Case Study: The Deity of Christ
Ali's three statements dismissing Christianity:
1. the Bible has been changed
- Ask: how do you know the Bible has been changed?
- Dan Rice existing manuscripts argument
- double standard: there is no Islamic equivalent to New Testament textual criticism.
2. Jesus is not God's Son
- what we believe about the Son of God is different than what you might think
- God did not have relations with Mary
- the Gospel of John, one of the most important books of the Bible was written for this very reason:
- John 20:30-31 "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus in the Christ, the Son of God..."
3. The Trinity is not even in the Bible
- It is true the word "trinity" is not found in the Bible
- what we believe about the trinity is not what you might think (has nothing to do with Mary)
- the concept is found throughout the Bible
- We are commanded to baptize "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28:19)
- Jesus himself is called God
- John 1:1 "the Word was with God and the Word was God"
- John 8:58--"before Abraham was, I AM."
- John 20:20--Thomas "My Lord and my God!"
- Romans 9:5--"...is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever, Amen,"
- Colossians 1:15-20--"He is the image of the invisible God..."
- Titus 2:13--"the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"
- Rev 22:13--"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end" (see Rev 1:8)
- our belief in the Trinity is at the very foundation of our salvation and the Christian faith
- The Father planned our salvation
- The Son purchased our salvation
- If Jesus is not the Son of God, he would not qualify to be punished for our sins.
- The Holy Spirit preserves our salvation
- if the Holy Spirit does not dwell within us, we would not remain a Christian!
What WOULD you say? First, some reminders:
- remember you are speaking to someone who has been blinded by the Evil One (2 Cor 4:4)
- pray! Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment
- be a good listener
- speak the truth in love
- invite him to start reading the Bible together
Second, some assumptions about where Ali is coming from:
- What he is saying to you is a core tenet of his religion
- God is one
- it is blasphemous to say that God would have a son
- Other beliefs Muslims hold:
- Jesus never died on the cross ("the Jews thought he did")
- another person could never be punished for your sins
- the Bible has been changed
- man is born as a blank slate (not with an inherent sin nature)
So what would I say?
- Quick "drive-by" response:
- How do you know the Bible's been changed? Have you ever read it? Perhaps you should.
- Longer curb-side conversation response:
- How do you know the Bible's been changed? Have you ever read it?
- May I share with you a story?
- Mark 2 story of Jesus healing the paralytic
- That is from the Bible. Mark 2. Would you be interested in getting together again to read the Bible.
- objective: drive the conversation to helping the person encounter Christ through the Word
Typically, how do Muslims come to faith in Christ? Research has show these are the most common ways:
- Through experiencing the love of a believer (contrary to what they assume about Christians)
- Encountering the love of Christ through the Scriptures
- Through dreams and visions
Notes from a recent Sunday School class.