Book Reviews From 2018

11 Quotes From “Answering Jihad”

Answering JihadAnswering Jihad by Nabeel Qureshi is an excellent resource to get clarity on all of the terms floating around about Islam, Muslims, and the use of jihad. You can read my full book review by clicking here.

Below are the first set of quotes from this book that I’d like to share with you. Unless otherwise noted, all the quotes are from Nabeel Qureshi.

“There is a great deal of violence in Islam, even in the very foundations of the faith, and it is not all defensive. Quite to the contrary, if the traditions about the prophet of Islam are in any way reliable, then Islam glorifies violent jihad arguably more than any other action a Muslim can take.”

“As Islam is practiced in a way that calls Muslims to return to its foundations, violence will follow.”

“Islam is not Muslims, and Muslims are not Islam. Though Muslims are adherents of Islam, and Islam is the worldview of Muslims, the two are not the same, as many uncritically believe. … Islam is not Muslims, and one can criticize Islam while affirming and loving Muslims.” 

“Islam was first called ‘the religion of peace’ as late as 1930, and the title of a book published In India. … The phrase was slow to take off, but by the 1970s it was appearing more and more frequently in the writings of Muslims for western audiences.” —Mark Durie, a research scholar of linguistics and Islam at Melbourne School of Theology, in an article for the Independent Journal

“The Quran never says, ‘Islam is the religion of peace,’ nor do the traditions of Muhammad.”

“To contend that the word Islam signifies peace in the absence of violence is incorrect. Islam signifies a peace after violence, or under the threat of it. According to Islamic tradition, that is how Muhammad himself used the word. His warning to neighboring tribes is famous: Aslim taslam, ‘If you surrender, you will have peace.’ It was a play on words, as aslim also connotes becoming Muslim: ‘If you convert, you will have safety through surrender.’”

“The vast majority of Muslims inherit their understanding of Islam and have not investigated the foundations of Islam for themselves. If they were raised in the West and taught that Islam is the religion of peace, as I was, then their first foray into the foundations might be somewhat of a shock, and they will probably soon find themselves either in a defensive position or grappling with significant cognitive dissonance.”

“Since there are thousands of verses in the Quran and hundreds of thousands of hadith, it is expected that only trained Muslim jurists can engage in determining what sharia teachers. The jurist must give primacy to the Quran, then consider the actions (sunnah) and sayings (hadith) of Muhammad, followed by reviewing the consensus of Islamic scholars, or ijma, before using his own reasoning (qiyas). By following these four steps, a Muslim jurist can make a decision, or fatwa, about what sharia teaches on a given matter. The ultimate goal is to apply the teachings of sharia to Muslim life, and that is called fiqh.”

“As is probably clear by now, at no point was the average Muslim expected to read the Quran to decide upon correct Islamic practices by himself or herself. Not only is Islam not a faith that upholds the sufficiency of scripture alone, the complexity of its foundations virtually necessitates a reliance on jurists and scholars for proper practice.”

“Islam was not in fact ‘spread by the sword’—conversion was not forced on the occupants of conquered territories—but the conquests created the necessary preconditions for the spread of Islam. With only a few exceptions… Islam has become the majority faith only in territories that were conquered by force. Thus, the conquests and the doctrine that motivated these conquests—jihad—were crucial to the development of Islam.” —David Cook

“I ask your pardon, but I really do feel that the Christian teaching of loving one’s enemies, even in the face of death, might perhaps be the most powerful answer to jihad at our disposal today. Not only does it allow us to counter jihad, it also enables us to treat Muslims with the utmost dignity: as image bearers of God.” 

Stay tuned for more quotes from Answering Jihad

Answering Jihad (book review)

Answering JihadMilitant Islam … Jihad … Religion of peace … ISIS … Islamic terrorism. These phrases dominate the news stories and the water-cooler conversations, but do we really know what they mean? Nabeel Qureshi does. He was born to devout Muslim parents, trained in the Quran, and ready to follow in his parents’ footsteps. But along the way, Nabeel became a Christian. Knowing both the Muslim and Christian angles of these topics, Dr. Qureshi can capably help us Westerners in Answering Jihad.

(By the way, if you haven’t read Nabeel’s account of how he became a Christian, you really should read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.)

Answering Jihad is presented to us in the form of answers to 18 of the most-asked questions about how jihad is really perceived in the Muslim community. As he did in his biography, Nabeel presents this information in a way Western minds can grasp. He introduces key points of history that surround Muhammed, explains Islamic terms, and quotes relevant passages from the Quran and other Muslim scholars. I think you will find, as I did, so much more clarity than the sound bytes thrown around on news sources and on social media.

Nabeel concludes his book by telling us that there is a better way forward than the “either-or” extremes that are usually proposed. He explains it this way—

“If we avoid the truth about jihad, we leave the door open for innocent people to be killed in attacks like Paris and San Bernardino. If we lack compassion, we close the door to innocent people who need refuge from places like Syria and Somalia. … Even though Muslims are often raised with the teaching that ‘Islam is the religion of peace,’ when they study the texts for themselves, they are faced with the reality that Mohammed and the Quran call for jihad. They will stand at the crossroads for only so long before they choose what path they will take—apostasy, apathy, or radicalization. As Muslims make that choice, it would benefit the whole world if they did not make it alone, or worse, with radical recruiters. We need to show compassion for Muslims and befriend them.”

Well said! And with the information in Answering Jihad, you can be ready to befriend your Muslim neighbors on their journey.

I am a Zondervan book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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“O Lord, keep me strong in the sense of Thy call.” —Thomas Boston, Scottish Presbyterian pastor

“You have remained true to God under the great tests, now be alert over the least things.” —Oswald Chambers

“Mighty events turn on a straw.” —Thomas Carlyle

“God is love, but God is also just, as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Pleasures demean, disappoint, and destroy us when they are merely fleeting, fleshly, and foolish. The pleasure we ultimately seek, and for which we were created, can only be found in one place, in fellowship and communion with the Lord of heaven and earth.” —T.M. Moore

John Piper has some very insightful words in the wake of the tragedy in Paris—France: A Fabric Torn.

Jim Cymbala reminds us, “There are no trendy shortcuts, no hocus-pocus mantras that can defeat satan.” Read more in No Hocus-Pocus.

Parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will appreciate this counsel from Tim Elmore: 5 ways to cure the “cool kid” curse.

[VIDEO] What does the Quran teach about Jesus?—

[VIDEO] Pastor Dave Barringer is in Israel, and this real-time observation is quite eye-opening—

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from this weekend…

“I do not agree with a big way of doing things. What matters is the individual. If we wait till we get numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers and we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person.” —Mother Teresa

For anyone struggling with an addiction to pornography, this sounds like a helpful book: 10 Lies Men Believe About Pornography.

According to Cosmopolitan magazine, if you are pro-life political candidate you are automatically disqualified from getting support from any “enlightened” woman.

Obama & ISIS[INFOGRAPHIC] This is scary … do you know how much money ISIS makes every day from selling the oil they have captured?

“It is right to pour out our whole soul before Him that careth for us. But it is good, likewise, to unbosom ourselves to a friend, in whom we can confide.” —John Wesley

“That is always the way with a truly healthy Christian; God’s grace is externally manifested. There is the inner life within, it is active, and by and by when it is in a right state, it saturates everything. You talk with the gracious man, he cannot help talking about Christ; you go into his house, you will soon see that a Christian lives there; you notice his actions and you will soon see he has been with Jesus. He is so full of sap [Psalm 104:16] that the sap must come out. He has so much of the divine life within, that the holy oil and divine balsam must flow from him.” —Charles Spurgeon

“O God, of Thy goodness give me Thyself, for Thou art enough for me, and I may ask nothing that is less and find any full honors to Thee. God give me Thyself!” —Lady Julian

“Yes—at first one is sort of concussed and ‘life has no taste and no direction.’ One soon discovers, however, that grief is not a state but a process—like a walk in a winding valley with a new prospect at every bend.” —C.S. Lewis

A great post from Dave Barringer for married couples: Faking Your Death.

“Christianity is the only world religion whose primary source documents are in a language other than the founder of the religion. In other words, the New Testament texts are not in Aramaic, but in Koine Greek. … This makes a vitally important theological statement which so dramatically contrasts, for example, with Muslims who maintain that the Qur’an is untranslatable and that the Word of Allah can be conveyed truly and fully only in Arabic. For, at the very outset of the Christian message, the translatability of the gospel is enshrined in our primary source documents.” —Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, President of Asbury Theological Seminary, The Translatability Of The Gospel

8 Quotes From “The Facts On World Religions”

The Fact On World ReligionsThe Facts On World Religions is a broad overview of the four major religions of the world—Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These are some of the passages I found noteworthy….

“Positive criticism: Being critical of other people’s beliefs is necessary for the sake of what is true and what is good. Every idea in the world is not true, regardless of what relativists claim. And some ideas are harmful, including religious ideas. We have also been critical of our own faith when needed, so when we ask adherents of other religions to analyze their own perspectives, we are not requesting that they do something we ourselves have neglected.” 

“The Bible’s uniqueness in some 20 different areas—including many specific predictions of the future (especially as to the Messiah), theology and content, textual preservation against all odds, the physical resurrection from the dead of its central character, scientific and medical prevision, the miraculous existence of Israel, historic and archaeological accuracy, victory over all criticism, and massive influence in human history—is virtual proof that the Bible comprises God’s revelation to humanity. Because it alone is evidentially and independently verified, at points of conflict all other scriptures are, by definition, false. … The manuscript evidence proving the New Testament’s accuracy is about a thousand times better than for ancient manuscripts that scholars everywhere concede are reliable.”

“Historical facts confirm that the Qur’an has experienced significant corruption through various means. Texts such as The Origins of the Qur’an (edited by Ibn Warraq), though sometimes displaying a rationalistic bias, nevertheless prove beyond doubt that the Qur’an is not a pure text. … Dr. William Miller reveals that for some years after the death of Muhammad there was great confusion as to what material of all that had been preserved should be included in the Qur’an. Finally, in the caliphate of Uthman (644-656 AD) one text was given official approval, and all other material was destroyed.” 

“Buddha did not even claim that his teachings were a unique and original source of wisdom. Buddha always said, ‘Don’t take what I’m saying [that is, on my own authority], just try to analyze as far as possible and see whether what I’m saying makes sense or not. If it doesn’t make sense, discard it. If it does make sense, then pick it up.’” —Clive Erricker

“Internal contradictions in Buddhism make it impossible to know what is true and what is false, leading to an emphasis on subjectivism and experientialism to discover ‘truth,’ rather than upon objective data.” 

“Consider the Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation’s ‘Index of Economic Freedom Report.’ From 1995 to 2008, the ‘mostly free’ categories of nations include only some Muslim states, while the ‘mostly unfree’ and ‘repressed’ categories include the large majority of Muslim nations; no Muslim nation exists in the ‘free’ category. Some 600 million souls live in dismal poverty. And it’s not difficult to see why: The average man, woman or child living in a repressed or mostly unfree economy lives a life of poverty on only about $2,800 a year. Compare this with the prosperous residents of the world’s free economies, where the average per-capita income is $21,200, or nearly eight times greater. Put simply, the difference between poverty and prosperity is freedom.”

“Islam may be called a ‘religion of peace,’ but history paints a different picture, no matter how many individual Muslims are peace-loving. The book that most regulates Islam, the Qur’an, is mixed at best in this regard. Entirely different religions, both logically justified, can be extracted from its pages. There are verses about peace and tolerance, but also verses about intolerance, Holy War against non-Muslims, and subjugating the world to the will of Allah. … Evils done in the name of Christian faith have been committed either by nominal Christians who are unbelievers or by deceived believers. In both cases the people are acting inconsistently with Christian faith and the clear teachings of Christian Scripture.” 

“Too few appreciate how critically unique biblical Christianity is when compared to other religions—or the implications. For example, Christianity is the only religion based on the death of its founder, a death that forever altered the course of human history. No other religion has the literal physical resurrection of its founder. Biblical Christianity is the only religion having solid evidence to prove it true. It’s the only religion offering eternal life as a free gift through grace, and the only religion demonstrating beyond the shadow of a doubt that God truly loves us—as demonstrated at the Cross. Biblical Christianity is the only religion to dramatically improve the welfare of humanity in a score of areas.”

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