Islam can be as mysterious as a woman in a full body burka.  In this issue find out how Islam impales itself with its own claims.
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Islam impales itself

Destroying every thing exalted against the knowledge of God.

All false religions are self-refuting.  That is to say, when we examine them we find that they eventually knock themselves out with their own claims. 
Recently I saw a video that really illustrates this well.  A girl was bouncing a ball around in her room like a volleyball player.  The first couple of hits she bumped it up in the air.  Then, she bounced it off the wall a couple of times.  Then she swung back and spiked the ball as hard as she could into the wall.  

Unfortunately, the laws of physics were not on her side.  The ball ricocheted back with just as much force and slammed her in the face.  She fell to the ground with a thud because she had knocked herself out with her own hand.

That’s exactly what happens in every false religion. If we examine it closely, we will find contradictions which make that faith completely untenable.  They will knock themselves out with by their own hand.

We made this same point in our last issue of our newsletter when we talked about the task of apologetics and our need to Defend the Faith.  In this newsletter, we are going to examine one particular religion that exalts itself against the knowledge of God: Islam.

Because Islam is often in the news and seeming to gain a degree of strength in the western world, it would be good to pause and consider how it caves in upon itself.

The following articles will expose how Islam is logically incoherent and spiritually defunct as a religion.  It will also give you the ability to intelligently engage a Muslim and press his need for Christ.

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The Dilemma of Islam 

Muslim people commonly object to the trustworthiness of the Bible.  They deny the Christian Scriptures because they say the Bible is corrupt. 

But such a claim puts them in quite a pickle!

In reality, the Quran speaks quite favorably of the Christian Scriptures. As a matter of fact, a number of passages in the Quran commend the Bible as the word of Allah.

For instance, Sura 3:3-4 says, "He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.  Before, as guidance for the people. And He revealed the Qur'an."  (Italics added for emphasis.)

This passage actually puts the Torah and Gospel on the same level as the Koran itself!

There are many other similar texts that could be cited.  But this one is sufficient to show how the Muslim has no ground to deny the Bible's teaching. If he denies it, he denies the word of Allah!

The Quran also says that the Word of Allah cannot be corrupted (Sura 18:27). So if a Muslim insists that the Christians fudged the Scriptures, one only need point out that Allah's word is (supposedly) unable to be corrupted. 

[And if he is still insistent, then you can simply say, "Why do I want to serve a god who cannot even preserve his own word from corruption?"]

This is the dilemma though:

If a Muslim says the Bible is corrupt, Islam is wrong because it is supposed to be the word of Allah. 

If he accepts that the Bible is the word of Allah, he still must deny Islam. That's because the Bible teaches a completely different God than the one found in the Quran.

David Wood likens it to a prophet who says, "In an hour there will be a sign in the heavens that will reveal that I am a prophet of God."  After waiting for an hour, a sign really does appear in the sky.  However, it says, "This man is a liar and a false prophet."  

If we say that the sign was true, then he is a false prophet.  But if we say that the sign was false, he is still a false prophet because his prediction didn't come true.

In the same way, the Quran deals a deadly blow to itself by affirming the Bible.  If a Muslim says it is false, he denies the validity of his own god's word and he must deny Islam.  If he accepts it, he must still deny his god because the Bible presents a completely different God.

Nothing Like Allah Means Allah is Nothing

Islam is similar to Christianity in that it believes in the transcendence of God. Each holds that God is distinct from and distinctly above his creation.  

However, Islam’s teaches an extreme form of transcendence.  Allah actually becomes so transcendent that it becomes impossible to even know him!

This doctrine is commonly known as “tanzih.”  It comes from Sura 42:11 which says, “Nothing is like him.”

Islam takes this to mean that there is absolutely nothing like Allah.  He is so transcendent that he has no resemblance to anything else, and no human language can describe Allah.

If this is the case, the Koran rules itself out of order!  For the Koran is a book that seeks to tell us what Allah is like. If words cannot describe Allah, then why do we have a book that claims to tell us of Allah?

What's more, Allah cannot relate to people because he is so radically unlike them.

In Christian theology, we most certainly believe that the Lord is distinct from us.  He is infinite, we are finite.  But we can still know Him and have a relationship with him because we are made in His image.  We share some traits with the Lord (though ours is much more inferior in degree).  As a result, we have the ability to relate.

For instance, I can say that there is no one like me in my house.  By that I mean, I am male.  I can also say that I am superior in strength and intellect (ok, humor me a bit for the sake of illustration).  But despite these differences I can still relate to my children because they are made in my image.  That is to say, they share something of my likeness (humanity, reason, power).  

The Christian God, therefore, has a balanced view of God's transcendence.  In Islam, however, Allah essentially transcends himself to death.

Allah is the Best Liar

But can you trust that?

If you had someone come up to you and say, "I am the greatest liar in the world."  Would you trust him? 

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't put your pocketbook in his hands, let alone your life.  

But this is how Allah is described in his own Quran.

The Quran says, "But they (the Jews) were deceptive, and Allah was deceptive, for Allah is the best of deceivers!" (S. 3:54; cf. 8:3)[1]

How is it that you can trust a God who brags about being a deceiver?  You cannot distinguish truth from lies as both come from him. 

This is radically different from the God of the Bible who paints himself as the embodiment of truth and has said, “The truth shall set you free.”

[For more on this topic click here.]

[1] It should be recognized that many Quranic translations seek to undo this by translating it wrongly.

September Events

This September promises to have a number of activities.  Here are a few things that you may like to be a part of:

1.  Providence Shoot 'em Out:  Our annual gun familiarization time will be held on September 8th after church. Last year we had a great time learning about gun safety and capping some targets (remember the pictures?)  

2.  Ashland Fair Outreach:  We will be having a booth at the Ashland County Fair (Sept. 15-21).  Our aim will be to distribute tracts and sermon CD's and collect more signatures for the Ohio Personhood Amendment.  We welcome your participation in manning the booth.

3.  Evangelism Training Classes: Starting in September (22nd) we will have some classes to train you how to share your faith in a winsome way.

4.  Father/son Repelling:  Plans are being made for some "guy time" towards the end of the month.  After doing some rock climbing and repelling at Hocking Hills we will hang out and talk about what God requires of men.

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Providence Pictures

We've got some great pictures on our website:  

As you can see, our annual camping trip to Pleasant Hill was a blast.

We also snapped a few shots of some families at the Ohio Personhood Amendment booth at the Lexinton Blueberry Festival. 

The Book of Judges

Dale Ralph Davies summed up the book of Judges this way...

"The church (in general) has a problem with the Book of Judges.  It is so earthly, so puzzling, so primitive, so violent--in a word, so strange, that the church can scarcely stomach it...[yet] It's so interesting.  Only people who take tranquilizers before sitting down can doze off while they read it."

If you are free Sunday evenings, feel free to join us as we walk through this most intriguing book!  

Time:  Sunday's at 6:30 pm.
Place:  1010 Chestnut St. (Ashland)

Worship with Providence Church

Services:  Sunday's at 10:30 am
Location:  Mifflin Community Center, which is located at 55 Maine St.
(Just look for the lion).

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Allah & Salvation

Salvation is not just the most important doctrine to consider when examining Islam; it is the most convincing.

Many Muslims testify that it was the assurance that Christianity gave regarding eternal life that most appealed to them.  This is because Islam is a religion based on works.

Islam is forthright about the role of works in salvation.  They openly admit that two angels have been assigned to you, one to record your good works, the other to record your bad.  When you die, these books are weighed in the balances.  Your fate is determined by which way the scale tips.

Because their salvation rests on their works Muslims do not have assurance of salvation.  They cannot know whether or not they are producing enough good works to outweigh their bad.  Even Muhammad, when he was asked, could not say with definite assurance that he would make it.  (Sura 46:8-9)

This is why many Muslims are willing to become suicide bombers.  They believe that martyrdom is the only sure guarantee of eternal life.

Contrast this to the Christian view of justification and you will understand why it is so appealing.  Christianity teaches that Christ fulfilled every jot of the law, thus meriting all that one needs to be right with God.  In His death Jesus takes the penalty due to us for sin.  

The one who trusts Christ can then rest assured that eternal life is his.  He has no fear of where the balances will tip because salvation is freely given and received by faith alone.

The fellowship with God that Christianity affords is also an item to consider.  When one is "saved" (if you can call it that) in Islam, one does not get to enter the presence of Allah.  

Remember from above, Allah is completely transcendent.  Nothing is like him.  Therefore, it is said that he dwells in heaven.  The Muslim enters "Paradise," a place distinct from Allah.

For the Christian, salvation is a means to fellowship with God.  Upon the moment of conversion, God the Holy Spirit enters one's life.  He has immediate communion.  That fellowship is brought to its fullest at death/last day.
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