—MOMay 18, 1975, [In a Muslim Country]DFO No.631
1. CHRISTIANS PROBABLY KNOW ABOUT AS LITTLE ABOUT ISLAM AS CAN BE KNOWN. When we really think about it we realise how ignorant we are of both their religion and the people. About all we've ever heard has been the very negative and uncomplimentary propaganda by so-called Christians and Christendom and the Western enemies of Islam.
2. WHAT GOOD HAVE YOU EVER HEARD FROM THE WEST ABOUT THE ARABS? Honestly now, how much good have you ever heard about the Arabs‚ even before they became famous for their oil? I think the horrible impression that most people have had of the Arabs stems from the Crusades.
3. WHAT LITTLE THEY REMEMBER IS THAT THE ARABS WERE SOME KIND OF FIERCE CRUEL WARRIORS who the so-called "Christian Crusaders" had to fight to so-call "free" the Holy City, using just as much cruelty against the Arabs as the Arabs were accused of using against Christians. So it's about six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, only the cruelty of one was done in the name of Christ, sad to say, which is even worse, whereas the Arabs were really defending their homeland in the name of God.
4. RELIGIOUS WARS ARE VERY VERY SAD THINGS. THEY SHOW HOW LITTLE REAL RELIGION THE PEOPLE HAVE who are fighting‚ how little of God some have and how little love, and they're very sad. Of course, as I at least was taught and as you probably heard, Mohammed taught that it is righteous to fight in defense of the faith. But isn't that what Christian countries teach too?
5. SO I DON'T SEE THAT THERE'S VERY MUCH DIFFERENCE REALLY. I don't see very much difference in practice. There may be quite a bit of difference in theory and in doctrine‚ but how much difference do you see in practice, in the way they behave?
6. IF ANYTHING, THE ARABS FOR MANY YEARS HAD TO DEFEND THEMSELVES AGAINST THE SO-CALLED CHRISTIANS, the Westerners I wouldn't call them Christians. They fought Holy Wars in the name of Christ, but they were anything but holy and they were anything but for Christ, right? They were unholy wars and they were very unChristian. They were attacking their Arab brothers in the world and attacking their homeland and slaughtering them for a so–called righteous cause which was just as unrighteous as any.
7. THE CHRISTIANS HAD NO BUSINESS OVER THERE. Jerusalem wasn't all that important to Christians and Christianity‚ or shouldn't have been‚ because Jesus had ended all that temple-ism and temple worship and worship of holy places and so on.
9. [T]he poor Arabs, who were attacked in their own lands, of course defended themselves.
10. FINALLY‚ UNDER THE MUSLIM LEADERSHIP THE ARABS GOT STIRRED UP ENOUGH TO HIT BACK and became a scourge to Christendom for many years. They became a very powerful empire stretching all the way from China to the West Coast of Africa, including most of Spain, Portugal and part of France, and were even in Italy some as I recall‚ because they had some battles there.
11. THEY INVADED WESTERN EUROPE SEVERAL TIMES until finally, the date that I remember and the names that I remember which are always impressed upon you as the great victory of the West over the Arab Empire, was the battle led by Charles Martel of France, the Battle of Tours, France‚ in 732 A.D., in which he won the supposed great victory over the Muslim forces.
12. IT'S AMAZING HOW LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT THIS and how little of that sort of thing is impressed on us. I think probably because the Western world wants to kind of help forget it. I'm ashamed of my own ignorance of Islam and the Koran. I just know a few little high spots of history and I've read a little bit more lately, particularly about Mohammed and the history of Islam in a very good little book put out by InterVarsity. It seems to be a very fair and fairly authentic history, a very brief history. Sometime you ought to read the whole thing, but I thought I'd give you a little summary since I've already read it, beginning with the history of the man himself.
13. NO MOVEMENT EVER BEGINS WITHOUT A MAN. Everything always has to have a leader, has to have someone who has the vision and the faith and the courage and inspires the people. And so it was with Mohammed, a very remarkable man. I had to almost laugh a little bit when I noted that most of the bad uncomplimentary comments that are brought out about Mohammed are almost exactly the same things that people say today about us!
14. THERE ARE MANY POINTS IN WHICH OUR PRESENT DAY LEADERSHIP AND MOVEMENT HAVE PARALLELED HIS, and it is striking to see how many ways we are very similar in our history and similar in the leadership and similar in the reactions of the public and the system against us.
15. IT HAS REMINDED ME A NUMBER OF TIMES LATELY HOW MUCH THE ARABS TODAY ARE SPEAKING ALMOST LIKE THE PROPHETS OF OLD against the iniquities of the world and pointing the finger at the wicked West and its corruption and ungodliness and selfishness, pointing a real righteous finger against them, that the West are the guilty ones, and the Arabs are right!
16. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE ARABS ARE GUILTLESS OR TOTALLY PERFECT OR TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS, this would be wrong too. Let's not go overboard and be foolish and not be aware of the problems and difficulties and shortcomings as well. Because no one is perfect and no man nor human beings are perfect. We are all sinners, "All we like sheep have gone astray and turned everyone to his own way" and "there is none righteous, no not one" (Isa.53:6; Rom.3:10). I'm glad from the history that I read of Mohammed that it's quite evident that he believed he was a man, just as I know I am.
17. MOHAMMED HIMSELF DID NOT CLAIM TO BE PERFECT at all. He was very humble about that. He said that he was only a man, he made mistakes and he was not perfect—he was only the prophet of God, a mouthpiece of God. Well, I can agree with that attitude, that's the way I feel. In fact he was quite a man, very much a man.
18. MOHAMMED WAS A VERY NORMAL MALE, APPARENTLY, AND HE ENJOYED LIFE TO THE FULL including lots of women, official and unofficial‚ and over a few of which he had a few difficulties with some of his relatives. But he was a very sexy fellow and established a very sexy religion. Which to my way of thinking is just fine! Of the major religions of today, Islam is probably one of the sexiest in the world, aside from ours.
19. THE ISLAMIC IDEA OF HEAVEN IS THE HOURIS OF HEAVEN. The houris are all these beautiful women that they'll get to have for all eternity, and they say according to tradition or legend that they grow new hymens every day so that they can be constantly and continually virgins.
20. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR RELIGION AND THEIRS ON THAT IS THAT WE ALREADY HAVE OUR HEAVEN HERE! We have our harems and our houris now, God bless them all! Thank God for the freedom He's given us and the unity He's given us and the liberty He's given us and the joy He's given us and the happiness to enjoy life to the full, praise God?
21. SO I WAS GLAD TO FIND THAT MOHAMMED HIMSELF KNEW HE WAS A MAN and recognised the fact, and simply only claimed to be a mouthpiece for God, which is all I am. In many ways they resembled us and even resembled our origins and our faith and our methods in some ways.
22. THERE ARE SOME VERY STRIKING PARALLELS TO OUR EARLY HISTORY which if we have time I'll try to point out to you specifically. I'm just sharing kind of generally with you right now on the background of it all, to help you see that we have a lot in common really‚ and to help you remind them of the things we do have in common.
23. IT'S LIKE WHEN I WAS VIEWING SOME RELIGIOUS FILMS along with some other religious leaders in a certain community at one time, as this television station was trying to decide on certain movies to use, and I was, of course, a salesman for Church in the Home‚ Fred Jordan's television show. So we were viewing these films—they had a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest‚ a Protestant pastor and me and a few other people, because the poor stations are really on the hot seat when they have to select religious films.
24. THERE'S NOTHING MORE CONTROVERSIAL‚ NOTHING THAT AROUSES HEAT AND ARGUMENT MORE THAN RELIGION. For God's sake, stay off the subject of religion if you can, forget it‚ let's forget it! I love you, you love me, let's love God together, let's love each other‚ let's help each other.
25. LET'S FORGET THE PAST AND WORK FOR THE FUTURE. We can't undo the past, we can't undo the mistakes of both sides in the past and the horrors that were committed in the name of God on both sides. We must live for the present and the future and try to help what's left, praise God?
26. SO I WAS AMUSED AFTER WE REVIEWED ALL THESE VARIOUS RELIGIOUS MOVIES and were discussing them and commenting on them and the station was trying to get their evaluation of these various religious films, their good points and their bad points. I was amused how quickly some of these Pharisees—well I'll use a nice complimentary term for them, religious leaders—got right into discussing technical doctrinal differences in the films, blah, blah, blah, blah! And I finally got tired of listening and sick of it.
27. ALL THAT TECHNICAL DOCTRINAL STUFF HAS BUILT UP AS A BODY OF TRADITION OUTSIDE OF THE BOOK, and that is the same thing you're going to find out about Islam too! A lot of the shibboleths and the little things that they're so strong on have been built up through tradition and which you can't even find in the Koran! That's why I hope we can study and learn from the book itself, not what people say about it.
28. MY LORD, THAT'S ALL MOST CHRISTIANS KNOW ABOUT RELIGION! They don't know a thing about their Bibles. All they know is what their preachers told them, and most of that is nothing but churchianity tradition. As Jesus told the religious leaders of His day, "by your traditions you have made the law of God of none effect." (Mt.15:6.) And from what I've studied of Islam, this is virtually what some of their traditions have done to the Koran.
29. THEY HAVE MADE MUCH OF THEIR HOLY WORD OF NONE EFFECT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATIONS. And as a result there's a vast body of differences of beliefs and interpretations of the Koran and Mohammed and the whole works. There are just about as many differences and varieties of belief in Islam as there are in Christendom‚ believe it or not!
30. THERE ARE ABOUT AS MANY SHADES AND INTERPRETATIONS AND EXTREMES OF ISLAM AS THERE ARE IN CHRISTIANITY. So take your choice, you can find almost anything you're looking for in Islam, just like you can find almost anything you're looking for in Christianity. And the same is true of the Koran as is true of the Bible: You can find almost anything you're looking for.
31. THEY SAY YOU CAN PROVE ANYTHING BY THE BIBLE, YOU KNOW‚ IF YOU JUST PICK OUT PART of a verse or a few words or anything you want to pick out. So, as somebody's pointed out, by twisting Scriptures and lifting them out without context you could say that the Bible says there is no God, you can find those very words, "there is no God"! But of course that's out of context—with the whole verse it says, "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." (Ps.14:1.) So you can probably do the same with the Koran, you can take things out of context and have them mean something entirely different from what Mohammed intended.
32. SO AS I WAS STARTING TO SAY ABOUT THIS LITTLE AUDITION we were having with these religious men in the TV station. The poor TV manager's on the hot seat trying to keep peace between the religious factions and show each series in turn and so on. They were beginning to get kind of heated in their discussion about the differences and I finally—I didn't pretend to be religious at all‚ I pretended just to be a salesman—
33. I SAID, "IT SEEMS TO ME, BOYS, THAT YOU GUYS ARE KIND OF OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT. We 're supposed to be here to try to find the things we agree on and what this poor station can use that will most generally please the general public, and not try to point up our differences and our shades of unbelief and differences in faith and doctrine.
34. "IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE COULD DWELL MORE ON THE THINGS WE AGREE ON and that we agree on much more than we disagree on. Actually the things that we agree on are far more important than all these little tiny things that we disagree on, right?"
35. I THINK IT'S GOOD THE WAY THAT THE KORAN POINTS OUT TO ALL THE VARIOUS FAITHS "LET'S GET TOGETHER! We really agree on more than we disagree on, the main things. We agree on God and His creation and His love and concern for men and His desire for men to love each other and to have peace and plenty and to share, right?"
36. ISN'T THIS THE SUPPOSED MESSAGE OF NEARLY EVERY MAJOR RELIGION that believes in God? The three major religions which believe in the one true God, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, are supposed to believe that at least.
37. THEREFORE, LORD JESUS, HELP US AND GIVE US WISDOM TO THINK ON THE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD. "Whatsoever things are good, pure‚ of good report, think on these things" (Phil.4:8)—the good things we have heard about Mohammed and Islam‚ particularly when we are their guests in their country.
38. REMEMBER, PRIMARILY, AS THE LORD REMINDED ME THIS MORNING‚ IT'S GOD'S COUNTRY.—Those are His trees out there, that's His land, His Earth. It belongs to the same Lord that you and I worship and love, and He provided it for them because He loves them even as He loves us, although of course He's bound to appreciate more those who please Him.
39. NOW WE HAVE GOT TO FIND THE COMMON POINTS OF FAITH as much as we can to share with them, and that although we say our faith is in Jesus, this does not necessarily offend their faith. Make it very clear you're not trying to turn them against their faith. I'm sure many are accusing us of this and are telling them so. "They're here turning you from the faith!"
40. I PRESUME YOU KNOW THAT THE OLD ISLAMIC PENALTY FOR APOSTASY, FOR TURNING FROM THE FAITH, WAS DEATH for the man and death or imprisonment for a woman.—To turn from the faith meant death. And though they say that today the Islamic countries have become much more modern and their jurisprudence and their practices at law and justice have become a little more liberalised along the lines of Western law and humanity‚ nevertheless even today for a Muslim to desert his faith for another faith can mean being cut off from his family, losing his job, suffering persecution and even secret death, like poisoning. We were even told this in Israel.
41. WE HEARD THAT IF A MUSLIM MAN, FOR EXAMPLE, MARRIED A CHRISTIAN GIRL HE WAS IN VERY GREAT DANGER OF BEING KILLED because they considered it a desertion of faith because a Muslim is supposed to marry a Muslim. This is why so many Coptics of North Africa now are turning from the kind of Christian faith they had, which wasn't great faith anyway, to become Muslims, because they want to marry Muslim girls.
42. SO TO LOVE AND MARRY A PERSON OF ANOTHER FAITH IS TO THEM ALMOST AS GOOD AS APOSTASY‚ or being disloyal to their own faith, which raises difficulties for them no matter how you look at it. And I'm sure that some of our friends are risking a great deal of disapproval and persecution even now from others because of their charitable generous attitude toward us, befriending us, and displaying what the staunch protagonists of their own faith would consider some measure of disloyalty to Islam because they are befriending us. However, I have discovered in my study that Mohammed himself took a very charitable attitude toward both the Jews and the Christians and he had a special name for them: They were called "the People of the Book."
43. MOHAMMED WAS GREATLY INFLUENCED BY THE BIBLE AND BY CHRISTIAN TEACHERS, Christian monks especially. On one particular trip to Syria with his uncle when he was about 12 years of age he met a Christian monk who evidently told him a lot of Bible stories and taught him a lot about Jesus.
44. APPARENTLY HE HAD NEVER READ THE BIBLE OR HAD ONE, in fact, from all appearances, he was illiterate and could not read or write as far as we know. He dictated nearly all of his revelations, many of which, by the way, were a recollection of Bible stories to the best of his ability. Although he didn't get them all exactly straight, apparently he remembered them fairly well.
45. HE TRIED TO BRING THE BIBLE STORIES BACK AND RETELL THEM TO HIS OWN PEOPLE, who at that time, by the way, were blatant pagans worshipping all kinds of gods and idols and everything evil—a hangover no doubt from Egyptianism, Egyptian influence of paganism throughout the Mideast in those days.
46. THE ARABS OF HIS DAY WERE VIRTUALLY ALL PAGANS. Esau‚ Ishmael and so on, their forebearers, in having left the so-called Holy Land and gone into Africa and Eastern countries, drifted away from the one true God and had drifted into the pagan religions of the people where they dwelt‚ idolatrous, multitudes of gods and superstitions and so on.
47. SO HE CERTAINLY WAS A PROPHET OF GOD TRYING TO BRING HIS PEOPLE BACK TO THE TRUE FAITH in the one true God, and even a certain amount of faith in Christianity or in Christ as a true Prophet who taught the right things. He apparently heard enough about Jesus to know that what He taught was right, that He was a Prophet of God.
48. I BELIEVE THAT MOHAMMED WAS A SINCERE MAN who was sick and fed up with the corruption‚ wickedness and idolatry of his day and who had heard the truth about the Bible, about the one true God, and about Jesus. He came back wanting to proclaim this truth to his people.
49. THERE IS A DEFINITE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION AS TO WHETHER JESUS WAS THE SON OF GOD OR NOT. They are strong on this point of course, and I'm sure the religious leaders of Islam have made a major issue of this to make sure that nobody accepted Jesus as the Son of God, because after all, that would give Him a distinct advantage over Mohammed, who never claimed to be that. That would make Him superior to Mohammed if He were accepted as the Son of God.
50. EVEN FOR PEOPLE TO CALL THEMSELVES "THE CHILDREN OF GOD" SOUNDS A LITTLE BIT CLOSER TO GOD than even Mohammed claimed to be. So these are little technical difficulties where you've got to walk very delicately. If they object to our name, so what? If it's going to be a hindrance here more than a help‚ I'm not going to quibble over our name.—Change it!
51. I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY CALL US AS LONG AS IT'S SOMETHING GOOD and it helps and they like us and love us and we can help them. Well, what else could you call yourself?
52. MAYBE "THE CHILDREN OF DAVID"—that's a common term even in our own midst now—and you are. I always called you my children‚ I hardly ever start a letter to you without saying "Dear Children," so you are my children. I'm your father in the Lord‚ so that's a perfectly true statement, you're the children of David, that's for sure!
53. I BELIEVE THIS IS GOING TO MAKE A GOOD SERIES OF STUDIES ON ISLAM even for all of our children everywhere. How many of us know anything about Mohammed, much less about Islam, and very little about the Muslims? So we need to know.
54. AFTER ALL, IT'S ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST RELIGIONS, widespread amongst hundreds of millions of Arabs and others throughout the world, and we are just plain stupid and ignorant not to know something about it. We know a lot about all kinds of other religions, but I would dare say I am probably more ignorant about Islam than almost any other religion on the face of the Earth!
55. CONSIDERING HOW CLOSE IT IS TO OUR OWN RELIGION‚ WE CERTAINLY OUGHT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT, and also because the Arabs have had a great influence on history and on the arts and sciences and our own language and our numerical system and geography and the culture of the whole Western world!
56. IT IS AMAZING HOW LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT THEM, AND IT SHOWS YOU THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ANTI-ARAB PROPAGANDA and the very unChristian Christians who hated them for selfish and political as well as religious reasons. I believe that with all my heart!
57. AS FOR THE NAME, THE CHILDREN OF GOD, I was praying about that today and I was thinking. I thought Faithy's answer, when they said "God didn't have any children," was a good one: "Well, He has now!"—And I got something from the Lord which is a little more than that:
58. WE'RE HIS ADOPTED CHILDREN! If you don't want to think He had children, well, He adopted us! I don't know what the Koran has to say about it yet. I've never read it‚ sad to say, just little tiny passages here and there, but ... (MO opens the Koran, and miraculously he has opened to a passage specifically about Jesus:) How about that! "Oh Jesus, I will take thee!" How about that! (Sura 3:5,6 and 7.)
59. "BEHOLD, GOD SAID, OH JESUS, I WILL TAKE THEE AND RAISE THEE TO MYSELF and clear thee of those who blaspheme. I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith to the day of resurrection. Then shall ye all return unto Me and I will judge between you the matters wherein ye dispute." Isn't that an amazing passage? Now that is really a miracle of God, thank You Lord! I could no more have found this passage or know where it is—I didn't even know it was in here!
60. I KNOW THE KORAN SPEAKS MUCH OF JESUS. Well here's another one: "When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said, who will be My helpers to the work of God? Said the disciples, 'We are God's helpers‚ we believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.'"
61. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE TERM MUSLIM. Islam comes from a root Arabic word meaning "submission," submission to the faith. That's the literal meaning really of the word Islam—submission.—And a
62. MUSLIM MEANS "ONE WHO SUBMITS." Well, if you're talking about true faith therefore in Jesus, you and I too are members of Islam, the brotherhood of submission to the faith. We are Muslims because we are those who submit to the faith. That is absolutely amazing! The very next passage I found‚ I turned my eyes toward it, it was across the page, I looked over and the moment I looked over there I found these words about when Jesus found unbelief on their part and so on. The passage goes on:
63. "OH OUR LORD, WE BELIEVE IN WHAT THOU HAST REVEALED AND WE FOLLOW the apostle"—the disciples were apparently speaking, "Then write us down among those who bear witness. And the unbelievers plotted and planned, and God too planned, and the best of planners is God." That's a good point isn't it? The Devil is always plotting against you‚ but God's plotting against him, and He's the best one. That's really a beautiful passage!
64. "AND BEHOLD GOD SAID, 'OH JESUS I WILL TAKE THEE AND RAISE THEE TO MYSELF and clear Thee of the falsehoods of those who blaspheme.'" In other words they were telling lies about Him. "I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith to the day of resurrection." God has certainly done that, that's a true statement, isn't it?
65. "THEN SHALL YE ALL RETURN UNTO ME AND I WILL JUDGE BETWEEN YOU of the matters wherein ye dispute. As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.
66. "AS TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND WORK RIGHTEOUSNESS, GOD WILL PAY THEM IN FULL THEIR REWARD. But God loveth not those who do wrong." Well, that is Scriptural in a way. Well, we say, of course God loves the world. He does in one way, but in another way He says, "I am angry with the wicked every day" and "hateth those who do unrighteousness." (Ps.7:11; 45:7.) Let's try to find as much as we can agree on, right? "This is what we rehearse unto thee, the signs and the message of wisdom."
67. "THE SIMILITUDE OF JESUS BEFORE GOD IS AS THAT OF ADAM." Doesn't the New Testament say that? (I Cor.15.) "Created him from dust then said to him be, and he was." Now in a way that's true of Jesus as well as Adam, because God gave Jesus a body that was made of this earth, earthy, of Mary‚ and He was created of dust like the rest of us‚ that was a part of His humanity, Jesus as a man.
68. "THE TRUTH COMES FROM GOD ALONE, SO BE NOT OF THOSE WHO DOUBT. If anyone disputes in this matter with thee after full knowledge hath come to thee‚ say, 'come, let us gather together our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us earnestly pray and invoke the curse of God on those who lie.'" Well, let me tell you, he really fought a battle with his enemies.
69. "THIS IS THE TRUE ACCOUNT: THERE IS NO GOD EXCEPT GOD, and God‚ He is indeed exalted in power and wise." Is that not what the Bible teaches? "But if they turn back, God has full knowledge of those who do mischief."
70. "ISLAM DOTH INVITE ALL PEOPLE TO THE TRUTH. There is no cause for dissenting or disputing. False are the people who corrupt God's truth or hinder men from coming to God.
71. "LET THE MUSLIMS HOLD TOGETHER IN UNITY AND DISCIPLINE, knowing that they have a mission of righteousness for humanity. No harm can come to them. Though there are good men and true in other faiths, Muslims must be true to their own brotherhood. They should seek help and friendship from their own and stand firm in constancy and patient perseverance." All this is very practical advice from a religious leader to his people—isn't this what we teach?
72. THAT'S ALMOST EXACTLY WHAT WE TEACH; how we must be tolerant of other faiths and religions but we must be particularly loyal to ourselves and our own. After all, ours is the one that we really believe in! I don't blame anybody for saying that.
73. "SAY, OH PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, COME TO COMMON TERMS AS BETWEEN US AND YOU." Now when he speaks of the People of the Book, who do you think he's talking about?—Both Jews and Christians! So far I like what I've read, don't you? He says to be tolerant. In other words we shouldn't have such differences. After all, we worship the same God.
74. AT ONE TIME THERE WERE SO MANY TRADITIONS IT WAS ALMOST RIDICULOUS! When Islam became popular throughout the Arab world, it also became very very popular to claim that you had known Mohammed or knew somebody that knew him, or knew somebody that knew somebody and so on and so on down the line—and that they had told you this story, and this actually happened to Mohammed, and this is one of the true stories about him or his life and so on ... and good night! If you believed all the stories you ever heard about me it would be one hell of a mess! I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them would be true, but certainly a lot of them are not true.
75. ONE MUSLIM CONFESSED WHEN HE WAS DYING THAT HE'D MADE UP ABOUT 1‚100 OF THESE STORIES himself which weren't even true, because he wanted to be popular and so had all these traditions nobody else had and stories he'd heard about Mohammed that nobody else had heard!
76. THE TRADITIONS ARE ALMOST LIKE THE APOCRYPHAL SCRIPTURES OF THE CATHOLIC BIBLE. There were a lot of apocryphal scriptures in the early days of Christianity. That means non-canonical—in other words those which were not necessarily considered inspired nor of the writers of the early days and so on. There were also doubtful Scriptures circulating in the early days of Christianity, just like there were phoney sayings and stories about Mohammed, and a lot of things that they claimed he said which probably he didn't say.
77. SO FINALLY THE SCHOLARS OF ISLAM GOT TOGETHER AND DECIDED TO PURIFY THE GREAT HUGE GROWING VOLUME of traditions which was getting just absolutely ridiculous, contradicting each other and everything, and they finally decided and settled on a volume of traditions which they considered fairly acceptable and fairly in accord with the Holy Scriptures.
78. NOW THESE SCRIPTURES, THE KORAN, ARE CONSIDERED TRULY INSPIRED, directly inspired. The traditions are considered to contain inspiration or information about the inspired, but are not necessarily directly inspired. But some Muslims exalt the traditions just as much and maybe even more than the Koran, just like some Christians and Jews and almost every religion do with their traditions.
79. THE VAST BODY OF TRADITIONS, THE TEACHINGS OF MAN‚ EVEN CONTRADICT THEIR OWN HOLY SCRIPTURES, but are often taught by their leadership and propounded constantly and pounded away by their preachers to believe in them, like going to church on Sunday and all the rest, to where they believe more in the traditions than they do in the Bible! So the same is true in the Muslim faith.
80. THERE ARE THOSE WHO HOLD DOGGEDLY TO THE TRADITIONS, and more so than even to the Koran! Probably if you confronted most Christians with the differences between their particular denominational faith's traditions of their teachers and the Bible, they would choose their faith's traditions over the Bible—and no doubt some Muslims do the same!
81. NEVERTHELESS‚ IF WE KNEW THE KORAN FAIRLY WELL, at least some passages of it, it would be helpful, particularly if the passages contradict some of their more ridiculous traditions. I don't want you to get into any arguments about that‚ but if they insist...
82. WHEN WAS THE ONLY TIME JESUS EVER GAVE ANY ANSWER TO HIS ACCUSERS AT ALL?—When they just insisted! In fact He would ignore them most of the time, even when they asked Him questions. When they just insisted on an answer and He couldn't ignore them and they demanded it publicly, if He had refused to answer they would have accused Him, "Well see, He doesn't have the answer."
83. SO EVERY NOW AND THEN HE HAD TO ANSWER them, so He turned around and socked it to them as He did on the occasion when He said, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." (Mt.15:3,6.)—Which was quite a slam!
84. WELL I DON'T DOUBT THAT THERE ARE MUSLIMS WHO BY THEIR TRADITIONS MAKE THE KORAN OF NONE EFFECT because they would prefer what they believe. Their minds are made up, don't confuse them with the Koran! They're going to believe what they want to believe. I know people who are just like that‚ and there are plenty of them!—Christians & Jews!
85. SO DON'T GET INTO ARGUMENTS WITH THEM, but if they just keep insisting that they've got to have an answer‚ "Ha, see‚ you don't have any answer!"—It might be well to know a little bit about their religion and about their Scriptures where you might be able to give them an answer from their own book that they're supposed to believe. You know that that's the way Jesus often answered His accusers.
86. JESUS ANSWERED THEM FROM THEIR OWN SCRIPTURES, the Old Testament Scriptures. He says, "Why, you're supposed to believe the Book. You say I'm blasphemous because I call Myself the Son of God, and yet your own writers and your own religion say that, 'Are ye not gods?'" (John 10:34; Ps.82:6). So He had the answers, time and again. And sometimes His answers were almost as clever as Faith's little answer when they said,
87. "GOD HAD NO CHILDREN, HE HAD NO CHILDREN!" Faith, I thought that was very cute: "Well, He has now!" But add to it what the Lord gave me this morning, "We're His adopted children." That is Scriptural, very Scriptural. (Rom.8:15; Gal.4:5; Eph.1:5.)
88. WE ARE HIS ADOPTED CHILDREN. Of course what they're trying to emphasise is that God had no children of the flesh, to try to strike at the central doctrine of Christianity, Jesus being the Son of God, right? That's the whole thing. And of course they just extend that to you and me as well. But He has now!—He's got some adopted children‚ He adopted us.
89. OF COURSE GOD IS NOT OUR NATURAL FATHER BUT HE'S LIKE A FATHER TO US IN A SPIRITUAL SENSE. This is an illustration God used to show His relationship with us. Physically, naturally, carnally‚ of course we're not God's children in that sense. God didn't fuck my mother and produce me in the utmost literal sense, of course not.
90. NOW IN THE LITERAL SENSE REGARDING JESUS, YES, WE DO BELIEVE THAT and that's where we differ, one of the doctrines on which Islam differs—at least so they say. I don't know, I haven't read it yet, so how do I know they do differ? I've heard a lot of preachers teach things about other religions that afterwards I learned were not true but were just because they didn't like the religion!
91. SO ON SOME OF THESE THINGS THEY SAY THAT WE DIFFER. WELL, I HAVEN'T READ THE KORAN YET, SO I DON'T KNOW! Until I read it—not their traditions, not what Bible teachers say about them—but until I read it from the Koran, I don't know. That's one of the best answers you can give if you don't know—you don't know!
92. I WASN'T GOING TO BE DOGMATIC ABOUT THE NAME, so I said, "Well‚ it's not that important—that's what we were called." "Yes, but you're the leader and you wouldn't be called that unless it was by your authority. You ought to change the name, it's not good."
93. WELL, I SAW THAT FELLOW'S MIND WAS MADE UP, NO USE ARGUING WITH HIM, so I said, "I'll think about it, I'll think about it—maybe you're right." Well, considering where we were and the people we're dealing with‚ it was time to think about it! I certainly wasn't going to get dogmatic and say, "Listen brother, we're the Children of God and you can take it or leave it!—Whether you like it or not or believe it or not!"
94. THAT'S THE ATTITUDE OF SOME CHRISTIANS, SO DOGMATIC IN THEIR OWN MIND, the typical fundamentalists‚ evangelicals. They're just about as closed minded as you can get! They are the most narrow-minded, closed-minded, conventional, conservative, unloving, hard, legalistic to the point of cruelty, where nobody's right but them. They get so right that they even split up into little tiny fractional factions with differences of opinion, because they've got to be so hard and fast and every little tiny doctrine has got to be exactly perfect and exactly right, so that hardly anyone agrees with anybody else.
95. AS I USED TO SAY, THERE ARE ALMOST AS MANY SHADES OF OPINION ON BIBLE PROPHECY AS THERE ARE CHRISTIANS! Everybody's got his own idea and every man does that which is right in his own eyes. So until we read it in the Book you can say well, you don't really know.
96. WE MUST EMPHASISE THAT WE'RE NOT TRYING TO TURN ANYBODY AGAINST THEIR FAITH, we're only trying to turn people toward the Lord, toward God. When we say the Lord‚ of course we mean both the Father and the Son, particularly Jesus because He is the manifestation of God, manifestation in the flesh, you might say, of God‚ the Word.
97. WE'RE NOT TRYING TO TURN YOU AGAINST YOUR FAITH, WE'RE SIMPLY TRYING TO LOVE YOU and to show you that God loves you, and trying to even show you more of God. How can we turn you against your faith if your faith is in God? We don't want to turn you against God. They say, "We believe so and so and so and so and we don't believe that." Well‚ you believe in God, don't you?
98. YOU BELIEVE IN THE LOVE OF GOD?—WELL, SO DO WE. WHY DON'T WE AGREE ON THAT ? Why quibble over the little things we don't agree on? Why don't we work together, as Mohammed himself tried to teach. He said in these very passages I just read‚ let's quit quibbling over these things we don't agree on and let's try to work together on the things we do agree on.
99. LET'S NOT STICK TO HOW THEY INTERPRET WHAT HE'S SAYING, but what we by the Spirit can get out of what he's saying and that perhaps he really meant, since we know the Lord and the Holy Spirit and we may have a greater common feeling of understanding of it than even they do.
100. I THINK PERHAPS I CAN UNDERSTAND MOHAMMED BETTER THAN SOME OF HIS FOLLOWERS BECAUSE I'VE BEEN IN HIS SHOES in a sense. I have gone through what he went through and I know how he must have felt, and I know how people misinterpret what you say and how they don't act according to what you teach.
101. SO I HAVE A LOT OF SYMPATHY FOR THE POOR MAN. He had his problems and he was an awful lot like me in many ways, and so I can have a lot of sympathy for poor Mohammed. He had problems with his own people, and he's still having problems with his own people. So I think it's best to stick to what he actually said or is supposed to have said and which is in the accepted Holy Book of the Muslims, the Koran.
102. I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY SIGNIFICANT WHEN I SAW THE DEDICATION in the catalogue on the Trade Fair, the most beautiful colour page with that beautiful sign like the sun in gold and beautiful gold lettering, in which he said‚
103. "DEDICATED TO GOD THE COMPASSIONATE." Now quite obviously he wouldn't have put that in there as his testimony witness about God unless that's what he believes and that's the aspect that he wants to emphasise, God's compassion.
104. WHAT IS COMPASSION?—IT IS LOVING TO THE POINT OF REALLY HELPING. To be compassionate means to really care and truly be concerned, not to just say "I love you" and then walk off and forget it, not saying "be thou warmed and fed, when thou hast it beside thee" (James 2:16). But the compassionate are those who try to put feet to their prayers and kind deeds to their kinds words and try to do good as well as speak good, right?
105. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN JESUS WAS VERY VERY TIRED AND HE TRIED TO ESCAPE THE MULTITUDE and retire from the scene for a little rest but the people practically besieged the house‚ and when He looked on them He just couldn't rest, it says, "Because He had compassion upon the multitude, and so He healed all that came unto Him." (Mt.14:14.) Even though He was exhausted and worn out, Jesus ministered, as we often do.
106. SO IN US THEY HAVE FOUND, AS YOU SAY, SOME LIVING EXAMPLES THAT THE LOVE OF GOD DOES WORK, the love they would like to see and like to have in their own people and amongst mankind and nations. They see it and they like it and they would like to see it work‚ particularly if they can do it in the name of God and their own faith without having to totally accept our kind of faith.
107. WHAT THEY SEEM TO BE TRYING TO SAY IS, LET'S FORGET OUR DIFFERENCES and try to work together to really be kind and compassionate.—"God the Compassionate." In the Trade Fair book that was their main witness of God, "God the Compassionate," and if you'll really study the meaning of the word "compassionate" it means putting good deeds to your kind words, doing something about it. Really loving to the point of helping, not just saying so. As my brother said in his little paper,
108. "KIND WORDS MAY NEVER DIE, BUT THEY LOOK PRETTY SICK WITHOUT KIND DEEDS." Kind words may never die but they look pretty sick without kind deeds, got it? Isn't that true? Sounds like a lot of the church and Christians, doesn't it? All their kind words, but how many kind deeds?
109. SO SHOW LOVE AND COMPASSION BY PUTTING KIND DEEDS TO YOUR KIND WORDS. In other words, your actions speak louder than your words and what we show is better than just what we say. So God help us to show love, which is going to be in some ways difficult sometimes and sometimes not easy.
110. BUT THIS IS GOING TO BE THE REAL TEST OF YOUR FAITH AND YOUR LOVE, your patience, to try to help these‚ some of whom don't want to be helped and others of whom who, though they want your help, may not want your faith and may not want everything you have to give them.—And some may demand more, and with whom you must be patient and kind and try not to offend.
111. WE MUST DO WHATEVER WE DO FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. Whether it be in word or in deed, it must glorify the Lord and His love and show them that love, amen? Particularly the kind of love they really need, the spiritual love and compassion of the Lord.
112. SO ANYWAY, THESE ARE THE THINGS WE MUST REMEMBER and I'm just trying to brief you a little bit on the things I feel, and some of the things I've gotten in prayer considering the whole situation. So far what we've read here has been good, right?
113. "YE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, WHY DISPUTE YE ABOUT ABRAHAM when the law and the gospel were not revealed until after him?—Have ye no understanding?" That kind of sounds like the things that Paul said.
114. "AH‚ YE ARE THOSE WHO FELL TO DISPUTING even in matters of which ye had some knowledge, but why do ye dispute in matters of which ye have no knowledge?"—That sounds like some of the things Paul said too. "It is God who knows and ye who know not."
115. "ABRAHAM WAS NOT A JEW NOR YET A CHRISTIAN, BUT HE WAS TRUE IN FAITH and bowed his will to God's" meaning Islam, or submission‚ "and he joined not gods with God."—Well that certainly is Scriptural, is it not? "Without doubt among men the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him, as are also this apostle and those who believe."
116. SOUNDS ALMOST LIKE HE'S READING FROM PAUL AND EXPLAINING what Paul's saying, doesn't he?—Perhaps he was! Perhaps he was having someone read like they do in the Coloured churches.
117. I CAN REMEMBER GOING TO THE COLOURED CHURCHES down South where the poor preacher didn't have much education and couldn't even read, so they would get a reader up to read the Scriptures. The reader could read but the preacher could preach, and he would expound on what the reader read. So it sounds like maybe he was doing that at this time. Maybe he was having somebody read Paul and he's expounding on it, explaining it.
118. SOUNDS LIKE IT'S CERTAINLY A DISTINCT REFERENCE TO THE THINGS THAT PAUL SAID ALONG THE LINE OF ABRAHAM.—That we are the children of God through faith like Abraham‚ we are the seed of Abraham, through faith. Now don't say Children of God—maybe you better stay away from that with them, but we are the seed of Abraham by faith. (Gal.3:26,29.)
119. YOU CAN SAY WE'RE ABRAHAM'S ADOPTED CHILDREN because we believe like Abraham, right? We have faith in God like Abraham, so by faith we're his children, although we're not his natural children.
120. WE ARE, AS GOD'S WORD SAYS, GRAFTED-IN BRANCHES, grafted into the tree. We're not natural branches, we're not the natural seed of Abrahim, we're not Jews, according to the flesh‚ but we are children of Abraham by faith. (Rom.11:17,19,23.)
121. WE ARE THE SPIRITUAL SEED OF ABRAHAM and the unnatural spiritual branches grafted into the tree of faith, right? Well, that's something we ought to be able to agree on.
122. "GOD IS THE PROTECTOR OF THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH. It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray."—That's certainly no doubt true. Some of the People of the Book certainly don't live up to the Book. "But they shall lead you astray, not you, but themselves, and they do not perceive.
123. "YE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, WHY REJECT YE THE SIGNS OF GOD of which ye are yourselves witnesses. Ye People of the Book, why do ye clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while ye have knowledge?"—Boy oh boy! Sounds like some of the stuff we've said to the church people! I don't much blame him talking about that.
124. THESE ARE VERY INTERESTING PASSAGES we've just read. I have now read to you a part of Section Five and all of Section Six and all of Section Seven of Sura 3. I didn't read all of Section Five. Well‚ there's something which should be interesting to Catholics!: Section Five begins about Mary, how about that! Would you like to hear what he has to say about Mary?
124. "BEHOLD THE ANGEL SAID, OH MARY, GOD HATH CHOSEN THEE AND PURIFIED THEE, chosen thee above the women of all nations."—That certainly is true, right? "Oh Mary, worship thy Lord devoutly, prostrate thyself and bow down in prayer with those who bow down."—He'd probably run into a lot of Maryolatry by this time, Mary-worship, right? He's probably trying to give them a little hint‚ "Well, Mary has to humble herself too, and bow down and worship the Lord."
125. "THIS IS PART OF THE TIDINGS OF THE THINGS UNSEEN WHICH WE REVEAL UNTO THEE, O Apostle, by inspiration. Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with arrows as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary, nor wast thou with them when they disputed the point."—I don't know what that means but it sounds like when they were at the crucifixion, yes, that's obvious. I don't exactly understand what he means by this "O Apostle," but we'll get into that maybe later. Sounds like he's talking to Paul.
126. "BEHOLD THE ANGEL SAID, O MARY, GOD GIVETH THEE GLAD TIDINGS of a word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and in the hereafter, and of the company of those nearest to God. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity and he shall be of the company of the righteous.
127. "SHE SAID, OH MY LORD‚ HOW SHALL I HAVE A SON WHEN NO MAN HATH TOUCHED ME. He said, even so God createth what He willeth when He hath decreed a plan, He but sayeth to it 'be' and it is."—Wow!—This is pretty strong evidence they believe in the virgin birth!
128. WELL, IF THEY BELIEVE IN THE VIRGIN BIRTH, THEN THEY HAVE GOT TO BELIEVE IN THE DIVINITY OF JESUS, that He was partly God, even though according to some of their advocates they claim they don't. See they're contradicting their own Bible, because if He was virgin-born then He was the Son of God!
129. "EVEN SO GOD CREATETH WHAT HE WILLETH"—in other words He‚ Jesus, was a creation of God. Oh, this is exactly according to the Scriptures! Can you think of a verse on it? What does God's Word say about Jesus? It says that He was "the beginning of the creation of God!" (Rev.3:14.)
130. NOW YOU KNOW THE CATHOLICS AND SOME ARE SO STRONG ON THE SO-CALLED TRINITY, but I don't even believe in the Trinity. You can't find that word in the Bible, so why should I believe it? But I believe in the Father and I believe in the Son, Jesus, and I believe in the Holy Ghost.
131. IF YOU WANT TO CALL IT TRINITY, ALL RIGHT, BUT I DON'T BELIEVE IN IT in some ways‚ the way some over-emphasise and stress it, you know. You would think that Jesus just always was, just like God, but in a sense He was not until He was made man, although He was in the beginning and He was a part of God. But God's Word also says that He was the beginning of the creation of God—you know where that's found? I recall it's in Revelation in the first two or three chapters there. (Rev.3:14.)
132. "GOD BUT SAYETH TO IT 'BE' AND IT IS." So you say you don't believe it? Well, He did it!: Virgin birth! "And God will teach Him the Book and wisdom, the law and the gospel and appoint Him an apostle to the children of Israel with this message."—Now who's he talking about? Jesus! Was He an apostle?—One with a message to the children of Israel? He certainly was!—To the Jews, right?
133. "I HAVE COME TO YOU WITH A SIGN FROM YOUR LORD in that I make for you out of clay as it were the figure of a bird and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God's leave‚ and I heal those born blind and the lepers and I quicken the dead."—Now this about the bird we don't know‚ he may have gotten that idea from the Holy Spirit or something or who knows?
134. WE DON'T KNOW ALL THE MIRACLES THAT JESUS DID. Was it John who said if everything Jesus ever said and did were to be written, there would be so many books the world couldn't contain it! (John 21:25.) Kind of reminds me of the MO Letters! It would be almost too many‚ but you still need it.
135. "AND I QUICKEN THE DEAD BY GOD'S LEAVE and I declare to you what ye eat and what ye store in your houses, surely therein as a sign for you if ye did not believe. I have come to you to attest the law which was before Me."—In other words, as Jesus Himself said, confirming the law, to fulfill the law.
136. "AND TO MAKE LAWFUL TO YOU PART OF WHAT WAS BEFORE FORBIDDEN TO YOU."—Hasn't He given us liberty? "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me." He's still giving the message of Jesus.
137. WELL, THIS WAS THE GENERAL MESSAGE OF JESUS. How do we know Jesus didn't say this? We don't have all the quotations of everything Jesus ever said. How do we know God didn't give him this?
138. THERE IS ONE SURE THING THAT EVEN ALL OF HIS CRITICS ACKNOWLEDGE of Mohammed, he did a very excellent job of purifying the Arabs and purging them of much of their bad religion and sins and iniquities and corruptions.
139. HE REALLY FORMED A RELIGION WHICH WAS MUCH BETTER FOR THEM than what they had before, and extremely similar to both Judaism and Christianity‚ from which of course it's taken, and from his own revelations which he claims to have received from God—and who am I to say that he didn't?
140. NOW IF YOU WANT TO PICK FAULTS AND FIND FLAWS in some of the things he said and some of the revelations he said, then I'm sure you could probably find plenty, just like you could probably find plenty of mistakes in the MO Letters.
141. "IN A MULTITUDE OF WORDS THERE LACKETH NOT SIN" (Pr.10:19) and I'm bound to have made some mistakes and said some wrong things somewhere, but I would say it was a mistake of the head, not of the heart. (MO prays:)
142. LORD, WE ASK THEE RIGHT NOW, IN JESUS NAME, TO HELP US TO HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING. We want to love these people and to know more about them in order that we can understand them better and truly comprehend their good points, and try to emphasise the things that we have in common, Lord‚ and not to over emphasise our differences.
143. HELP US TO WITNESS TO THEM THY LOVE AND TO LOVE THEM and even win them to loving Thee more. We should try to emphasise and constantly remind ourselves of the many ways in which we are the same or similar, and the points of contact that we have, the things we agree on, the things which we both believe.
144. WE THANK YOU LORD THAT THERE ARE MANY POINTS OF AGREEMENT like this with Islam, one God and even an acceptance of much of Biblical history, as well as an acceptance of Christ as a true Prophet of God, although there are other differences. So Lord, we do ask Thee to help us to be able to communicate with these precious people that You love or You wouldn't have sent us here—and communicate Thy love most of all.
145. HELP US NOT TO DISCUSS RELIGION ANY MORE THAN WE CAN HELP. Help us just to show love and show You, Jesus, to them‚ something they can see and feel and understand without all the theological hair-splitting doctrines of the churches and religious people and self-righteous hypocrites and Pharisees that are on both sides.
146. HELP US TO BE DIFFERENT, LORD, TO BE A GOOD SAMPLE OF YOU AND YOUR LOVE. And that's what really counts, Lord. But help us, Lord to understand them enough, and their religion and their customs and their ways, so that we shall be aware of the differences which might cause friction or difficulty in things we do or say‚ so we will not offend them in any way.
147. SO HELP US TO TRY TO AGREE WITH THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. They have received us as friends and opened their homes to us, been hospitable, and cared for us well, Lord, showing us genuine love the best they know how.
148. SO HELP US, LORD, TO BE POSITIVE, HELP US TO BE ENCOURAGING, LOVING, FAITHFUL, cheerful, praising Thee, always loving Thee, loving them and loving each other. Hallelujah! Thank You Lord! Praise You Jesus! Give us such great wisdom, Lord, help us to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves, little lambs of love, great wisdom Lord.
149. GIVE US GREAT WISDOM, HUMILITY AND LOVE, LORD‚ THESE THREE BEING THE SAME and virtually synonymous‚ wisdom‚ humility and love—but the greatest of these is love. Having at the same time faith and hope, Lord, but still the greatest of these is love. Please help us, Lord, to remember that constantly‚ in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank You Lord!—Amen!