The Rise and Progress of Mohammedanism:
Mohammedanism is the earliest and largest of the cults which have followed in the wake of Christianity. Its founder Mohammed (570-632 A.D.), like many other false teachers, claimed to be the Comforter Whom Jesus had promised to His disciples (John 14:26). He made this identification by changing the Greek word Paracletos (Comforter) to Periclytos (Illustrious) and then equating it with his own name Ahmed, which also meant Illustrious. He also claimed that the religion which he preached was not younger but actually older than either Judaism or Christianity, being a restoration of the original religion of Abraham and Ishmael. Mohammed called his religion Islam (surrender). Believers were to surrender to the will of God just as Abraham did when he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. They were also to renounce all idols and believe in one God just as Abraham (according to tradition) renounced the idols of his father Terah (Azer). Other religious duties were to pray five times a day, to give alms, to fast during the daylight hours in the month Ramadan (in which the Koran had been revealed), and to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca.
Mohammed proclaimed himself “the messenger of Allah and the seal of the prophets,” in other words, the last and greatest of them. Among the prophets whom he claimed to supersede he included most of the outstanding biblical characters, for example, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Solomon, John the Baptist and Jesus. He acknowledged the virgin birth of Jesus but denied His deity. “The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah. Allah is but one God. Far be it from Him that He should have a son.” Instead Mohammed deified his Koran which, he maintained, confirmed and superseded the Law and the Gospel that had been revealed to Moses and Jesus respectively. According to Mohammed, the Koran was a hidden, heavenly book which had been sent down to the earthly plane on a certain night of the month Ramadan. Beginning with that night, Mohammed claimed, the angel Gabriel read to him at intervals out of the Koran, one section at a time. As each portion of the Koran was made known to him, Mohammed would go forth and recite it to the people. They in turn would either write it down or commit it to memory, and from these written and oral sources the present Koran was compiled soon after Mohammed’s death by the caliphs Abu Bakr and Othman.
Orthodox Mohammedans (Sunnites) believe that the Koran is eternal and uncreated, subsisting in the very essence of God. According to them, Mohammed himself held this same view and called anyone who denied it an infidel. In spite of this, however, there have been Mohammedan sects that have disputed this doctrine, especially the Motazalites who very rightly pointed out that this deification of the Koran involved the belief in two eternal beings and thus denied the unity of God. This controversy shows us clearly that the Mohammedan doctrine of Scripture is only a crude caricature of the true, trinitarian, Christian doctrine. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are eternal (Psalm 119:89) but not as an uncreated, eternal book. They are eternal in the same sense that God’s decrees are eternal. They are the product of God’s eternal act. They are the words of eternal life (John 6:68) which God the Father gave to Jesus Christ His Son in the eternal Covenant of Grace for the salvation of sinners. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me (John 17:8).
For more than one thousand years Mohammedanism was the chief external foe of Christianity. The death of Mohammed was succeeded by a century of conquest in which Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Spain speedily passed into the possession of his followers. Turned back at Tours by Charles Martel in 732, the Mohammedan menace remained quiescent for seven hundred years and then flared up again with renewed intensity after the capture of Constantinople in 1453 by the Turks. Under Suleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520-1566) Turkish power extended deep into central Europe and dominated the Mediterranean. It was not until the Turks were defeated in the great naval battle of Lepanto in 1571 that the tide began to turn against them.
These Mohammedan conquests, tragic though they were, clearly reveal the guiding hand of God’s providence. In the first place, they served to isolate and preserve the True New Testament text until the time came for its transferal to Western Europe. In the second place, by diverting the attention of the Roman Catholic powers during the first critical years of the Reformation they helped to save Protestantism from annihilation. And finally, it is possible that through these conquests the way has been prepared for the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Perhaps the coming national conversion of the Jews will include their Mohammedan neighbors, these sons of Ishmael who like unbelieving Israel are children of Abraham after the flesh but not after the Spirit. It may be that thus will be brought to pass the saying of Isaiah. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance (Isaiah 19:24-25).
The Scholastic Philosophy – Faith and Reason
During the middle-ages the study of Aristotle’s philosophy flourished greatly, at first among the Nestorians in Syria, then among the Mohammedans, then among the Jews, and finally in the educational centers of Western Europe, where it developed into the Scholastic Philosophy. This was the attempt to harmonize the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church with the teachings of Aristotle, an effort which placed new emphasis on the relation of faith to reason.
The prevailing tendency of scholasticism was to make reason and faith independent of each other, the former ruling in the realm of nature, the latter in the realm of grace. It became customary to say that Aristotle was Christ’s forerunner in things pertaining to nature and John the Baptist in things pertaining to grace. The schoolmen differed, however, as to the degree of separation existing between reason and faith. Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) denied that there was any real contradiction between faith and reason. Faith, he insisted, was not contrary to reason but above it. All the dogmas of Roman Catholicism, he maintained, either agreed with the philosophy of Aristotle or at least could not be proved false on Aristotelian grounds. Duns Scotus (d.1308), on the other hand, admitted that the Roman Catholic dogmas were contrary to the philosophy of Aristotle but held that these dogmas should be believed in anyway on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. In such cases Duns operated with two levels of truth. What was false on the level of reason was true on the level of faith.
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) used Aristotle’s philosophy as a foundation for the Roman Catholic religion of works. As has been stated, Aristotle taught that God moves the world by being “the object of the world’s desire” and that matter moves up toward God through its union with the forms. Thomas applied this Aristotelian concept to the moral realm. Man strives for the highest end, and the highest end of all is to gain a knowledge or vision of God. Man attains this end through meritorious deeds and through the grace supplied by the sacraments of the Church. Thus not only in a physical sense but also in a spiritual way man moves upward in the scale of being toward God, the object of his soul’s desire. This is somewhat similar to the modern theory of theistic evolution, and many Roman Catholics today are attempting to bring Aquinas up to date by substituting evolutionism for Aristotelianism as the philosophic element in his system.
In philosophy and science, therefore, Roman Catholicism has followed its usual procedure of absorbing non-Christian elements rather than rejecting and refuting them. And the same has always been true in the political and ecclesiastical spheres. Today, for example, the Church of Rome is trying hard to draw Greek Catholics, Protestants, socialists, and even communists under its mantle in order that through the addition of these groups its ecumenical organization may become all-powerful. Hence the Roman Catholic conception of faith has always been that of blind obedience, the promise to believe whatever the Roman pontiff at any given moment officially decides must be believed.
In order, then, to understand the relationship of faith to reason we must first of all take a biblical view of our faith. If I really believe in God, then God is real to me, more real to me even than my faith in Him. For if it is the other way round, if my faith in God is more real to me than God Himself, then I am not believing but doubting. Hence in thinking about our faith and in describing it to others we must begin with that which is most real, namely, God. We must confess that God is, that He reveals Himself in the world, in the Scriptures, and in the Gospel of Christ, and that our faith in Him and in Jesus Christ His Son is not the product of our sinful, human minds and wills but the gracious gift of His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8). In this book, therefore, we are striving to present only this biblical and consistent view of Christian faith. This is why we defend the Traditional New Testament Text and the King James Version. In them God draws nigh and reveals himself.
After we take a biblical view of faith, we are then able to take a biblical view of reason and of its relationship to faith. Reason is the mental faculty by which we know the facts, the temporal truths which God establishes through His works of creation and providence. Faith is the spiritual faculty by which, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we lay hold on God Himself, the Supreme Truth, as He reveals Himself in and through the facts. Hence faith is not a “super-added” gift, as many of the medieval schoolmen supposed not reason’s cap and crown, but its foundation. We defend the Christian faith by showing that it is the only foundation on which the facts can be arranged and that all the attempts of unbelievers to substitute other foundations result only in confusion and chaos. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Anselm (1033-1109), the “father of scholastic philosophy,” was emphatic in his insistence on faith as the foundation of reason and knowledge. “I believe,” he declared, “in order that I may understand.” But this biblical emphasis on the priority of faith did not long continue. For on thing, Anselm himself lost sight of it in his famous “ontological” argument for the existence of God. Taking a neutral view of his idea of God, he first regarded it as merely a part of his mental experience and then attempted to prove that it was a necessarily true idea. And in Anselm’s successors, as we have seen, the Roman Catholic conception of faith as submission to ecclesiastical authority tended inevitably to place faith and reason in separate spheres.
Hence it was not until the Protestant Reformation that the reconciliation of faith and reason became possible. Then it was that believing scholars and theologians began to describe their faith consistently, taking as their starting point that which is most real to every true believer, namely, God who reveals Himself in the world, in the Scriptures, and in the Gospel of Christ. Such a description opens the way to a better understanding of the intellectual implications of our Christian faith. We see that we are not only justified by faith but renewed by knowledge (Colossians 3:10). By faith we lay hold on Christ, reason’s only true and sure foundation. (Excerpt from The King James Version Defended by Edward F. Hills, p. 35-39 ISBN 0-915923-00-9)
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20).
My Muslim friends I plead with you to read the other articles here on Islam and pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to reveal himself to you.
Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
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