Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Responding to Muslim Arguments

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:
  1. Through experiencing the love of a believer (contrary to what they assume about Christians)
  2. Encountering the love of Christ through the Scriptures
  3. Through dreams and visions
Notes from a recent Sunday School class.

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