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With so many religions in the world, how can we know which one is correct even if we’re convinced that God exists? Here I show why the most common arguments within Christian apologetics point to the Christian God specifically, and so if they work other religions have to be false. From the Spiritual Q&A class at Holy Treasure, Kettering.
I’m currently at one of Sweden’s biggest Christian conferences called Torp where I am co-responsible for evangelism. We’re teaching biblical principles on how to share the faith in the afternoons, and in the evenings we do outreach in the local town of Örebro with the Pancake Church. It’s tiring but awesome!
The other day a group of Muslims came to us and started to ask us questions like how do we know that the miracle claims of the Gospels are true, and how does one know which religion is true. And of course, one of them raised an issue that Muslims are often concerned with: how can you believe that God is three?
The answer I gave him made him say “Now I understand! Now I understand!” Which is great since a common response to Christians explaining the Trinity rather is “Now I’m just more confused”. But he isn’t the first one to appreciate the analogy I often use to portrait how God can be three in one: the human trinity. (more…)
I’m currently reading Nabeel Qureshi’s bestselling book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It’s a really good read with solid arguments against Islam and for Christianity. It contains some serious challenges for devout Muslims.
Nabeel had been raised believing that the Qur’an is unchanged and perfectly preserved and that Muhammad was sinless and, in fact, the greatest man who ever lived. Both of those beliefs are actually very easy to disprove when you start looking into it.
I meet Muslims every week when I’m out evangelizing with the Pancake Church. Several of them have argued that Muhammad never killed anyone. One of them was even a dai who used to hand out Qur’ans to people on the streets and who claimed to know the life of Muhammad quite well. I was perplexed by this: how could he have missed that Muhammad fought at least 27 battles, or that he once commanded the beheading of 600 Jewish men?
Nabeel’s book has helped me understand this. Most Muslims never read the hadith or the early biographies of Muhammad’s life (which originated around 200 years after his death or later). Many of them don’t even read the Qur’an, they just recite it in Arabic during prayer. What they know about Muhammad’s life is based on what their Imams or parents tell them, and oftentimes those stories are very distorted and biased. Most Muslims genuinely believe them though and are for example convinced that all of Muhammad’s battles were defensive, something that the earliest collections of hadith denies. (more…)
I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday! Over here this day is called “Long Friday” because people were expected to mourn and have a boring time all day, which made it feel much longer. I think the English name is much better – even if it undoubtedly is sad that Jesus had to die for our sake, it is at the same time amazing since we receive eternal life through His sacrifice.
Christianity stands and falls with the death and resurrection of Jesus being historical events. According to the apostles, these are not just doctrines: they are things that really happened, which they witnessed themselves. In this video, I defend the historicity of both Jesus’ death and His miraculous resurrection:
There are some competing theories on what really happened that Passover weekend 2,000 years ago. For a more detailed discussion on what they’re saying and what their problems are, please watch the video. What follows is a brief summary of each theory and my arguments agains them: (more…)
The Qur’an includes some embarrassing mistakes, such as describing Jesus’ mother Mary as the sister of Aaron and daughter of Amran (surah 19:27-28 and 3:35-36), which would make Moses the uncle of Jesus even though they lived about 2,000 years apart. Or there’s that passage that portrays the Christian belief in the Trinity as consisting of God the Father, Mary the mother and Jesus the Son (surah 5:116). Muhammad’s biggest mistake however was to argue that Jesus didn’t die on the cross:
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. (Surah 4:157)
In this lecture, Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi shows why the Islamic claim that Jesus didn’t die on the cross is so absurd. If there’s anything we can know about Jesus, it is that He died on the cross. In fact, even the most skeptical and atheistic Jesus scholar will most likely agree that Jesus existed, that He was baptized and that He was crucified. Extremely liberal New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan has said: “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be”. (more…)
I’ve been enjoying Samaa Habib’s autobiographical book Face to Face with Jesus as I did research for my upcoming book Charismactivism last month. Samaa is from a Muslim country that used to be ruled by Soviet and that has experienced some horrible civil wars, and she opened her heart to the Gospel as a Christian ministry showed the Jesus film to the war torn public. She was amazed and told her father: ”He cannot be just a prophet, he must be more than that! He is alive. Mohammad’s skeleton is still buried in Mecca. Jesus is my super hero!” Her father didn’t agree of course, but tolerated the young girl’s enthusiasm.
She eventually went to a church service and gave her life completely to the Lord together with two of her sisters. Now, her father was enraged. After she had confessed that she will not live without Jesus, he abused and tortured her, strangling her until she fainted. She later escaped her family’s house through a window and fled to the church.
As time went by, more people in Samaa’s family were saved. Her mother was healed from a heart problem and encountered Jesus in a dream. This made the father tolerate Christianity a bit more, even if he still was in severe disagreement.
One day as Samaa was worshipping in church, a bomb exploded right next to her and she died instantly. She saw Heaven and Jesus, and He said that she could either be with Him or return to earth to lead more people to Him. She chose the latter, and woke up blind and deformed as she was taken to hospital. Her brain was visible and her appearance was a mess. (more…)
A couple of people have asked me to comment on a recent viral video from the Netherlands called the Holy Quran Experiment, in which two guys read violent, scandalous passages from what they claim to be the Quran to people on the street and ask them to comment and compare it with the Bible. The respondents say that it’s horrible and that the Bible is much more peaceful, and then comes the reveal – the book they’ve read from is the Bible!
The video has become popular both among those who want to combat islamophobia and think that people are hypocritical to how they view their own religious heritage compared to others, and among people who think that all religions are stupid and inspire violence and bad values.
Now, as an apostolic Christian I’m the first to say that there are commands and descriptions of practices in the Bible that no one should follow today, such as the violent punishments in the Old Testament. And it is indeed the Old Testament that the Dutch guys read from, with one exception: Paul’s statement in 1 Tim 2:12 on how women shouldn’t teach, a command most Protestant churches today would say is culturally bound (women had hardly any access to education in ancient times, and most couldn’t read). (more…)
We have this wonderful little missions organization in Sweden called Go Out Mission, which regularly organizes evangelistic campaigns in Africa and Asia. The following report is from one of their local leaders, Oury Sow, who shares about a campaign they recently had in Guinea-Bissau, where the lame walked, the blind saw and Muslim leaders gave their lives to Christ. Here’s his report, translated to English:
First, we had the opportunity to hold a campaign in a small town inside the country. Already at the first evening there was about 1,500 people gathered during the sermon, and during prayer it increased to about 2500 people. 300 responded to salvation when I made the call, and after we prayed for the sick was three people who had the courage to come up to the stage to testify. A Muslim man from Gambia contacted me after the meeting and told me that he had come to Guinea-Bissau in order to get money, but now he said: “I have found Jesus instead and I feel so rich!”
The campaign continued to grow; many children were there early and were quick to the scene to respond to the invitation. A little girl who was now five years old had been born both deaf and dumb, but after prayer she both heard and she spoke her first words in life! What joy for the mother to hear her daughter say her name. What a Jesus we have! One woman who came to the first meeting had had problems with bleeding for 32 years, but after prayer the night before, she had gone home and all the bleeding had stopped! The woman and her husband were so thankful to God.
The third evening there was over 3000 people on site who heard a clear Gospel. The atmosphere then exploded when a 15-year-old girl who was unable to walk since birth, suddenly stands up, causing such a joy chaos that we had to let go of control and could not give testimonies from the stage. The girl’s mother fell to the ground in fear of God and people danced completely wild with joy just everywhere!
It’s very popular to speak negatively about multiculturalism in Europe these days, the idea that multiple cultures can thrive and co-exist within the same state. It’s a bit strange since most European countries are democracy, and the idea that anyone can say, believe and live the way they want is quite essential to democracy, but Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s David Cameron and Denmark’s Pia Kjaersgaard have all condemned multiculturalism as something that should be prohibited (Kjaersgaard have even condemned the idea of a multiethnic society).
Since the culture these politicians are defending is labeled Christian (even though it’s rather Constantinian), and the culture that they portray as the main antagonist is islamic culture, many Christians have condemned multiculturalism in a similar fashion and argued that Muslims should be deported so that European Christianity is preserved.
The condemnation of multicultural states is also known as nationalism, the idea that each state should have one language and one culture. But is this idea Biblical? Are Christians supposed to prohibit or promote multiculturalism?
In the Old Testament, God gave laws to the Israelites that were not just moral but also cultural. the Pentateuch tells the Israelites how they should eat, dress and behave, what holidays they should have and how they should worship the Lord. These cultural laws are still being practised by Jews to this day. And while immigrants were very welcome to Israel and were treated as natives (Lev 19:33-34), they were expected to follow most of the laws. There were some exceptions, kosher food was not required for example (Deut 14:21), but in general immigrants were expected to follow the cultural laws of Israel. Not much multiculturalism there. (more…)
As I wrote in my last blog post, I’m pretty upset about Franklin Graham’s idea about deporting all Muslim immigrants from the United States. I think it’s a plain out stupid idea, not the least from an evangelistic perspective. And Franklin’s dad happen to be one of the greatest evangelists of the Western world. So I had to make a sketch about what I imagine (or rather, hope) that Billy’s reaction to Franklin’s proposal would be like:
I talked to a sister about this yesterday and she said that she was constantly shocked every time a Christian started to argue against immigration. Because of fear and comfort almost no Western Christian dare to go as missionaries to totalitarian Muslim countries – and when Muslims then show up here, where it’s super easy for us to share the Gospel, we want to deport them!
Deportation is anti-evangelism. A person is not saved by being forcefully transported by the police to a country they fled from, it just decreases the chance for them to hear the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ. How then can evangelist Franklin Graham propose deportation of all Muslim immigrants? My theory is that either he didn’t think much at all, or he believes that Islamic terrorism is only a problem when it’s taking place in the United States. Even though most people who are killed by terrorism are Muslims in the Middle East – those whom Franklin doesn’t want to welcome in his country.
Now, I’m not entirely sure that Billy would react in real life as he does in the video – he has had some goofy moments in his later years, such as suddenly changing opinion on Mormonism after Mitt Romney became the Republican presidential candidate. The Billy character in the video surely represents my opinion though. And as you can tell, I don’t think Franklin’s proposal is anywhere near smart.
Almost a year has passed since Charisma Magazine published the op-ed “Why I am Absolutely Islamophobic”, which argued that the United States should sterilise, deport and/or kill 100% of its Muslim deportation. The deportation part was literally labeled “D.A.M.N.”, Deport All Muslims Now – and this was written by a Christian, mind you! The article was eventually removed by Charisma after people protested against their promotion of genocide, but it’s still accessible here.
Christian support for the “D.A.M.N.” policy hasn’t ended though; recently Franklin Graham, the son of world evangelist Billy Graham, wrote on Facebook that he want to deport all Muslims due to the risk of Islamic terrorism:
“Four innocent Marines killed and three others wounded in Chattanooga yesterday including a policeman and another Marine–all by a radical Muslim whose family was allowed to immigrate to this country from Kuwait. We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled… Let your Congressman know that we’ve got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.”
As the title of this blog post suggests, I think that the extreme idea if deporting all Muslim immigrants (which a “stop all immigration of Muslims” means in practice) is stupid, evil and non-Christian. Let’s start with the evil part:
Should Christians welcome or deport asylum seekers and other immigrants? Is aid to refugee camps really better than receiving refugees? And is it a Christian duty to christianize territories and then protect them against islamization?
These are some of the issues I talked about at my seminar Jesus vs Xenophobia on the annual summer camp for the Scandinavian Vineyard movement. A friend filmed it all and I have now uploaded it to the Holy Spirit Activism YouTube channel. The first part deals with what the Bible says concerning migration, borders and refuge, the second part describes the global refugee crisis and discusses some of the arguments anti migration advocates use, and the third part is a short Q & A.
So what do you think? Who would Jesus deport, and why would He do it? Let me know in the comments 🙂
I have a friend called Elijah*, who used to be a Muslim but became a Christian after Jesus showed Himself to him in a prophetic vision. He know works with a missionary organisation and is spreading the Gospel in the Middle East. A couple of months back when he was visiting some churches in a South Asian city, a couple approached him when he was walking through a mall. They tried to convert him to Islam, but in 20 minutes time they became disciples of Jesus.
See, they told him that about six months earlier, they had been watching TV. As they zapped through the channels, they came to a Christian channel where Swedish pastor Stanley Sjöberg was preaching the Gospel. Since they were devout Muslims, they became upset, shut the TV down and went to bed.
The next morning, they told each other that they had had a strange dream. They soon discovered that it was exactly the same dream! Stanley Sjöberg had come to their house, they had let him in and he continued to preach about Jesus. As they protested, Stanley said “My friend Elijah will tell you more about Jesus”, and from nowhere they saw a Middle Eastern guy sitting next to Stanley. Stanley went on saying that they would meet him in a particular South Asian city, on one particular day at 5 PM.
They didn’t know what the dream meant and thought it was a bit freaky that they both dreamt it the same time, but after a bit if reasoning the wife said “Maybe Allah has given us this dream to find Elijah and convert him to Islam. Let’s go to that place – if we don’t find him we will just have a nice holiday.” (more…)
When Jesus said “Love your enemies”, He didn’t add “except terrorists”. On the contrary, it was probably them He had in mind. Charismatic activist Bob Ekblad has written an excellent piece on how Christians should respond to the horrible terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris, which I quote a large portion of below. I have nothing to add except a little cartoon about Jesus’ amazing enemy love.
How might followers of Jesus respond to this escalation of hatred and violence? Jesus warned his disciples: “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end” (Matthew 24:6). Jesus expects his listeners to be aware that history is heading toward increasing tension and to resist the natural tendencies toward hard- heartedness or violence.
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:12–14). Anyone listening to Jesus is told to not be fearful, but to get on with the highest priority work—announcing the Gospel of the Kingdom. What is this Gospel?
It most certainly does not include Christians identifying with or justifying swift and effective retaliation, increased surveillance, growing suspicion, incarceration, hatred against Muslims, or fear. When James and John ask Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who refused them entry as they traveled toward Jerusalem, Jesus rebukes them, saying: “You do not know of what spirit you are of. For the son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:55–56).
Jesus came in contact with several people who weren’t orthodox Jews, but rather were heretics or idolaters. We have the Samaritans, who had mixed Judaism with pagan influences, and who were forbidden to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. The Romans were colonialist immigrants from other parts of the empire, and even if some had become proselytes (like Cornelius, Acts 10), most of them worshiped the Roman idols of Jupiter, Mars and others. There were also adherents of other religions in the areas of Decapolis, where Jesus did some miracles (Mark 5).
How did Jesus relate to these idolatrous Gentiles? Well, He simply took control over a state, became President and deported them. Wait, He didn’t? Then at least He commanded His disciples to take control over a country and deport all the idolaters? Huh, He didn’t do that either?!
Not that those ideas didn’t float around in Jesus’ time. The Zealot movement and other radical Jewish groups wanted to fight against the Romans and drive those stupid colonialists back to Europe (which they also tried in 70 and 135 AD, and failed miserably). Many believed that this was what the Messiah was supposed to do. Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans (Jn 4:9), and vice versa, and when some Samaritans heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, they forbade Him to enter their village. Enraged, John and James suggested that Jesus should order a heavenly genocide from above, burning those heretics alive (Lk 9:51-54).
But Jesus rebuked them. He didn’t come to barbeque idolaters but to save them. He loved Samaritans, shared the Gospel with them and used a Samaritan as the good example in His famous parable about loving everyone indiscriminately (Jn 4, Lk 10). He told His Jewish disciples to love the Romans, pray for them, and walk the extra mile with them (Lk 6). Do to them as you would have them do to you (Mt 7:12). He didn’t fight to kick the Romans out of Israel. Instead, He was crucified by them, dying for their sins. On the cross, He shouted: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” (Lk 23:34). (more…)