(edited transcription of Islam vs. Christianity
a series of television programs produced by The John
Ankerberg: Welcome to
our program. We are having a debate between those representing Islam and
those representing orthodox Christianity. We are going to be talking
about the topic: The Crucifixion of Jesus—Christian and Muslim
Perspectives. The Koran states very clearly on the crucifixion of Jesus,
"they said [in Sura 4:157] ‘We killed Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, the
Apostle of God,’ but they killed Him not, nor crucified Him. It was made
to appear to them so and those who differ therein are full of doubts
with no certain knowledge. They follow only conjecture for assurity.
They killed Him not." So, the Koran clearly teaches that Jesus never was
put on the cross. When Christ was not crucified, God made it appear to
the Jews that someone was crucified—we’ll talk about who that might be.
Finally, the words "God raised Him up to Himself" are taken to mean that
Jesus was raised alive to heaven without dying.
Christianity says just the
opposite. So, on that, we will start with Dr. Gleason Archer, who will
present the case from the Christian position.
Archer: Well, in the
teaching of Jesus Himself as, for example, in Chapter 16 of the gospel
of Matthew where Peter makes the confession that Jesus of Nazareth is
none other than the Messiah of God, Jesus commends him for it. Then, he
says, beginning with verse 21, "From that time Jesus Christ began to
show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things
from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be
raised up on the third day." In the passage that we quoted earlier in
the second chapter of Philippians, you remember that it was stated that
He was obedient even unto death, even death on the cross.
In Colossians 2:9 we read,
"In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." It is
interesting to observe that even the Unitarian professor of Harvard,
Thayer, in his New Testament lexicon states very plainly that the New
Testament teaches that Jesus Christ is the same essence and substance as
God the Father.
In Psalm 22:16, which we
mentioned before, you have the statement, "For dogs have compassed me"
and "they have pierced my hands and my feet." The verb being used there
indicates a death by crucifixion, which at that time, that is, back in
the days of David, was hardly practiced. So, it is a prophetic statement
as to how Christ will die.
In Zechariah 12:10, as
Brother Anis has mentioned, the Lord says, "I will pour out upon the
house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace
and supplication so that they will look upon me whom they have pierced
and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son." And as was
pointed out "me" quoted from Yahweh is equated with him who is pierced
on the cross.
And then in Revelation 1:8,
"I am the Alpha and the Omega…. I am the First and the Last." Then later
it says, "I became dead and behold I am living unto the ages of the
ages." I think that it is one of the best substantiated facts in all
history that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by the government under the
inspiration or the encouragement of the Jewish establishment. And
therefore, it seems hardly pertinent even to question it if we are going
to value the testimony of history.
Ankerberg: Thank you.
Our second speaker, representing Islam on the question of the
Crucifixion of Jesus—Christian and Muslim Perspectives, is Dr. Jamal
significance of the crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity is not the same
as in Islam. It is central in Christianity, but not in Islam for three
reasons: (1) Muslims are taught on the authority of the Koran to believe
in, love, respect and honor Jesus: crucifixion or not, that belief will
not change; (2) the Koran, even the Bible, sometimes speak about
prophets who were killed or dead persons were resurrected to life
without any implication of divinity; (3) Muslims do not believe in
theories of original sin, necessity of bloodshed for remission of sin or
the necessity of the death of the divine in order to forgive the sins of
A second observation is that
Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified only on the authority of
the Koran as John recited, which to them is the word of God. The only
aspect about what he translated that it could be translated it was meant
to appear to them, or it could also be translated it so appeared to
Following is a Muslim
response to four common grounds that are usually presented to
substantiate the crucifixion of Jesus. The first, that the Old Testament
prophesied the crucifixion of Jesus in detail, including even His words
on the cross. Two responses: (1) According to scholars, Christian
scholars, some of the Old Testament prophecies were taken out of context
as they referred either to the general suffering of prophets like Isaiah
or to specific events like the suffering of David at the hands of
Amalekites in Psalm 22. It is in that context that David was mocked,
scorned and said, "God, God why have you forsaken me?" I must note here
that according to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the words
"They pierced my hands and feet" did not appear in the ancient Hebrew
That it is said that all four
gospels speak about the crucifixion of Jesus. How could that be
rejected? There are three responses to that. It is well known that many
theologians and Christian historians do not agree on the authorship of
the gospels—whether the writers were eyewitnesses or not. John might
call this liberal theologians, but there is an awful lot of them. (2)
The gospels were written after the fact with a view of proving
theological positions that were already taken before the gospels were
written. And as John Fenton, in his book about St. Matthew, says,
Matthew, in particular, was obsessed to prove to the Jews that all
prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus.
Thirdly, the gospel accounts
contain several irreconcilable contradiction and inconsistencies and
many logical flaws. This is not the time to go into detail, and this
casts doubt about what happened and that led a Christian author in a
book called History of Dogma to say, for example, that the empty
tomb cannot be taken as a historical fact. Actually, many scholars today
believe that the crucifixion is more of a statement of theology rather
The third ground: It is said
that other writings like ancient Roman and Jewish writings confirm the
crucifixion. Many scholars, and I can give you reference of this, found
out finally that many of these were forgeries attributed under pagan
names. The best example is Josephus who is a Jew and said to have said
that Jesus was the Messiah and He came according to the prediction of
the Old Testament. That is nothing but a statement of acceptance.
Finally, some say the
crucifixion is necessary for salvation. We say no, not necessarily. This
is a theological experience that should not dictate historical facts and
the idea of dying and rising God is an idea that existed in mythology
and legends before Christianity, and was meant to appeal to the Gentile
world. Thank you.
Ankerberg: We come to
Dr. Anis Shorrosh for the first response. And, Anis, the Christian
Church throughout the world for twenty centuries has held a unanimous
opinion on the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To
this day, there is no dispute among Christians what happened to Jesus.
We all believe He was crucified for our sins and raised for our
salvation. Why? What are the reasons for this? Even the Greek Orthodox,
Roman Catholic, Protestants, all of us agree on those points. What
evidence has brought this consensus? What unambiguous testimony can you
give that would bring all Christians of all stripes and flavors together
on this point?
Shorrosh: Let me give
you this from Sura chapter 5, verse 116-117 where the statement comes,
"I was a witness of them while I dwelt among them and when thou tookest
me," and the words here "tookest me" really means, "you have caused me
to die." And that is the truth. When you have caused me to die, after
that death, then Jesus went up to heaven. The question I have for them
is why in the world would Jesus come to earth if He is going to be just
another prophet? He came with the purpose to die. He explained that to
the disciples. He lived with that in mind. He talked to them about it.
And then He arose the third day, just like He said. So, why should I
take the word of a man, which is mentioned two or three times, when I
have a whole rostrum of evidence that is far in excess of time and space
as far as 600 years earlier and more volume to that truth?
Badawi: The answer is
simple. If Dr. Shorrosh is aware of the intricacies of the Arabic
language, you would have known that word in Arabic has a broad meaning,
which the original meaning is "fulfill my term." And, that it is used as
an allegory for death; only as an allegorical meaning and the rule in
the Arabic language that the word should be used in the original meaning
unless there is evidence to use it in the allegorical meaning. Even if
we take that second assumption as true; even if we were to take it some
of the interpretation that God took Jesus somewhere else, and that
raised Him unto Himself, the Koran doesn’t say raised him alive. But
there is also another interpretation that raised his soul. So, in either
interpretation still it is a matter of the usage of the Arabic language.
Ankerberg: But you
have to go with one of those interpretations, and we need evidence for
any interpretation. Let’s get a response from the other side.
Shorrosh: I commend
the Muslims for respecting my Savior so much, but they miss the point of
why did He come to earth. Remember when Allah said, "O Jesus, lo I am
gathering thee." In this passage, they say, "Gathering thee." In this
other passage, "I am causing thee to die." And the question is if that
word means death, then it means death. Jesus died for our sins, He arose
from the grave, and He is coming again. The question I would like to ask
then is, why in the world He is coming again? Where do you get the
interpretation He is going to die, be buried by Muhammad in Medina?
Where do you get that information? It is all made up.
Morsi: I have some
evidence here from the New Testament from the New Testament itself from
the book of Luke in chapter 24 and I want the audience to be the judge
of what it means. This is the story when Jesus went to meet His
disciples, supposedly after His crucifixion, and He enters the upper
chamber and the disciples were terrified for they supposed to have seen
a spirit. They thought they had seen a resurrected body. Jesus said to
them, "Why are you terrified and why do bad thoughts come to your heart.
Come and touch me and handle me and see for yourself for a spirit does
not have flesh and bone as you see me have." Therefore, he is proving to
them that He is still alive. He did not die on the cross. Then, to show
the point. I know that this comes to you as a disappointment, but you
can read it for yourself.
Ankerberg: Let’s get
a response on that because one of the people that was there was Peter.
In 2 Peter he says, "We did not follow cleverly devised tales." Now,
let’s talk about that whole thing of when Jesus appeared. Is that what
you would come to from the evidence, Dr. Archer?
Archer: The point, of
course, is that Jesus appeared to them showing that He had risen from
the dead, and that He had His resurrection body. Therefore, He had
overcome the curse that had come upon the human race because He had paid
the penalty in full Himself because He had risen victorious from the