Reasons for Islam’s Rejection of Biblical Christology -- By: Imad N. Shehadeh
BSac 161:643 (July 2004) p. 274
Reasons for Islam’s Rejection
of Biblical Christologya
Imad N. Shehadeh is Founder and President of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Amman, Jordan.
Islam views Muhammad as the last of all the prophets. He is perceived as having had a special relationship with God similar to that of the prophets of Israel.1 He is presented as strong-willed with the conviction of a strong calling, for he spoke to the heart of a religious and social crisis with passionate and revolutionary zeal. He insisted that he was proclaiming God’s message and not his own. He untiringly proclaimed that there is one God and that He tolerates no other gods besides Himself. Muhammad preached that this God requires unconditional obedience and submission, and he announced judgment for the wicked and rewards for the righteous.
When Muhammad refused the teaching that Jesus is God (Surah 5:72), he was in essence passionately asserting his conviction about “the boundless existential chasm which lies between Almighty God and his creatures.”2 This naturally led him to the unequivocal rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity (though his view of it was derived from unorthodox sources), a view that was “founded ultimately on his absolute inability to see it any other way.”3 Frank concludes, “One should. .. avoid underestimating the sincerity and depth of the religious meaning which the Koran does
BSac 161:643 (July 2004) p. 275
contain, as he should equally shun any refusal to see its real limitations.. .. it is better to begin by placing the data within the framework of what the Koran is rather than what it is not.”4
The purpose this article is to show that the Muslim adherence to certain theological concepts informs the qur’anic picture of Christ as taught by Muhammad.
This study is limited to Surah 5 of the Qur’an for several reasons.5 First, Surah 5 is considered to be one of the last surahs written in the Qur’an, if not the last.6 Second, Surah 5 includes some of the most polemical attacks against biblical Christology and Trinitarianism. Third, Surah 5 of the Qur’an exposes much of the unbiblical theology that forms the bedrock of Islam’s idea about Christology and the Trinity.7
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