The unclean things of the OT did not cause uncleanness by a mystical direct pagan force acting upon those who came in to contact with them but rather because they were symbols of sin. Islam has a pagan understanding of unclean things directly causing defilement by physical contact

Unclean foods, such as pork, represented sin for example. The sin which the people should avoid to maintain holiness before God. To believe that such a thing as pork meat is unclean in itself is a pagan superstition which it is useful for Islam to maintain as all superstitions are useful to hold power over men. Islam has always held that it is better for Muslims to live separately. Mohammed showed this by leaving Mecca and forming an isolated community of Muslims. This is politically astute for a community that devotes itself to jihadic conquest.

The temple was holy and off bounds to all but the priests and levites to show that God was holy and the people were sinful and thus unclean to come near to the holy God Jehovah.

Bodily discharges made the people unclean to approach the holy God Jehovah in his temple. They symbolized the sinful nature of man from which uncleanness flows irrevocably and continuously from his sinful nature.

Jesus healed people by touching and coming close to people who were unclean according to the law. Lepers for example. He thus showed that sickness is one aspect of the curse which is over all men alike and that all men are unclean before God because of their sinful deeds.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The trespass offering shows that repentance and restitution alone are not enough to make atonement. There must also be propitiation through the blood of our sinless Saviour Jesus Christ

Leviticus 6 v 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; 3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: 7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

The offerer has repented of his sin. He has confessed his sin by going in to the temple and confessing his sin to the priest. He has paid restitution to the victim and added a fifth to it to make good the loss.

All this is not enough for him to be declared forgiven. He must also sacrifice a ram without blemish. The innocent must suffer death for the guilty. This typifies our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ dying on calvary.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman, part 3, a post by Silas, taken from Answering-Islam.org

By Silas

Part 3

This three part series assesses the question “should some type of legitimate prophethood be conferred upon Muhammad.” (Part 1, Part 2)  In this third part we conclude the examination of Harley Talman’s argument.

Issue c) the criteria for prophethood

Talman’s criteria for evaluating a true or false prophet:

In this section, I will demonstrate the inadequacy of the most commonly used criteria for validating or rejecting prophets (their moral blamelessness, their absence of hostility with Christianity or their performance of miracles).  Instead I will propose that the most important issue is their attitude toward Christ and the Scriptures. (p10)

Talman establishes “attitude toward Christ and our Scriptures” as his primary prophethood evaluation criteria and subsequently supports his argument with assertions based on Old Testament leaders and events.

This topic was discussed in Part 1 which identified the primary Biblical criteria for determining a true or false prophet: a) did the person’s message align with the Gospel message?, and b) did the person have strong moral conduct? (cf. Matthew 7:15, 16).  Against those, Muhammad fails.  Talman refrains from using Scripture but rather uses his own theory: attitude toward Jesus and the very same Scriptures that provide actual requirements.


Muhammad’s attitude towards which Jesus?

Talman builds his argument using Muhammad’s view of Christ:

1. Regarding allegiance/relationship (with Christ) it was very positive, though more distant than in the NT. Jesus is presented as unique—bearing titles and ascriptions that exalt him far above all other prophets and the Qur’an strongly affirms the biblical Scriptures that bear witness to him. (p12)

Talman references respectful statements about Jesus found throughout the Quran.  That is true.  However, we must take the whole of the Quran to evaluate Muhammad’s attitude towards Christ.

Just as Talman questioned “which Muhammad?” so too we can question, “which Jesus was Muhammad talking about?”  During the times of the early church there were people preaching “a different Jesus” and in the world today there are religious bodies which preach a different Jesus, e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.  Just as the Mormon Jesus is radically different from Christianity’s Jesus, so too is Muhammad’s Jesus.  Therefore, the question “Which Jesus was Muhammad talking about?” is pertinent.


Muhammad’s Jesus is not the Son of God

An evaluation of Muhammad’s description of Jesus based on the entirety of his statements in the Quran tells me that Muhammad was talking about a different Jesus.  Muhammad’s Jesus has significant differences with the Biblical Jesus.  The most important being that Muhammad emphatically denied that Jesus is the Son of God.  Sura 112:3:  “He begets not, nor is He begotten.”  Contrast Muhammad’s denial with Peter’s affirmation:

… Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (Matthew 16:13-17

It wasn’t good enough that some said that Jesus was a great prophet.  That didn’t cut it.  That was honorable, but insufficient.  This is only as far as Muhammad could go.  In contrast to Muhammad, Peter nailed it when he said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  Note that Peter tied being the Messiah with being the Son of God.  Note that Jesus said that Peter’s words were “revelation from God.”

Jesus believed that identifying Himself as the Son of God was critical.  So did Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.  During his interrogation of Jesus the moment of truth came with his final challenge:

…The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!”  (Matthew 26:63-66)

Jesus faced a life or death decision:  say He was the Son of God and die, deny He was the Son of God and live.  Jesus chose truth, He spoke truth:  He was the Messiah, the Son of God.  That important question, and more important answer, cost Him great pain and His life.  Just as those Jews persecuted Jesus for saying He was the Son of God, so too today, Muslims persecute Christians who say Jesus is the Son of God. Yes, Jesus’s Sonship is important.

Note here that what Jesus identified as “revelation” to Peter, that Jesus is the Son of God, contradicts Muhammad’s “revelation” in the Quran.  Therefore, either our God is an idiot, or we are talking about two separate Gods.  I’m with option #2.

In light of the truth and glory given to Christ as the Son of God, Muhammad’s sura 112 is a very negative statement about Jesus.  Muhammad didn’t intend to denigrate Jesus; he was ignorant, misled, or deceived.  Nevertheless, the spiritual and theological ramifications of his denial are very negative:  faith in Jesus as the Son of God is a requisite for eternal life:  “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:12


The importance of Jesus as the Son of God

From another perspective, in the vein of Talman’s belief that “revelation” was given to Muhammad, I think it is fair to ask, “Why didn’t God give Muhammad the revelation that Peter received?”  After all, “Gabriel” had Muhammad’s ear for 23 years!  Don’t you think that just once, just once in those 23 years, that he could have told Muhammad,1 that Jesus is the Son of God?  Instead, Gabriel tells Muhammad the opposite, that Jesus is not the Son of God!  This denial by Muhammad and his Allah is repeated strongly.  To me, this is a mountain, to Talman, it is a molehill.

Muhammad and Allah agree with me.  Islam views the belief that “Jesus is the Son of God” as a mountain.  However, it is a stumbling block to them and they argue it from the other side of the spectrum:  Muhammad did not tolerate anyone proclaiming Jesus as God’s Son.  Here are two versions of the Quran 9:30:

Sahih International:  The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved (before them). May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

Pickthall:  And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!

“May Allah destroy them” is a curse from Muhammad and Allah.  It is not a prayer, plea, or hope for guidance, rather it is a curse for destruction.  This verse is understood as the direct speech of Allah himself.

Jesus says believing that He is the Son of God is revelation from God, Muhammad says believing that Jesus is the Son of God is cursed by Allah.  If Jesus is the Son of God then isn’t Muhammad cursing Him?

Isn’t Allah fighting and killing Christians who believe Jesus is the Son of God serious?2Doesn’t that verse alone give Muslims cover to persecute, attack, and kill Christians?  Talman over looks this by saying:  “I am persuaded that these verses attack aberrant, not biblical, Christianity.” (p12)  Crone’s criticisms of Donner’s “Christology” argument, that Jesus’s divinity is addressed, are applicable here as well.  Muhammad denied any possibility of Jesus being God’s Son.

Further, you’ll not find many Muslims agreeing with Talman and you’ll not find any Islamic scholars agreeing that the orthodox Christian definition of “Son of God” is acceptable.  You’ll just get rebuffed and mocked.  Islam categorically denies Jesus is the Son of God in any way, shape, or form.  Talman is re-inventing Islam to suit his own particular gumby theology.


Different Jesuses: Muhammad cursed!

As mentioned, during the time of the early church there were people preaching a different Jesus and different Gospels.  Paul addressed them:

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, (2 Corinthians 11:4).

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!  (Galatians 1:6-9).

Notice that Paul repeats God’s curse on false messengers?  He does not do that often does he?  Proclaiming false Christs and false gospels is a vile sin!

But isn’t this exactly what Muhammad did?  The Quran, as Allah’s pure word, quotes false Gospels that present a false Jesus.  For example, the Quran quotes the Arabic Infancy Gospel in 19:28-33, and the Protevangelium of James in 3:37, and the Nativity of Mary in 3:44.  There’s a long list of New Testament Apocrypha quotes in the Quran.  That gospel, the message that the “angel” gave Muhammad, was a different gospel than Christianity’s gospel.  Therefore I say, according to our Scriptural standard, “God’s curse is upon Muhammad!”


Prophet’s sins, violence, and covenants.

Talman makes a number of other points to buttress his argument, three of which I wish to address.

P1) Talman attempts to justify Muhammad’s sins by pointing out that Solomon and David committed gross sins yet God used them.  He argues that if Solomon and David were immoral and sinful, but still considered prophets, why couldn’t the same standard be applied to Muhammad?

David committed adultery and shed innocent blood in order to cover up his sin. Solomon, who authored three books in the OT canon, makes Muhammad’s weakness for women pale in comparison to his passions; (p10)

P2)  He defends Muhammad’s use of force by citing Joshua’s use of force:

Are we also to condemn Joshua, who was divinely directed to undertake a campaign of total annihilation of the Canaanites (including their children)?  (p11)

P3)  He suggests that Muhammad was living faithfully against the theology of the Old Testament covenant:

It may be that Muhammad was living faithfully according to the theology of a previous dispensation. (p11)


R1)  Their sins justifies Muhammad’s sins

Regarding the sins of David and Solomon, (and others he mentioned) Talman fails to note that they were identified as sins and condemned; whereas Muhammad taught his sinful actions, such as the murder of a mother of five children, Asma bint Marwan3were blessed by God.  The contrast here is that the Israelite’s God condemned sin, Muhammad’s Allah blessed it.


R2)  Their violence justifies Muhammad’s violence.

If you examine Muhammad’s theology of jihad, it was far more reaching and brutal than the rules of warfare that God laid out for Israel.  This topic requires a great deal of discussion, far more than can be done here.  However, if you wish to make a serious, in-depth examination of God’s command’s to conquer Canaan, spend several hours studying Glenn Miller’s Scriptural and historical analysis of the events:

How could a God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites? How could a God of Love order the massacre of the Canaanites?

I’ll quote his conclusion:

Conclusion: Judgment is called God’s “strange work” in the OT prophets. What for us humans is the problem of “why does God not do anything about evil and cruel people” is simply the other side of His patience with us. He hopes that we will accept a love of the truth and a commitment to value. In love, He deliberately “believes the best” (I Cor. 13).

What started out as the “Unfair genocide of the Canaanites” ended up as the “Less-than-they-deserved punitive deportation from the land”–filled with patience and mercy and ‘second chances’. It was nonetheless a judgment, and nonetheless involved death–as it later would be repeated to His people.

Far from being the “genocide of an innocent people for land-hungry Israelites”, it was instead the “firm, yet just–and even a little merciful to the masses–removal of a people from a tract of land, mostly through migration.”

Here are three additional articles that compare war in the Old Testament to Islamic jihad.

Good question – Is the Bible “as violent” as the Quran/Hadith?  by Glenn Miller

A Series of Answers to Common Questions  by Sam Shamoun

How Does Jihad Compare with Old Testament Warfare?  by Nabeel Qureshi

If you view this topic shallowly then the violence appears to be equivalent.  However, when you study the details behind the violence you see great contrast between what God commanded the Israelites, and what Allah commanded the Muslims.


R3)  Was Muhammad living faithfully under a previous dispensation?

This is a nonsensical statement.  Talman suggests that Muhammad was living faithfully under the Old Covenant.  Yet Christianity was established in the Arabian peninsula before Muhammad’s birth4, and that “covenant” was known by Muhammad and the Hijaz Pagans.  If the true God were revealing spiritual truth to Muhammad He would have motivated him towards Christianity, not Judaism.  Had Muhammad chosen to accept Jesus as Lord perhaps he could have functioned like a Christian reformer in Arabia, of course without all the bloodshed and forced conversions.

Further, how could Muhammad be living faithfully under the old covenant when he persecuted and killed many of the Jews around him?

Talman’s argument tries to justify Muhammad’s violence by implying that while Muhammad had a generic understanding of Christianity he was somehow intimate enough with Judaism to live faithfully under its laws.  That’s nonsense.  Muhammad invented his own faith, Islam, by borrowing from several other faiths.  Islam is a synthesis, a stew, of Judaism, Christianity, Paganism, mixed with Muhammad’s own changing theology, and seasoned heavily with Satan’s ghost peppers.  To his final dying breaths, when he cursed Christians and Jews, Muhammad lived faithfully to his Islam.

Case in point: when he was attacking the Banu Nadhir Jews, he burnt down their palm trees.  When the Jews challenged Muhammad about his breaking of the OT law prohibiting their destruction, Muhammad said that God gave him permission to break the law because the Jews were so evil.  John Gilchrist discusses this in his excellent book, “Muhammad and the Religion of Islam.”  Muhammad went against the Old Testament law and justified himself when challenged by the Jews.  Gilchrist comments:

Once again, as in the aftermath of the Nakhlah raid, a divine revelation was required to justify a clear breach of Arab custom, let alone a willful disregard for the Law of God as revealed through the prophet Moses.5  6

Muhammad transgressed the Old Testament and justified it by saying Allah commanded him to do so!  This example of Muhammad’s words and actions show that he was not living faithfully according to a previous dispensation.

Conclusion on Talman’s “Criteria for Prophethood”

Talman chose poorly in identifying his criteria, “attitude,” for prophethood.  Whatever Muhammad’s attitude towards our Scriptures it is clear that he did not know, or accept, their content.  Talman’s criteria sets a low, vague, ineffective, bar.  After all, how many religious speakers, from any religious vein, have a disrespectful attitude toward Jesus?  There are Hindus, Buddhists, and even Atheists who quote Scripture and “respect” Him, but they don’t say He’s the Son of God.  Talman’s criteria is a rationalized, grey, and philosophical that is easily fulfilled by many non-Christian self-proclaimed “prophets” who preached a different Jesus, such as Joseph Smith, Bahá’u’lláh, Sun Myung Moon, and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.  Does Talman argue for the church to accept these men as prophets as well?

It’s not much of a criteria is it?

Muhammad fails Talman’s criteria once the details of Muhammad’s viewpoint are examined.  How can one say Muhammad had a correct attitude when Muhammad was talking about the wrong Jesus?

The Sonship of Jesus Christ sets Islam and Christianity a million miles apart.  That criteria is paramount.  Jesus is:

the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3

John spoke of seeing the eternal Word of God and wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”   God spoke audibly during Jesus’s baptism and said, “You are My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!”

John’s purpose for writing his gospel:

but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.  (John 20:31)

Muhammad denied the Son therefore he did not have the Father (1 John 2:23).  Muhammad denigrated the Son of God when he said that “God does not beget nor is He begotten.”

Issue d)  IV. Muhammadan Prophethood Reconsidered /  possibilities for a positive prophetic role for Muhammad.

Here Talman repeats much of what he argued earlier.  Believing that he’s laid a theological foundation for considering Muhammad to be a prophet he explores various ways for Christians to accept Muhammad’s prophethood and message.  He does not make any strong points here but provides a wide variety of supportive Christian comments.  I’ll comment on a few.

An odd statement:

However, it does entail seeking to interpret the Qur’an exegetically and with regard to its biblical subtext, rather than primarily through the lens of later Islamic tradition. (p14)

This is another bizarre statement.  He wants to shift the study and interpretation of Muhammad and his message from one based on the hadith and sira to one based on “biblical subtext.”  If anyone can claim to have understood, and taught, the Quran accurately it is the traditional, historical, great Islamic scholars who used the hadith and sira.  Unlike Talman’s approach, they approached the Quran exegetically.  They referenced and used the hadith and sira, because they provide context, something the Quran fails to provide.  It is that context which often enables you to understand the Quran’s meaning.  You will not successfully understand much otherwise.  In using those contexts those scholars sought to understand the Quran’s true meaning.  Apart from those source materials, even with a purely subjective “biblical subtext,” you are left with personal interpretation, a theological “soup of the day”; again Talman’s gumby theology.


Quotes from other Christian authors:  Timothy Tennent et. al., do they know what they are talking about?

One of the problems with the numerous quotes that Talman uses is that it assumes that these Christians are familiar with Muhammad’s sins, violence, and Biblical contradictions.  When I first began to learn about Islam I too explored the possibility that Muhammad could have been some type of prophet.  It is not difficult to reach a negative conclusion once you know the details of Muhammad’s life.

Will Timothy Tennent confirm that a man who engaged in sex with a nine year old girl, who commanded his followers to make war upon Christians and Jews, who denied Jesus as the Son of God, who cursed Christians with his dying breath, who entrenched the practice of slavery, is a prophet?  I’d ask him if I had his email contact information.

Sadly, it is not difficult to find Christians today who bow the knee to the god of political correctness, or Mammon, and are quick to praise Muhammad.  Yale produces them by the dozen.  I’ve engaged a couple of them and they fold quickly:  they are unable to dialog about Muhammad because they have not been taught, or have not studied, the source materials.


Talman’s references.

Talman quotes dozens of authors.  Some have “scholar” status.  But not everything a so-called scholar says is accurate.  One big problem I have with Christian “scholars” is that many of them assume they are qualified to comment on everything.  A strength in one area does not equal a strength in another.  The deeper I go into Islam the wider it becomes.  Few men, have the drive, time, money, and resources to become expert in all.

One person Talman quotes is Anton Wessels.  The quote he used was odd so I purchased a used copy of Wessels’s book.  It didn’t take long to see that his book is just a religious-fantasy apologetic for Muhammad.  I could only bring myself to read a couple of sections.  Wessels correlated Muhammad’s experiences and sayings with Jesus’s and Biblical prophets in a blind, simplistic fashion.  Here is an example:

          Muhammad is also called to be a prophet.  His call involves both auditory and visual experiences:  what he hears (Q96) and what he sees on that occasion (Q53:1-18)  Muhammad’s experiences are strikingly similar to the earlier prophets, such as Isaiah, who hears a voice saying, “Cry out,” and the prophet asks, “What shall I cry?” (Isa 40:6).  These same words are used to relate what happened to Muhammad.  …

          Muhammad is very shocked by the fact that God speaks to him.  It is then no wonder that that first experience astonishes him greatly.  He even thinks of taking his own life, fearing he may be majnun – insane, or possessed.7

Wessels makes a weak correlation here.  If you want to compare Muhammad’s visitation experience with Isaiah’s, you need to go to Isaiah 6, not 40.  There Isaiah encountered the living God.  Isaiah is initially fearful because he is conscious of his sin in God’s presence:

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”  (Isaiah 6:5)

However a seraph comforts him:

He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”  (Isaiah 6:7)

Now Isaiah is full of faith, assured, and confident.  He is ready to serve God and says, “Here I am, send me!

Conversely, as mentioned in part 1, Muhammad’s experience in the cave with a spirit was the exact opposite.  Muhammad was in terror and he fled believing he was demon possessed or insane.  He then attempted suicide but that spirit stopped him.  Thereafter Muhammad suffered from depression and attempted suicide many more times during the next couple of years.8  God did not leave Isaiah in a state of terror and depression.  You’ll not find any Biblical characters having the same destructive experience.  A real encounter with our God does not leave people depressed and suicidal; experiences with demonic powers do.

Wessels’s work here was poor.  It was another straw for Talman to grasp and use.


Conclusion on Talman’s “Criteria for Prophethood”

It is foolish for Christians to sift, cherry pick, wiggle and worm, and devise some type of legitimate prophetic role for Muhammad when the whole of his experience and actions were anti-Christ in nature.  Everyman has both good and bad traits.  Don’t turn a blind eye towards an evil man’s ministry and embrace him with a hug and a kiss.  Don’t give this false prophet the honorable title of “prophet” because he preached “one God.”  There is far more to Islam and Muhammad’s message.

Conclusion

There’s a Murphy’s Law on Research:  “Enough research will tend to support whatever theory.”  If you look long enough you’ll find quotes enough to support a belief.  Talman’s argument is like cotton candy: volume, not substance.  It is religious fiction.  When the theological details and the historical facts are known in context, Talman’s “potentially more objective” fantasy ends.

Talman’s argument failed to provide theological grounds for accepting Muhammad as any type of legitimate prophet.  His methodology is irrational.  His use of the non-Muslim historical materials is deceptive; when they are examined fully they contradict rather than support his point.  Muhammad’s “revelation” experience ran counter to Biblical experiences with God and his subsequent “revelatory” message contradicts the Gospel.  Talman’s shallow criteria for determining legitimate prophethood is so low and superficial that many “prophets” could pass his test.  Is that the standard today’s church wants to use?

Talman wants Christians who disagree with him to lower their indignation.  However, based upon Scriptural instruction and example, and upon the contexts of the Muslim and non-Muslim historical writings, I disagree.  Now that I’ve finished examining Talman’s argument I am more offended that a Christian would embrace a false prophet who persecuted and oppressed the church.  Muhammad and real Islam have brutalized millions of Christians.  Muhammad’s message leads people away from Christ and he has led billions to eternal death.  Satan seeks those whom he may devour and there are few tools more beautifully exploited by Satan than Muhammad.  Satan uses Muhammad to undo the work of Christ.

In discussing Talman’s article with Jochen Katz, Jochen made the following observation:

My immediate observation and question would be:  first, the whole aim is to find some way to consider Muhammad as a prophet in some sense. Everything is tuned and selected for that ultimate purpose. The question is not: what is the evidence, but which pieces of “evidence” can I collage/assemble together so that a Muhammad of my liking appears?  That leads to the second question: why would he want to do so?  If the Muhammad he creates that way has little in common with the Muhammad the actual Muslims are believing in, how would it help our relationship with actual Muslims when we deconstruct their Muhammad and shape him into something else, creating a Muhammad in our wishful image?  Isn’t that even more “disrespectful” to Islam and Muslims than engaging in our discussions with the Muhammad they believe in and hold dear?  Isn’t that ultimately not taking seriously the Muslims and their faith?  How should that help in any way to build good relationships upon which to make progress on a better understanding of the true God and his revelation?

That hits the nail on the head.  Talman cherry-picked anything he could so he could advance Muhammad’s cause.  The question is “Why is Talman so passionate for Muhammad’s prophethood to be accepted by the church?

What fool would smear blood and filth upon the bride’s white dress?


Questions for Talman

Q1) You said that you do not necessarily accept all of the Quran’s verses and statements.  What specific verses or themes do you object to, and why?

Q2) If you view those verses as incorrect does that mean that Muhammad was wrong?

Q3) Aside from not having a “respectful view toward Christ and the Scriptures” what would a person have to do for you to label them as a false prophet?


Lessons from our failure:  lessons from the early church

My biggest criticism in all of this is not for Talman’s disease-laden argument.  Instead it is for Evangelical Church leadership.  That the Evangelical branch would allow false teaching to be taught in and infect their schools and seminars indicates weakness and spiritual apathy.9

Let’s compare the churches of Revelation to what Talman is doing and our present state.


Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira

The Ephesians were stronger spiritually than we are today.  They were active; they tested, then consequently rejected, wicked false prophets.  However, they were growing cold and had left their first love.  Therefore, Jesus threatened them with losing their church: “will remove your lampstand.”  While the American Evangelicals are active, they are not as a whole rejecting false prophets.  Some have left their first love and have grown weak, unable to test and verify truth.  Talman is leading them to embrace a false prophet.

The Christians at Pergamum had sunk lower than the Ephesians.  They had left their first love, grown weak, and some had embraced false teachings.  Likewise Talman and some other Christians today have embraced the false prophet Muhammad and are teaching the church to embrace a false prophet.

The Thyatirans had degenerated further.  Not only had they left their first love, they accepted a false prophet and some were in bed with her.  Isn’t this where Talman would have the church?  Flirting with and embracing Muhammad and some of his word?  If Islam is partly demonic in nature then isn’t Talman leading the church to partake in demons?  (See 1 Cor 10:14-22 for applicable reasoning).

In his prodigious commentary on Revelation (rated by some to be the best commentary on Revelation), David Aune comments on the spiritual breakdown of these churches:

“… they may point to the fact that the second-generation Christians had developed a comfortable accommodation with the pagan world.”10

Isn’t this what Evangelical church leadership is doing when they ask you to accommodate Muhammad as a prophet?

Brethren,
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.  In our weakness and arrogance we are led astray.  Take a hard look at God’s harsh rebukes to the church:

I will remove the lampstand,

I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth,

“I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.

Wasn’t it essential for the Lord to rebuke the churches for leaving their first love, for tolerating and even partaking with false prophets?  Then isn’t it essential that we identify and reject false prophets and false teaching?   If Talman truly believes “in essentials, unity” then he needs to take a hard look at what he is doing, evaluate it from the Lord’s point of view, and repent.  He is not trailblazing a new and healthy path, he is spreading his infection to the church.

If there is a God, and if the New Testament is His word, then shouldn’t we be taking this seriously?  Certainly more seriously than many of the current leaders in the Evangelical church who are embracing Muhammad as some type of prophet?   Shouldn’t we be erring on the side of caution?  Who wants to roll the dice on embracing false doctrine and false prophets?  I don’t.  Instead, I challenge myself to ensure that I do not leave my first love.

Brethren,
We are fighting against powerful demonic spiritual forces.  This is why God’s word instructs us to wear the full set of God’s armor.  The very same powerful spiritual forces that assaulted and deluded Muhammad, that used him as their weapon and taught him that Jesus is not Lord, that Jesus is not the Son of God, that Jesus was not crucified, are engaged in war with the church.  Talman aids these dark forces by advocating some type of recognized prophethood for Muhammad.  He’s instructing the church to take off their helmets.

Brethren,
Is it so hard to understand what God is saying to the church, our church?  Is it so hard to see the false doctrine Talman is foisting upon the church?  C’mon guys, cross-check this for yourselves!

Why did Christians tolerate or honor a false prophet?  Revelation tells us that it is because they have left their first love.  Men argue for something they are passionate about.  Talman’s gone native and his love for Muhammad blinds him to Muhammad’s sins.  He’s embraced Muhammad and like a love-struck lover he argues, “but that’s not the Muhammad I know, he’s really a decent guy.”

I love Jesus.  He’s entered my life as Lord, saved me, and given me a depth of love, joy, and peace that I could not find elsewhere.  He’s been so good to me.  I love Him and His church.  I don’t want to see them led astray.

I hate Islam.  It is a religion with good and bad in it.  But the bad is spiritual poison.  Just as some poisons and pesticides today are a mixture of good and harmful, so too is Islam.

If the Lord were to write letters to the churches today He would surely criticize and condemn the teachings of Muhammad as He did the Nicolatians.  He would surely rebuke Christians for embracing and honoring a false prophet as He did for Thyatira and Pergamum.  And, He would surely say that we too have left our first love.

In Christ,
Silas
Jan 15th, 2017


A picture of Muhammad tormented in hell.

Giovanni da Modena Last Judgment Fresco

[First published: 15 February 2017]
[Last updated: 15 February 2017]

Footnotes

1 Muhammad, the man who claimed he was “The Messenger of God,” who claimed that Gabriel met with him each year to review the Quran, the man who claimed that faith in Islam meant obedience to Allah and His Messenger.  I’m not trying to argue from silence, I’m pointing out a huge inconsistency and the contradiction.

2 By the way, if Allah has been fighting against the Christians who say Jesus is the Son of God, I’d say he’s failed terribly and done a shoddy job of it.  Christianity is the fastest growing faith and these new Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God.

4 See Trimingham, J. S. , “Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times”, Longman Group Limited, London, 1979.

5 Gilchrist, John, “Muhammad the religion of Islam” published by Jesus to the Muslims. 1986   It can be found on the web at:  http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Vol1/1c.html   In the book it is found on pages 42, 43.

6 You can read Ibn Ishaq’s account, and related commentary (tafsir), on pages 437 – 439.

7 Wessels, Anton, “The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an,” Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013, (pp 42, 43).

8 This period was anywhere from six months to two and a half years.

9 I am not alone in criticizing current church leadership.  Julie Roys states similar:  http://www.christianpost.com/news/russell-moore-controversy-shows-evangelical-leaders-lack-courage-172599/    “I fear evangelicalism is in this doom loop today. We’re increasingly succumbing to culture —and we’re often led by people who are more concerned about offending friends than honoring God. If we’re ever going to thrive, it’s going to take real leadership — leadership that’s willing to say what’s unpopular and follows God, rather than men.”

10 Aune, David, “Revelation,” Word Biblical Commentary, Word, Dallas, Texas, 1997, p155


Articles by Silas
Answering Islam Home Page

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman, part 2, a post by Silas, from Answering-Islam.org

By Silas

Part 2

Should Christians confer some degree of authentic “prophethood” upon Muhammad?

Part one, False Prophet Muhammad, identified two distinct Muhammad’s:  the traditional and Harley Talman’s revised version.  It also established Biblical standards and metrics for identifying true or false prophets.  The traditional Muhammad fails completely when compared to the Biblical requirements for prophethood:  his message, Islam, contradicts the Gospel message, and his moral conduct was abhorrent.  The Islamic source materials, the Quran, hadith, and sira, portray Muhammad as a man with both good and bad characteristics.  However, they also accept, if not justify, him as thief, murderer, lustful, and hateful.  Based upon his wicked character and his false message the conclusion that Muhammad was a “false prophet” is as certain as apples fall from trees.

Parts 2 and 3 review Harley Talman’s argument for his revisionist Muhammad to be accepted as prophet, to some degree, by the Bride of Christ.

Talman’s Argument

Talman bases his argument upon several points:  evidence of tampering in the Islamic source materials, (i.e. the hadith and sira), interpretation “potentials” of non-Islamic writings, loose theological standards, and various historical theories.  Because some of these cast doubt upon the integrity of the hadith and sira, he rejects the use of the hadith and sira to detail and define Muhammad‘s life and actions.  For example, Talman uses Dan Gibson’s theory that Petra, (in modern day Jordan), not Mecca, was the site of Islam’s holy city and upon that and other similar theories states:

The most widely accepted version of Muhammad, based upon Islamic tradition, is dubious. (p3)

If such a fundamental historical “fact” in Islamic history as the location of “Mecca” could have been created by Muslim revisionist historians, then how much can we trust their accounts of other matters? Therefore, there is good reason to be skeptical about many aspects of Muhammad’s life as well as the emergence and expansion of Islam as set forth in Islamic traditions (their authority with Muslims notwithstanding). Thus, we are compelled to evaluate the historical narrative these traditions present in light of non-Muslim historical documents and archaeological evidence.  What one finds is that when this is done, our view of Muhammad and Islam is significantly altered, along with our view of Muhammad in relation to redemptive history.1 (p3)

These theories enable Talman to dismiss the authoritative Islamic source materials and build his personal Muhammad.2

The sub-sections which follow reflect on various Christian views of Islam, a revised history of Muhammad and the movement he founded, and a theological reassessment of the prophet of Islam, all based on a potentially more objective portrayal of his character and actions. (p3)

Talman identifies four facets for review and examination in order to identify Muhammad as a prophet:

This article will focus on a reconsideration of four issues: our understanding of Muhammad and Islam, our theology of revelation, the criteria for prophethood, and possibilities for a positive prophetic role for Muhammad. (p2)

His four facets:

a) our understanding of Muhammad and Islam

b) our theology of revelation

c) the criteria for prophethood

d) possibilities for a positive prophetic role for Muhammad.

We’ll review Talman’s methodology, and his four points, and contrast them with scholarly approaches, non-Islamic historical writings, the Quran, references from the hadith and sira, and with Scripture, to evaluate the soundness of Talman’s arguments.

Talman’s methodology

Talman generally3 discards the hadith and sira and relies on non-Muslim writings and interpretations of the Quran.

However modern scholars, and some of the previous extremely skeptical scholars of the hadith and sira, have shifted their positions due to recent archeological and historical document discoveries.  They now approach the Islamic sources with a more reasoned, analytical, and rational approach, just as scholars approach other historical veins.  It is no secret that both hadith and sira have been subjected to editing, the earliest Muslim scholars themselves attest to fraud within their faith’s writings.  Real scholars however, do not jettison the entire corpus of Islamic source materials, but labor to identify trustable and reliable data.  This is true in any data analysis science.  Just as the early Muslim scholars sifted through the available hadith to separate true from false, or classify sound from weak, so too today Islamic scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, continue to analyze the hadith and sira.

Gregor Schoeler’s details this shift:

Only three years after publishing his much-quoted article ‘The quest for the historical Muhammad’ in which he expressed his unreserved pessimism about our ability to establish any hard facts about early Islamic history, F. E. Peters (1994) wrote – according to Patricia Crone – a thoroughly ‘traditional’ study about the Prophet.  R. Hoyland, a former student of Crone and now the pre-eminent authority on non-Islamic sources about early Islam, re-examined the non-Islamic sources Crone and Cook quoted in Hagarism.  He shows that they are hardly suitable to support an alternative account of early Islamic history; on the contrary, they frequently agree with Islamic sources and supplement them.  A few years ago, Crone and Cook themselves publicly repudiated the central hypothesis advanced in Hagarism.  In their most recent publications, leading historians of early Islam such as F. Donner and C. Robinson strike a decidedly critical note when it comes to the new ‘scepticism’.4

Schoeler then lists a number of recent discoveries that confirm key details found in the Islamic sources and concludes:

So much for the external evidence which confirms at least some details of the Islamic historical tradition about early Islamic history.  This book however, deals with the Islamic historical tradition itself.  More and more representatives of recent scholarship are prepared to admit that, in addition to ‘bad’ reports Islamic tradition also contains ‘good’ ones.  Thus, they distance themselves from the ‘sceptical paradigm’. … The author of the last statement, C. Robinson, qualifies his claim in a footnote by admitting that he considers the so-called isnad-cum-matn analysis ‘promising’.5

Schoeler notes one reason older scholars deviated into the irrational theory of radical skepticism by quoting Bernheim’s comments on these scholar’s earlier modus operandi:

…scholars soon found out that their statements about one and the same event often enough contradicted each other; instead of trying to find out if they could still discover the truth or if there were ways to eliminate the sources of error they had detected, they carried skepticism to extremes by claiming that, due to the unreliability of transmission, there was no way at all to obtain valid information about the past…

Apparently, discarding tradition and freely sketching a radically alternative past on an empty canvas has a special appeal for these scholars.6

In the rest of his book Schoeler provides several technical examples of his “isnad-cum-matn analysis” process.

Similar to Schoeler, Harald Motzki, uses the meticulous isnad-cum-matn analysis method to analyze the hadith and sira events.  He describes his methodology and presents the analysis example of Muhammad’s murder of the Jewish man Ibn Abi l-Huqayq.  He writes:

The method of isnad-cum-matn analysis which I used in the following investigation consisted of several steps.  1) As many variants as possible equipped with an isnad (or fragments of it) were collected.  2) The lines of transmission were compiled in order to detect their common links in the different generations of transmitters.  On the bases of the results first hypotheses on the transmission history were formulated.  3) The texts of the variants were compared in order to establish relationships and differences between them concerning structure and wording.  This also allowed the formulation of statements about their transmission history.  4) The results of isnad and matn analyses were compared.  At this point conclusions with regard to their transmission history of the tradition in question could be drawn: an approximate date from when the tradition in question must have been in circulation, who were the earliest transmitters, how did the text change in the course of transmission and who was responsible for it, etc.7

Commenting on Motzki’s book, reviewer Wim Raven writes:

What is striking in this volume is the increasing acceptance of the isnaad-analytical method which was invented by J. Schacht (Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, 1950) and refined by G.H.A. Juynboll and, differently, by Schoeler and Motzki. There are far more sources available now than in the days of Watt, and if one is prepared to go through painstaking detail, research can be brought to another level. The researcher has to collect all the versions of a story and analyze their content together with their isnaads. This makes it possible, if one is lucky, to establish a short list of transmitters which are common to all or nearly all isnaads. In many cases, the youngest of these, the so-called “common link,” will be the person who proliferated the story.

Originally the common-link method was the domain of the skeptics. Now it has spread more widely and is applied not only to hadith but also to sira texts.8

Other similar and intelligent approaches to this field are presented by Görke in “Prospects and Limits in the Study of the Historical Muhammad.” Gorke

Görke notes that the traditional Islamic source materials are questionable, but he also states that the non-Islamic references are also just as questionable, (something Talman misses completely), and far more incomplete:

The non-Muslim literary sources do not provide relief either. There are a number of sources referring to the beginnings of Islam that predate the Islamic sources. However, they do not contain substantial material pertaining specifically to the life of Muḥammad. In many cases, these sources are also open to interpretation. Finally, there are no non-Muslim sources that could highlight the social, political or spiritual context of the Ḥijāz at the relevant time and thus provide a background against which information on Muḥammad could be assessed. (p2)

Görke uses the same objections and worse, against the non-Muslims sources that Talman uses for his Muhammad.  They are subject to interpretation, some were written with personal bias, some of them have been edited, details are lacking, and material is scant.

But Görke does not knee-jerk react and throw out the entire lot of either the Muslim or non-Muslim writings:

The fact that accounts on the life of Muḥammad were only recorded in written sources more than 150 years after his purported death does not preclude the possibility that such accounts were transmitted faithfully and accurately in the time between the event and their recording in these sources. Also, a lack of contemporary sources does not entail the impossibility of making statements about the historicity of an event. (p4)

His book presents similar approaches to analyzing the hadith and sira.

These are far more rational, logical, and scholarly approaches for the study of Muhammad’s life than to simply say, “oh well, these earliest writings may be doubtful, so I guess we’ll discard them.”

Even doubting critic like Patricia Crone, who ameliorated her skeptical position, admitted there was core truth in the hadith and sira.

We shall never be able to do without the literary sources, of course, and the chances are that most of what the tradition tells us about the prophet’s life is more or less correct in some sense or other. Crone

Another perspective on the early non-Muslim writings comes from fundamentalist Muslims.  They have also examined the historical non-Islamic writings, such as those covered in Hoyland’s work, and have reached the same conclusion as I have: these writings confirm the sira and hadith accounts.9 Talman’s approach of ignoring the details and cherry picking select writings enables him to create a colorful wisp of smoke, a fairy tale Muhammad.


Conclusion on Talman’s methodology

This topic should be approached similar to the way data analysts approach situations where there are many versions of the same event.  Perhaps you could call this “forensic data analysis.”  They collect the data, correlate it, contrast it, and nail down as many facts as possible.  They are aware that people’s memory plays tricks on them, and that key facts can be forgotten, or colored.  They ask a “why” series of questions about the event, they identify the bias of witnesses, they correlate names, times, dates, places, etc.

That approach is similar to what Schoeler, Motzki, Görke, and others do and it is the opposite of what Talman has done.

Talman’s methodology is not only flawed, it is irrational.  I am not a scholar in their field and that gives me a more objective eye.  It is foolish to wholly discard the backbone and flesh of Islam because of some tampering.  It implies cosmic conspiracies and generations of moral corruption.  I am not trying to be offensive but that approach tells me that these earlier “scholars” were not that good, and their approach reveals unanchored arrogance.  I don’t see why I must esteem scholars who invent and champion stupid theories, Christian or not.


Talman’s four issues:

Issue a) our understanding of Muhammad and Islam

Talman presents his Muhammad and Islam as compatible with Christianity.

His two key points:

1)  The earliest Christians who encountered Muhammad were more favorable and positive about Muhammad and Islam than later Christians.  Muhammad was not understood to be evil or portrayed in a harsh light.

The critical question is: Does our present perception of Islam accurately represent what Islam was in the time of Muhammad and what he intended his movement to be? (p4)

2)  Muhammad’s message and mission was in harmony with the local Christian beliefs.  His Christology was a variant of existing Christologies of the various Christianitys existing in the Hijaz, and the Quran’s apparent criticisms of Christianity are actually criticizing unorthodox Christian doctrine.

This harmonizes with the view of scholars who contend that Qur’anic verses allegedly critical of Christianity are best understood as challenging or correcting unorthodox Christianities or disputed Christologies.  Reliable historical and textual evidence supports this understanding. (p5)

This indicates that they viewed Islam as an alternative Christology, not as a different religion. C. Jonn Block concludes that they even recognized a distinction between the teachings of Muhammad and the behaviors of his followers to the degree that Muhammad himself may have been considered a prophet from a Christian perspective. (p5)

Talman presents his revisionist Muhammad as being in harmony with real Christianity; Muhammad’s anti-Christian teachings were actually directed against unorthodox Christianity and he posited an alternate Christology.  Subsequent hostilities between the Christians and Muslims were the results of other problems, issues, and misunderstandings.

Talman is wrong on both points.

1)  Using only the historical non-Muslim writings we find a picture similar to what the sira and hadith paint.  For example, Robert Hoyland is the expert in the non-Muslim writings about Muhammad.  He wrote a chapter in Motzki’s book and commented that many of the harsh recent and medieval criticisms of Muhammad were rooted in the earliest Christian writings:

The same is true for various other attributes, deeds and doctrines of Muhammad, which recur for centuries in European polemical tracts and all of which have their roots in the very earliest Eastern Christian writings about the Prophet.10

Hoyland quotes some of the earliest writings about Muhammad from various non-Muslim writings and how they identify Muhammad with titles or characteristics of his prophethood.  Here are quotes from two of the titles.

The first attribute/title:

  Muhammad the Initiator of the Conquests

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 4 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhammad.11 (Thomas the Presbyter, ca. 640)

Then God brought the Ishmaelites against them like sand on the sea shore; their leader was Muhammad and neither walls nor gates, armor or shield, withstood them; they gained control over the entire land of the Persians.12  (Syrian chronicler, ca 660)

(Muhammad exhorting his soldiers to attack and conquer other countries)

You are the sons of Abraham, and God will realize in you the promise made to Abraham and his posterity.  Only love the God of Abraham and go and take possession of your country which God gave to your father Abraham, and none will be able to resist you in battle, for God is with you.13 (p278)

When a most numerous multitude of Saracens had gathered together, they invaded the provinces of Syria, Arabia, and Mesopotamia.  Above them, holding the leadership, was one Muhammad by name.14 (Mid-eighth-century Spanish writer).

Hoyland summarizes these:

The idea that Muhammad initiated the Arab conquests comes through very clearly in these sources.15

Hoyland then cites Theophilus of Edessa commenting on Muhammad’s actions:

To corroborate his word, he led a band of them who were obedient to him and began to go up to the land of Palestine, plundering, enslaving and pillaging.  He returned laden (with booty) and unharmed, and thus he had not fallen short of his promise to them.
Once dispatched, it was not enough for them to frequent Palestine alone, but they ranged far and wide, killing openly, enslaving, ravaging and plundering.  Even this was not enough for them, but they would make them pay tribute and enslave them.  Thus, gradually, they grew strong and spread abroad.  And they grew so powerful that they subjected almost all the land of the Romans and also the kingdom of the Persians under their sway.16

The 2nd attribute/title:

Muhammad the Prophet/False Prophet.

However, just because the Christians knew Muhammad was deemed a prophet by his own people does not mean they themselves accepted him as such.  In general, of course, they did not.  Christians living in Muslim-ruled lands were at least content to say that “Muhammad walked in the way of the prophets” in that he brought his people to knowledge of the one true God and recognition of virtue, but Byzantine authors designated him rather as “the forerunner of the Antichrist” and “a false prophet.”17

Hoyland then mentions the Christian polemics against Muhammad:

Thus, for example, much of the reason for the presentation by Christian writers of Muhammad as a reviver of an original Abrahamic religion was to emphasize that his religion was nothing new, indeed that it was primitive, not having benefited from any of Jesus’ modernizations.18

Finally, Hoyland comments on another early Christian observation about Muhammad and the Muslims:

For example, Christian authors reveal to us how numerous were the prisoners-of-war taken by the Muslims and how extensively this affected non-Muslim society, both physically and mentally.  They illustrate how preoccupied the Muslims were with matters of security and how suspicious they were that Christians might be conspiring with the Byzantines against them.19

All of these quotes from early non-Muslim sources paint the same exact picture the sira and hadith paint.  Muhammad and his Muslims, attacked, plundered, killed, and enslaved.  There is little difference between what Muhammad and his Muslims did with what ISIS does now.  The earliest non-Muslim historical writings tell us that hundreds of thousands of people, Christian and non-Christian, suffered by Muhammad’s hand. They attributed their sufferings to Muhammad’s teachings and actions.

To answer Talman’s question:   Does our present perception of Islam accurately represent what Islam was in the time of Muhammad and what he intended his movement to be?  The answer is “Yes.”  The non-Muslim historical writings depict the same Muhammad the hadith and sira present.

Patricia Crone was also aware of what the earliest Christian writings said about Muhammad:

There is no doubt that Mohammed existed, occasional attempts to deny it notwithstanding. His neighbours in Byzantine Syria got to hear of him within two years of his death at the latest; a Greek text written during the Arab invasion of Syria between 632 and 634 mentions that “a false prophet has appeared among the Saracens” and dismisses him as an impostor on the ground that prophets do not come “with sword and chariot”. It thus conveys the impression that he was actually leading the invasions.
Patricia Crone

The second part of Talman’s “understanding of Muhammad” is that Muhammad’s teachings and pronouncements against Christianity were directed against non-orthodox Christian teachings.  Talman relies heavily on Fred Donner’s book, “Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam.”

See part 1 of this article which uses the Quran’s anti-Christian verses, in context, and shows that the Quran contradicts and even condemns all aspects of the Gospel message:

a) Jesus was crucified and died for our sins
b) He was resurrected from the dead
c) We are to put our faith in Him as the Son of God
d) We are to receive and obey Him as Lord.

All of these points above are contradicted by verses in the Quran.

Muhammad does not get a pass because he believed in one God.  So do the demons.  The Quran’s passages contradict Talman’s argument.

Patricia Crone also rejected Donner’s thesis.  Her sharp review of Donner’s book states (bold emphasis mine):

The main problem is that the only direct evidence for Donner’s central thesis is the Quranic verses on the believing People of the Book; all the rest is conjecture. The verses in question tell us nothing about events after the death of the Prophet, and it has to be said that the Medinese suras of which they form a part are not suggestive of ecumenicalism. They are full of bitterly hostile polemics against Jews and Christians, both of whom are charged with polytheism, deification of their own leaders, deification of themselves, and more besides. The Jews are faulted for rejecting Jesus, the Christians for deifying him. If there were believers among the People of the Book in Medina, an obvious explanation would be that they were Jewish Christians, a well-known hypothesis that Donner does not consider. The Jacobite, Nestorian, and Melkite Christians that the Muslims encountered in Syria, Egypt, and Iraq were unquestionably polytheists by Quranic standards, and with all due respect to Donner, the fact that they disagreed about Christology does not help, given that their disputes were premised on Christ’s divinity.

Donner says so many strange things in this book that one wonders what is going on.  P. Crone – Donner


Conclusion on Talman’s “Our understanding of Muhammad and Islam”

Talman argues that the early Christians were receptive to Muhammad’s message and that they considered him to have some type of prophetic role.  The exact opposite is true.  Muhammad was viewed as a false prophet, a war-monger, a slaver.  Talman also argues that the Quran’s message is compatible with Christ’s message.  Again the opposite is true:  Muhammad’s message contradicts Christ’s message at every crucial point save the “one God” belief.

An ex-Muslim scholar once said, “Jesus came to undo the works of Satan, Muhammad came to undo the work of Christ.”  That sums up this point accurately.


Issue b)
our theology of revelation

Talman’s argument is that God gives revelation to non-Christians and Muhammad was such a recipient.  It has a number of facets, and he goes off on a tangent or two, but his primary thrust is that Muhammad encountered God and received revelation.  Therefore Christians can confer some degree of legitimacy upon Muhammad as a prophet and his Quran as God’s word.

Talman builds this argument in several steps.  First he identifies “special revelation” and “post-canonical and present-day prophecy” and their operation within the church.  I agree fully with this specific point.  God does speak to the church through modern day Christian prophets whose messages must be sifted.  He then argues that there can be prophets outside of the Judeo-Christian faiths.

While acknowledging such a possibility for those in the Judeo-Christian heritage, some may question the possible existence of such prophets outside of this stream. However, they should remember that Balaam was the recipient of divine revelation from the true God whom he claimed as “the Lord my God” (Num. 22:18). (p7)

In general, I do agree that God can use non-Christians to speak revelation truth.  However, an important semantic distinction must be made.  Since there are different definitions for “prophet” we need to be precise in our usage.  Within the context of the church a prophet is someone who has a specific ministry and gifting who speaks God’s word to the church.  Outside of the church a prophet can mean many more things as I described in Part 1.  A Christian teacher should distinguish between a legitimate church prophet, (like those found in the book of Acts, and found today in various Charismatic ministries), and a non-Christian prophet speaking in some type of ministerial mode.  I would not tell Christians that a non-Christian is a prophet because he is speaking some truth, without adding clarification.  If that non-Christian “prophet” proclaimed things that contradicted the Gospel, and rejected and refused correction, then I would, according to our Scripture, label him a false prophet.  Truth mixed with falsehood is like poison mixed with whole food; it is still poisonous.  This is the case with Muhammad.

Talman extends his general concept of revelation and prophecy to Muhammad and argues that Muhammad did indeed encounter God.  He references the Dutch theologian Johan H. Bavinck who notes one of Muhammad’s experiences:

In the “night of power” of which the ninety-seventh sura of the Koran speaks, the night when “the angels descended” and the Koran descended from Allah’s throne, God dealt with Muhammad and touched him. God wrestled with him in that night, and God’s hand is still noticeable in the answer of the prophet, but it is also the result of human oppression.

Bavinck asserts that it was truly God (not an evil angel) whom Muhammad encountered in his revelatory experiences.

Thus Bavinck can acknowledge that Muhammad (at least at some point and in some way) encountered the true and living God in his revelatory experiences. Contradictory differences from biblical revelation could be attributed to imperfect responses by him, by the community that succeeded him, and by the People of the Book whom they encountered. (p8)

I believe Talman’s summary statement on his view of Muhammad’s prophethood and legitimacy of revelation is:

As Christians, we do not regard the Qur’an to be utterly infallible and authoritative, but need not rule out the possibility of God’s calling and using Muhammad as a prophet (like Saul in the OT or a charismatic prophet in the present era). (p9)

Talman’s argument suffers from at least two flaws: 1) he fails to evaluate Muhammad’s message as a whole, 2) his statement “Contradictory differences from biblical revelation could be attributed to imperfect responses by him, by the community that succeeded him, and by the People of the Book whom they encountered,” runs counter to Muhammad’s message and his asserted edict from God.

1)  Talman argues from an “eat the cherries, spit out the pits” position.  However, this is not the Biblical approach.  Had Saul also called for the worship of a different God, or made calls to abandon Moses, then the Israelites would have rejected him as a false prophet and probably put him to death.  A false prophet could say some truthful things but that would not absolve them of gross error.  Here is the Old Testament’s position:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.  (Deut 13:1-5)

The Old Testament accepts that false prophets can speak truth and perform miracles.  However, the evaluation does not end there.  Their message as a whole was evaluated.  The Israelites were commanded to NOT take an “eat the cherry, spit out the pits” approach.  Instead the opposite was true.  They were to kill false prophets, to “purge the evil from among you.”

Note God’s action in this:  He was testing the Israelites to see if they loved Him.  He allowed those false prophets to challenge His people to see if they loved him truly.  If we follow Christ’s command, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then shouldn’t we rejected false prophets and false messages?

Talman’s own argument works against him because he admits that the Quran contradicts the Word of God.  Since it contradicts the Word of God it shows that Bavinck is wrong.  Muhammad encountered an evil spirit, not the true God.  That also is what Muhammad believed initially:

“So I read it, and he departed from me.  And I awoke from my sleep, and it was though these words were written on my heart.  (Tabari:  Now none of God’s creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man possessed:  I could not even look at them.  I thought, Woe is me poet or possessed – Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying “O Muhammad! thou are the apostle of God and I am Gabriel.”20  Muhammad Suicide

Muhammad’s initial reaction was correct because he was assaulted by a demonic power.  After years of struggling with this spiritual and psychological trauma he broke down mentally and gave himself over to that dark, malevolent power.  His conscience became seared.  That explains why he could subsequently kill, murder, and torture others without mercy.

Muhammad’s revelation experience contradicts the Biblical model.  Search the Scriptures and see that no one ever becomes depressed and suicidal because they encountered the living God.  God does not cause His chosen messengers to become depressed and suicidal for years at a time.

2)  Talman’s statement, “Contradictory differences from biblical revelation could be attributed to imperfect responses by him, by the community that succeeded him, and by the People of the Book whom they encountered“ is confused or unclear.  Muhammad did receive “revelations” that contradict the Bible.  Talman attributes them to those three factors.  However, none of them played a role in the revelation he received.  The single occurrence of Muhammad’s “imperfect response,” i.e. the episode of the Satanic Verses, has his Gabriel reproving him of his error.  After being reproved by Gabriel Muhammad states:

I have obeyed Satan and spoken his words, and he has taken part in God’s authority on me.21

Consequently, Muhammad’s error was corrected.

Aside from that episode, the community that succeeded Muhammad, and the People of the Book, played no role in distorting and corrupting Muhammad’s message, the Quran.  There are many versions of the Quran that exhibit many variations, but none of these variants distort or corrupt the Quran or its message.


Conclusion on Talman’s “our theology of revelation”

Talman extends his definition of revelation to include Muhammad’s experiences and message.  However his initial experience and subsequent content of his entire message disqualifies him from being able to claim that the spirit with whom he interacted was sent by God.  The Quranic message contradicts the Gospel and any claim of “revelation from God” must be rejected.  Muhammad was a false prophet who spoke some truth.  So has every other “false prophet” the world has seen.

1/15/17

In Christ,

Silas

Continue with Part 3.

[First published: 15 February 2017]
[Last updated: 15 February 2017]

Footnotes

1 Gregor Schoeler’s introduction in “The Biography of Muhammad Nature and authenticity” documents this skeptical approach from the 19th century to now.  Recent scholarship is taking a more rational approach in dealing with the Islamic sources.

2 The earlier scholars who rejected the source materials en toto did so because of hesitation of accepting doubtful material as truth, not because they wanted to paint a rehabilitated picture of Muhammad.

3 Talman’s article is seasoned heavily with quotes from many authors.  These quotes are used to support assumptions about Muhammad’s statements and actions, or the Quran’s meaning.  Often they are built on context provided by the hadith and sira.  Yet Talman argues that those texts are unreliable.  Talman is inconsistent in his argument.  Bear this in mind as you read his work.

4 Gregor Schoeler, “The Biography of Muhammad”, Routledge, New York, New York, 2014, p13

5 ibid. p15

6 ibid. p17

7 Harald Motzki, “The Biography of Muhammad  The Issue of the Sources”, Brill, Leiden, 2000  (p174, 175).

9 For those of you who would like to read a detailed Muslim refutation of the skeptic’s “non-Muslim sources” argument see http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlysaw.html  These fundamentalist Muslims use the same books and references that Talman, and I, have used, plus a few more.  Their conclusion is the same as mine:  the non-Muslim writings corroborate many of the sira’s and hadith’s details.

10 Harald Motzki, “The Biography of Muhammad  The Issue of the Sources”, Brill, Leiden, 2000. (p276)

11 ibid. 278  (Hoyland also cites this in his book “Seeing Islam as Others Saw It”, Darwin Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1997. p120)

12 ibid. 278

13 ibid. 278

14 ibid. 279

15 ibid. 279

16 ibid.280,281

17 ibid. 286

18 ibid. 286

19 ibid. 292

20  Guillaume, A., “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah”, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan.  (p106)

21 Rubin, Uri, “The Eye of the Beholder”, Darwin Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1995 (p161)


Articles by Silas
Answering Islam Home Page

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

False Prophet Muhammad, Fairytale Muhammad, and Harley Talman, part 1, a post by Silas taken from Answering-Islam.org

By Silas

Part 1

INTRODUCTION

Was Muhammad a true or false prophet?  Muhammad is considered to be a prophet of Islam but should he be accepted by Christians as a true prophet?   If “yes,” why should they accept him?  What qualifies him?  If “no,” then why not?  What disqualifies him?

In the end this question requires a 100% “yes” or “no” answer because we are evaluating Muhammad’s claim to be a God-ordained prophet and apostle who brought God’s commands to all mankind.  He claimed that the God of Moses and Jesus sent him to restore the true faith and true believers are now required to put their faith in him.  (Quran 4:136)  Muhammad claimed he was the last of the prophets and Islam was to be accepted as a certified, God-decreed legitimate faith, meant to supersede Judaism and Christianity.1 Muhammad’s assertion of his prophethood, as equivalent to the Biblical prophets, is an integral part of his message.  A “partly yes, partly no” answer avoids the issue and misleads the audience.  While Muhammad proclaimed many of the same things Moses and Jesus proclaimed, such as there is only one God, he also proclaimed many things that differed or contradicted what Moses and Jesus taught, e.g. dietary laws and Jesus’s Sonship.  Muhammad allowed no room for a pick and choose buffet of faith; it was all or nothing:

And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.2  (Quran 3:85)

Therefore, since Muhammad claimed to be a God-ordained prophetic voice, en toto, we must evaluate that claim, not as a simple inspiring and motivating mystical speaker but as someone bringing a new faith, with laws, commands, and rituals, against the Biblical “prophet” standard.  This is our starting point and ultimately where we must end.  In-between there is room to identify and agree with various aspects of Islam that align with Christian truth3 but that is an aside from validating his prophetic claim.  Anything less is incomplete and disingenuous.

Validating Muhammad’s prophethood, even in a generic way, lends credibility to him and Islam.  If Muhammad were a true prophet of God then to one degree or another Christians would be obligated to consider and possibly implement Islamic tenets.  After all, if God the Father gave Muhammad commands for all mankind, then wouldn’t Christians be required to obey them?  On the other hand, if he were a false prophet then Christians are obligated to reject Islam, take a stand, and say, politely, wisely, and firmly that Muhammad was not a prophet of God.  If this is the case then Muhammad would correctly be identified as a false prophet.

For the purposes of this article there are two key questions that need to be answered:

Question 1) Which Muhammad are we talking about?  On one side there is the traditional Muhammad, the Muhammad of Islam for about the past 1400 years.  On the other side are the Muhammads created recently by various Muslim and non-Muslim revisionists.  There are many of these Muhammads and they all don’t get along.  They are created from opinion, conjecture, and various possibilities based upon interpretations of recent discoveries of non-Islamic historical data.  The barnyard is full of these Muhammads.

Question 2) What is the definition of prophet, and false prophet, from a Biblical Christian point of view?   What guidelines and standards should be used to identify a true or false prophet?


TASK 1) DEFINING THE TWO MUHAMMADS

I’ve listed two distinct Muhammads, the one of Islam, i.e. the traditional historical Muhammad, and the ever-morphing one of the non-Muslim revisionists.


THE TRADITIONAL MUHAMMAD

As a Christian worker primarily in Islam, my focus is not academics, instead it is upon engaging the world as it is.  If I am going to accept or reject Muhammad as a prophet I need to engage his claim established in the faith of his followers and in the understanding of non-Muslims.  This claim is the traditional claim, built upon the Islamic source material texts: the Quran, hadith, and sira.  The traditional Muhammad is taught and proclaimed by the major Sunni and Shia theological schools, and he is the Muhammad that the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims obey.  Today’s Muslim terrorists commit their sins and crimes in his cause, and conversely, many honest, intelligent, good-natured Muslims follow him and in his name do good works.  He is the Muhammad with whom the world interacts.  He is the Muhammad whom the Popes and Presidents, Religious and Atheists, pundits and professors, polemicists and apologists, name.  He is the Muhammad of today’s reality.  The Islamic world, and the world at large, know only one Muhammad:  the traditional Muhammad.

Doesn’t it make sense that the traditional Muhammad be our primary focus?  Afterwards, different Muhammads invented from interesting academic and intellectual evaluations, theories, bits of data, and multiple possibilities, can be considered.

If Muhammad’s words and deeds align with Biblical requirements for prophethood then one could grant some type of legitimate “prophet” status to Muhammad.  However, if Muhammad’s message is at odds with the Biblical “prophet” requirements then Muhammad should be labeled as a false prophet.  Clarity and precision are needed.


THE REVISIONIST’S MUHAMMAD

I work in the engineering world.  Several years ago a senior engineer designed a product for a customer’s requirements.  He was considered to be the subject expert and few people were capable of critiquing his design.  Initial prototypes confirmed that his design worked and would probably fulfill all requirements.  However, a new experienced engineer was hired and he was assigned to the same program.  He evaluated the design and stated that it would fail at required operational extremes and he proposed an alternate design.  Understandably, conflict ensued!  The senior engineer was greatly offended and outspoken in his criticisms of the new engineer because he felt his reputation threatened and he responded aggressively.  The ugly, one-sided conflict, continued for some time until prototype testing was performed.  It validated the new engineer’s critical statements and his alternate design.  The senior engineer’s design was rejected and he never lived down the shame.

In the world of engineering designs work or they don’t.  Some designs look good on paper but fail when prototyped, tested, or manufactured.  Most of us live in the functional world where the theories behind the functioning have been proven or disproven.  It can be a harsh and challenging world.

However the theological world is a soft, malleable, loosely defined world.  This is due in part to it being a world of concepts, ideas, theories, and opinions.  These can be difficult to nail down precisely and they vary from person to person.  Further, you cannot manufacture a theological theory and put it through validation testing.

Because theology is pliable one can inject personal viewpoints into his beliefs.  Intelligent men can project anything that tickles their fancy.  For example, some writers suggest that Jesus was an alien!  Other writers claim that Jesus could have been a practicing homosexual!  Some writers claim Muhammad never existed, others claim he was an amalgamation of various Muslim leaders!  Anything goes because of theology’s squishy nature.  Theologians have a personal Gumby to stretch into whatever form they desire.

This subjectivity of concepts and beliefs allows personal convictions and desires to be stretched as “personal interpretations” and within the world of Christianity there is no shortage of polarized opinions from various scholars.  Today some insist that adultery, homosexuality, abortion, even pagan worship, is not sin and is acceptable to God (take the American Episcopalian church for example).  These ideas can morph into actions.  Some religious leaders have caused great good, e.g. Mother Theresa and Franklin Graham, or great evil e.g. Jim Jones and David Koresh.

If engineers practiced their profession like many of today’s degreed theologians practice theology they would be laughed out of the company and put out on the street.  They would lack the ability to analyze data and think critically.  Their opinions, personal preferences, and sympathies, would take precedence over logic and data.  Their designs would fail.

One Christian who argues for Muhammad to be accepted by the church as a prophet is “Harley Talman.”  That name is a nom de plume for a missionary who spent many years in the Islamic world and now teaches religion.  He wrote a detailed article and argued that Muhammad should be considered a prophet of God, but perhaps not equal to the Biblical prophets.  His article is found here: Is Muhammad Also Among the Prophets?

He makes his argument in a demure, almost evasive, manner.  It is packed with maybes, mightbes, and possibilities.  After reading his article a couple times it was obvious, that despite his protestations, he wants to loudly proclaim that Muhammad was indeed a prophet of God.

Talman’s argument is not built upon the historical Muhammad and he does not argue that we should accept the historical Muhammad as a prophet.

The most widely accepted version of Muhammad, based upon Islamic tradition, is dubious. (p3)

The sub-sections which follow reflect on various Christian views of Islam, a revised history of Muhammad and the movement he founded, and a theological reassessment of the prophet of Islam, all based on a potentially more objective portrayal of his character and actions. (p3)

Based upon his “dubious” view, his Muhammad purposely excludes most of the traditional Islamic biographical source materials from his evaluation (the hadith and sira).  Talman deems revisionist Muhammad as a prophet because of his spiritual and inspirational preaching.  He argues that Christians need not accept all things Islamic but instead take an ‘eat the cherry and spit out the pits’ approach.

“Like a number of Christian scholars of Islam, I believe there is biblical warrant for considering the possibility of some kind of positive prophetic status for Muhammad.” (p14)

He may be seen as fulfilling a prophetic role, whether in response to general revelation or special, whether as a preacher or religious leader, whether as an ecstatic or charismatic prophet, or something more. (p17)

Throughout his article Talman provides various statements upon which he builds his argument for Muhammad’s prophethood.  Talman draws from people’s theories, interpretations, and pronouncements to create his kinder and gentler “prophet.”  There are too many statements to list but I’ll provide a few.  He then argues that the church at large should accept him as such.  Here is a selection of quotes from other Christians:

Patriarch Timothy 1:
Muhammad taught about God, His Word and His Spirit, and since all prophets had prophesied about God, His Word and His Spirit, Muhammad walked, therefore, in the path of all the prophets. (p15)

Bill Musk:
Where the Prophet Muhammad gained insight into who that Person is–for example in his conviction, against a polytheistic background, of the oneness of God–his utterances to that effect are truly in the lineage of the biblical prophets. (p15)

Timothy Tennent:
we should not let the whole history of Islam cloud our assessment of Muhammad.  If it can be said that God spoke ‘directive prophecy’ through Cyrus, who announced the end of exile (2 Chron. 36:22; Ezra 1:8), then why could God not have spoken a directive word through Muhammad? (p15)

Anton Wessel:
A prophet is an agitator, someone who walks around temple and palace stating his criticism, who rages against the injustices political leaders are committing. A true prophet does not adopt the drab and colorless language of his society, does not speak the jargon of diplomats, the language of theologians or a priestly caste, or the rigid prose of the business world. (pp15, 16)4

In my own words, Talman’s argument is that we should consider Muhammad to be a prophet because he had an encounter with God, taught some truths, spiritual disciplines, and virtues, and he led people from paganism to monotheism.  Muhammad was not perfect but he taught morals.  He did not have a full revelation or understanding of Jesus Christ but he respected and honored Jesus greatly.  Muhammad intended to lead people into a godly lifestyle in harmony with believers in other faiths, but for various reasons conflicts and wars ensued.  Christians today don’t have to accept everything Muhammad commanded but we should honor him as some type of legitimate God-used prophet.

Talman’s general assessment is the opposite of what the traditional Muhammad claimed.  Muhammad claimed great prophethood for himself and that he and all of his word, his Quran, were to be obeyed strictly.  The Quran commands all true believers to imitate Muhammad’s lifestyle found in those rejected source materials.

Part one of this article will engage with and evaluate Islam’s traditional Muhammad.  Parts 2 and 3 will address, in a limited degree, Talman’s “evidence” and his Muhammad creation.


TASK 2) CHRISTIAN DEFINITION OF TRUE AND FALSE PROPHETS

The second task is to establish a definition for “Biblical prophet” according to Christianity.  The word prophet is loaded with preconceptions and Christians across the spectrum will have different responses to someone identified as, or claiming to be, a Biblical prophet.  Logically, if a man claims to be or is identified as a prophet of God but is then found to not be such a prophet, then he is a false prophet.

I dug into this part of the topic and searched to find a concise definition, a requirements list, for a Biblical prophet.  I wanted to compile such a list but I did not find exactly what I hoped for.  I gathered and reviewed many pages of notes and comments as I studied various theological writings and many Scriptures related to “prophet.”  Initially, I could only develop a loose definition.   However, after more study, thought, and deliberation, I was able to put together sufficient criteria for a Biblical prophet.  (I would like to present a detailed examination of this topic because it is relevant and intriguing but for space sake it is beyond this article’s scope.

In general terms, a prophet is or is identified as a spokesman for a deity, speaking that deity’s words.  Throughout the Bible many “prophets” are mentioned.  Some are false prophets who represent Pagan faiths, some are unnamed prophets, some start off good and go bad, and others die for their faith in the God of Israel.  Over and over again it is seen that a prophet is simply a spokesperson for any particular deity.

Here is a simple definition of prophet one that is fulfilled by numerous people Jewish, Christian, Pagan, or otherwise:

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/prophet
1.  a person who speaks for God or a deity, or by divine inspiration.
5.  a person regarded as, or claiming to be, an inspired teacher or leader.

In human history, within that general “prophet” scope on a spiritual or mystical level, there are many people who claimed to be or are identified as prophets who had a message that differed from Christianity’s message.  Here are a few of the people who roughly fit that definition: Zoroaster, Albruna, Tenrikyo, Tenskwatawa, and Völva.

If a Christian were to argue that these “prophets” be accepted by the church as Biblical prophets they would be rejected on a variety of grounds.  Some were inspiring speakers, some predicted things, some seemed to have spiritual insights, some taught moral principles, but generally Christianity rejects them as Biblical prophets.  One could argue, (as Talman does for Muhammad), that these prophets brought something of spiritual value and in some cases caused people to seek after a true God, but we would be foolish to put them on Biblical footing because of some of the other things they taught, or did.

As the topic approaches “prophets” who claimed prophethood closer to the Judeo-Christian landmark the water becomes muddied.  For example there is Joseph Smith, Ali Muhammad Shir?zi, Sun Myung Moon, and of course Muhammad.  All of these men fulfill Talman’s low bar of “prophet.”  Being tied or related to Christianity in one way or another their claims or identifications as prophets being gifted from God can be more difficult to assess.

Additionally this article lists many of people who claimed to be prophets during Muhammad’s time: How Muhammad Became the Final Prophet   Please take a look at the graphic.  Muhammad had a lot of prophetic company!  There was no shortage of prophets in Arabia!

Obviously we need a more biblically precise definition for “prophet” and “false prophet” than the generalities Talman provided.

As mentioned, the Bible does not provide a concise definition of prophet, but there are a number of examples, guidelines, and references we can draw from and develop strong standards.  These standards are higher than a simple and generic, inspiring or spiritually motivating bar that any “Guru Rajneesh” could fulfill.

In Biblical terms a prophet is one who proclaims God’s word to men.  My challenge here is to provide a context, scope, and constraint upon a Biblical definition for prophet, and false prophet, and measure Muhammad against it.  There are two sources I will look to:  Christian theological writings and the Bible.


CHRISTIAN THEOLOGICAL WRITINGS

I’ll start with the Christian theological writings first because they set a limited scope based on Scripture.  Following them, the Word of God will nail down specific requirements and restrictions.

The Didache

The Didache http://www.historian.net/didache.htm (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles) is a first century Christian treatise addressing a wide variety of topics that involved the Church.  Some early Church Fathers esteemed it highly and considered it to be on par with Scripture.  I start with it because it shows that the early Church also had the challenge of identifying true or false apostles.

Section 11 addresses this topic and I’ll quote several passages.

11:1 Whosoever therefore shall come and teach you all these things that have been said before, receive him;
11:2 but if the teacher himself be perverted and teach a different doctrine to the destruction thereof, hear him not;
11:3 but if to the increase of righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
11:9 but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.
11:13 From his ways therefore the false prophet and the prophet shall be recognized.
11:14 And no prophet when he ordereth a table in the Spirit shall eat of it;
11:15 otherwise he is a false prophet.
11:20 And whosoever shall say in the Spirit, Give me silver or anything else, ye shall not listen to him;

This quote highlights that there were two primary criteria that the early Church used to determine true or false prophets:  truthful teaching and moral conduct.


Modern Christian writings

Here are some standard definitions of “prophet”:

The “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament” has some 80 pages analyzing this word.  Here are some comments:

The prophet is essentially a proclaimer of God’s Word. … Most comprehensively it can mean “to proclaim the revelation, the message of God, imparted to the prophet”5

“As the examples show, the passion and resurrection of Jesus are at the heart of the proof from prophecy as of primitive Christian preaching as a whole.6

“His proclamation is the Word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ, Rev 1:2, 19:9.7

The New International Commentary on the New Testament on Revelation 19:9 states:

…the “testimony of Jesus” is the witness that was borne by Jesus (subjective genitive).  By his life and death Jesus has demonstrated to his followers what it means to bear a faithful witness (1:5; 3:14) to the message revealed by God.8

Continuing on the meaning of “testimony of Jesus”, the Commentary continues:

It could mean that the witness or testimony that Jesus bore is the essence of prophetic proclamation – the principle that dominates prophecy.  However, John’s readers would certainly understand his reference to “the spirit of prophecy” in terms of the Holy Spirit as the one who inspired all prophecy.  Peter spoke of the Spirit of Christ who moved in the OT prophets to predict the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Pet 1:10, 11) and that prophecy came as the result of men speaking from God as they were being carried along by the Holy Spirit.9

Kittel also has several pages dedicated to false prophets.  Here is a key quote:

“Miracles could not serve as accrediting signs because the false prophets of the last days use miracles as a means of seduction, Mk 13:22 par. Mt 23:23; Rev. 13:13; 16:13f; 19:20.  Thus note was taken of the teaching and conduct of the prophets.  A presupposition of genuine prophecy is a right confession of Jesus Christ:  “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God,”…  But agreement with the Christological confession of the Church is hardly a sufficient confirmation of genuine prophecy.  False prophets, too, can confess Jesus Christ, prophesy in His name and play the role of true preachers so perfectly that it is hard to see that they are liars.  Hence their conduct must be scrutinized.10

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary has several good comments for both prophets and false prophets:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/prophet-prophetess-prophecy.html

A prophet was an individual who received a call from God to be God’s spokesperson, often connected with some crisis that was about to occur, and then announced God’s message of judgment and/or deliverance to Israel and the nations.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/false-prophet.html

False Prophet
This is what makes the discernment of what constitutes pseudoprophecy so difficult, for many of the false prophets also subscribed to some of the same theological traditions as did the canonical prophets.

False Prophets in the New Testament.
False prophets continued to make their presence felt well beyond the days of the Old Testament; indeed, Jesus warned his disciples, and through the apostles, he warned the early church about the character and teachings of such frauds.

As was characteristic of false prophets in the Old Testament, their New Testament counterparts were also motivated by greed ( 2 Peter 2:3 2 Peter 2:13 ), exhibited arrogance ( 2 Peter 2:18 ), lived immoral lives ( 2 Peter 2:2 2 Peter 2:10-13 ), and generally could be described as ungodly persons (Jude 4).

I found this website to have some excellent statements on defining a prophet: What is a Prophet?

Notice first that God chose His messengers. Notice also that God told them what to do.
1. To reveal the nature and attributes of God to men.
2. To make known to men the laws of God.
3. To call the people back to obedience to God’s laws.
4. To exhort the people to sincerity in worship.
5. To warn them of Divine judgment upon sin, both personal and national.
6. To foretell future events which God had willed.
7. To foretell the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.
8. To record the history of God’s dealings with men.
9. To record the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures.

Notice that God warned the people that all pagan practices and customs were strictly forbidden. In particular, God warned them not to seek help or guidance through occult practices like divination, witchcraft or necromancy (the belief that spirits of dead people can be used to obtain help).

There are many similar websites that discuss prophets and false prophets but I did not find much that differed from the above.

In general Muhammad could claim to fulfill most of these “prophet” points.

·       Muhammad claimed to speak God’s word.
·       Muhammad claimed to receive revelations from God (through Gabriel).
·       Muhammad claimed to proclaim God’s laws, to call men to repentance, and to foretell the future.
·       Muhammad claims to honor Jesus as a great prophet and acknowledge that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and the Word of God!
·       Muhammad claimed to be an exemplary moral person who obeyed God’s laws scrupulously.

The only significant point I see contradiction is on Muhammad’s testimony to Jesus Christ (see the Kittel and NICNT comments above).  A serious Christian would argue that Muhammad did not testify to Jesus Christ as crucified, risen, Lord, Savior, or Son of God, but rather to Him only as a great prophet.  Christians who don’t take their faith seriously will overlook this point:  Is it important to identify Jesus as Lord, Savior, Messiah, and Son of God?

Therefore, taken as a whole, I found that the theological writings identified two themes consistently which must be examined to determine Biblical prophethood: 1) Message:  Was Muhammad’s message in phase with a Biblical message?, and 2) moral conduct:  Did Muhammad’s moral conduct conform to the Biblical standard?

Note that examining a man’s moral conduct is not a special judgment.  Christians are instructed to evaluate all men’s fruit.  This is not a search for perfection, for “all have sinned,” but rather of sound conduct found in passages like Titus 1 and 1 Tim 3.  So there is nothing unique or unfair in examining a supposed prophet’s moral conduct and comparing it to a Scriptural standard.


THE BIBLE’S PASSAGES ON TRUE AND FALSE PROPHETS

Jesus’s love and care for the church included warning them against false teachers and false prophets and we should take note of those details.  Scripture, as our boundary marker, our guidepost, provides theological definition and understanding of true and false prophets.

Four initial observations.

There are some 460 Bible verses using the word “prophet.”  I found four overarching points as I surveyed “prophet” and “false prophet.”

a)  The NT Scriptural emphasis is upon false prophets more so than upon prophets.  This is because the ministry of the prophets in the New Testament presupposed a correct doctrine and holy lifestyle.  There are several NT prophets mentioned (Eph 4:11, 1 Cor 14:29, Acts 13: 1, 15:32), and it is understood that they maintained sound doctrine as accepted leaders by the church.  In relation to their ministry, Jesus is identified as the “cornerstone,” which means their ministry is built upon Christ’s teachings.  This contrasts with Muhammad’s claim that he was told by the same God to bring a new and superseding faith.

b)  The second was that God spoke to the prophets directly:  There is a continual historic flow of events where: “The word of the Lord came to the prophet abcxyz.”  (2 Sam 24:11, 1 Kings 13:20, 1 Kings 18:36, etc.).  God spoke directly with most of the Biblical prophets.  On rare occasions He spoke through angels but His most frequent, and primary, mode of communication was direct God-to-man.  In Muhammad’s case, almost all of Allah’s communication with him was through a spirit whom Muhammad eventually believed to be the angel Gabriel.

If you value the Bible as a standard then this should trouble you.  This in and of itself does not disqualify Muhammad but it clearly establishes Muhammad as a second rate prophet.  Muhammad made mountainous claims about his message, and support, from Allah.  Why then didn’t God speak with him directly?  Allah’s primary mode of communication with Muhammad is misaligned with the Biblical standard.

c)  Third was the abundance of false prophets.  Throughout the OT there are many false prophets giving counsel and spiritual guidance.  Often they would persecute the true prophets.  These false prophets misled thousands of Israelites, and Israelite leaders, into believing in and obeying their prophecies.  (Jer 23:25, Isa 9:15, Matt 7:15, etc.)

d)  The fourth overarching detail is that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of legitimate prophets!  There were even schools for these prophets.  We don’t know their names, we don’t know what they did specifically, and they are only mentioned occasionally, but there were many of them.  (1 Sam 10:10, 1 Kings 18:4, 2 Kings 2:15, Rev 22:9).

In sum, there were many prophets, both true and false, who were active during the OT and NT times.  There was far more ongoing spiritual warfare than I realized.


BIBLICAL PASSAGES RELATED TO FALSE PROPHETS

Below are some of the Biblical passages relevant to our review of false prophets.  How they are identified, i.e. how their message and moral conduct failed to line up with God’s word.  I will only quote a few passages in full.  (All quotes are from the New American Standard Bible).11

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matt 7:15, 16

You will know who the false prophets are by their fruits, i.e. their actions.  The evaluation of moral conduct point is stated in the theological writings I noted earlier.

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. Matthew 24:24-25

False prophets will continue to successfully mislead people, perhaps even Christians, until Christ’s return.  They will use signs and miracles as proof of their prophethood.

2 Pet 2:1-3 makes the point that false prophets will teach and permit sexual sin and carnality.  See also Rev 2:20

2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 12-15 shows: 1: Satan inspires false preachers to proclaim different Christs, and different Gospels, 2) Satan dresses himself in the costume of an angel and interfaces with men to deceive them.  His servants also practice evil deeds.

1 Cor 10:14-22 shows:  1: demonic powers are behind the worship of false gods, and 2: Christians can be misled or misinformed and fellowship with demons.  As Christians we should not be mixing demonic elements with our Eucharist, with the body and blood of Christ.  See also 1 Tim 4:1.

James 2:19 establishes that believing in “one God” is not sufficient for being right with God.  James is saying, “You believe there is only one God?  So what?  Demons also believe in one God but they will be cast into hell.”

James 3:13-18 shows that demonic motivations are revealed by jealousy, selfishness, carnality, and violence.

Gal 1:6-17 shows: 1: angels can bring false gospels, 2: God’s plan was to reveal His Son through Paul’s life, 3: men or angels who preach a false gospel should be damned to hell.  See also Acts 9:20, 2 Cor 1:19.

John 3:18 mandates that believing in Jesus as the Son of God is part of the Gospel.  Not believing in Jesus as the Son of God leads to hell.  See also John 3:16, 36, 20:31.

These Scriptures establish boundaries for Biblical prophethood:  the prophet’s message and the prophet’s moral conduct.  These are the same boundaries that the early church and modern theological writers identified.  Further, the New Testament identifies these key details for identifying false prophets:  preaching a different Jesus, preaching a different gospel, not identifying Jesus as the Son of God, sinful lifestyle, and sexual immorality.


THE GOSPEL MESSAGE CONTRASTED WITH MUHAMMAD’S MESSAGE

First, an evaluation of Muhammad’s message.  How does it compare to the Gospel message?  Here is the basic Gospel derived from Scripture, 1 Cor 15:1-4, John 20:31, Rom 10:9, 10, Rev. 3:20:

a) Jesus was crucified and died for our sins
b) He was resurrected from the dead
c) We are to put our faith in Him as the Son of God
d) We are to receive and obey Him as Lord.

How does Muhammad’s message align with the Gospel message?

a & b) Muhammad denied that Jesus was crucified (therefore He could not have been resurrected):

“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. Quran 4:157, 158.12

There are various interpretations of this verse but the majority of Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified.  See The Crucifixion of Christ – A Christian Critique of the Quran


c) Muhammad denied that Jesus was the Son of God.

There are several of Quran verses that state this:

Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.  Quran 112.13

In Miroslav Volf’s book, “Do We Worship the Same God?” we find a quote from Muslim scholar Reza Shah-Kazemi commenting on Sura 112:

There is evidently a theological impasse here, a fundamental incompatibility between the respective conceptual forms taken by belief in the same God.  Even if Christians retort to the above verses by denying any kind of carnal relation in the “sonship” of Jesus, insisting that the sonship in question does not occur in time and space, but is an eternal principle, of which the historical Incarnation is but an expression, it is nonetheless clear that the Qur’an emphatically rejects the idea that “sonship” – whether physical, metaphorical, or metaphysical – should form part of any creedal statement regarding God.  In other words, it rejects the validity of ascribing to Jesus the status of “son of God,” and in so doing rejects a belief that constitutes a cardinal tenet of Christian faith.14

See also my discussion of Volf’s book: Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Other Quran verses that deny Jesus is the Son of God:  2:116, 9:30, 19:34-36.

d) Muhammad denied that Jesus is Lord.

And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.  5:11615

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. 3:59-6016

“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) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. 4:17117

See also Quran 5:116 and 3:56, 60.

Summary of Muhammad’s message contrasted with the Gospel message.

Muhammad contradicted these four key Gospel requirements.  His statements in the Quran, which Muslims believe are God’s literal words, are contradictions not “different understandings.”  Islam’s God says “Jesus is not my Son!”, Christianity’s God says Jesus “is My beloved Son!”  These Gods do not agree.  Either Jesus is the Son of God, or He is not.  It is a simple, black and white, all or nothing, preposition.

This leads us back to the Scriptural evaluation of whether or not a person is a true prophet.  Muhammad fails to meet the standards or requirements stated in 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4, 12-15, 1 Cor 10:14-22, Gal 1:6-17, John 3:18, etc.  By comparing the content of Muhammad’s message found in the Quran and comparing it to Christ’s message in the Bible, we can conclude that Muhammad is not a true prophet.  Muhammad was a false prophet.

In this evaluation we let the Quran and the Bible speak for themselves.  They both spoke and contradicted each other.  The same God could not have spoken both Scriptures.  Different Gods established different faiths.


MUHAMMAD’S MORAL CONDUCT EVALUATED

The other aspect of evaluating true or false prophethood is examining the person’s moral conduct.  Here we constrained to use the sira and hadith to find examples of the traditional Muhammad’s conduct because the Quran contains little of value here.  However, Quran references will be added as applicable.

Muhammad’s life is a story of how a man who started in weakness ended with great power.  This power extended from political, to judicial, to sexual.  How did he handle that power?  How did he treat those who disagreed with him or even criticized him?  On this note, Plato said, “The measure of a man is what he does with power,” and Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  Men in power have the ability to treat others fairly, morally, or harshly.  This will be part of the consideration.

I have studied the sira and hadith in some depth and I’ve found that Muhammad was a man, just like any other man.  He had good and bad characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.  He made many sacrifices on behalf of his followers.  He loved them, cared for them, and was generous to them.  Most all of the time he treated them fairly and with respect.  All Christians should concede and agree that Muhammad had a good, humble, and loving side.  He sincerely loved his followers.

However, throughout history most religious people come into contact with people who disagree with them and are not their followers.  Muhammad had a great deal of contact with non-Muslims.  How was his conduct toward the non-believers?  I am not talking about dealing with enemy combatants, rather I am talking about men and women who disagreed with Muhammad and rejected his claim of prophethood.

No expectation of sinlessness exists here.  Moral perfection is not required.  King David was a murderer, a sinner, yet used by God.  We will not use a microscope or a magnifying glass to review Muhammad’s conduct.  Instead, we will look at Muhammad’s life and his questionable actions and see if he justified them, or repented of them.  King David repented of his sin against Uriah.

I’ll present five cases that present aspects of Muhammad’s character.

1) Dealings with critics: Abu Afak, Asma Marwan
2) Dealings with money: Kinana
3) Treatment of female slaves
4) Judgment of the Meccan slave girls
5) Treatment of his soldier Dihya


1)  Dealings with critics: Abu Afak, Asma Marwan

Abu Afak and Asma Marwan were critics of Muhammad.  The both denied his prophethood.  Neither was a threat to Muhammad.  Abu Afak was 120 years old, and Asma Marwan was a mother of 5 children, one which still nursed.  Because they spoke out publically against Muhammad’s claims Muhammad had them murdered.  Both were stabbed to death while they slept.

Key quotes from the sira:

The apostle said, “Who will deal with this rascal for me?”  Whereupon Salim b. Umayr, brother of B. Amr b. Auf, one of the “weepers”, went forth and killed him.18

When the apostle heard what she had said he said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?”  Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her.  In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, “You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!”  When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads about her”, so Umayr went back to his people.19

Key quote from the Quran:

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.  And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. 48:2920

Reference articles:
Muhammad and the Murder of Abu Afak
Muhammad and the Death of Asma Bint Marwan


2) Dealings with money: Kinana

Kinana was a Jewish leader and he was taken captive by the Muslims during the battle of Khaybar.  Rumor had it that he knew of buried treasure.  Muhammad wanted it.  When asked by Muhammad to produce it, Kinana said he knew nothing about it.  Muhammad ordered that Kinana be tortured until he “talked.”

Key quote from the sira:

Torture him until you extract what he has.” So he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead.  Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.21

Reference article:
Muhammad and the Death of Kinana


3) Treatment of female slaves

When Muhammad attacked and plundered others he took men, women, and children as slaves.  He would give the female slaves to his soldiers as their property.  His soldiers used the slaves for their sexual pleasure.  These slave women were allowed to be raped because they were property.  The Quran grants this to the soldiers because they were “what their right hand possesses.”   (Note that Muhammad himself had a pretty female slave, Mariyah.  Because she was Muhammad’s property he used her for sex).

Key quote from the Quran:

Save worshippers. Who are constant at their worship.  And in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged for the beggar and the destitute; and those who believe in the Day of Judgment, and those who are fearful of their Lord’s doom – Lo! the doom of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure – and those who preserve their chastity save with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for thus they are not blameworthy; 70:22-3022

Also see 23:5,6,  4:24

Key quotes from the hadith:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri that during the battle with Bani Al-Mustaliq they (Muslims) captured some females and intended to have sexual relations with them without impregnating them.  So they asked the prophet about coitus interruptus.  The prophet said, “It is better that you should not do it, for Allah has written whom He is going to create till the Day of Resurrection”.

Qaza’a said, “I heard Abu Said saying that the prophet said, “No soul is ordained to be created but Allah will create it.”23

Abu Sirma said to Abu Said al Khudri:  “O Abu Said, did you hear Allah’s messenger mentioning about al-azl (coitus interruptus)?”  He said, “Yes”, and added:  “We went out with Allah’s messenger on the expedition to the Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them.  So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl” (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception).  But we said:  “We are doing an act whereas Allah’s messenger is amongst us; why not ask him?”  So we asked Allah’s messenger and he said:  “It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born”.24

Reference article:
Muhammad and the Female Captives

(Note that Muhammad also had a female slave, Mariyah, he used for sex because she was “pretty” and it was allowed by virtue of her being his slave).


4) Judgment of the Meccan slave girls

When Muhammad began his ministry in Mecca he spoke out against paganism and mocked the families of the Quraysh leaders.  In response they mocked and persecuted him.  Over time Muhammad’s love for his former clansmen turned to hatred because of how forcefully they opposed his claim as prophet.  In particular there were three slave girls, who may have been forced into prostitution by their owners, who were very effective in humiliating Muhammad with their witticisms and songs:  Qaribah, Fartana, and Sara.  These slave girls were the lowest of the low in Mecca.  Even unbelieving people would feel some sympathy for their plight.

Key quotes from the sira:

The apostle of Allah entered through Adhakhir, [into Mecca], and prohibited fighting.  He ordered six men and four women to be killed, they were (1) Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl, (2) Habbar Ibn al-Aswad, (3) Abd Allah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, (4) Miqyas Ibn Sababah al-Laythi, (5) al-Huwayrith Ibn Nuqaydh, (6) Abd Abbah Ibn Hilal Ibn Khatal al-Adrami, (7) Hind Bint Utbah, (8) Sarah, the mawlat (enfranchised girl) of Amr Ibn Hashim, (9) Fartana and (10) Qaribah.25

There should be no doubt that these slave girls hurt Muhammad’s feelings deeply.  Because when he returned and conquered Mecca he ordered that these three slaves be killed wherever they were found.  There was no regeneration in Muhammad’s heart.  Instead we see only deep bitterness, hatred, and vengeance.   These slaves should have been pitied, instead Muhammad wanted them dead.

Eventually two were killed and one was forgiven.

Reference article:
Muhammad and the Meccan 10


5) Treatment of his soldier Dihya

Following the battle of Khaybar, Muhammad, as was his custom, was going to distribute his female slaves to his soldiers.  One of his soldiers knew of a very beautiful Jewish women, Safiya, and he wanted her for himself.  He went to Muhammad and asked if he could pick a slave for himself.  Muhammad allowed Dihya to do so and Dihya took Safiya.  However, other Muslims told Muhammad that she was so beautiful that she was only fit for him alone.  Muhammad commanded Dihya to present Safiya before him.  Muhammad took one look at her beauty and took her away from Dihya for himself.  Here is one case in which Muhammad defrauded one of his men due to his sex drive.

Key quotes from the hadith:

So the Prophet said, ‘Bring him along with her.’ So Dihya came with her and when the Prophet saw her, he said to Dihya, ‘Take any slave girl other than her from the captives.’ Anas added: The Prophet then manumitted her and married her.”26

Reference article:
Muhammad, Islam, and Sex


Summary of Muhammad’s moral character.

Islam is a man’s religion, it is a religion of power.  Power of Muhammad over the Muslims, power of the Muslims over the non-Muslims, power of the Muslim man over the female.  Even Aisha noticed how Allah catered to Muhammad’s desires.27

In all of these examples we see Muhammad’s sanction for his murdering, theft, destruction, rape, slavery, and lust.  He did not view these as sins to repented of (as David did), instead Muhammad viewed these deeds as Allah-sanctioned.

There are many more examples of Muhammad’s immorality, and dubious spiritual authenticity.

Despite his outward discipline of prayer, these five examples depict a man who on the inside, in his heart, was murderous, angry, and carnal.  The Jewish leaders who persecuted Jesus were also disciplined in prayer and ritual.  However those outward shows never transformed their heart.  So too Muhammad looked good on the outside but was rotten on the inside.  He was not a mercy to mankind, but rather the trail of blood in Muhammad’s wake grew ever wide.

When held against Jesus’s teachings, Muhammad is found to be a carnal and sinful man.  By the Islamic evidence alone on the basis of his moral character we can conclude that Muhammad was a false prophet.

Conclusion

The movie, “Into the Wild” details the life of a young independent man, Christopher McCandless, who ventured to Alaska and lived in the wild.  Things go wrong for him and he is forced to live off the land eating roots, seeds, and berries.  He ate the seeds of a plant he believed to be nontoxic, however the seeds were toxic and he grew sick and died.  This true and tragic story again highlights a key point for us, “things that look similar may be quite different.”  Perhaps if Christopher would have been more knowledgeable or discerning things would have turned out differently.

Jesus warned us, His followers, to beware of false teaching and false prophets.  Why did He warn us?  If it wasn’t important then why did He waste His breath?

It is interesting that immediately after Jesus warned His disciples of false prophets He then warned them of knowing Him well enough to do His will:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:21-23.

If Christians are so willfully blind that they are unable to identify a false prophet of Muhammad’s scale, how could they be expected to know the Lord?  Only foolish, careless Christians would look to them to be their teachers.

In Revelation 2:6 and 15 God says that He hates the deeds of the Nicolatians.  If God hates evil deeds and false doctrines shouldn’t we?  Is there any false prophet in history who has taught such false doctrine and done as much damage to the church, the bride of Christ, as Muhammad?  Dedicated Muslims have martyred far more Christians than the Roman Empire.

The Bible provides guidelines for determining a true or false prophet: content of message and content of moral character.  Muhammad’s message contradicts, denies, and opposes the Gospel message on all major points.  By the Biblical standard Muhammad must be identified as a false prophet.  Muhammad’s character also fails the Biblical standard:  Muhammad was a murderer, liar, thief, and lascivious.  By the Biblical standard Muhammad must be identified as a false prophet.  Christians, grounded in their faith, devoted to their Savior, and faithful to the word of God, have the strength and integrity to reject Muhammad’s claim as a prophet.

This evaluation of Muhammad’s prophethood reaches a conclusion easily:  Islam’s prophet was a false prophet.  Franklin Graham called Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.”  I agree with brother Graham.  I would say that Muhammad, judged by his teachings and actions, was a “very evil and wicked false prophet.”  Sidney Griffith, in “The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque,” notes that some of the earliest Christian writings about Muhammad identified him as a false prophet.28 Those early Christians got it right.  I join in harmony with them and say that Muhammad was a false prophet.

We have evaluated the traditional Muhammad’s prophethood. This is the Muhammad of Islam’s history, and of the world today.  This is the only Muhammad in play.  When the details from the Quran, hadith, and sira are examined Muhammad can only be identified and labeled as a false prophet, an enemy of Christ, and persecutor of the bride of Christ.

Continue to Part 2.


ADDENDUM A:  Muhammad in the arts.

There was a time when Muhammad was viewed by the church just like ISIS is viewed today:  a bringer of evil, tragedy, and suffering.  In “Dante’s Inferno” Dante’s Inferno, Canto 28, Muhammad, punished for his sins of scandal and schism, is depicted as suffering daily disemboweling:

A cask by losing centre-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.

Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.

While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: “See now how I rend me;

How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;

And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.

A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us
Thus cruelly, unto the falchion’s edge
Putting again each one of all this ream,

When we have gone around the doleful road;
By reason that our wounds are closed again
Ere any one in front of him repass.
29

ADDENDUM B:  Other recommended articles:

1) Sam Shamoun addresses other aspects of Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet:

Is Muhammad a True Prophet of God?

“Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23 NIV

2)  Charisma Magazine has an excellent examination of false prophet’s messages.  Those of you familiar with the character and fruit of Muhammad’s “companions” will immediately recognize the stark contrast between Islam’s fruit and Christianity’s fruit.

Seven Traits of False Prophets in Sheep’s Clothing

Different Character—What kind of people does the message produce? The true believer pursues goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (1 Peter 1:5-7)

3)  Those of you who want to see a video that identifies similar and additional reasons why Muhammad is a false prophet:

Top Ten Reasons Muhammad is Not a Prophet


In Christ,

Silas 22 Nov 2016

[First published: 7 January 2017]
[Last updated: 23 January 2017]

Footnotes

1 See Nuh Ha Mim Keller, “Reliance of the Traveller”, Beltsville Maryland, Amana, 1991, section w4.3.

2 Pickthall, Mohammed, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

3 The same could be done for other faiths such as Mormonism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism.

4 Would Donald Trump fit Wessel’s definition?

5 Kittel and Friedrich, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmanns, 1968, Volume 6, 829.

6 ibid., 833

7 ibid., 849

8 See Robert H. Mounce, “The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation, Revised, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, 1977, 349.

9 ibid., 849, 850

10 Kittel and Friedrich, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmanns, 1968, Volume 6, 856.

11 New American Standard New Testament, Foundation Press, La Habra, California, 1972

12 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

13 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

14 Volf, Miroslav, “Allah: A Christian Response”, Harper One, New York, New York, 2011, p. 81

15 Ali, Yusuf, “The Holy Qur’an”, Amana, Beltsville, Maryland, 1989

16 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953

17 Ali, Yusuf, “The Holy Qur’an”, Amana, Beltsville, Maryland, 1989

18 Guillaume, A., “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah”, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 675.

19 ibid., 675, 676

20 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953.

21 Guillaume, A., “The Life of Muhammad”, a translation of Ibn Ishaq’s “Sirat Rasul Allah”, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 515.

22 Mohammed Pickthall, “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran”, Mentor, New York, 1953.

23 Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan, volume 9 #506.

24 Muslim, Abu’l-Husain, “Sahih Muslim”, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1971, translated by A. Siddiqi, volume 2, #3371

25 Ibn Sa’d, (d. 852 A.D.), “Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir”, (Book of the Major Classes), translated by S. Moinul Haq, Pakistan Historical Society, volume 2, 168.

26 Bukhari, Muhammad, “Sahih Bukhari”, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan, volume 1, #367.

27 ibid., volume 6, #311

28 Sidney Griffith, “The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque”, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2008, 24, 25.


Articles by Silas
Answering Islam Home Page

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Foreign Policy covers for Georgetown prof Jonathan Brown’s slavery and rape apologetics, a post from JihadWatch.org, with comments

This Foreign Policy piece is a lurid fantasy about how a sinister and well-heeled cabal of racist, bigoted “Islamophobes” have smeared a thoughtful, mild-mannered academic, Professor Jonathan Brown, and opened him up to death threats, as part of a larger endeavor to do nothing less than deprive Muslims of the freedom of speech. In reality, just about the opposite is true, and this Foreign Policy article is a sterling example of the victimhood propaganda that the establishment media uses in order to cover for its own and deflect attention away from unpleasant realities of Islam. My comments are interspersed below.

“The Making of Islamophobia Inc.: A well-funded network is trying to strip the right to speak away from American Muslims and fanning the politics of fear,” by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Foreign Policy, March 16, 2017:

A decade ago, few outside the academy would have noticed Jonathan Brown’s lecture on slavery. A Washington native who looks a good bit younger than his 39 years, Brown is now a professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University, where he directs the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He’s also a convert to Islam. Much of his work is aimed at making Islamic thought more accessible to general audiences.

But Brown’s attempts to explain the faith have made him a hate figure for the American right. A flood of articles accuse him of being an apologist for slavery and rape.

No, his “attempts to explain the faith” didn’t make him into a “hate figure.” His acting quite clearly as an apologist for slavery and rape did that, if he is actually a “hate figure” at all.

His family has received death and rape threats.

I very seriously doubt that. There are so very many fake anti-Muslim hate crimes, and it is the Left today, not the Right, that is thuggish, hateful and violent. Unless Brown publishes specifics of threats he has received, and reports them to law enforcement, as I myself have done many times with death threats I have received from his coreligionists, his claim warrants extreme skepticism.

It all started with good intentions. Brown is one of the majority of Muslims around the world who believes the Islamic State practices a warped interpretation of Islamic thought that blesses slavery, rape, and other crimes. But Brown also knows that not all Muslims are so quick to dismiss the jihadi group’s theology. Certainly the hundreds of foreign fighters who have trickled into Syria and Iraq to join its ranks find its ideas seductive. For some others, the veneer of religious authenticity used to justify Islamic State atrocities has led to a crisis of faith. And the cacophony of violence plaguing much of the Muslim world tends to drown out the voices of those most qualified to referee the religious confusion.

But Brown felt that he was called to try, hence his public lecture at the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon, Virginia, on Feb. 7. In the first of what he intended as a three-part series, Brown addressed slavery in Islam, hoping to combat the idea that Islam could ever condone the subjugation and exploitation of human beings.

In reality, Brown did not combat the idea that Islam condoned slavery. He said: “I don’t think it’s morally evil to own somebody.” He also condoned rape of the female non-Muslim war captives: “Consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.” Watch the video of his lecture for yourself and see. Apparently Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian didn’t do so herself, or doesn’t think anyone else will.

That was when he encountered a cacophony of a different sort — America’s far-right, anti-Muslim ecosystem that has adopted the same twisted interpretations of Islam that the Islamic State promotes. After the lecture, Brown endured a cascade of online attacks from conservative and alternative-right heavyweights such as Ann Coulter, Robert Spencer, and Milo Yiannopoulos, who claimed that he had actually condoned the acts he had set about to condemn. His university department was flooded with demands that he be fired.

In reality, it was a fellow Muslim, Umar Lee, who first blew the whistle on Brown’s apologetics for slavery and rape. The idea that his lecture condemned slavery and rape is false on its face. And of course he should be fired, if not for his justification of these abhorrent practices then for his dishonesty when the furor began, and his tendency to heap contempt upon those who called him out, rather than engage them intellectually. But Georgetown gets far too much Saudi money for that.

Brown is the victim of an increasingly empowered industry of Islamophobia that constricts the space for balanced and open dialogue, sidelining the very Muslims who are doing the most to promote peaceful, orthodox interpretations of Islam. The United States has powerful protections for speech and religious liberty that have allowed faith traditions to hammer out their theological debates in a free and protected environment.

But a targeted network now seeks to deny Muslims that freedom and to treat Islam as a dangerous political ideology rather than a religion — and, like the McCarthyites of the 1950s, to silence and discredit any Muslims who disagree….

The idea that I or anyone else is trying to silence Jonathan Brown is risible. Since he boasted that he would beat me handily in debate, I publicly accepted his challenge; his response to that was “my God you’re ugly.” So on the one hand we have me wanting a debate, and on the other hand we have Brown with his hatred and contempt trying to give people the impression that I am unworthy of serious consideration. So which one of us, exactly, is trying to silence, demonize and marginalize the other?

Anyway, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian then follows with a long discussion of the evolution of Christian thinking in the U.S. about slavery, concluding it with this claim:

Islam in the United States today is increasingly — and systematically — denied that free and respected space for discussion….

Note the irony. Here is Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian running interference for Jonathan Brown’s rape and slavery apologetics in Foreign Policy, a prestigious and respected publication, and claiming that Islam in the United States is not getting a “free and respected space for discussion.” In reality, it is those of us whom she claims are responsible for this who are never granted a “free and respected space for discussion” in Foreign Policy or anywhere else in the establishment media.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian then summarizes Brown’s lecture, leaving out the quotes above and other indications that he condones slavery and rape. Then:

What Brown was attempting to do was build a bridge for American Muslims between their sacred scripture and their human rights sensibilities, as many Christian thinkers before him have done. For his efforts, he attracted the attention of an Islamophobic ecosystem designed to marginalize any Muslim who speaks out. Brown’s straightforward academic lecture was quickly transformed into fodder for a flood of unscrupulous articles painting him as someone who “justifies slavery and the rape of female slaves,” leaving him with a horrific online footprint that is likely to trail him for decades.

Nonsense. Brown wasn’t fired, and he is getting protection from the likes of Foreign Policy and the Washington Post. The ones who have the “horrific online footprint” that is likely to trail us for decades are those who pointed out what Brown said, and have been mocked, vilified, and defamed by people such as Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, and other smear merchants who came before her and have long demonized us as “Islamophobes” and bigots.

In the years after 9/11, a small but powerful network of funders and ideological activists has waged a major misinformation campaign, seeking to cast Islam as a diabolical threat that must be eradicated.

I have, of course, never said such a thing. I’ve merely pointed out how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims. Those who point this out have been subjected to a 15-year-long campaign of character assassination, of which this present Foreign Policy article is just the latest example.

Their concerted efforts have resulted in an influential infrastructure of websites, activists, lawmakers, and grassroots organizations that hold sway in municipal councils and state legislatures — and now have the ear of the president of the United States.Between 2001 and 2009, seven charitable foundations donated $42.6 million to think tanks that promoted anti-Muslim rhetoric, as a 2011 report by the Center for American Progress revealed.

A highly misleading figure, and I doubt it is accurate, but even if we take it at face value, look how it is cooked: $42.6 million divided among numerous organizations over an eight-year period. That’s five million a year, divided among disparate organizations. Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress budget is upwards of $50 million in one year alone. So which exactly is the organized, well-heeled cabal of smear merchants?

These organizations include Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy; Stop Islamization of America, founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer; the website Jihad Watch, directed by Spencer; and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which hosts Jihad Watch. These organizations came up with several talking points about Islam that they promoted among lawmakers, grassroots networks, and the Christian right. Chiefly among these ideas was the belief that sharia, or Islamic law, is a totalitarian political ideology that presents the greatest domestic threat facing the United States today; that the Muslim Brotherhood, a loosely organized international Islamist movement, has infiltrated the U.S. government; and that Islam commands believers to lie about their motives. In other words, no Muslim can be trusted; you must infiltrate their private spaces to learn what they think.

This campaign has been wildly successful. Gaffney is now a senior advisor to the Donald Trump White House. Gaffney’s influence extends throughout the administration. Kellyanne Conway, who ran Trump’s campaign and now serves as counselor to the president, managed polling for the Center for Security Policy. Stephen Bannon, former head of the alt-right website Breitbart and now White House chief strategist, frequently invited Gaffney to appear on Breitbart’s radio show.

Spencer’s website Jihad Watch, which received more than $500,000 in donations between 2001 and 2009 from those same seven foundations,

That is false. I have no contact whatsoever with most of those foundations, and have never received any money from most of them. But here again, even if the claim were true (it isn’t), that’s $62,500 per year over eight years, which doesn’t even cover operating expenses, while Soros is giving groups millions upon millions to smear and defame me and others.

has brought him global influence as well. He has published two New York Times bestsellers. The ideas he has promulgated on his site have resonated in the U.S. Tea Party movement and abroad: Anders Breivik, the self-styled Christian conservative who murdered 77 people in the worst mass killing Norway has seen since World War II, referred to Spencer and his website Jihad Watch 162 times in his manifesto, in which he justified his actions as necessary to combat the “ongoing Islamic Colonization of Europe.”

Re Breivik, see here (scroll down).

Jihad Watch even has a correspondent whose primary beat appears to be attending academic lectures around the Beltway, particularly at Georgetown, and publishing articles “exposing” the creeping ideology of radical Islam.

Actually, yes. That’s the estimable Andrew Harrod, who drives people like Brown crazy, because he draws attention to what they actually say.

Websites like Jihad Watch have proliferated, including sites such as Religion of Peace and Answering Islam, and sites that often repost their content, including World Net Daily, the Daily Caller, Heat Street, and, of course, Breitbart.

The effect has been to create a self-reinforcing online ecosystem that churns out frenzied headlines and constructs alternate online biographies, often displayed in first page results from any search engine, in which normal American Muslims are painted as Muslim Brotherhood-linked, jihad-loving, rape-defending threats to the American way of life. Brown’s lecture lasted like chum in shark-infested waters.

More hooey. Jonathan Brown is no “normal American Muslim.” His father-in-law, Sami al-Arian, is a convicted jihad terror leader. His remarks about slavery and rape in Islam were quite clear. At least he was honest about Islam condoning both, until the firestorm caused him to retreat into dissimulation.

It started with a blog post titled “Georgetown Professor Jonathan Brown Defends Slavery as Moral and Rape as Normal in Virginia Lecture” on a website called Student Voices. The author is a former cabdriver from St. Louis and a Muslim convert named Umar Lee, with a long history of flip-flopping between Christianity and extremist Islam who had attended the lecture. “Not knowing what to expect from Brown I was shocked when he basically went into a 90 minute defense of slavery which included an explicit endorsement of non-consensual sex,” Lee wrote. It’s unclear how that was Lee’s takeaway from a lecture explicitly intended to do the opposite.

Lee’s blog was quickly picked up by the website Jihad Watch, with its founder Robert Spencer getting into a round of Twitter sparring with Brown. On Feb. 10, Ann Coulter retweeted a related article from Heat Street to her 1.4 million followers, which read, “A Georgetown Islamic Studies professor defends slavery and says rape is okay because consent is a ‘Western’ concept.”

On Feb. 11, in an attempt to stem the bleeding, Brown tweeted, “Islam as a faith and I as a person condemn slavery, rape and concubinage.”

But it was too late. Soon dozens of articles were published proclaiming that Brown had defended slavery and rape as acceptable. Pamela Geller wrote about him; Milo Yiannopoulos featured Brown on his website and Facebook account. Brown received dozens of voice messages on his office phone telling him to pack his bags and leave the country, implying that people were coming to look for him and threatening to rape his wife.

By Feb. 15, the relatively mainstream conservative National Review had piled on, suggesting that Brown’s supposed defense of slavery may be related to his endowed chair, which is funded by a Saudi. By Feb. 20, it was on Fox News. On Feb. 22, Gaffney wrote a public letter to Georgetown University President John DeGioia calling for Brown’s termination. Brown told Foreign Policy that the university had remained very supportive; other academics have come out to back him….

Of course they did. They’re part of the same Leftist establishment that Brown and Foreign Policy is part of. Unlike the Right, they protect their own.

Ideologues are seeking to marginalize Muslims by making their speech and their activism relating to their religion come at a very high price. They believe that Muslims are malevolent, duplicitous, and dangerous, and these Islamophobes will bend the truth to fit their claims. In the process, they are denying Islam the same functional rights that Christianity enjoys and silencing the very people best poised to reconcile Islam with modern American life. Which may be the very point.

I don’t believe all Muslims are “malevolent, duplicitous, and dangerous.” I do believe Jonathan Brown is, based on my own experience with him. I do not “bend the truth to fit [my] claims,” and I challenge Foreign Policy or Brown to come up with even a single example of my doing so. But they won’t. This article shows that they aren’t interested in the truth, but only in demonizing those who call attention to the truth when it is inconvenient for them.

COMMENTS

  1. Angel Gabriel says

    March 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    To illustrate what I think of Jonathan Brown — I put him in the same league as Cannibal Reza Aslan. The only thing I lament is that we don’t have video of someone throwing excrement at him as we do of Cannibal Reza Aslan.

    • mortimer says

      March 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Jonathan Brown endorsed ENSLAVEMENT and RAPE OF MARRIED CAPTIVES since the Koran endorses them and Sharia law is hugely concerned about THE ISLAMIC SLAVE INDUSTRY.

      Jonathan Brown taught CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY at a major American university. HOW CAN HE CONTINUE TO HAVE A JOB?

      • Kathy Brown, Esq. says

        March 19, 2017 at 11:06 pm

        Mortimer: That’s the wrong question, ‘how can he continue to have a job?’. He HAS a job BECAUSE he’s muslim, and pro-islam, pro-sharia, and pro-female sex slavery.

        As for this lunatic womyn: She’s married to a throwback muslim fresh from Iran. Her latest piece ‘A Halal Christmas’ extols the virtues of halal slaughter of animals, and her husband’s homesickness for good old Iran where, of course, no one’s allowed to celebrate Christmas.

        She’s certifiable. What else is new.

    • Dave says

      March 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Islam is NOT a “Religion” , Its a criminal cult. Left/Liberals are just scumbag collaborator with jihadis.

      Obama, Hillary , most Dems , RINO’s have been working against American interests for a long time .

      And are nothing more than paid puppets of lobbyists for saudi/OIC and Iran too http://tinyurl.com/njzxzed

  2. Gen Jones says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    The good thing about this article is that Foreign Policy readers can follow the link here and read for themselves.

  3. Diane Harvey says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    “Damn, all those unpleasant truths and realities about Islam are slipping out more and more. We must do more to demonize the truth tellers. People are beginning to notice that Islam is kinda stupid, illogical, and cruel, and those truth tellers are actually, well, telling the truth about Islam.”

  4. Terry says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Judging by the name of the author, she is (or her husband is) Armenian.

    Is she aware of the SLAUGHTER AND GENOCIDE OF ARMENIANS BY THE TURKISH MUSLIMS?

    That, incidentally, (is supposed to have been) the model for Hitler and his genocide of Jews. (Kill one person- terrible; kill 5 or 10- horrible; kill a million or millions-one cannot comprehend the number–in simple form).

    She is (in my view) not the brightest pulb in the chandelier.

  5. Meshulam says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Clearly she is from the Marie Harf school of paper-thin intellect and confirmation bias nitwittery. Pathetic

  6. no_one says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    That author is a useful idiot. She didn’t have time to look at the lecture. She wrote what she was told to. She needs a paycheck to pay the bills and since she can’t get another job, she has to be a leftist journalist. I don’t care about “Foreign policy”.

  7. No Fear says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    “His family has received death and rape threats.” Threatening someone with rape is not suggestive of right wingers. I once had an online conversation with a Turkish muslim and he threatened to rape my mother. I sent a message in reply to him “She is sitting here right now. I will convey your message to her”. I told mum of his threat. She laughed. Mum is 82.

  8. Emilie Green says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    “. . . and these Islamophobes [who exist in their own special “ecosystem,” a word the author especially likes] will bend the truth to fit their claims.”

    And the effort to bend the truth about Islam is made particularly easy by Mohammed himself since a straightforward reading of the Quran substantiates all of these Islamaphobes very points.

  9. No Fear says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    “I as a person condemn slavery, rape and concubinage.”

    Good for you. The “prophet” Mohammed did not condemn those things.

    • Westman says

      March 20, 2017 at 1:44 am

      So why did Brown say, ““I don’t think it’s morally evil to own somebody.” and “Consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.”

      That kind of makes both Brown and Allen-Ebrahimian outright liars.

  10. somehistory says

    March 19, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    That smoke we all smell is from the burning of her pants. Liar, liar, pants on fire applies to her.

    And the fire and smoke that will ascend from the burning of liars for satan will not be put out.

  11. Terry says

    March 19, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Anders Breivik, the self-styled Christian conservative who murdered 77 people in the worst mass killing Norway has seen since World War II,

    While in prison, he said that HE SUPPORTS MUSLIMS AND IS AGAINST THE ZIONISTS. ( I forgot which website had the translation-from Norwegian to English) of the interview, and hsi writings about this –ie. that he is not and wa snot anti-Muslim).

    But, considering that Norway has been anti-Semetic for decades, I can understand that he is anti-Zionist ( code words for anti_Semetic) but sound snicer.

    And, he is (in my view, i am not a psychiatrist) probably somewhat missing a few secrews in his head.

    I would not take much (if anything) that he says, very seriously.

  12. davej says

    March 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    It seems that all the “Christian-Muslim dialogue” studies are run by Muslims and funded by Saudi Arabia. It’s an invasion, a civilizational Jihad. They will stop at nothing to justify Islamic savagery while claiming to be “oppressed” by the “Islamophobes”.

    America needs to drain the swamp that is liberal Islamic funded Universities.

  13. mortimer says

    March 19, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    A huge part of Sharia law is concerned with regulating the SLAVERY INDUSTRY. This one fact proves that SLAVERY IS INHERENT to NORMATIVE ISLAM.

    Jonathan Brown must DENY ISLAM by pretending not to approve of slavery or he must DENY LIBERAL WESTERN HUMAN RIGHTS”

    Jonathan Brown cannot have it both ways. At the moment, he is DENYING ISLAM’S INHERENT SLAVERY which is too obvious to be hid.

    The 1400-year slavery industry of Islam brought in much of its wealth. The end of Islam’s slave industry was forced by the European powers and was resisted tooth and nail by Muslim rulers.

  14. Matthieu Baudin says

    March 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    “…Brown … said: ‘I don’t think it’s morally evil to own somebody’ … [and] condoned rape of the female non-Muslim war captives: ‘Consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.’ … Apparently Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian didn’t … [watch the video] herself, or doesn’t think anyone else will…”

    Sometimes I’ve lost sleep after hearing a woman apologist, like Bethany, prattle on to culturally condone the practice of Clitoral Removal and to argue that action against it is unwarranted. I hope more and more people start to lose sleep and stand up to all of this old world barbarism; the excuses for slavery, rape and the genital mutilation of young girls.

    • SK says

      March 20, 2017 at 12:34 am

      You said “female”. These sort of people operate with the mindset that since you mentioned her gender, it means you don’t like what she said because you hate when her gender disagrees with you.

      Just saying.

      • Kay says

        March 20, 2017 at 12:45 am

        I think what Matthieu means is that women, more than anyone, should be pro-women & girls and thus NOT be apologists for Mohammeden barbarism against females but should be against those practices as he is.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Jesus teaches that if you do not love your enemies you will go to hell

Love Your Enemies

(Leviticus 24:17-23; Matthew 5:38-48)

Luke 6 v 27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Justification by Faith: Romanism and Protestantism

John W. Robbins

PDF Download the PDF version of this review. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your system please click here onAdobe Acrobat Reader to download.
Download the E-Book version of this review.
Download the Kindle version of this review.

Read translation in:
Urdu  Punjabi

Four hundred years ago the religious world was involved in one of the greatest religious conflicts that this world has ever witnessed. A tremendous number of books have recorded a blow-by-blow account of the epic Romanist-Protestant struggle. Yet, after more than four centuries have gone by, the professed sons of the Reformation generally have very little idea of the real issues of the conflict. If you ask a Protestant what Roman Catholics teach concerning justification, you will most likely be told that Catholics believe that a sinner may be justified by his own works of merit. But listen to what an authoritative Catholic catechism teaches:

Q. What is justification?

A. It is a grace which makes us friends of God.

Q. Can a sinner merit this justifying grace?

A. No, he cannot; because all the good works which the sinner performs whilst he is in a state of mortal sin, are dead works, which have no merit sufficient to justify.

Q. Is it an article of the Catholic faith, that the sinner cannot merit the grace of justification?

A. Yes, it is decreed in the seventh chap. of the sixth sess. of the Council of Trent, that neither faith, nor good works, preceding justification, can merit the grace of justification.

Q. How then is the sinner justified?

A. He is justified gratuitously by the pure mercy of God, not on account of his own or any human merit, but purely through the merits of Jesus Christ; for Jesus Christ is our only mediator of redemption, who alone, by his passion and death, has reconciled us to his Father.

Q. Why then do Protestants charge us with believing, that the sinner can merit the redemption of his sins?

A. Their ignorance of the Catholic doctrine is the cause of this, as well as many other false charges (Rev. Stephen Keenan, Doctrinal Catechism, 138, 139).

Many Protestants are awakening to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church does teach a doctrine of justification by faith. With surprise they are saying, “I always thought that Catholics taught that a sinner could be justified by his own works of merit. But they do not teach this. I have been subjected to some uncharitable Protestant propaganda about Catholic doctrine. Why, they believe in the saving grace of God the same as we do!” There is no question but that Catholic doctrine has always taught that a sinner is justified by a grace that comes from God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Then what was the doctrinal bone of contention between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformation?

Three Aspects of Redemption

There are three great aspects of salvation:

1. God the Father’s choosing of his people-election.

2. God the Son’s (Jesus Christ) work for his people-atonement.

3. God the Holy Spirit’s work in his people-faith.

The Father’s choosing of us. This aspect of redemption occurred before we were born, before we had done any good or evil, even before the creation of the universe. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…. In love he predestined us” (Ephesians 1:3-5).

The Son’s work for us. This work of redemption, like election, was done entirely apart from us and without our assistance. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life of obedience for his people. He “died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). He “was delivered for our offences” (Romans 4:25). He entered the sanctuary, “having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). He appears “in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). By his obedience and satisfaction of divine justice, Christearned salvation for his people and gives it to them freely, from beginning to end. “Whom he predestined, these he also called; whom he called, these he also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

The Holy Spirit’s work in us. The Holy Spirit gives to the elect the gifts that Christ earned for them. Some of these gifts, but not all, are done in the believer’s mind: Faith is the principal work of the Spirit in the believer. But justification is not an internal work: It is an external act. It is a legal act consisting of God’s pardoning of sin and his imputing of Christ’s righteousness, his good works, to the believer.

The Romanist Concept of Justification

The Roman State-Church does not teach that a sinner can be justified by his own works of merit done before he is regenerated. Briefly, its position on justification is this: Christ’s work for us has made the gift of the Holy Spirit available to believers. Men must receive an infusion of righteousness by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit must work repentance and charity (love) in the believer. God then pronounces the believer just because of the work that the Holy Spirit has done in him. If the believer continues in his belief and good works, then his justification is increased.

Or to express it another way: The Roman State-Church teaches that a man is justified before God because the Holy Spirit has given that man a just nature. God the Father merely recognizes the work which the Holy Spirit has done in the heart of the believer. Justification means to make just or righteous, according to Roman theology.

The Birth of Protestantism

The Reformers abandoned the idea that the Holy Spirit’s work in them could make them righteous in the sight of God. These men knew what it was to struggle for holiness of heart. Never were there more earnest Roman Catholics than Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Farel, Philipp Melancthon, and William Tyndale. They believed that holiness came only from God, and they tried to apprehend enough holiness in their lives in order that they could be accepted before God. Yet, being honest men, they could never see enough of God’s grace in their own experience to give them any confidence toward God. Indeed, as they looked deep within their poor hearts, they saw sin in the form of pride, selfishness, unbelief, unresponsiveness to God’s love, and egotism. They despaired of ever being justified by virtue of God’s work of grace in them.

Then came their enlightenment in the Biblical faith. They rediscovered Paul’s doctrine of justification through belief alone. In the book of Romans the apostle sets forth the Gospel truth that the sinner is not justified by an infused righteousness but by animputed righteousness-meaning a righteousness that is found wholly in Another. A believer is not justified by virtue of what God has done in him but by virtue of what Jesus Christ has done for him.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law (Romans 3:21-28).

Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also (Romans 4:4-11).

In these words of the apostle Paul, the Reformers found a certain ground of hope. They saw that men need not look within their own experience to find something that will give them any assurance that they may stand acceptable before God. The Reformers were confronted with the great Gospel truth that Christ has already satisfied the wrath and justice of the Father, that justification-God’s declaring them righteous-was evidenced by belief in Christ alone. By faith in God’s perfect work, the finished work of Jesus Christ, they could now rejoice that the righteousness of Jesus was freely imputed to them.

Good Works and Justifying Merit

In returning to the Bible, the Protestant Reformers utterly rejected the idea that works wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit in us can obtain the grace of justification. Although the Roman Catholic position on good works and infused grace was clothed with the appearance of sanctity, Luther discerned that it was a diabolical doctrine devised to lead men astray from the objective Gospel. Roman Catholic doctrine teaches men to trust in God’s work in them. God’s work and their own works become indistinguishable. Roman Catholic theology leads them actually to depend upon their own works. Armed with the great teaching of the sinfulness of man’s nature, Luther was able to show that the good works of the best saints are defiled by the sinfulness and imperfection of human nature. “For there is not a just man on Earth who does good and does not sin”(Ecclesiastes 7:20). “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Good works, declared the Reformers, can only be considered good if the merits of Jesus are added to them to make up for their deficiency and imperfection.

Wrote Luther, “No one can be certain that he is not continually committing mortal sin, because of the most secret vice of pride.” The pope condemned this statement in his bull excommunicating Luther, but the Reformer responded, “Therefore I must retract this article, and I say now that no one should doubt that all our good works are mortal sins, if they are judged according to God’s judgment and severity and not accepted as good by grace alone.” Again he declared, “Every good work is sin unless it is forgiven by the mercy of God.” In A Commentary on St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (176, 177), Luther thundered that the merits of all works, “before grace and after,” should be thrown down to Hell. Thus did this man of God teach that we can never look within us for any work of justifying merit.

Contrary to Roman Catholicism, the Protestants taught that while sanctifying grace within a believer enables him to do good works, only the merits of Christ can make those good works acceptable to God. Sanctifying grace does not make us the friends of God, they said, but is rather the result of Christ’s work done wholly outside of us. The most thorough and Biblical of the Reformed confessions of faith, the Westminster Confession, describes justification in these words:

Those whom God effectually calls, he also freely justifies: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.

The Gospel

Before his enlightenment, Luther vainly looked within his own heart for enough repentance or conversion to assure him of his acceptance with God.

“How dare I believe in the favor of God, while there is nothing in me like true conversion? I must be changed before He can receive me.” Such was the Roman darkness that enveloped his soul. He dreaded those Scriptures which speak of repentance. But after his enlightenment in the Gospel, the passages so much dreaded became his delight-to use his own words, “an agreeable sport, and the most delightful recreation.” All the passages of Scripture which frightened him seemed now to rise up from all sides, smiling, and leaping, and sporting with him. (J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Vol. 1, 130, 131).

Luther contemplated with great joy the words of Paul,”[Christ] loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:29). Luther perceived that the Lord of glory had chosen him in Jesus Christ and bestowed upon him all the treasures of eternity. Luther understood that he could receive justification solely by believing in what God had done for sinners, and that this belief itself was a gift of God.

God justifies the ungodly through faith, without works. “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). To the Reformers who had struggled for years to find favor with God through the work of the Holy Spirit in them, justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ was a message of unspeakable joy. God in eternity chose those whom he would save; Christ actually saved them; and no man can pluck them out of God’s hand. The Holy Spirit applied the salvation that Christ earned for his people to those whom the Father had chosen. All three persons of the Godhead work together in saving God’s people. Those who believe are justified, declared righteous, because of what Christ did at Calvary 2,000 years ago, not because of what the Holy Spirit is doing in their lives today. Believers are justified through faith (and faith itself is a gift of God earned by Christ for his people), but not because offaith or any other work that the Holy Spirit does in them.

Christ came to save sinners, and he actually saved them. There is no better news under Heaven than that. The message of the Gospel is that God loves his people so much that he sent his Son to die on the Cross for their sins so that whoever believes that Jesus is God and rose from the dead will be saved. In the Gospel of the imputed righteousness of Christ, Christians can see the smiling face of the heavenly Father. The Gospel is the good news of what God has already done to save sinners.

The Reformers did not deny the necessity of God’s work in the hearts of men by the power of the Holy Spirit; in fact, they insisted upon the absolute necessity of belief in the truth of the Gospel, a belief that can only be caused by God. Nor did they make light of good works. One need only compare the lives of the Puritans with the lives of the Jesuits. What they did was to get their theology straight. They understood that Christ’s work for his people earned the benefits of the Holy Spirit’s work in us, and other benefits besides, including the forgiveness of sins and our justification before God. The result is the Biblical answer to the question, What must one do to be saved? “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved”(Romans 10:9).

The rediscovery of this truth during the Reformations hook Europe to its foundations and changed the course of world history. Through the preaching of justification by faith alone, the Roman State-Church received a deadly wound. If we again believe and teach that one can be justified only through faith in the righteousness of Christ, and that God will grant the gift of faith and forgiveness to all who ask for it, the course of world history will be changed again.

Are You Romanist or Protestant?

The meaning of justification by faith alone has been largely forgotten in the professing Christian Church. The meaning of justification has been forgotten, and so has the meaning of faith. But mere forgetting is not the whole issue. In addition to our sinful tendency to forget God’s truth (a tendency that the writers of the New Testament were well aware of, for they repeatedly said that they were writing toremind believers), false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, have worked diligently to twist the Scriptural doctrine of justification. The teaching of the Roman State-Church is a prime example of this. The following ten questions are designed to test your knowledge of justification by faith. After you have taken the quiz, perhaps you could ask a teacher in your church to take it as well. You might be surprised to find that many more than you expected are confused on this cardinal doctrine of Christianity. In each of the following 10 choices, mark either (a) or (b), whichever is correct.

1. (a) God gives a sinner right standing with himself by mercifully accounting him innocent or virtuous.

(b) God gives a sinner right standing with himself by actually making him into an innocent and virtuous person.

2. (a) God gives a sinner right standing with himself by placing Christ’s goodness and virtue to his credit.

(b) God gives a sinner right standing with himself by putting Christ’s goodness and virtue into his heart.

3. (a) God accepts the believer because of the righteousness found in Jesus Christ.

(b) God makes the believer acceptable by infusing Christ’s righteousness into his life.

4. (a) If a person is “born again” (regenerate), he will receive right standing with God on the basis of his new birth.

(b) If a person is “born again” he receives right standing with God on the basis of Christ’s work alone.

5. (a) We receive right standing with God by faith alone.

(b) We receive right standing with God by faith which has become active by love.

6. (a) We achieve right standing with God by having Christ live out his life of obedience in us.

(b) We receive right standing with God by accepting the fact that Christ obeyed the law perfectly for us.

7. (a) We achieve right standing with God by following Christ’s example by the help of his enabling grace.

(b) We follow Christ’s example because his death has given us right standing with God.

8. (a) In justification, God pronounces that we are good in his sight.

(b) In justification, God sends his Spirit to make us good.

9. (a) Christ’s intercession at God’s right hand gives us favor in the sight of God.

(b) It is the indwelling Christ that gives us favor in God’s sight.

10. (a) Only by faith in the doing and dying of Christ can we satisfy the claims of the Ten commandments.

(b) By the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, we can satisfy the claims of the Ten Commandments.

Answers: 1a; 2a; 3a; 4b; 5a; 6b; 7b; 8a; 9a; 10a.

Revised and adapted from a pamphlet published in 1972 by the Australian Forum, an apparently defunct organization.

January/February 1987

The Trinity Foundation hereby grants permission to all readers to download, print, and distribute on paper or electronically any of its Reviews, provided that each reprint bear our copyright notice, current addresses, and telephone numbers, and provided that all such reproductions are distributed to the public without charge. The Reviews may not be sold or issued in book form, CD-ROM form, or microfiche.

Copyright © 1998-2015 The Trinity Foundation
Post Office 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692
Phone: 423.743.0199 Fax: 423.743.2005

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Allah prescribes flogging as punishment for adultery in the Koran. Mohammed overrules Allah in the Hadith and decrees stoning as punishment for adultery. A god who is overruled by a mere mortal cannot be the true and eternal living God

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Mutah ( temporary ) marriage sanctioned by the Quran

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment