I have tried my hand at replying to 1.2.6 of Al-Kadhi's book. Please look it over. If it's incoherent or wrong, tell me and I will try to fix it. Your help would be wonderful. Paul, your little brother.
If keeping commandments was the only way to get into heaven according to Jesus, why did Jesus Himself say to the thief who hung beside Him on the cross say, "Tonight you will be with me in paradise." Al-Kadhi misses the central theme of Jesus' mission: "For this reason I have come, to give myself as a ransom for many." Those who, according to the law, were unable to meet God's requirements of perfection, were the ones who needed Jesus' substitutionary death. When a woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus for judgement and punishment, He demonstrated Paul's statement adequately, that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." He, writing the ten commandments in the dirt, pricked the conscience of every one present to the end that none could charge her with sin, themselves knowing in their own hearts they too, were guilty. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." Indeed Jesus did say, "Whoever keeps the law and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." But the weightier matters of the law do not revolve around eating pork, or refraining from eating pork. The summation of the law is, "Love your neighbor the way you love your own soul." When we sin, we dont beat ourselves in response to Mosaic law, or give ourselves over for killing, but we forgive ourselves, making allowance for our own frailty. So too, says Jesus, should we make allowance for others' faults. "I require mercy, not sacrifice." One facet of Jesus' teaching was fulfilling the law of Moses. The tithing, the fasting, and the prayer were given new meaning in Jesus. To the hypocrite who kept the form of religiosity but had no understanding of God's heart, He said, "You tithe dill and cummin but neglect the love of God and mercy. You should have kept the latter without neglecting the former." About fasting He said, do not let men know that you are fasting to get a reward from them (acclaim), but fast in secret, so you can receive a reward from God. Prayer, too, was shown not to be a rite performed for all to see, mechanically, or in public, as the hypocrites do, to receive glory from men. "But when you pray, go into your closet and pray in secret, and your Father will reward you openly." He challenges the repetition of prayer, as the Muslims do, as hypocritical vain babbling. What is He pointing to? Although the law is perfect, Jesus came to set us free from a performance mentality, and from the fear of punishment. As a legalist, one would expect reward for good behaviour and punishment for bad behaviour. But our conscience must be pure in order to know God, the goal of religion. With a 95% average, a student feels great about himself, but his father will undoubtedly ask him, "Why didn't you get 100%?" God requires perfection. No one except God is perfect, so how were we ever to please Him? The law only makes us aware of our imperfections. In making us aware of our sins before a perfect God, the law is good as a litmus test. It is at this point when we must turn to God to help us. It is He Himself who must make allowance for our guilty consciences. As the law is absolute, so we turn to it for help in this question- how does God help us in our weakness? In Leviticus, God told Moses of animal sacrifice, "The blood makes atonement for your sin." To Noah, God said, "I will require an accounting for the lifeblood of every creature... the life of a creature is in its blood." To Cain, God said, "Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." Blood has weight and value in God's eyes. Even the Muslim sacrifices yearly at Bakr-Eid, in remembrance of God's helping Abraham and his son Isaac. If Abel's blood could affect God's relations with Cain, then Jesus' blood can and does affect God's relations with men. Abel was sinful yet God paid heed to Abel's plea for justice. Jesus was sinless and it was His infinitely precious blood which was spilled for the salvation of sinful men. So by the law, Jesus set us free from the punishment for breaking the law. If He Himself had been guilty of sin, He would have been unable to pay for your sin or mine, since only infinitely pure blood can cleanse an infinite amount of sin. "The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." As to the term "Son of God," which Al-Kadhi qualifies as being applicable to any servant of God, according to Jewish tradition, the Gospels say, "To as many as received Him, even to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." Jesus said, "If you receive a prophet, you receive a prophet's reward, if you receive a righteous man, you receive a righteous man's reward." The inference is that in receiving the Son of God, we become sons and daughters of God. The special quality which sets Jesus apart from other "Sons of God" is that He came forth from the Father directly. Jesus wasn't the product of human decision, but of the Holy Spirit. If, as the Muslims say, Jesus is the Word of God and the Spirit of God, what is the difficulty, given His having descended from heaven, in accepting theological statements to the effect that He is God clothed with human flesh? "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among men... and we beheld His glory, as of the only begotten Son of the Father." In pitting Jesus against Paul, Al-Kadhi errs. The mission of Jesus was to set men free from their sin by dying for them. The message of Paul is the same. The preaching of Jesus about law, as well as His life, was to convict men of sin. Paul gives weight both to this conviction and to the solution, which is, the cross. Paul does not say, break the law. Jesus commanded us to keep it. Paul, as well as Jesus, emphasized the sinfulness of men wrt to the law and offer the solution of God's mercy- Jesus' blood. Jesus Himself highlited the greatest law, love for God and man. Paul said in Cor.13 that without love, he is nothing. In correcting churches like the one in Galatia, Paul states simply that men are not able to keep the law in their own power, and hence they need Christ. "We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness." Why didn't Jesus write any books? Why doesn't a CEO type his own letters? God chooses to inspire men by His Holy Spirit. Even Muslims can tell you Muhammed never wrote anything, but his followers copied. Witnesses are necessary in revelation. That is why Jesus appeared to Paul. He said, "You will suffer much for My Name's sake." Al-Kadhi is only fulfilling Jesus' prophecy in putting Paul up as a liar. As to the men who went before Jesus getting into heaven, Jesus Himself said, "Many will come from the east and the west to sit down at My table in the kingdom of heaven to eat with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob., etc." (paraphrased). God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for to Him all are alive. These men saw into the future, being prophets, and had faith in Christ, Whom they wrote about. Job says, "I know that my intercessor lives, and that I will see Him on the earth." Jesus is our High priest and intercessor, God on the earth. Paul agrees with and interprets Jesus for the Jew, as well as for the Muslim faithfully to the One He calls "Master".
The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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