The Islamic Inversion

As many of you know, the frequency of articles has diminished over the past year or so. Some of this has been due to general life events which have diminished my capacity to write. However, the larger and more exciting reason is that I have been working on creating a full length book detailing the pattern of Islamic theological reversals that I have been highlighting here at unravelingislm. This must be addressed, as the various challenges coming from Muslim adherents are practically unending, resulting in the need for the Christian to have tools to provide his or her own meaningful and effective response.

Authoring the book allows for the expansion of the individual points presented in this blog as well as for an overarching theme to be developed. The blog is structured so that each article is self-contained. Additionally, the length of any given article averages out to approximately 800 words. This allows articles to stay crisp and readable. However, this also creates limitations. Background theological setup and more protracted examples do not fit this venue. They do work well in a book format, though.

Last month, I submitted a 76,000 word manuscript to WestBow publishing. The title is The Islamic Inversion. Those who have read this blog for a long time understand the constant and pervasive pattern of spiritual reversals and antiparellels. I have termed these “inversions” and taken greater effort to help people learn to recognize them on their own.

There is approximately a 10-20% overlap between what is on this blog and what is in the book. The book contains a significantly great deal more setup, cultural issues, theology, countless inversions, and tools to learn how to recognize them quickly. Perhaps the best way to get a feel for what the book is about would be to see the chapter list.

1. Recognizing Cultural Roadblocks
2. How Muslims View Christianity.
3. The Root of All Insight – Jesus is Lord
4. The Tri-Unity of God
5. What is the Islamic Inversion?
6. Some Final Preparations
7. Inversions related to Jesus Christ
8. The 1st retreat. The Bible is Corrupted.
9. The 2nd retreat. Muslims Worship the Same God
10. The 3rd retreat. Scripture Out of Context
11. How Islamic Doctrine Collapses on Itself
12. A Spiritual Guide to Islam
13. The Last Bastion of Islamic Hope – Obfuscation
14. From Common Criticisms to the Truth of Christ
15. From Common Escapes to the Truth of Christ
16. From Diabolical Inversions to the Truth of Christ

The book is due to be out within the next month. Now that the painstaking work of finishing The Islamic Inversion is complete, I will be able to slide out more articles here while simultaneously dealing with publication issues. If you are interested in purchasing several copies, don’t hesitate to contact me via the “Contact Me” page. As always, your prayers are appreciated.

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Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Recently, the Christian community was hit by the news of the death of Nabeel Qureshi. Nabeel was well known in the world of Christians who long to reach Muslims with the gospel. For those not familiar with Nabeel, he was the author of Answering Jihad, which I reviewed in a previous article. He worked for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, an organization for which I hold the utmost respect. Nabeel’s biographical work, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus had been on my reading list for quite some time. Given his recent death, I made a point to put it at the top of that list. I was finally able to learn about his incredible story.

Nabeel begins by talking about his wonderful family life as a child. He was raised in a devout Muslim home, and he speaks candidly about the comfort that Islamic rituals and practices brought to his life. Quite frankly, I found this section rather discouraging. I don’t say that to dissuade anyone from reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It’s quite the opposite. He was truthful about how happy he was to be blissfully ignorant regarding the spiritual quagmire that he was in. He was completely satisfied with the flimsy apologetics taught in the mosque. It always unsettles me tremendously when I read personal testimonies about how thoroughly and pervasively Islam is able to permeate someone’s life and shield them from the gospel. I would imagine that anyone with a love for God and love for his neighbor would feel the same way.

In his freshman year of college, Nabeel met David Wood. David Wood is a Christian who pulls no punches. David did the two things required to reach Nabeel. First, he became a true friend as the two of them hit it off as people. Second, David would ask Nabeel hard questions about Islam, Christianity, philosophy, and methodologies employed to ascertain truth.

Nabeel walks his readers through the difficult internal struggles he had as a Muslim dealing with evidence that contradicted his Islamic beliefs. What resonated most with me was how he selectively chose which Hadith to trust, and which to discard. In my own experience, I have found that many Muslims share this filtering mechanism. If a Hadith suits the purpose of showcasing Muhammad as the perfect man, it is quoted, memorized, and touted as evidence for Islam. If the Hadith casts an unfavorable light on Muhammad, it is deemed dubious and avoided. In this fashion, certain Hadith are overemphasized, while countless others are ignored. Frankly, this is the best way to skew and twist any religion. One of the best ways to advance a heresy is to focus in on a few aspects of a religion, while downplaying and overlooking others. It’s the smorgasbord style of religion, taking the desired morsels from the buffet of holy writings while skipping over the less tasty items.

In order to controvert the influx of difficult questions Nabeel was given, he resorted to diving into Islam more deeply. From a human point of view, this had to be tremendously discouraging to David and the other Christians who were investing in his life. However, God was using this time to help Nabeel see the depths of the hole that he was in.

Nabeel finally went to God in prayer and asked Him to reveal Himself more fully. He experienced a series of dreams which he describes in detail. Some readers might question this, but personal testimony from other Muslims backs up the fact that God often appears to Muslims in dreams. More importantly, this is Biblical. Consider Paul’s vision as well as that of Cornelius. In both cases, each man was told about a Christian who would help guide them to Jesus (Acts 9:12; Acts 10:5). So too Nabeel’s dreams led him to understand that David and others were trying to point him toward the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior.

Of course I have skipped over many of the details of his struggles as well as his final conversion. I leave those to you to discover through this thought provoking and engaging book. As I said, in many ways it is a troubling read, but troubling in a profitable way. Anyone with a heart for reaching Muslims will gain valuable insight into the obstacles and spiritual firewalls that await the noble endeavor of sharing who Jesus is with those trapped in the quicksand of Islam. I thank God for the grace given to Nabeel, and for Nabeel’s wise use of the short time given him here on earth.

As a final addendum, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how intriguing it was to read about David Wood’s early days as a Christian from Nabeel’s perspective. Some people find David’s approach overly provocative and controversial. However, his style matched with his genuine concern for Muslims is often times exactly what is needed to demolish every argument set up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). I also recommend David’s conversion account here on youtube.

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Immutability of God

How often I have heard people say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Upon close inspection, the reality is that YHWH and Allah have a completely different makeup, proving that they cannot be the same God.

One method of identifying God is by naming His attributes. An attribute of God is not what makes up God, but rather defines who God is. In other words, God isn’t merciful, but God’s essence is mercy. God embodies mercy. God defines what mercy is by the fact that He is merciful. So what is are some attributes of God? God is wisdom, God is grace, and God is holy. Probably the most often cited attribute of God’s is His perfect, self-sacrificing love.

For this article, let’s focus on God’s immutability. That is the doctrine found in the Bible that assures us that He never changes. Hebrews 13:8 refers to Jesus as being “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The same thing is revealed in Hebrews 1:12, Psalm 102:27, and Malachi 3:6, to name a few. So why is this attribute so important? It is because God’s immutability encompasses every other attribute, and through immutability, every other attribute becomes eternally significant. The immutability of God means that God’s wisdom is everlasting, His grace is everlasting, as well as His mercy, forgiveness, comfort, compassion, love, and everything else imaginable. Imagine if God decided to change who He is. What if the day comes that God would say, “I didn’t really mean it when I said I will never change. I am God. I choose to no longer be a God of love.” What assures us, besides our faith that such a thing will never happen? God’s great plan of redemption provides that such complete assurance is automatically part of the package.

We see the desirability of immutability of others in how we assure that someone will not default on a commitment. We secure a significant enough investment in the cause that it would be foolish for that person to reconsider the commitment. If someone wants to secure an item of merchandise to come back later and complete the transaction, we might require them to make a down payment. The amount would be enough to assure us that they would complete the commitment because there is too much invested to do otherwise. The loss would be too great. Lending institutions do the same by asking for collateral. In God’s case, He placed the greatest imaginable investment in our redemption in giving His only begotten Son to be brutally tortured and killed. It was a 100% down payment invested in eternity. It is a completed ransom that cannot be withdrawn (Ephesians 1:13-14). We are God’s purchased possession, paid in full. God has also provided a down payment, the Holy Spirit, until the completion of our inheritance is realized!

The Bible communicates this truth in a surprising way that reverses our thinking on His nature. We tend to think that God can do anything. It may be a new avenue of thought to see in the scriptures that there actually are things that God cannot do. God even says they are impossible for Him to do, not because God is too weak, but because He is so strong that God has the power to fix a permanent limitation on Himself that, because of His perfect nature, even He cannot possibly overcome. God cannot lie or deny Himself, which is the essence of His immutability. There are many things that God WILL not do, but these things are specifically stated that God CANNOT do (2 Timothy 2:13, Titus 1:2, John 10:35).
So do Muslims believe Allah is immutable? Typically, the answer is no. While there is some level of disagreement, most Muslims would not name Immutability as an aspect of Allah since it is not one of his 99 names.[i] Additionally, the Qur’an itself rejects this notion.

Qur’an 006:054:
When those come to thee who believe in Our signs, Say: “Peace be on you: Your Lord hath inscribed for Himself (the rule of) mercy:

Other translations say that Allah “ordained” mercy upon himself. Moreover, multiple Hadith discuss that when Allah created mercy, he divided it into 100 parts, keeping 99 for himself, and giving one to mankind. There are numerous such Hadith appearing in the most respected collections.[ii]

So it is very clear that the Islamic literature teaches Allah created mercy, giving most of it to himself. This means that mercy is not part of Allah’s essence, but is rather a created attribute. Before the time of its creation, mercy was not an attribute of Allah. Allah somehow made the decision to give himself mercy, meaning that before that decision, he had none. The skeptical reader may question this line of reasoning, since time doesn’t have much meaning in eternity past. However, such a rebuttal misses the point. An infinite and eternal God does not create His attributes. He “is” the collection of His attributes. If there were a time when Allah was not merciful, and he changed himself, then there could very well come a time in the future where he again is not merciful. Since Allah has shown that he can change himself, there is nothing precluding him from doing so again in the future.

YHWH is immutable. Allah is not. How can anyone justify or even suggest that Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

[i] http://www.islamicity.com/Mosque/99names.htm

[ii] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 476 and Sahih Muslim, Book 37, Number 6629.

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