What good fortune when apologetics can combine books and doctrine together. :) And that, specifically in the area of defending Christianity against false religions, is the focus of today's post.
The biggest religion opposing Christianity in today's world is certainly the Muslim faith. Some of us have grown lenient in our view of Muslims, while others watch with a nail-biting worry as they expand in influence and size. Few of us are actually equipped to deal with this problem, and that's where James White, with a fantastic new book called What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur'an, steps forward to give Christians a defense for our faith.
Muslims are a lost people, and we have with us the true message of salvation. Imagine not knowing whether Allah will let you into heaven, or hoping against hope that you will not die in blasphemy to him, which is the unforgiveable sin in the Muslim faith. Your good works must outweigh your bad, and even if they do that doesn't always mean you will see paradise, for Allah has ordained when you were born whether you would go to heaven or not. Even if you live like a saint all your days, if he chose that you should go to hell, go there you shall. What a horrible, grievous, twisted kind of predestination that holds millions in fear for their souls. And we have hope to offer them. We must be passionate about doing it.
But having hope is not enough. Muslims speak a different spiritual language than we do, and simply telling them the good news about Jesus Christ will not outweigh strongholds of thought that they have believed in for years. We need to understand not only our side, but their side as well, so that we can truly offer them hope. More on that in a moment. But first, let me explain the premise of White's book.
What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur'an is 287 pages, and 11 chapters, and each chapter deals with a specific doctrine that is vitally different between Christians and Muslims. Muslims believe in Jesus Christ, but they do not believe that he was divine, nor do they believe he was crucified. Also, they believe that Christians are polytheists because of our belief in the Trinity. But when you read the Qur'an, Muhammad believed that our Trinity was not the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but the Father, Mary, and Jesus Christ. These misunderstandings of the Christian faith on Muhammad's part only add to the tension in our dialogues with each other.
Muhammad believed that he was a prophet in a long line of prophets; taking on the mantle of spiritual guide inherited from Moses and Jesus. He also believed, as do Muslims today, that Scripture prophesied about his coming. Muslims believe that the Qur'an is inspired, inerrant, and not the words of Muhammad, but words straight from the mouth of Allah.
White hits every issue--the history of Muhammad, definitions of Muslim terminology, Jesus and the Qur'an, Muslims and the cross, the common accusation that Christians corrupted Scripture, (which is the number one defense Muslims will bring up in discussing their faith with Christians) and the Muslims' claim to the perfection of the Qur'an. He is both thoughtful, and objective, proving the Qur'an wrong from the Qur'an itself, and quick to extend a hand of grace to the other side.
This book will inform and equip you in the common key areas of the Christian and Muslim faiths. It is not fluffy; it's thoughtful and rich with insight, and comes endorsed by such Christian leaders as John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, and Abdul Saleeb, as well as others. It's a high-quality work, and a good example of how Christians can honorably prove other faiths wrong, while still respecting the human on the other side of the equation.
White's book is not merely a defense of Christianity against Muslim attacks. It's an objective, step-by-step examination of the various doctrines in the Qur'an. Too many of us, when we are faced with another religion's holy book, either dismiss it as entirely too complicated to be grasped, or entirely too false to be given much thought to. But White says in his introduction, "I learned as a young person that the single best way to honor the truth and to show honor to those you seek to reach is to "hear them in their own language," that is, to enter into their worldview and their theology."
He says that it behooves us, as Christians, to be informed in our arguments against the Muslim faith, and not accept shoddy reasoning just because we presuppose that we're already right. The Muslims are real souls going astray, and they believe in their faith--however misguidedly--just as passionately, and sometimes even more passionately, than we believe in ours. Therefore we need to approach their book with an objective standard, and evaluate it with all the pursuit of excellence with which we would wish them to evaluate our Holy Scriptures.
Now some of you, at this point, may be thinking that a book about the Muslim faith really isn't up your line, and one about the Qur'an is probably pretty technical. This book is work to read. But it's not impossible to grasp, and Christians need to be willing to work to equip themselves for the times in which they live. We live in an age of increasing Muslim influence, and it is imperative that we take the time to learn their theology, their worldview, and their view of the Christian faith, so that we are properly equipped to witness to them of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
And so, James White's What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur'an is a vital read for the Christian bibliophile.