Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Textual Discussion from our Chat Channel
01/31/2008 - James White
Here is a pdf of the discussion in channel.
It Is Good to Listen
01/30/2008 - James WhiteHere is an article from muslimmatters.org that is worth reading. It deals with the Ahl al-Kitab, (أهل الكتاب), "the People of the Book," which in the Qur'an, depending on context, is a reference to Christians, Jews, or Christians and Jews. I.e., monotheists who possess the Scriptures that Allah sent down before the Qur'an. It is good to listen to the Muslims as they speak amongst themselves. You learn more than when you only concentrate upon what they say to those outside their community. Note the conclusion of the paper:
Part of conveying the message properly is to make sure that the dialogue concludes without any ambiguity. In this vein, there are two ayaat in particular that lay out the ultimate choice for the People of the Book.
They are reminded with censure of their previous transgression while at the same time being given hope of a good reward should they accept the message,
And if only the people of the Scripture had believed (in Muhammad and warded off evil and had become pious, We would indeed have blotted out their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise).
It is up to them to choose the path of success,
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So those who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be the successful.
If they still reject the message though, then the blame lies on their shoulders in the Hereafter,
Verily, those who disbelieve from among the people of the Scripture and the polytheists will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.
Final Advice to the Believers and the People of the Book
And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And verily, We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allah, and keep your duty to Him, But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.
33 Ma’idah:65 34 A’raaf:157 35 Bayyinah:6 36 Nisaa:131
John Piper Responds to "A Common Word"
01/24/2008 - James WhiteI was sent a link to John Piper's video response to the controversy over "A Common Word." I am providing it here. I would go beyond Dr. Piper and say that I am not simply profoundly disappointed in the "Christian" response: I found the reply, titled "Loving God and Neighbor Together," a sad example of Christian dhimmitude. Dhimmitude is the status of monotheists (Jews and Christians, in the main) under Islamic rule. Islam severely restricts the freedoms of dhimmi peoples under their rule, prohibiting proselytization, for example, or even singing hymns too loudly. It is an attitude that is inherent in Islamic theology, and it flows from the notion that Muhammad is the final prophet, the seal of the prophets, and that sharia must be established all across the world, creating a universal Dar al Islam. I see "Loving God and Neighbor Together" speaking in dhimmi fashion for a simple reason: Islam comes after the Christian faith; Islam claims to be consistent with the teachings of the prophets, and it even claims to lead people to love Jesus Christ. Yet, it is Islam that denies that Jesus is the Son of God; Islam denies the cross of Calvary, and the resurrection; hence it denies propitiation, the gospel, and the entire heart of the Christian faith. In fact, Islam cannot define itself without doing so through the negation of Christian beliefs. I offer two citations from the Qur'an in support of my assertion:
حسورة الإخلاص - سورة ١١٢
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ١
اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ ٢
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ٣
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ ٤
1. Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
2. Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
3. He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
4. And there is none like unto Him.
Surah Al-Ikhlas (112)
سورة المائدة - سورة ٥
َّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَآلُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ مِنَ اللّهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُهْلِكَ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ وَمَن فِي الأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَلِلّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاء وَاللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ١٧
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every-one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things."
Surah Al-Maida (5), Ayah 17
Surah 112:3 is clearly a denial of the Christian doctrine of Christ as the Son of God (though, I would argue, the Qur'an does not understand the Christian doctrine it denies, to be sure); and Surah 5:17 identifies as blasphemy (كَفَرَ, kafara) a belief in the deity of Christ (though, again, the Qur'an is in error in its understanding of the doctrines it denies). We must remember that Muslims believe Jesus was a Muslim: that he prayed like a Muslim, dressed like a Muslim, and most importantly, taught little more than this: "Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord" (Surah 5:117). Tremendous biblical truths, such as the words of our Lord in Matthew 11:27, "All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him," are directly denied (though, again, probably without direct knowledge on the part of Muhammad, who simply did not have direct access to the Christian Scriptures) by the words of the Qur'an, attributed to Jesus, "Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine" (5:116).
So why do I identify an attitude of dhimmitude on the part of the respondents? They did not provide a uniquely Christian response. Surely, they must know the issues that separate us (though, I confess, looking at some of the names attached, that may not be the case); so why pretend we can talk about the love of God when Christians believe the love of God is revealed first and foremost in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us, and shown in the cross of Christ, which is denied directly by Islam (Surah 4:157)? The battle is already over when, as a Christian, you start anywhere other than the central epistemological claim of our faith:
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,Contrast this with the plain words of the Qur'an, "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah...." So by seeking some kind of common ground outside of the definitional parameters of the Christian faith "Loving God and Neighbor Together" has abandoned the only message we have to proclaim to the Muslim people! This is why it has been opposed by all those I know who know Islam and see the bold proclamation of Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the greatest means of loving the Muslim people.
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 ¶ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Ahmed Deedat on the Deity of Christ: Refutation #1
01/23/2008 - James WhiteI managed to find a much higher quality version of the South African presentation Deedat made against the deity of Christ. Here is the first in a series of rebuttals of his presentation. As you watch, note the packed house to whom he is speaking. There is only one Christian missionary for every 400,000 Muslims in the world. Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the field!
Can God Enter Into His Own Creation?
01/18/2008 - James White
Did Ahmed Deedat Truly Know Greek?
01/12/2008 - James WhiteDocumentation of errors on the part of Ahmed Deedat, assisted and made even better by Sam Shamoun. Thanks Sam!
Video Blog: Replying to Zakir Naik
01/10/2008 - James White
Talk About Lopsided...
01/06/2008 - James WhiteThe scarey thing is, there are some who can't see, or refuse to see, how utterly lopsided this affair was. Thank God for Sam Shamoun. Pray for him!
01/04/2008 - Jeff DownsThe most recent edition of the Ordained Servant (produced by the OPC) is on the topic of Encountering Islam. From the editor:
Since September 11, 2001, Americans have discovered that we can no longer ignore Islam as a political force or as a religion. The confusion of those two realms is inherent in Islam, and, sadly, is found with some Christians as well. For Christians, the danger in the confusion is to consider Muslims our enemies, when we should be seeking their salvation. Some Muslims are indeed our political enemies whom we have a duty to defend ourselves against as citizens; but, as the church, all Muslims should be the objects of our evangelistic concern. Only when we carefully distinguish between the spiritual and temporal kingdoms is such concern really possible. As enemies of God, Muslims must be told of the reconciling love of God in Jesus Christ.
Here are the articles in this edition:
Paul in Mecca, by Gregory E. Reynolds.
How Should the Reformed Church Respond to Islam?, by Bryan D. Estelle.
City On A Hill: Caesar's or God's?, by Richard M. Gamble.
The Truth about Islam, by Gregory E. Reynolds.
The Crisis of Islam, by Donald M. Poundstone.
Many Thanks, Brother Sam; An Apology to Shabir Ally; Why do Muslims Use Straw Men?
01/01/2008 - James WhiteFollowing the debate in Seattle I invested some time in responding to some post-debate "chatter," you might call it, in the form of comments from Shabir Ally regarding the topics we discussed during the debate (which is now available in mp3 format, and Lord willing, in DVD format very soon). In any case, I have not been able to do any more in that arena as time has precluded my doing so, but Sam Shamoun has taken the time to produce a number of replies. Two are on the crucifixion (here and here), and two on other relevant topics (here and here). Thanks again to Sam for all of his hard work for the King and the kingdom!
In light of the mention of Shabir Ally, I would like to retract what I said on the 26th regarding Shabir's upcoming debate with Dave Hunt. I do not believe Shabir is going to enjoy his time in that debate, to be sure. Indeed, Hunt's dogged refusal to listen to the other side may well result in such a confused mess that no one will have the slightest idea what either side is saying. One could only hope! But in any case, I said I was disappointed in Shabir for accepting the debate challenge. Now, on the level that Shabir himself has announced as his reasons for debating, I would still have to be disappointed, because he is not going to be learning from Dave Hunt. But on the level of being willing to engage those who present the most "common" types of arguments against your position, it is perfectly valid for Shabir to respond to Dave Hunt. I was reminded of this by the encounter with Nadir Ahmed and David Wood's mentioning that while surely Nadir does not present nearly as scholarly or thought-out arguments as Shabir Ally, still, responding to Nadir is useful because his arguments are more like what is found on the "Muslim Street" than those of Shabir Ally. And about that, David is so very correct. It is always good to meet the best the other side has to offer, and this is especially true in debating such groups as Roman Catholics, Mormons, or Jehovah's Witnesses. Yet, one must realize that the Witness at your door is probably not going to argue just like Greg Stafford; the Mormon will not have all of the FARMS materials memorized, and surely most Roman Catholics do not argue like a Hahn or an Akin. So at times you have to deal with those arguments that are more common, and nowhere is this more true than when looking to encourage our brothers and sisters who are under persecution in Muslim lands. The anti-Christian rhetoric of Islamic states is rarely on the level of what you find coming from a Shabir Ally: it is much more in the form of what we saw in my dialog with "Muslm" in our chat channel, or what you find from Ali Ataie or Nadir Ahmed. And as distasteful as it can be to engage those who do not show a proper commitment to honest representation of the other side, for the sake of those who suffer persecution around the world, we must be willing to engage them. And so I have to be consistent, and withdraw my objection to Shabir Ally's debating Dave Hunt. Instead, since I know multiple people who attempted to convince the organizers of that debate to utilize better Christian representation, I will lay the real objection at their feet. They will get to clean up the mess, to be sure.
Finally, I recently added a symbol to my "sig file" on my e-mails. Micah had been kind enough to produce some gorgeous signature files for me, and I wanted to add the cross/tricetra design (thanks Machaira!) with the Arabic phrase that reads, "Worship the one true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" to it. So one Muslim who saw it wrote back, rather mockingly saying that my Arabic is strange, because I say there is one, but then say that there are three. So I wrote back to this gentleman, who is fairly well known, and asked why it is that Muslim apologists, scholars, writers, etc., fail, very consistently, to address what it is Christians actually believe. Why the straw-men? I seriously wondered if this man could provide a cogent response, but all I got back was empty rhetoric. I will continue asking, for one thing is for sure, the fact that the vast majority of Muslims who deny my faith haven't a clue what they are denying is surely a major argument against finding Islam to be a religion that promotes a high view of the truth.