Tom: We’re going through Dave Hunt’s book An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith, and not too quickly, I might add, because it’s loaded with thought-provoking teachings that have a singular purpose. It encourages its readers to abide in God’s Word, His truth. Chapter 5, the chapter we’re discussing today, is entitled “Shortcut to Truth,” and the shortcut is to go directly to the Bible rather than exploring all the religious beliefs that mankind has generated. Obviously, that has more to do with practicality than pride. But, Dave, you state, more than once, in very specific terms, that the Bible is opposed to all religions. I quote, “Biblical Christianity does not seek accommodation, much less partnership, with world religions. It seems their overthrow is hopelessly false and destructive to mankind. In fact, Christianity, which is based upon the Bible, cannot even be counted among the religions of the world.”
Dave: Well, that’s not surprising. That’s what the Bible says.
Tom: Well, it would surprise some people out there.
Dave: Yeah, it would definitely surprise some people. We don’t dialogue; there’s no discussion. God has spoken, and you don’t negotiate with God. All through the Old Testament, for example, God reveals Himself as the “one true God. Beside me there is no god.” He points out that there are false gods: “The gods of the nations are idols.” And Isaiah even mocks them—the idols that they make. In the New Testament, of course, Jesus claims to be God. He is the Savior. He became a man through the virgin birth, and He very clearly says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” He says He’s the one who “came to seek and to save the lost” and to die for their sins. Nobody else did that! Buddha never made such claims. Muhammad never made such claims.
And all through the Old Testament, we have literally hundreds of prophecies of the Messiah. Remember, John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus, asking Him, “Art thou He that should come, or look we for another?”
Well, someone was to come. The Old Testament prophets promised the coming of the Messiah and laid it out very clearly as to who He would be, when He would come, where He would be born, everything that would happen to Him, and Jesus fulfilled all this in His life, death, and resurrection! He’s the only Savior. This is the only way, this is the only Word from God, and so, we don’t discuss with others—if you weren’t certain, there would be no point in discussing it, right? If we don’t have a message from God and we can’t prove it, and it is not understandable (and I think we’ve gone over this a number of times on this program, but it probably bears repeating) . . .
Tom: That’s what the program’s about.
Dave: Yeah. If we don’t have a message from God that we can prove is literally from God and is definite, clear, understandable to the ordinary person, then there’s no point in you and me sitting here: “Tom, what do you think about this?” And I say, “Well, I think this.”
This is what the Jesus Seminar does, for example. They sit around and vote with colored beads whether they think Jesus said this or whether He didn’t say that, or did do this or not. They even talk about the seminary professors, talk about “the Bible has myths, but we want to retain the myths because there is some truth behind them.”
I am not interested in studying myths! Either the Bible is true, or it’s false. Now, if the Bible is true, then all other religions are false. There’s no accommodation with them, there’s no partnership that we can make with them.
Tom: Dave, that’s not what we’re hearing today, and that’s why we almost have to bend over backwards explaining these things to people, because right away, we come off as being intolerant, because they say, “Well, that’s not what we’re hearing from other Christian leaders, and from lots of people who are out there who are trying to bring us all together and develop a kind of all-is-one ecumenical thrust here . . .”
Dave: Tom, it doesn’t matter what we’re hearing, of course, obviously. We hear all kinds of things. It’s just a matter of simple logic. Our program is called Search the Scriptures Daily, but we also have to think. We have to use our minds. God gave us our minds and our reason. If it doesn’t make any sense—if we don’t have a revelation from God, and we can’t know it, what is the point of discussing? There is no point at all!
Well, you’re going to come up with your idea, and somebody else will come up with his idea . . . This is what seminaries, unfortunately, are all about. I was just reading a bit about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was very highly regarded because he opposed Hitler . . .
Tom: Hitler, right—was involved, people believe, in the assassination attempt on Hitler.
Dave: Yes, and they recently broadcast on PBS across the country a movie made about him, which won the prize over . . . somewhere in France, as the best TV special, or something like that. So, he is very highly regarded. And not only that, he’s highly regarded by evangelical leaders, who quote him and praise him, and so forth. The man didn’t believe that Jesus is God, he didn’t believe in the divinity of Christ, didn’t believe in the virgin birth, didn’t believe in the resurrection, didn’t believe in salvation! In one of his famous books, The Cost of Discipleship and prison letters, you know—I mean, here was a man who was in prison; he was suffering for his faith, but what was the faith? It was not a biblical faith! It was ideas that he came up with! He went along with Bultmann on that—I don’t know if even our listeners would remember him . . .
Tom: Is that Rudolf Bultmann?
Dave: Right, “de-mythologizing” the Bible. So look, he’s got his ideas, somebody else has their ideas. We have liberal seminaries, and we have books! It’s incredible! Books are being written by professors and so-called biblical scholars, but they don’t believe the Bible! Now if the Bible isn’t true, what’s the point of discussing it? “Well, we need to reinvent Christianity.” We didn’t invent Christianity in the first place, and we can’t reinvent it! And if this is something we invent, forget it! Shut the whole thing down, shut down all the churches and all the seminaries! And let’s just go on about our lives if we cannot know for sure! And, of course, that’s how we begin this book. You’d better know for sure when you take a step out into eternity when we come to die.
So, Tom, the Bible claims to be God’s Word. I think you mentioned it in the last program, over 50 times Ezekiel says, “The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying. . . .” Now, he’s either lying, or he’s telling the truth, and we can prove absolutely the consistency of the Bible, the fulfillment of the prophecies.
The New Testament claims to be written by eyewitnesses. John says, “That which we have seen, we’ve heard, we’ve handled, our eyes have looked upon, the Word of life. . . .” Peter says, “We were eyewitnesses to these things.” And now some of these people say, “Well, it was written centuries later, you know, and they put the . . .” Wait a minute! If it was written centuries later and they put that in there, they are liars, and I don’t care to have any time spent with them in even discussing the thing! It is either true or it is false.
Tom: Dave, in the Psalms—Psalm 119—it’s all about God’s Word being true. It’s His Word, His scriptures. In one verse, it says it’s true from beginning to end: “The entirety of thy word is true.”
Tom: Jesus and His words, His prayer was—in John:17:17-19, it says, “Sanctify them in the truth: Your Word is truth. As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes, I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in the truth.”
So, you’re right. You said last week that if this isn’t God’s Word, His revelation to us, and it can’t be trusted, then we just pack it in.
Dave: That’s right. Shut down the seminaries! We might as well discuss the Fables of Aesop, the slave, or the nursery rhymes that I learned as a little child, coming out of England.
There’s no point in it.
But, now, the Bible is true! We know that it is true; we can prove that it is true. We’ve talked about that in the past.
Tom: Right, but let’s get on with that. One of the assertions we’ve been making over the last few weeks is that the Bible bears the unmistakable stamp of truth in many verifiable ways.
Tom: And that separates the Bible from every other book considered by religious groups to be sacred. The Qur’an, for example, which was written more than 2,000 years after the earliest books in the Bible contain numerous unscientific statements. Dave, those who are listening who have an affinity for the Qur’an would say, “Well, they can’t say that!”
Well, again, we’re setting up the Bible; we’re presenting the Bible, and saying let’s see if the claims that it makes can be verified. So, we’re looking at the Bible, and we will—we have been, and we will—over the weeks ahead. But let’s look at some of the other books that claim to be sacred. Certainly the Qur’an claims to be the words of Allah given through Muhammad.
Dave: Well, Gabriel, the angel, is speaking to him. Well, Tom, it’s not . . . people shouldn’t be offended, if there are any Muslims listening. It’s a matter of fact—factuality, historical accuracy, scientific accuracy.
For example, the Qur’an says that God put the mountains on the earth, in order . . . well, let me give you a quote out of the Qur’an. First of all, it says that the sun sets in a slimy well, and Muhammad said this! He was asked—well, let me quote from the Al-Kashshaaf. This is by one of the top Islamic scholars Al-Zamakhshari. He’s telling what happened. This is from the hadith, from “the tradition,” which Islam says is as important as the Qur’an. You can’t understand the Qur’an without the hadith.
Tom: Right. Very similar to what Catholics would say, that their views are based on the Bible plus tradition.
Dave: Exactly! So here’s what he says: “Abu-Dar [that was one of Muhammad’s close companions] was with Muhammad during the sunset. Muhammad asked him, ‘Do you know, O, Abu-Dar, where this sets?’”
“He answered, ‘God and his apostle know better.’”
“Muhammad said, ‘It sets in a spring of slimy water.’”
That’s the Third Edition, Volume 2, page 743. That’s the 1987 edition.
Now, here is from the Qur’an itself—this is Surah 1886: “When he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout.” And by the way, it doesn’t tell you in this particular verse here exactly, but go back and read the context—this is Alexander the Great who found the sun had set in this slimy pool, muddy pool. Now, that’s not scientific. I think we don’t have to argue that. The phenomena of thunder and lightening, for example, are explained in the Qur’an: well, there are a couple of angels, one of them named Thunder, one of them named Lightning.
Well, let me read from the hadith again. Badawi, he’s one of the top Islamic scholars. There is a chapter in the Qur’an about the thunder—an entire chapter—and he’s discussing verse 13 of this chapter, and he says, “Ibn Abbas asked the apostle of God about the thunder. He told him, ‘It is an angel who is in charge of the cloud, who carries with him swindles of fire by which he drives the clouds. The thunder is an angel, and the lightning is from his fire,” and so forth. The earth, the Qur’an says, is flat. It’s not round, as the Bible says. Well, he says —this is the Qur’an, Surah 21:31—God is supposedly speaking. “We” [now, I don’t know why God uses “we,” because Allah is a single individual]: “We have placed in the earth firm hills, lest it quake so as not to sway and hurt people.” Well, I mean, there are other unscientific statements . . .
Tom: Well, let me pick up on that. There are a number of verses in the Qur’an that says that Allah cast mountains down to the earth like tent pegs to keep it from shaking.
Tom: So, there’s a statement in terms of application with regard to the makeup of the earth. But ask any geologist, and they say no, that certainly there are folds in mountain ranges, but they were created by earthquakes, and they don’t work against the stability but they add to the destabilization.
Dave: And they weren’t thrown down onto the earth but from the earth rising up.
Tom: Right. Dave, certainly some people would say, well these are just metaphors, this is just symbolic language. No, in many cases these are explanations of how something came about or what is behind a phenomenon that we see.
Dave: Yes, furthermore, Tom, the Islamic scholars today take them very seriously. They’ve analyzed what Muhammad said. They’ve analyzed the Qur’an. You cannot get away from it, and they stand by it! But it simply is not true. It’s not scientific.
Tom: So the point here is that we’re looking at a sacred book of the Muslims, the Qur’an. Certainly they can take any perspective that they want in terms of it being holy to them and important to them, but our challenge here is, as people would challenge the Bible: Are the statements that are being made statements that you would expect to come from the Creator of the universe?
Dave: No, they’re not. There are all kinds of historical errors in the Qur’an. For example, the Qur’an says it was a Samaritan who formed the golden calf. But wait a minute! The Samaritans didn’t even exist until about a thousand years later. The Qur’an contradicts the Bible on many events that are very factually established by historians. I mean, we know when Mary lived. We know where she gave birth to Jesus. But the Qur’an confuses Mary with Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron! The Qur’an has the mother of Moses putting Moses in the river. The Qur’an has the wife of Pharaoh, not his daughter, finding the baby Moses and so forth. The Qur’an says that one of Noah’s sons, named Sam, refused to go into the ark and was drowned. The Qur’an says Jesus did not die on the cross—that God put a likeness of Jesus on another disciple, and he died in Christ’s place. Instead of Christ dying in our place, someone died in His place. Christ was taken to heaven without dying and must come back to this earth and die again! And, in fact, some of the Islamic scholars say that it was Judas upon whom this likeness was placed, and he was crucified . . .
Tom: Dave, let me interject this, again, for people out there who are . . . this is upsetting them, a simple point here is—both cannot be true. Where both books offer differing views, and they’re not just different perspectives—these are clearly statements that one contradicts the other and they both cannot be true. And that’s what we are asking people to consider here. Is the Qur’an true? If it is, then you have to throw the Bible out. If the Bible is true, and it rejects ideas and views that come from the Qur’an, you have to take the Bible (if you’re interested in truth) over this particular book—the Qur’an.
Dave: You cannot fault the Bible. You cannot bring up points in the Bible like we are bringing up in the Qur’an. Now the Qur’an contradicts itself. For example, Surah 54:49-50 says that Allah “created everything as the twinkling of an eye.” But according to Surah 41:9,12 Allah “created the earth in two days and seven heavens in two days.” But verse 10 adds to the confusion by saying Allah “blessed it [the earth] and measured therein its sustenance in four days.” But then Surah 7:54, 10:4, 32:4, say, “Lo, your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” Then Surah 32:5 explains a day is actually a thousand years, but Surah 74 says a day with Allah is 50,000 years—I mean I can go on!
There’ re so many contradictions and you cannot explain them away.
Now, the Qur’an is also ambivalent in its attitude toward the Bible. Now, in the beginning, early in the Qur’an, Surah 3:48, for example, it said that, “He (Allah) will teach him (Jesus) the scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the gospel.” In Surah 5:44, Allah speaking, says, “We did reveal the Torah wherein is guidance and a light.” Surah 5:46 says, “We bestowed on him (Jesus) the gospel, wherein is a light.” Surah 5:48 says, “We revealed the scripture with the truth confirming whatever scripture was before it.”
So the Qur’an begins by seeming to accept the Bible. Then it contradicts the Bible later on, because at first Muhammad was very friendly with the Jews and with the Christians. In fact, he didn’t read and write. So he got the information from these people. Some of it he got confused in his mind and forgot, and that’s obvious in reading the Qur’an. But then, when they refused to embrace him as the prophet of God, then he turned against them. He killed many Jews; [in] one entire city he wiped out all the Jewish males. He then turned against the Bible. So later on, the Qur’an begins to contradict the Bible.
Now, what does the Muslim scholar say about that today? Well, he says, “The Bible got changed between the early verses and the later verses.” No, it didn’t get changed because we have manuscripts of the Bible before Muhammad and after Muhammad. They’re exactly the same!
So, look, the point that we are trying to make, and we’re not trying to offend Muslims—we’re not trying to offend anyone—we have to be factual. We began by saying, “If the Bible is not God’s Word, throw it out!” The Bible claims to be God’s Word, and it says all the others are false. Well, let’s examine them. Let’s be factual about this. There’s no point in saying, “Well, can’t we all get along with one another?” That’s like you say 5 + 5 is 20 and I say 5 + 5 is 10, and you say, “Well, can’t we get along with one another?”
We have to go by facts, we have to go by history, we have to go by truth. The Bible is the truth. Jesus is the truth.
Tom: Dave, and as far as getting along, we have a heart, and I hope people understand that—our heart is for truth, for, as you’ve said over and over again, what God wants. What He says. And we’re not setting ourselves up as the ones who are dictating these things. All we’re doing is pointing to God’s Word. Those out there who have the same objections that the Muslim scholars have, or whoever there might be that object to God’s Word—check it out for yourself!
Dave: Tom, you said it to me very well on the phone, yesterday, I think it was. You said, “Look, if anybody has an argument, it is not with us. It’s with the Bible.”
Tom: Dave, in the programs ahead, we are going to continue this. We’ve addressed some things with regard to the Qur’an, but we’re going to be (I hope) equally tough on the Bible itself. I mean, there are a lot of people who say they are myths, there are contradictions, there are inaccuracies, and we are going to look at some of those and see if that’s the case. We’re also going to look at other sacred books from the Bhagavad Gita, to the Book of Mormon—particularly those books in which the people who are promoting them say that they are even superior to the Word of God. Now, there’s a challenge we have to respond to, and we are going to do that in the weeks ahead!