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Missionaries et al. SINGLE PAGE

Introductory and General Information
  Missionary Christianity - A Muslim's Analysis
Author: Gary Miller
Article ID : MSS020001  [32852]  
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Jesus outlined a principle of reliability at Luke 16:10, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much: and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much." Now the missionary excuses small mistakes while maintaining that there are no big mistakes in the Bible. But Jesus' words do not allow for this separation of small and big errors. So the last Christian answer is used again: the missionary says that the message is one subject and it contains no errors big or small, but the actual words of the Bible might possibly contain error. Both the Muslim and the Christian should take note of this distinction. The Qur'an talks about the Injeel of Jesus, meaning the particular message he delivered. Both the missionary and the careless Muslim may believe that this Injeel is the same as the four gospels - the Biblical accounts of the life of Jesus. The Muslim should realize and the Christian should be ready to admit that the exact words of the four gospel accounts are not the same as the message of Jesus. The gospels narrate the events of his life and at times quote him. More correctly, the words of Jesus are paraphrased in the gospels. His sayings are recast but not directly quoted necessarily. In fact, the famous "Lord's Prayer" will be found in two different versions at Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In a similar way, the Qur'an mentions the Torah of Moses. Again, it must not be imagined that the message of Moses survives verbatim in today's Bible. A claim like this was made in the prophet Jeremiah's day, but we read: "How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? Rut behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie." (Jeremiah 8:8): In the following, we are concerned with the words of Jesus, not with the things people wrote about him. We do not pick and choose from the Bible according to what we like, but grant that the fundamentalist Christian likes all of the Bible. Therefore he should be willing to discuss any quotation made here, although the Muslim is not conceding any authenticity.


We intend to use the methods already illustrated to deal with the most basic issue between Christians and Muslims. The method has been to clarify what is vague, to expose neglected information, and to finish incomplete thoughts. This method enables us to turn to the words attributed to Jesus in the Bible and we can then determine where his words have been "overspecified" - made to say more than they mean - or where his words have been "twice sold" - given two interpretations.


The primary issue is finally, not whether Jesus was divine, but whether he said that he was. Let us illustrate and then summarize the method of investigating the missionary's claim.


In the overspecified category we have such passages as John Chapter 6, John 3:16 and the tenth chapter of John. At 6:41 Jesus says: "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." In this chapter, he compares himself to the manna eaten by the Israelites in Moses' time. Quoting scripture he calls the manna "bread out of heaven", (Psalm 78:24). The vagueness in this argument is the fact that the Christian has not stated that he intends to make an exact parallel between Jesus and the manna: if one comes from heaven, so does the other. The information he has neglected involves the origin of the manna. Of course it was not prepared in heaven and then transported to earth. According to Numbers 11:9, it came from the same place as the dew. So a thought must be finished. If the Christian maintains that Jesus literally came out of the heaven where God lives, he forces a literal meaning from the words while allowing a figurative meaning for the same words in the case of the manna out of heaven.

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