Morsi’s in your face recitation of the Muslim Brotherhood maxim. It is hard to believe when you hear this maxim that you had Western leaders like Obama advancing this agenda. Morsi said, “The Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal.”

Unfortunately, people are not up on the facts.

—Hank Hanegraaff

This blog adapted from the February 17, 2017 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Interesting Hits and Major Misses in the Jesus of Islam

cri-blog-wood-david-jesus-bible-quran

Talk about the Jesus in the Bible and the Jesus in the Quran.

On the one hand, it is kind of encouraging to see Muslims agreeing with us on so many things. Muslims agree with us on a lot of things about Jesus that most other people in the world do not agree with us on. For instance, Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. Who agrees with us that Jesus was born of a virgin? The Muslims do. Muslims believe that Jesus lived the most miraculous life in history. Of everyone else in history, they say Jesus was the most miraculous. They believe Jesus was the Messiah. They believe that He had a miraculous end to His earthly existence. They do not believe He died and rose from the dead, but they believe that Allah miraculously rescued Him. They believe that Jesus is going to return to play some important role in a future judgment.

We look at that and we see a lot of common ground between us and Muslims. Those can be very interesting points of to lead off in conversations. But, Muslims do that as well. Muslims draw attention to these similarities to say, “Hey, you know you Christians, you believe Jesus was born of the virgin? We do too. You believe that Jesus performed miracles? We do too. You believe that Jesus is the Messiah? We do too. Look at all this common ground we have.” Muslims will use that in their efforts at da’wah, which is sort of Muslim evangelism.

What is interesting is that when we look at the areas where they disagree with us on, it is kind of exactly what you would expect given what the Gospel is in the New Testament. In other words, when the Apostles went out and preached the Gospel, Jesus had taught them many things but when they condensed it, what is the core message of the Gospel, they always preached about Jesus death for sins, His resurrection, and that we have to submit to Him as Lord. Death, resurrection, and deity this was the take away message from the Apostles. When we look at Islam, Islam agrees with us on Jesus on almost everything else except those three things. They will say Jesus did not die on the cross, He did not rise from the dead, and He is not Lord.

The Christian response when Muhammad came along should have been something on the lines of “Wow, we have been expecting you because we have been told that false teachers and false prophets are going to come and corrupt the Gospel, and you have just nailed all the core of the Gospel while agreeing with us on so much else.”

Talk about the misunderstanding that a Muslim would have or the misapprehension with respect to the phrase “Son of God,” where Allah contends that this has to do with sexual procreation and whereas a Christian says that this has to do with special relationship.

It is really actually a problem for Islam. In other words, if a seventh-century Arab caravan trader like Muhammad hears Christians talking about the Son of God, misunderstands the phrase, and thinks that we are talking about God producing an offspring. That would not be very surprising. We would at least expect God to know what we mean by the phrase Son of God and to respond to what we actually believe. What we find in the Qur’an is that Allah says how can he have a Son when He has no wife (Surah 2:116; 6:100-102; 39:4). It is presupposed in the Qur’an that the only way for God to have a Son is to have a husband and a wife.

Now on a kind of side note, what is interesting about that is when the angel announces to Mary, in the Qur’an, that she is going to have a son, she raises the same objection. How can I have a son when no man has touched me. Allah’s response is that it is easy for Allah (Surah 3:45-47). In one part, it is impossible for God to have an offspring without having a wife, but Mary can have an offspring without having a husband. A bit of an inconsistency there.

When you look at the Bible, there are a variety of uses for the phrase “son of God.” It can mean that you sort of reflect God’s will. When it says blessed are the peacemakers they shall be sons of God (Matt. 5:9). God is not producing an offspring, it is where sort of we have a kind of family resemblance if we are doing God’s will. Israel is called God’s son because God plays a direct role in starting Israel and so on (Exod. 4:22-23). Jesus is the Son of God in a unique sense in terms of His relationship with the Father and because He is the Messiah (John 3:16; 20:30-31; Luke 22:66-71). What is interesting of all the different uses of “son of God,” angels are called sons of God in certain contexts and so on (Job 1:6; 2:1), but of all the different uses of “son of God” none of them have anything to do with God actually physically producing an offspring. Yet, according to the Qur’an that is the only thing Christians can mean.

Muslims look at this and say, “You Christians have a problem because you are saying God has a son” and the response should be “No, you Muslims have a problem because your God, who wrote your book, did not know what was even meant by the phrase ‘son of God.’” It cannot be a revelation from God.

—David Wood

David Wood, PhD, is host of the Trinity Channel’s live talk show Jesus or Muhammad? He has participated in more than forty moderated public debates in the United States, Great Britain, and France.

For further study, see “Jesus in Islam” by David Wood in the Christian Research Journal 40-1.

Blog adapted from the February 2, 2017 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Is Allah the Same as God the Father?

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I have a friend who is Muslim. He was born in Iraq and speaks Arabic. He is very interested in Christianity. I am trying to explain the Trinity. I do not know much about Islam. I told Him that Allah is the same as God the Father. Is that right?

Well perhaps not. I think what is important to realize is that Muslims believe in what is called a Unitarian God. They believe that God is one. They believe that God is a singularity. Christians believe in one God revealed in three persons who are eternally distinct. We believe in a Triune God. They believe in a Unitarian God. That is a very significant distinction.

Muslims, in fact, think that Christians are polytheistic. They think that we believe in three Gods. Often times they get this idea from their own teachings that the three polytheistic1 Gods that we believe in are the Father, the Son, and the Mother—Mary (Sura 5:72-73). They have confusion with respect to the Trinity. What we have to explain to them is that Christians are not polytheistic at all. We are fiercely monotheistic.2 We believe only in one God.

Think about this. The Muslim God, by definition, has to be morally defective, because independent of the universe—a universe being out of the picture—you have a Muslim God who cannot manifest the attribute of love, since there is no object for his love. This is very, very different with the Trinitarian God. Even independent of the universe, a Trinitarian God can experience love within the Godhead. The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. There are love relationships within the Godhead.

This is a very important point: The Muslim God is morally defective. The Christian God is precisely as we would suppose Him to be—a God of infinite love. A God who in fact allows us as human beings to be brought into the relationships within the Trinity. Put it another way, we can experience life in the Trinity, and that is the apex of the Christian experience. This is not just some kind of theoretical idea. This has a real practical implication on how you live and how you can love, not just human beings but the one who created all things.

When a Muslims leans about the monotheism of the Christian faith and the true idea of a Trinitarian God, not being three different Gods, but on God revealed in three different persons, it helps them to understand how they can have a God of love, a God with whom they can identify. A Muslim cannot identify with the Muslim God. They cannot relate to the Muslim God. The Muslim is ineffable. He is unknowable. He is even capricious in the truest sense of the word. The Christian God is at once ineffable and also knowable in incarnation. This makes all the difference in the world.

Now there are many other things that Muslims misunderstand. When the Bible says that the Son is the only begotten of the Father (John 1:10), the Muslim says God begets not nor is He begotten (Surah 112:3). In fact, they believe to say that God begets is an unforgivable sin. Why is that? When they think about begotten, in their mind there is the idea of sexual procreation. But this is not the biblical understanding of begotten. Begotten does not have to do with sexual procreation, but it has to do with special relationship.

All of these things are wonderful to be able to communicate to Muslim friends. I was just talking to a friend of mind, who is working in the Middle East, and he was talking about all the Muslims who are coming to faith in Christ and one of the things that he does is to explain the very thing that I have just explained. Good for you for making friends with your Muslim neighbors. We are called to reach not repel, and always give an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within us with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15).

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Is the Trinity Biblical? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Allah of Islam the God of the Bible? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Allah Does Not Belong to Islam (Helen Louise Herndon)

Allah, the Trinity, and Divine Love (Jonah Haddad and Douglas Groothuis)

Facing the Islamic Challenge (David Wood)

Loving the Trinity (James White)


Notes:

  1. Polytheism is the belief in many gods.
  2. Monotheism is the belief in one god.

This blog adapted from the September 29, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Making Sense of Peaceful Muslims and Violent Islamic Ideology

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Hank Hanegraaff: Good to have you back on the broadcast Raymond.

Raymond Ibrahim: Hi, Hank. Good to be with you again.

Hank: I want to set something up for you and then have you give a perspective that all of us need to have.

During the 33rd anniversary of the overthrow of the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi), I personally experienced a portrait of peace and tolerance vis–à–vis Islam. I waited in line to board a United Emirates flight from Dubai to Tehran. While I was in line I had a conversation with a man and his father. The father happened to be 100 years old. I had a very, very pleasant conversation. Both of them were Iranians. Then on the plane I sat next to a very accomplished Persian woman with two masters degrees and she offered me assistance if I needed it while I was in Tehran. When I deplaned I was kissed by two Muslim men and I heard the word “salaam” [peace]. The following morning I met a translator named Fatima and she was absolutely delightful. She was amused when I told her that I had not ventured out of the hotel, and she told me that I could walk the streets out in the middle of the night with complete confidence. Turns out she was right. When I spoke at the universities of Tehran and Allameh Tabataba’i (the sociology university in Tehran), students and faculty were more than polite and engaging.

All that, Raymond, seems to fit into a narrative that we hear in the West about Islam being a religion of peace. Now, obviously, my experience tells me that there are perhaps millions and millions of very peaceful Muslims but is Islam really a religion of peace and tolerance?

Raymond: Yes. What you bring up is very important. It is useful for us to make a distinction. The short answer, the quick answer, which I will then elaborate, is that, even listening to you, what you basically delineated is what everyone does. They tell me of Muslims and they say that is a reflection of Islam. I think that’s the fallacy. Islam is an objective ideology. Muslims are regular humans like the rest of us who can to varying degrees subscribe or not subscribe this ideology. To elaborate I often use an analogy that I came up with a few years ago. The analogy—which I find very helpful and some others do—is as follows:

Today all of us would condemn and denounce the ideology of Nazism. We call it supremacist. It’s inherently violent towards those deemed inferior, and so forth. There is no controversy about this. Everyone will agree to that. At the same time, we know historically that there were many Germans including officials in the Nazi Party who were actually good people and went to great lengths to help Jews and others, and often to their own danger, putting their own life on the line. For example, popularized by the movie Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler was an actual ranking Nazi member, yet at no little risk to himself, he put his neck on the line, and he helped a lot of Jews and others escape. What do we make of this basic contradiction?

Obviously if you ask someone, “Well, what about Oskar Schindler and these people, these other Germans and so forth, were they moderate Nazis?” I think the answer is “No.” They were Nazis in name and maybe they adhered to certain tenants of Nazism, but when it came to the really nasty stuff, they just said no to it, they didn’t subscribe to it, and they did the opposite of it. That neither means that Nazism is now exonerated, nor that there is a radical Nazism verses a moderate Nazism. It just means that in all ideologies and religions you are going to have people to varying degrees will subscribe to varying tenants of set religion.

I think that is the most useful way to understand those many Muslims that you alluded to and I, in fact, agree with you, there are many people who identify as Muslims, or we think of them as Muslims, and they’re very good people, they don’t subscribe to the sorts of things that we discussed in the last show and so forth (i.e. the September 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast), but in no way, shape, or form in my mind does that suggest that there is a valid moderate form of Islam. That simply tells me—just like Oskar Schindler and so forth in that analogy—these people are just not buying into and working in that supremacist aspect of Islam for whatever reason. That is why they are the good people that they are, but Islam is still Islam.


Learn more on Islamic ideology in Raymond Ibrahim’s Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, which is available through CRI.

Raymond Ibrahim, Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum, has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, and Al Jazeera and testified before Congress on the plight of persecuted Christians. Ibrahim is the author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and his writing has appeared in a wide variety of media including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, Jane’s Ilsamic Affairs Analyst, the Middle East Quarterly, the World Almanac of Islamism, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and United Press International, as well as his own website, RaymondIbrahim.com.

This blog adapted from the September 8, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.