Speaking in Tongues and Performing Miracles

Possession by the Holy Spirit or what?

by Ibn Anwar

  Millons of Christians like the Pentecostals believe that those empowered by the Holy Spirit are able to perform certain kinds of feats that may be deemed beyond that which is normal. Some of these things include speaking in tongues and performing miracles. The following are among some of the verses used by them to base their belief,

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”(Mark 16:17)

“as the Spirit gives him utterance”(Acts 2:4)

Did Luke meet Paul?

Luke and Paul. Friends or strangers?

by Ibn Anwar

Many Christians, especially the evangelicals believe that Luke who is supposed to be the author of both the Gospel According to Luke and Acts met Paul and travelled together with him as his companion. So for example, A.T. Robertson says that Luke was a “constant companion of Paul from Philippi on the return to Jerusalem on the 3rd tour till the 2 years in Rome at the close of the Acts”. One of the most common proof texts used in support of this idea is Colossians 4:14. It mentions a certaing “beloved physician”. Our first question would be who is this beloved physician mentioned? The passage itself does not divulge the identity of this mysterious individual. Secondly, was there only one physician in the entire geography? Their argument would carry some weight if Luke was the only physician in his time. But was he? Surely there must have been other physicians(that is if Luke was indeed a physician in the first place as per Church tradition) as well. As a matter of fact, the traditional notion that Luke was a physician is actually rejected today in Biblical scholarship as Emeritus Professor of Religion at Gettysburg College Edwin D. Freed notes, ” The traditional view that Luke was a physician and that his works contain a special medical vocabulary has been abandoned.” [1] Furthermore,  scholars today do not only question the attribution of Colossians to Paul, but ultimately conclude that he is not the author. The scholars who reject the epistle’s attribution to Paul postulate several strong points for their contention. One of the points contended is that in Colossians the author writes in long and extended complex Greek sentences(e.g.Colossians 1:3-8) which is in stark contrast to how Paul would normally write in his undisputed letters.[2] Nevertheless, the real origin of the epistle continues to be hotly debated in academic circles. Some scholars argue that it was written by Paul, but alongside other hands. Some say that it is the product of the Pauline school tradition(and not from Paul). Which is it? The reason for all these divergent views is because there is no solid evidence to substantiate its true origin. In other words it is highly doubtful. Like so many things in Christianity conjecture seems to reign supreme. Most scholars in critical scholarship however, are fairly certain that Paul did not write Colossians. What about the alleged association between Luke and Paul? Let us carefully consider the following from Edwin D. Freed on whether Luke was Paul’s companion,

Did Paul really meet Jesus?

 The Problem with Paul’s story

by Ibn Anwar

  “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say,”Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”(1 Corinthians 12:3, NIV)

The above is from Paul of Tarsus saying that only those who have the Holy Spirit will be able to say,”Jesus is Lord”. The Greek word which is translated as “by” in the verse is “εν”(en) which is a preposition. It is the same word found in John 1:1,”en arche…” which is often rendered as “In the beginning”. It is then safe to say that in 1 Corinthians 12:3 the word “by” may also be rendered as “in”. The idea is that the ones who are in/by the Holy Spirit are the only ones who can say Jesus is Lord. With that said, let us proceed to the story of Paul’s journey to Damascus.

The Lord’s Prayer

 A look at the “Lord’s prayer”

by Mushafiq

  The Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Our Father or Pater noster, is probably the best-known prayer in Christianity. On Easter Sunday 2007 it was estimated that 2 billion Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Christians read, recited, or sang the short prayer in hundreds of languages in houses of worship of all shapes and sizes. Yet, Christians do not understand the essence of this prayer as understanding it would result in a severe blow to the very root of Christianity. Christianity does not lay much emphasis on the forgiveness of God. They believe that since “the wages of sin is death” (often quoted out of context) therefore, God had to incarnate in this world and die for our sins, so that we could be reconciled with God. However, this concept of atonement is contrary to the teachings of Jesus (pbuh) himself.

Missing Books of the Old Testament

 Books of the Old Testament that are lost

by Ibn Anwar

It is often claimed by Christian missionaries that the Old Testament is completely preserved with little or no error at all. This is supposedly proven by the discovery of the so called Dead Sea Scrolls. However, within the texts of the old Testament themselves we find mention of books that are now all but lost. Could they have once been considered inspired, but no longer survive? 

1. The Book of the Wars of the Lord(Sepher Milkhamot Adonai)

“Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD, “Waheb in Suphah, And the wadis of the Arnon,” (Numbers 21:14)

Mark 12:29-34 REFUTES the Trinity

An Examination of Mark 12:29-34

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc. (Hons.), MCollT

There are quite a number of verses and passages throughout the New Testament that teach and propagate the absolute Oneness of God the Creator and Jesus’ subservience to Him as a servant and worshipper. We will not be scrutinising all those verses here. What we will do is focus on just one passage which to my understanding as I will prove in due course succinctly refutes the Trinity and shows Jesus’ admission to absolute numerical monotheism. Before we proceed it is noteworthy that Muslim apologists in general like to quote Mark 12:29 in particular whenever arguing for Jesus’ monotheistic belief, but, they almost never discuss the immediate verses that follow. The immediate context of the verse would indeed strengthen their case as we shall see. Let us begin by reading the text.

Son of God

 What does it mean to say that Jesus is the “Son of God”?

by Ibn Anwar

  As John F. O’Grady in The Four Gospels and the Jesus Tradition observes Christians would think that when the title Son of God is applied to Jesus it connotes divinity. [1] That is to say Jesus is God because he is called the Son of God. The Catholic Encyclopedia claims under Son of God that when the title is used in the New Testament for Jesus it is applied “for expressing His Divinity”. These fundamentalist Christian claims cannot be farther from the truth. In this article we shall see that ‘Son of God’ is actually a title given to those who have a special, meritorious or superior connection/relationship with God as opposed to any other Tom, Dick or Harry. Many(though not all) Christians might think that Son of God is a special and exclusive title designated to Jesus. They would be horribly wrong. Indeed, if it was used only for Jesus then the claim that it imparts the idea of divinity would hold some strength. Unfortunately, anyone who is familiar with the Bible(s) will know that it is one of the most common titles used for individuals apart from Jesus. If ‘Son of God’ truly connotes divinity then dozens of people in the Bible(s) would be Gods since they are called son/s of God.