Friday, January 27, 2012

The Holiness of God and Substitutionary Atonement are all through the Bible

(Luther would be happy - a future blog that features his nailing of the 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door; tackles apologetic issues with Islam 5 days in a row.)
"Salvation in Islam" by Paul Williams – Intro to his debate with Steve Latham - (no longer available, as Paul Williams has deleted his entire blogs twice in the past few years.)  

My response is in Blue.
Islam places great stress on God as a God of mercy and forgiveness whom the individual can approach directly without the need of any mediator or priest. God says in the Quran:
‘O My servants, who have transgressed against their souls. Do not despair of the mercy of God, for He forgives all sins, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’
(39:53). From this understanding, which was shared by Jesus, flow certain critical observations regarding the later Christian view of the necessity of Jesus’ alleged vicarious atonement.
Jesus clearly taught about His future atonement on the cross – Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28; Luke 22:20; then after His resurrection - Luke 24:46-47. Repentance and God's mercy and forgiveness is also taught in parables - yet leaving out the exact words that you demand, is not a contradiction to the atonement. Your demand that every parable has to contain every teaching before the historical event of the cross is an unreasonable demand – it is like the same demand that Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik and many other Muslims make – that there has to be the exact words from Jesus’ mouth, “I am God; worship Me!” Who are you to demand that parables have to contain all future theological truth?
The Christian idea that guilt can be removed from a wrongdoer by someone else being punished instead is morally grotesque.
For someone who claims to be a former Christian and Evangelical – this is a very dangerous statement for your own soul. It means you never really understood your own sin nor the holiness of God; and now you trample on the grace of Christ demonstrated at the cross. Your turning from the grace and love of God and insulting that love means that you seem to be under the judgment of these verses: Hebrews 10:28-31. Your words that God's love (Romans 5:1-11) are "morally grotesque" are similar to the late atheist Christopher Hitchens' comments about it also.
Or if we say that God in the person of God the Son punished himself in order to be able to justly forgive sinners, we still have the absurdity of a moral law which God must satisfy by punishing the innocent in place of the guilty. As the medieval theologian St Anselm wrote in his work Why God Became Man (Cur Deus Homo), ‘it is a strange thing if God so delights in, or requires, the blood of the innocent, that he neither chooses, nor is able, to spare the guilty without the sacrifice of the innocent’.
I believe the basic fault of the Christian understanding of salvation is that it has no room for divine forgiveness.
God is clear that He forgives sin, based on His character and Holiness and satisfaction of His wrath, all throughout the Bible from beginning to end. You have no right to chop the Bible up and divide it and abuse it against itself.
After Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal to make skins for them to cover their shame and nakedness. Have you forgotten about Genesis 3? From that point on, the shedding of the blood of an innocent victim for the guilt of humans was instituted as a principle and covers the whole Bible narrative and does not have to be repeated in exact words all the time at your demand. The theme of God’s mercy and forgiveness based on the satisfaction of His holiness and justice in the substitution of an innocent victim (sheep, goats, rams, bulls, lambs, etc.) is continued in the almost sacrifice of Isaac, and the substitution of the ram in Genesis 22 (which Islam agrees with in principle in Qur’an 37:107 and has a major feast every year at the end of Hajj in order to commemorate this Scriptural event; yet distorts the meaning and significance of it; and changes some details also, teaching that it was Ishmael that was to be sacrificed. Genesis 22 is so much more older than Islam theology. Even the Qur'an actually never specifically names Ishmael in the context around the text in Surah 37:107, yet it does mention Isaac nearby); at the Passover in Exodus 12; the Levitical sacrifices (Leviticus chapters 1-7), the day of atonement in Leviticus 16-17; to the temple sacrifices in Solomon’s day (I Kings 8); to the prophesy of the Messiah to come (Daniel 9:24-27; Isaiah 53:1-12) – all point to God’s mercy and forgiveness and based on the satisfaction of His holiness and justice first.
For a forgiveness that has to be bought by the bearing of a just punishment, or the offering of a sacrifice, is not forgiveness, but merely an acknowledgement that a debt has been paid in full. The Cross is not a symbol of forgiveness at all: on the orthodox Christian view, it denotes the repayment of a debt, as the infinity of Original Sin is atoned for by the infinite sacrifice of God’s own temporary death. But what humanity really needs, as we look back over our long record of disobedience, is a model of true forgiveness by a God who does not calculate, who imposes no mean-spirited ‘economy of salvation’ worthy only of accountants and bookkeepers. As the Bible teaches: The letter killeth – the spirit giveth life.
Paul Bilal Williams calls the holiness and justice and character of the God of the Bible, “mean-spirited”! The letter of the law kills – yes – God’s holy law and judgment and holiness is going to kill you(in hell), unless you repent and receive God’s mercy and grace and love that was demonstrated at the cross in the atonement of Al Masih. The Spirit gives life = “only the Holy Spirit can change a sinful heart and give that person to power to obey the law". The attitude of the Pharisees is the Islamic way (Sharia) on this earth – heavy on force, rituals, hiding secret sins, and external punishments. Which system has more of “the letter of the law kills” ? in history and in today’s world? You misinterpret 2 Corinthians 3:6 – “servants of the new covenant” – Paul is saying the old covenant, which is the law of Moses, is total justice and holiness and does kill sinners; (which is sort of what you have in Islam with Sharia and the harsh punishments and why so many Muslims are longing to be free from the strict Sharia law societies that kill. Indeed, the law does kill. (That is why too many Muslims, not all, but way too many - just kill people whenever they feel like it - honor killings, Islamic terrorism - Islam is law with not much grace and not much love because it has no atonement or justice, as the truth does in Christ and His propitiatory atonement - Romans 3:25-26) The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23; cf. 3:23) But the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:20; Ezekiel 36:25-27) provides grace and power so that we can have forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit to change us so that we can actually obey the law of God, however imperfectly.
But in the authentic teaching of Jesus to be found in the synoptic gospels (that is the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke)
Interesting the inconsistency you use with the Synoptics, because they are all negative against the Pharisees, yet you affirm them (The Synoptic Gospels) when it suits your purpose. What criteria do you use for accepting the synoptics on some issues and then rejecting them on the issue of the Pharisees?
there is, in contrast, genuine divine forgiveness for those who truly repent. In the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to address God directly and to ask for forgiveness for our sins, expecting to receive this, the only condition being that we in turn forgive one another.
Of course Christians believe in repentance and God’s forgiveness, and we know about the basis for God’s forgiveness, in that He Himself first provided the sacrifice and shedding of blood of the animals to make skins for Adam and Eve. (Genesis chapter 3) It is you who are demanding exact words again in the Word of God, where God Himself clearly teaches on this issue in other places.
In Psalm 51, David’s amazing Psalm of true repentance, in verse 7, he said, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” What is hyssop? It is the tree branch used as a brush for applying the blood of the lambs – for example on the doorposts in Exodus 12:22. David knows that God’s mercy and forgiveness is based on the sacrificial system and the holiness and justice of God being satisfied first. But he also knows that just presenting a sacrifice in a ritual without real inward repentance and guilt and sorrow over offending God, is not right either. (Psalm 51:16; Psalm 40:6; see also Matthew 9:13 and Hosea 6:6.) The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart” – Psalm 51:17 – when there is true repentance first, then one can offer sacrifices in the temple – Psalm 51: 19 – “Then, You will delight in righteous sacrifices . . . “ You use Matthew 9:13 and Hosea 6:6 and Psalm 40:6 a lot in your arguments against Christianity, but you are abusing the verses. Of course bare entering into the temple and paying money and offering a sacrifice without at the same time an inner brokenness over one’s sin and repentance is abhorrent to God, just as Pharisees hiding their secret sins in their hearts and saying ritual prayers, just as many Muslims do what the Pharisee did in Luke 18:9-14 – hiding sins while performing rituals.
There is no suggestion of the need for a mediator between ourselves and God or for an atoning death to enable God to forgive.
Not if you demand to force the words into the prayer 2000 years later, and also ignore everything else in the Bible; but the overall context of the Bible taught this, even alluded to in the prayer. The disciples of Jesus know of God’s character in the OT; and they know about the sacrificial system and God’s demand for holiness and justice. That is why the prayer starts with that, “May Your name be treated as holy” – see Leviticus 10:1-3; Deuteronomy 32:51; Numbers 20:12 and 14:11. Before asking for forgiveness, Jesus begins with God’s holy character and worship of Him and “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 8:13)
One of the most famous of all Jesus’ parables is found in Luke’s gospel: the so-called parable of the prodigal son. It is a story about how God treats repentant sinners. Note that the father when he sees his repentant son returning home does not say ‘Because I am a just as well as a loving father, I cannot forgive him until someone has been duly punished for his sins’, but rather he had compassion, and ran and embraced him and welcomed him home. So God does not need a sacrifice in order to forgive anyone.
Not if you demand to force your own exact words into the parable, and ignore everything else in the Bible; but the Jews of Jesus’ day know about the sacrifice of the animals to provide covering for Adam and Eve; they know about Genesis 22; they know about Exodus 12, they know about Leviticus chapters 1-7 and 16-17; they know about the sacrifices in the temple (I Kings 8), etc. It was not necessary for Jesus to repeat the principle inside a parable in order to meet your demands for exact words 2000 years later!
As the English convert from Christianity to Islam Ruqaiyyah Maqsood wrote: ‘the split-second of turning from Christianity to Islam is the realisation of the truth of the parable of the Prodigal Son. In the parables, God is loving enough to forgive directly. That was the whole glory of the Judaism which Jesus upheld.’
Another example is to be found in Luke’s story of the tax collector and the Pharisee, the tax collector standing far off would not lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner’. Jesus declared that this man went home justified before God. Jesus insisted that he came to bring sinners to a penitent acceptance of God’s mercy: ‘Go and learn what this means, he said, quoting God: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Matt 9.13)
You don’t know how to exegete Luke 18:9-14 properly. The spirit of Islam is more like the spirit of the Pharisee who boasts of his rituals and prayers and tithing and fasting. That is what Islam teaches – that you be good enough and clean enough by washing and saying the right words in Arabic and doing the right rituals. You are also taught to hide your sins, especially secret and shameful sins – as your own article on “Veiling sins” and the quote from the Hadith that Hamza Yusuf quoted. (still waiting for that reference, by the way.)
When the tax-collector prays, “God be merciful to me the sinner!” – the word “be merciful” can also be translated “be propitious to me”and is the same basic root as the word for atonement and propitiation – the satisfaction of the wrath/anger/justice of God against sin. The cry for mercy is based on God’s propitiation. The word is used regarding Jesus’ atoning death on the cross – Romans 3:25-26; Hebrews 2:17; I John 2:2; I John 4:10. So right there in that parable is the deeper teaching of the atonement. Also, the use of the definite article “the sinner” shows that the tax-collector recognized he is a sinner by nature and deserves death and does not deserve mercy, and is consistent with the doctrine of original sin (Romans 5:12; Psalm 51:4-5; Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:1-3) but he also knows that God’s mercy is based on His providing an atonement, starting in Genesis 3 onward.
I will address Paul’s other points from Matthew 18 and other issues later, Lord willing.


Sam said...

Excellent response. I have also addresses Williams' distortion of Jesus' words in the following rebuttals:

Addressing Williams’ False Allegations Pt. 1 (

Pt. 2 (

Pt. 3 (

Pt. 4 (

Pt. 5 (

I also turn his own argument against him in the following articles and rebuttals:

Islam’s Morally Grotesque Doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement (

Muslim Dawagandist Paul Williams Asks A Question (

Pt. 6 (

Sam said...

BTW Ken, you should check out the last three articles since there I quote sahih ahadith where Muhammad claims that Allah will atone for the sins of Muslim by eternally torturing Jews and Christians in their place!

And excuse me for all my typos.

Ken said...

Thanks !

Yes, I did notice that aHadith about Allah substituting and torturing Christians and Jews, before in your articles. Your material is massive and excellent. I need to look at it again.

Thanks brother.

The Good Tale said...

God will not put any child created in his image no matter what their sins into a hell fire. It never entered God’s heart or mind to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5.
I would like to invite you to read where the true word is delivered and proven.

Ken said...

Sorry Val, but eternal hell is the justice of God for sin and unbelief in Christ, and taught very clearly in Scripture:

Mark 9:48

Matthew 5:22-30

Matthew 25

2 Thessalonians chapter 1

Revelation 14:10

Revelation chapter 20

many, many more

Anonymous said...


I am sorry to say that your responses to my presentation were rather poor. You are ill served by a simplistic fundamentalist view of the Bible, and truly ignorant prejudices about Islam and Muslims. How true is the maxim 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'.

Because I do not see your comments as scholarly or in any way intellectually weighty responses to my presentation I will not be relying to them.

Ken, you are a paradox: clearly an intelligent man but you choose to articulate a crass form of American fundamentalism that really goes down badly here in Europe and amongst informed Muslims. I honestly feel that if I so chose I could mount a more convincing case for conservative Christianity, but I obviously don't want to aide the enemy!

best wishes


ps for what its worth I highly recommend the excellent books on my recommended reading list about Christianity, the Bible and Islam.

Do your brain a favour Ken and read them!

James Swan said...

(Luther would be happy - a future blog that features his nailing of the 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door; tackles apologetic issues with Islam 5 days in a row.)

Yes, he would. He took Islam quite seriously. When the Koran was finally published in 1543, Luther wrote the introduction.

Luther's arguments against Islam were flawed in many ways, but he did take responding to Islam quite seriously.

He also wrote a preface to Brother Richard's Refutation of the Koran when he had it republished so that Christians "will be able to defend themselves against the faith of Mohammed" (LW 60:261).

Ken said...

Paul Williams wrote:

" . . . a crass form of American fundamentalism that really goes down badly here in Europe . . .

When I visited England in 2000, our taxi driver to the airport said, "England is an island; we are NOT European!" "We should be with the Americans more than the French and their liberal rubbish . . . " (very interesting for me to hear from a Brit, and I appreciated it very much.)

The reason why you won't answer is because you cannot answer - I don't think you have an intelligent answer; you cannot handle a clear rebuttal using Scripture and exposing your faulty and pitiful exegesis.

Western Europe, as a whole, began its slide toward debauchery and atheism and agnosticism and liberalism (all things that Islam abhors) long ago - Europe has rejected its own Christian values, especially evident after WW 2, and even more since the 60s and the Beatles (whose music I love and respect the talent of it, but philosophy has been quite damaging to western civilization).

Apparently ever since the French Revolution, the slow slide toward all the things that Islam hates, has been going downward ever since.

I am not impressed with Western European hatred for God and the family and children - secularism, homosexuality, not much traditional marriage left, abortions, Marxism, adultery, pornography in open view (or hidden either, but Europe has it right out in the open on TV and in public.)

Your praise for the way Europe generally has been treating the Bible - German higher criticism of the Bible is nothing but apostasy and wickedness and arrogance. I am not impressed with Rudoph Bultmann or Hegel or Schlermacher or F. C. Bauer or philosopher John Paul Sarte or Tillich or whoever great that secular Europe thinks is great. (though I am familiar with the basics and had to read through and think through their garbage. ) Dunn and neo-Orthodoxy in Barth and others are just trying to find a middle road, but they have been exposed with time.

So, your arrogant try at intellectualism is nothing but wasting time and life.

Also, it may be that the real reason why you respect European intellectualism and liberalism (things that real Islam hates) is because Islam can conquer that; but it cannot conquer the truth of the Bible in the power of the Holy Spirit, and true and good conservative values.

You cannot handle the truth of the Bible; since liberalism is easily defeated by Islam, that is why you like and respect European liberal Christianity.

Anonymous said...

"The reason why you won't answer is because you cannot answer - I don't think you have an intelligent answer; you cannot handle a clear rebuttal using Scripture and exposing your faulty and pitiful exegesis."

OK Ken - lets just leave it and not bother each other any more....

over and out.

Ken said...

It is ok with me if you give up; but I will continue to refute your arguments as best I can, and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:28-29), and in the time that God gives me, "Insh'allah" - as God wills.

It may take me a while, but I may even eventually find some good scholarly material, that is by believers, that interacts with Dunn and the others that you so exuberantly promote.

Anonymous said...

I would certainly welcome any improvement in your writing in a scholarly direction; I might then take an interest in what you have to say. At the moment your thoughts are trapped in a right-wing fundamentalist straight jacket (like so many Americans).

I truly wish you well Ken in your voyage of intellectual discovery...

Ken said...

Paul Williams wrote:
At the moment your thoughts are trapped in a right-wing fundamentalist straight jacket (like so many Americans).

Islam is even more so -
You seem to be a right winged Islamic Fundamentalist. You believe in Islam, the Qur'an, the Sunna, the restoration of the Khalifate; Sharia, etc.

The Islamic view of the inspiration of the Qur'an is more like dictation by Allah to angel Gabriel and then Muhammad had to repeat the words out loud, "recite !", which is what the Qur'an means.

Does Islam believe in the Holiness of Allah?

Does Islam believe in eternal hell and judgment day?

Does Islam believe that God created all things and is Sovereign?

Does Islam believe in all the miracles spoken of in the Qur'an and the Sahih Ahadith?

It is inconsistent for you to tout western European intellectual liberalism, but at the time hold a very conservative, maybe Salafi (? you tell me what exactly school of Islam you hold to), desire to restore the Khalifate view of Islam.

Intellectual secularism applied to Islam equals Ibn Warraq and Irshad Manji and Ali Dashti (author of 23 years, disappeared at the beginning of Iranian Revolution in 1979). The same way that you would probably have little respect for them, and others, like the German Muslim scholar who even questioned whether Muhammad existed, (Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a professor of Islamic theology at the University of Münster) - you don't respect them; I don't respect liberals who pose as Christians but really don't believe.

Anonymous said...

Paul Williams wrote:

"At the moment your thoughts are trapped in a right-wing fundamentalist straight jacket (like so many Americans)."


"Islam is even more so -
You seem to be a right winged Islamic Fundamentalist. You believe in Islam, the Qur'an, the Sunna, the restoration of the Khalifate; Sharia, etc."


your comment is a perfect example of how ignorant you are about Islam (though you think you know it all).

To believe in

"Islam, the Qur'an, the Sunna, the restoration of the Khalifate; Sharia"

is not right wing fundamentalism (!) but orthodox Islam as believed by Muslims since the days of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Ken - go and do some basic research on islam and don't listen to that deranged muslim hater Sam!

James Swan said...


Thanks for the great posts all week.

I actually read a bunch of Luther's writings on Islam this past week. Time allowing, I'll post some of it.

Anonymous said...

James, why dont you do some research on real Islam and real Muslims of today rather than reading stuff written by a man who never met any Muslims living centuries ago?

Ken said...

Orthodox Isalm and Fundamentalist Islam are the same thing. Belief in the fundamentals / Basics / Foundation Principles

Anonymous said...

Orthodox Isalm and Fundamentalist Islam are the same thing. Belief in the fundamentals / Basics / Foundation Principles"

Exactly! You are learning, my dear friend.

But fundamentalist Christianity is a man made distortion of the Bible and is a relatively recent invention. But of course fundamentalists are unaware of this because they know nothing of historical theology, church history and biblical criticism.

Ken, do yourself a favour and read James Barrs definitive studies of your faith...

Raskolnikov said...

''It is inconsistent for you to tout western European intellectual liberalism, but at the time hold a very conservative, maybe Salafi (? you tell me what exactly school of Islam you hold to), desire to restore the Khalifate view of Islam.''

Not really dear, you see European intellectual liberalism was a product of the European enlightenment which was kick started by..?(I'll give you a clue:it's not the Church).

And you ask what 'school' of Islam Williams is from.

I think you'll find it's the 'Islamic' one.

It's not rocket science dear!

Sam said...

Ken, do yourself a favour and read James Barrs definitive studies of your faith...

Brother Ken, give me a few days and (Lord willing) I will send you those quotes from Barr which will provide more proof of Williams' inconsistency and dishonesty since what Barr says about Jesus ends up proving that Muhammad was a false prophet and Allah false god.

Then everyone will see how Williams will start tap dancing around the claims of his own authority which he tries to shove down people's throats and essentially brush aside Barr's assertions in order to continue blindly believing in a false prophet. These quotes will prove that Williams is nothing more than a right-wing Islamic fundamentalism.

Ken said...

Orthodox Isalm and Fundamentalist Islam are the same thing. Belief in the fundamentals / Basics / Foundation Principles"

Exactly! You are learning, my dear friend.

We are making some progress in communication; at least you admit that.

Ken said...

You are welcome James, great to be on the same team of blogging here.

I usually don't have this much time to devote to writing these blogs and responding so much in the com boxes, but the Lord has given me more time and energy for it this time.

Looking forward to what you have come up with some of the Luther's thoughts on Islam.

Paul Williams wrote:
James, why dont you do some research on real Islam and real Muslims of today rather than reading stuff written by a man who never met any Muslims living centuries ago?

I have worked with Muslims for 27 years - from all kinds of Muslim countries - and learned one of their languages, and know some of another one enough to get around and buy food and talk to the taxi drivers; etc. and genuinely love Muslims as people created in the image of God. I love their hospitality and been in many Muslim's homes; and they have been in my home many times. My wife learned to cook their food, I know some of their poetry (like Rumi, that you like), etc.

So, why do you so easily dismiss my arguments?

Unknown said...

"Beggars All" has been included in this weeks A Sunday Drive. I hope this helps to attract even more new visitors here.

Sam said...

BTW Ken, since Williams is so keen on attacking the Apostle Paul let me quote what some of Islam's greatest scholars said about this blessed Apostle:

“Yazid b. Abu Habib al-Misrl told me that he found a document in which was a memorandum (T. the names) of those the apostle sent to the countries and kings of the Arabs and non-Arabs and what he said to his companions when he sent them. I sent it to Muhammad b. Shihab al-Zuhri (T. with a trusty countryman of his) and he recognized it. It contained the statement that the apostle went out to his companions and said: ‘God has sent me (Muhammad) to all men, so take a message from me, God have mercy on you. Do not hang back from me as the disciples hung back from Jesus son of Mary. They asked how they hung back and he said, ‘He called them to a task similar to that which I have called you. Those who had to go a short journey were pleased and accepted. Those who had a long journey before them were displeased and refused to go, and Jesus complained of them to God. (T. From that very night) every one of them was able to speak the language of the people to whom he was sent.' (T. Jesus said, ‘This is a thing that God has determined that you should do, so go.’

“Those whom Jesus son of Mary sent, both disciples and those who came after them, in the land were: Peter the disciple AND PAUL WITH HIM, (PAUL BELONGED TO THE FOLLOWERS AND WAS NOT A DISCIPLE) to Rome. Andrew and Matthew to the land of the cannibals; Thomas to the land of Babel, which is in the land of the east; Philip to Carthage and Africa; John to Ephesus the city of the young men of the cave; James to Jerusalem which is Aelia the city of the sanctuary; Bartholomew to Arabia which is the land of Hijaz; Simon to the land of Berbers; Judah who was not one of the disciples was put in place of Judas" (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 653)

“Among the apostles, and the followers who came after them were the Apostle Peter and Paul who was a follower and not an apostle; they went to Rome. Andrew and Matthew were sent to the country whose people are man-eaters, a land of blacks, we think; Thomas was sent to Babylonia in the east, Philip to Qayrawan (and) Carthage, that is, North Africa. John went to Ephesus, the city of the youths of the cave, and James to Jerusalem, that is, Aelia. Bartholomew was sent to Arabia, namely, the Hijaz; Simeon to the land of the Berbers in Africa. Judas was not then an apostle, so his place was taken by Ariobus. He filled in for Judas Iscariot after the latter had perpetrated his deed.” (The History of Al-Tabari: The Ancient Kingdoms, translated by Moshe Perlmann [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume IV, p. 123; bold emphasis ours)

The translator explains al-Tabari’s statement that Paul was not an apostle:

317. In Islamic terms the messengers or apostles pave the new path. Their work is continued by the tabi'un, the followers, members of the next generations, who lead the Faithful. (Ibid.)

More in the next post.

Sam said...

Al-Tabari lists Paul as one of those martyred for the faith:

“Abu Ja'far says: They assert that after Tiberius, Palestine and other parts of Syria were ruled by Gaius, son of Tiberius, for four years. He was succeeded by another son, Claudius, for fourteen years, following which Nero ruled for fourteen years. He slew Peter and crucified Paul head down. For four months Botlaius [Vittelius] ruled thereafter. Then Vespasian, father of Titus whom he sent to Jerusalem, ruled for ten years. Three years after his rise to power, forty years after the ascension of Jesus, Vespasian sent Titus to Jerusalem. Titus destroyed it and slew numerous Israelites in his wrath over the fate of Christ…” (Ibid., p. 126)

Even though I quoted these in rebuttals Williams chose to ignore them or pretend they don't exist. So make sure to remind him of his own sources which refute his slander against this blessed man of God.

Ken said...

I greatly appreciate those references to the apostle Paul from Islamic sources. Excellent!

I had no idea he was mentioned in Ibn Ishaq and Al Tabari.

Dr. White has mentioned that one of the commentators mentions "Boulos" (the Arabic was of saying "Paulos" (Paul) . I forget if it was Ibn Kathir or who.

Thanks again!

Ken said...

I wonder why Paul Bilal Williams has shut down most of the comments at his blog; and why he shut down some of the side bar functions that allow one to see recent comments, etc. and also ones that allowed someone to access certain blogs easier?

I am just asking. . .

Is it because he cannot deal with good arguments?

oh well.

Sam said...

Here is the reference to Paul from Ibn Kathir:

means, ‘We supported and strengthened them with a third Messenger.’ Ibn Jurayj narrated from Wahb bin Sulayman, from Shu’ayb Al-Jaba’i, "The names of the first two Messengers were Sham’un and Yuhanna, and the name of the third was Bulus, and the city was Antioch ...

meaning, ‘from your Lord Who created you and Who commands you to worship Him Alone with no partners or associates.’ This was the view of Abu Al-‘Aliyah. Qatadah bin Di‘amah claimed that they were messengers of the Messiah, peace be upon him, sent to the people of Antioch. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 8, Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, abridged under a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition, September 2000], p. 179:

Sham’un refers to Simon Peter, Yuhanna to the apostle John, and Bulus is Arabic for Paul. This source therefore affirms that the apostle Paul was one of the Messengers sent by God!

To read more on this point check out the following article:

The Apostles of Christ: Messengers of God or Mere Disciples? (

Ken said...

Yes, that is the reference to Bulus (Paulos/Paul ) in Ibn Kathir.

Good work, brother Sam! I wish I had the time to digest all of that (Ahadith, Tafsirs, Tarikh, Sirat, etc.) as you have done over time.

Sam said...

Well Ken, that is what I am here for. Anything you need to further the cause of our risen Lord Jesus Christ in preaching the Gospel to all nations, including the Muslim peoples, just let me know.