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Corporate Prayer | Article Review

Corporate Prayer | Article Review

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THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

 THEOLOGY

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

MOVING FORWARD ON OUR KNEES: CORPORATE PRAYER IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Grant R. Osborne

Journal Review

MOVING FORWARD ON OUR KNEES: CORPORATE PRAYER IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Grant R. Osborne

Grant Osborn has written a convicting article on the subject of corporate worship in the local church. He laments over the lack of prayer in modern churches and he rightly argues there is a desperate need for corporate prayer in the modern church.[1] He begins his article by arguing that in second temple Judaism, the temple was not only a place of sacrifice, it was also a place of worship and prayer.

Grant produces a number of biblical passages which serve as examples of corporate worship in New Testament times. For instance, when Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, went into the temple to burn incense, there was a congregation of people outside waiting in corporate prayer. He points out that the burning of incense was symbolic of the people’s prayers and the angelic visitation appears to have been an answer to those prayers.[2] Additionally, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane for corporate prayer. He encouraged them to pray in order to overcome temptation.[3] The instruction of Jesus underscores the disciples need to pray for strength in order to resist temptation, how much more should we pray so we do not fall into temptation. 

Grant also highlights Jesus reference to the Temple as His Father’s house, indicating that God’s presence was still in the temple.[4] Interestingly, when Jesus drove the animals out from the temple courts he said, “My Father’s house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”. The outer courts were specifically reserved for Gentiles to worship God as they were not permitted beyond this point. Even though sacrifices were necessary for Temple worship, it seems as though Jesus was more concerned about Gentiles coming together for prayer, then he was about the selling of sacrifices[5].

Grant also argues that persecution often causes the church to turn to God in prayer. When Herod imprisoned Peter, with the intention of executing, it resulted in an all-night corporate prayer meeting at Mary’s house.[6] As Grant points out, the longest prayer in the Book of Acts was a prayer offered to God after an instance when Peter and John were released from prison and warned not to preach in the name of Jesus.[7] This prayer resulted in the place being shaken and the people receiving a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.[8] Perhaps the lack of persecution and the comforts of this world are the cause of our present complacency.[9]

There is no doubt that there is a lack of corporate prayer in modern churches. In the midst of his article, Grant says prayer focused churches are churches that make a difference.[10] If this is true, then it says a lot about churches that have an appearance of success but are not prayer focused. Where does their success come from? If it does not come from prayer, it does not come from the Lord. If it does not come from the Lord, then it can only come from human effort and achievement. 

 

[1] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, JETS 53/2 (2010), 267.

[2] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 248.

[3] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 251.

[4] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 243.

[5] Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary,

 (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, rev. ed. 2017), Chap. 2, Kindle Ed.

[6] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 255.

[7] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 256.

[8] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 256.

[9] Tertullian, The Apology, Beloved Publishing (2014), 83.

[10] Grant R Osborne, Moving Forward on Our Knees: Corporate Prayer in The New Testament, 257.

 

 

Atonement as Violence: Is God Blood Thirsty?

Atonement as Violence: Is God Blood Thirsty?

THEOLOGY BLOG

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

 THEOLOGY

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

ATONEMENT AS VIOLENCE

IS GOD BLOOD THIRSTY?

ATONEMENT AS VIOLENCE

IS GOD BLOOD THIRSTY?

ATONEMENT AS VIOLENCE

The penal substitution view of atonement is currently the subject of debate within the evangelical church, particularly in the UK.[1] Since Christianity is a religion of peace, love and forgiveness, critics of the penal substitution view have argued that it is inconsistent with God’s love. It is argued that if God tells us to love our enemies, then shouldn’t God also love His enemies? If God demands that we do not seek vengeance, then why does God require retributive justice Himself?[2] Furthermore, critics have looked at the penal substitution theory of atonement as the act of a blood thirsty and vengeful God, and even worse, cosmic child abuse[3]

While it is certainly true that Christians are to seek peace and to forgive our enemies, this is because the Bible teaches us that vengeance belongs to the Lord. Christians are not permitted to seek out their own retributive justice when evil is inflicted upon them.[4] However, the Bible does not rule out the authority of the civil government to punish criminals and maintain public order in society.[5] The civil justice system is an institution of God, created to punish evil and protect the life and property of those living in that society.[6]

The denial of divine retributive justice is at odds with divinely revealed scripture. When Israel was attacked by the Amalekites on the way out of Egypt, God specifically ordered the antihalation of the entire Amalekite population and stated that he wanted Amalek’s name removed from face of the earth.[7] Likewise, God commanded that the Canaanites were to be exterminated from the land of Canaan so that they would not corrupt the nation of Israel when they settled in the land.[8]

If God did not punish sin, then it would encourage lawlessness. The sinner would feel emboldened to sin and the victims would feel a sense of insecurity, abandonment and lack of protection from God.[9] If God truly loves people, he will punish transgression and maintain order in the cosmos. This promotes the justice and holiness of God and ensures security and stability for all people.

God is slow to anger and uses divine punishment as a last resort after long periods of perpetual disobedience. When the Torah was given, God stated that eventually Israel as a nation would be exiled from the land and from the blessings of God because of their persistent law breaking and disobedience. Even after the Babylonian exile and the subsequent return to the land, Israel persisted in unrepentant sin.[10] The greatest problem for humanity is that we all have sinned and are under divine condemnation.

When Jesus took up the cross and laid his life down for His people, he was taking the very curse of the law which was due to the people of Israel. He was exiled from the land of the living and cut off from the blessings promised to Israel.[11] From the perspective of penal substitution theorists, the cross was an act of divine love. Jesus was not an unwilling substitute unjustly bearing the sins of others. He willingly offered himself as a substitute knowing he could conquer death at His resurrection.[12]

 

 

[1] Williams, Garry J. “Penal Substitution: A Response to Recent Criticisms.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 50, no. 1 (03, 2007): 71. https://search.proquest.com/docview/211187489?accountid=35347

[2] Williams, Garry J. “Penal Substitution: A Response to Recent Criticisms.”, 72; Boersma, Hans, Penal substitution and the possibility of unconditional hospitality. Scottish Journal of Theology 57 (2004): 80, 91; Boersma, Hans. “Eschatological Justice and the Cross: Violence and Penal Substitution.” Theology Today 60, no. 2 (07, 2003): 187.

https://search.proquest.com/docview/222305386?accountid=35347 (accessed February 27, 2020).

[3] J Denny Weaver, “Violence in Christian theology”, Cross Currents Summer 51, 2 (2001): 153, 155; Boersma, Hans, Penal substitution and the possibility of unconditional hospitality, 82; Boersma, Hans. “Eschatological Justice and the Cross: Violence and Penal Substitution.” Theology Today 60, no. 2 (2003): 187. https://search.proquest.com/docview/208060493?accountid=35347.

[4] Boersma, Hans. “Eschatological Justice and the Cross: Violence and Penal Substitution.”, 188.

[5] Williams, Garry J. “Penal Substitution: A Response to Recent Criticisms. 73. https://search.proquest.com/docview/211187489?accountid=35347

[6] Boersma, Hans, Penal substitution and the possibility of unconditional hospitality, 80; Boersma, Hans. “Eschatological Justice and the Cross: Violence and Penal Substitution.”, 188, 190. 

[7] Walter Kaiser, Hard Saying of the Bible, (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove 1992) 206-207; Deuteronomy 25:17-18.

[8] Walter Kaiser, Hard Saying of the Bible, 206-207.

[9] Boersma, Hans. “Eschatological Justice and the Cross: Violence and Penal Substitution.”, 190, 191.

[10] Williams, Garry J. “Penal Substitution: A Response to Recent Criticisms.”, 92-93.

[11] Williams, Garry J. “Penal Substitution: A Response to Recent Criticisms.”, 92-93; Boersma, Hans. “Eschatological Justice and the Cross: Violence and Penal Substitution.”, 194.

[12] NIV Zondervan Study Bible, General Editor DA Carson, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2682 (Christopher W. Morgan, Wrath).

 

Christology In John’s Gospel: Christ The Eternal Word of God

Christology In John’s Gospel: Christ The Eternal Word of God

THEOLOGY BLOG

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

 THEOLOGY

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

CHRISTOLOGY IN JOHN’S GOSPEL

CHRIST THE ETERNAL WORD

CHRISTOLOGY IN JOHN’S GOSPEL

CHRIST THE ETERNAL WORD

JOHN’S CHRISTOLOGY

The Gospel of Mark begins with Jesus earthly Ministry, the Gospel of Matthew emphasises Jesus Davidic lineage and begins with His genealogy, and the Gospel of Luke focuses on Jesus humanity and details his genealogy all the way back to Adam. However, John’s Christology is unique in that he emphasises Christ’s pre-existence before His earthly life and even before the world began.[1] In John 6:51 Jesus says that He is the bread that came down from heaven, in John 6:62 Jesus says His disciples will see Him ascend to where he was before, in John 7:33 Jesus says He will return to the one who send him, in John 17:5 Jesus asks the Father to glorify Him with the Glory he shared with Him before the world began and in Revelation 1:17 Jesus says He is the first and the last.[2]

John’s Gospel begins by revealing Jesus as the Word of God Who was in the beginning with God when the world was first created. In fact, John sees Jesus as the very Word that created the universe in Genesis 1:1-26.[3]  The idea that the Word of God is a distinct person with relational qualities is not unique to John’s Gospel, it is also found throughout the Aramaic Targums.[4] The Aramaic Targums were approved for public reading in synagogues by the ancient Rabbis because in many areas Jews spoke Aramaic and did not understand Hebrew. In Genesis 3:8 the Aramaic Targums state that Adam and Eve heard “the Word of the LORD God walking in the midst of the garden”. The ancient rabbis added “Word (Memra)” because they could not accept the idea that Yahweh Himself was walking in the garden.[5]Interestingly, in Genesis 28:20-21 the Aramaic Targums have Jacob saying, “the Word of the LORD will be my God” and in Deuteronomy 4:7 the Targum says, “the Word of Yahweh sits upon His throne high and lifted up and hears our prayer whenever we pray before Him and make our petitions”.[6]  

John’s Gospel is also unique in that Jesus specifically applies the divine name “I AM” to himself on a number of occasions. When God revealed His name to Moses in Exodus 3:14 He told Moses to tell the Israelites that “I AM” has sent me (Moses) to you”.[7] In Isaiah 43:9-10, God says to Israel that He alone reveals the future so that they may know and believe that “I AM”.[8] In John 8:58 Jesus says to the Jews that before Abraham was “I AM”, and in John 13:19 Jesus, while speaking to His disciples, says, “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am”.[9] Through these “I AM” sayings, John is making it plain to his audience that Jesus specifically claimed the divine name for Himself. What is particularly interesting is that Jesus seems to draw upon both Isaiah 43:9-10 and Exodus 3:14 when he says that He is telling His disciples what will happen in the future so that they may that “I AM who I AM”.[10] John wants his readers to see Jesus as nothing less than the eternal, uncreated God of the universe. 

John also presents Jesus as the “Eternal life”. In 1 John 1:1-2 the Apostle John tells us that they proclaimed, “the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us”. In 1 John 5:12 it says that “whoever has the Son has life, and whoever doesn’t have the Son has not life”.[11] We naturally tend to think of eternal life as living forever. But even people in hell live forever. Life and death, from a biblical perspective, are not straightforward terms. Death is separation from God. When Adam was commanded not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was told that on the day he eats from it he would surly die. However, Adam did not die physically, he was removed from the Garden of Eden and from God’s favourable presence. When the prodigal son returned to his father, his father stated that his son was dead but now is alive. What’s fascinating is that in John 17:4, Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent.[12] Eternal life is being reconciled to God through knowing the person of Jesus Christ. 

Some have argued that Jesus explicitly denied deity in John’s Gospel. For example, in John 14:28 Jesus said, “the Father is greater the I”, and in John 5:19 He says, “the Son can do nothing by himself”. However, these passages can be understood in light of the fact that although Jesus is presented as being equal to the Father in terms of His divine essence, John nevertheless presents Jesus as being subordinate to the Father in terms of His role in creation and redemption.[13] John portrays Jesus as the Son of God sent by the Father.[14] The Son is a servant whose teaching is not his own and who does nothing on his own authority. Jesus only does what he sees the father doing and only speaks what the Father tells him to speak.[15] This implies that the Son is functionally subordinate to the Father.[16] 

In the same way that John introduces Jesus as the pre-existent Word of God, he also introduces Jesus as the sacrificial lamb of God. For John, Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and the ultimate fulfilment of the Jewish Passover.[17] John wants his audience to view Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of Israel and the Passover lamb who brings about Israel’s deliverance and salvation from the bondage of sin.[18]  Interestingly, John presents Jesus as being sent not merely for the Jews but for the entire world.[19] Jesus sacrifice is not just for those who would ultimately receive Him, it is also for those who reject Him.[20] Christ was sent to save the whole world without distinction. For John, the benefits of the atonement are appropriated by faith in the work of Christ on the cross.

In summary, John sees Jesus as the eternal, uncreated Word of God who was sent by the Father to do and to teach what the Father gave Him to say and do. John’s view of Christ as the Word of God is steeped in Jewish thought as revealed in the Jewish Targums. Although Jesus is equal with the Father in terms of the Divine essence, He is nonetheless subordinate to the Father in terms of His role. The redemption and salvation of Jesus is not for the Jews only, neither is it only for those who would ultimately receive Him. Jesus was sent for the salvation of all mankind.  

 

[1] Van der Merwe, Dirk. “Divine Fellowship in the Gospel of John: A Trinitarian Spirituality.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 75, no. 1 (2019), 2. https://search.proquest.com/docview/2315011085?accountid=35347; David Pawson, Come with me through the Gospel of John, Anchor Recordings, Kennington, Ashford (2012), Kindle Edition, 22, 31-32.

[2] Van der Merwe, Dirk. “Divine Fellowship in the Gospel of John: A Trinitarian Spirituality.”, 9; Van der Merwe, Dirk G. “The Divinity of Jesus in the Gospel of John: The ‘lived Experiences’ it Fostered when the Text was Read.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 75, no. 1 (2019), 3-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5411. https://search.proquest.com/docview/2315011202?accountid=35347.

[3] Matera, Frank J. “Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology,” Theological Studies 67, no. 2 (06, 2006): 239, https://search.proquest.com/docview/212709936?accountid=35347; Dr Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel. Jewish Studies for Christians (Tel Aviv), 2015, 2, Kindle Version; Van der Merwe, Dirk. “Divine Fellowship in the Gospel of John: A Trinitarian Spirituality.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 75, no. 1 (2019), 2. https://search.proquest.com/docview/2315011085?accountid=35347

[4] Dr Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, Baker Books, Grand Rapids Michigan, eBook Edition (2011), 18-21; Dr Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel. Jewish Studies for Christians (Tel Aviv), 2015, 2, Kindle Version.

[5] Dr Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, 19.

[6] Dr Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, 20-21.

[7] RC Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, Reformation Trust Publishing, Sanford, Florida (2009), Kindle Edition, 174; David Pawson, Come with me through the Gospel of John, Anchor Recordings, Kennington, Ashford (2012), Kindle Edition, 22, 31-32; DA Carson, The Gospel According to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)), Kindle Edition, Comments on John 13:19.

[8] DA Carson, The Gospel According to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)), Kindle Edition, Comments on John 13:19.

[9] RC Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, Reformation Trust Publishing, Sanford, Florida (2009), Kindle Edition, 190;

[10] DA Carson, The Gospel According to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)), Kindle Edition, Comments on John 13:19.

[11] Robert H. Gundry, Commentary of First, Second and Third John, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, (2010), Kindle Edition, Comments on 1 John 1:1-4, 5:11-13.

[12] DA Carson, The Gospel According to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)), Kindle Edition, Comments on John 17:4.

[13] RC Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, Reformation Trust Publishing, Sanford, Florida (2009), Kindle Edition, 100-101; Van der Merwe, Dirk G. “The Divinity of Jesus in the Gospel of John: The ‘lived Experiences’ it Fostered when the Text was Read.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 75, no. 1 (2019). https://search.proquest.com/docview/2315011202?accountid=35347.

[14] Matera, Frank J. “Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology,” Theological Studies 67, no. 2 (06, 2006): 248. https://search.proquest.com/docview/212709936?accountid=35347.

[15] Paul N. Anderson, The Having-Sent-Me Father: Aspects of Agency, Encounter, and Irony in the Johannine Father-Son Relationship, 35; RC Sproul, John: An Expositional Commentary, Reformation Trust Publishing, Sanford, Florida (2009), Kindle Edition, 100-101.

[16] DA Carson, The Gospel According to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)), Introduction, Kindle Edition.

[17] Christensen, David Vincent. “Atonement in John: The Death of Jesus in Light of Exodus Typology.” Order No. 10682511, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2017, 27-28. https://search.proquest.com/docview/1973594568?accountid=35347.

[18] Christensen, David Vincent. “Atonement in John: The Death of Jesus in Light of Exodus Typology.” Order No. 10682511, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2017, 29. https://search.proquest.com/docview/1973594568?accountid=35347.

[19] John Goodwin, Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defence of Unlimited Atonement, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene Oregon, (2004), 20.

[20] Jerry L. Walls Does God Love Everyone: The Heart of What’s Wrong with Calvinism, Cascade Books, Eugene Oregon, 2016, 16-17.

 

Has The Quran Been Perfectly Preserved?

Has The Quran Been Perfectly Preserved?

THEOLOGY BLOG

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

 THEOLOGY

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

HAS THE QURAN BEEN PERFECTLY PRESERVED?

HAS THE QURAN BEEN PERFECTLY PRESERVED?

APOLOGETIC RELEVANCE

‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 61, Hadith 510

One of the main accusations made against the Bible by Muslims, is that the Bible is corrupted. When you ask for evidence, they point to manuscript variants such as the story of the women caught in adultery found in John 7:53-8:11 or the long ending of Mark, specifically Mark 16:9-20. There are approximately 9 meaningful variants in the New Testament, most are only a sentence long and none of them effect any core Christian doctrine. However, Muslims present these variants as irrefutable proof that the Bible has been corrupted. It is not the intention of this post to examine these variants, but I will include discuss each one in the appendix bellow. 

The purpose of this post is the examine the Quran and provide evidence that the Quran itself has been changed. Since the New Testament is twice the size of the Quran and was written 500 hundred years before the Quran. Therefore, we can expect that the Quran would have less variants then the New Testament. But make no mistake, there are variants in the Quran that go all the way back to the companions of Muhammad.

 

THE MISSING VERSE ON STONING ADULTERERS

In Islam, the punishment for adultery is death by stoning. This is clearly prescribed in many hadiths. However, it does not appear in today’s Quran, even though it was originally recited as part of the Quranic revelation originally sent down by Allah to Muhammad.

‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that ‘Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said:

Verily Allah sent Muhammad (ﷺ) with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Sahih Muslim Book 29, Hadith 21

This hadith makes it plain that when the Quran was compiled as a book, something Muhammad never authorised, not all of what was recited was included. Muslims respond to this hadith in a number of different ways. Some Muslims have responded by arguing that although the verse was originally given as part of the Quran, the verse itself was abrogated without effecting the punishment it prescribes. However, the Quran clearly states that if a verse is abrogated, or caused to be forgotten, Allah will bring a better verse or a similar verse.

Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things? Surah 2:106

That in itself is an admission that some parts of what was originally revealed as the Quran were cancelled or forgotten. The main point is that there was no replacement of the verse about stoning in the Quran and therefore, it cannot be argued that it was abrogated. Other Muslims might try to argue that this is a weak hadith, however, this is from Sahih Muslim, one of the most respected hadith collections in Sunni Islam. “Sahih” means “Sound”. Other Muslims try to argue that isolated hadiths can be scrutinized and rejected. However, the existence of a Qur’anic verse about stoning adulterers is found in other hadiths as well.  

Narrated Ibn `Abbas:`Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Sahih al-Bukhari Book 86, Hadith 56

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.” Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1944

No matter which way you look at it, this Quranic passage has been lost and is no longer found in today’s Quran.

 

DIFFERENT RECITATIONS

Early Islamic tradition tell us that there were differences in the recitation of the Quran that were significant enough that Uthman and others were afraid that the Muslim nation could be destroyed by its differences.

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 61, Hadith 510

This hadith makes it very clear that there were different recitations and those differences were significant enough to potentially cause deep division among the Muslims. It’s worth noting that Uthman was an extremely unpopular Caliph who went to war with both Ali, the cousin and son in law of Muhammad, and Aisha, Muhammad’s favourite wife. Ali was actually born within the Kaaba, which is the most sacred site in Islam.

 

UTHMAN’S MISSING VERSE

The original copies produced under the authority of Uthman and sent out to the Muslim provinces were missing sura 33:23.

So ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and ‘AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. Said bin Thabit added, “A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur’an and I used to hear Allah’s Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): ‘Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.’ (33.23) Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 61, Hadith 510 (confirmed by Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 307 & Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 62.

 

ORAL TRANSMISSION PRESERVED THE QURAN

Sahih Muslim Book 6, Hadith 266 says that Muhammad forgot part of the Quran and was reminded by someone reciting it. Sahih Muslim Book 5, Hadith 112 says that Muhammad had forgotten how many times had prostrated during prayer. Sahih Bukhari Book 66, Hadith 63 says that people accused him of forgetting verses of the Quran. If Muhammad forgot parts of the Quran, couldn’t remember how many times he had prostrated in his prayers and was being accused of forgetting other parts of the Quran, on what basis can we expect his followers to have done a better job of memorization?

What is an Apostle? Galatians 1:1

What is an Apostle? Galatians 1:1

THEOLOGY BLOG

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

 THEOLOGY

THINKING BIBLICALLY ABOUT GOD

WHAT IS AN APOSTLE?

GALATIANS 1:1

WHAT IS AN APOSTLE?

GALATIANS 1:1

THE MEANING OF APOSTLE

Paul, an apostle–sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father Galatians 1:1

The word “Apostle”, “ap-os’-tol-os” in the Greek, simply means a messenger or someone who is sent. The same word appears in John 13:16 where Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him”. So, anyone can be an Apostle in a technical sense. If your church sends you on a mission, you are an Apostle. In fact, in Philippians 2:25 Epaphroditus is called an Apostle. The term doesn’t even require a spirtual application and it was used in secular contexts throughout the Roman world. 

So, whats so special about being an Apostle? The importance of an Apostle isn’t in the person being sent, it’s in the one who is sending them. When the twelve Apostle selected a replacement for Judas, they picked someone who had been with Christ from the beginning. Why? They knew Christ personally, that’s why!

This is why Paul states that he is an Apostle, sent not by men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. He had met Christ and talked with Him. He had greater authority then the false teachers trying to decieve the churches of Galatia because he was sent by Jesus Himself. In other Epistles he refers to himself as an “Apostle of Christ”, to emphasis that his authority come from Christ, the head of the church. Therefore, no-one today can claim to be an Apostle in the sense of Paul and the twelve Apostles of Christ. 

THE SIGN OF AN APOSTLE

I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.

2 Corinthians 12:12

Today, we live in a time where many people are actually claiming to have experienced a physical visitation from Jesus Christ himself, and on this basis they claim to have Apostolic authority. There are a number of ways we can disprove these claims using the Bible. In 2 Corinthians 12:12 Paul says that the sign of an Apostle is signs, wonders and miracles. Specifically, these signs wonders and miracles must be done in the midst of those to whom the Apostle is being sent. Paul not only claimed to be an Apostle, he demonstrated his Apostolic authority through signs, wonders and miracles. When Moses was sent to Israel, he demonstrated that he had been sent by God by miracles. He turned his staff into a snake before both Israel and Pharaoh. He made his hand leperous, turned the nile into blood, struck Egypt with plagues and parted the Red Sea. Jesus demonstrated His power to forgive by healing the paralytic. Their miracles weren’t done in far away countries where no-one could verify them. They weren’t done on a stage blocked off by security. They were done in the very midst of those to whom they were sent.

THE LIFESTYLE OF AN APOSTLE

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13

When Paul wrote to the Corininthian church, he made it clear the neither he nor the other Apostles were wealthy, or even respected men. They were mocked and ridiculed. They were brutality treated. They were hungry and thirsty and were dressed in rags. Todays self-appointed apostles and pophets are healthy and wealthy. They live stress free lives and live in huge mansions. This was not the case with the Biblical Apostles. Paul even goes as far as to mock the Corinthians for presuming to think that their wealth and elequent speaking proved they were spiritually strong. If you see a man, filthy rich, claiming to be an Apostle, then you can know for sure he is a false teacher.