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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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John 3:16 is where the Christian says Jesus claimed status as not just a figurative son of God but as God's actual "only-begotten" son. Not all Bible translate the passage with this key word because some translators have seen the difficulty this causes. At Hebrews 11:17, the same Greek word is found in the original language. But in this place it refers to Isaac who was at no time, strictly speaking, Abraham's only-begotten son. In the case of Isaac the Church explains that "only-begotten" is not to be understood strictly but must he modified. However, no such modification is allowed in the case of John 3:16 when it is over-specified as being literally true. In the tenth chapter of John we read about the Jews trying to stone Jesus and saying that he had made himself equal to God. The Christian agrees with the Jews and overlooks Jesus' reply. He proceeds to tell them that their own scriptures refer to certain evil men as "gods". Therefore, he argued that it was even more appropriate that one actually sent by God should be called a "son of God". He had also said that it was appropriate to call a peacemaker a "son of God" (Matthew 5:9). The Jews and Christians overspecify his words when they insist that he has claimed divinity. There is another poorly conceived argument which is related to this. Where the Jews have understood Jesus to blaspheme - i.e. claim divine authority - the Christian says he has proof that Jesus did claim divinity. The incorrect assumption however, is that the Jews understood Jesus. For example, they understood him to seize divine authority when he told a man that his sins were forgiven (Mark 2). But the verse at John 12:49, among others, shows that Jesus denied any personal initiative. He spoke only what God commanded him to say.


Still more badly thought through is an argument based on common Christian misunderstanding. Muslims agree that Jesus was "the Messiah". Although modern Bible translations hide the fact, many individuals are called "Messiah" in the Bible. Christians have come to believe that there is a connotation of divinity in the word, however. So when they read that Jesus admitted to being the Messiah and the Jewish High Priest declared it blasphemy, they feel that they have still more proof that Jesus claimed divinity. The High Priest could only protest what he thought was a lie - a slander against God. The Jews were awaiting the Messiah. Were they also ready to kill the first man who said that he was the Messiah because such a claim is blasphemous?


In the "twice sold" category, we have verses like John 10:30 and 14:9. The first one reads: "I and the Father are one." The Christian leaves vague exactly what this sentence itself leaves vague: one what? The overlooked information is found in the Seventeenth Chapter of John where the same idea occurs more than once and includes the disciples of Jesus in this oneness. (See John 17:11, 21-22). The thought that should be finished is this: If Jesus meant to say that being "one" means being divine then are the disciples also divine in the same sense as Jesus since the same expression includes them? As it happens the phrase has been sold twice. The Seventeenth Chapter verses are quoted in support of unity of purpose while the Tenth Chapter verse is used to support the claim that Jesus announced his Godhood.

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