Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Has Islam Misunderstood Christianity?

A Christian Response to Bassam Zawadi’s Debate

With Dr. James R. White Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We continue with our analysis of the arguments that Bassam Zawadi made in his debate with Dr. James R. White concerning the Quran’s gross misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the Christian faith.

Is God Jesus and the Third of Three? What the Scholars have to Say

In this part I am going to cite a plethora of references to show that the Quran’s formulation of the core Christian doctrines regarding the Godhead is mistaken, proving that it cannot have originated from God who perfectly knows all things, and would have therefore been able to correctly articulate the belief of Christians.

Note, once again, what the Quran claims Christians believe:

They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Messiah, Mary's son.' Say: 'Who then shall overrule God in any way if He desires to destroy the Messiah, Mary's son, and his mother, and all those who are on earth?' For to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them, creating what He will. God is powerful over everything.  S. 5:17 Arberry

They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Messiah, Mary's son.' For the Messiah said, 'Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.' They are unbelievers who say, 'God is the Third of Three. No god is there but One God. If they refrain not from what they say, there shall afflict those of them that disbelieve a painful chastisement. S. 5:72-73

Suffice it to say, no informed Christian would ever claim that God is the Messiah or that God is the third of three, thereby implying three gods. The following scholar explains why the statement that God is the Messiah is an incorrect way of expressing what Christians truly believe:

Third, to distinguish between person and nature, we must keep in mind two ways to use “is”–identity versus predication. Mark Twain is the pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the 26-cigars-a-day smoker and author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Twain does not have characteristics that Clemens does not have. In other words, when we say, “Samuel Langhorne Clemens is Mark Twain,” we can just as easily reverse the names: “Mark Twain is Samuel Langhorne Clemens.” Each of those statements indicates identity: Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens (and vice versa). The names, which refer to the same person, are fully interchangeable and thus identical. 

When it comes to the Trinity, to say “Jesus is God” isn’t identical to “God is Jesus.” Unlike the Mark Twain example, “Jesus” doesn’t exhaust what it means to speak of “God.” Jesus and God are not identical. According to the Bible, Father and the Spirit are called divine, just as Jesus. In the statement “Jesus is God,” we use is to describe or predicate, not to identify or equate: Jesus is God in that He shares in the nature that only two other persons share; so there isn’t just one person who can properly be called God. (Paul Copan, “Is The Trinity A Logical Blunder? God As Three And One”, in Contending With Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists & Other Objectors, ed. Paul Copan & William Lane Craig [B&H Publishing Group, 2009], Part Three. The Coherence of Christian Doctrine, p. 212; bold emphasis ours)    

Another authority writes:

“… The second way is to qualify the affirmation ‘Jesus is God’ by observing that this is a nonreciprocating proposition. While Jesus is God, it is not true that God is Jesus. There are others of whom the predicate ‘God’ may be rightfully used. The person we call Jesus does not exhaust the category of Deity.” (Harris, Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, Paperback edition 1998], XIII. Conclusions: Theos as a Christological Title, K. “Jesus is God” as a Theological Formulation in English, p. 297; bold emphasis ours)


“To recognize that the godhood of the Son is indistinguishable from the godhood of the Father is not, of course, to jeopardize the personal distinction between Son and Father. Jesus is totus deus but not totum dei. He is all that God is without being all there is of God. There is a numerical unity of essence but not a numerical identity of person. Although Jesus shares the divine essence fully and personally, he does not exhaust the category of Deity of the being of God. To use the distinction made in the Johannine Prologue, ho logos was theos (1:1c) but ho theos was not ho logos (cf. 1:1b). (Ibid., J. The Significance of the Christological Use of Theos, 2. Theos is a Christological Title That Explicitly Affirms the Deity of Christ, p. 293; bold emphasis ours) 


“Once again the other two deities are said to be Jesus and Mary. The veneration of Mary has been a major article of Roman Catholic belief and the Ethiopian Church, in particular, has historically revered her as the mother of God. It seems, however, that their excesses and confusion have only resulted in the Qur’an compounding the confusion! No Christian Church, no matter how much it reveres or glorifies Mary as, for example, the Queen of Heaven, has ever confused the Trinity or made it out to be what the Qur’an represents it to be.” (Ibid.)

And this is what Harris states elsewhere:

Can we, therefore, say that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is "God"? Yes indeed, provided we constantly bear in mind several factors.

First, to say that "Jesus is God" is true to the New Testament thought, but it goes beyond actual New Testament diction. The nearest comparable statements are "the Word was God" (John 1:1), "the Only Son, who is God" (John 1:18), and "the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever" (Rom. 9:5). So we must remember that the theological proposition "Jesus is God" is an inference from the New Testament evidence – a necessary and true inference, but nonetheless an inference.

Second, if we make the statement "Jesus is God" without qualification, we are in danger of failing to do justice to the whole truth about Jesus – that he was the incarnate Word, a human being, and that in his present existence in heaven he retains his humanity, although now it is in a glorified form. Jesus is not simply "man" nor only "God," but the God-man.

Third, given English usage of the word God, the simple affirmation "Jesus is God" may be easily misinterpreted. In common English usage God is a proper name, identifying a particular person, not a common noun designating a class. For us God is the God of the Judeo-Christian monotheistic tradition, or God the Father of Jesus and of the Christian, or the trinitarian Godhead. So when we make the equation in English, "Jesus is God," we are in danger of suggesting that these two terms, "Jesus" and "God," are interchangeable, that there is a numerical identity between the two. But while Jesus is God, it is not true that God is Jesus. There are others – the Father and the Spirit – of whom the predicate God may be rightfully used. Jesus is all that God is, without being all there is of God. The person of Jesus does not exhaust the category of deity. So then, when we say, "Jesus is God," we must recognize that we are attaching a meaning to the term God – namely, "God in essence" or "God by nature" – that is not its predominate sense in English. (Harris, 3 Crucial Questions About Jesus [Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI 1994], pp. 101-102; bold emphasis ours)

Moreover, Muslims such as Zawadi believe that the God that is mentioned all throughout the Quran is identical to the One that Christians identify as the Father, even though they object to using this specific title for their deity due to the Quran’s repeated emphasis that he is NOT a father to anyone, nor has he taken sons or daughters for himself (cf. Q. 2:116; 5:18; 6:101; 9:30; 19:88-93; 21:26; 39:4; 72:3).

This also raises a problem for Zawadi since it shows that the Quran is again wrong in its articulation of Christian beliefs since in Christian theology the Father is the first of the three divine Persons of the Godhead, with the Holy Spirit being the third Person. Murray J. Harris, while commenting on the reason the NT rarely applies the noun God to Jesus, notes that in both the Christian Scriptures and Trinitarian theology God is used primarily of the Father since it functions as a proper name in relation to him:

“But you may ask, why are there so few examples of this usage in the New Testament? If Jesus really is God, why is he not called ‘God’ more often? After all, there are over 1,300 uses of the Greek theos in the New Testament. Several reasons may be given to explain this apparently strange usage.

First, in all strands of the New Testament the term theos usually refers to the Father. We often find the expression God the Father, which implies that God is the Father. Also, in trinitarian formulas ‘God’ ALWAYS denotes the Father, never the Son or the Spirit. For example, 2 Corinthians 13:14 reads, ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ What is more, in the salutations at the beginning of many New Testament letters, ‘God’ is distinguished from ‘the Lord Jesus Christ.’ So Paul’s letters regularly begin, ‘Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ As a result of all this, in the New Testament the term theos in the singular has become virtually a proper name, referring to the trinitarian Father…” (Harris, p. 99; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Hence, when it comes to Christian theology the Quran is mistaken from every possible angle!

In fact, the claim that it is incorrect to say that God is Jesus or the Messiah is not a modern notion since Christians have been objecting to this formulation long before Muhammad was born, as even noted by Muslim author Neal Robinson, who mentions an ancient Nestorian Christian reference and says that:

“… The text which dates from around 550 CE. concludes a discussion of the Trinity with the words ‘The Messiah is God but God is not the Messiah’. The Qur'an echoes ONLY the latter half of the statement. C. Schedl, Muhammad and Jesus (Vienna: Herder, 1978), p. 531.” (Neal Robinson, Christ In Islam and Christianity [State University of New York Press, Albany 1991], p. 197; bold and capital emphasis mine)

And here is another source which records the reaction of Christians to the Quran’s gross misrepresentation of their beliefs in the early centuries of Islam, specifically the late tenth century AD: 

‘Abd al-Jabbar focuses in particular on those Qur'anic statements THAT CHRISTIANS IN HIS DAY DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE, for example that they consider Jesus to be a separate God (Q 5:72), or consider God to be third of three (Q. 5:73), or even consider Mary to be a God (Q 5:116). ‘Abd al-Jabbar contends that Muhammad was right to attribute these statements to Christians: (Critique of Christian Origins, a parallel English-Arabic text, edited, translated, and annotated by Gabriel Said Reynolds & Samir Khalil Samir [Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah 2010], p. xlvi; bold and capital emphasis ours)


“Thus [Muhammad] related their statement that Christ is God, and ‘God is the third of three.’ These are their essential teachings, but they barely express them clearly. Instead, THEY RESIST THE ESSENCE OF THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, so that their principal authors and their writers who are devoted to this barely summarize their teachings. You will find that if you asked the disputants and debaters among them about their statement on Christ, they would say, ‘Our statement is that he is the Spirit of God and His Word, JUST LIKE THE STATEMENT OF MUSLIMS. We say, “God is one.”’…

“For the most part you will encounter among them who says: ‘We did not say God is Christ. We did not say “God is the third of three.” Whoever related this about us HAS ERRED AND LIED.’ Know, then, that Muhammad's position on this… is from God, Mighty and Exalted, and that this is one of his signs.” (Ibid., pp. 2-3; bold and capital emphasis ours)


“Now someone might say: ‘By my life it is demonstrated that the Christians have said that Jesus, the son of Mary, is neither a prophet nor a Messenger of God nor a righteous servant, but rather that he is a god, Lord, Creator, and Provider, that God is the third of three, and that he was killed and crucified. Yet your master has said in your book, “Did you say unto men, ‘Take me and my mother as two gods, apart from God?’” The Christians say, “This is a lie. For although we said about [Christ] that he is a god, we did not say about his mother that she is a god.”’” (Ibid., pp. 80-81; bold emphasis ours)

The fact is that scholars and apologists have long recognized that the Quran is mistaken when it comes to the beliefs of the historic Christian faith:

“In many passages of the Qur'an Muhammad accuses the Christians of being Polytheists, on account of their holding to the doctrines of the Trinity… and the divine sonship of the Lord Jesus. It is evident that Muhammad was mistaken in his opinion of the doctrine of the Trinity held by Christians, which he represents as God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary and confounded it with Tritheism.” (F. A. Klein, The Religion of Islam (1906) [Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2009], p. 52; bold emphasis ours)

“Into the history and meaning of these controversies we need not enter further than to indicate their bearing on the situation at the time of the rise of Muhammad. In the Trinitarian disputes of the fourth century we are not much interested in this connection. They were bitter enough while they lasted, and were the occasion of the first manifestation within the Church of the persecuting spirit which ultimately wrought such havoc. But long before the rise of Islam the doctrine of the Trinity had been settled, and the dispute had passed to other subjects. Muhammad certainly misunderstood the doctrine and regarded it as tritheistic…” (Richard Bell, The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment [Frank Cass, London, UK. 1968], p. 7; bold emphasis ours)

4. Objection: God cannot be "Christ, the son of Mary," because then God would be a creature, in need of food and shelter, not the sovereign creator of heaven and earth, beyond all needs.

Response: Christians generally do not say that God was Christ; I know of no significant classical theologian who makes that claim. Instead, Christians say that “Christ was God” (or, to use New Testament phrases, “God was in Christ” [see 2 Cor. 5:19] or the eternal “Word became flesh” [John 1:14]). The two claims – that God was Christ, and Christ was God – seem similar, but are in fact very different. Christians believe that Christ was fully human, and therefore in need of food and shelter, as well as fully divine, and therefore of one undivided essence with God. (Miroslav Volf, Allah: A Christian Response [HarperOne, 2011], Part III: Critical Themes: The Trinity and Love, Chapter 7. The One God and the Holy Trinity, p. 134; bold emphasis ours)

Mistakes About the Trinity

The Quran contains many errors about what Christians believe and practice. One of the most significant is that the Quran misrepresents the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

Muhammad mistakenly thought that Christians worshiped three gods: the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son (Jesus), (Sura 5:73–75, 116).25

As Richard Bell pointed out:

[Muhammad] never understood the doctrine of the Trinity.26

Encyclopedia Britannica states:

[There are] mistaken concepts of the Trinity in the Quran.27

Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Quran tries to avoid this error by deliberately mistranslating Sura 5:73.

The Arabic text condemns those who say that “Allah is the third of three,” that is to say Allah is only one of three gods! Both Arberry and Pickthall translate this correctly.

Ali mistranslates Sura 5:73 to read:

They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity.

The words “in a Trinity” are not in the Arabic text. Ali puts it in his translation in an attempt to avoid the rather obvious error that Christians believe in three gods.

In reality, Christians believe only in one God who is in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They do not believe that Mary is a part of the Trinity.

Even the Concise Dictionary of Islam admits:

In some cases the “material” which forms the substance of Quranic narrative, details of the creeds of Christianity and Judaism for example, does not correspond to those religion’s own understanding of their beliefs. This could be said, for example, of the notion of the Trinity found in the Quran, the story of Satan’s refusal to bow down to Adam, the Docetist view of the crucifixion, all of which can be traced to the dogmas of Gnostic sects, which are heretical in relationship to orthodox Christianity and Judaism. The Trinity “seen” in the Quran is not the Trinity of the Apostles Creed, or of the Nicene Creed.28

The Quran is so clearly erroneous at this point that Muslims such as Yusuf Ali must mistranslate the Quran to get away from it!

Mistakes About the “Son” Of God

The Quran also makes the mistake of saying that Christians believe Jesus is the “Son” of God in the sense that God the “Father” has a male body and had sexual intercourse with Mary.

In Muhammad’s mind, to say that God had a son was to blaspheme because it meant that God had sex with a woman (Suras 2:116; 6:100, 101; 10:68; 16:57; 19:35; 23:91; 37:149, 157; 43:16-19).

Christians believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).

Thus Jesus is the “Son” of God, but not in the sexual sense that Muhammad understood. God the “Father” is not a man and hence does not have a male body and has not had sex with anyone. The Quran is 100 percent wrong on this issue.

25 Concise Dictionary of Islam, pp. 229ff.; H Becker, Christianity and Islam, pp. 21ff.

26 Richard Bell, Introduction to the Quran, p. 141.

27 Encyclopedia Britannica, 12:708.

28 Concise Dictionary of Islam, pp. 229–230. (Dr. Robert A. Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Religion [Published by Christian Scholars Press, Revised 1992], Part Five: The Sacred Book of Islam, Ten: A Scientific Examination of the Quran, pp. 175-177; underline emphasis ours)

At the heart of all Muslim misunderstandings of the Trinity is the Qur'anic misrepresentation of it as a triad of deities, being Jesus the Messiah, his mother Mary, and Allah – in that order. The word "Trinity" nowhere appears in the Qur'an either but it is clear that the book sets out to oppose Christian belief in a divine threesome, no matter what that belief ultimately may be. In three places we find this belief attacked. The first reads Wa laa taquuluu thalaathah - "And say not 'three"' (Surah 4.171), an exhortation to Christians not to exaggerate in their beliefs. The word thalauthah is a common Qur'anic word appearing some nineteen times in the book and it ALWAYS means, quite simply, the number three

I have deliberately quoted Professor Arberry's translation here rather than Yusuf Ali's for the latter appears to have purposefully mistranslated the text. His rendering of the first part reads "They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity". It is in this conscious mistranslation that the author seeks to hide the Qur'anic misconception of the Trinity. The Arabic reads that the unbelievers say innallaaha thaalithu thalaathah which, correctly translated, can only mean what Arberry takes it to mean, namely that Allah is the third (thaalithu) of three (thalaathah), that is, that he is considered to be the third god in a tritheism. Hence the rebuke in the next sentence, "No god is there but the One God!" Who, then, are the other two gods? Two verses further down we find them named:

Christ the son of Mary was no more than an Apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They both had to eat their (daily) food. See how God cloth make his Signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! Surah 5.78

The argument just cannot be missed or mistaken. The Messiah was only an apostle, his mother was only a chaste woman, and they both had to eat food to sustain themselves – how then can they be considered as two gods alongside Allah? The Qur'an, therefore, quite obviously takes the Christian belief in a divine threesome to be a tritheistic belief, an adoration of three gods being Jesus, Mary and God, and in that order, God clearly being said to be only the third of the three. How far the Qur'an is from the true Christian belief in the one true God who is triune, the personalities in order being the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…

The third passage of the Qur'an and the only other one which touches on Christian belief in this connection reads:

And behold! God will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, 'Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God'?" Surah 5.119

Once again we find the same thing – Jesus and Mary as gods alongside Allah. The verses following make it quite plain that it is the Christians, the followers of Jesus, who are charged with holding such a belief in three gods. Today Muslim writers resort to all sorts of expedients to get around the plain declaration of the Qur'an that Christians believe in a tritheism of Jesus, Mary and Allah. Yusuf Ali's mistranslation of Surah 5.76 is a good example where he takes the simple words thaalithu thalaathah to mean "one of three in a Trinity" instead of what they can only mean, namely "the third of three". The great Muslim commentators of earlier centuries, however, were in no doubt as to what was being opposed in the Qur'an in the verses we have quoted. They were quite convinced that Surah 5.78 and Surah 5.119 represented Jesus, Mary and Allah as the Christian threesome.

These verses are explained by the commentators Jalalu'ddin and Yahya as being the answer to the statement which Muhammad heard certain Christians make that there are three Gods, that is to say God the Father, Mary, and Jesus. (Tisdall, The Original Sources of the Qur'an, p. 180).

God, Mary and Jesus – these are quite obviously the persons Muhammad understood as forming the threesome of which he had obviously vaguely heard and could not fully understand. It is most significant that all three verses occur in some of the very last surahs of the Qur'an to be "revealed", indicating that it was only late in his mission that he first heard of Christian belief in a divine threesome. Another great and famous commentator, Zamakhshari, says on the word thalaathah in Surah 4.171:

According to the evidence of the Qur'an, the Christians maintain that God, Christ, and Mary are three gods, and that Christ is the child of God by Mary, as God says (in the Qur'an): 'O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men: "Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God"?' (Surah 5.116), or: 'The Christians say: "The Messiah is the Son of God"' (Surah 9.30). (Gatje, The Qur'an and its Exegesis, p. 126).

The learned Muslim scholar was in no doubt that the Qur'an was attacking a tritheism of Jesus, Mary and Allah - a concept indeed far closer to the pagan triads of old than the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity…

When all is said and done, however, we are left with a patent error in the Qur'an. Whatever Muslim apologists may say in their attempts to circumvent this error, it does not appear to us that an objective study of the three verses quoted can lead to any other conclusion than that Muhammad had a limited and defective knowledge of the doctrine of the Trinity and mistook it as a tritheism of Jesus, Mary and Allah.

It is clear from these passages that the whole argument of Muhammad was against a system of tritheism which he believed to be held by the Christian Church of his day. He nowhere says a word which leads us to suppose that he had ever heard of a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. His whole attack on the Christian position was based on the supposition that the Church taught that God had entered into physical relations with Mary, and that the man Jesus and his mother were therefore associated with God in worship and adoration. (Gardner, The Qur'anic Doctrine of God, p. 11).

Nothing but the most profound ignorance of the Bible and of the true nature of Christianity can account for the fact that Muhammad evidently believed the Virgin to be one, of the Persons in the Holy Trinity. (Tisdall, The Religion of the Crescent, p. 169).

From this misconception come all the Muslim arguments against the Trinity. I have yet to find a Muslim writing on the subject that allows the possibility that the doctrine is consistent with monotheism. Such an allowance would be perfectly consistent with the doctrine as it is set forth in the Bible, but would be inconsistent with the Qur'an's insistence that the Christian belief is tritheistic rather than trinitarian, hence the allowance dare not be made.

There is ample evidence to show that the true doctrine was known in Arabia and that Muhammad could have ascertained its real nature. The Christian King of Yemen, Abraha, who lived and reigned shortly before the time of Muhammad, wrote an inscription at Marib describing certain events relating to his conquests in the region. The inscription began with a tribute to the Trinity.

Arabia was full of heresies, and yet we have epigraphic evidence that the real doctrine of the Trinity obtained in Arabia, instead of that which Mohammed asserts the Christians hold. In 1888 Edward Glaser, the explorer, brought from Mareb, the Sabean capital, a copy of an inscription, telling of the suppression of a revolt against the Ethiopic rule then established in Yemen. This inscription, which dates from 542 A. D., opens with the words: "In the Power of the All-Merciful, and his Messia and the Holy Ghost". (Zwemer, Islam: A Challenge to Faith, p. 21).

The actual tribute, recorded in basic Arabic consonants only, reads Rhmnn w mshh w rh qds (Trimingham, Christianity Among the Arabs in Pre-Islamic Times, p. 301) which clearly means that it was in the power of the "Merciful One" (ar-Rahmann) and his "Messiah" (wal-Mashih) and the "Holy Spirit" (war-Ruhul-Qudus). Thus there is clear evidence that the true doctrine of the Trinity was known in the Arabian Peninsula.

There is no evidence that any Christian sect actually believed that the Trinity consisted of God, Jesus and Mary, least of all that God was the third of these three, although there were a number of sects which venerated Mary almost to the point of deifying her, such as the Collyridians. The Nestorians, however, widely distributed in the regions of western Asia, believed that Mary was indeed no more than a woman "and that it was an abomination to style her, as was the custom of the church, the Mother of God" (Irving, The Life of Mahomet, p. 51).

Whatever confusion existed about her status among Christians only seems to have been compounded rather than corrected in the Qur'an.

No Christian should fear making a defence of the doctrine of the Trinity to Muslims and should always use the opportunity to witness to the manner in which God has redeemed us through the work of his Son and the presence of his Spirit in our lives. In fact, once a Muslim is himself put on to the defensive to explain the Qur'anic teaching on this subject, the Christian evangelist will find that the doctrine itself can be far more easily justified than the Qur'anic misconception of it. Our doctrine is the true doctrine, the true God is indeed the Triune God of the Bible - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and we need never fear standing on the rock of this revealed eternal truth. (John Gilchrist, The Christian Witness to the Muslim, 8. Objections to Fundamental Christian Doctrines, A. The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity; bold emphasis ours)


Christians do not say that "Allah is Christ, the son of Mary" as the Qur'an alleges they do (innallaaha huwal Masiihubnu Maryam - Sura al-Ma'ida 5:72), that is, that God is Jesus. We believe that God is a Supreme Being in a threefold unity of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that the Son alone took human form as the man Christ Jesus.

We do believe that the Son is subject to the authority of the Father (the very titles imply an equality in essence and nature between them on the one hand and the subjection of one to the other on the other hand). We do also believe that the Son was sent into the world according to the Father's purpose and will, as Jesus himself said: "I came not of my own accord but he sent me" (John 8:42). Likewise we accept that he does nothing of his own accord but only what the Father wills and does and, because he is the eternal Son of God, has omnipotent power to put this divine will and activity into effect (John 5:19). These are basic Christian teachings…

Booklets like The God that Never Was which represent Jesus in Christian doctrine as God absolutely, with no reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit or to his subjection to the former in authority, misrepresent Christianity altogether. Such publications accordingly serve no useful purpose. If Muslims would only assess this doctrine for what it really is, they would find it not as far removed from their own as they generally suppose, and would perhaps come to a truer and closer knowledge of who Jesus really is – not a "god" who "never was" but the eternal Son from heaven who truly remains the "same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). (Gilchrist, Christ in Islam and Christianity: A comparative study of the Christian and Muslim attitudes to the person of Jesus Christ, The God That “Never Was”?; bold emphasis ours)

With the foregoing in perspective, we can now move ahead and take a closer look at some of these Quranic texts in order to see whether Zawadi has accurately represented the teaching of his own scripture concerning the beliefs of Christians.

Lord Jesus willing, the fourth part of our rebuttal should be appearing shortly.