UI – Part 353(a) – Explaining the Gospel to Muslims (1 of 2)
The Bible is not a favorite book for Muslims, but they must be somewhat curious. The prophets in the Bible are those that are in the Quran. Many of the stories told are repeated. It is a Scripture foundational to the Quran. It provides much history of mankind with architecture and libraries of commentary supporting its reality. A basic freedom, although limited (unfortunately) in Muslim dominated areas, is to believe and worship according to your own conscious. There are alternatives to Islam to consider. But exposure is necessary. Herein we focus on the Christ Believers, those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the contradictions with the Quran.
Muhammad averred the Bible was corrupted by the humans that wrote it and that the Quran is perfect. Scholars and Imam’s deny the divinity of Christ. They agree Mary was a virgin and Jesus (Christ) was her child. They recognize Jesus (Isa) lived a ‘perfect’ life. They also believe Christ will come again with Muhammad. They contend Christ either did not die on the Cross or was substituted with another. They claim the statement made by Christ in John 14 about another advocate for the believers after Christ’s death, which is the Spirit of Truth that dwells within those who believe, is Muhammad. Also it is problematic, according to their teaching, that God can be Christ and the Holy Spirit. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the compelling ingredient for a believer that we will explore. The teaser is the opportunity to be forgiven, to have one’s shame erased, and to be eternal with the Lord.
The Gospels are in the New Testament. They are the first 4 books – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are other directives for men and women in the Bible that consider relationships and human rights. Where there is conflict, disagreement, the Bible discusses treatment towards one’s enemy.
In Afghanistan the Taliban bans the Bible. In much of Pakistan the Bible is banned. Also in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Certainly in areas where there are devout Muslims the Bible is not to be read or included in one’s library. Why? What are they afraid of? The Truth? In many Muslim dominated cultures – no Bibles, not even a mention of the Book of the People – it is a crime for which there is punishment to own, read, study or recite the Bible. Islamic police, hired and voluntary, to include neighbors, can report to the authorities when they observe a violation. This follows in the path of proselytizing wherein sharing any other faith with a Muslim is not permitted by the Quran. This is not the case in free areas such as Europe, much of the old Yugoslavia, South America, Canada, Japan, Mexico and the United States.
Mary’s Virgin Birth
Mary was a virgin and yet conceived a child, Jesus. Whereas the Bible refers to Jesus as a child of God and Begotten by God, the Quran alters this view. The Scripture for Muslims does not deny Allah’s role in the virgin birth, but refers to it as a reflection of what Allah can do, or be, whenever. They insist Allah was not the Father.
The Bible and the Christian declaration of faith declares the relation between Father and Son as co-eternal, though whom all things came into existence.
Sura 3:42, “O Mary, surely Allah has chosen thee.” Sura 3:45, “O Mary, surely Allah gives thee good news with a word from Him whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and the Hereafter….” Sura 3:47, “She said: My Lord, how can I have a son and man has not yet touched me? He said, even so; Allah creates what He pleases. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is.”
If we think about God, an incomprehensible being that can do what he wants, whenever and wherever, we must consider his capabilities when it comes to spending time with humans. Certainly if he wanted to appear on earth he could. But how would God be recognized? He knew that to be accepted and not cause people to be afraid he needed to take a human form. God incarnate means just that. He came as Jesus and walked the earth with humans.
That is no different, really, than the virgin birth of Jesus. God can do and be whatever, whenever. The Bible recognized God’s role in the virgin birth as Father. So God is Father and Son, and are One.
God, by the way to the Cross, recognized the sin nature of humans and the shame associated with crimes committed against the Lord, forgave, erasing the shame and freeing those who accept Christ to live, born anew in God’s Grace.
John 14:11, Christ, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”
Relationship with Wives, and Husbands
The Bible instructs men to love their wives as they do the church [or as they do their place of worship (a mosque say)]. And to love them also as they do their own bodies. Treat them with kindness and gain their respect. Women are to respect their husbands, but that takes effort on the man’s part in gaining that respect. None of this is in the Quran.
Ephesians 5:25-33, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word….In this same way, husband ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body…. However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
For women of Islam, unfortunately, the men are directed to treat you as possessions. They own you and can do with you as they will. You will obey. For a non-Muslim women you are but a slave, a sexual indulgence. Good women are the obedient ones (Sura 4.34) and disobedient women are to be admonished.
Sura 2.223 – “Your wives are a tilth (possession) for you….”
Where there is peace, there is paradise. When love prevails there is comfort and security. The Bible is not repetitious towards fighting non-Christ followers. War, even, is not mentioned in the New Testament. The objective is peace. Loving your neighbor and love God are primary commandments, yet the Quran remains silent on love towards a neighbor; and as for friends that are not Muslims, that is not permissible. (Sura 60.9)
Luke 6:27-28, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Matthew 19:19, “Honor your father and your mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27, In answer to the question, ‘What must I do to earn eternal life’, the questioner knowing the Law answered himself, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and with your mind; and, Love your neighbor (regardless of what the believe) as yourself.”
To achieve peace the Quran suggests total submission to Allah is the only way. What does that mean? Submitting to God (Biblical) totally, works well also, but there are no laws, such as Sharia, that force upon believers (or cultural followers) the actions to be applied to submit fully or the punishment to be meted out by humans if one fails or even errs. The wrath of God has been saved for Christ followers until the Day of Judgment, when those having Christ as their advocate will be passed on to the eternal Kingdom (which must be paradise).
Freedom in Serving God
In the book Veiled Freedom (by J. M. Windle, 2009, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Ill.), the main character, Amy, in discussion with an Afghani, makes the statement, “Part of freedom is making choices, and that is a good quality of my country (America). People are free to choose to do right or wrong, whether to follow God or turn away. Many do turn away. But it isn’t a real choice to serve God if it’s not from your heart. Christians believe that real change must come from inside by personal choice, not be forced from outside.”
A Counselor to Follow Christ
Muhammad was taught much of the Old Testament by an uncle of his 1st wife. He was aware of the New Testament but struggled with the reality of Christ as God. He made the claim, thus aware of the Bible (suggesting all Muslims be knowledgeable of the Bible), that he was the advocate Christ told his disciples that would be with them forever. However it is clear from the Scripture that it was the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, that would dwell within believers, a daily reminder of their commitment to the Lord and thanks for the sacrifice made on their behalf. Salvation was thus assured. When God speaks to you, it is the Holy Spirit from within capturing you and keeping you safe, knowing you have been forgiven.
John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another to help you and be with you forever —- the Spirit of truth (Holy Spirit).” (See also Acts 1:8)
Acts 2:1 – referring to the disciples, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly…all of the were filled with the Holy Spirit….”
to Be Continued…..
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Grace and Peace