Common Christian Misbeliefs addressed in Question and Answer format.
I And The Father Are One
QuestionJesus said: "I and the Father are one" (Jn.10:30), therefore, is not Jesus the same, or, "co-equal" in status with his Father?
AnswerIn Greek, `heis' means `one' numerically (masc.) `hen' means `one' in unity or essence (neut.) Here the word used by John is `hen' and not `heis'. The marginal notes in New American Standard Bible (NASB) reads; one - (Lit.neuter) a unity, or, one essence. If one wishes to argue that the word `hen' supports their claim for Jesus being "co-equal" in status with his Father, please invite his/her attention to the following verse: Jesus said: "And the glory which Thou hast given me, I have given to them (disciples); that they may be one, just as we are one." (John 17:22). If he/she was to consider/regard/believe the Father and Jesus Christ to be "one" meaning "co-equal" in status on the basis of John 10:30, then that person should also be prepared to consider/regard/believe "them" - the disciples of Jesus, to be "co-equal" in status with the Father and Jesus ("just as we are one") in John 17:22. I have yet to find a person that would be prepared to make the disciples (students) "co-equal" in status with the Father or Jesus. The unity and accord was of the authorized divine message that originated from the Father, received by Jesus and finally passed on to the disciples. Jesus admitted having accomplished the work which the Father had given him to do. (Jn.17:4)
Hot Tip: (precise and pertinent)Jesus said: "I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I." (Jn.14:28). This verse unequivocally refutes the claim by any one for Jesus being "co-equal" in status with his Father.
I Am the Way
Question Jesus said: "I am the way, ...no one comes to the Father, but through me." (Jn.14:6), therefore, is not the Salvation through Jesus, ALONE?
AnswerBefore Jesus spoke these words, he said; "In my Father's house are many mansions (dwelling places); if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a mansion (a dwelling place) for you." (John 14:2).
The above explicit statement confirms that Jesus was going to prepare "a" mansion and not "all" the mansions in "my Father's house". Obviously, the prophets that came before him and the one to come after, were to prepare the other mansions for their respective followers. The prophet that came after Jesus had evidently shown the current "way" to a modern mansion in the kingdom of heaven. Besides; the verse clearly states; Jesus was the "WAY" to a mansion. It is a folly to believe that Jesus (or any prophet) was the "DESTINATION".
Jesus said; "I am the door" to find the pasture. (Jn.10:9). A sheep that walks through the "door" will find the pasture. A sheep that circles around the "door" will never find the pasture. One who crosses over the "way" will reach the mansion. Anyone that stops on the "way" and believes the "way" to be the end of his/her journey, will be out in the open without any shelter and a roof.
Hot Tip: (precise and pertinent) Jesus said; "Not every one that says to me; `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven." (Mt.7:21).
He Who Has Seen Me Has Seen the Father
Question Jesus said:"He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn.14:9), does this not prove that Jesus Christ and his Father were one and the same?
AnswerOne day to prove a point and settle an argument, Jesus picked up a child and said to his disciples; "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me receives Him who sent me;" (Luke 9:48).
Jesus said; "He who believes in me does not believe in me, but in Him who sent me." (John 12:44) "He who hates me hates my Father also. ...but now they have both seen and hated me and my Father as well." (John 15:23-24)
"And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3).
The call of sincerity demands that if believing in the Truth is the honest intention then one could only pass an ethical judgement after reflecting upon all the relevant texts. John 17:3 (quoted above), if read with the following verse clears the air.
Hot Tip: (precise and pertinent) Jesus said; "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is the one who is sent greater than the one who sent him." (John 13:16). During his ministry, Jesus repeatedly said he was sent by his Father.
Jesus the Begotten Son?
Question The Bible; "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16); should you not believe in Jesus to have eternal life?
AnswerOf course, we believe in Jesus for what he was and we do not believe in what he was not. We Muslims believe Jesus was a Messiah; "Spirit from God"; "Word of God"; the righteous Prophet as well as Messenger of God and the son of Virgin Mary. But, we do not believe Jesus was "the begotten son of God." The truth of the matter is apostle John never ever wrote; Jesus was "the begotten" son of God. Please obtain a copy of the `Gideon Bible' from a Hotel or Motel near you. It is distributed free since 1899, all over the world, by The Gideon Society. In the beginning of this famous Bible, John 3:16 is translated in 26 popular world languages. You may be amazed to discover that in the English translation, the editors have used the traditionally accepted term "His only begotten son." Whereas, in several other languages the editors have used the term "His unique son" or "His one of a kind son." In 1992, when I discovered this textual variations, I wrote letters to various universities in North America requesting them to confirm the original Greek term used by John. Below is a copy of the response received from The George Washington University:-
John 3:16 and John 1:18 each have the word `monogenes' in Greek. This word ordinarily means "of a single kind". As a result, "unique" is a good translation. The reason you sometimes find a translation that renders the word as "only begotten" has to do with an ancient heresy within the church. In response to the Arian claim that Jesus was made but not begotten, Jerome (4th century) translated the Greek term `monogenes' into Latin as `unigenitus' ("only begotten"). Paul B. Duff, 22 April, 1992. Professor Duff's response was based upon `Anchor Bible', volume 29, page 13-14. The Greek term for "begotten" is `gennao' as found in Mt.1:2, which John did not use.
Hot Tip: (precise and pertinent) Jesus said to Mary; "...go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father..." (John 20:17). This verse demonstrates that the usage of term `Father' was purely metaphorical. As for Jesus being a "unique son", he, unlike us, was created without a physical Father.
Being Born Again
Question Jesus said: "Truly, truly. I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3); I am a "born again" Christian, are you a "born again" Muslim?
Answer The truth of the matter is apostle John did not use the phrase "born again". The Greek text reveals, the phrase used by John is "born from above". The Greek word used by John is `anothen' (`ano' + `then'). `ano' means `above' and the suffix `then' denotes `from'.
Hence, what Jesus said was "unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." And, that sounds logical. Since none of the living creature is "born from above", no one can see the kingdom heaven during his life time. The concept of being "born again" to see the kingdom of heaven is an innovation to instill the concept of Baptism.
The same word `anothen' appears in the same Gospel and in the same chapter in verse 31. Here the editors have translated the word as "from above" and not "again". This further supports the logic of Jesus having said; "born from above".
To enter the Kingdom of Heaven one has to keep the Commandments. God's distinguished Command known as the `Covenant of Circumcision' (physically, "in the flesh of your foreskin") was an everlasting Covenant (Compact,Treaty) between God and man. See Genesis 17:10-14.
Can an everlasting Treaty be abrogated or revoked unilaterally? Did Jesus abrogate it? No. Jesus was circumcised in the flesh (Luke 2:21). We, Muslim males, are circumcised. Are the male Christians circumcised in the "flesh of their foreskins"? If not, please read the following verse:-
Hot Tip:Jesus said; "Whoever then annuls (discards) one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:19).
The Doctrine of Trinity
Question Jesus said; "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19); does this not prove that the `Doctrine of Trinity' and its present day formula was communicated and promulgated by Jesus Christ himself?
AnswerWith all due respect, we tend to disagree in view of the following compelling evidences:-
1. `Peake's Commentary on the Bible' published since 1919, is universally welcomed and considered to be the standard reference book for the students of the Bible. Commenting on the above verse it records; "This mission is described in the language of the church and most commentators doubt that the trinitarian formula was original at this point in Mt.'s Gospel, since the NT elsewhere does not know of such a formula and describes baptism as being performed in the name of the Lord Jesus (e.g. Ac. 2:38, 8:16, etc.)."
2. Tom Harpur, author of several bestsellers and a former professor of New Testament, writes in his book `For Christ's Sake'; "All but the most conservative of scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command was inserted later. The formula occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and we know from the only evidence available (the rest of the New Testament) that the earliest Church did not baptise people using these words - baptism was "into" or "in" the name of Jesus alone."
3. The above command (authentic or otherwise) does not indicate that the three names mentioned in the formula are or were, "co- equal" in their status, as well as, were "co-eternal" in the time frame, to conform with the acknowledged `Doctrine of Trinity'.
4. If the Father and His Son were both in "existence" from the Day One, and no one was, a micro second before or after, and, no one was "greater or lesser" in status, than why is one called the Father and the other His begotten Son?
5. Did the act of "Begetting" take place? If YES, where was the "Begotten Son" before the act? If NO, why call him the "Begotten Son"?
Hot Tip:"And Peter said to them, `Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;...'" (Acts 2:38). It is most unlikely that apostle Peter would have disobeyed the specific command of Jesus Christ for baptising in the three names and baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ, alone.
More on the Trinity Doctrine
QuestionApostle John in his first Epistle, chapter 5 and verse 7 wrote: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one."; is this not a fair testimony to acknowledge the `Doctrine of Trinity'?
1. The text quoted does appear in the Kings James Version but has been omitted by most of the editors of the recent versions e.g. Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New English Bible, Phillips Modern English Bible, because the quoted text does not appear in the older Greek manuscripts.
2. Renowned historian Edward Gibbon calls the addition a "Pious Fraud" in his famous history book `Decline and Fall of Roman Empire'.
3. Peakes commentary on the subject reads; "The famous interpolation after "three witnesses" is not printed even in RSVn, and rightly. It cites the heavenly testimony of the Father, the logos, and the Holy Spirit, but is never used in the early trinitarian controversies. No respectable Greek MS contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th-cent. Latin text, it entered the Vulgate and finally the NT of Erasmus."
Hot Tip:Notwithstanding the above rejections, the verse that follows the quoted text reads in KJV; "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one." (1John5:8). Are these three witnesses "co-equal"? Can blood be substituted with water? Can water be regarded as the same in any respect with the Spirit? Just as the spirit, the blood and the water are three separate entities, so are the first three witnesses, namely; the Father, the Son (Word, Logos) and the Holy Spirit (Ghost).
Salvation Only in Being a Follower of Christ?
QuestionJesus said:"He who believes in the son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36); are you not under the wrath of God for not being a follower of Christ - a Christian, by belief?
AnswerIt is an interesting question. In fact, we Muslims should be asking the question to you the followers of Christ. Do the vast majority of Christians truthfully believe Christ for what he said he was, and, truly understand his commands and obey them?
We believe, most of the followers who claim to be Christians do not even understand the implications of calling their Leader or Lord; "Christ". (The readers will understand what I mean by the last sentence, once they go through the rest of the text).
Here is the answer to your question. The above verse has two parts. `Belief' and `Obedience'. On the subject of Belief in Christ, Jesus asked his disciples; "But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God." (Luke 9:20). Peter did not say God or a god. We Muslims truly believe Jesus was "The Christ (al-Masih) of God". The expression "The Christ of God" literally means; "The one that was anointed by God himself". Please go back in time and think. God performed the ceremony of anointing (physically or spiritually) and for that reason, Jesus became "The Christ of God". Now may I please ask you a simple question. Who is greater and exalted; the one who anointed, or, the one who got anointed? Since God anointed Jesus, God is the greater and exalted between the two, which we Muslims, do truly believe. But surprisingly, the followers who say Jesus is "Christ", don't.
Hot Tip:"...Thy holy Servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint,..." (Acts 4:27 - New American Standard Bible). This leaves no room for doubt that Jesus was a `Servant of God'. Besides, there are other verses which declare Jesus; God's Servant.
Now let us go to the second part of the quoted verse; "obeying the Christ". Please read the following verse and ask yourself a question; have I obeyed?
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life." John 5:24 Have I believed and placed my trust basically, fundamentally and predominately in Him or in Jesus?
Hot Tip:Jesus said; "But I do not seek my glory; there is One who seeks and judges." John 8:51. Who is this "One", who is not Jesus? Have you basically, essentially and fundamentally glorified the "One" or Jesus? Please remember, the "One" will be the Judge on the Day of Judgement and not Jesus. If you disbelieve or disobey the above word of Jesus please read the verse quoted by you and then think about the "wrath of God".
Did All Things Come Into Being Through Jesus?
QuestionIn the Book of Genesis 1:26, we read; "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."; does not the use of terms "us" and "our" prove that the God which created man was not a singular entity, furthermore, does it not support the Johnannine concept (John 1:3); all things came into being through Jesus?
1. Below is an extract from a commentary for the above verse, written by the editors of King James Version (The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, 6th edition): "The Hebrew word for God is `Elohim' (430), a plural noun. In Genesis 1:1, it is used in grammatical agreement with a singular verb `bara' (1254), created. When plural pronouns are used, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness," does it denote a plural of number or the concept of excellence or majesty which may be indicated in such a way in Hebrew? Could God be speaking to angels, the earth, or nature thus denoting Himself in relation to one of these? Or is this a germinal hint of a distinction in the divine personality? One cannot be certain."
Having written "One cannot be certain", the editors try to advocate the theory of Jesus, as the "essential (internal) unity of Godhead."
2. The response to your question, as well as, to the commentators remark; "One cannot be certain", lies not very far, but in the next verse (Genesis 1:27), which reads; "And God created man in His own image,..." This statement tells us that the actual act of creation when performed, was performed by "Him" and in "His" image and not by "Us" in "Our" image.
Hot Tip: As a closing conclusive argument, here is a statement of truth from Jesus himself; "And he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, `Have you not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female." (Matthew 19:4). This statement by Jesus also negates the so called Johnannine concept put forward by you (NOT by apostle John).