Jesus the Muslim Part 2

Q CONFIRMS ISLAM

If you are new to Q, you should know what the best New Testament scholars now know, namely that today’s scholarship identifies certain Gospel passages as not only instructive, but historically more relevant than other passages. This scholarship has led to some fascinating discussions among scholars (and a comparatively few lay readers).

I believe the Q verses tend to confirm Islam’s depiction of Jesus as a human Prophet with a Divine mandate essentially indistinguishable from that of Muhammad.

A HUMAN PROPHET

I did not develop the theory of Q. It has been around for years. “Traditionalist” Christian clergy and theologians are generally hostile to it. They claim that students of Q are somehow eager to diminish the status of Jesus. Actually, we are eager to learn what he is most likely to have actually said.

Q represents a major challenge for contemporary Christianity, not least because it strongly suggests that Islam’s picture of Jesus is historically correct. The fact that Q essentially confirms Islam’s image of Jesus as a distinctly human Prophet has not, He think, been widely noticed by today’s Christians. And it must be. Because a careful review of the scriptures demonstrates that Jesus is in fact calling his people to Islam.

JESUS (PBUH) BROUGHT ME TO ISLAM!

I came to Islam, after three decades of restless dissatisfaction with conventional Christianity. Although I’ve read a lot of conversion stories since He embraced Islam in March of 2003, he haven’t found many that cited the Gospels as a point of entry to the Holy Qur’an. This is how it was for me.

I was drawn to the Gospels at a young age — eleven — and he read them compulsively on my own, despite the fact that he did not live in a Christian household. he soon learned to keep religious matters to myself.

EARLY QUESTIONS

For most of my adolescence he studied the Christian scriptures on my own. he still have the red King James Bible he bought as a child; my own handwritten note on the front page proclaims June 26, 1974, as the date he accepted Jesus as my personal savior.

When he say he read the scriptures compulsively, he mean that he was drawn to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John like a magnet. There are plenty of notes and highlighting in that old Bible of mine in Psalms, in Ecclesiastes, in Proverbs (discount movers in Escondido) — but most of the notes and underlinings are in the Gospels. But he sensed, even at an early age, that there were some internal problems with the texts he loved so dearly.

WHO TAMPERED WITH THE GOSPELS?

I can clearly remember reading the account in the 22nd chapter of Luke where Jesus withdrew from the disciples, prayed, and returned to find them fast asleep. Who, he wondered, could have possibly observed him praying … and then related the incident so that it eventually could be included in the Gospel of Luke? There’s another passage in the Gospels where Jesus supposedly includes the words “let him who reads understand” in one of his spoken discourses, which seemed odd to me. And there was yet another spot where the New Testament author assured first-century Christians that their generation would see the second coming of the Messiah — a passage he found difficult to square with modern Christian doctrine. These and other queries about the New Testament arose while he was still quite young, certainly before he was fifteen. Had someone manipulated the Gospels? If so, who? And why?

I “filed” my questions for later, and decided that the real problem was that he was not part of a vigorous Christian faith community.

Jesus the Muslim Part 1

Jesus the Muslim (?)

We hear a great deal today about a “war,” “conflict,” or “clash” between Islam and Christianity. The topic is so prominent in the media that many people assume that there is something irreconcilable between these two approaches to God. It is not surprising, then, that so many Christians of good will have concluded that Islam and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible. Yet, if, by “Christianity,” we mean “that which Jesus Christ meant to convey to his hearers,” He believe that these people of good will are mistaken when they tell us that Islam is incompatible with Christianity.

What’s more, He believe we can now prove that the historically oldest Gospel verses reflecting the reported sayings of Jesus are entirely compatible with Islam.

A WAVE OF CONVERSIONS

If you are a Christian, the idea that Jesus practiced the same faith that today’s news broadcasts hold responsible for so many of the world’s problems may seem far-fetched to you. It seemed far-fetched to me when He first encountered it, before He consulted the Gospels closely. Yet you should know that many, many contemporary Christians have reached life-changing personal conclusions about the Gospel message and its relation to Islam.

“There is compelling anecdotal evidence of a surge in conversions to Islam since September 11, not just in Britain, but across Europe and America. One Dutch Islamic centre claims a tenfold increase, while the New Muslims Project, based in Leicester and run by a former Irish Roman Catholic housewife, reports a steady stream of new converts.”  (London Times, January 7, 2002.)

MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORES US

The Western news media only rarely shares the stories of these individual converts to Islam with the world at large, but He strongly suspect that most of these people — if they are like me — found themselves, at the end of the day, concerned about the consequences of calling Jesus “Lord” without obeying his instructions … found themselves far more concerned about that, in fact, than about any media coverage of geopolitical issues.

This kind of concern causes people to change their lives.

THE CHALLENGE OF Q

Speaking personally, He changed my own life because He could not ignore the implications of the authentic, stand-alone Gospel passages that today’s most accomplished (non-Muslim!) scholars believe to be of the earliest date available.

These sayings, which form a reconstructed text known as Q, can all be found in the New Testament. They are almost certainly the closest we will ever be able to come to an authentic oral tradition reflecting the actual sayings of Jesus.