Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Jewish and Christian Converts to Islam: Some Questions for Muslims to Ponder"

By 

Bassam Zawadi

Shamoun wrote an article here.

This is all a result of Shamoun not understanding the point that Muslims are trying to make. Muslims are not saying that the Christians and Jews today should follow the Law. What we are saying is that they should follow Islam and become Muslims. 

However, what we also do is criticize the hypocrisy of Christians who claim to love Jesus and follow him and yet don't do what he taught and that is "follow the Law". However, because Muslims don't believe that Jesus' revelation and teaches are to be applied today and were only for a specific amount of time, we don't apply them. However, since Christians insist on rejecting the prophet hood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and want to stick to Jesus, then we ask the Christians why they don't follow the teachings of Jesus? Where on earth did Jesus teach that he came to die for the sins of the world and that his sacrifice came to replace the Law? Where? They can't show this. They have to appeal to Paul or whoever else for that. When we read Jesus' teachings, we clearly see that he taught his people to stick to the Law...

 

Matthew 19:16-21

    16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

    17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

    18"Which ones?" the man inquired.

   Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,'[d] and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'[e]"

    20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"

    21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

 

Here we see a man asking Jesus how to attain eternal life. Jesus didn't say "I am going to get crucified for your sins very soon. So if you believe in that you will have eternal life." No, Jesus told him to obey the commandments (good works) and then to follow him, which means to believe in him as a Prophet of God and do what ever he says (faith). 

Just in case a Christian tries to argue back that Jesus was only emphasizing the ten commandments then I would simply respond back by showing that Jesus did not only emphasize on the ten commandments...

 

Mark 7:10

10For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'

 

The law regarding putting someone to death for cursing his parents is found in Leviticus 20:29, which is not part of the ten commandments.

Also...

Luke 5:14

Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

 

The concept of sacrifices is not found in the ten commandments. 

So Jesus did not only emphasize on the ten commandments. He emphasized that they should even do everything that the teachers of the law told them to do...

 

Matthew 23:1-3

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

 

Obviously the teachers of the law are telling people to follow the law and Jesus ordered people to follow what the teachers say, which consequently means that Jesus is indirectly telling them to follow the law!

 

Now even Muslims believe that when Jesus came, some rules and regulations of the Law did not apply to his people anymore. However, that does not mean that it was completely replaced!

Paul spoke rudely about the Law...

Hebrews 7:18-19

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

 

The NIV Bible commentary says...

Perfection was not possible under the Levitical priesthood, but Jesus' high-priestly ministry replaces the whole OT system of approaching God and ?perfects' believers in a relationship with him. (NIV Bible Commentary, Commentary on Hebrews 7:1-28)

John Gill says...

And next the apostle proves the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood from this consideration, that there is another priest risen up, not of the order of Aaron, but of the order of Melchizedek, of which there would have been no need, if the Levitical priesthood had been perfect; nor would it have been changed, as it is, and which has also made a change of the law, by which it is established, necessary,...(John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, Commentary on Hebrews 7:8, Source)

 

Paul says once again...

 

Hebrews 8:13

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

 

NIV Bible commentary says...

The need for the priesthood, sanctuary and sacrificial system of the old covenant is now removed. This makes it possible for believers of every race and culture to draw near to God through Jesus. Although God says nothing specifically about this in the prophecy of Jeremiah, by calling this covenant ?new', he has made the first one obsolete. So the ritual provisions of the old covenant are at the heart of what is obsolete and ageing and will soon disappear. (NIV Bible Commentary, Commentary on Hebrews 8:13)

 

 

Paul said that the Law is weak and useless. This is something that clearly contradicts what the Old Testament says about the Law...

 

Psalms 19:7

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

 

I had a Christian friend try to respond back to this argument in an email exchange. This is what he said...

 

Bassam,
I do not believe that Hebrews 7:18-19 contradict Psalm 19:7.

Hebrews 7:18-19
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

Psalm 19:7
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

The comment in Heb 7 is about what the Law does FOR US (see the first phrase of Heb 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect)).  It is not a comment about the Law itself.  The writer is saying that the Law cannot make us perfect even if the Law is perfect itself.  See Heb 7:11 prior to 18-19...

1If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come?one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?

When he says "if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood"... he is talking about attaining perfection through the Law.  So he concludes that the law is weak and useless TO MAKE US PERFECT.

Psalm 19:7 says that the Law is perfect.  And I believe it was and still is.  It is perfect for what God created it for.  If the Law was able to make us perfect I believe that it would have been given from the beginning of time when Adam and Eve were created.  But it wasn't.  It wasn't until about 3400 years ago that it was given.  This was thousands of years after the creation of man and woman (tens of thousands if you ask me really... but that's another discussion :)

So the Law is perfect but is not able to make us perfect.  There is not contradiction is this.

 

However, I replied back to my friend...

Do you really think that you and all Christians are perfect? Of course your not perfect. Believing in Jesus' crucifixion and his dying for your sins has not made you perfect. You still commit sins. You still repent to God. So if the Law is "weak and useless", (which I personally think is an offensive way to talk about God's law) because it cannot make you perfect then similarly the whole crucifixion ideology should also be "weak and useless" since it has not made you perfect as well. This is the conclusion to reach if we want to be consistent.

God does not expect us to be perfect. He knows we will crack and commit sins and that's why God asks us to repent. This same thing happens even in Christianity. Jesus asks you to repent to the Father. Why if your debt as has been paid already? So nothing really has changed. The crucifixion has not resulted in making sinless people or stopping the corruption of the world. It has not offered us anything that the Law hasn't.

 

I received no response from him on that because he knows he is being inconsistent.

Secondly, the Old Testament says that the Law is perfect and its purpose is for reviving the soul. Let me post the verse again...

 

Psalms 19:7

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

 

Some Christians may even try to argue back that when Paul says "law" he is referring to the Mosaic sacrificial Law and that when Psalm 19 says "law" it is referring to the WHOLE Law of God, which includes both Old and New Testament.

However, Psalm 19 is obviously is way before the New Testament came up. So it was talking about a Law that was perfect and it did not include believing in some one who died for your sins, nor in believing in a triune God. Christians will then argue back that people before the coming of Jesus believed in someone who is to come and die for them, however no evidence for that exists. So no point trying to argue back on that point.

In conclusion, Christians are hypocrites for claiming to love and follow Jesus and yet don't follow the Law, which Jesus taught. Muslims are not saying that Christians should follow the Law. Muslims say that they should follow Islam and become Muslims. We are only pointing out the hypocrisy and ignorance of Christians who claim to love and follow Jesus' teachings, yet don't do so.

 

Feel free to contact me at b_zawadi@hotmail.com