Interestingly, Jesus of Nazareth receives in the Quran occasionally even a higher position than Muhammad.
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Given some Quranic statements in which Jesus is described as the Word of God, it seems very intriguing to examine these statements towards their Christological content. The project will therefore scrutinize whether it is feasible, from a particularly Christian perspective, to recognize the Quranic appreciations of Jesus of Nazareth as a form of Christology, which could possibly be saying something valuable to Christians.
In accordance with that thought one can also ask, whether the Christian faith could accommodate to a certain extend the depiction of Jesus of Nazareth in the Quran within its own frame of belief and could the peculiarity of this approach be regarded as an enrichment of the Christian identity.
Similarly, a Muslim Comparative Theology should discuss the question whether the relationship between the Christian confession of Jesus as the Christ and the Quranic statements about Jesus can be reviewed on the grounds of offering a new understanding of Jesus to Islamic thought. The intra- Muslim debate on this point between Sunnis and Shiites seem to carry specific differences that can also be detected in the hadith literature and the commentary traditions.
And, to be frank with you, there comes a point in your life as a missionary or as a theologian where you sometimes you want to yourself because the challenges are so, so, so many. It's not easy as you will know, to to devote your life to something which sometimes nobody understands, but we're happy to be in this point of our lives and if I were given the chance times over to choose a different career, I would still choose exactly what I'm doing right now.
Scott Rae : So, our listeners need to have some context for this. You're a doctoral student in New Testament at the University of Edinburgh and president and you are specializing in an area known as textual criticism, which is the science that actually tries to establish as close as we can do with the original New Testament texts was. Tell our listeners a bit about why you chose this area and how it's important for your apologetics and for your proclamation of Jesus because it sounds like it was really technical field that doesn't have much to do with real life.
Scott Rae : I thin that's what some of our listeners might think, but I know in talking to you that's not true.
Islamic view of the Bible
Explain that to them. Florenc Mene : That goes back to 24 to 25 years ago when I was a Muslim. I wanted to convince Christians that the Bible that we have today has been corrupted to the point where we cannot establish the text. Therefore, whatever the Bible says about Christ divinity, claims and other claims like in terms of Christology, in terms of salvation is only a wrong because it's not what Jesus really taught.
And, so when I came to Christ, I immediately knew, immediately knew my calling. I wanted to convince others that I had been wrong all along and that the Bible we do have has been transmitted so well that we know it's original message so well that you can only deny or accept the claims of the one who actually made them Christ and the Apostles.
I wanted to learn Greek. I wanted to find out about it, about early church history. And, so I took hold of many books as I could and I taught myself. I took it because I wanted to fulfill the vision God'd given me. And, I have been focusing since then on the area of early Christianity and textual criticism. Somebody called it chimney sweeping at some point. Text criticism is just not very technical. You only deal with the text. But, the thing is for Christianity, it's ultimately the most fundamental issue when you talk to Muslims.
You cannot talk about the old if you cannot establish that the text of the Bible you do have is the one that has been transmitted faithfully for years. And, that's why I'm doing what I'm doing and I'm at this point, I'm also involved in a project. I'm translating the church fathers into Albanian from the original Greek and writing a commentary about it. For the first five centuries, I want people in Albania to know that the Bible was so well respected by the earliest Christians that it changed their lives and despite their flaws, which are many, like ours today, we need to listen to their voice and when we do that, we understand that the Christianity of the first five centuries is the Christianity to which we have to be thankful for, for what we are today because they basically delivered to us what they had heard from the earliest Apostles.
Scott Rae : The New Testament because of the allegation that the text has become corrupted as it was passed down. Scott Rae : It sounds like what you've concluded, there's just not any evidence for that. And, if a personal testimony will suffice, is, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today if I didn't really believe that because a, I'm not being paid for this. B, I don't really have even a job or something. I'm doing this because I firmly believe that my studies have confirmed that pure simple faith that I first started to have 23 years ago when I believed in Christ for the first time.
Scott Rae : Well, I think, let me encourage our listeners to be in prayer for Florence, because he's embarked on a calling that you know, you may think for yourself, "wow, I'm definitely not called to do that. I'm not wired to do that. But, I think you can see out of his former experience with Islam how important that question is. That's so telling to say that that's the first thing that Muslims ask about Christianity is how do you know that the text that you had that we can actually trust it.
Scott Rae : And, so I commend you significantly for the path you're on, for, how you've gone about. Let me ask you one other question, right? So, I'm, I'm hoping our listeners be sure and pray for him as he continues to study.
Tell me we have a lot, a lot of efforts going on in the United States and a lot of the West which are toward Christian Muslim friendship, a Christian Muslim dialogue. Florenc Mene : Oh, I could talk about that for a very long time. Every, I'll say this, every major university, I mean non Christian University has started to have at least one of those branches called Muslim Christian dialogue or Muslim Christian relations it as part of their-.
But, it's part of their faculty of theology idea. It's part of trying to have it's money, it's money matters because they want to have as many students from different face on because they paid the fees, but more importantly because they just don't see the difference and they just don't see why it is important that we should be, you know, more different than, than the same.
So, what I'll say about dialogue is this, first of all, dialogue is great and it's necessary because if you don't really know what Muslims really believe and you only keep reading Christian books about what Muslims believe, you'll never really find out about what they, how they really think about things, how they really believe.
It's not just what but how they really come to that realization so it's important, but you cannot have dialogue without first having two things in place. First, you as a Christian, you should know well what you believe because they are going to tie you in knots if you don't know what you believe. They're going to mess your mind because they know sometimes Christian did better than we do.
So, you need to know your faith well enough to be grounded enough to think this is what I believe and be. The second condition is when we dialogue, dialogue with a real Muslim. Not just the liberal one, but somebody who really believes in the Koran and Mohammed's hadid, somebody who is really trying to convince you that Muhammad's way was the way and it's still the right way in that sense, you'll have a very, a very strong debate. But, at least you will not be talking cross purpose.
You will be actually talking about you know, questions of salvation and you'll have a proper dialogue. You'll know what each of you believe and then pray.
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That's, I think that's a really helpful perspective on this because there's a lot of dialogue going on, but I think some sometimes you know, say those are good words of encouragement and ,words of caution. So thank you so much for coming on with us for sharing your testimony. This has been fascinating to hear how you've come out of Islam, embraced the Lord Jesus. And, now we're embarked on graduate study that's enabling you to go back and answer the question, the primary question that most Muslims ask about Christianity. So, thank you so much for joining us on this. Florenc Mene : If I could encourage you know all of our listeners, you're in the right place guys, and you have to realize you don't need to know everything to convince people about Christ.
All you need to do is know your scriptures well. Keep on walking with Jesus, and God will use it in ways you never thought possible. This has been an episode of the podcast, Think Biblically, conversations on faith and culture. If you've enjoyed today's broadcast with our guest, Florence Mene, our Albanian friend, share it with a friend.
Give us a rating on your podcast app and remember, Think Biblically about everything. View Episode Transcript. He has a Ph. He has served in a variety of teaching and leadership roles, including a term as president of the Evangelical Theological Society in Sean McDowell , Scott B. From Islam to Christianity with Florenc Mene. Florenc Mene : Thank you so much for having me. So, one day, this was , right after communism fell, Albania was suddenly open and missionaries came to Albania to bring, well, if not missionaries, anonymous people, Christians would bring bibles to Albania, a very good news, like Bible of version of the New Testament Scott Rae : And, previously they had not been allowed into the country?
Scott Rae : In Albanian? Unfortunately, what it also did- Scott Rae : At the expense of everything else. Florenc Mene : Exactly. Scott Rae : What did your family think about your conversion to Islam? Florenc Mene : My family, they were absolutely irritated at me to say the least. Scott Rae : So what was the religious background of your mother and father?
Scott Rae : Okay. Scott Rae : So, for them, Christianity was considered a better option? Albanians- Scott Rae : Even though they didn't understand much about Jesus or.. Florenc Mene : Even though it isn't. So, you've converted to Islam. Your family's pretty unhappy with you about that conversion. So, then what happened? Florenc Mene : So what happened? There is no real answer on the part of Islam about salvation or at least no reassuring answer that- Scott Rae : And, you asked those questions, you know, honestly and openly.
Florenc Mene : I did. Scott Rae : Straightforwardly to your Imam, to Muslim apologists. Scott Rae : And this is the best answer you got. Scott Rae : So, this person you began meeting with.. Florenc Mene : And his name was Emmanuel, which was an amazing coincidence. Scott Rae : Understandable. Scott Rae : Because, you had dropped out of that to go to the Madrasa?
So, I was in the Madrasa. Scott Rae : The Islamic school. Florenc Mene : The Islamic school. Scott Rae : So how did they respond when you told them about your conversion? Scott Rae : Of course. American support is very much a commingled matter, Christian Zionism hardly informs it. American support balances the utter disingenious lack of support of leftist governments in Europe to the besieged state, created out of the European Holocaust.
The partition of that created the state of Israel caused transfers of whole peoples of Jews and Muslims… perhaps India should reclaim Pakistan in an analgolous way of present leftist thought which infects this portion of an otherwise excellent summary. Amen Jim. This article is sided disproportionately towards appeasing muslim extremism. The apologist attitude is why we are where we are today. The muslim faith does not recognize peaceful positions; rather it leverages weaknesses to encourage greater violence and expansion.
The Revelations of the Qur’an
The muslim faith and in particular actors of violence can only be quelled and contained by greater force diplomatic, economic and kinetic. The middle east and the left Europe and self labeled progressives who support appeasement have proven this over the last 5 decades. WWII began very much the same way only instead of a radical marxist leader, you now have a network tied together over a religion of violence. Hmmmm interesting article but typical of a pacifistic Christian ideology that may not having anything to do with current radical Islamic circumstances.
The ideology is that There is never a reason for offensive or defensive violence, live in peace and your non-violent responses will overcome violence with goodness. These verses from Paul and Jesus of course are the truth. There is no disputing that, but recent radical Islamist events bring us to question some of the deeper implications of those verses.
What does overcoming evil with good, or loving your enemy really mean in the context of extreme circumstances? Let me give an example: if I saw an innocent non-believer getting crucified or beheaded because they refused to believe an ideology. And I could stop it but only by killing the perpetrators, than I would categorically, without hesitation and remorse stop it.
As a Christian I would have no problems violenting protecting or defending the innocent, and vulnerable to the point of death, or killing anyone who would attempt to torture, maim, and brutally kill them. Not that it would be the first choice of defense if there were other choices, but if there was no other option I would think it is my duty and calling as a Christian, who loves Jesus Christ God with all my heart, soul and mind Matthew Jesus could have done that and mentioned it in the Garden of Gethsemane during his arrest and betrayal.
However our main objective as Christians, should be to share the good news of Jesus Christ and call them to repentance. Jesus was not respectful of the Pharisees. He accused their forefathers of killing the prophets. John the Baptist , accused Herod of adultery and paid the ultimate price. Peter accuses the audience at Pentecost of killing Jesus and they repented and were saved. We should not fight violence with violence.
But we are obligated to point out Islam is wrong and a denial of Jesus Christ as the only basis for salvation and call them to repent for their sins. I would define that as calling for the Muslims to repent , give up Islam and follow Christ. I think this is true love and should be our response to all Islam , whether violent or not.
This makes some claims about all Muslims that are not true. Or indeed that many Muslims ever think about the their religion in world-wide political terms, in the same way many Christians go about their lives rarely considering the world-wide church. This is unfortunate near the start of the article because it then undermines the excellent efforts everywhere else to promote a more nuanced and sensible view of the diversity of Muslim opinion that we so sorely need. It would be easy to remedy as well. The only way we can resolve this terrorist problem is by resolving the Palestinian and Isreal problem.
This is the bottom line.
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Why are they attacking the west? It was not a Muslim problem, the Second World War was a western problem created by Hitler and resolved by the west. But what happened to the Palistinians,mwhen etc did they go. Did the west expect them to disapair or just vanish. This is where the problem begins even though the west are still in denials.
If it was important to give the Jewish people a place they should have chopped Germany who created the problem. Even now these displaced people are suffering and the west turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering of these people. The general person thinks that these terrorists are attacking the west because they want to break our democracy. They only want to be treated like human beings. Unfortunately they are using the wrong method to tell the west what they want. Violence is not the method they should use, there are many other way to protest Isreal is not a state just for the Jewish people, but it is illegal to challenge or critise the Jews is.
Honestly this is the best response and explanation from a Christian perspective. I lost my response to that. And why are Muslim moving to this land and enjoying the freedom when they can be in their county and enjoy the freedom. I showed the person a photo Muslim praying Friday prayer at a Church. Question asked was how many Muslim countries will allow Christians to pray in a Mosque or if they would be tolerant enough to bring bible and cucifix without having an islamist blow them up?
I told person to visit any muslim country and the response was, look at the Lebanon, only a Christian redide there Muslims have taken over. I have been in the country for 17 years and never felt that most people felt that way. I was actually in tears. If some talk bad about Jesus I will stand up for him.
I love him as much as Christian love him. Because Islam values Jesus Esa. What fathoms me is that we are worship the same God father. In my heart how do you even clear their though process. Although it is stereotypically believed by both Muslims, Christians and others that Islam is a religion is which inequality is majorly present in all aspects, this is not the case.
When Islam was first introduced it took the Arabs by surprise since it was new. They joined forces against Muslims and argued that their religion that they had inherited from their forefathers had become a tradition of their lives. Second: inequality between genders- this exists.
Even in our current day, there is inequality between males and females amount paid at work,etc. In Islam, the inequality goes both ways. But they do have balanced rights. Ask any Muslim woman living in a majority Christian country whether she feels oppressed wearing a headscarf or covering her face. Also, I am not a Muslim, but I have people close to me who are. Who knows these three Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam have many similarities? Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
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