Friendship, acts of kindness, and genuine hospitality go a long way in fostering the right environment for effective evangelism. But it is the testimony of the Gospel writers that provide the most reliable witness to the gospel.
There are several revisionist theories regarding the origins of Christianity peddled in popular academic culture. One of the more pervasive ones claims that a number of legitimate yet competing understandings of Jesus existed in the first century. Some viewed him as a great moral teacher. Others saw him as a political activist. Still others considered him an apocalyptic preacher. At some point, the theory goes, men began to attribute a divine nature to him. And in order to achieve ecclesial and political hegemony, they established this as the orthodox position.
If you have a current subscription or current on-line account please log-in here to read the rest of this article. 1 [ Back ] Thomas Michel, A Muslim Theologian's Response to Christianity: Ibn Taymiyya's Al-Jawab Al-Sahih (Delmar: Caravan Books, 1984), 143. 2 [ Back ] See Abdul Saleeb (with R. C. Sproul), The Dark Side of Islam (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003), 9-14. 3 [ Back ] Misha'al ibn Abdullah, What Did Jesus Really Say? (Ann Arbor: Islamic Assembly of North America, 1996), 66. 4 [ Back ] Ahmed Deedat, Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction? (Woodside, NY: Islamic Propagation Center International, n.d.), 2. 5 [ Back ] A good apologetics text for dealing with theological issues is Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb's Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002). 6 [ Back ] See, among a host of others, F. F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins outside the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974). 7 [ Back ] Although Louay Fatoohi has recently tried to suggest this in The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur'an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources (Birmingham: Luna Plena, 2008). 8 [ Back ] See Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 113-14. 9 [ Back ] To see how one might advance this point vis-à-vis a Muslim, see Michael Licona, Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006). 10 [ Back ] Interestingly, some Muslims (mostly those in marginal sects within Islam) have accepted Jesus' crucifixion but not his death. See, for example, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's outrageous Jesus in India: Jesus' Deliverance from the Cross and Journey to India (Gurdaspur: Islam International Publications, 2003). Also see the debate over the death and resurrection between John Warwick Montgomery and Shabir Ally, available in audio format: http://www.ciltpp.com/tap_deba.htm.
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Adam S. Francisco is assistant professor of history at Concordia College (Bronxville, New York).
Issue: "Jesus Among other Christs" May/June 2009 Vol. 18 No. 3 Page number(s): 26-29
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