'Replies from Muslims'

Rami Sbeiti - 5

14th October, 2003

(Continued from page 352)

Mistakes About the Trinity


The Quran contains many errors about the beliefs and practices of  Christians.  One of the most significant is that the Quran misrepresents the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.  Muhammad mistakenly thought that Christians worshipped three gods: the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son (Jesus) (
Sura 5:73-75,116), and clearly never understood the doctrine of the Trinity.

Yusuf Au
*s translation of the Quran tries to avoid this error by deliberately mistranslating Sura 5:73 so his Arabic text condemns those who say that "Allah is the third of three," that is to say Allah is only one of three gods! But both Arberry and Pickthall translate this correctly.

Ali mistranslates
Sura 5:73 to read: They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity.

The words
"in a Trinity" are not in the Arabic text. Ali puts it in his translation in an attempt to avoid the rather obvious error that Christians believe in three gods.  In reality, Christians believe only in one God who is in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They do not believe that Mary is a part of the Trinity.

Even the
Concise Dictionary of Islam admits:

In some cases the "material" which forms the substance of Quranic narrative, details of the creeds of Christianity and Judaism for example, does not correspond to those religion
*s own understanding of their beliefs. This could be said, for example, of the notion of the Trinity found in the Quran, the story of Satan*s refusal to bow down to Adam, the Docetist view of the crucifixion, all of which can be traced to the dogmas of Gnostic sects which are heretical in relationship to orthodox Christianity and Judaism. The Trinity "seen" in the Quran is not the Trinity of the Apostles Creed, or of the Nicene Creed.

The Quran is so clearly erroneous at this point that Muslims such as Yusuf Ali must mistranslate the Quran to get away from it!

Mistakes About the "Son" of God


The Quran also makes the mistake of saying that Christians believe Jesus is the "Son" of God in the sense that God the "Father" has a male body and had sexual intercourse with Mary.  In Muhammad
*s mind, to say that God had a son was to blaspheme because it meant that God had sex with a woman (Suras 2:116; 6:100,101; 10:68; 16:57; 19:35; 23:91; 37:149, 157; 43:16-19).  Christians believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).  Thus Jesus is the "Son" of God, but not in the sexual sense that Muhammad understood.  God the "Father" is not a man and hence does not have a male body and has not had sex with anyone.  The Quran is totally wrong on this issue.

So we see that, far from honouring the Lord Jesus Christ and his mother Mary, and other Biblical characters, in a manner that is claimed to be superior to the Bible, Muhammad's Quran dishonours God's servants in a way that no other religions do.  There are many other examples of Quranic mistakes in secular history, scientific errors, self-contradictions, use of legendary material and Arabian and Jewish sources, heretical pseudo-Christian sources, Eastern Religious sources, and simple racism that we could quote from the research of serious Christian scholars, but these examples will suffice for now.

So, when you write
'God bless you and know that in order for one to be a Muslim, his/her belief in Jesus Chris is Paramount!' we can only ask the question Samuel Zwemer posed at the end of the Chapter we linked to earlier:  "What think ye of the Christ?"

All men need to know this truth from the inspired Word of God written through the apostle Paul (
1 Timothy 2:1-8):

1TI 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle - I am telling the truth, I am not lying - and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.  1TI 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

In Christ Jesus

TCE

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15th October, 2003 - Rami replies:

Hi David,

I enjoyed reading your lengthy response. Thank you.

Where to begin... Better yet, we can go on for days/lifetimes (in my opinion), only to find ourselves at odds again on at least some points. Instead let me summarize how I perceive our differences/similarities in belief…

1.  I know very well what Jesus tought and love him for what he gave us (God's word). After all, he is the Word of God. However David, you mention that Christ told us to love and not hate. It is hard, nonetheless not to acknowledge what Christianity (And all religions including Islam) have done in the name of Christ and ultimately God. You and I can debate in a civilized fashion. However, looking around the world today, we see that religion has been perverted by ill intent.

2. We will forever be at odds on technicalities of Jesus' relationship to God. Islam believe that Christ is the Messiah, has risen to the one God and shall return by God's will (As Jesus himself stated that nothing is by his will but by that of one Greater than he). When Prohet Muhammad spoke of Jesus and told people that if they did not believe him, to reference the previous scriptures, he was indicating the very things that Jesus spoke of... If Jesus were equal to God, then why would he pray to God? Anything he did is because God anointed (Christ) the holy spirit into Jesus. Another critical issue is that of the trinity. My understanding is that the trinity was formed around 300 AD. Furthermore, I haven't found one evidence in the New Testament where Jesus makes reference to the Trinity. He does refer to God as father but he does so at times in a way which clearly indicates that we all can have the same relationship with God in that we all have the potential to be his children once we remove our sins:

for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren (disciples), and say to them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.' (John 20: 17).

Here, Jesus (PBUH) Clearly indicates the type of relationship with God.

Question: What does Begotten mean? Better yet, how do you understand this term?

3. Jesus Crucified? We will never know what happened those last moments of Jesus' earthly life. What I do know is that he lives with God and shall return at a time that ONLY God (the father) knows.. not Jesus... but God. This is the beauty of the Bible, which I love to read. The difference is how I interpret what I read. I never look to worship other than God. The only dangers in deifying Christ to the extent as we see today in the Chrisitian world is this... Nobody prays to God anymore! Jesus never said worship or even pray to me...he said pray to the father! So what has happened is that we have fallen away from deifying God and have worshipped Jesus who was sent by our one God. Furthermore, if Christ died for the sins of man, hasn't this gone against Jesus' own teachings in that he told his people that to enter God's kingdom, they must live by the commandments? Therefore, why suffer such a death when ultimately, man must find his own way to God. I am simply attempting to show how I view Christianity and the dangers the world has taken with respect to Jesus (May peace be upon him). We should love Christ because he is the Word of God but only by God's choosing. This is crystal clear to me.

I respect the bible and the Gospels because I believe in God and that the essence of these books' messages is God's word. You and I cannot, however, say without doubt that our holy books have not been altered over the course of 2000 years. I ask that God show me the right path and that when it is time, the truth will be revealed to us all.

May God bless you David.

Rami

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18th November, 2003 - TCE replies:

Dear Rami

thank you for your last e-mail.

It has taken longer than we anticipated to formulate answers to the points you brought up but we expect to reply in the near future (probably the next 48 hours).

Since our reply is quite long we will send it in 3 parts to help with the download.

In Jesus' Precious Name

TCE

First we sent Rami an explanation of 'The Trinity' - now found in slightly expanded form in the Jehovah's Witness section - see page 68 - concluding:

Thus we see from the Bible that all three Persons of the Godhead are equal in glory, in power, and in characteristics (Deity).

ALL THREE PERSONS HAVE THE UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

While there are difficulties in mentally understanding the 'Trinity', the evidences of the 'Trinity' of the Godhead are so striking and numerous that one cannot hold to the Scriptures and deny them.

Muslim 'apologist' Ahmed Deedat flatly denies the Triunity of God, including the unique Sonship of Christ and declares emphatically that the title, Son of Man, used so much by Christ is conclusive evidence of Christ
*s being only a man. It is not surprising that Deedat finds the doctrine of the Trinity unacceptable since it involves the very nature of God Himself. It is not a matter of speculation or human reasoning, but of logical and spiritual examination of the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures, as we have shown. However, while a full under-standing of the nature of God is beyond human ability to grasp, it is not unreasonable to believe what He has clearly revealed.

It is difficult to understand however, how Deedat can pour scorn on this doctrine while, as a Muslim, he must accept many absurdities concerning Allah, without question. For example, consider the story of Eblis (the devil)
refusing to worship Adam as recorded in Sura 15:29-34:

'And when I (Allah) shall have fashioned him and breathed my spirit into him, then fall ye down and worship him. And the angels bowed down in worship, all of them, all together. Save Eblis, he refused to be with those who bowed down in worship? O Eblis, said Allah, wherefore art thou not with those who bow down in worship? He said, It beseemeth me not to bow in worship to man whom thou hast created of clay, of moulded loam. He said, Begone from hence, Thou art a stoned one.' (Rodwell*s translation)

To the Christian, and to many Muslims, this story is absurd - yet Muslims must accept it. The fundamental doctrine in Islam is the Unity of Allah. Nothing must be worshipped alongside Him. A second fundamental doctrine is that Allah
*s will is irresistible. Yet here we find Allah commanding the angels to violate His Unity. Furthermore, the angels who violated His Unity did the will of Allah and also obeyed His command. On the other hand, Eblis (aka Iblis) disobeyed the present command, but fulfilled his duty to the Unity of Allah, by obeying the will of Allah. For had Allah willed it Eblis would have worshipped Adam as did the other angels. Yet Eblis was cursed. So Allah may command something but intend its opposite - the Mormons believe the same kind of doctrine in their heretical version of the fall! To the Christian there are contradictory elements in the Muslim concept of the being of Allah. However, these must be accepted by the Muslim without question. Deedat*s derisive remarks about the Trinity reveal the great inconsistency of his thinking which enables him to arrogantly denounce the mystery involved in the Triunity of the Christian revelation of God, while accepting without question unreasonable and contradictory elements in the Quranic description of Allah, and Islamic theology.

The Christian accepts the wonderful reality that God loves the world so much that He does not desire that any should perish. Yes, God hates sin and must deal with sin but He loves sinners and His love is poured out upon a guilty world by the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on Calvary for our sin. His work on the cross of Calvary is sufficient for the world, but is
efficient only to those who personally receive Him as Saviour.

There are five parts to
John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'

Four parts belong to God for they are His work: (1) For God so loved the world ... (2) that he gave His only begotten Son ... (3) that believers in Him should not perish ... (4) but have everlasting life.

But although God has done His part and loved us and provided us a Saviour, He cannot take away our sin and keep us from Hell until
we do our part. What is our part? 'That whosoever believeth in Him' that is, whosoever receives Christ as personal Saviour, Lord, and God. Our part is to believe and receive Christ.

God has done all that is required for our salvation. It is now our turn, our decision, our acceptance of this wonderful Saviour into our hearts. By faith today will you bow before Christ who died for you, repent and take Him as your Lord, God and Saviour?

We begin our reply to your other thoughts by examining your closing statement which will obviously affect every thought and doctrine you will ever believe.

Accuracy of the Bible vs. Qur'an


You write: I respect the bible and the Gospels because I believe in God and that the essence of these books' messages is God's word. You and I cannot, however, say without doubt that our holy books have not been altered over the course of 2000 years.

Is this a reasonable statement?  We have already given good reason to believe that the Bible is the unchanged Word of God in our previous references.  We could give more reasons for believing that the Bible has been passed down to us essentially as it was originally given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that we can be sure of this 'beyond reasonable doubt' in the same way we would use it of evidence gathered in a court-room case. So when you write that we
'cannot, however, say without doubt that our holy books have not been altered over the course of 2000 years' you need to supply evidence for this claim.  We notice from your other comments that you are actually giving credence to the Quranic record without giving any reason why you have chosen to do so.  We have given good reason for our belief in the accuracy of the Bible and the detection of clear errors in the Quran and you have given no reply at all but continue to reject the biblical record regarding the Crucifixion etc.

Remember this important point: anyone who believes your claim concerning the accuracy of these
'holy books' is then in the unhappy position of never being absolutely certain of anything to do with God.  It means that there is absolutely no point in discussing any doctrine, such as the 'Trinity', or the meaning of 'begotten,' for if you believe that the texts have been changed then you have to concede that you don't know to what degree they have been changed and therefore what important truths may have been lost, or what words and doctrines may have been added!  We have made clear statements to support the position of the Bible and it is up to doubters to disprove those claims.  Simply making statements without support does not actually prove anything, but we do find that this is a common reaction amongst those who have alternative Scriptures - such as the Koran or the Book of Mormon - which are easily proven to be uninspired writings.  We are familiar with the Muslim method of handling the Christian Scriptures - e.g. in the manner in which reference is made to Ishmael being the 'only' son offered in Genesis 22:2 while totally disregarding the rest of the passage that identifies Isaac as the son who was to be offered!  Such an arbitrary selection of some Biblical data and the rejection of other verses shows an interpretation decided by presupposition.

From statements you make it is clear that you are not very familiar with the Bible and only give the Gospels some credence while remaining unfamiliar with the books which the Holy Spirit inspired to detail the New Covenant in Christ.  As we have made clear, Biblical Christianity considers the original manuscripts to be the written Word of God recorded without error (see
Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) and, although the original manuscripts are no longer available, a sufficient number of early copies have been found to reconstruct the originals. No one needs to have any doubt that what is available in contemporary translations is essentially what was in the original manuscripts.  Again, if you can put aside your Islamic influences for a moment, you must concede that it would be illogical and amiss for God to fail to make His plan of salvation so clear that even a young child can understand it.  When we read of Jesus' clear love for children we can know that our Heavenly Father has unparalleled love for us (Matthew 19:13-14):

13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Before addressing the other issues you bring up we must clarify a vital point.  Some think that the Muslim concept of Allah and the Christian concept of God (Yahweh, or Jehovah) are the same God referred to by different names. But we would disagree vigorously. Samuel M. Zwemer, missionary to Muslims in a past generation and thoroughly acquainted with the language and works of the Islamic faith, asked the question:

"Is the statement of the Koran true, 'Your God and our God is the same*?"

He answered his, own question when he said:

"In as far as Moslems are monotheists and in as far as Allah has many of the attributes of Jehovah we cannot put Him with the false gods. But neither can there be any doubt that Mohammed*s conception of God is inadequate, incomplete, barren and grievously distorted."

In particular, Zwemer pointed out that Islam
*s concept of God has no emphasis on His Fatherhood and that Allah is seriously lacking in the attribute of love and is not "absolutely, unchangeably and eternally just."  Many of the attitudes expressed through Muslim traditions and practices point to the truth of the cruelty wrought by Muhammad and his successors.

It is noticeable that the views which suppress belief in
all of the Bible results in a severe reluctance among Muslims to refer to Allah as "Father."  To do so, Muslims seem to reason, would be to imply they are His children, or even equal with God [and this is a very important point with regard to the Deity of Christ and the doctrine of the 'Trinity'].  For this reason expressions such as "sons of God" and "children of God" are also avoided since this leads to the idea that God would need a wife in order for Him to have children. Rather than viewing themselves in a father-son relationship, this tends to lead to a relationship with God of the 'master-slave' category.

(Continued on page 354)

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