Abdul-Haq al-Ashanti & Abdur-Rahman Bowes
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 99 | Size: 1 MB
Whilst seeking the truth, the honest investigator wants facts and this short work is intended for the sincere few who seek to know the original belief of the people that followed the teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him.
Before Nicea should not be viewed as ‘Muslim propaganda’ or bias, rather as an honest look at the evidence that qualified scholars have provided. This work also wants to move away from relying on the bible and blindly quoting from it in order to prove the true teachings of Jesus. Even though there is obviously some truth in the gospels, it is not the pure Injeel that is mentioned in the Qur’aan as being given to Jesus.
In assessing the comparisons between early Christianity and Islam, the facts have been made accessible to the reader and presented in a manner that does not wish to antagonize. It is for the readers to make up their own minds and come to a conclusion about the evidence presented.
Conducted over the last three hundred years, such research is not a new phenomena. John Toland for example had written his book The Nazarenes in 1718 wherein he had already noticed the similar beliefs and practices of the early followers of Jesus and Muslims. Furthermore, John Biddle wrote The True Opinion Concerning the Holy Trinity (Twelve Arguments) in 1653, Joseph Priestly wrote eight books including A General History of the Church, published in 1802 and A History of the Corruption of Christianity, published in 1871. A.C. MacGiffert wrote A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age published in 1897, The Apostles Creed published in 1902 and The God of the Early Christians in 1924.
The discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus, the earliest almost complete manuscript (fourth century), brought with it more evidence for scholars to utilize. Using both these older sources and the recent research based upon the discoveries of early Christian manuscripts the reader will be supplied with that which is accepted as sound.
During conversations whilst compiling this work, it was noted that many evangelical Christians would argue that the Christian scholars quoted in this work for example are ‘not really Christian.’ One of the ‘Hyde Park Speakers Corner Christian Fellowship’2 even went so far as to say that there is not a single theologian who could be called a Christian, because he felt that theology is an enemy of Christianity. It is certainly true that most theologians do not understand the Bible to be ‘divine revelation,’ rather a combination of inspiration, commentary and interpretation. In many cases, these theologians will say that it was Jesus himself who was the ‘divine revelation’ and will feel perfectly free to reject the idea that the Bible is unadulterated.
Therefore, it is understandable that Christians who believe in the Bible as an uncorrupted whole, become hostile to such scholars. Nevertheless, Christian evangelical disapproval of theologians is quite contradictory and unreasonable.
Contradictory, because it was on the grounds of theology that ‘Christian’ doctrine grew and unreasonable, as most Christians would be grateful that theology ‘explained’ for them many aspects of their belief. Most of the scholars whom we have quoted are, to the best of our knowledge, practicing Christians. For example James Dunn’s book Christology in the Making is illustrative of this fact. While he says at one point that “there is no real evidence in the earliest Jesus tradition of what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity,” (page 60), he makes no attempt to apologize for his conviction in Trinitarian Christianity. It is simply the fact that he is a Christian. Likewise, the New Testament scholar, the late Michael Ramsey, was an Archbishop in the Anglican church. We are fully aware that some of the writers whom we have quoted from are Christians so people should accept their dedicated research. Continue reading