Tag Archives: Psalms

Something simple that every Christian should know about the Quran

Please read this short but extremely important article: The Qu’ran says the Bible is not corrupt.  This is a great message to share with Muslims who have been told that the Bible has been corrupted.  Using their own “holy book” we can point them back to what should be a common source: The Bible.

The short version: The Quran itself claims that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel are from Allah and that Allah’s words cannot be changed.

Here’s a sample:

The Muslims repeatedly claim that the Bible has been corrupted and that the Qu’ran is the only trustworthy scripture in existence. This is why Muslims often attack the Bible. But this cannot be acording to the Quran. The Quran says that the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the gospel were all given by God.

Torah – “We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers,” (Sura 2:87).1

Psalms – “We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms,” (4:163).

Gospel – “It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong),” (3:3).

. . .

We see that the Qu’ran states that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel were all given by God. With this we Christians heartily agree. But, the Muslims claim that the Bible is corrupted and full of contradictions. If that is so, then it would seem they do not believe the Qu’ran since the Qu’ran says that the Word of God cannot be altered:

“Rejected were the messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers,” (6:34).

. . .

This means that at that time the Bible, which was in existence, could not have been corrupted because the Qu’ran states that God’s word cannot be corrupted. The question I have for the Muslims is “When and where was the Bible corrupted, since the Qu’ran says that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel are from Allah and Allah’s words cannot be changed?”

Update: I should have just linked to this: According to the Qur’an, the Qur’an is false.

–The Old Testament (the Book) and the Gospels (the Injil) were written chronologically prior to the Qur’an.
–The Qur’an claims that the Book and the Injil are the Word of Allah.
–The Word of Allah cannot be changed.
–The manuscripts of the Book and the Injil prior to and in the time of Muhammad and at the time the Qur’an was compiled bear the same message as the Bible we have today.
–The Bible makes theological claims in direct opposition to the theological claims of the Qur’an.
–The Qur’an insists we can and should trust the Bible (which is God’s Word and cannot be changed or corrupted).
–Since the Bible came before the Qur’an, and the Bible is the incorruptible word of God, then anything coming after the Bible which claims to be the Word of God but is different from the Bible, it is therefore false and not of God.
–Therefore, if the Bible is accurate (from 2, 3, and 5) then the Qur’an is false (from 2, 3, 6, and 7).
–Put more briefly: If the Qur’an is true, then the Bible is true, which means the Qur’an is false — and by extension, so is the religion of Islam.

And here’s another great set of resources for sharing the truth with Muslims.

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Bonus: Another simple but crucial thing to know about the Quran is that it makes a clear historical error about the death of Jesus. This passage explicitly denies that Jesus died on the cross:

And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him – they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him. Instead, GOD raised him to Him; GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

Quran, Sura 4:157-158

That is a very clear claim that Jesus did not die on the cross, whereas we know from the Bible and even secular history that Jesus did die on the cross. Then one guy came along over 500 years later with a radical new story about how Jesus didn’t die on the cross, though he had zero evidence behind it.  Zero.

When I speak with Muslims I always bring this example up matter-of-factly.  First I clarify with them that this is what the Quran teaches.   They always agree, except one guy who wasn’t familiar with it (I showed him the reference and I think it helped plant some seeds of doubt).

Then I just explain why I hold the view that Jesus died on the cross: Lots of testimonies written close to the event and plenty of secular historians backing it up vs. one guy over 500 years later with an alleged vision from God.  No serious historian would consider the Islamic version to be more credible.

Is it possible that Mohammad was right about Jesus not dying on the cross?  In a hyper-technical sense, I suppose so.  But you’d have to throw every historical event ever up for grabs using that approach.

This isn’t some small issue, either.  It is an essential claim for Christianity and a key error in the Quran.

Guest post: Authentic Ecumenism and Rebuilding Christian Culture in One Easy Step

Uber-commenter LCB was kind enough to provide a guest post while I’m in the middle of a madly busy stretch — closing on houses, moving houses then moving a daughter to where she’ll be dancing — all in 8 days. We’re talking “hair on fire” busy. Mercifully, it has gone pretty smoothly, though it has cut into my blogging time severely (Google Reader = “844 new items” and number of new posts = 0.).

I’ll be phasing back in over the rest of August (still lots of home projects to do, and my boss does like me to make an appearance at work now and then). In the mean time, enjoy this excellent and challenging piece by LCB.
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In a previous comment section a few of us chatted about liturgy, a fancy word that describe our collective worship of God. Almost all Christians are in agreement that liturgy is a core component of Christianity, though there is often debate about what that liturgy should consist of. There is no doubt that, from the earliest days of the Church, Christians gathered together to worship. St. Paul even provides us, at various points, with hymns that were likely used in early Christian group worship (no doubt followed shortly after by early Christian complaints about the music).

Today I’d like to look at what the early Christian monastics (such as The Early Desert Fathers, some of whose wisdom can be found here – http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Fathers-Sayings-Christian-Classics/dp/0140447318 – can teach all Christians of all stripes today in 2009. In this we’ll consider 3 things:

1) The vocation to prayer
2) Psalms– giving God back what he has given us
3) Rebuilding Christian culture and communities in an anti-Christian world

The early Christian monastics faced a surprisingly similar set of circumstances as we do today in America– Christianity had become so widespread that it was ‘too easy’ to be a Christian. Further, the cities which Christians often lived in had become increasingly corrupt and sinful. By the fall of Rome its debauchery was so well known that one story says, “The women, when they heard the barbarians had broken through the gates, asked excitedly “When do the rapes begin?””

Facing this set of circumstances, many decided to ‘flee’ the cities. Though St. Benedict would become the most famous of these, Anthony Of Egypt (or Anthony of the Desert) probably played a more crucial role in ‘popularizing’ what become monasticism. I think these early monastics serve as a fruitful topic of authentic ecumenical dialog (not the wishy-washy watering down of doctrine that sometimes occurs) because their circumstances were similar to ours today, and because most the early monastics had no connection to the always-controversial Catholic Priesthood. They had a very specific vocation: to pray.

1) The vocation to prayer should be at the core of evey individual Christian’s relationship with Christ. Though few are called to the radical life of prayer of these monastics, all of us are called to daily prayer and communication with God. Further, these Monastics demonstrate how seriously we should take that daily prayer and communication and provide an excellent way to examine our own prayer lives. Are we living the poverty level that God wants us to live at? Are we praying with the frequency that God wants us to pray at? Do we fast with any frequency, even in small ways? Are we dedicating some time each month/season/year to being really and deeply alone with God, perhaps through retreats?

And finally, do we seriously work at opening ourselves to God’s grace, especially to overcome our temptations?

2) The primary form of prayer for these monastics (and monks to this day) is the Psalms. The significance of the Psalms to the prayer life of a Christian is difficult to overstate. These are the prayers that God has giving to us, His people, for use in praying. These are the same prayers that Jesus prayed regularly throughout his life. These are the words that are on his Sacred Lips at the very moment of his death.

Praying the Psalms daily (usually from memory– when was the last time you memorized a Psalm?) forces a person to really engage in mature spiritual growth. A person will quickly reach the plateau where the prayers become ’empty words’, in that they aren’t filled with emotions and often seem point. And yet we return to them every day. Even when it’s hard we learn to remain consistant, to trust that the prayers God gave us are indeed pleasing to Him. Further, we will be forced to enter deeper into the mystery of these prayers, to understand their infinite depth and boundless wisdom in new ways. But this won’t be done alone.

3) When we pray these prayers, as the early monastics did, we should do so as a community. This can be as small as our family, or it can be some of our neighbors, or an even larger groups. But, when we pray as a community, we help support our brothers and sisters in Christ. We learn in a deeper way that we have an obligation towards each other, to help each other stay the narrow path and make it to heaven. And to help each other to pray.

Once I spent a few days at a monastary, and it was a wonderful experience. Until the 4 AM bells woke me up for early prayer. I just couldn’t get out of bed, I was so tired. But the bells were so loud, and the community expected me there, to join them in praying to the Lord Our God. When my own desire to pray wasn’t enough, the community was there to ‘keep me on track.’ This lesson I feel is especially important. That in the hard times we help our brothers and sisters to ‘stay on track’, and continue to pray. It is easy to stop praying in the hard times. But as anyone who has tried to follow the Lord knows, when prayer stops evil surely follows.

Further, aren’t these the kind of communities we want to live in? Communities with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ? Communities where people are helping each other prayer and journey towards the Kingdom? Communities where prayer and worship of God become a central value?

In an anti-Christian world, where Christianity has become so ‘easy’ and the cities are filled with morality, many of us can not flee the cities. But we can flee the immorality and begin building new Christian communities and a new Christian Culture. The monastic dedication to prayer preserved Christian culture during the utter collapse of civilization in Europe. By embracing the lessons of those early monastics, and embracing their foundational dedication to prayer, I am convinced that we can rebuild Christian Culture new again.

And I believe that is best done by praying the Psalms as a community.