Friday, May 24, 2013

What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur'an by James R. White


White analyzes the Qur'an and its teachings on issues of most interest to Christians in their dialog with Muslims. This includes What the Qur'an says about who God and Jesus are, what God's purposes are, and how we are to know God.

White does not try to refute the Qur'an. He does point out the main areas of conflict and gives reasons for not believing it is a revelation from God.

He explores the origin of the Qur'an and the history of Muhammad, including controversial traditions. He covers the importance of monotheism to Muslims, frequently pointing out where the Qur'an gives a misunderstanding of Christianity. “The Qur'an is in error in its view of Christian belief.” (98) He notes the troubling teaching that Muslims are to fight against those who do not believe in Allah, who do not adopt the Muslim religion.

After questioning the accuracy of the Qur'an, White explores the reliability of the New Testament accounts. He notes that “the Qur'an stands firmly and inalterably against the mass of historical evidence” when it comes to the cross. (137) He also explores what Islam teaches about salvation, sin, and forgiveness and how that compares with the Bible. He refutes the Muslim claim that Christians corrupted the gospel. (White says this topic is the most important one he addresses in this book and every Christian should be prepared to discuss it.)

Other topics include the fact that Muhammad was not prophesied about in the Bible, the Qur'an falls short of perfection when scrutinized the same way Muslims do the Bible, that the author of the Qur'an had no direct knowledge of or access to the New Testament, and the problems with the controlled transmission of the Qur'an text.

One of his conclusions: “If the Qur'an means what it says, then we must judge by the standard it commands us to use. When we do, Muhammad fails the test of a prophet... Every Muslim must give serious consideration to this dilemma, one that is brought upon him or her by the very text of the Islamic holy book.” (187) White later notes that the Qur'an also fails the test commanded in Surah 5:47. (286)

White investigates and quotes the Qur'an and the hadith texts at length so that Muslims will know it has been fairly and honestly examined. He includes a call for Muslims to consider Jesus in his conclusion.

This is not a fluffy book. White has gone to great lengths to make the teachings of the Qur'an, often a mysterious and confusing book, accessible to Christians. If you anticipate dialogging with a Muslim, you need to have this book as a resource.

James R. White is the author of several books. He is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, and blogs at the ministry site, www.aomin.org. He is a respected debater and an elder at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. He and his family live in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bethany House Publishers, 320 pages. Publisher's product page.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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