My good friend Dr. Bud Colegrove sent a paper to me this week and we decided to share portions of it for your review. We have split the material into three posts and redacted the original paper to conform to the space limitations of this blog. You can download the entire paper at this link.
A few years ago, while working in Europe, I was assigned to teach a course entitled, “International Business,” in Bonn, Germany. Students enrolled in the course were sons/daughters of ambassadors from a variety of countries, as Bonn, at that time, was the capital of Germany. The class consisted of about 10 students and each was a Muslim. Progressing through the dictates of the syllabus, we eventually spoke of foreign cultures and the need to be sensitive to a client’s differences in manners, customs, and religion. Taking off on the latter, I mentioned in passing that I knew little of Islam, and had never seen a copy of the Qur’an.
We then entered into an informative discussion (at least for me) of Islam, and the elevated position the Qur’an held in Muslim nations. It lasted for much of the class period, and when we finished for the night, I thanked them for their participation and for sharing with me their faith and its teachings. I thought that was the end of it.
When we met the following week, one student, a tall lovely lady from The Sudan, came in carrying a bag. She approached me and stated that she had related the story of our previous class meeting and my admitted ignorance of the Qur’an to her father. In response, he broke out his cherished copy of the Qur’an and asked his daughter to bring it to me to study. I was delighted, took it home, and examined it for our 10 Commandments. When we met again and I attempted to return the precious book she refused – it was a gift from her father.
Fast foreword to 2009: I now have my own copy of the Qur’an written both in Arabic and English. In Bill Blanton’s Sunday School class recently, I was asked what the Qur’an had to say about Jesus. I didn’t know!! So, later at home, I went to my bookshelf, took out the Qur’an, and opened it. I thought you might like to know what I found.
Bud Colegrove, Ph.D.
I hope you will study this material carefully. It should enrich your own faith and knowledge of Jesus as well as equip you to present the truth about Jesus to Muslim friends.
Find the verses regarding Jesus in the Qur’an.
Read what the Bible says about Jesus.
The Qur’an discusses some relatively superficial incidents in the life of Jesus. However, in spite of the fact that the Qur’an, and some Muslims, holds Jesus in high regard as a Prophet, the Qur’an says virtually nothing about the teachings of Jesus. For that, we must turn to the Bible and the New Testament where those who were witnesses to His life, works, and teachings established a record. Muhammad lived 600 years after Jesus and had a poor understanding of the New Testament and a poorer understanding of the teachings of Jesus.
There are many wonderful materials giving biblical answers to Islam and the Qur’an and I have listed a few links below. In this present post, let us focus on a single point. The Qur’an goes to great length to record the virgin birth. Yet, Muhammad insists that Jesus is no more than a Prophet like Noah and Moses (Sura 5:75). What then is the significance of the virgin birth?
The virgin birth is an essential doctrine of historic Christianity. To be the perfect sacrifice required that Jesus be free of sin. Yet, Christ also had to be fully man. The virgin birth solved both of these requirements: Christ was born of a woman so as to be fully man; yet was born as result of the miraculous intervention of God, by means of the Holy Spirit — the result of which was that Adam’s sin nature was not passed to Jesus.
The virgin birth was prophesied in the Old Testament, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The Apostles recognized Isaiah’s sign as applying to Jesus. They affirmed the virgin birth. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ — which means, ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:22-23).
The virgin birth was announced in the New Testament. “You will be with child and give birth to a son. ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-35).
Muhammad, and the Qur’an, misses the significance of this historical event. Jesus was born of a virgin because he was not like other prophets. Jesus arrived as the Lamb of God, ready to take away the sins of the world.
Muslim teachers also object to other teachings in the Bible. Here are a few topics and some online resources to reinforce the biblical truth and your Christian faith.
Islam and the Resurrection
Islam and the Trinity
Islam and the Bible
Islam and Jesus as the Son of God?
Here is the post that started this discussion.
Surah 2:87 For, indeed, We vouchsafed unto Moses the divine writ and caused apostle after apostle to follow him; and We vouchsafed unto Jesus, the son of Mary, all evidence of the truth, and strengthened him with holy inspiration. [Yet] is it not so that every time an apostle came unto you with something that was not to your liking, you gloried in your arrogance, and to some of them you gave the lie, while others you would slay?
Surah 2:136 Say: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and, their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.”
Surah 2:253 Some of these apostles have We endowed more highly than others: among them were such as.were spoken to by God [Himself], and some He has raised yet higher.’ And We vouchsafed unto Jesus, the son of Mary, all evidence of the truth, and strengthened him with holy inspiration. And if God had so willed, they who succeeded those [apostles] would not have contended with one another after all evidence of the truth had come to them; but [as it was,] they did take to divergent views, and some of them attained to faith, while some of them came to deny the truth. Yet if God had so willed, they would not have contended with one another: but God does whatever He wills.
Surah 3:42-55 AND LO! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God has elected thee and made thee pure, and raised thee above all the women of the world. O Mary! Remain thou truly devout unto thy Sustainer, and prostrate thyself in worship, and bow down with those who bow down [before Him].” This account of something that was beyond the reach of thy perception We [now] reveal unto thee: for thou wert not with them when they drew lots as to which of them should be Mary’s guardian, and thou wert not with them when they contended [about it] with one another. Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honour in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God. And he shall speak unto men in his cradle, and as a grown man, and shall be of the righteous.” Said she: “O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” [The angel] answered: “Thus it is: God creates what He wills when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, ‘Be’ – and it is. And he will impart unto thy son revelation, and wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel, and [will make him] an apostle unto the children of Israel.” “I HAVE COME unto you with a message from your Sustainer. I shall create for you out of clay, as it were, the shape of [your] destiny, and then breathe into it, so that it might become [your] destiny by God’s leave; and I shall heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life by God’s leave; and I shall let you know what you may eat and what you should store up in your houses. Behold, in all this there is indeed a message for you, if you are [truly] believers. “And [I have come] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains of the Torah, and to make lawful unto you some of the things which [aforetime] were forbidden to you. And I have come unto you with a message from your Sustainer; remain, then, conscious of God, and pay heed unto me. “Verily, God is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer; so worship Him [alone]: this is a straight way.” And when Jesus became aware of their refusal to acknowledge the truth, he asked: “Who will be my helpers in God’s cause?” The white-garbed ones replied: “We shall be [thy] helpers [in the cause] of God! We believe in God: and bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto Him! O our Sustainer! We believe in what Thou hast bestowed from on high, and we follow this Apostle; make us one, then, with all who bear witness [to the truth]!” And the unbelievers schemed [against Jesus]; but God brought their scheming to nought: for God is above all schemers. Lo! God said: “O Jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me, and cleanse thee of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee [far] above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the Day of Resurrection. In the end, unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ.
There are tens of thousands of crosses planted on a hillside in Lithuania. The Hill of Crosses (Kryžiu Kalnas) is located in northern Lithuania near Šiauliai – the fourth largest city in the country. No one knows for sure why the custom started, but the crosses began appearing in the 14th century. Over the years, pilgrims journeyed there to place their own cross on the hill.
The city of Siauliai was founded in 1236 and controlled by Teutonic Knights during the 14th century. The tradition of placing crosses seems to date from this period and may have risen as a symbol of Lithuanian defiance toward foreign invaders. Since the medieval period, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression. In 1795, Siauliai was incorporated into Russia but was returned to Lithuania in 1918. Many crosses were erected upon the hill after the peasant uprising of 1831-63. By 1895, there were at least 150 large crosses, in 1914, 200, and by 1940 there were 400 large crosses surrounded by thousands of smaller ones.
After being captured by Germany in World War II, the city suffered even more damage when Soviet Russia retook it at the war’s end. From 1944 until Lithuania’s independence in 1991, Siauliai was a part of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. During the Soviet era, the pilgrimage to the Hill of Crosses became expression of Lithuanian nationalism. The Soviets repeatedly removed the crosses placed on the hill by Lithuanians.
The hill was leveled three times: during 1961, 1973 and 1975. The crosses were burned or turned into scrap metal, and the area was covered with waste and sewage. Following each of these agonizing experiences local inhabitants and pilgrims from all over Lithuania rapidly replaced crosses upon the sacred hill. In 1985, the Hill of Crosses finally found peace. The reputation of the hill has since spread all over the world and every year it is visited by many thousands of visitors.
The size and variety of crosses is as amazing as their number. Beautifully carved out of wood or sculpted from metal, the crosses range from three meters tall to the countless tiny examples hanging profusely upon the larger crosses.
It is a wonder that the instrument of torture on which Jesus died has become the greatest symbol of Christian hope.
He is Risen.
I have been using my own special shorthand since Middle School. I sign emails as well as letters with just an initial rather than my name. In Seminary, the volume of note-taking became massive and I developed a theological shorthand. Xn = Christian, X = Christ, and Xty = Christianity. God = a Greek theta (which I cannot display on my blog). The list of theological abbreviations grew quite large by the time I completed two degrees.
In the original language of the New Testament, Christ starts with the letter Chi which looks like our X. Early Christians used the symbol of a fish to identify one another. Why a fish? Fish in Greek is Ichthus, which makes a nifty acronym for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” (Iesous Christos, Theou Uios, Soter)
This seemingly innocent abbreviation has gotten some really bad press over the years. Folks with too much time (and so-called spirituality) have sounded off on the practice repeatedly. It has always been a bit amusing to me how and why people get so worked up over the practice. Especially given the fact that I had never been the target of such a tirade. Until now that is.
In an online text message with a social networking site that shall remain nameless, I have made an enemy for life. I have left Christ out of Xmas. I should be flogged, disbarred, and ex-communicated. I should immediately return my Seminary degrees and forfeit my ordination papers. Bad preacher. I have left Christ out of Christmas by using Xmas.
Can we be honest for just a second? I have difficulty when someone decries my uses of Xmas while maxing out their credit cards at Christmas. When they wrap their house in lights, erect a tree, sing about the season, bake cookies, have a feast, entertain the children, go on a hayride, skip work and generally have a social orgy while ignoring the birth of Jesus, I get more than a bit steamed.
While I have indeed left Christ out of Xmas linguistically, our family never omits the far more important aspect of Christmas. Christmas is not, “all about the children.” It is more than “Season’s Greetings” we should be discussing. Christmas is not about Santa, Frosty or even Rudolf. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus so that He may deliver us from sin. Increasingly, the festivities of the holidays mask and even displace the true meaning of Christmas. Families are so busy buying more than they can afford for their children, they forget to teach the essential truths of the Christmas Story.
So in our family, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We give gifts to Kingdom causes that are sacrificial and meaningful. We have reduced our own gift giving year after year so that the true meaning of Christmas would not be muffled.
Whatever your concern, burden, hurt, obstacle, weight – Cry Out To Jesus
“The best vitamin for a Christian is B1.”
“Under same management for over 2000 years”
“Soul food served here.”
“Tithe if you love Jesus! Anyone can honk!”
“Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church.”
“Beat the Christmas rush, come to church this Sunday!”
“Life has many choices, For Eternity, two. What’s yours?”
“Never give the devil a ride. He will always want to drive.”
“A man’s character is like a fence. It cannot be strengthened by whitewash.”
“Prevent truth decay. Brush up on your Bible.”
If you have more funny church sayings, leave them in the comments and I will try to add them here later.
Is God real? Is the Bible true? What do Christians believe? Why does God allow evil?
These are questions that non-Christians and Christians alike have been asking. A new book, “The God Questions,” was originally intended to enable Christians to invite friends to church. But pastors and co-authors Dr. Hal Seed and Dr. Dan Grider discovered that Christian believers were as unclear about biblical answers as their friends were.
Here is a great article
Interesting linksHere are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)
- Double Standards
- Frontpage Article
- Media Bias
- Middle East
- New Mexico
- Quote of the Day
- Sarah Palin
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