One text that comes up frequently in Christian-Muslim dialogue is John 10:30 ("I and the Father are one"). In what sense was Jesus claiming to be one with the Father? Is John 10:30 a claim on the part of Jesus to deity? In order to understand exactly what Jesus was saying, we need to read the verse in the context of the surrounding verses (22-39):
The traditional attribution of the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) has come under immense fire today from higher critical scholarship. Bart Ehrman, a well known New Testament textual critic at the University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has for a long time been a favourite skeptic of Muslims around the world. In his popular-level book Jesus Interrupted, Ehrman writes (page 101),
"There were some books, such as the Gospels, that had been written anonymously, only later to be ascribed to certain authors who probably did not write them (apostles and friends of the apostles)."
The Muslim is committed to this view. If the gospels really were written by the individuals whose names they now bear, this presents a problem for Islam. Why? The Qur'an, in Surah 3:52 and 61:14, claims that Jesus' disciples were Muslims. If the gospels were indeed written by their canonical authors, then two of those (Matthew and John) were prominent disciples, and the other two (Mark and Luke) were approved by apostles. In this article, I am going to focus only on the gospel of Mark.
There are at least four reasons to think that this gospel was indeed written by Mark and that it communicates the teachings of the apostle Peter.
Muslims are often quick to dismiss the letters of the apostle Paul. In a previous blog post, I showed why there is good reason to think that Paul's message was largely consistent with the message of the Jerusalem church, and why this presents a problem for Muslims. Here, I want to present another reason why Muslims need to start taking Paul more seriously. In this blog post, I want to examine the historical evidence bearing on Paul's conversion experience. What transformed the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus -- a persecutor of Christians -- into the great apostle Paul, arguably the greatest evangelist who ever lived? Did Paul really come to believe that he had a vision on the road to Damascus that he interpreted to be Jesus Himself? If so, then what best explains the origins of this belief? It is these questions that concern us in the present article.
In previous posts, I drew attention to the problems presented to Islam by the contents of the Torah and the gospels, and the letters of Paul. Here, I want to build a similar argument from the works of early church fathers. I havepreviously pointed out that the Qur'an maintains that Jesus' own disciples were Muslims (Surah 3:52 and 61:14). This is a problem for Islam because the historical evidence is quite strong that Jesus' disciples approved Paul's message -- and Paul's message was most certainly not Islamic. But are there any other individuals in the early church, whose writings are still extant, and who had the stamp of apostolic approval? There most certainly are. Here, I will consider a few of these.
In a previous article, I offered a simple reason why the Qur'an cannot possibly be the word of God, since the proposition that the Qur'an is the word of God entails a necessary contradiction. Here, I am going to present an equally compelling reason to reject the Qur'an as the word of God.
As I alluded to in my previous post, the Qur'an contends that the disciples of Jesus were Muslims. According to Surah 3:52,
“…when Isa [Jesus] sensed disbelief in them, he said: “Who are my helpers in the way of Allah?” The disciples said: “We are helpers of Allah. We believe in Allah; so be our witness that we are Muslims.”“
So according to the Qur’an, there is no question that the apostles were Muslims, under Jesus. But what if we could establish that the teaching of the apostles differed starkly from the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur'an? Here’s an argument to ponder:
Premise 1: If the original disciples of Jesus rejected core Islamic teachings, Islam is false.
Premise 2: The original disciples of Jesus rejected core Islamic teachings.
Conclusion: Therefore, Islam is false.
The Islamic religion claims that the Qur’an, revealed allegedly by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad beginning in 610 A.D., is the inspired and inerrant word of God. Such an assertion, however, is highly problematic, and many, many arguments could be given to convincingly refute it. In this article, I am going to offer one of those reasons, which I perceive to be the most damning. My argument here can be summarized as follows:
Premise 1: Either the Bible is the Word of God or it is not.
Premise 2: If the Bible is the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.
Premise 3: If the Bible is not the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.
Conclusion: Therefore, the Qur’an is not the Word of God.