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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Jan 15th, 2017
A picture of Muhammad tormented in hell.
Giovanni da Modena Last Judgment Fresco
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