Monday, March 01, 2010

TESTIMONY OF THE QURAN TO THE BIBLE -- by Thomas Ross -- part one

This is a pamphlet written by Thomas Ross for Muslims for the purpose of their hearing the gospel. It is not written for believers. You are welcome to comment.

I. The Quran States that the Bible is the Word of God

The Quran states: “Lo! We did reveal the Torah [the Old Testament], wherein is guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed to Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of the law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses to it: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by what Allah has revealed, they are infidels. . . . Whoever judges not by that which Allah has revealed: such are wrong-doers. . . . And we caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and we bestowed on him the Gospel [the New Testament] wherein is guidance and light, confirming that which was revealed before it in the Torah—a guidance and an admonition to those who ward off evil. Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoever judges not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers” (Surah 5:44-47).


The Quran plainly declares that God revealed the Old and New Testaments, that they are guidance and light. The Quran states, as quoted above, that anyone who fails to judge by what is revealed in them is an infidel, wrong-doer, and evil-liver. In fact, the Quran declares: “O People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians]! You have naught of guidance till you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed to you from your Lord” (5:68). For that matter, the Quran told Muhammad, the founder of Islam, to look to the Old and New Testaments if he had any doubts about the Quran: “And if you [Muhammad] are in doubt concerning that which we reveal to you, then question those who read the Scripture that was before you” (10:94). If Muhammad, who the Quran states is a “good example” (33:21) for Muslims, was told to test the Quran by the Scripture that was given before, the Old and New Testaments, and Jews and Christians have “naught of guidance” until they listen to and obey the Bible, and anyone who does not fail to judge by the Bible, in which is guidance and light, is an infidel, wrong-doer, and evil-liver, then every Muslim, everyone who listens to the message of the Quran, must carefully study the Bible and compare it with the Quran. To fail to do so is to reject the Quran and Muhammad. The Quran, claims, over and over again, to confirm and uphold the Torah and the Gospel, the Old and New Testaments—Muhammad claimed he was the “messenger from Allah, confirming . . . the Scripture . . . which they [the people of the Book, the Jews and Christians] possess” (2:101; cf. 2:41, 89, 91, 97; 3:3, 81; 4:47; 6:92; 12:111; 35:31; etc.) Every Muslim must believe that “This Quran . . . is a confirmation of what is before it” (10:37). Every Muslim must recognize that the Quran places the Old and New Testaments on an equal level with itself as Scripture: “Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He has revealed to His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he truly has wandered far astray” (4:136). “We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them” (3:84).


II. The Quran, the Bible, and History Prove that the Bible is Pure and Uncorrupted


Some today claim that the Bible was indeed the pure and perfect Word of God when it was originally written, but it later became corrupt, so that the declarations found in the Quran about it are no longer true today. No Muslim should dare to make such statements, for in doing so he plainly contradicts the Quran, the Bible, and the facts of history.

The Quran affirms that the Bible had not been corrupted from the time it was written until Muhammad’s day. It constantly states that it is confirming what was already revealed by God, and never states or hints that the text of the Bible has been corrupted in any way. As already demonstrated in the quotations above, the Quran commands people alive during Muhammad’s lifetime in the late sixth and early seventh century A. D. to “judge” by the Old and New Testaments, and calls those who do not do so infidels, wrong-doers, and evil-livers (5:44-47). How could the Quran command people to judge truth based on the Bible if the Bible had been corrupted? The Quran warns that the “People of the Scripture . . . have naught of guidance till you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed to you from your Lord” (5:68). How could they obey the Torah and the Gospel if they had been corrupted and lost? Would God have told Muhammad to evaluate the Quran based on the Bible available to the Christians and Jews of his day if the Bible had become corrupt (10:94)? Why would the Quran state, “Bring the Torah and study it, if you be men of truth” (3:93)? How could the Quran state that the religious “doctors of the children of Israel know . . . [what is in] the scriptures from the men of old” (26:196-197)? How could they know what was in the Bible if it had been lost and corrupted? Why would Muhammad be “confirming . . . the Scripture . . . which they [the Jews and Christians] possess” (2:101) if the Bible that they possessed was corrupt? If the Bible had been changed, would Muhammad be a true messenger from God if he confirmed the copies of Bible the Jews and Christians had instead of warning that they were corrupt? The Quran states that it is “a scripture from Allah, confirming that in their [the Jews and Christians] possession” (2:89). Would God confirm the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews and Christians if they were corrupt? Anyone who states that the Bible had been corrupted from the time it was given by God to the lifetime of Muhammad rejects the Quran. No Muslim dare do so.

Not only must every Muslim believe that the Bible has been preserved pure and uncorrupted from the days it was given by God to the time of Muhammad, he must believe that it has not been corrupted since Muhammad’s day down to the present time. “No change can there be in the words of Allah” (10:64), and “there is none that can alter the words of God” (6:34), so the Bible could not become textually corrupt at any time. Similarly, Allah in the Quran states, “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message: and we assuredly guard it from corruption” (15:9). The Bible also claims that God would preserve all of His Word pure and free from corruption: “The words of the LORD [1] are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Ps 12:6-7). “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot [the smallest consonant of the Bible] or one tittle [the smallest vowel or even one dot or mark of any kind] shall in no wise pass from the law” (Mt 5:18). Jesus said, “my words shall not pass away” (Mt 24:35). God promised that the pure Word of God would be available to every generation of believers: “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed [descendants], nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever” (Is 59:21).

History makes it clear that the Quran and the Bible are right when they teach that the Old and New Testaments have been preserved pure and uncorrupted. There are thousands of manuscripts of the Old Testament. One source, the Cairo synagogue geniza (a storehouse for manuscripts), discovered in the 1890s, held over 10,000 manuscript portions. Thousands of Old Testament manuscripts from other locations are also in existence. Extremely ancient Old Testament manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls or those discovered in the ancient fortress of Masada have been discovered that are letter-for-letter identical, line after line, with Hebrew manuscripts that were made 1,000 years later, and with printed editions of the Old Testament today. The Old Testament has not bee corrupted or changed!

Over 5,600 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament have been discovered, along with over 10,000 Latin manuscripts and at least 9,300 manuscripts of other early versions, for a total of more than 24,000 New Testament manuscripts. This is far, far more than the evidence for any ancient book outside of the Bible—the book with the second largest number of copies is the Illiad of Homer, with 643 manuscripts, less than 2.7% of the evidence for the New Testament, although it was the most widely read book of antiquity! Furthermore, all but 11 of the 7,957 verses of the New Testament could be reproduced without a single one of the 24,000+ manuscripts we have from the 36,289 quotes made by early writers in Christendom from the second to the fourth century. Furthermore, New Testament manuscripts date back to the time period that the books were written; a number of ancient sections of Scripture on papyrus date to shortly after the final books of the New Testament were written. In contrast, the oldest copy of Homer’s Illiad dates to the 13th century A. D.! History proves what the Quran and the Bible teach—the New Testament has not been corrupted or changed![2]

In summary, every Muslim must believe that “no change can there be in the words of Allah” (10:64), who would “assuredly guard it from corruption” (15:9), so the Bible cannot have been corrupted. The Quran clearly teaches that the Bible had not been corrupted from the time God gave it to the days of Muhammad in the 7th century A. D. The Quran regularly teaches that the Bible that was then in use by the Jews and Christians was the pure Word of God. The Bible cannot have been corrupted after the days of Muhammad, for we have many Biblical manuscripts that are centuries older than the time of Muhammad, and the text of the Bible that is found in these ancient copies is the same type of text that is found in later copies and in modern printed editions of the Bible. History confirms what both the Quran and the Bible teach—the Old and New Testaments have not been corrupted, but are still the pure and perfect Word of God today.

See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.

_______________________


[1] In the Old Testament, the word LORD in all capitals represents the Hebrew name Jehovah for God.
[2] For more evidence on the preservation of the Bible, please read Bible Study #1: What is the Bible? at http://faithalonesaves.googlepages.com/salvation, or contact the assembly of believers in God listed at the end of this booklet.

15 comments:

Don Johnson said...

Uh... The Quran 'proves' something about the Bible?

This is just bizarre.

The Quran doesn't prove anything. At best, it's testimony concerning the Bible is interesting, and it might be useful in Muslim evangelism, but it can't prove anything - it isn't the word of God.

Maybe there is a point here that I am failing to grasp.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Thomas Ross said...

The work here is a pamphlet to evangelize Muslims. Given their presuppositions, they have to accept the Bible as the Word of God. As we will see by the end of this work, the Quran is definitely not the Word of God.

Don Johnson said...

Ok, a couple of comments then...

1. You should put some kind of explanation to that effect at the top of the article. This blog isn't generally read by Muslims as far as I can tell.

2. Have you used this pamphlet with any success? If not, it might be helpful to do that first before publishing it in a place like this.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

You're talking like a presuppositionalist, which is not bothersome to me. I was going to wait to read everything unfold here, but I think you ask good questions. The way I have chosen to see this so far is that everyone who is lost is suppressing the truth, and related to that is a particular stronghold in their mind. In this case, the Muslims have "reasons" why they don't believe Scripture. Since we believe based upon presuppositions that Muslims are suppressing the truth for a lie, we look to see how they are doing that. We use Scripture to pull down that stronghold. I think that the language found in the second heading is a concern too, but I'll let Thomas speak to that. How could we see the Quran to "prove" the Bible. I don't think that Quran could "prove" anything to a Muslim, because the problem is not the absence of truth for him, but his rebellion. I still think, however, that he could be pointed to the fact that Islam has acknowledged that Scripture is true, so he should believe it.

I would be less concerned about the success of the pamphlet with Muslims---I would be happy that Muslims are being evangelized. However, I do know that Thomas has spent a lot of time with Muslims in evangelism from his time spent here in our church.

I will add the explanation at the top of the blog. Thanks.

Thomas Ross said...

I have not seen any pamphlet-length material for reaching Muslims; only very short tracts and books. Unless readers of this blog have excellent pamphlets for reaching Muslims that they already use in their churches (and if they do, please let me know about them!) I trust that the several parts of this work (the entire pamphlet can be downloaded at http://thross7.googlepages.com) may be used of the Lord for the conversion of many Muslims.

Don Johnson said...

Well, lest I be too snarky, let me say I think you have a worthy goal. I am just not sure that your efforts will be effective. I'd be interested to hear what kinds of responses you might get from Muslims.

I have heard presentations where the speakers have suggested using Quran references to point people to the truth of the Bible.

I am not just being pragmatic, by the way. Ultimately, salvation comes as a response to the Word, nothing else. But in presenting the Word we need to find ways to communicate it to people in their own 'milieu' (to use a highbrow term). So... it will be interesting to see what kind of responses you might get.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

d4v34x said...

Why do we want anyone, muslim or not, to accept the word of an earthly, sensual, and devlish book? Doesn't this imply that the book is reliable? How is an appeal to the specific faith of a Muslim help him to reject Islam?

I think any tract that gives the plain gospel and demonstrates from scripture that faith not works is the basis of salvation will reach Muslims, no? Or are they a special case?

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

Let me address some of your concerns. Thomas is free to add whatever defense he may have.

A tract with the "plain gospel" is good. We have a scriptural basis for the skilled use of the sword (Eph 6:17) for the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor 10:3-5). Those strongholds are peculiar imaginations that certain people have. Notice that when Jesus or Paul preach to various audiences, though not changing the gospel, they address the particular wrong thinking that is keeping someone from receiving Christ. Compare woman at the well with the rich young ruler. That's what Thomas is doing here.

As it relates to his use of the Quran, I've read this same approach in tracts, two-to-three small pages, by those who have preached to Muslims for many years. We had one in our tract rack for awhile. In a unique way a Moslem is suppressing the truth. Thomas is showing him how he is doing that. His own book says that he should believe the Bible. Does that prove anything to you? No. But does it direct a Moslem to the Bible according to his own thinking? Yes.

I've been thinking about these things a lot lately because I am teaching our seminary level guys a course in apologetics with an emphasis on the apologetic methodology. I don't believe we approach the lost from a position of neutrality, that is, approaching them as if worldviews were neutral and that we could use theirs as a basis for proving anything to them. That would be the question I would have for Thomas. Are we elevating the Quran too much, starting from a position of neutrality, thinking about the impression this might have on the Moslem? I would enjoy hearing his answer to that.

Don Johnson said...

to add to d4v34x and Kent's conversation here, what would you say to using the New World Translation as a means of witnessing to JWs? This is often advocated by those who evangelize them. The process is very difficult even then.

In any case, the rationale is that the Lord may use the nature of the very things they trust in to shake their confidence in their false faith.

I tend to agree with the method, which is why I think Thomas' project is worthy. I am not sure that his writing style is as effective as it could be, but I would support the effort.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jerimiah 33.3

Gary Webb said...

Though I did have some question about the Quran proving anything, it appears to me that Paul did some thing similar in Titus 1:12-13- "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;". Paul said that the witness of unbelievers was, in this case, true. I believe that this is what brother Ross has done.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I appreciate the effort that Thomas puts into evangelism. He is a godly man who loves God and loves the lost and puts a considerable personal effort into it both in his own preaching and with his writing. Not many scholars have this emphasis. They do their work for journals read by other academics---not Thomas.

Don,

Probably like you, I see using the NWT of the JWs as different than the Quran, in that it might be adding too much credibility to the NWT, but it might be more similar than I am thinking.

Gary,

Thanks for that Titus reference. That was great.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

I appreciate the effort that Bro. Ross has made, and certainly commend him for his zeal to win Muslim to Christ.

This being said, I am a bit dubious as to just how effective the particular arguments made in this tract will be with Muslims who are reasonably well-versed in the Qur'an and the ahadith and in Muslim traditions.

First, we need to understand the way they define terms. Taurat and Injeel refer specifically to the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) and the Gospels (Matthew to John) respectively. Most Muslims do not include the Khetubim and Neviim (writings and prophets) as part of the Scripture - they probably got this attitude towards the OT from the Samaritans (seriously). They also do not accept the epistles in the NT, especially the Pauline epistles, Paul being one to whom many Muslims are especially loathe. Hence, we cannot use these terms synonymous with the OT and the NT, most Muslims knowledgable in their own traditions will probably reject attempts to use these terms in this fashion.

Also, we need to understand some things about the Muslim attitude towards biblical corruption (tahrif)or the lack thereof. Muslims certainly believe in the textual preservation of the Qur'an, and taking this tack might be helpful in getting a Muslim to recognise the insufficiency and corruptness of the Qur'an.

However, they do not approach corruption of the Bible from this same perspective. In the ahadith (which are indispensible to Muslims for interpreting and understanding the Qur'an), when Christians and Jews are said to have corrupted the Bible, what is typically meant is that this was done so by means of speech. In other words, a Christian or Jew was falsifying what the Bible says while preaching or explaining the Scriptures wrongly and deceitfully. Likewise, the ahadith describe attempts to "conceal" the meaning of Scripture through means such as hiding certain passages with your hand. Thirdly, by biblical corruption is sometimes meant the notion that Christians purposefully conceal the meaning of prophecies which "obviously" were pointing to Mohammed. Interestingly, in this area, Muslims WILL accept the prophets and writings, since they know that Christians and Jews accept them, and therefore should see Mohammed in them. (cont.)

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

(cont.)
Strictly textual arguments about the Bible such as we understand them are a relatively late addition to the Muslim repertoire, mostly in response to Christian arguments about the textual corruption of the Qur'an. They would consider the Bibles we have to be textually corrupt, perhaps, but that's not the primary sense in which their traditions teach them.

The point is that trying to argue for the Bible with textual arguments will not be all that effective, since most Muslims think that we've corrupted the Bible by not accepting that it teaches Muslim doctrines and about Mohammed, rather than that we went through and rewrote the whole thing. Again, there may be some for whom the textual argument is effective - so I wouldn't necessarily discourage use of this argument - but we should understand that with a lot of Muslims, their take on it will be "so what?"

Further, Muslims believe that Allah HAS guarded his words from corruption - but the point is, he did so by (re)revealing the Qur'an to them. For many Muslims, the attitude is essentially that the Qur'an IS the Bible as it originally was, it says the same thing as the Bible did back in Mohammed's time, and the corruption of the Bible actually POSTceded the revelation of the Qur'an. Pointing to a bunch of manuscripts - 99% of which postdate the time when Mohammed supposedly lived - as evidence for Biblical preservation won't be convincing, they'll just say the Bible was corrupted before those mss. were copied.

Again, I don't want to necessarily be discouraging the use of this tract, I just think we ought to know some of the reservations that Muslims might have towards the arguments trying to be used.

Thomas Ross said...

To those who asked about questions of this nature:

There is a clear Scriptural basis for showing how, given an unsaved person’s own presuppositions, he has problems/needs to listen to the gospel. Paul showed how pagan Greek poets demonstrated that the Athenians needed to abandon their belief that God was like gold or silver, etc. as their idols were. Christ demonstrated how, on the assumption that He was casting out devils by Beelzebub, those who were critiquing Him were themselves in error. God says, “Out of thy own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant,” and then shows the problems with what the wicked presuppositions lead to. There are other examples of ad hominem (note-NOT the fallacy of abusive ad hominem, but a “to the man” argument) in Scripture. Thus, to argue that, given Muslim presuppositions, the Muslim must receive the Bible as the Word of God, is a Scriptural way of approaching him. The Titus verse by Pastor Webb is another example of this.

As for the NWT, I would use it if I had to get a hearing, but otherwise I would not. It is VERY corrupt, and the Watchtowerite will often listen to a real uncorrupt Bible (KJV). The NWT is so corrupt that it even changes salvation by faith in verses like John 3:16 to “exercise faith” for salvation (that is, “do good works.”)

In relation to the questions by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus about the equation of the Torah + Gospel with the OT/NT, I would commend to him the relevent material at: http://www.answering-islam.org/, a website with a lot of useful material for evangelizing Muslims, and where articles on that question may be found. They even have an article on Paul. Also, Muslim attitudes toward the hadith are far from uniform, and (just as many Catholics don’t have a clue what their organziation teaches) there are many Muslims who are not at all well versed in their religious tradition, but they just think the Bible is bad because someone told them it was so.

As will be demonstrated in later parts of the pamphlet (keep in mind that the above was part #1), if one accepts a textually pure Bible (as one must if he believes the Quran), the Muslim will have horrible problems. If the Bible is not corrupt, then Islam must be false. Also, the Bible cannot have been textually corrupted after Mohommed since we have Bibles that predate him that say the same thing as later ones, and the Quran says that no change can come to the words of Allah at any time—so arguing that the Bible has been corrupted is rejecting the Quran.

Thomas Ross said...

Also, it is not possible to simply limit the Quranic testimonies to the Bible as the Pentateuch and the Gospels. Note, for example, from the booklet:

“And if you [Muhammad] are in doubt concerning that which we reveal to you, then question those who read the Scripture that was before you” (10:94).

The Jews/Christians in Muhammad's day did not just have a Pentateuch and Gospels.

Also:

The Quran, claims, over and over again, to confirm and uphold the Torah and the Gospel, the Old and New Testaments—Muhammad claimed he was the “messenger from Allah, confirming . . . the Scripture . . . which they [the people of the Book, the Jews and Christians] possess” (2:101; cf. 2:41, 89, 91, 97; 3:3, 81; 4:47; 6:92; 12:111; 35:31; etc.)

Note the present tense--what the "people of the Book" CURRENTLY possessed was what the Quran confirmed, so it was an uncorrupted Bible, not one with textual errors, lots of uninspired books added (like Paul's writings, etc.)

“We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them” (3:84).

Note the reference to "the prophets," in addition to Moses, etc. This supports a reference to the entire OT, not the Pentateuch alone.

How could the Quran state that the religious “doctors of the children of Israel know . . . [what is in] the scriptures from the men of old” (26:196-197)? Could this be the case if the Jews had added all sorts of uninspired books to the OT?

Thus, the Quranic testimony to the Bible is very strong, and modern Muslim apologetics that attacks the Bible actually also rejects the Quran.