Was Muhammad Really A Champion of Women’s Rights?

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MY COMMENTS CONCERN an article which appeared in the Friday, May 24th issue of the Anniston Star.

Specifically, I am referencing the FAITH section of the paper (i.e., Religion Roundtable) where local religionists respond to questions of faith, interpretation, and practice.

Mr. Muhammad Haq, cleric for the local Anniston Islamic Center wrote: “Prophet Muhammad was not only a champion of human rights (emphasis mine, mb)–including women, children…”

With the utmost kindness and respect to Mr. Haq, both history as well as Islam’s two most sacred books (the Qur’an and the Hadith), tell a very different story.

Consider:

FACT:  Muhammad engaged in wife-beating–with the authorization of the Qur’an.  The Hadith (which records the traditions or sayings of Muhammad and is second only to the rule of the Qur’an) says he hit his girl-bride, Aisha (who was between the ages of 6-9): “He (Muhammad) struck me (Aisha) on the chest which caused me pain” (Muslim no. 2127).  The Qur’an says, “If you fear highmindedness from your wives, remind them (of the teaching of Allah), then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them (emphasis mind–mb).  If they obey you, you have no right to act against them” (Sura 4:34).  The Pickthall translation of the same passage says, ‘Men are in charge of women because Allah hath made the one to excel the other…  As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them (mb).

FACT:  Muhammad was a polygamist and treated his wives with disdain.  Hussein Haykal (popular Muslim biographer who authored The Life of Muhammad) says, “the wives of the Prophet went so far as to plot against their husband.”  Haykal then explains the motivation for their conspiratorial behavior.  “He (Muhammad) often ignored some of his wives, and avoided others on many occasions.”  Ironically, Muhammad supposedly received a revelation from God that a man could have no more than four wives at one time, but he himself had fifteen (cf. Sura 33:5).

FACT:  Muhammad claimed to have received a divine revelation which sanctioned him to marry Zainab, the divorced wife of his adopted son (Sura 33:37).  Oddly enough, the divorce was caused by the prophet’s own “admiration” for Zainab’s beauty.”

No, Muhammad was no champion of human rights, and certainly no champion of women’s rights in particular.

The sinless Christ (John 8:46) is the ONLY prophet who truly championed the role and rights of women (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 18:22; 31:10, 28; Gal. 3:28).

He alone deserves our allegiance (John 14:6).

Is There Really Only One?

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ARE YOU SITTING in front of your home computer?  Give this a try, please.  Do a Google search and type in, “The Standard Manual for Baptist Churches Concord Baptist Church,” or simply copy and paste the following address into your browser window:  http://www.concordbaptistchurchcc.org/Hiscox_Standard.pdf.  Your screen should open up to a PDF copy of an old book which at one time was a part of Princeton Theological library.  Each page of the publication has been scanned and then turned into a document for you to read on line.

“The Standard Manual for Baptist Churches” was written by Edward Thurston Hiscox and first published in 1890.  Mr. Hiscox was born Aug. 24, 1814 in Westerly, Rhode Island:  http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/hiscox.edward.t.bio.html.

But go back to the Standard Manual in the PDF and then scroll down all the way to page 22.  At the top left of the page you’ll find the page number.  You’ll also notice “CHAPTER IV” in capital type.  Underneath that it says, “CHURCH MEMBERSHIP.”  Since this book is referred to as a manual for Baptist churches, I wanted to see what Mr. Hiscox had to say about how an individual might become a member of the church.

Now start reading please at the beginning of the paragraph.  Read it slowly and thoughtfully.  Watch the opening sentence, “It is most likely that in the Apostolic age…” (emphasis mine—mb).

“What exactly was the Apostolic age?” you ask.  The Apostolic age was that period of biblical history during which the apostles, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-15; Acts 1:8; 2:4), led the first-century church—from Pentecost in A.D. 33 until the end of the first century, when the revelation of God’s word was completed.

Initially the Word of God (e.g., the New Testament) was revealed to the twelve (2 Peter 1:21).  They spoke it and then eventually wrote it down as it was given to them (1 Cor. 2:6-16) in pieces—in parts (1 Cor. 13:9).  With the passing of time, those documents were eventually gathered, collected, copied and finally put into the format of what we know as the New Testament or Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now keep reading and pay special attention to the next phrase in the online PDF.  Mr. Hiscox says that during that time period when the early church was being led by the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Apostolic age), “there was but ‘one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,’ and no differing denominations existed.”

Did you catch that?  There was only one Lord, there was, by this particular time, only one valid baptism (see Wayne Jackson’s article, “Is Holy Spirit Baptism Available Today?” at https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/519-is-holy-spirit- baptism-available-today), and one faith (Eph. 4:5).

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, and no differing denominations existed…”  Mr. Hiscox, a Baptist, admitted that in the first century, during the Apostolic age, there was only ONE faith, not many.  “Mike—what are you saying?  What does that mean?”  That means in the Apostolic age, when the apostles were under the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Christ, there weren’t 33,000+ different religious faiths as we have today, there was only one system of faith—the faith (singular).  Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blYqM4HaWdw.

There was no Baptist faith, no Methodist faith, no Episcopalian faith, no Presbyterian faith, no Lutheran faith, no Charismatic/Pentecostal faith, no Anglican faith, no Mormon faith, etc., there was only one faith—THE faith.    

Got your New Testament and an on-line concordance?  Look up the phrase, “the faith” in your Bible.  Sometimes “faith” refers to an individual’s level of trust in Christ (Acts 6:8; 11:24; 1 Cor. 2:5; 15:14), but sometimes “faith” refers to “the faith” (e.g., the body of doctrine known as the gospel of Christ—the system of faith, cf. 2 John 9).

Note several examples:

  • Luke said a great many priests were obedient to “the faith” (Acts 6:7b; cf. 2 Thess. 1:8).
  • Elymas the sorcerer tried to the proconsul away from “the faith” (13:8).
  • Paul exhorted disheartened members of the church to “continue in ‘the faith’” (Acts 14:22; cf. 16:5).
  • Felix and Drucilla listened to Paul preach about “the faith” (24:24).
  • Paul told the church at Corinth to “stand fast in the faith” (1 Cor. 16:13).
  • He later exhorted them to examine themselves to make sure they were “in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5).
  • Paul himself had left Judaism and converted to “the faith” (Gal. 1:23; cf. 3:23).
  • The apostle urged the congregation at Colossae to continue in “the faith” (Col. 1:23).
  • He condemned those men who failed to care for the financial responsibilities of their family, and in so doing, had denied “the faith” (1 Tim. 5:8).
  • The same apostle spoke of those who would eventually depart and fall from “the faith” (1 Tim. 4:1).
  • Jude reminded his readers to contend earnestly for “the faith” (Jude 3; cf. Phil. 1:16).

Remember the passage that Mr. Hiscox alluded to in Ephesians 4:4?  Paul said there was “one Lord, ONE FAITH, one baptism…”  What’s the one faith?  Again, it is THE faith—the system of faith, the body of doctrine, the gospel—as opposed to “a” faith (i.e. one of many faiths).

Now go back to Mr. Hiscox’s book online and re-read the sentence:  “It is most likely that in the Apostolic age when there was but “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism,’ and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act, constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all the rights and privileges of full membership.  In that sense, ‘baptism was the door into the church.’  Now it is different…”

Why, my friend?  Why is it different?  Why are there thousands of faiths today as opposed to ONE FAITH?  Why, as Mr. Hiscox correctly pointed out, during the Apostolic age when the twelve were guided by the infallible Holy Spirit of God that baptism was the door into the ONE FAITH in the first-century, but now it is different?  Since according to the ONE FAITH/doctrine immersion was the one door/way into the body (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:27) of Christ (Gal. 3:27), what occurred to change that?

Mr. Hiscox was absolutely correct.  In the first century there was only one faith.   Protestant denominationalism didn’t come into existence until the early 16th century as a reaction to medieval Roman Catholic false doctrines and practices.  History itself concedes this point (http://whyaretheresomanychurches.com/).

Now consider the implications of our brief study:

  1. If the Bible is the inspired word of God—and it is (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and if until the New Testament was finally and completely brought together (Eph. 4:13), there was only ONE FAITH (see above), how can we today—as mere humans (Prov. 14:12; Judg. 21:25), sanction what the Holy Spirit of Christ obviously did not? How can we have thousands of religious bodies, all wearing different names, all authorizing and following different and often contradictory practices, and still be pleasing to the Lord?  The answer is, we can’t; it’s simply impossible (1 Cor. 1:10-17; 2 Thess. 3:14; 2 John 9).
  2. If Jesus is married to the church, and He is (Rom. 7:4), but the church is many and not one, then He’s a polygamist with thousands of wives (Mat. 19:6). That means while He taught and commanded monogamy, He actually practices the very opposite!
  3. If Jesus is the head of the body/church (Eph. 1:22; 5:22; Col. 1:18), and He is, but the church has many bodies not one, then He’s over a grossly deformed, totally handicapped figure. Can one head be connected to and control thousands of separate and distinct bodies?
  4. If Jesus is the King of the kingdom/church (Mat. 16:16-18; Col. 1:13; 1 Tim. 6:15), and He is, but the kingdom is divided into thousands of divided and antagonistic factions, then He plead for (Mat. 12:25; Luke 11:17) and prayed for (John 17) unity, but He accepts and actually endorses division, dissention, schism and discord!

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:3-6).  Dear reader, are you a member of the ONE FAITH?

Is Jesus Deity?

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THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY makes some startling claims about Jesus.

Go to their official website and you will discover that they urge readers to “consider what the Bible really teaches about Jesus Christ,” and then informs them:

  • He was God’s first creation and therefore had a beginning.
  • He is not equal to God and “never even considered trying to be equal” to God.

It doesn’t take exceptional insight to see where this is going.  Clearly, JW doctrine wants people to believe that Jesus is not deity.

Does the evidence of Scripture confirm this idea?

Open your Bible and then study the following:

  1.  Jesus is recognized as deity.  He was to be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Mat. 1:23).  When Thomas saw the resurrected Christ he said, “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28).  Paul said explicitly, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).  As Stephen stood at the threshold of death, Luke records that he called on “God saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).
  2. Jesus possesses the attributes of deity.  He knows all things (John 2:25; 6:64).  He is all powerful (Isa. 9:6; Heb. 1:3).  He is eternal (Mic. 5:2).
  3. Jesus’ works are those of deity.  He has power to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7; Eph. 1:7).  He gives eternal life (John 10:28; 17:2).  He will judge the world (John 5:22, 27).  He controlled nature (Mat. 8:26).
  4. Jesus is worshiped as deity.  He is worshiped by angels (Heb. 1:6) as well as by man (Mat. 2:1, 2; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 18:26; 28:9, 17; John 9:38; Phil. 2:10), and yet only God is to receive such homage (Exo. 34:14; Mat. 4:10).

No, the Bible does not support WatchTower dogma.

Jesus is deity; He is God.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

Can You Describe Jochebed’s Faith?

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“So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive’” (Exo. 1:22).

“And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi.  So the woman conceived and bore a son.  And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.  But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.  And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him” (Exo. 2:1-4).

Consider Jochebed’s Faith:  

  • Despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother was UNSWAYED by his threats; she worked her faith (Heb. 11:23).
  • Despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother kept her son in the SHADE of her private care; she worked her faith (Exo. 2:2).
  • Despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother MADE an ark to protect her son; she worked her faith (v. 3a).
  • Despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother LAID her son in an ark along the bank of the river; she worked her faith (v. 3b).
  • Despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother made sure her daughter STAYED and kept eyes on her little brother; Jochebed worked her faith (v. 4).
  • Despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother soon became the NURSEMAID to her boy—she worked her faith (vv. 7-9).
  • Lastly, despite Pharaoh’s decree, this mother CONVEYED the will of Jehovah to her boy—she worked her faith (Heb. 11:24ff).

“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Jas. 2:17).

“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2:20).

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jas. 2:24).

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jas. 2:26).

What Do Grapevines Produce?

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AS A BOY growing up in East Tennessee, I often marveled at my Father’s keen ability to raise grapes.  He loved grapes and homemade grape jelly (he still does), and that love was seen in his devotion and care for his vines.  He mulched around the vines, he fertilized the vines, he watered the vines, and he protected the vines.

As a result, he produced delicious grapes year after year—but his grapevines ONLY bore grapes.  His vines never bore grapes, and tomatoes, and squash, and watermelon, and cucumbers.

When our Lord said, “I am the vine, you are the branches…” (John 15:5a), He was not sanctioning the religious division which is so prevalent in our world today.  Had that been the case, Jesus would have needed another comparison than that of the vine and branches because A VINE BEARS ONLY ONE TYPE OF FRUIT.  Grapevines only yield grapes, right?

Do a little reflective study back in Genesis and you’ll inevitably stumble across this verse:  “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’” (Genesis 1:11).  Watch the phrase “according to its kind, whose seed is in itself…”  In his commentary, The Genesis Record, Henry Morris observes:

“Implanted in each created organism was a ‘seed,’ programmed to enable the continuing replication of that type of organism.  The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the Biblical teach of the stability of kinds.  Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify the reproduction of that same kind.”1/  (Emphasis mine–mb).

In layman’s terms, what Doctor Morris was saying is that stuff only reproduces that same stuff.  In essence, George Benson’s grapevines could only yield grapes.  Different varieties of grapes?  Perhaps.  Fruit other than, or in addition to, grapes?  No.  Remember what Morris said, the “unique structure of the DNA…can only specify the reproduction of the same kind.”  To put it another way, “…You will always harvest what you plant” (Galatians 6:7 NLT).

Now stay with me.  In Luke 8 Jesus said, “…The seed is the word of God” (v. 11b).  Think about it for just a moment.  1)  Since a seed only reproduces after its own kind, and since, from a spiritual perspective, 2) the seed is God’s Word, then why do we have so many different religious groups today?  You can’t plant one seed and get thousands of different kinds of denominational fruits.  It’s genetically impossible. How can we plant the same seed (e.g. the Word) and yet reap a whole plethora of different and often contradictory, religious groups—which wear different names, which engage in widely divergent practices, and which teach opposing views?  Grapevines only yield grapes. 

Two chapters after He spoke about the vine and the branches Jesus prayed, “I do no pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me…that they all may be one…” (John 17:20, 21a).

One.  One seed.  One vine.  Many branches which reproduce the same fruit.  That’s what Jesus taught.

Think about it.

 

1/ Henry Morris, “The Six Days of Creation,” The Genesis Record, Baker, 63

Where was Josephine?

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SHE SHOWED UP on our front door step.  Even though she was outside at the time, I could hear her distinctive “meow” throughout the house.  We had a cat at the time, but Lucky’s voice has a much lower tone and pitch, so I knew it wasn’t him.

I stepped outside to introduce myself to our new guest.  She made a couple of quick circles around my feet and I nearly tripped.  She was thin, small, black and white, and had a light pink nose.

I’d studied feline dialect over the past twelve years so I could tell she was hungry.  I walked back into the house, stole a cup of Meow Mix from Lucky’s bag, came back outside, and then poured her dinner in a small heap on the concrete.  She devoured it as if she hadn’t eaten in days.

She stuck around our house for the next few days.  I dutifully fed her—morning and evening, but couldn’t help wonder whom she belonged to.  Surely her owners would be concerned as to her whereabouts.  She didn’t have a collar, and I feared for her safety in light of our proximity to the highway.

On Friday as I was leaving for the office, I pulled up to the intersection in front of our house and noticed a homemade placard which had been duct-taped to the STOP sign.  There was a photo of this very cat, and then the following information:

LOST CAT

“Josephine”

  • Small
  • Black and White
  • No front claws
  • 15-years-old

Phone number

“Very Loved!”

I instantly knew two things—1) the cat’s name and 2) her owner’s phone number.  I picked up my cell and punched in the ten digits.  Oddly enough, I got an old country boy several miles away.  He seemed aggravated that I had even called and said that he had never owned a cat in his life.  I confirmed the phone number with him; it was correct.  Apparently, Josephine’s owner has posted the wrong phone number on the sign.  I apologized to the man and hung up.

Lanore and I talked about what we should do on Saturday.  She suggested that I try punching in different combinations of the last four digits of the phone number.  I switched the 2 and the 1 and pressed “call.”  A lady immediately answered and said, “Hello.”  I said, “I’m calling about a cat…”  Before I could finish my sentence, she interrupted and announced, “Yes!!!  That’s MY cat—that’s Josephine!”

I gave the lady directions to our house and within two minutes she was pulling up in our driveway.  I carried Josephine over to the car.  Her owner literally ran up to me, snatched Josephine out of my arms, gave me a huge hug, and then began to weep.  “I can’t believe it!” she sobbed.  “I just knew something bad had happened to her…”  Talk about tears of joy!

As it turned out, Josephine’s owner had let her outside late Tuesday evening, but she didn’t return as usual.  The old cat had wandered out of the neighborhood, crossed the highway, and then decided to camp out on our porch several blocks away.

This whole occasion got me to thinking.  I wonder exactly what happens in heaven when folks repent and are restored to Christ?  What kind of party does the spirit world hold when a wayward brother returns to his first love?  What’s involved in “joy” when a sinner returns home?  Jesus said, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15.10; cf. v. 7).

Think about it.

What’s On Your Agenda Today?

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IT WAS TUESDAY morning, October 17, 1995.

I had just gotten off of the phone with Mom.  She started out the conversation with, “I’m not quite sure how to tell you this, but…”

“But” sounded pretty ominous to me, and as it turned it, it was—or so I thought at the moment.  Following a recent MRI scan, her surgeon discovered what he described as another “spot” on her brain.  I say “another” because scarcely two years earlier, Mom had undergone brain surgery in order to remove a golf-ball size tumor.

I’m happy to announce that now, many years later, she’s doing fine.  That spot was just a false alarm.  But at that precise moment, when she first called me, I don’t know that either of us could have been described as “fine.”

That episode, and more specifically, that phone call really made an impact on me.  It changed everything that day.  What was so important at 9:30 was trivial by 9:45.  What my Day-Timer deemed important earlier in the day as being urgent, was summarily crossed off that day’s to-do list all together.  One phone call put life in perspective.

Sickness has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t it?  By that I mean that cancer and tumors and malignancies and the such like have a way of grabbing our attention and reminding us of what really counts.

It is so easy for us to become side-tracked and pursue those things which are clamorous and pressing. Then we get one of those phone calls that begins with, “I don’t quite know how to tell you this…”

The truth of the matter is, those kinds of phone calls come all-too frequently, don’t they (Psalm 39:4,5; Proverbs 27:1; Isaiah 40:6-7; James 4:14)?  They shout in our consciousness as to what really deserves our time, energy, and interest.

May I ask a personal question, good reader?  What will be the next item on your agenda after you finish reading this message?  Is it really important…?

Please don’t fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent.  Evaluate how you use your time, look through your schedule, and then pursue the real priorities in your life.

  • Do you need to make an apology?
  • Do you need to stop procrastinating and put on Christ?
  • Do you need to tell someone, “I love you”?
  • Do you need to delve into the Word?

Take care of the most important thing (Luke 10:41,42).  Right now.  “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).