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Islam (17)

In the last blog post on this subject, we studied the Bible’s teaching on Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael, and we took note of the significance of the sacrifice of Isaac for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thousands of years after the book of Genesis was written, Mohammed wrote the Qur’an (c. 609-632 AD), which makes very different claims about Abraham, Isaac, and (especially) Ishmael. Ishmael the Prophet First, in Islam, Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael are revered prophets: Say ye: “We believe...

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Islam (16)

It has been several months since I addressed Islam on the blog (blog post Islam 15 dated May 25), so it is time to pick up the subject again. In this blog post, I intend to address the differences between Christianity and Islam with respect to Abraham, Isaac, and especially Ishmael. I will divide the material into two blog posts: first, I will explain the Bible’s teaching; and, in the next blog post (DV), I will contrast this with the teaching...

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Answering an Atheist: A Theology of Suffering

Good evening [...] Christianity has a specific theology of suffering, which is absent in atheism, for in atheism suffering is basically meaningless. In fact, in atheism everything is meaningless: people might try to find meaning, but there is no real, objective meaning to anything, if, as atheism teaches, all events are random. Our lives were not planned if there is no God who planned them. Our lives are simply the result of the random collision of molecules. That is what I mean by meaningless. If...

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Islam (15)

In our last blog post on April 21 (blog post: Islam 14), we compared the soteriology of Islam with Christianity, that is, we looked at Islam’s doctrine of salvation. Like all religions, Islam offers its adherents salvation from this world of sin and misery. Some religions offer a “better place,” while others offer a higher form of consciousness. Buddhism, for example, offers the idea of nirvana, which is release from the endless cycles of reincarnation through which believers must pass on...

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Islam (14)

So far in our study of Islam, we have focused on theology (who God is—and especially the doctrine of the Trinity) and Christology (who Christ—and especially the Person of Jesus as the Son of God, His relationship to the Father, His incarnation, sufferings, death, and resurrection from the dead). In our last blog post on February 23 (Islam 13), we considered the essential gospel truth of the resurrection of Jesus. However, it is not enough that a Muslim (or anyone else...

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Islam (13)

On January 13 (blog post: Islam 11), we considered the death of Jesus on the cross, explaining why only he is qualified to be the Mediator and substitute for his people. On February 2 (blog post: Islam 12: Christianity Quiz), we reviewed the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and sin and salvation. Christianity would not be good news if Jesus had remained in the tomb. A dead Lord Jesus is neither Lord (for a Lord rules) nor Savior (remember: Jesus...

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Islam 12: Christianity Quiz

We interrupt the series of blog posts on Islam. If you have been following, and if you have comprehended the blog posts so far, you, and hopefully your Muslim contacts, should be able to answer these questions. Quiz yourselves and your families, especially your teenagers in Heidelberg/Essentials catechism class. How well do you understand the Christian faith? Could you prove these important teachings from scripture?  Part 1: the Trinity TRUE OR FALSE? Christians believe in three gods? Christians believe that the...

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Islam (11)

A Review of the Differences  In our study of Islam, we have noticed that the two religions are diametrically opposed to one another. First, Islam arose after Christianity—Mohammed was born in 570 AD, centuries after the Trinitarian and Christological controversies of the early church (c. 325-451 AD). In a certain sense, Islam can be called a truly anti-Christian religion, in that it developed in opposition to Christianity (although, as we have noted, Mohammed in his Qur’an was really attacking a caricature...

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Islam (10)

In our last blog post on this topic, we showed that the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ were voluntary and necessary, necessary because God ordained them for His Son; voluntary because Jesus willingly endured them for His people. But why would the merciful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ordain such dreadful sufferings for His beloved Son? Why would He not spare Jesus? The answer lies in another necessity, the necessity of our salvation. The Dreadful Cup Jesus wrestled with...

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Islam (9)

In our last blog post on this topic, we examined the Qur’an’s denial of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ: That they said (in boast). ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—Nay, Allah raised him...

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Islam (8)

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness” (I Corinthians 1:23). The message of the gospel—Christ crucified—was a stumbling block to the Jews because they could not accept a crucified Messiah. It is a stumbling block to Muslims for similar reasons. Many Muslims believe that Jesus (Isa) did not die. Instead, He was honored and taken directly into heaven. Therefore, Muslims, in general, deny the crucifixion and death, the burial, and the resurrection...

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Islam (7)

Arguably, among the most complicated questions in Christology (the doctrine of Christ) are those that concern the natures of Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is both divine (He is the eternal, only begotten Son of God, the second person of the Godhead) and human (He is the man Jesus of Nazareth, with a real, physical human body and a real, spiritual human soul). Confusion arises when we try to understand how the divine and the human are related in Jesus....

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Islam (6)

We have—for the benefit of the Muslim neighbor, who does not understand the Christian faith—been explaining the great wonder of the Incarnation. We have noted that (1) The one who became incarnate is the Son of God; (2) His becoming the Son of God did not mean that He ceased to be fully divine; (3) In becoming incarnate, the Son of God took to Himself a real, complete human nature of body and soul; and (4) The human (nature) and divine...

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Islam (5)

In our last blog post on Islam, we looked at some of the teachings in the Qur’an concerning who Jesus (or, as Islam names him, Isa) is. Consider this statement in the Qur’an: “Behold, the angels said: ‘O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah” (Surah 3:45). Nevertheless, Islam...

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