In particular, I was interested in the research being done that indicated that the oldest strata of the Gospels reflected an extremely early oral source known as Q, and that each of the individual sayings of Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, needed to be evaluated on its own merits, and not as part of the narrative material that surrounded it.
This is because that narrative material was added many years later.
In fact, the more I researched this subject, the more I found myself thinking of that conversation about the Gospel of John with my priest. I realized that what he had been unwilling or unable to tell me was that the author(s) of the Gospel of John had been lying. This was manifestly not an eyewitness account, though it claimed to be.
I was in a strange situation. I was certainly enjoying the fellowship of the Christians at my church, who were all committed and prayerful people. Being part of a religious community was important to me. Yet I had deep intellectual misgivings about the supposed historicity of the Gospel narratives. What’s more, I was, increasingly, getting a different message from the Gospel sayings of Jesus than that which my fellow Christians were apparently getting.
The more I looked at these sayings, the more impossible it became for me to reconcile the notion of the Trinity with that which seemed most authentic to me in the Gospels. I found myself face-to-face with some very difficult questions.
Where in the Gospels did Jesus use the word “Trinity”?
If Jesus was God, as the doctrine of the Trinity claims, why did he worship God?
AND -- if Jesus was God, why in the world would he say something like the following?
“Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18)
Did he somehow forget that he himself was God when he said this?
(A side note -- I had a discussion with a woman who assured me that this passage was not really in the Gospels, and who refused to believe that it appeared there until I gave her the chapter and verse number and she looked it up for herself!)
In November of 2002, I began to read a translation of the Quran.
I had never read an English translation of the entire text of the Quran before. I had only read summaries of the Quran written by non-Muslims.(And very misleading summaries at that.)
Words do not adequately describe the extraordinary effect that this book had on me. Suffice to say that the very same magnetism that had drawn me to the Gospels at the age of eleven was present in a new and deeply imperative form. This book was telling me, just as I could tell Jesus had been telling me, about matters of ultimate concern.
The Quran was offering authoritative guidance and compelling responses to the questions I had been asking for years about the Gospels.
“It is not (possible) for any human being to whom God has given the Book and Wisdom and Prophethood to say to the people: ‘Be my worshippers rather than God’s.’ On the contrary, (he would say): ‘Be devoted worshippers of your Lord, because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.’ Nor would he order you to take angels and Prophets for lords. Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to God’s will?” (Quran 3:79-80)
The Quran drew me to its message because it so powerfully confirmed the sayings of Jesus that I felt in my heart had to be authentic. Something had been changed in the Gospels, and that something, I knew in my heart, had been left intact in the text of the Quran.
Below, you will find just a few examples of the parallels that made my heart pliant to the worship of God. Each Gospel verse comes from the reconstructed text known as Q -- a text that today’s scholars believe represents the earliest surviving strata of the teachings of the Messiah. Note how close this material is to the Quranic message.
In Q, Jesus endorses, in no uncertain terms, a rigorous monotheism.
“Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’” (Luke 4:8)
“Children of Adam, did We not command you not to worship Satan? He was your sworn enemy. Did We not command you to worship Me, and tell you that this is the straight path?” (Quran 36:60-61)
Q identifies a Right Path that is often difficult, a path that unbelievers will choose not to follow.
“Enter ye in through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in there. Narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“The worldly life is made to seem attractive to the disbelievers who scoff at the faithful, but the pious, in the life hereafter, will have a position far above them…” (Quran 2:212)
“Would that you knew what the uphill path is! It is the setting free of a slave or, in a day of famine, the feeding of an orphaned relative and a downtrodden destitute person, (so that he would join) the believers who cooperate with others in patience and kindness.” (Quran 90:12-17)
Q warns us to fear only the judgment of God.
“And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear Him, which after He hath killed, hath the power to cast into Hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5)
“To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God’s retribution is severe. Should you then have fear of anyone other than God?” (Quran 16:52)
In Q, Jesus warns humanity plainly that earthly advantages and pleasures should not be the goal of our lives:
“Woe unto you that are rich! For you have received your consolation. Woe unto you who are full! You shall be hungry. Woe unto you who laugh now! You shall weep and mourn.” (Luke 6:24)
“The desire to have increase of worldly gains has preoccupied you so much (that you have neglected the obligation of remembering God) -- until you come to your graves! You shall know. You shall certainly know (about the consequences of your deeds.) You will certainly have the knowledge of your deeds beyond all doubt. You will be shown hell, and you will see it with your own eyes. Then, on that day, you shall be questioned about the bounties (of God).” (Quran 102:1-8)
Consider also the following chilling words from the Messiah, which should (!) make every heart humble, choke off all forms of arrogance in spiritual matters, and quiet every attack upon a fellow monotheist:
“And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But those who believe they own the kingdom of heaven shall be cast out into the outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11-12)
Obviously, this is an important teaching for all people of good will to bear in mind ... and to etch upon the memory.
You have seen how the historically earliest verses -- the Q verses -- parallel the major teachings of the Quran. Also worthy of mention is the fact that Q teaches nothing whatsoever of the Crucifixion, of the sacrificial nature of the mission of Jesus ... an intriguing omission indeed!
We are left then with an amazing early Gospel -- a Gospel that (non-Muslim) scholars believe is historically closest to Jesus -- a Gospel that has the following characteristics:
Agreement with the Quran’s uncompromising message of God’s Oneness.
Agreement with the Quran’s message of an afterlife of salvation or hellfire ... based on our earthly deeds.
Agreement with the Quran’s warning not to be misled by dunya -- the attractions and pleasures of worldly life.
A complete ABSENCE of any reference to Christ’s death on the cross, resurrection, or sacrifice for humanity!
This is the Gospel that today’s most advanced non-Muslim scholars have identified for us ... and this Gospel is pointing us, if only we will listen to it, in precisely the same direction as the Quran!
My dear Christian brothers and sisters -- I beg you to ask yourselves prayerfully, to seek almighty god’s guidance on this question: can this possibly be a coincidence?
Share The Word!
I became a Muslim on March 20, 2003. It became obvious to me that I had to share this message with as many thoughtful Christians as I could.
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