Chapter 6: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Everyone was invited to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read together – What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White.

Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, we’ve covered:

Chapter 6: The Qur’an and the Cross

In this chapter, Dr. White compares the historical documentation of the crucifixion with the single assertion about the crucifixion in the Qur’an. Each sub-section in this chapter is short and to the point. The longest sub-section is the last one which addresses the Qur’an directly after laying out the historical case for the crucifixion.

The Crucifixion in History

White notes that liberal theologian John Dominic Crossan, atheist Robert Funk, and agnostic Bart Ehrman all attest to the historicity of Jesus’ crucifixion. These three men would probably have benefited more in their respective fields had they claimed the crucifixion did not happen. Yet, they are honest enough to admit the crucifixion as historical fact.

The New Testament Documents Are Strong Evidence

This section speaks for itself concerning the New Testament documents which state that Jesus was crucified. White makes an important point for those who do not accept the New Testament charging the writers with bias.

Anyone who dismisses ancient records because their writers were not secular humanists without professed bias (a glaring example of self-deception in itself) and without a modern (though rarely observed) code of journalistic neutrality, will find they have no sources left from which to draw knowledge. (Kindle Locations 1725-1727).

It Is the Testimony of the Early Generations of Christians

White notes the testimony of the crucifixion from early Christians Polycarp, Ignatius, and Clement. All three lived and wrote within about 100 years of Jesus death.

It Is the Testimony of Non-Christians

The writings of the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus are noted in this section. White calls it “phenomenal” that non-Christians recorded anything about Jesus’ life.

What About the Gnostics?

Muslims are fond of citing Gnostic sources against Christians bolster their claim that the crucifixion is fiction. White points out that Gnostics held their position due to a theology that claimed the creator of the universe is evil which would also include identifying Allah as evil. Gnostics also denied, contrary to Christianity and Islam, that Jesus had a physical body. If used consistently, Gnostic beliefs about Jesus backfire when applied to Islam.

The Qur’an’s Stand Against History

Only one verse in the Qur’an stands against the crucifixion – 4:157.

157. And because of their saying: “We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s Messenger.” They slew him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them; and those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge of it except the pursuit of a conjecture; [but] certainly they slew him not. (Kindle Locations 1779-1781).

White explains this verse has not context in the Qur’an; nor is there commentary found in the hadith. Verse 158 follows with “But Allah raised him up to Himself. Allah is August, Wise.” The common Islamic understanding is the “substitution theory” that someone, usually Judas Iscariot, did in Jesus’ place on the cross. Some Muslims also hold to a form of the “swoon theory” which alleges that Jesus survived the crucifixion and injuries, escaped the tomb and eventually recovered.

White quotes and addresses a couple of explanations of the crucifixion from The Message of the Qur’an by Muhammad Asad. One of Asad’s problems White points out is he denies Jesus’ crucifixion without giving an alternative of what actually happened.

Other inconsistencies in the Muslim position against the crucifixion are addressed concluding that Islam’s position is an assertion against the crucifixion and its history. On this issue, Islam puts forth an assertion without an argument. As White puts it, “Who, truly, is following mere conjecture here?”

Here I blog…


tagged as , , , , , in apologetics,books,Christianity,Evangelism,Gospel,heresy,theology

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ken Temple August 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Robert Funk, not Fred Funk.  🙂

2 Mark Lamprecht August 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Ken Temple Ha! That’s awesome. Guess I was thinking about golf.

3 AndrewLindsey August 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

I certainly don’t mean to take anything away from other chapters, but this chapter was perhaps my favorite. From an apologetics stand-point, I think the arguments were well-laid-out and persuasive. Evangelistically, this deals with the heart of our faith concerning the work of Christ, which is such a barrier to Muslims trusting in Him.


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