Answering his own question: Has the time come for Christians to see Muhammad as the Spirit of Truth? Ian Mevorach writes “Jesus’s promise of the Holy Spirit is an essential part of the Christian faith and my interpretation of Muhammad as the Spirit of Truth affirms this.” He tells his reader to read “the Qur’an without fear, knowing that it is a revelation” and furthermore he insists that “We can accept the Qur’an as a revelation, not in opposition to the Gospel, but in unity with the Gospel and the will of Jesus.”
Loving Muslims Argument
- First, it is important to understand that loving Muslims is not loving Islam. We are to love Muslims (people just like you and I), and we can dislike, and even hate Islam (a belief system).
- Second, love without truth is nothing but deception. Finding common ground to bridge the gap between Christians and Muslims is a great desire. Christ calls His followers to love their neighbors (Mark 12:31), and in this case Muslims. However, Christ also calls us to be truthful, because the truth can set us free (John 8:32).
- Third, we must speak truth in love, and never give in to any wishful thinking without a deep examination of the facts.
Therefore, the following is a comprehensive response to Ian’s article based on facts from the Islamic scriptures: the Qur’an, the traditions of Muhammad—Hadith, and the life of Muhammad—Sira in their true historical and theological narrative. Unlike the wishful thinking of Western theologians (including Ian) who tend to undermine the authority of the Christian scriptures, and cling to a few verses to satisfy their intellectual thirst, this response remains true to the Christian and Muslim scriptures. Clearly, Ian used a method called poof texting in which a theologian uses isolated, out-of-context quotations from a document to establish a proposition in eisegesis.
Ian’s advocates his newly found belief in Muhammad as a prophet and a bringer of “new revelations [Qur’an] not merely remind Jesus’ disciples of what he [Jesus] already said,” and he claims that “the time has surely come to recognize him as a prophet.” He condemns Christians’ unwillingness to take Muhammad as a prophet and the Qur’an as the final revelation from God and insists, “the time has come for Christians to recognize how wrong we have been in these assessments and to correct the record by affirmatively identifying Muhammad with ‘the Spirit of Truth.’” He succeed in promoting the common beliefs of Muslims while claiming to be a Christian, certainly he failed to compare his beliefs and Islamic beliefs against the basic teachings of Christianity and Islam.
- What is a Muslim: someone who believes in Allah and his prophet Muhammad, and the revelation he brought (introduced), namely the Qur’an.
- How one becomes a Muslim: When one declares the Shahadai, or testimony: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger.
- What is a Christian: Someone who believes in Jesus as the Lord and Savior. This means one has come to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who came into the world and died for his or her sins and rose again.
- How one becomes a Christian: When one invites Jesus into his or her heart as the Lord and Savior of his or her life after acknowledging his or her sinfulness. Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Jesus’s Promise of the Spirit of Truth Argument
Ian writes, “There is no better candidate than Muhammad, no one in fact that comes even close, in terms of fulfilling Jesus’s promise of the Spirit of Truth who would bring forth a new revelation from God.” However:
- Muhammad claimed to be the last and final prophet, certainly superior to all previous prophets. He claimed that Islam is the only true religion acceptable to God (Quran 3:19).
- Christ claimed to be the only way to God (John 14:6).
Another major issue with Ian’s understanding of Muhammad and the Qur’an is his weak approach to the irreconcilable fact that both faiths fundamentally believe in the opposite:
- A Muslim cannot be a Muslim if he or she believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
- A Christian cannot be a Christian if he or she denies that Jesus is the Son of God.
- The divinity of Christ, and the death and resurrection of Christ are the core issues that make the two faiths irreconcilable. Let’s examine that against the following Qur’anic verses:
- Muhammad preached against the divinity of Christ:
“They say: ‘Allah has begotten a Son’. Glory be to Him! His is what the heavens and the earth contain; all things are obedient to Him. Creator of the heavens and the earth! When he decrees a thing, He need only say ‘Be’, and it is. —Qur’an 2:116.
“The Jews say Ezra is the son of God, while the Christians say the Messiah is the son of God. Such are their assertions, by which they imitate the infidels of old. God confound them! How perverse they are!” —Qur’an 9:30.
Another translation says, The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (Qur’an 9:30, Yusif Ali)
O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”” desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Qur’an 4:171,Yusif Ali)
More verses with the same clear message can be found in Qur’an —5:116, 6:101; 9:30; 10:68; 19:35; 19:88; 23:91; 39:4; 43:82; 72:3; 112:1-4.
- Muhammad preached against the death and resurrection of Christ:
Without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith in Christ would have been in vain. According to Paul “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:4, ESV). Muhammad and the Qur’an clearly deny the death and resurrection of Christ.
“That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’;–but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. (Qur’an 4:157, Yusif Ali)
Muhammad the Prophet Argument
Using the argument of Muhammad, the coming promised prophet is neither a new thought nor a new approach to reconcile Islam and Christianity. Muslim scholars and apologists have presented the argument throughout the centuries. There are many good resources available online and in print to debunk this interpretation. Interestingly, many of the counter responses come from Muslim Background Believers who have found freedom in Christ and cannot stand the argument of Muhammad being the one that Jesus promised. Most of the reasoning that Ian presents here comes from Islamic apologetics. Muslims believe that the Bible predicted the coming of the prophet Muhammad. This belief has become a major teachings in Islam.
Ian’s use of Deuteronomy 18:18 and John 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:5-15 in favor of Islam is not new effort whatsoever. Let me address the references that Ian presents. Muslims quote Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise up from them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I commend him.”
In this verse “a prophet like you” refers to Moses because the coming prophet was to be like Moses. Now let’s examine what will qualify someone to be like Moses. According to Deuteronomy 34:10:
- He will be someone whom God will meet face to face,
- He will be from the house of Israel,
- He will perform signs and wonders.
Muhammad was neither an Israeli nor did he meet God face to face like Moses. He claimed, and the Qur’an testifies, that it was the angel Gabriel who brought the Qur’an to him from God. However, this has nothing to do with the story of the Mirage where Muhammad claims he went to the seventh person who was able to do all that was prophesied was Jesus.
John- Parakletos Argument
Now we come to John 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:5-15, verses which Ian along with Muslims claim to be about Muhammad’s coming.
- If this is true, then Muslims must believe that Muhammad was sent by Jesus in His name because it is written, “I will send him to you,” “in my name.”
- Muslims must believe that the Bible is not changed and that it is the Word of God.
- The parakletos was not supposed to be seen (John 14:17) but Muhammad was a living being who had flesh.
Conclusions of Deuteronomy and John Argument
The above points prove that Muhammad preached against Christ’s death, resurrection, and divinity. He never said that he was sent by Christ to glorify him. The article is completely ignoring the fundamental beliefs of both Christians and Muslims. The author has constructed his argument based on one or two verses from the Bible, and fails to investigate Islamic history, theology and traditions.
The Islamic prophet himself introduced the concept of common ground to consolidate power in Medina (a Jewish and Christian city at the time of Muhammad). Now Medina is the second most holy city to Muslims in the world.
Muhammad said that he was commanded by Allah to fight people until they submit by reciting Shahada:
Sahih al-Bukhari 6924—Allah’s Messenger said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah), and whoever said La ilaha illahllah, Allah will save his property and his life from me.”
Sahih Muslim 33—The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.
The reason that a common ground between Muslims and Christians never fully works is because; 1). It was almost always initiated by Christians, 2). It was always at the cost of Christian fundamental beliefs, 3). It was a very deceptive and false approach to both faiths.
The Islamophobic Argument
Ian writes, “the majority of Christians still maintain a fundamentally Islamophobic position on Muhammad. So I believe that the time has come for peacemaking Christians to contradict this position directly.” It is not the Christians who continue to slaughter, imprison, and persecute Muslims, rather it’s often Muslims in the Islamic world that have never ended their campaign to eradicate Christianity from the world. I come from Pakistan and I have personally experienced persecution at the hands of my Muslim neighbors, whom I love dearly. I do not fear them but, but I fear Islam because I know it for its true character.
The term Islamophobia was coined and popularized in the west after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Islamophobia often creates a blanket sentiment that people should not be afraid of Islam under any circumstances. Some westerners, including Ian is seems, are unaware of the duality of Islam (religious Islam and political Islam), which continues to voice against anyone who fears Islam. Yes there are peaceful verses in the Qur’an from the early days of Muhammad, but then there are overwhelmingly violent verses in the Qur’an that continue to inspire many Jihadi groups to wage war.
Not only Christians or Jews fear Islam, many Muslims fear Islam too. Islam is to be feared, this is the message of Muhammad and the Qur’an. It does not matter what Christian think about Islam and the Islamic prophet Muhammad, what really matters is the Islamic understanding of sin, Jesus, the cross, salvation, and human depravity. Unless they understand why they need salvation, they will not understand why they need a savior.
Currently, there are various movements, mostly initiated by Christians, to bring Islam and Christianity together. The Insider movement is one among others that have attracted a large following. Political Islam advocates the surrender of the whole world to Islam. It promotes violence and deception to attain power. Muslims are deceived by political Islam and this article is another example of how political Islam is creeping into our theological schools as well.
If Jesus is the messenger of love and peace, Muhammad is the messenger of violence and power.
The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by historical context contained in the surrounding text (although many Muslims choose to think of them that way). They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subject to interpretation as anything else in the Quran.
Please visit https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx for the full list of Qur’an and Hadith verses regarding violence. Each verse will prove why Muhammad cannot be an acceptable prophet in a Christian belief system, and why the Qur’an cannot be a true revelation from God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.