"Ebion" "the poor one" in Hebrew - אֶבְיוֹן
Muslim polemical methods are very dubious and desperate. They constantly use liberals like Bart Ehrman, an agnostic and skeptic; and, yet, as we have pointed out before, even Bart Ehrman knows that Jesus was crucified in history.
Four examples of Muslims who skew lots of information in their polemics and attacks on Christianity and the Bible are:
1. Paul Williams (A British convert to Islam, who claims to have been a born-again Christian before becoming a Muslim) - attacking the gospel of John, the doctrine of the Trinity, and using the Ebionites as "proto-Muslims"; and quoting liberal scholars and using them inconsistently.
http://bloggingtheology.wordpress.com/ (all throughout his blog; I engaged him some in comboxes)
2. the Grandverbalizer 19 (someone not worth mentioning, who sometimes was fair; but mixes lots of unrelated thoughts and things and sometimes outright lies; but you can Google him if you want to find him)
3. Rasheed Gadir - Somebody who has a blog called "hard questions" - linked later in the article. Using the Ebionites and Dr. James Tabor. James Tabor's scholarship is very weak, as you will see.
4. Abdul Haqq (means "slave of Truth")- another Brit who converted to Islam, who was on the Unbelievable Radio program linked below and author of the shallow and fully refuted book, Before Nicea. (see below)
Attacking the gospel of John
Muslims attack the gospel of John as not written by the apostle John and claim that "most scholars" say it was not written by John and very late, etc.
However, according to Irenaeus, John lived up until around 96 AD; and so the traditional view is that John the disciple and eye-witness, the beloved disciple, the son of Zebedee, did indeed write the fourth gospel.
Muslims try to use the Ebionites
Muslims attempt to say that the Ebionites were the "original Christians" that the Qur'an speaks about.
However, Dr. Anthony McRoy, lecturer at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology, fully refutes a Muslim convert, Abdul Haqq (a British man who converted to Islam) and his book, Before Nicaea and the idea that the early true Christians were the Ebionites.
Scroll down and find the Unbelievable Radio program on June 20, 2009. ("Before Nicaea") (Thanks to Dr. James White for pointing me to this past radio program.)
Some of Dr. McRoy's key points:
1. where is the evidence that the Ebionites were the early Christians or even around in the first century? Abdul Haqq, a Muslim could never answer that question.
2. They were a heretical sect first mentioned by Irenaeus around 180 in Against Heresies. Abdul Haqq could not refute that.
3. Several early church fathers note that the Ebionites were like the docetist Cerinthus and other Gnostics who denied the virgin birth of Christ and separated the man Jesus from the divine logos, the Christ, and that the logos left the man Jesus before He was crucified.
It is inconsistent for Muslims to use the Ebionites, as most of them did deny the virgin birth of Christ, yet Islam affirms the virgin birth of Christ. (Surah 3:45-48; 19:19-21)
4. Muslims also try to use Basilides, another Gnostic heretic mentioned by Irenaeus, to say that Jesus was not crucified. In Against Heresies, Book I, Chapter 24, sections 3-7. Basilides was another Gnostic teacher who taught that the body was evil and the the creator of the physical world was evil; therefore, that is the reason why they could not accept the crucifixion of Christ. It seems that Muhammad, since he was illiterate and could not read, and did not have the gospels or NT in Arabic, heard lots of Gnostic teaching going around and incorporated it into his Qur'an. Basiledes taught that Simon the Cyrene was crucified. Abdul Haqq makes a desparate attempt to say that Mark 15:27 means that Simon "bore the cross" in a crucifixion sense, seemingly trying to tie it to the idea of "Jesus bearing our sins"; but Anthony McRoy points out that the Greek word means that he carried the cross for a while. Jesus the Messiah bore our sins on the wooden cross. (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:1-12)
5. It is inconsistent for the Muslims to use Basilides or Cerinthus, since they both objected to the crucifixion on philosophical grounds, that the body (and sex and physical creation) are evil intrinsically, yet Islam affirms that the body is not evil, and in fact, in paradise in Islamic teaching, sex and eating and drinking and sensual pleasures will go on for eternity for the Muslim believers. (mostly for men only)
Trying to make James and Jude the first "proto-Muslims"
Muslims also make desperate attempts to say that James and Jude did not accept the apostle Paul and did not accept the Deity of Christ, nor the crucifixion or resurrection; and they are even more deparate when they use Dr. James Tabor as a source for this.
Dr. James Tabor, a former member of the Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, was one of the consultants for The Jesus Family Tomb film by James Cameron (Oscar winning director of very successful films such as Aliens, The Titanic, Spiderman, and Avatar). He should have stuck to his science fiction and fantasy and other types of fiction!
The Muslims here make a lot of mistakes in their attempt to use Dr. Tabor and mix a lot of things together so that the unknowing public thinks, "wow, that sounds really scholarly and intelligent!":
Dr. Tabor totally avoids all the early evidence we do have for James as being in complete harmony with the apostle Paul. (see Galatians chapters 1-2 and I Corinthians 15:1-9; and Acts 15, which shows Peter and Paul and James in harmony doctrinally with each other. Peter said, about justification for the Gentiles, that they are saved in the same way as the Jewish Christians were; "cleansing their hearts by faith" in Acts 15:9) There is no sound basis for the theory that there was an irreparable conflict between Peter/James/Jewish Christian vs. Paul's Greek and so called "pagan theology" of making Jesus into "the Son of God" or "God in the flesh" conflict. (What Muslims wrongly accuse Paul of doing, of "hijacking the real Christianity".)
Dr. James White did an excellent job of refuting the book and film (about the Talpiot tomb) and Dr. Tabor ( “The Jesus Family Tomb” book and film) in From Toronto to Emmaus : The Empty Tomb and the Journey from Skepticism to Faith. http://www.aomin.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=40_47&products_id=41
http://hardquestions.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/the-ebonites-true-followers-of-jesus-who-converted-to-islam/ (more outrageous claims about the Ebionites.)
Wrong use of the Didache
The Didache is one of the earliest extra-Biblical writings that we have evidence of, usually being dated between 70 - 100 AD, which shows that Matthew and the Trinitarian baptism formula is also very early. Matthew was written between 50-60 AD. The part about the Didache in the "hard questions" documentary was very shallow and left out one of the earliest quotes that affirms baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Yes, the Didache 7, quotes from Matthew 28:19. See
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running, flowing] water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before. [ my emphasis]
See the phrase, "baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in living water." - in Greek even: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/lake/fathers2.v.html
The 3 persons of the Trinity are named there. Dr. Tabor forgot that. Oops! He also left out that James calls Jesus “the Lord” twice. (James 1:1, 2:1 - "glorious Lord") Lord is kurios, also used in the LXX for “Yahweh”. (see Psalm 110:1, which is quoted in all the synoptic gospels (Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43) and Acts 2:34-35; and Hebrews 1:13 and alluded to in I Corinthians 15:25 - and other places that talk about Christ's ascension and session at the right hand of the Father; all to point to the Deity of Christ. Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 3:1)
They also seem to skew what the Eastern/Greek Orthodox priest says in the video documentary, but at least it is clear that the Orthodox priest says that belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential!
I am not impressed with Dr. Tabor as a scholar, when one looks a little deeper into the historical facts of these issues.
One cannot just name the Ebionites and connect them without any evidence to Jewish Christians or Jews or “the Nazarenes” in the first century. Muslims seem desparate to try and make a case for “proto-Muslims” from the first century in the Ebionites and Arians in the 4rd Century onward; as they both rejected the Deity of Christ. But, wait, most of them accepted the crucifixion and yet most of the Ebionites rejected the virgin Birth!