Is it scriptural to debate? How should one prepare to debate? What is the Biblical view about Islam and Muslims? And more questions from Raymond and Richard to Bro. Jerry Thomas.
Question: Who started the discussion on May 10th debate?
Answer: The debate came as a challenge from Muslim brothers. IREF says these Muslim brothers are not from IREF. Nevertheless, it came from Muslims.
Question: Should a Christian debate? Where is the scriptural basis to debate since you are taking debates?
Answer: As Rev. Sudhakar Mondithoka points out from the scriptures about public debate:
Acts 9: 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists but they attempted to kill him.
Acts 18:28 “For he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is Christ.”
Further, it seems to me that it was the manner of Apostle Paul to present the Gospel by reasoning.
Acts 9:22 But Saul increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 17: 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.
Acts 18:4 and he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:19 and he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
Acts 19:8-10 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
There are numerous other passages. Hope these suffice now.
Question: Your opponent personally insulted you rather than providing arguments. What is your take on it?
Answer: Personally I have no opponents. Whoever is an opponent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is my opponent too.
Difference in the Spiritual Blessing Between a Christian and a Muslim
Firstly as Christians we inherited the blessing of Abraham through Jesus Christ who in His incarnation was the descendant of Isaac.According to Muslims, they are inheritors of Ishmael’s legacy and, Muhammad sahab, according to them, was a descendant of Ishmael.
According to the Holy Bible, Genesis 21:9 Ishmael who was of the bondage mocked at Isaac who was free.
The Holy Bible is very clear: In Galatians 4:28-29, inspired author Apostle Paul speaks about Ishmael and Isaac and writes: “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.”
Difference in the Pattern that Christians and Muslims Follow
Secondly:I am a servant of LORD Jesus Christ. My Master silenced His critics through reasoning.
Matthew 22:46 “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”
Dawwah preachers are followers of Muhammad sahab. In Ibn Hisham’s The Life of Muhammad, Volume 2, Page Number 86-98, we read that a Christian delegation from Yemen came and debated with Muhammad sahab himself. If we read their questions as reported by one of the greatest Muslim ever lived- Ibn Hisham, Muhammad sahab was unable to answer them. When silenced by Christians, Muhammad sahab suddenly got a revelation from his Allah – Surah 3:1-80. We can at least make two conclusions from Muhammad sahab’s response:
(a) Denial: Until then Muhammad sahab was claiming that Quran is clear and detailed (Surah 5:15 and 6:114) and easy to understand (Surah 54:22). But when silenced by Christians, Muhammad sahab suddenly said that only part of the Quran is clear and understandable and part of it only Allah knows the meaning (Surah 3:7). That is what a Muslim would also do when silenced by arguments.
(b) Curses: In Surah 3:61 Muhammad sahab asks Christians to call their families and he would call his family and they would curse each other. Ibn Hisham says Christians refused to curse though Ibn Hisham as a Muslim falsely assumes that they discussed among themselves that to a curse a ‘prophet’ will bring curse. How does Ibn Hisham know what they discussed? But the fact is- Muhammad sahab wanted to curse, Christians refused to curse.
The point is this- Jesus silenced His critics through reasoning. Muhammad sahab tried to silence his opponents through denials and curses.
Question: How should one get prepared for a debate? How did you prepare for this debate?
Answer: The Holy Bible is very clear on what we should do and that is what we did.
First- 2 Corinthians 10:5 clearly says that “casting down arguments” that sets itself against the knowledge of Christ is not just an intellectual exercise but a spiritual warfare. There were many brothers and sisters who were partakers in “defense and confirmation of the Gospel” (Philippians 1: 7) through their prayer support. They waged a good fight.
Just to cite an example- Evangelist Sam Philip worked hard to raise worldwide prayer support.There were numerous others who were partakers in this defense by helping publicity in Hyderabad and outside Hyderabad. Though I would like to name them, they are many to be named. But I am very grateful for them. Rakshna TV channel also came forward to help. I must also mention Evangelist Israel who worked for publicity and volunteers.
Be Prophetically Correct
Second, 1 Peter 3: 14 says “do not be afraid of their threats nor be troubled”. We need to be bold and prophetically correct and not politically correct. So we were least bothered to please men but only God.
Third, 1 Peter 3:15 say “be prepared”. We had a good preparation. There were many brothers and sisters who helped in the constant review of the preparation. A few I must leave unnamed for security reasons. Others were- Rev. Sudhakar Mondithoka, George, Sherry, Sreedhar, Peter, Ebenezer, Kamal, Paul, Bibu, Prashant, Ravinder, and the list goes on. The list is really big. I should name my wife –Liny who provided constant support.
Then of course, I must thank Brother Sam Shamoun who personally reviewed the transcript and suggested a few valuable changes. Sam’s research proved immensely helpful.So we obeyed the commandment of praying and being prepared.
Fourth, 1 Peter 3:15 say “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” in the context of giving reasons. Subjecting ourselves under the grace of Jesus to lead a Holy life worthy of our calling is essential. No matter whatever you do, if we do not sanctify the Lord God, then we will not have victory. Battle is the LORD’s. If you read Joshua 1:7-8 the instructions given to Joshua for the victory were similar though the nature of battle was different.
If we trust and obey the words of God, we can defeat and silence any
enemy of the Gospel. Remember historically Christians have silenced Muhammad sahab himself in a public debate.
Question: In my post debate interaction many Christians expressed that you debated a weak person who could not defend nor prove Muhammad to be a prophet. So, what is your opinion about Imran's presentation, rebuttal and the way he answered questions?
Answer: I agree that sometimes weak spokespersons can present a strong case weak but that was not what happened on May 10. In Bro. Imran’s own words, whether you and I accept or not, he is an international Islamic scholar. So the case was this- Christian faith is really strong and Islam is utterly weak. It was not Bro. Imran who was weak; it is the Islamic faith which is weak. If you try to defend the indefensible, you will appear weak.
The fact is this- though the subject of second person in the Triune God becoming man is very complex the case is really strong and irrefutable. All the earlier true prophets testified about God becoming man. LORD Jesus himself taught this and gave evidence for it and inspired Apostles clearly taught it. My presentation is only a tip of the huge amount of evidence that we have for the divinity of Jesus. If you read/hear the presentation, the case for the divinity of Jesus was constructed only from the answers to the popular questions which Muslims usually ask. Those answers itself are strong.
While during the discussion of this debate agreement, we asked IREF for a one hour 15 minutes presentation initially. When they did not agree for it, we asked for one hour. IREF still did not agree but insisted on 45 minutes. Finally as a compromise we agreed for 50 minutes.
Now coming to the messengerhood of Muhammad sahab. Muslims have no case to present for the messengerhood of Muhammad sahab. Bro. Imran hardly spoke for seven minutes on Muhammad sahab and what did he speak? Nothing. But the case against the messengerhood of Muhammad sahab is really strong and vast. What I presented was a grain compared to the evidence that we have against the messengerhood of Muhammad sahab . I am not exaggerating a bit.
With the full confidence I can say this- even the best of Islamic scholars can never debate and win on two topics- the divinity of Allah of the Quran and messengerhood of Muhammad sahab.
Question: What do you think about the news report that came in Eenadu?
Answer: I read the translation only two days back after one brother put his comments in Sakshi. According to the report, topic for May 10 debate was – Quran or the Bible. That was real news to me. In the agreement that we signed with IREF, in all the publicity materials, and even on the stage the topic was clearly written-Divinity of Jesus and Messengerhood of Muhammad. Of course, it is another matter that Bro. Imran spoke very less on the topic.
Then I read about a so-called conversion. Here, I must share the conversation that I had with Bro. Imran immediately after the debate. Bro. Imran came and hugged me soon after the debate. Then I asked Bro. Imran- Shall we leave? I was thinking Bro. Imran would also leave immediately. He looked at the crowd as he was searching for someone and told to me “Wait for some more time. We will leave after sometime.” But then the Christian brothers asked me to leave and I left. I do not want to make any definite conclusions. But you think about it- why did Bro. Imran wanted me to stay back for more time even after the completion of the program? Whom was Bro. Imran searching in the public?
To me it appears that Bro. Imran had the perfect foreknowledge of the conversion.
Question: What do you think about Islam?
Answer: I do not want to say anything of my own. Who am I to say anything about Islam? I am just another human being. But I will say what the Holy Bible has to say about Islam. When I read the Holy Bible I see crystal clear warnings to us. Let me read the Holy Bible rather than giving my own conclusions:
Biblical Warning (Not Promise)
2 Corinthians 11:3-4: “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”
How did serpent deceive Eve? Serpent asked the question- Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"And when Eve replied, serpent said: "You will not surely die,".The relation between human beings and God were broken.
When God became man and died for our sins that we should have the relationship with God again, what are the two questions that the same serpent can ask?“Did Jesus really say that He is God?” and when we try to reply next comment can be – Jesus did not certainly die. Jesus who is not God and did not die on the cross is a different Jesus.
Further, how would Satan come preaching this Jesus? Again in the form of a serpent? No. The same chapter explains it.
The Form that Satan Would Take this Time
2 Corinthians 11:14”And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”
Apostle Paul would have been surprised many Christians putting up with this Jesus. Let us read one more passage. We will see what the inspired author Apostle Paul’s opinion is about Christians who put up with this another gospel and the reasons why they do so.
The Biblical Judgement on Such who Mislead and Whom Should Christians Please
Galatians 1: 6-10: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
If we are trying to win the approval of men, we will put up with it. If not, we will dispute, publicly refute and reason against it. Remember I am not the one who used ‘dispute’ publicly refute and reason. It is the Holy Bible which has used it.There are many other verses to quote.
Islam and Article of Faith
I want to quote one more verse from the Holy Bible which should help you understand the nature of Islam.
1 John 2: 22: Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Islam is one religion on the face of earth which makes it an article of faith to deny the Father and the Son. Now, you make your own conclusions. I have presented the evidences. What should be your response to this?
Are you going to continue the New Testament pattern of preaching- of disputing, publicly refuting, and reasoning?
Now that I have given a long answer to your question about Islam, I hope you will ask me about Muslims too.
Question: Ha! Ok. What is your opinion about Muslims?
Answer: Good. I was waiting for this question. Muslims are human beings who are created in the image of our God. Jesus Christ loves them and died for them too. We have the immense responsibility to share the love of Jesus Christ with them.
We Must Extend the Love of Christ
Romans 5: 6-11 says: “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Muslims have no Knoweldge of God
We have to love Muslims with the same love and bring them to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Muslims are currently in without any knowledge of the God. They do not even know the name of thier god. Allah is not a proper noun. It is a generic noun like God. Arabic Bible translates Yehovah Elohim (God) as Allah Yehovah. Arabic Gita translates it as Allah Krishna. What is the name of the Allah of the Quran? Allah of Muhammad sahab, for some reason, does not tell that.
What Jesus Christ told to the Samaritan woman is applicable to Muslims:
John 4: 22-24: “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
I already mentioned about Muhammad sahab saying that some part of the Quran is unclear and cannot be understood. Here is the testimony of one of the first converts from Islam to Jesus Christ.
Testimony of the First Muslim Convert to Jesus Christ
He lived during the time of Muhammad sahab himself. Read about him:
"Ubaydullah went on searching until Islam came; then he migrated with the Muslims to Abyssinia taking with him his wife who was a Muslim, Umm Habiba, d. Abu Sufyan. When he arrived there he adopted Christianity, parted from Islam, and died a Christian in Abyssinia. Muhammad b. Ja`far b. al-Zubayr told me that when he had become a Christian `Ubaydullah as he passed the prophet's companions who were there used to say: `We see clearly, but your eyes are only half open,' i.e. `We see, but you are only trying to see and cannot see yet.' He used the word sa'sa' because when a puppy tries to open its eyes to see, it only half sees. The other faqqaha means to open the eyes. After his death the apostle married his widow Umm Habiba." (Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, tr. Guillaume, 1967, p. 99).
A Possible Biblical View about Muslims
2 Corinthians 3: 14 is true for every Muslim “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”
We have seen Muhammad sahab himself confessing that there are many things which are unclear in Quran, the first convert from Islam to Christianity testifying that we see clearly and the Holy Bible itself saying their minds are blinded.
Is it not time for us to preach the Gospel as in Acts of Apostles and bring people to the knowledge of Christ? “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” ( 2 Corinthians 3:16).
Question: It is scriptural to debate. Agreed. Is there any historical evidence of Muslim conversion because of apologetics?
Answer: There are many. After this debate itself, I am told that there are a few Muslims who came to Christ. Since this question is more broad and about results of apologetics among Muslims, you might want to read this article from National Review: Islam’s ‘Public Enemy #1’ Coptic priest Zakaria Botros fights fire with fire by Raymond Ibrahimhttp://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=NTUwY2QyNjA0NjcwMjExMzI2ZmJiZTEzN2U1YjYyZjE=
Question: What is the role Sakshi going to play in the evangelization of Muslims?
Sakshi Willing to be A Partner with as Many as People, Contact Us Please
Sakshi, as it name goes is an apologetics network in India. It would love to network through as many as Churches, Para Churches and Individuals to train and equip people in apologetics, particularly in religious apologetics- Islam and Hinduism. If your Church is ready, we are willing to train. If your para Church is ready, we are willing to train. If you as an individual would like to get trained, we are willing. Please contact us so that we may be beneficent to the body of Christ.
One last Question: IREF website says that you are a converted Christian? What is your background?
Answer: Every Christian is a converted Christian. There are no born Christians. There are only born again Christians. As the famous saying goes- Go
d is the not the grand father of anyone but He is the Father of all of us.
IREF is Wrong Again!!!
Of course, I know that your question is more of whether I do have a Christian background. Yes I do have a Christian background. IREF website is once again wrong!!!