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

Quote of the Day April 13, 2017

crosses-art-2092530 [b]His torment began in the Garden of Gethsemane after the emotional Last Supper. There Jesus experienced a medical condition known as hematidrosis. Tiny capillaries in his sweat glands ruptured, mixing sweat with blood. As a result, Christ’s skin became extremely fragile.

The same night, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, disowned by Peter, and arrested by the temple guard. Before Caiaphas the high priest, he was mocked, beaten, and spat upon. The next morning, Jesus, battered, bruised, and bleeding was led into the Praetorium. There Jesus was stripped and subjected to the brutality of Roman flogging. A whip replete with razor-sharp bones and lead balls reduced his body to quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. As Christ slumped into the pool of his own blood, the soldiers threw a scarlet robe across his shoulders, thrust a scepter into his hand, and pressed sharp thorns into his scalp.

After they mocked him, they took the scepter out of his hand and repeatedly struck him on the head. Now Jesus was in critical condition. A heavy wooden beam was thrust upon Christ’s bleeding body, and he was led away to a place called Golgotha. There the Lord experienced ultimate physical torture in the form of the cross. The Roman system of crucifixion had been fine-tuned to produce maximum pain. In fact, the word excruciating (literally “out of the cross”) had to be invented to fully codify the horror.

At the “the place of the skull,” the Roman soldiers drove thick, seven-inch iron spikes through Christ’s hands and feet. Waves of pain pulsated through Christ’s body as the nails lacerated his nerves. Breathing became an agonizing endeavor as Christ pushed his tortured body upward to grasp small gulps of air. In the ensuing hours, he experienced cycles of joint-wrenching cramps, intermittent asphyxiation, and excruciating pain as his lacerated back moved up and down against the rough timber of the cross.

As the chill of death crept through his body, Jesus cried out, “‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’—which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46). And in that anguished cry was encapsulated the greatest agony of all. For on the cross, Christ bore the sin and suffering of all humanity. And then with his passion complete, Jesus gave up his spirit.

Shortly thereafter, a Roman legionnaire drove his spear through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium, and into Christ’s heart. From the wound rushed forth blood and water, demonstrating conclusively that Jesus had suffered fatal torment.

—Hank Hanegraaff

Apologetics

Evidence for the Historical Jesus in Non-Christian Sources

CRI-Blog-Hanegraaff, Hank-Historical Evidence of JesusEvery now and then, I want to start the broadcast — I do not do it as often as I should — with an email question, or a Facebook question, or someone that texted in a question. A good example is a question from Jesse, who writes, “My faith has been shaken for doubt as well as for personal reasons because I read that there is historical and archeological evidence of Jesus being mentioned by Josephus and by Pliny and by other people of history but I read of evidence of Jesus being debunked due to the writings of historical figures having been altered in the process. So, is there really such evidence for Jesus?”

I love this question because there is really historical archeological evidence for Jesus the Christ. But, I also think this question is astute in that it evidences the fact that there is spin that has been produced by second and third century documents as well as credible evidence. In fact, from early external evidences provided by credible historians, historians like the Jewish Josephus, or the Roman Tacitus, or Suetonius, or Plinius, through those evidences, it is actually possible to piece together highlights of Christ and Christianity completely apart from the internal biblical evidences themselves. But, the contrast between these credible first-century external evidences and then later less credible sources could not be more stark.

Tacitus is rightly regarded as the greatest first-century historian of the ancient Roman Empire. While the Talmud rarely mentions historical details surrounding second temple Judaism, and where it does, it consistently muddles them. There is a big difference between Tacitus and the Talmud. Just two examples.

I think it is incredible to think that Tacitus — by the way, when we are talking about him, we are talking about a person who is widely considered to be the greatest first-century historian of the ancient Roman Empire — that he would provide credible external evidence for the biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and that at the hands of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Or for that matter, that the Jewish Josephus — I said this many times on the broadcast, he was writing to please the Romans — that he would provide ancient authoritative attestation to the authenticity of the sacred text, but that is precisely the case.

Therefore, I would say to Jesse, the words of the hymn writer still echo through the ages: “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word.” But, not only in His excellent Word but also in external credible evidences by which you can piece together highlights of the life of Christ, wholly apart from the biblical text itself.

—Hank Hanegraaff

“But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whiter all things horrible and disgraceful flow, from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly, first those were seized who confessed they were Christians: next, on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of hating the human race” (Tacitus, Annals 15.44).

“Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works — a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day” (Josephus, Antiquities 18.63–64).

For further related study, please consult the following books:

Has God Spoken (Thomas Nelson) by Hank Hanegraaff

Josephus, The Essential Works (Eerdmans) by Paul Maier

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (InterVarsity Press) by Michael Licona

This blog adapted from the March 14, 2017, Bible Answer Man Broadcast.

Apologetics

Jesus Christ: Fully Divine, Fully Human, One Person.

Hanegraaff, Hank-Jesus Christ Fully Human Fully Divine

Q: I was talking to a friend about the two natures of Jesus Christ. He was telling me that Christ had a human spirit and a divine spirit. Does Christ have two spirits or just one?

A: Remember that Jesus Christ was one person with two natures—fully man and fully God. What does it mean to be fully man? When a woman gives birth, she gives birth to a body/soul unity. Jesus Christ was fully man. We also recognize from Philippians that He was not divested of a single attribute of deity. So, in the incarnation, while He took on the limitations of humanity, He was fully and completely divine.

How that is communicated, I think, is most safely put in the Creed of Chalcedon or in some of the other biblical creeds, like the Creed of Athanasius. This is important in that the church fathers wanted to codify this in language that’s consistent and correct.

There is a mysterious aspect to it; therefore, the language is important. We recognize even with the language that we don’t fully comprehend it, but this is our apprehension of God’s condescension in the pages of Holy Writ. I think we need to be very careful with the language; therefore, once again, I’ll refer you to the creeds that say,

One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledge in two natures…the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son.1

I don’t know if I can say it any better than that. From a historic Christian standpoint, therefore, we are well served to emulate the language of the creeds in communicating what it means that we have one person with two natures fully God and fully man.

For further related study, please access the following:

Does the Bible Claim Jesus is God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Jesus Claim to be God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Credentials Back Up Jesus’ Claim to Deity? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Incarnation Incoherent? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Deity vs. Humanity A Closer Look at Philippians 2:6-7 (Kristen Forbes)


Notes:

  1. Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom: With a History and Critical Notes, sixth edition, vol. II (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House) 62

Blog adapted from “Did Christ have two spirits or just one?”

Apologetics

What is the Appeal of Islam?

Hanegraaff, Hank-Quran Jesus Not Crucified

What is the appeal of Islam?

I think one of the things that happened is that Islam has been airbrushed, and therefore it has become palatable to Western Civilization. In many cases people think, “Well, the God of Islam, the God of Israel, not a whole lot of difference, it is the same God.”

The problem here is that the God of Islam is not the God of Israel nor is it the God of Christianity. For example, the Master Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). Devotes of Muhammad, or those who are involved in Islam, find the very notion of praying to “Our Father in heaven” offensive to their way of thinking. Calling God “Father,” and for that matter Jesus Christ “Son,” suggests sexual procreation. And they would say that believing that Jesus Christ is God or that God has a Son is the unforgivable sin of shirk. The Christian belief that Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father full of grace and truth and that all the fullness of deity within Him in bodily form (John 1:1-5, 14; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3-4) for them is an unforgivable sin.

A lot of people unfortunately as Christians are unable to make the distinction between the Allah of Islam and the God of the Bible, and therefore it sounds like there’s neither distinction nor little difference.

I think it is also really important to recognize that the Qur’an is not the same as the Bible. If you’re reading neither, you don’t really see that there’s a big distinction.

The Qur’an, from a historical standpoint, makes all kinds of mistakes. For example, the Qur’an says that Jesus Christ was not crucified (Sura 4:157-158). In Islamic circles, it is believed that God made someone look like Jesus, and the look alike was crucified in place of Jesus Christ. All the historical evidence, however, points beyond a shadow of a doubt, to the fact that Jesus Christ was indeed crucified, and that crucifixion was for our sin. It was the atonement by which we are reconciled to God (John 3:16; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:8; 1 John 2:1-2).

Another thing you have to recognize is that Islam is growing in terms of birth rate. As a result it is becoming widespread and moving all over the world in that sense as well.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Is the Allah of Islam the God of the Bible?

Is the Qu’ran Credible?

Allah Does Not Belong to Islam (Helen Louise Herndon)

Who are the Shia? The Other Islam (Patrick Cate and C. Wayne Mayhall)

“Be All Things to All People:” Surmounting Cultural Barriers in Presenting the Gospel to Muslims (Robert Scott)

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

The Son of God and Muslim Idiom Translations (Michael F. Ross)

Chrislam: Insider Movements Moving in the Wrong Direction (Joshua B. Lingel and Bill Nikides)

 (This blog was adapted from “What is the Appeal of the Religion of Islam.”)