Archive for January, 2012

Whom Should We Invoke? How do we Get Spiritual Water?

January 30, 2012

As reported today (30 January 2012) by the Vatican Information Service, Benedict XVI is reported yesterday to have stated:

Let us trustingly invoke Most Holy Mary that she may guide our hearts always to draw from the well of divine mercy, which liberates and heals our human condition, filling it with all grace and benevolence, with the power of love.

Notice the problems.

1) Rather placing our trust in God alone, Ratzinger wants us to trust Mary.

2) Rather than ascribing the highest degree of holiness to God alone, Ratzinger calls Mary “Most Holy”

3) Rather than ascribing guidance of our hearts to the Holy Spirit, Ratzinger ascribes it to Mary.

I suppose we should, on some level, be thankful that the remainder of the sentence relates to divine mercy and its consequences.  It’s small conciliation, however.

Moreover, also notice the synergism of the description – the object of the trust and invocation is not simply to receive grace from God, but rather to receive Marian guidance for us to use our own abilities to “draw from the well.”

By contrast, Jesus says:

John 4:14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

The gifts that the Father gives us, promised to us by Jesus, are greater than those promised by the leader of the Roman communion and sought by those in communion with him.  Whereas they have to draw from a well, our well springs up to us.

We also have a better mediator to invoke than Mary.  Our mediator encouraged us in this way:

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

You see, we don’t have to just ask Jesus for guidance to the divine well – if we ask water of him, he will give it to us!

Dear readers, drink from the rock!  Not from Peter the apostle but Jesus Christ the Righteous.  As it is written:

1 Corinthians 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.


Love Jesus – Not the Cross?

January 28, 2012

So you say you love Jesus but not the cross
You think Christians are wrong and Allah’s boss
Did Jesus say he’s God? You think certainly not.
But there’s a few things you seem to’ve forgot.

You see, Jesus was asked by the Pharisee
About Abraham How it could be – How could he see?
When he answered “I am” he wasn’t conjugating “to be”
He was claiming divinity – capisce?

Jesus is the Word – the Unique Son of God
That Word made the World He was always with God
Then that Word became man – two natures in one
The Monogenes became Mary’s first son

He came to die so that we could be free
The divine took on humanity to redeem
Because God takes sin seriously

You can just deny it
Try to hide from it
Claim that forty Arabic words decide it
But consider history – his disciples died for it

And they worshiped him – Thomas called him God and got the nod
But important than that – consider the very word of God
Who told his angels “worship him”
And now you’re going to try to spin
And tell me that it’s too thin
Because it’s not Jesus himself saying to worship him?

You forgot about prophecy too
What Isaiah said was true
The son of the virgin was the son of God too

That’s what Immanuel means – God with us
God in humanity nailed to the cross

In humanity raised to life by the divine
Ascended on high – he will come in the sky

To judge living and dead on the very last day
Will you worship the Son – for this I will pray.

Christian Liberty, the Roman Communion, and Inerrancy

January 27, 2012

As Christians, we have a lot of liberty.  We can eat meat or abstain from eating it.  We can drink or abstain from drinking.  Moreover, in things about which Scripture has nothing to say, we have the Christian liberty to have a variety of opinions.

In theory, Rome’s communion has a similar policy.  They have more rigid rules about eating (sorry guys, it’s Friday, can’t have the bacon cheeseburger), but in theory they have a lot of leeway in theology.  If there is no “defined dogma” then those in Rome’s communion are (generally speaking) allowed to believe whatever they like.  Moreover, if there is no “official teaching,” those in Rome’s communion are (again, generally speaking) allowed to express their opinion.

So, it is with some amusement that I have been watching a certain e-pologist for the Roman communion who has been spending his time in an extended blog war with one of Rome’s actual apologists over the latter’s promotion of some video.  The video speculates about whether the NASA footage of the moon landing is genuine.

Let’s be clear about something – Rome has no official teaching or dogmatic definition regarding whether the moon landings happened, or whether the footage of them is real.  So, in theory, members of Rome’s communion should be free to hold various opinions about the subject.

I feel a little sorry for the real apologist who finds himself at the receiving end of the abuse from e-apologist over his views on the moon landing.  The only apparent motivation for the abuse from the e-pologist is to make the real apologist look bad for holding views that a lot of people will think are kooky.  Maybe the views are kooky, but he’s supposedly allowed to hold those views.

What’s amusing is that this same e-pologist claims that it’s “not liberal” for people to hold the documentary hypothesis! (“Is it liberal to adopt the documentary hypothesis? Dogmatically, I don’t think so, from a Catholic perspective.” source)

Whether the documentary hypothesis is correct isn’t something that we Christians have liberty about – it touches on and denies inerrancy.  But what is Rome’s view on inerrancy?

In summary, the following can be said with certainty: … with regards to what might be inspired in the many parts of Sacred Scripture, inerrancy applies only to “that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation” (DV 11)

(Nikola Eterovic, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” in an Instrumentalis Laboris form, 2008)(but note that this portion of the working paper was not ultimately approved, as per this report)

Of course, previously, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had stated without qualification that “the absence of error in the inspired sacred texts” (15 July 1998) was something to be believed De Fide on a par with “the doctrine on the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.”  Of course, “without qualification” is the way that a traditionalist would view it.  “Without clarification” is how a modernist would view it.

I understand that the CDF has been given the task of further clarifying the Roman position on inerrancy, but whether they adopt the modernist view espoused in the working paper above, or the orthodox view of full inerrancy, it’s truly remarkable that Rome’s e-pologist(s) (I understand Mark Shea has added to the pile of abuse as well) find it appropriate to bash one more noble than themselves for holding views that are perfectly acceptable within their own communion.

It seems like a classic case straining at the gnat (holding to an unusual view of America), whilst swallowing the camel (the documentary hypothesis).

– TurretinFan

Discussing the Bible with Roman Catholics

January 26, 2012

John Lollard (which I presume is a psuedonym) has provided the following dialogue between a hypothetical truthseeker and a Roman Catholic:

Roman Catholic (RC): “Here, this book came from God. Read it and believe it.”
Truth Seeker (TS): “Okay! Hey, this book says X is true.”
RC: “What? Give me that!”
TS: “Right there, ‘X is true’.”
RC: “It doesn’t actually mean that. What it means is that X is false and Y is true.”
TS: “But, you said this book came from God?”
RC: “It did. But you should just listen to me, and not worry about what this book says.”
TS: “What? Why should I listen to you?”
RC: “Why, it says right there in the book, ‘the true believers’ – meaning me of course – ‘will never teach falsely’.”
TS: “But this book teaches X and you teach Y. Doesn’t that mean you do teach falsely?”
RC: “Look, I’m the one who gave you the book in the first place.”
TS: “Then thank you very much for the book that you claim came from God, please read it yourself and obey it.”

I have one criticism of this dialog, though. How many savvy Roman Catholics would suggest to a truth seeker to read and believe the Bible? Reading the Bible is not going to lead you Romeward, and I think most RC proselytizers realize that.


To Whom Should we Entrust Baptized Infants?

January 25, 2012

I realize a lot of my friends who read my blog are baptists.  For the sake of discussion, assume with me that infants of believers are to be baptized.  Benedict XVI recently baptized XVI babies in the Sistine chapel.  Vatican Information Service (VIS) reports (January 9, 2012) that:

The Pope concluded by entrusting the newly baptised infants to the Blessed Virgin, “that they may grow in age, wisdom and grace, and become true Christians, faithful and joyful witnesses of the love of God”.

There is a gnat and a camel here.

The gnat first.  Aren’t newly baptized infants “true Christians” already?  What sort of theology does Benedict XVI have, in which newly baptized infants are not true Christians?  This is a gnat because it may be simply a slip of the tongue or a translation glitch.

Now, the camel.  What is Benedict XVI doing entrusting them to Mary?  On what basis does Benedict XVI suppose that Mary can have any influence on their ability to

  • grow in age
  • grow in wisdom
  • grow in grace
  • become (remain?) true Christians
  • become faithful witnesses of the love of God; or
  • become joyful witnesses of the love of God?

What this looks like is just more Mariolatry – treating Mary as though she were a goddess, capable of doing what only God can do.  Does Benedict XVI use the word “goddess”?  No.  Functionally though, where a Presbyterian minister would entrust a child to God or a Baptist might “dedicate” the child to God, Benedict XVI is entrusting the babies to Mary.


Do Muslims Have the Whole Koran?

January 25, 2012

The punchline is this – “a goat ate it.”  In discussions regarding Qur’anic preservation, the following hadith is sure to come up:

Reported ‘Aisha (RA): ‘the verse of stoning and of suckling an adult ten times was revealed, and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) expired and we were occupied by his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 1944)

(See also, Musnad Ahmad 6/269 Hadith 26359, if you don’t like the chain of narration in Sunan Ibn Majah)

Notice the following about that hadith.

1) Shortly after Mohamed’s death, a goat came into Aisha’s sleeping area and ate the paper that she had placed under her pillow.

2) The paper had “the verse” on it.

3) This verse was about (a) stoning and (b) suckling an adult ten times.

While the Koran that the Muslims have today mentions stoning, there is no verse regarding suckling an adult ten times, much less any verse about both together (both suckling and stoning).

Sometimes the authenticity of the above hadith is challenged.  Perhaps more needs to be said about that, but it is not the only relevant hadith.

Here is another hadith that has more attestation (these three ahadith are related, as you will see):

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with, her) reported that it had been revealed in the Holy Qur’an that ten clear sucklings make the marriage unlawful, then it was abrogated (and substituted) by five sucklings and Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) died and it was before that time (found) in the Holy Qur’an (and recited by the Muslims). (Sahih Muslim, Book #008, Hadith #3421)

‘Amra reported that she heard ‘A’isha (Allah he pleased with her) discussing fosterage which (makes marriage) unlawful; and she (‘A’isha) said: There was revealed in the Holy Qur’an ten clear sucklings, and then five clear (sucklings). (Sahih Muslim, Book #008, Hadith #3422)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Hazm from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman that A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Amongst what was sent down of the Qur’an was ‘ten known sucklings make haram’ – then it was abrogated by ‘five known sucklings’. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, it was what is now recited of the Qur’an.” Yahya said that Malik said, “One does not act on this.” (Malik’s Muwatta, Book #30, Hadith #30.3.17)

Notice that in these accounts, it is again stated that the “ten sucklings” were in the Qur’an.  There is a claim that this was then abrogated in favor of five sucklings.

But there is more!

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Salim ibn Abdullah ibn Umar informed him that A’isha umm al-muminin sent him away while he was being nursed to her sister Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq and said, “suckle him ten times so that he can come in to see me.” Salim said, “Umm Kulthum nursed me three times and then fell ill, so that she only nursed me three times. I could not go in to see A’isha because Umm Kulthum did not finish for me the ten times.” (Malik’s Muwatta, Book #30, Hadith #30.1.7)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Safiyya bint Abi Ubayd told him that Hafsa, umm al-muminin, sent Asim ibn Abdullah ibn Sad to her sister Fatima bint Umar ibn al-Khattab for her to suckle him ten times so that he could come in to see her. She did it, so he used to come in to see her. (Malik’s Muwatta, Book #30, Hadith #30.1.8)

This seems to be an example of the application of the “ten sucklings” principle.  Why would Aisha suggest that an adult go be suckled ten times?  Doing so would, in her mind, make the person a foster relative.  And a foster relative (while prohibited from marriage) would be permitted to see her unveiled.

It seems clear that all this testimony provided above regarding the missing verse of the Qur’an is linked back to Aisha.  Was she lying or mistaken?  Perhaps she was.  If Muslims want to insist she was lying or mistaken, how can I prove she was telling the truth?

On the other hand, why assume Aisha was lying?  From a historical standpoint, is there any record of anyone challenging Aisha’s claim during her lifetime?  She was one of Muhammad’s wives.  If she was lying, wouldn’t one of Muhammad’s companions be able to say so and have that testimony preserved amongst the ahadith?

In short, why isn’t the above historical evidence – as such – credible?  Do you accept that your Koran is short at least one verse, or do you reject that idea based on presuppositions that have nothing to do with history?


P.S. Incidentally, there is at least one attempted Muslim response to the issues above (example).  That response relies on questioning the authenticity of the narration.  However, the response is honest enough to admit that there is an alternate chain of narration that does not have the flaw above.  Moreover, the response highlights the existence of other narrations with different words (presumably referring to some of the second category I identified above).  These other narrations, however, just highlight the problem.

Secondly, the response suggests that Mohammed said that the verse about stoning couldn’t be written.  It’s not clear what this is supposed to prove.  It seems to further support the idea that the written Qur’an is not complete.

Thirdly, the response points out that in some of the narrations, the verse is described as abrogated.  However, why should the abrogated verse be omitted from the Koran?

The response’s conclusion is even more puzzlingly odd:

Moreover ‘Aisha (RA) lived through the whole period of Qur’an compilation during the time of Abu Bakr (RA) and Usman (RA) while she was unanimously considered an authority for herself so if she had any thought about some verses missing she would have brought it to attention of other Companions of the Prophet (PBUH). Infact we have evidence of Usman (RA) making special endeavor of consulting ‘Aisha (RA) and her records for verifying the official compilation. See Ibn Shabba’s Tarikh Al-Madina p.997. Despite all this she never raised the issue supporting our conclusion that no part of the Qur’an was lost even if the narration is considered reliable.

What is odd is that the respondent thinks this helps his case. Aisha is deemed by Usman as a reliable authority on the Qur’an during the period of compilation, yet her uncontested testimony is that part of the Qur’an was lost.  To say she “never raised the issue” begs the question at best – more to the point there is a record of her raising the issue, and supporting evidence that she really believed it to have been revealed, or at least really claimed to believe it to have been revealed.  Her testimony also explains why she couldn’t hand over the verse to Usman during the period of compilation.

Why I Love Jesus and Keep His Commandments

January 22, 2012

I understand that my friend, Dr. James White, may be preparing a better response to “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Muslim Version,” but I want to chime in now, while it is fresh on my mind (rather than waiting 24 years – just sayin’).  I’ll respond in chunks to the lyrics.  The production quality was pretty good – though (in my opinion) not as impressive as the production quality of the original video. I’ve taken the liberty of spelling out words that are abbreviated in the rap, especially words ending in “ing.”

Look, what if I told you there was something you were missing
What if I told you that Jesus doesn’t really fit into your description
What if I told you that “follower of Christ” doesn’t automatically mean “Christian”
And just because you believe in Faith doesn’t mean Jesus didn’t believe in submission and conviction

The brief answer is that a Christian does mean a follower of Christ.  The term “Christian” was coined in the first century in Antioch to describe the disciples (followers) of Christ.  

Acts 11:26  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

And this name caught on, so that even King Agrippa knew and used the term.

Acts 26:28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Regarding submission and conviction, James (Jesus’ brother) teaches us explicitly to “Submit yourselves therefore to God” (James 4:7).  But submission doesn’t mean Islam, even if Islam means submission (as some have suggested).

Listen, you say that Jesus was God and that God had descended
We say that Jesus was man, for Jesus was dependant
Our god is all great and cannot be comprehended

You say that God was murdered or do you believe that he pretended?

Jesus was (and is) both God and man in two distinct natures and one person.  Jesus did descend:

Ephesians 4:9-10  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

That descent (which we call the descent into hell, meaning the descent into the place of the dead) is not quite the same as the descent from heaven.  John describes that descent this way:

John 1:14  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.

And this is not unique to John, of course.  Paul says the same:

Romans 1:3  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

Perhaps the most concise explanation is this:

Philippians 2:6-8
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Jesus Christ, you see, has two natures: God and man, but he is one person.  That person submitted to death on the cross.

We recognize that some Muslims may think that Jesus only pretended to die on the cross, or that Allah simply made it appear that Jesus died on the cross.  Nevertheless, the Scriptures inform us that Jesus died on the cross.

See god gave us brains and god gave us logic
But I guess god wanted us to use them in everything else except for this topic
It’s like wearing a cross and proclaiming that you love Jesus
When if God was murdered on the cross, the cross really shouldn’t please us
I mean would you be wearing an axe if it was used to chop your mother up into pieces?
See this is what happens when you believe in faith, but fail to believe in reason.

Of course, the Reformed churches have traditionally frowned upon wearing crosses, but for a completely different reason.  Likewise, some fundamentalists object to wearing crosses and make essentially the exact argument posed above in terms of comparing it to some object that killed one’s mother.

Of course, there is a major difference.  The death of one’s beloved mother brings sadness.  The death of Christ brought sadness at the time, but Christ did not stay dead.  He rose from the dead and ascended up into heaven.

The death of Christ now brings joy – because by death Christ conquered death.

Hebrews 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

The Paschal Troparion has a powerful way of expressing it:

Christ is risen from the dead, 
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

This was indeed prophesied:

Hosea 13:14  I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

The death of Christ is something valuable and precious.  It’s not a tragedy, though it was very upsetting (of course) to Christ’s followers at the time.

See, we used to worship the creator until Satan turned us to the creation
We began to worship the people and neglect the one who made them
We began to believe that god had died, but how could a god even be created?

Jesus has two natures – one divine and uncreated – one human and created.  We don’t worship Jesus because he is man – we worship Jesus because he is God.  He is the only begotten son of God:

Mark 1:1  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
John10:36  Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

but he is also the son of man

John 8:28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Moreover, Jesus was not created – he is the Creator.

Hebrews 1:1-2
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;

John 1:1-3
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.

A miraculous birth and therefore the son of God was begotten,
You see the creation of Jesus was easy, but you seem to have forgotten,
That God says “be” and it is, just like with Adam
A concept to complex for the church to merely fathom

Jesus was miraculously born, but Jesus existed before then.

Colossians 1:13-16
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

The Son always existed, you see – but became flesh by taking on the flesh of Mary in her womb.

John 1:14  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.

Romans 1:3  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

Romans 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

You see, Jesus himself confirmed both his divinity and the fact that he existed before Abraham:

John 8:58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

But he was the creator of the universe (for all we know even more)
And so what if we can’t see him, I mean what you acting like our universe is small
I mean there’s still so much we still yet to explore
I mean there’s still so many things as human beings we still haven’t seen touched heard or saw
Our eyes can’t even handle the sight of the sun, so how can we possibly handle the sight of our lord

The Father created all things by Christ.  As it is written:

Ephesians 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Nehemiah 9:6  Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Colossians 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

But yes – it takes something miraculous for anyone to see God and live.  So, this objection is a reasonable one, though mistaken. 

Genesis 32:30  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Judges 13:22  And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.

Exodus 3:6  Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

And the Jews could not even bear to look at Moses face after he had talked with God.

Exodus 34:29-35
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

But Jesus, who is both God and man, bridges this gap.

John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

You see Jesus used to pray, but in your opinion who’d he pray to?
I mean if Jesus was God, surely prayer would be of no use.

Jesus prayed to the Father.  Why should such a prayer be no use?  The Father loves the Son. As Jesus taught:

John 3:35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

Or did he only require it when he needed to know the truth
Like when god wasn’t sure whether it was the season of the fruit

 Jesus, as to his divinity, knows all things:

John 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Of course, our Muslim rapper is referring this occasion:

Mark 11:13  And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

And the rapper seems to think that this implies that Jesus was ignorant.  Yet, Jesus is both God and man.  Not all of God’s divine knowledge is imputed to Jesus’ humanity.  Moreover, a person with more understanding will read the passage and discover that Jesus had a purpose in going to a fig tree that was leaves only – the purpose was to illustrate the spiritual state of Jerusalem when he came to them.  They were leaves only.

Remember that they had just done this:

Mark 11:8-10
And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

But soon enough they were going to kill him.  They were leaves only – no fruit.  Therefore, like the fig tree, they were destroyed.  The fig tree, therefore, portrayed the destruction of Jerusalem, which was soon to come.

Or maybe he prayed when there was something he couldn’t do
Like when he said, “I of myself can do nothing,” but you took it as there’s nothing he couldn’t do

Our Muslim rapper has not properly understood Jesus words.  Look at what Jesus said:

John 5:19  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

John 5:30  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

John 8:28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

You see, the point is that Jesus is not alone – he is doing what he was sent by the Father to do.  Notice that here Jesus prophesied his own death by being lifted up (on the cross).  Of course, our Muslim rapper denies that Jesus was crucified, but that’s just because he does not follow even the prophecies of Jesus.

See no one used to worship Jesus, so ask yourself why do you?
A concept so straightforward, but has left so many confused

When exactly did no one worship Jesus?  It seems our Muslim friend is unfamiliar with parts of the Bible that are not quoted by deceptive people like Deedat.

He was worshiped both at the time of his birth:
Matthew 2:2  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 2:11  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

During his earthly ministry:

Mark 5:6  But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

Matthew 8:2  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Matthew 9:18  While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

Matthew 14:33  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Matthew 15:25  Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Matthew 20:20  Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

John 9:38  And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

And even after the Resurrection, before the ascension:

Matthew 28:9  And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Matthew 28:17  And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

Luke 24:52  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

You see, Jesus preached one god, but the church has failed to practice
And I mean you don’t have be that dumb to know that 1 + 1 + 1 equaling 1 isn’t necessarily going to give you a pass in mathematics

Three persons is not the same as three beings.  It’s easy to misapply mathematics.  After all, there are many molecules of oxygen and hydrogen in a glass, but how many “water”?  I’m not saying that the three persons are atoms making a molecule of divinity, but I am saying that if you want to have “three gods” on the right hand side of your mathematics equation, you can’t get it from merely showing that there are three persons who are all the same God on the left hand side of the equation.  An apple plus an orange does not yield two pears, even though 1 + 1 = 2.

But yes, Jesus preached one God, and so do we.

You see the church said “three” and Jesus said “one”

We also say “one” (in fact, isn’t that what the Muslim rapper was dissing us for in his misapplication of mathematics?)

1 Corinthians 8:6  But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

but the three persons were identified by Jesus himself:

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 

Jesus said “God” and the church said “Son”

Jesus actually said that all men should honor the Son the same way that they honor the Father, and that if they don’t honor the Son they don’t honor the Father.

John 5:23  That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 

Jesus never said “worship me” rather he said “pray” 

 John 5:23 (just above) is awfully close.  It’s not the exact words “worship me,” but how does one honor the Father?  Besides all that, in all the cases where people worshiped Jesus in his presence, when did he ever correct them?

Moreover, what difference does it make if Jesus himself did not say that, when the Father commanded the angels to worship Jesus?

Hebrews 1:6  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

Remember that when John made the mistake of worshiping a mere angel, the angel corrected him:

Revelation 22:8-9
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

But Jesus accepted the worship of his disciples.

But you’ve chosen to worship Jesus, despite everything he used to say

One of the problems for our Muslim rapper is that he doesn’t seem to have a very complete knowledge of what Jesus used to say.

You began to think with your emotion and forgot to think with your mind
I guess you didn’t pay attention when Jesus says “our father” yet never says “mine”

Who is not paying attention?
Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 10:32-33  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 11:27  All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Matthew 12:50  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Matthew 16:17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew  18:10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 18:19  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 20:23  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

Matthew 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Matthew 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Matthew 26:29  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Matthew 26:39  And he went a little further, 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 26:42  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Matthew 26:53  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

Luke 2:49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke 10:22  All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
Luke 22:29  And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;

Luke 24:49  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

John 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

John 5:17  But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

John 5:43  I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

John 6:32  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:65  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

John 8:19  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

John 8:28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

John 8:38  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

John 8:49  Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.

John 8:54  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

John 10:17-18  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 10:25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

John 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

John 10:32  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

John 10:37  If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

John 14:2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

John 14:12  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 14:20-21  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 14:28  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 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

John 15:15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 15:23  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

John 15:24  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 16:10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

John 18:11  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

John 20:17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Revelation 2:27  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Revelation 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

You claim to be a follower of Christ yet you still choose to eat swine

Jesus taught, during his earthly ministry:

Matthew 15:11  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Moreover, a vision was given to Peter:

Acts 10:13-16
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

And finally, the apostles at Jerusalem recognized that the gift of the Holy Spirit had come to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and therefore did not place an onerous burden on them:

Acts 15:28-29
For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Moreover we are expressly told that we do not have to adhere to the clean/unclean distinctions in foods any more:

Colossians 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Likewise, people like Mohamed were prophesied to come:

1 Timothy 4:1-4  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

So, you can refuse the swine – but while we dine, keep in mind that the old dietary laws came to the end of the line.

And call yourselves Christians, but in your churches you’re busy drinking wine

Wine was never even forbidden to the Jews, much less to the Christians.  In fact, that was Jesus first public miracle.

John 4:46  So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

Referring to this:

John 2:1-11  And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

You see, Jesus manifested his glory in making water into wine.

And just to clarify, I do love Jesus.
Matter of fact, I love him more than you.
Because when Jesus says do something, I actually do

You don’t do this:

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

And you don’t do this:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

So, no – Muslim rapper – you don’t do what Jesus says.  That would show love for Jesus, who taught:

John 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

However, I’m not connected with the church nor with the Bible

Indeed you are not.  But the church is the body of Christ.  You can’t very well have a severed-head Christ with no body.

Ephesians 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Likewise, the Bible is His Word.

2 Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

See, I love Jesus as my prophet, but refuse to worship him as an idol
Just like he wants it and proclaimed it as sin

Jesus never proclaimed that worshiping him was a sin – and Jesus (the true Jesus) is not an idol.  There are many idols given the name of Jesus, but those are not the true Jesus.  The true Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead.

And while you claim to love Jesus as your prophet, you reject what he said about himself.  You do not honor him the same way you honor the father (John 5:23, quoted above).  You don’t love his teachings but reject them as shirk – as polytheism.  You don’t baptize as he commanded and you don’t commune as he commanded.  You are not his followers – we are.

So it doesn’t really matter if they don’t let him in
Because Jesus wouldn’t even want to be in the presence of people worshiping an idol of him.

I completely agree. Jesus would break down the idols of him that many churches have erected, just as he drove out the money changers from the temple.  But Jesus did accept the worship of his disciples and the title of the Son of God.

Before I move on, there’s something I need to mention
The worshiping of Jesus is a man-made invention.
He never asked for your worship so he can grant you protection
rather he asked you to alternate your prayers towards another direction
to god and god only and pray that he accepts them
and know that just because you love Jesus, doesn’t mean he feels the same way about your affection
see what you believe in is exactly what he resented
matter of fact its everything he despised
see the worship of the creation goes against the very message he supplied
see you began to follow a religion and called it love in disguise
because love can be good, but love can be blind

The worshiping of Jesus is an explicit divine ordinance (Hebrews 1:6, quoted above).  Jesus did not pray towards Mecca. Indeed, while during Jesus earthly ministry, people prayed toward Jerusalem, Jesus prophesied that this directional prayer would end.

John 4:19-26
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

You see, now we worship in Spirit and Truth.  Jesus, the Messiah, has told us all things.  We did not and do not await some greater prophet. 

Colossians 2:8-10
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

So, dear Muslim rapper – will you submit yourself to the word of God?  Will you kiss the Son? or will you in refuse to obey the Father?

Psalm 2:12  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Therefore, listen – take heed to yourself – and trust in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, while there is still time.


Responding to Karl Keating

January 17, 2012

My posts are timely, if nothing else.  Back in 1987, at the Bayview Baptist Church, Karl Keating engaged in a debate against Peter Ruckman.  Keating hasn’t done a lot of debates since then (that I can find a record of, at any rate), so perhaps despite the passage of 24 years, this reply will still be deemed timely.

After some pleasantries, Keating begins his presentation with an argument regarding inspiration.  He asks the question: “How do you know that the Bible is inspired?”  He then offers several options and tries to knock them down.  He identifies the following as inadequate reasons:

1. Cultural Reasons

2. Family Tradition
3. Inspirational – It Moves Me
4. The Bible’s Own Claim to Inspiration
5. The Holy Spirit Tells Me So

Before we get to Keating’s proposed alternative to these allegedly inadequate reasons, let’s consider his five “inadequate reasons.”  The first three reasons look a lot like straw men.  Maybe someone somewhere thinks that the Bible is inspired because it is inspirational, or because their family told them so, or because society deems the Bible to be important.  These, however, are hardly very serious arguments.

Exactly the opposite is the case for numbers 4 and 5.  The ideas that the Bible proclaims its own inspiration (and indeed it does) and that the Holy Spirit confirms that inspiration to us (and He does) are actually the historic Reformed and “Protestant” position on the subject.

Keating claims that these are “inadequate.”  Consider the implication, though.  The implication is that even if God himself tells you that the Bible is inspired, that’s not a sufficient basis upon which to believe that the Bible is inspired.  That implication borders on blasphemous.  What could be more sufficient as a basis than that the Bible claims inspiration and that the Holy Spirit confirms it?  Of course, there cannot be – but before we proclaim that dogmatically, let’s see if Keating has located something better.

Keating’s alternative is to provide his “spiral argument” (which I’ve previously critiqued here). 

The steps he proposes are as follows:

1. Look at the Bible as though it were a non-inspired book.
2. Discover the Bible’s historical reliability.
3. Discover that Jesus said he would found a church.
4. Conclude that the church must have the gift of infallibility.
5. Conclude that the church must have the look of the Roman church.
6. When Rome tells us that the Bible is inspired, we can know that it is inspired, because the church is infallible.

Keating calls this his spiral argument, but that may just be a distraction.  In addition to the question of circularity, there are at least two other problems.

First, we can adopt his (1) and (2) and then discover that Paul was a true Apostle of Christ and explicitly taught the inspiration of Scripture.  There’s no need to go to (3), much less to the rest of the series.

Second, even if we go to (3), there’s no teaching in the Scriptures that the church is or will be infallible, or even that “the church” will be in a position to speak as “the church.”  There’s nothing about the church (as described by Jesus during his earthly ministry, or otherwise throughout Scripture) that requires the church to be infallible.  Therefore, there is nothing to get us from (3) to (4).

To those two strong points, we could also add a weak third point, namely that (5) is likewise easily rejected.  The Roman church doesn’t look like the Apostolic church as described in the New Testament.  It doesn’t have a plurality of elders in every city.  It has a limited priesthood where the New Testament church had a universal priesthood.  Most significantly, it has a papacy, whereas the only head of the Apostolic church is Christ.

I call this point weak, because if you have already concluded that “the church” must be infallible, you’ve conceded a point that you should not.  Indeed, on that hypothesis you would have nowhere to go – because there are no churches that look like the Apostolic church and also claim to be infallible (to my knowledge – at least).

– TurretinFan

What Should be Spent on Wine and Gambling?

January 8, 2012

Others have noted that there is inconsistency in the Koran regarding alcohol.  One of these passages comes from Surah 2.  The particular ayah is 219

219. They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.” They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: “What is beyond your needs.” Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider-

The usual point is that here there is no command toward total abstinence, and there is an indication that there is some profit in them.  That is, they are not simply sin.  There is another point that can be made, though.  Suppose we ask how much should be spent on wine and gambling?  This ayah seems to indicate that the answer that should be given by Muslims is “Your disposable income” (that is, what you have beyond what you need).

In analyzing this point, of course, one has to assume that the context interprets the text — an assumption that is not necessarily valid.  We know, for example, that order of the ayat in the Koran is not the order in which the ayat were allegedly revealed to Mohammed.

Nevertheless, in order to avoid making the sentence (They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: “What is beyond your needs.”) a floating maxim, we need to try to interpret it contextually.  After all, the object of this spending is not identified in the sentence itself and so need to be supplied from the context.  There are basically two options for context.  Context precedent and context subsequent.  Context precedent suggests that the Koran is talking about spending on wine and gambling.  This approach makes sense, particularly because the very next sentence alleges perspicuity.  (“Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider-(Their bearings) on this life and the Hereafter.”)

Some may point out that “They ask thee…” may introduce a subject change.  After all, in the next Ayah, we see this:

220. (Their bearings) on this life and the Hereafter. They ask thee concerning orphans. Say: “The best thing to do is what is for their good; if ye mix their affairs with yours, they are your brethren; but Allah knows the man who means mischief from the man who means good. And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties: He is indeed Exalted in Power, Wise.”  

Notice that “They ask thee concerning orphans …” seems to introduce a new topic.  Yet this is not a rigid rule in the Koran, even in this Surah.  For example, only a few ayat earlier, the Koran states:

215. They ask thee what they should spend (In charity). Say: Whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good, -(Allah) knoweth it well.

216. Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. 

217. They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.” Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.

Notice that here there is a shift from discussing spending on charity to fighting.  Note in particular that “They ask thee concerning fighting …” does not introduce a new topic.  It provides a specific detail about the immediately preceding topic.  Moreover, notice that the new topic of fighting was introduced without the use of “They ask … .”

Others may point out that in this Surah, spending often refers to charitable or devotional spending.  For example:

3. Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;

177. It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah.fearing.

195. And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.

215 (already presented above)

261-265 The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah …

270. And whatever ye spend in charity or devotion, be sure Allah knows it all. But the wrong-doers have no helpers.

274. Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

This larger context certainly might seem to lend credibility to the idea that spending is not spending on wine and gambling, but on charity.   On the other hand, 215 already answered the question about what should be spent on charity.  So, interpreting 219 as referring to spending on charity seems to make it redundant with 215.

Moreover, there is another pattern that emerges from a study of this Surah.

The expression “Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men” is introduced to wrap up one topic and move on to a different topic in 187.  Then a similar expression is used in a similar way in 221 and then again in 242 and 266.

A similar approach is also used in 3:103, Surah 4 ends in that way, and 5:89 uses the expression to separate a discussion on how to cure the moral damage from breaking an oath from a discussion on gambling and drinking.


90. O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.

91. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? 

What was previously some profit and great sin is now an “abomination” from Mohamed’s followers must abstain.

Of course, the above understanding isn’t the understanding of the Sunni.  They don’t interpret 2:219 as suggesting that people should spend only their disposable income on wine and gambling.  They likewise are reluctant to see “abomination of Satan’s handwork” (5:90) as being in conflict with “some profit” (2:219).  That isn’t their view of the Koran, and their scholars do not (to my knowledge) agree with my analysis above.

But the Koran calls itself the “Qur’an that makes things clear” (15:1) and claims “We sent down the Book to thee for the express purpose, that thou shouldst make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe.” (15:64)


The Real Turretin on Covenant of Grace and Covenant of Works in the Mosaic Covenant

January 6, 2012

Kerux, Volume 24, Number 3, p. 76, FN70 (Dennison et al.):

[O]ur editors have summarized Turretin as teaching that “the form of the Mosaic covenant was the covenant of works, but its substance was the covenant of grace” (12). This muddles Turretin’s otherwise careful distinctions regarding the administration of the covenant of grace under Moses, and oversimplifies his rather complex formulation. It is true that Turretin argues that the Mosaic administration contained a restatement of a “form of the covenant of works” to remind Israel of the broken covenant of works and to lead them to Christ (2:263). But Turretin later clarifies that by “form of the covenant of works,” he is referencing “the law in itself” apart from the Mosaic covenant (2:269). This he distinguishes from “the Mosaic covenant itself, in which the law was enacted” (ibid.). This administration included not only this “legal relation” but also an “evangelical relation,” which was “sweeter” in that it led them to Christ (2:227). Thus, Turretin calls this administration a “mixture of both the law and the Gospel” (2:263). As he says elsewhere: “And thus in sweet harmony the law and the gospel meet together in this covenant. The law is not administered without the gospel, nor is the gospel without the law. So that it is as it were a legal-gospel and an evangelical-law; a gospel full of obedience and a law full of faith” (2:268). In short, our editors summary of Turretin’s view of the Mosaic covenant is at best severely truncated, and at worst, misleading. It fails to grapple with Turretin’s own stated definitions, and oversimplifies Turretin’s complex (though very precise) views.

I don’t post this comment to endorse it (I haven’t carefully enough studied Turretin’s relevant writings to form a conclusion), but simply as an interesting point worthy of further consideration. Turretin’s careful distinctions are one of his principle advantages and following them is critically important in understanding his writing.


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