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Qur'anic Straw Men About Christianity


"Wildcat"


The reader may or may not be aware of the obstacles that exist for a Christian that witnesses the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ to a follower of Islam. Many Muslims have serious misconceptions of what it is exactly that Christians believe. When discussing Christianity with a typical Muslim and/or trying to bring one the Gospel, you may be confronted with such statements or similar ones as: "Christians believe that God had a wife" or "Christians worship 3 gods." While the concepts of the Trinity and Jesus being God's Son are, granted, difficult to understand by those not well-informed about Christianity (and even for some of us who are), the typical Muslim may have the most distorted picture of Christian beliefs than any other religious or non-religious sect. Why is this exactly?

The answer lies, at least in large part, within the pages of the book most near and dear to Muslims. The Qur'an is a book of teachings by Mohammad, the founder of Islam, which Muslims believe to be divinely inspired. Within the Qur'an are several attacks by its author against Christianity, some explicit and some implicit. Some of these attacks present a distortion of true Christian beliefs. That is why I felt it was appropriate to label these statements as "straw men" since these attacks are only directed against a false Christianity not practiced by evangelical Christians (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox). Whether these statements are actually straw men used by Mohammad to denigrate Christianity, attacks on non-evangelical Christian fringe groups, historical errors, or simply are based on Mohammad's misunderstandings of true Christian beliefs is beyond the scope of this article. What is important for the Christian witness to realize is that certain misconceptions do indeed exist within the minds of many Muslims that are well read on the Qur'an yet know very little or nothing about true Christianity. It is important that the Christian witness clearly recognize these misconceptions when bringing the Gospel to Muslims and know how to properly dispel them. What follows is a discussion on several of the more notable straw men regarding Christianity within the pages of the Qur'an, brief discussions on how one might go about clearing these misconceptions, and, in some cases, links to certain helpful resources that cover the topic(s) at hand more thoroughly.

I will be using quotes from Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an throughout this article. The Biblical verses I will be using are from the King James Version.

  • Straw man #1: Christians believe that God used a consort to beget Jesus

    "To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things." (Surah 6:101, emphasis added)

    "And Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife nor a son." (Surah 72:3)

    It should be noted up front that these verses do not appear, in their appropriate Qur'anic contexts, to bear direct reflection on Christianity, as it is actually pagan beliefs that seem to be (at least mostly) in view. Thus, unlike the proceeding examples, this is not a strawman per se against Christianity. However, it is worth including a discussion on this topic due to the potential that such verses contain in causing misconceptions about Christian belief. Said, or at least greatly implied in these verses is that, for God to have a Son, He must also have or have had a wife. Thus, it wouldn't be surprising for Muslims to think that Christians believe that God had an actual physical consort when considering the Christian assertion of Jesus' Sonship. However, Christians would agree that it is indeed blasphemy to claim that God had a physical consort in Mary to beget Jesus.

    Due to the misconceptions that could potentially arise from the reading of such Qur'anic verses, it is important to stress the actual Christian belief in regards to this issue. Good Bible passages to point out that appropriately describe the virginal conception as an act of God's creative fiat would be the following:

    "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."(Matthew 1:18-21, emphasis added)"

    "And the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her,….And the angel said unto her, Fear not Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."(Luke 1:26-35, emphasis added)

    It is important to express that Mary had a miraculous conception through the actions of the Holy Spirit in a NON-sexual manner. It is also important to express the concept of Christ's Incarnation. Jesus, the eternal Son, already in existence, entered Mary's womb miraculously and willfully so that He could fulfill His purposes of bringing salvation to the world. More will be discussed in a later section on particular Bible passages one can utilize to provide insight on the Lord's Incarnation.

    Let's also take a look at this famous verse:

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, emphasis added)

    In the above verse, the Greek word for "begotten" is "monogenes," which means sole, or one and only[1].

    The other 4 straw men that will be discussed here arise from Mohammad's misconceptions of the Trinity.

  • Straw men #2 and #3: Christians worship 3 gods and Mary is one of them

    There are verses in the Qur'an that state, or at least strongly imply, that Christians worship Jesus and Mary in addition to God. First, let's examine a couple of verses which seem to implicitly state that Christians place Mary on a higher than human level:

    "In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things."(Surah 5:17, emphasis added)

    "Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger, many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!"(Surah 5:75, emphasis added)

    In the above verses, it appears that the author of the Qur'an is describing a group of people, most likely Christians or a heretical fringe group(more on this below), that place BOTH Jesus AND Mary on a higher plane than that of the rest of humanity. The author goes on to argue that it is unacceptable to promote them to this level since God has the power to take the lives of both Jesus and Mary at any time and that both have to consume food just like other humans. The following verse defines the above theme most explicitly:

    "And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right(to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For thou knowest in full all that is hidden."(Surah 5:116, emphasis added)

    Here we are given the picture of a group of people, again presumably Christians or a heretical fringe group, that worship Jesus, his mother Mary, and God, the latter which is separate from both. It is possible that these misconceptions of the Trinity by Mohammad arose from interactions with Choloridians, a sect of heretical Christians that had been exiled to Arabia who held these or similar beliefs[2]. Again, whether or not the above Qur'anic verses were directed against such a heretical group, were directed against evangelical Christians, or were written for other purposes is not of issue here. What is of issue is that many Muslims today read these verses thinking that it depicts true Christianity and are hence left with a distorted portrait of Christian Trinitarian beliefs.

    A Muslim that learns about Christianity only from his or her scriptures is, almost undoubtedly, likely to assume that the Qur'an does depict true Christian beliefs. As with the first straw man that we discussed, it is equally important to dispose of these straw men as well when conversing with a Muslim. First of all, it is important to establish with him or her that Christians are purely monotheistic (as the term is commonly defined; for some discussion on this point, which would also suggest that not even Muslims are "monotheistic" [!], see here). Good Bible passages to point out would be the following:

    "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me."(Exodus 20:2-3, emphasis added)

    "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else."(Isaiah 45:5, emphasis added)

    "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE LORD:…"(Deuteronomy 6:4, emphasis added)

    "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is ONE Lord:…"(Mark 12:28-29, emphasis added)

    "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."(James 2:19, emphasis added)

    Let's also take a look at what Jesus said in response to Satan while being tempted in the wilderness:

    "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him ONLY shalt thou serve."(Luke 4:5-8, emphasis added)

    So, monotheism is clearly taught in both the Old and New Testaments(Torah and Injeel, respectively, to Muslims). After explaining that Christians do indeed worship only one God, it is next important to explain, in as much as is possible, the concept of the Trinity. As indicated earlier, many Muslims believe that Christians practice tritheism (belief in 3 gods), thanks in large part to these Qur'anic straw men. It is important to stress to a Muslim the true meaning of having Trinitarian faith. That is, there is one God comprised of three distinct, yet eternally unified, Persons, two of whom are attributes of the one true God and therefore ontologically part of that one God. Contrary to Qur'anic straw man #3, which indicates that a false trinity of Father, Son, and Mother is worshiped by Christians, the true Trinitarian concept as taught by the Bible and believed by members of evangelical Christianity is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While the Bible contains many descriptions of the roles of each Member of the Trinity, the best illustration that this author is aware of that demonstrates all Members of the Trinity "in action" at the same event are in passages detailing Christ's baptism:

    "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."(Matthew 3:16-17; compare Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34)

    In these passages we have Jesus(the Son) being baptized by John the Baptist, the descending dove-shaped Spirit(the Holy Spirit) descending upon Jesus, and the voice from heaven(the Father). Similar passages involving Jesus and the Father can be found in the accounts of Christ's Transfiguration(see Matthew 17:1-5, Mark 9:2-7). Recall also the conception narratives discussed under straw man #1. The Holy Spirit overshadowed the womb of Mary and it was Jesus that developed in Mary's womb and came forth draped in human flesh.

    The Trinity, needless to say, is a very complex subject that cannot be fully appreciated or understood with the human mind although much has been written on this subject. I do not wish to go into vast details here, but I do recommend the following resources that delve into this subject much more thoroughly(here, here,here, hereand here).

    The most crucial point to stress to Muslims is that true Christianity is based on Trinitarian monotheism, NOT tritheism. Secondly, it is important to explain that it is the Holy Spirit(not Mary) that is the 3rd Member of the Trinity. It is noteworthy that with the Qur'anic implication that Mary is made to be a god, straw man #1 discussed in this article is reinforced in the mind of the Muslim, which obviously is problematic. This makes it that much more imperative to stress that Mary is not given divine status in the Bible and has not ever been given divine status within evangelical Christianity.

    The Dual Nature of Christ

    It may be now appropriate to delve into the topic of Christ's Incarnation to some degree. A good knowledge of this may help to further dispose of the three Qur'anic straw men discussed thus far. As touched upon in the 1st section, God did not have sexual relations with Mary to beget Jesus. Christians do not believe this nor have they ever believed this. This point cannot be stressed enough. It is not difficult to see how this misunderstanding of Christianity led to the recording of the above straw men within the pages of the Qur'an. What Christians DO believe is that Jesus, being God, has existed eternally and entered the human race through a miraculous, NON-sexual virginal conception. This event is what Christians refer to as the Incarnation. The apostle John gives an informative account of this in the following passage: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made….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."(John 1:1-3, 14) The author of Hebrews describes the Christology of Jesus in the following way:

    "GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;…."(Hebrews 1:1-3)

    We can see here that the Bible describes Jesus as being equal with God and as being God. Christians believe that Jesus is eternal and, therefore, was not only living before Mary's virginal conception, but also living before the foundations of the heaven and Earth were established. While Jesus maintained His divine nature when He entered the womb of Mary and all throughout His life on Earth, He also took on a human nature. Here, we have another complex subject of a Man that was both divine and human. While much could be and has been written on this subject, it is not the goal of this article to delve too deeply into it here. However, it may be appropriate for this author to briefly expound one way in which he would explain Christ's dual nature. Consider the dual nature of the typical human being. While we have our flesh(body) on one end that is subject to certain universal laws and constants, we have our spirit on the other end that makes us individuals. The spirit is the life that God has breathed into each of us(Genesis 2:7). Obviously, this spirit was created by God as was the flesh. Similarly, Jesus had this dual nature of flesh and Spirit as well. Christ's flesh, like ours, was created. However, the Spirit of Jesus is eternal, and as a result, He maintained His divine nature while, at the same time, entering human flesh and making Himself subject to the same laws, constants, and also Commandments, that He Himself established. It was His purpose to impeccably fulfill the Commandments of God and serve as a perfect Sacrifice that would pave the way for us to be accredited with His perfect righteousness, which is the only way to be made holy before a Holy God.

    Many ask, if Jesus was indeed divine, why He prayed, Who He was praying to, and Who He was crying out to on the cross. Consider the following passages:

    "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."(Matthew 26:39, emphasis added)

    "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"(Matthew 27:46, emphasis added)

    We see in these passages clearly that Jesus was praying. With a reasonable understanding of the Trinity, it is obvious here that Jesus is talking with His Father. In these particular cases, we can see His anxiety as the dreaded day of the crucifixion was drawing near. It was almost time for Jesus to consummate His mission by serving as the perfect Sacrifice for sin. The anxiety that clearly enveloped the Lord in this case is a manifestation of His acquired human nature. However, being the ultimate picture of piety, obedience, and perseverance that He is, He completed the end of His gruesome mission by dying on the cross and being resurrected on Easter Sunday thereby creating the bridge of reconciliation between human beings and God.

    Another question that is often posed is, "Why did Jesus consider the Father to be greater than Him?" The following verse gives us a good depiction of this:

    "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."(John 14:28, emphasis added)

    When Jesus took on a human nature, as mentioned before, He made Himself subject to the same universal laws, constants, and Commandments that He, Himself, established as Creator. By entering the human race, Jesus indeed took a step down from the glory and splendor that He had prior to His Incarnation. As a matter of fact, a careful reading of the words I placed in black italics in the above verse reveals this. Jesus was telling His disciples that they should be happy that Jesus will soon be returning to His Father because He will be returning to the glory that was His prior to the Incarnation.

    The concepts of God's Trinitarian nature and Christ's Incarnation are difficult to grasp. However, I think the reader would agree that we can not possibly expect to fully understand every aspect of the Creator and Sustainer of the vast universe. It is, at least to my knowledge, impossible to understand with our human mind how God can be uncreated, omniscient, and omnipresent. Similarly, it is unlikely that we are capable of understanding everything about God's nature as well since we are on such a lower level of understanding compared with God Himself.

  • Straw man #4: God is the "third of three"

    While this author is of the opinion that Allah described in the Qur'an cannot possibly be equivalent to Yahweh of the Bible, as is claimed by Muslims, I will, for the sake of simplicity, use Allah and Yahweh interchangeably here.

    "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs."(Surah 4:171, emphasis added)

    "They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah." If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them."(Surah 5:73, emphasis added).

    Upon reading these passages, Mohammad's misconceptions of the Trinity are again clearly displayed. The attacks here are directed toward a group of people, most likely Christians or a heretical fringe group, who, apparently to Mohammad, practiced tritheism rather than Trinitarian monotheism. It is implied here that other gods are worshiped besides Allah and that this is Trinitarian belief. A while ago this author had an e-mail exchange with a Muslim apologist who "informed" me that Allah was equivalent to God the Father of the Bible. With this belief in mind, it is understandable that the other two Members of the Trinity would be viewed as separate gods since only God the Father is Allah. However, this perception is not accurate. Again, Christians teach that there is only one God that is comprised of 3 distinct, yet eternally unified, Persons, two of whom are attributes of the Father. In other words, Christians believe that God the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God -- keeping in mind that "God" was properly used in the Old and New Testaments not as a proper noun, but as a "common noun" like deity. God, or Allah if we make the equivalence as the Muslims do, embodies all three Persons rather than just the Father, according to Christian beliefs. So, the claim that Allah (or God) is the "third of three" is unfounded since Christians do not, nor have they ever, believed this. Christians would agree with Muslims that such a position would indeed be a blasphemous heresy as this describes, once again, tritheism, not Trinitarian monotheism.

  • Straw man #5: God is Jesus

    For the last straw man that we will discuss, let us return to a verse used in a previous section:

    "In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every - one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things."(Surah 5:17, emphasis added)

    While it may seem a matter of mere semantics, this author felt it necessary to comment on this particular passage. Christians do not claim that God was Jesus, but rather that Jesus was God, and did not exhaust God. Contrary to Qur'anic claims, Christians believe that Jesus, while representing the entire Godhead (John 14:7-11, 17), is NOT the entire Godhead Himself. This passage makes it appear that, according to Christian beliefs, Jesus is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is inaccurate. The Bible makes it clear, as was discussed above, that Jesus, while being eternally unified with the Father, is a different Entity within the Godhead as the Father. For example, Jesus would not have prayed to His Father if He was the Father.

    Answering Charges of Bible Corruption

    While it is outside of the scope of the themes being addressed in this article, it is perhaps worthwhile to close by addressing an issue that frequently comes up in Christian-Muslim dialogue. After demonstrating the falsehoods that exist concerning Christianity in the Qur'an, it is very possible that a Muslim may accuse the Christian witness of reading and/or referring to a corrupted Bible. This is a position held widely among Muslims. Muslims believe that both the Old Testament(Torah) and New Testament(Injeel or Gospel) are(or were) the Word of God, but have been corrupted over the ages by Jews and Christians and are, hence, no longer reliable. They will then claim that the Qur'an is the only remaining unadulterated, trustworthy source of true religious doctrine.

    In light of the vast amount of manuscript and archaeological discoveries that support the reliability of the Bible, it is extremely unlikely that the texts of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, could have been subject to substantial tampering, particularly the extent necessary that would support the Muslim assertion that, at one point, the Torah(Old Testament) and Injeel(New Testament) were once consistent with the doctrines taught by Islam. Moreover, the accusation of Bible corruption actually undermines MUSLIM theology. Christian author, Dr. Lactantius, expresses it quite well here:

    "We begin with what the Qur'an says about the Bible; many verses actually confirm that it is God's Word and has not been changed. Here are only a few for example: sura 5:43 'How come they to you for judgement when they have the Torah, wherein are contained the commandments of God?'; sura 5:44 'We [God] did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and light...'; sura 5:46 'We sent Jesus...confirming that which was revealed before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and light...'; sura 5:68 '[Jews and Christians] have no guidance until you observe the Torah and the Injil [Gospel]'; sura 4:136 'Believe in God and His messenger [Muhammad], and the Scripture which He revealed to His messenger [the Qur'an] and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime [the Bible]'; sura 10:91 'If you [Muhammad] are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto you, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before you'; sura 15:9 'We reveal the Reminder, and Lo! We truly are its Guardian [ie the Bible is guarded against corruption by God]'; sura 6:34 'There is none to alter the Words of Allah'; sura 10:64 'There is no changing of the Words of Allah.'

    If the Bible was corrupted, was this before or after Muhammad? If before, why does God tell Muhammad to refer to a corrupted Scripture for guidance, and why does he say of the Torah and Gospel 'wherein is guidance and light' rather than 'wherein there used to be before they were corrupted'? If after, why does the Muslim not accept the Bible, since current translations are all based upon manuscripts that predate Muhammad?"

    If it was corrupted, was this by Jews or Christians? Since neither were on speaking terms with each other (sura 2:113 'The Jews say the Christians follow nothing (true) and the Christians say the Jews follow nothing (true), yet both are readers of the Scripture', also see 5:82), how could they agree to change every single Bible identically? Why was there no record of this happening, and why did nobody try to stop it or hide authentic Bibles?.... Significantly the early Muslim commentators (eg. Bukhari, al-Razi) were all agreed that the Bible could not be changed since it was God's Word and several centuries passed before Muslims claimed that the Bible had been changed, when they carefully read the stories in the Qur'an and noted that they were different from those in the Bible. The verses used to support corruption in the Bible have been totally misused by Muslims. For example sura 2:42 'Confound truth with falsehood, nor knowingly conceal the truth' was said to have come to Muhammad after two Jews were brought to him for judgement, having committed adultery. The other Jews wanted to test him to see if he, as a prophet of God, knew what was in the Torah. So he asked for a Torah and got a boy to read the punishments for disobedience. When the boy reached Lev 20:10 ('if a man commits adultery with another man's wife....both must be put to death') the Jew accused of adultery slammed his hand over the verse so the boy could not read it (source: Abu Dawood 4449 (Arabic) or 4432 (English)). A far cry from corrupting the text of the Bible. Other verses say that a group of Jews used to listen to Scripture then change it - but (i) it was only a group, not all the Jewish people around the world let alone in Mecca; (ii) they must have had the original genuine copies in order to have been accused of changing it; and (iii) they did not change the written text, they simply told Muhammad that it said things which were not there, in order to mislead him."[3]

    I encourage the reader to take a look at one or more of the following sources that delve into this subject more thoroughly(here,here,here, and here). As with the straw men discussed in this paper, it is helpful to be able to show Muslims clearly that the Bible has not been changed and that it is still the authentic Word of God. Again, while manuscript and archaeological discoveries make the position of Bible corruption ridiculous at best, it may be more efficacious to show them from their own scriptures and traditions that the Bible could not possibly have been corrupted.

    All evidence aside, the obvious question that arises in this author's mind from such a charge is, "Is God not powerful enough to prevent humans from corrupting His Word?" This is an important question to pose to Muslims that make the claim of Bible corruption. Perhaps the Muslim has leveled this charge without thinking critically of its implications. It is only reasonable to expect and believe that an all-powerful Deity(one in which both Christians and Muslims believe and worship) would preserve His inspired Word. With false prophets appearing and misleading people from about every corner of history, we must have a foundation by which we can know whether a person who claims to be speaking for God really is or not. Evangelical Christians have been exposing multitudes of heresies that have arisen both within and without the church down through the ages by relying on God's Word, the Bible. If God would allow His Word to be lost and/or corrupted, we no longer have this foundation and our salvation is based on a guessing game. We would have nothing by which to test men and women claiming to be a messenger or prophet of God. Again, the only reasonable scenario to expect from a loving God who wishes for all of His creation to come to salvation would be to give us His Word and preserve it so that we may stay on the right path and avoid being seduced down false paths.

    Conclusion

    Many Muslims have a distorted picture of Christian beliefs thanks in large part to the Qur'anic views of Christianity. As has been mentioned in other places in this article, it is possible that Mohammad was addressing a heretical fringe group of Christians with these accusations. However, this does not change the fact that these same verses are assumed by many Muslims to refer to evangelical Christianity. This is particularly the case with Muslims whose only information on Christianity comes from their own scriptures. This is very unfortunate since it is very probable that millions of Muslims down through the centuries have rejected Christianity based on these Qur'anic straw men. In fact, the Christianity that has likely been rejected by many Muslims is a Christianity that does not exist. It is a Christianity that would be considered just as blasphemous by Christians as it is by Muslims. It is imperative for the Christian witness to Muslims to be aware of these straw men and to be able to demonstrate that they are falsehoods not indicative of true Christian Trinitarian beliefs.

    Acknowledgements

    1. Strong, James. "The New Strong's Complete Dictionary of Bible Words." Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996
    2. http://debate.org.uk/topics/theo/jes-musl.htm
    3. http://debate.org.uk/topics/apolog/question.htm
    4. I thank James Patrick Holding for his valuable suggestions that have been incorporated into this article.

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