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Book Review – What Every Christian Needs to know about the Qur’an

June 20, 2013

Like most evangelical Christians, I know little about Islam and the Qur’an. Recognizing this, James R White set forth to write a book covering, as the title indicates, “what every Christian needs to know about the Qur’an.” He admits it will not be exhaustive but will intentionally focus on what Christians need to understand about the Qur’an in order to be able to deal with Muslim people and to understand the global issues at a basic level. White has accomplished his purpose effectively (see also http://www.challies.com/resources/new-notable-books-15).

Though I confess to not having completed the book, it is fairly arduous reading, I have already learned three significant facts about the Qur’ans teaching that seem quite significant.

1. The “trinity” in the Qur’an does not refer to Father, Son & Holy Spirit, but to God the Father, Jesus, and Mary (Jesus’ birth mother). Thus, arguments about the doctrine of the trinity are essentially arguments about Jesus’ divinity, not “how can there be one god if there are three?”

2. Following from point one, the Qur’an presents Jesus much like the apocryphal (and pseudopigraphal) writings of the NT era. Furthermore, in declaring him a prophet yet not the Christ/Messiah/deity, there does not seems to be any compelling refutation that Jesus is not who He claims to be (ie. Josh McDowell’s “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” argument).

3. Building on the second point, the Qur’an (and Islam) contend that the Gospels (and the whole Protestant Bible) as we have them have been corrupted significantly… and thus Jesus is not who He claims to be. Yet the abundance of evidence in favor of the historicity and reliability of the OT/NT manuscripts remains strong, even by non-faith sources, and significantly stronger than any historical documentation for the Qur’an. (There are other questions about the origin of the Qur’an and Mohammed’s revelation).

A well-researched and “heavy” book, it takes work to follow White’s arguments. To read the texts from the Qur’an is so new/foreign to those who have not grown up reading such literature, that while White does a good job attempting to interpret them simply – and recognizing when there are different interpretation suggested by Muslim scholars – it can be  “brain overload.” Nonetheless, I would highly recommend the book for any adult seeking to understand Islam and the Qur’an in a meaningful way.

This book was provided for review purposes by the publisher through Graf-Martin Communications (Toronto).

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From → Book Reviews, General

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