Can We Evangelize to Muslims?

Muslim scholars teach the “doctrine of tahrif,” which means “corruption” in Arabic. Christians and Jews, they claim, have “corrupted” the Torah and the Gospel (Injil in Arabic). However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the fact that Mohammed himself did not teach this. As we will see in a moment from the Koran itself, Mohammed commanded his followers to follow the Torah and the Gospel and to seek those out among the Jews and Christians who were in possession of these gifts from God before Islam came to be. Mohammed claimed the Jews and Christians did not understand the great tomes they possessed, but he never denied that they possessed those great tomes; he never denied that Jews and Christians possess true revelations from God. Mohammed claimed that the Torah and the Gospel actually point to him (Mohammed) as the true and final prophet of God, but that Christians and Jews do not understand this. But again, according to Mohammed, there are no real contradictions between the Torah, the Psalms, the “Injil,” and the Koran.

In fact, as we will see below, in one place, the Koran seems to say the entirety of the Bible actually points to him. Thus, Muslims should believe the entire Bible!

So where did the doctrine of “Tahrif” come from? This concept represents a later development in Muslim theology Muslim scholars developed in order to explain the obvious contradictions between the Koran and the Bible. But the problem with this is, not only did Mohammed never teach “tahrif,” as I said, we can know as a matter of historical fact that the idea itself is false anyway! For example, when Mohammed commands his followers to listen to and obey the “Injil,” or “Gospel,” that the Christians possessed, we know precisely what constituted that “Gospel” about which Mohammed spoke. Today, we have the Chester Beatty Papyri, dated from ca. AD 250 (some scholars today say it was written even earlier), over 300 years before Mohammed was born, and which contains the substance of the four Gospels as we have them today! Plus, we have the Codex Vaticanus, AD 325-350, which contains the entire New Testament, and 5,300 more manuscripts, written in many different languages (Latin, Greek, Aramaic, etc.) that all demonstrate the “Gospel” of Mohammed’s day is essentially the same Gospel we have today.

The Koran and the Bible

With the above in mind, I recommend the “Detective Columbo” approach when conversing with Muslims. In other words, I ask questions:

Maybe I’m mistaken, so perhaps you can help me, but I don’t understand why on the one hand the Koran states we should follow the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, the Bible, and the witness of Jesus while elsewhere it denies some of the most basic teachings Jews and Christians hold dear from these very sacred books. The Koran states these are “revelations from God,” and yet denies essential teachings from these same revelations. Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

Then I list these texts from the Koran for starters:

The Apostles We sent before you were but men whom We inspired with revelations and with scriptures. Ask the People of the Book, if you doubt this (Sura 16:43).

The “People of the Book” are the Jews and Christians.

Say: People of the Book, you will attain nothing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord. That which is revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase the wickedness and unbelief of many among them. But do not grieve for the unbelievers (Sura 5:68).

After them, We sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating what was revealed before it in the Torah, a guide and an admonition to the righteous. Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein. Evil-doers are those that do not base their judgments on God’s revelations (Sura 5:46-47).

According to Mohammed, Jesus was a prophet and his words—the Gospel—should be believed and obeyed!

Here’s where the problems really start. The question I ask my Muslim friends is this:

The Koran teaches we should believe and follow the revelations of both the Torah and the Gospel, but it seems to me, with all due respect—maybe I’m wrong here—but it seems to me, Mohammed did not know or understand the clear teachings of these that he acknowledged to be “revelations” from God.

At this point I give these examples that are not intended to be exhaustive. These are just a few among the many we could cite:

1. Sura 2:75 tells us that the Torah is “the Word of God.”
2. Sura 10:62-64: “The servants of God have nothing to fear or to regret. Those that have faith and keep from evil shall rejoice both in this world and in the hereafter; the Word of God shall never change. That is the supreme triumph.”
3. Sura 6:34 tells us “none can alter the words of Allah,” yet, the “Doctrine of Tahrif” says, in essence, “the Word of God” was corrupted by Jews and Christians. This simply does not work here. Moreover, Muslims teach a “doctrine of Naskh” as well. “Naskh” is Arabic for “abrogation.” It states later “revelations” in the Koran can “abrogate” earlier ones. But if the “word of God” cannot change, how can there be “abrogation?”

Let’s continue:

4. The original “Gospel” of Jesus Christ, or Injil, is a revelation from God according to Sura 5:46, 66, 68, and 70.
5. Jesus was a prophet and his words should be believed by Muslims (Sura 4:171; 5:77). Thus, Christians and Muslims were obligated to accept the “Gospel” of Mohammed’s day, according to the Koran. In fact, Sura 10:94 even says, “If thou [Mohammed] wert in doubt as to what We have revealed Unto thee, then ask those Who have been reading The Book [the Bible] from before thee; The truth hath indeed come To thee from thy Lord; So be in no wise Of those who doubt.”

That was allegedly God speaking to Mohammed and telling him to go to the Bible in order to confirm the revelations he was receiving!

The problem for Muslims is this: If you obey what God said, according to the Koran, to Mohammed, you will end up Christian. And this is why:

1. The Koran says:

Jesus is not the Son of God in Sura 19:35; 10:68.

The Bible says:

Jesus is the Son of God in John 1:18; 3:16; 17:1-5, etc.

In fact, in Mark 14:62, the High Priest had placed Jesus Christ under oath exercising his “power of adjuration” from Leviticus 5:1 (seeMatt. 26:63), and demanded to know specifically if Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God. Jesus’ response was telling. He declared:

“I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his clothes, and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy…”

Not only did Jesus declare himself to be the Son of God and referenceDaniel 7:13, a messianic text, and apply it to himself, but he also used the divine name, I AM, from Exodus 3:14, for himself as well! In one fell swoop, he refers to himself as God, the Son of God, and the Messiah. The Koran denies he is the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh.

Moreover, Jesus blessed both Nathanael in John 1:49 and, of course, St. Peter in Matt. 16:13-18 for declaring him to be the Son of God.

2. The Koran says:

Jesus did not die, nor was he crucified, according to Sura 4:157-59. Someone else was crucified in his place, and Christians wrongly believe he was crucified. God actually took Jesus up alive.

The Bible (and history) says:

The Old Testament predicted Jesus would die in Is. 53:5-10; Psalm 22:16; Dan. 9:26; Zech. 12:10, and Wisdom 2:20.

Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection (only a corpse can be resurrected!) in John 2:19-21; 10:10-11; Matt. 12:40; Mark 8:31, etc. In Matt. 17:22-23, Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men and they will kill him, and the third day He will be raised.”

Moreover, we have multiple secular histories that record the same. Josephus’, “Aniquities of the Jews” 18:3, says: “Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross.”

Tacitus, the Roman Historian, “Annals,” 15:44. “A wise man who was called Jesus… Pilate condemned him to be condemned and to die.”

Julius Africanus, in ca. 220 AD, records the words of Thallus, the first century historian, who, “… when discussing the darkness which fell upon the land during the crucifixion of Christ…” said it was an eclipse.

“The Letter of Mara Bar-Serapion” (ca. 70 AD), housed in the British Museum, speaks of Christ’s death, asking: “What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?”

Even the often anti-Christian Jewish Talmud acknowledges “on the eve of the Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth)…” (Babylonian Talmud, Sandhedrin 43a)

We cannot even begin to quote the thousands of references from the early Christians referring to our crucified and resurrected Lord!

3. The Koran says Jesus is not God in Sura 5:72-73.

The Bible could hardly be clearer that Jesus is God. Here are just a few references:

In John 1:1-3, and Col. 1:15-16 Jesus is not only plainly called God (in John 1:1), but he is also referred to as the Creator of all things. God alone is the Creator of all things (see Genesis 1:1; Is. 44:24). InJohn 5:17-18, St. John tells us plainly that Jesus is “equal with the Father.” John 8:24; 28; 58, and 18:1-6, each reveal Jesus Christ using the divine name “I AM” for himself. See also Titus 2:13; John 20:28, and Heb. 1:6-11.

In Mark 2:28, Jesus refers to himself as “Lord of the Sabbath.” Only YHWH is Lord of the Sabbath (see Exodus 20:10, for example).

In Rev. 1:8, we have these words from almighty God: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” There can be no doubt that these words hearken back to Is. 44:6:

Thus saith the Lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of Hosts: I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God” (see also Is. 48:16).

This has to refer to almighty God. And yet, Jesus says in Rev. 22:13: “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

And there is much, much more!

This is beyond the scope of this blog post, but I have found that both the Koran and Muslims in general do not understand what Christians teach about the Trinity and the divinity of Christ. I have had remarkable success in explaining the Trinity to Muslims using the analogies of the family and St. Augustine’s anthropological argumentfound here.

A Simple Question

In view of just these three examples, I have to ask my Muslim friends a question. Why would I accept the Koran which tells me to listen to the Torah, the Gospel, and even the entire Bible, when the Koran so blatantly contradicts the Bible?

And if I consider this especially in view of the fact that Jesus had already warned us “there shall arise false Christ’s and false prophets… Behold I have told you beforehand” in Matt. 24:24-25, and I could also add I John 4:1, which similarly warns, “Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” and then we have texts like I Tim. 4:1-3, Gal. 1:8-9, and II Cor. 11:3-4, and 13-14, that also give similar warnings, why would I ignore all of these warnings and accept the Koran which is inundated with false prophecies?

I could go on to show you how Jewish belief is misunderstood in the Koran. I could show you the logical inconsistencies in the Koran itself. In fact, If you want to learn this and a whole lot more of the errors of Islam, I suggest you click here.

But the bottom line here is this: Anyone who would honestly examine the facts concerning the Koran and the Bible must conclude Jesus Christ to be the Lord, God of heaven and earth, who calls us all to himself, and the Koran to be in grave error. What say you?



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Let’s look at the foundation for all three Abrahamic religions. We know today that there was no six day creation, no global flood, no mass Exodus from Egypt, and no Conquest of Canaan. There is little disagreement among mainstream and leading scholars on these points. Further, with regards to Christianity, evolution does away with original sin – our DNA tells us there was no 2-person human bottleneck in our evolution. Without these things, there is no foundation for Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, Allah or whatever you want to call Him. Arguing about which is the “true” mythical religion is hardly worth the time and effort.

  2. Troy Kuhn Reply

    Patrick Gannon, have you ever read the bible? There is certainly no clear evidence to counter what is stated in the bible. Who are some of your alleged mainstream scholars to support your claims? Please advise on what it is like to be all-knowing, personally not familiar with the concept.

    1. Patrick Gannon Reply

      Yes Troy, I have read the bible, and studied religious history and early Christianity in some detail. Your statement that there is no clear evidence to counter what is stated in the bible is counter to overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Even the RCC doesn’t require belief in a six day creation, or a global flood, although they “allow” Catholics to believe this. The last few popes have accepted evolution to ever greater degrees, but in so doing, have dug themselves into a hole with regard to original sin. There is no evidence whatsoever for a global flood, and the Church generally teaches that this was a local event, although I guess they allow you to believe in a literal global flood. Of course we know today with no reasonable doubt whatsoever, that there was no global flood. We also know that there isn’t a shard of broken pottery, a spear or arrow tip, a shield or wagon wheel to support the mass Exodus myth. Jewish archaeologists scoured the mid-east and gave it up as a lost cause – as have all other mainstream archaeologists who have tried to confirm the account. I don’t have the time and space here to lay out the arguments, but you can search the internet easily enough. You’ll find that apologists always start with, ‘Although there is no evidence for a mass exodus…..” then they will go on to tell you that it happened because the bible said it happened despite the implausible logistics of sending 2-3 million people across the desert for 40 years. Did you know that if you stood them heel to toe, you’d have two lines stretching from Cairo to Jerusalem? That’s a lot of people – and unlike other migrations, they left nothing to show that they were there. Similarly, there is evidence that the Persians ransacked Canaan, but none that a bunch of Hebrews did so. At that time in history, the Egyptians were the superpower, and fielded the largest army in history at that time – about 100,000 men, yet the bible says the Hebrews had 600,000 fighting men. Hard to imagine how they were held as captives, and yet were so strong that after 40 years, they could conquer Canaan through genocidal attacks – again without leaving a trace. The only way the Exodus story works is if the pillar of salt and fire that followed them around was a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up all evidence of their passage.
      To research the Exodus, I would suggest you start with Wikipedia; there are a number of sources listed. Then you can start searching for other sites, and except for sites like AiG (Answers in Genesis), you’ll find that it’s agreed upon that there is no evidence for this event. People will direct you to a movie that contests the date of the Exodus – but the movie says nothing about evidence for the event itself, and if such evidence existed, there would be no need to argue about the date, because with scientific dating methods, we’d know the date. But there’s nothing to test, and the obvious conclusion is that the event didn’t happen – certainly not as written. Perhaps a small band of pilgrims returned to Canaan and stumbled on to some magic mushrooms along the way and had some stories of wild visions that they put in a book centuries later, but the event itself has no evidence to support it.

      1. STEPHEN Reply

        Why 7 days in a week?
        Ancient people use 7 celestial things (Sun, Moon and 5 visible planet) to name days in a week. Ancient Roman days are Dies Sol, dies Luna, dies Mars, dies Mercure, dies Jupiter, dies Venus, and dies Saturn.
        Jews monotheistic religion use theology to narate creation of universe, and they use numbers. Day First (Yom Rishon) to Day of Rest (Yom Sabbath).

        Some religion still talk about 7 layers of heaven.

        To controverse it with actual event is stupidity.

        RCC doesn’t teach actual history or astronomy with her bible. She teaches theology. The purpose of human being in the cosmos. Not just survive, mating, generating and then died, although we actually do those.

      2. Daniel mc brearty Reply

        A bunch of scientists get together come up with a theory and I state it’s just a theory and everyone believes them . God is great and the bible is real every last word , no human could pen something like that it’s gods word

        1. Patrick Gannon Reply

          Daniel, how can we know that it was God’s word? We don’t have a single shred or scrap of the original texts of any part of the bible, new or old. If Yahweh-Jesus went through so much effort to present his literal or inspired word from pen to paper, why didn’t he take at least some minimal care to protect the original? In those days everything was hand copied, and the scraps of copies we have all have contradictions and errors. We have no way of knowing what the original word of your god was. Read some of Bart Ehrman’s books about the texts that we have today and how they evolved and changed over time.

  3. Gallibus Reply

    What evidence is there for magic mushrooms?

    1. Patrick Gannon Reply

      I assume that is directed to me. Gallibus, that’s what’s called “sarcasm.” It was a joke.
      I said, ” Perhaps a small band of pilgrims returned to Canaan and stumbled on to some magic mushrooms along the way and had some stories of wild visions that they put in a book centuries later, but the event itself has no evidence to support it.”
      It’s as realistic an explanation as ancient aliens. There’s no evidence anything remotely resembling the Exodus as described in the bible ever happened, but we still have people killing each other over this ancient myth.
      I’ve searched a bit to see what the RCCs position is on the reality of the Exodus, and can’t find much except links pointing to articles that contain arguments (but not evidence – there is none) to support the idea that it happened. We can see that there were some Jews in Egypt at some time, perhaps as skilled labor, but we have zero evidence for the events as described in the bible. Eventually, the Church is going to have to face that music, just as it had to face the idea that the earth went around the sun. The Exodus (and the conquest of Canaan for which there is also no evidence), are at the heart of Judaism. If Christ didn’t really resurrect, then Christianity is invalid – if the Exodus didn’t occur, then Judaism is invalid (and no need for a saving Jesus).
      The Church has some real problems. We know today beyond any reasonable doubt that there was no six day creation, there was no two-person DNA bottleneck (Adam/Eve), there was no global flood, there was no mass Exodus from Egypt and there was no conquest of Canaan. These things are well accepted by all but a few religious scholars for the most part. Without these things, there is no foundation for Yahweh, hence no need for Jesus to save us from him.

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