"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Twenty-Six OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To consider Paul's defense before King Agrippa 2) To review Paul's question on belief of the prophets to Agrippa 3) To observe King Agrippa, Festus, and others in deliberation on Paul SUMMARY Paul went before King Agrippa and made his defense. In the beginning, Paul reviewed his life as a Jew - before his conversion. King Agrippa gave Paul permission to speak for himself. Paul began by acknowledging that Agrippa was an "expert" in the Jewish customs and questions concerning the Jews. Paul told of his former life as a Jew/Pharisee. Paul had spent his early life in Jerusalem - all the Jews knew this. He was a member of the strictest sect, the Pharisees. Paul noted that he was being judged for the "hope of the promise made by God to our fathers." Paul reiterated that this was the core of the accusation - this "hope." Paul asked Agrippa, "Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?" Paul then stated that he originally thought he should act contrary to Jesus. He cast Christians into prison, voted for their deaths, punished them, compelled them to blaspheme; he even persecuted them to foreign cities. Paul then told of the Lord's appearance on the road to Damascus. While Paul was engaged in persecuting Christians, he journeyed toward Damascus. At midday, a bright light shone on him and his companions. They all fell to the ground. The Lord spoke to Paul in the Hebrew language. The Lord identified Himself as Jesus. The Lord told Paul of the purpose of His appearing: to make him a minister and witness of the things he had seen and of the things that would be revealed to him. Paul was sent by the Lord to the Gentiles, to open their eyes - that they may receive forgiveness of sins. Paul told Agrippa that he had to be obedient to the heavenly vision. He declared the Gospel in Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea, and then to the Gentiles. Paul told the Gentiles to "repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance." He said for these things the Jews seized him at the temple and tried to kill him. He recognized that God had helped him to that very time. Paul only preached those things which the prophets and Moses had said would come to pass: that Christ would suffer; that Christ would be the first to rise from the dead; and, that He would proclaim light to the Jews and Gentiles. Festus then interrupted Paul. He interjected at Paul's defense with a loud voice. He said, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!" Paul replied, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak words of truth and reason." He pointed out that Agrippa knew of these things. Paul further noted that none of these things had been "done in a corner." (1-26) Paul asked King Agrippa if he believed the prophets. He had a brief dialogue with Agrippa about his belief. He addressed King Agrippa, "do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe." Agrippa replied, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Paul responded that he would, for not only Agrippa, but for all who heard him to become Christians. Of course, Paul did not desire for any to be in bonds, as he was. (27-29) King Agrippa, Festus, and the others then deliberated about Paul. No charges were found against him. They said, "This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains." Agrippa pointed out that Paul might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar. (30-32) OUTLINE I. PAUL MADE HIS DEFENSE BEFORE KING AGRIPPA (1-26) A. PAUL AS A JEW - BEFORE HIS CONVERSION (1-11) 1. King Agrippa gave Paul permission to speak for himself 2. Paul began by acknowledging that Agrippa was "expert" in the Jewish customs and questions about the Jews 3. Paul told of his former life as a Jew/Pharisee a. Paul had spent his early life in Jerusalem - all Jews knew this b. He was a member of the strictest sect, the Pharisees c. Paul noted that he was being judged for the "hope of the promise made by God to our fathers" d. Paul reiterated that this was the accusation - this "hope" e. Paul asked Agrippa, "Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?" f. Paul originally thought he should act contrary to Jesus g. Paul cast Christians in prison, voted for their deaths, punished them, compelled them to blaspheme; he even persecuted them to foreign cities B. PAUL TOLD OF THE LORD'S APPEARANCE ON THE DAMASCUS ROAD (12-18) 1. While Paul was engaged in persecuting Christians, he journeyed on the road to Damascus a. At midday a bright light shone on him and his companions b. They all fell to the ground c. The Lord then spoke to Paul in the Hebrew language d. The Lord identified Himself as Jesus e. The Lord told Paul of the purpose of appearing: to make him a minister and witness of the things he had seen and of the things that would be revealed to him f. Paul was sent by the Lord to the Gentiles, to open their eyes - that they may receive forgiveness of sins C. PAUL PROCLAIMED THE LIGHT TO THOSE IN DARKNESS (19-23) 1. Paul told Agrippa that he had to be obedient to the heavenly vision a. He declared the Gospel in Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea, and then to the Gentiles b. Paul told the Gentiles to "repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" 2. Paul said for these things the Jews seized him at the temple and tried to kill him a. Paul recognized that God had helped him to that time 3. Paul only preached those things which the prophets and Moses had said would come to pass a. That Christ would suffer b. That Christ would be the first to rise from the dead c. That Christ would proclaim light to the Jews and Gentiles D. FESTUS INTERRUPTED PAUL (24-26) 1. Festus interjected at Paul's defense with a loud voice a. He said, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!" 2. Paul replied to Festus a. He said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak words of truth and reason." b. Paul pointed out that Agrippa knew of these things c. Paul further noted that none of these things had been "done in a corner" II. PAUL ASKED AGRIPPA IF HE BELIEVED THE PROPHETS (27-29) A. PAUL HAD A DIALOGUE WITH KING AGRIPPA ABOUT HIS BELIEF (27-29) 1. Paul addressed Agrippa, "do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe." 2. Agrippa replied, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." 3. Paul responded that he would for not only Agrippa, but for all who heard him to become Christians a. Of course, Paul did not desire for any to be in bonds, as he was III. KING AGRIPPA, FESTUS, AND OTHERS DELIBERATE ABOUT PAUL (30-32) A. NO CHARGES WERE FOUND AGAINST PAUL (30-32) 1. Agrippa, Festus and the others went aside to deliberate a. They said, "This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains." 2. Agrippa pointed out that Paul might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main events in this chapter? - To consider Paul's defense before King Agrippa (1-26) - To review Paul's question on belief of the prophets to Agrippa (27-29) - To observe King Agrippa, Festus, and others in deliberation on Paul (30-32) 2) What did Paul indicate that King Agrippa was "expert" in? (3) - All customs and questions which have to do with the Jews (3) 3) In what city did Paul state that from his youth he spent with his own nation? (4) - Jerusalem (4) 4) What sect had Paul been a part? What word did he use to describe it? (5) - Pharisees (5) - "strictest" (5) 5) What did Paul say he was being judged for? (6) - "for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers" (6) 6) [Fill in the blank] "Why should it be thought ___________ by you that God raises the dead?" (8) 7) List some of the things that Paul did "contrary to the name of Jesus." (9-12) - Shut up saints in prison (10) - Cast his vote against them for death (10) - Punished Christians (11) - Compelled them to blaspheme (11) - Persecuted Christians even to foreign cities (11) 8) What did Paul see on the road to Damascus? What time of day? How bright was it? (12-13) - Paul saw a light from heaven (13) - At midday (13) - Brighter than the sun (13) 9) After falling to the ground, what language did the Lord speak to Paul? (14) - Hebrew (14) 10) What did the voice ask Paul? (14) - "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (14) 11) Who did the voice say he was? (15) - "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." (15) 12) Why did the Lord appear to Paul? (16) - "to make you a minister and witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will reveal to you" (16) 13) To whom (what people) was Paul sent? (17) - Gentiles (17) 14) What was Paul to do for these people? For what purpose? (18) - To open their eyes (18) - To turn them from darkness to light (18) - To turn them from the power of Satan to God (18) - "that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (18) 15) What did Paul declare that they should do? (19-20) - They should repent (20) - They should turn to God (20) - They should do works befitting repentance (20) 16) Because of his obedience to that heavenly vision, what did the Jews do to Paul? (21) - They seized Paul in the temple (21) - They tried to kill Paul (21) 17) How was Paul able to stand before Agrippa that day? (22) - Through the help of God (22) 18) What 3 things did Paul say in accordance with the prophets and Moses? (22-23) - Christ would suffer (23) - Christ would be the first to rise from the dead (23) - Christ would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles (23) 19) What did Festus say to Paul at this point? (24) - "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!" (24) 20) How did Paul respond to Festus? (25) - "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak words of truth and reason." (25) 21) Where were all of these things NOT done? (26) - "not done in a corner" (26) 22) What did Paul ask King Agrippa? (27) - "do you believe the prophets?" (27) 23) What did King Agrippa say in response to Paul? (28) - "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." (28) 24) What did Agrippa, Festus and the others say among themselves? (31) - "This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains." (31) 25) What did Agrippa then say to Festus? (32) - "This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar." (32)
"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Twenty-Five OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To consider the circumstances in which Paul appealed to Caesar 2) To observe Paul before King Agrippa SUMMARY Shortly after Festus arrived in Caesarea, he went to Jerusalem. The high priest and chief men informed Festus of Paul. They petitioned him, asking Festus a favor, to bring Paul back to Jerusalem. The Jews planned an ambush to kill Paul along the road as he traveled. Festus indicated that he would shortly be traveling back to Caesarea, and invited those Jews in authority to travel there as well. They could accuse Paul there. After remaining in Jerusalem about ten days, Festus returned to Caesarea. He called Paul before the judgment seat the next day. The Jews attended and laid serious complaints against Paul; however, they could not prove them. Paul answered, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all." Festus then asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem with him. He suggested that he would judge Paul there. This was recommended to Paul because Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor. Paul responded that he stood at Caesar's judgment seat, "where I ought to be judged." He told Festus he had done no wrong to the Jews, "as you very well know." Paul was willing to die, if he had committed anything worthy of death. But, he had no guilt of the things for which the Jews accused him. Paul was not going to be delivered to the Jews - he was a Roman citizen. Paul then appealed to Caesar. Festus replied, "You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!" (1-12) A few days later, King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus as the new governor, replacing Felix. Festus laid Paul's case before Agrippa. He noted that Felix had left Paul a prisoner with his case not resolved. He recalled that the chief priests and elders of the Jews informed him about Paul during his recent visit to Jerusalem. Festus recounted to Agrippa that he had told the Jews that it was not Roman custom to deliver the accused for "destruction" without the accused having the opportunity to answer the charges face to face. Upon Festus' return to Caesarea, he had Paul come before the judgment seat. He discovered nothing wrong in Paul, other than there were some questions about "their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." Festus asked Paul to go to Jerusalem, since he was "uncertain" about these matters. At that point, Festus noted that Paul appealed to Caesar. After Festus' explanation of Paul's case, Agrippa requested to hear Paul himself. Festus said to Agrippa, "Tomorrow you shall hear him." Paul was brought before King Agrippa the next day, following much pomp upon the entry of Agrippa and Bernice into the auditorium with the commanders and other prominent men of the city. Festus explained the situation to Agrippa and the others. He reported that the Jews claimed Paul was not "fit to live any longer." However, Festus stated that he found Paul had committed nothing deserving death. He noted that Paul had appealed to Caesar, and he was going to send him. Festus indicated that he had nothing to write to Caesar about Paul. He hoped that after Agrippa's examination of Paul, he may have something to write. He thought it was unreasonable to send an appeal to Caesar without specifying the charges. (13-27) OUTLINE I. PAUL APPEALED TO CAESAR (1-12) A. THE JEWS PETITIONED FESTUS TO RETURN PAUL TO JERUSALEM (1-5) 1. Shortly after Festus arrived, he went to Jerusalem 2. The high priest and chief men informed Festus of Paul 3. They petitioned him, asking a favor, to bring Paul back to Jerusalem a. The Jews planned an ambush to kill Paul along the road 4. Festus invited those Jews in authority to travel to Caesarea with him a. They could accuse Paul there B. PAUL STOOD BEFORE FESTUS IN CAESAREA (6-9) 1. After remaining in Jerusalem about ten days, Festus returned to Caesarea a. He called Paul before the judgment seat the next day 2. The Jews laid serious complaints against Paul a. They could not prove them b. Paul answered, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all." 3. Festus asked Paul if he would go to Jerusalem with him a. Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor b. Festus suggested that he would judge Paul there C. PAUL APPEALED TO CAESAR AND AVOIDED A RETURN TO JERUSALEM (10-12) 1. Paul stated that he stood at Caesar's judgment seat, "where I ought to be judged" a. He said he had done no wrong to the Jews, "as you [Festus] very well know" 2. Paul was willing to die, if he had committed anything worthy of death a. He had no guilt of the things the Jews accused him b. He was not going to be delivered to the Jews - he was a Roman citizen, and he then appealed to Caesar 3. Festus stated, "You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!" II. PAUL'S CASE WAS HEARD BY KING AGRIPPA (13-27) A. FESTUS PRESENTED PAUL'S CASE TO KING AGRIPPA (13-22) 1. A few days later, King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus 2. Festus laid Paul's case before Agrippa a. He noted that Felix had left Paul a prisoner b. The chief priests and elders of the Jews informed Festus about Paul c. He told the Jews that it was not Roman custom to deliver the accused for "destruction" without the accused having the opportunity to answer the charges d. Festus had Paul come before the judgment seat e. Festus discovered nothing wrong, other than there were some questions about "their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive" f. He asked Paul to go to Jerusalem, since he was "uncertain" about these matters g. Then Paul appealed to Caesar 3. Agrippa requested to hear Paul himself a. Festus said to Agrippa, "Tomorrow you shall hear him" B. PAUL STOOD BEFORE AGRIPPA AND BERNICE (23-27) 1. Paul was brought before King Agrippa the next day, following much pomp upon the entry of Agrippa and Bernice 2. Festus explained the situation to Agrippa and the men gathered a. Festus reported that the Jews claimed Paul was not "fit to live any longer" b. Festus stated he found that Paul had committed nothing deserving death c. He noted that Paul had appealed to Caesar, and he was going to send him d. Festus indicated that he had nothing to write to Caesar about Paul e. He hoped that after Agrippa's examination of Paul, he may have something to write, for he thought it unreasonable to send an appeal to Caesar without specifying the charges REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main events in this chapter? - Paul appealed to Caesar (1-12) - Paul's case was heard by King Agrippa (13-27) 2) After arriving in the province, how many days was it before Festus went from Caesarea to Jerusalem? (1) - Three days (1) 3) Of what did the high priest and chief men inform Festus? (2-3) - Informed him against Paul and petitioned him (2) - They asked a favor for Festus to send Paul to Jerusalem (3) 4) What was the real plan of the Jews for Paul? (3) - They were laying an ambush to kill him on the road (3) 5) How did Festus respond to the Jews' request? (4-5) - Paul would be kept in Caesarea; he was going there shortly (4) - The Jews with authority were to go to Caesarea to accuse him (5) 6) When did Paul come before the judgment seat of Festus? (6) - Festus returned to Caesarea after about 10 days in Jerusalem (6) - He called Paul to the judgment seat the next day (6) 7) The Jews laid many serious complaints on Paul. Were they able to prove them? (7) - They were not able to prove any of them (7) 8) List the three things Paul had not offended against. (8) - He had not offended against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar (8) 9) Why did Festus ask Paul to go to Jerusalem? (9) - He wanted to do the Jews a favor (9) 10) Where did Paul believe he should be judged? (10) - Where he was - at Caesar's judgment seat (Caesarea) (10) 11) Did Paul recognize that Festus found no wrong in him? (10) - Yes, he stated that to Festus; "as you very well know" (10) 12) What was Paul trying to avoid by appealing to Caesar? (11) - None of their accusations had been proven; therefore, he did not want to go back to Jerusalem before the Sanhedrin (11) 13) How did Paul have the right to appeal to Caesar? (11) - Paul was a Roman citizen (11; cf. Acts 22:25-28) 14) How did Festus respond to the appeal? (12) - He conferred with the council and then said, "You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!" (12) 15) Why had Agrippa and Bernice come to Caesarea? (13) - To greet Festus (13) - He was the new governor, replacing Felix (cf. Acts 24:27) 16) What did Festus tell Agrippa about, after they had been there many days? (14-15) - He told them about Paul's case (14) - He told them how the Jews had informed him about Paul (15) 17) How did Festus describe his response to the Jew's request? (16) - It was not the Roman's custom to delivery any man to destruction with allowing the accused to answer his accusers face to face (16) 18) What questions was Festus uncertain about? (18-20) - Questions "about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." (19-20) 19) What was Agrippa's response to Festus? (22) - "I also would like to hear the man myself" (22) 20) While before Agrippa, what did Festus state that the Jews cried out about Paul in Jerusalem? (24) - He was "not fit to live any longer" (24) 21) What was Festus' finding in Paul's case? (25) - He had committed nothing deserving of death (25) 22) What was Festus' dilemma in which he found himself? How was he hoping Agrippa could help? What did he find unreasonable? (26-27) - Paul appealed to Caesar, but no charges were against him (26) - He hoped to have something to write based on Agrippa's examination of Paul (26) - It was unreasonable to send Paul to Caesar without charges (27)
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Muhammad was the founder of the religion we know today as Islam. Through the centuries, much has been written that is critical of Muhammad’s multiple marriages. It is estimated that he had as many as nine wives simultaneously. The reported total number of wives is at least twelve: Khadijah, Sawdah, A’ishah, Hafsah, Zaynab, Umm Salamah, Zaynab, Juwariyah, Mariyah, Safyyah, Umm Habeeba, and Maymunah (Brooks, 1995, pp. 77-88). The usual Islamic response to this criticism is that Muhammad did not form these marriages out of lust or a desire for sex. Rather, the marriages were due to: (1) the desire to form alliances with diverse clans due to the swift expansion of Islam, thereby bringing peace with enemies by marrying their daughters; (2) the need to emancipate conquered clans by linking them to Muslim family clans; and (3) Muhammad’s desire to render benevolent assistance and care to widows (especially widows of men killed in battle), or to a displaced slave or captive (e.g., Pickthall, n.d., pp. 300-301). Muslim apologist Osama Abdallah offered the following justification for Muhammad’s polygamy:
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was a Messenger of God (filled with sympathy and mercy to people) and a leader for all Muslims. He didn’t practice polygamy for the sake of sexual pleasure at all. Most of his wives were either widows (older than him in age, too) or divorced women (also most of them were either older or same age). Only one of his wives was a virgin, and he only married her because her father was his best friend. He wanted to strengthen that relationship. And it was her father who offered her to our Prophet peace be upon him anyway.If our beloved Prophet peace be upon him really seeked [sic] sexual pleasure, then he would’ve married young virgins from the Muslims. Back then, people loved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him so much, that they would literally do anything for him. Certainly fathers would’ve given him their young virgin daughters if he wanted to. Many people offered him their young virgin bosomed daughters anyway to raise their families’ honor, but our Prophet never seeked [sic] that sexual privilege in life.Because Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was a smart political leader and a wonderful humble merciful true Messenger of Allah Almighty, he chose to marry the weak from his people to encourage the Muslim men to do the same; to create a balance in the Muslim society. Again, another emergency case that existed during Islam’s weak times that forced the Muslims (including Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) to practice polygamy (Abdallah, n.d.).
Another defense of Muhammad’s polygamy is seen in the following general advocacy of the institution of polygamy [NOTE: “B.A.P.U.H.” stands for “Blessings and peace be upon him”]:
The ProphetB.A.P.U.H in his lifetime took eleven women in marriage. Majority of these marriages as described above were contracted due to cultural, social, political and moral necessity. In war when a large number of men are killed, the women outnumber men and in this situation, polygamy becomes a social and economic necessity. In case of chronically ill and infertile wife, polygamy prevents break up of marriage as the husband can contract another wife to have children. Polygamous instinct of men as compared to women is also recognised in science. Restriction of number of marriages to one for some men would most certainly encourage society to embark on adultery and prostitution. The modern world where such restrictions have been legally imposed is full of evidence to such evils.It is universally recognised that laws, orders and limitations imposed on ordinary people are not enforced on special people chosen from among the people by themselves or by the Almighty Allah. Let us first take the rights of the leaders chosen by people such as kings, presidents, prime ministers, chief justices and general managers. They all enjoy special privileges, usually defined by the constitution or parliament of the country. When we do not object to these privileges given to ordinary men, how can we question the privileges given to the prophets? (“Polygamy,” n.d.).
Notice that the latter remarks justify Muhammad’s excessive polygamy on the basis of his special status as the prophet of Allah.
Of course, no one is in a position to know what was in Muhammad’s mind at the time these relationships were formed. Hence, no one can prove his motives to be either legitimate or illegitimate. If Muhammad’s polygamy is justifiable on the grounds that he was simply extending assistance to war widows, why not allow all Muslim men to take as many widowed wives as Muhammad? Even Muhammad could not accommodate all the widows of war. If their deprived and needy status was truly the issue, surely God would want all widows to be cared for in a similar fashion—thus opening the door to Muslim men besides Muhammad to marry more than four wives. The same may be said if polygamy is justifiable on the grounds of forming political alliances. Why not allow all Muslim men to assist with the strengthening of alliances, as well as the emancipation of conquered clans?
Regardless, these alleged justifications do not account for all of Muhammad’s marriages. A’ishah was only six years old when Muhammad claimed to receive dreams instructing him to marry her. He was past fifty at the time. What possible rationale can be offered to legitimize this intention? Much is made of the fact that Muhammad did not consummate the marriage at this point. Yet, it is admitted that he did so within three years when A’ishah was nine (see al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Bk. 58, #234; Vol. 7, Bk. 62, #64). But whether he did so or not, the propriety of such a marriage, both in terms of the age of the child as well as the disparity in their respective ages, is appalling, repugnant, and, to say the least, unacceptable to the unbiased observer.
An even greater objection centers on Muhammad’s conduct with regard to the wife of Zayd, the freed slave whom Muhammad had adopted and reared as his own son. Seeing Zaynab, Zayd’s wife, in her home (some accounts say partially unclad) during Zayd’s absence, sparked the circumstances that led to Zayd divorcing his wife in order to accommodate Muhammad’s desire to have her. The shock waves that reverberated across the community elicited a string of curt, even stinging, revelations: (1)Surah 33:37, which declared the marriage of Muhammad to Zaynab as a “done deal”; (2) Surah 33:4-5,40, which clarified the previous revelation that forbade men from marrying the wives of sons by birth (4:23). The new revelation insisted that adopted sons were not included in the previous prohibition; (3)Surah 33:50-51, which granted special dispensation to Muhammad to exceed the Quran’s restrictive limitation of no more than four wives (4:3); and (4) Surah 33:53, which made three sweeping declarations. First, it chided visitors to Muhammad’s home for delaying their departure and overstaying their welcome. The guests who came to celebrate Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab lingered longer than the Prophet preferred, delaying his desire to be alone with his newest wife. Second, it required all future conversations with Muhammad’s wives to be conducted with a veil or curtain separating the guest from the wife. Third, no Muslim was ever to marry one of Muhammad’s wives. Also, henceforth, Muslims were to invoke blessings on Muhammad (vs. 56).
Once again, for the unbiased, objective observer, this event brings the credibility of Muhammad and his revelations into serious question. In the first place, the Bible consistently represents God as impartial and perfect in justice (e.g., Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17). The God of the Bible simply would not grant special dispensation to one man over others. He would not exempt one person from a law while expecting others to keep it. Prophets and inspired spokesmen of God in the Bible were never given the right to sidestep laws of God—let alone laws that all men are under obligation to obey.
Second, how can Zaynab’s divorce from Zayd be morally justifiable on any grounds? Observe carefully the wording of the Surah that speaks to this point:
And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest. And when thou saidst unto him on whom Allah hath conferred favor and thou hast conferred favor: Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear Allah. And thou didst hide in thy mind that which Allah was to bring to light, and thou didst fear mankind whereas Allah had a better right that thou shouldst fear Him. So when Zeyd had performed the necessary formality (of divorce) from her, We gave her unto thee in marriage, so that (henceforth) there may be no sin for believers in respect of wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have performed the necessary formality (of release) from them. The commandment of Allah must be fulfilled. There is no reproach for the Prophet in that which Allah maketh his due (33:36-38).
One cannot help but be suspicious. This surah is worded the way one would expect it to be worded if it were produced by a man, unguided by God, who was seeking to justify his desire for another man’s wife. Likewise, the unbiased observer surely is stunned, incredulous, and dismayed at the lax attitude toward divorce. Absolutely no justification existed for Zayd to divorce his wife—except to make her available to Muhammad, under the guise that it was an unhappy marriage (see Pickthall, p. 300).
What a far cry from the teaching of the New Testament. Jesus declared in no uncertain terms: “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9, emp. added). Jesus gave one, and only one, reason for divorce in God’s sight. In fact, even the Old Testament affirmed that God “hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). The teaching of the Bible on divorce is a higher, stricter, nobler standard than the one advocated by the Quran. The two books, in fact, contradict each other on this point.
Separate from the question of Muhammad’s motives for contracting multiple marriages (whether to unite clans or aid widows), the more pressing question pertains to whether polygamy, itself, is a legitimate social institution—i.e., is it sanctioned by God? It certainly is true that plural marriages were commonplace in the Old Testament. Some prominent men of the Bible are said to have contracted multiple marriages, including Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon. Yet, this circumstance is simply reported (along with other violations of divine law) without any indication that God approved of it. One does not find the Bible stating explicitly that polygamy is God’s will. But that is precisely what the Quran does: “And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess” (Surah 4:3).
In contrast, quite the opposite is the case in the Bible. God ordained the institution of marriage at the very beginning of the Creation. He enjoined strict heterosexual monogamy (e.g., Genesis 2:24). Whatever human beings did throughout the centuries prior to Christ’s advent in their relaxation of the divine will on this point, God legislated one man for one woman for life. Disobedient man introduced polygamy into the world (Genesis 4:19). God tolerated (not endorsed) this sordid state of affairs prior to Christ, but with the institution of New Testament Christianity, God’s original intention for the human race received definitive reaffirmation and reinstatement: “Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Polygamy is sinful. Every New Testament passage that addresses the marriage relationship presupposes monogamy (e.g., Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 10:1-12; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6; Hebrews 13:4).
Even as the church is represented as the bride of Christ (e.g., Ephesians 5:23-32), Jesus would no more have multiple brides than He would endorse men having multiple wives. In fact, God would be guilty of being a respecter of persons if He allowed men to have a plurality of wives, while disallowing women from having a plurality of husbands. Likewise, who could successfully deny that polygamy is damaging to the psyche and self-worth of women?
The Hadith confirms that Muhammad’s polygamy created jealousy, bickering, and bitter rivalry among his wives (see Brooks, p. 83). In fact, the Quran itself reflects this turmoil on the occasion of Muhammad adding to his harem the Coptic Christian slave girl, Mariyah. The bitter jealousy of his wives caused him to separate from her initially, only to reinstate her standing when the newly received surah commanded him to do so (Surah 66). The result was that Muhammad lived a month with Mariyah—undoubtedly spiting his other wives. Another surah then followed that reprimanded the wives and ordered them to make a choice as to whether they desired to be married to Muhammad (Surah 33). Was this special treatment extended to Mariyah, which punished the other wives by depriving them of their usual turn with Muhammad—a violation of the equal treatment clause of the Quran (Shorrosh, 1988, p. 65; cf. Lings, 1983, pp. 276-279)? Additionally, the consensus of the Islamic community has ever been that A’ishah was Muhammad’s favorite wife and that she received preferential treatment—a circumstance in direct violation of the Quran.
The religion of Islam and the Quran have a great many features that the Christian mind (i.e., one guided by the New Testament) finds objectionable. Polygamy is simply one among many such “difficulties.” The Bible and the Quran are in significant conflict on this subject.
Abdallah, Osama (no date), “When is Polygamy Allowed in Islam?” http://www.answering-christianity.com/polygamy.htm.
al-Bukhari, Sahih (no date), The Hadith, http://www.sahih-bukhari.com/.
Brooks, Geraldine (1995), Nine Parts of Desire (New York, NY: Anchor Books).
Lings, Martin (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
“Polygamy” (no date), http://www.answering-christianity.com/islam_polygamy.htm.
Shorrosh, Anis A. (1988), Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab’s View of Islam (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson).
Check Out the New Advanced Bible Reader Program
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
At Apologetics Press, we are constantly trying to provide tools that can strengthen faith in God, defend the Truth, and spread the good news of Christ. About a year ago, we realized that various school systems use the Accelerated Reading program to encourage their children to read. In this “AR” program, which is nationwide, students read books and take tests that cover the material in those books. Depending on the length of the book, the tests are worth a certain number of points. Tests over longer books are worth more points; tests over shorter books are worth fewer points. Teachers and schools then reward the students based on the number of points they accumulate over a certain amount of time, generally a grading period or a school year. The program has been extremely successful in encouraging kids to read books that they might not otherwise read.
At A.P., we thought, “Why not use a similar system to encourage young people to read the Bible?” Thus, we came up with a program called Advanced Bible Reader, or ABR. This new program from Apologetics Press allows students to create a username and password of their own. They can then log on and take tests based on books of the Bible that they have read. Each test is worth a certain number of points based on how many verses the reading covers. All of the tests are composed of ten multiple-choice questions. When the student accumulates points by taking the tests, those points add up in the student’s accounts. At each 100-point segment, the student can download a beautiful, full-color certificate.
The biblical education potential of this program is unlimited. Bible class teachers at churches can use it to encourage their students to read the Bible. Homeschools can use the program to supplement their Bible education. Private schools can implement it school-wide and encourage the kids to read the Bible—just like they have been encouraged for years to read secular books. And the program is great for parents to promote Bible reading along with other work that their children are bringing home from school. In fact, the Lads to Leaders program recently incorporated it into their Bible reading program.
We hope you will take the time to check out the site at www.abrkids.net (or click on "Advanced Bible Reader" in the far left column on our site). Right now we have about 500 kids involved in the program. We believe that tens of thousands can benefit from it. If you are looking for a way to encourage kids to read and study the Bible, Advanced Bible Reader is a tremendous tool to use. If you have influence with any kids, whether your own children, grandchildren, or just kids you know, why not send them this link and encourage them to get involved?
Atheist Asks: “Have You Read the Bible in its Entirety?”
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Since 2008, the Atheist Agenda, a student organization on the campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio, has hosted an event called “Smut for Smut.” The group offers to give a free pornographic magazine to everyone who will turn in the Bible or other religious books like the Quran (Hallowell, 2012). When the event began it received considerable press, but the 2012 event “barely attracted attention” (2012). In fact, only about 30 people stopped by the booth, and the Atheist Agenda collected just five Bibles, one Quran, and one Encyclopedia of Islam.
While the event was a dismal failure in regard to ramping up hype for atheism on the campus, it did bring to light a very troubling fact about many who call themselves Christians. A video clip posted in Hallowell’s article shows one of the members of the Atheist Agenda confronting what looks like a fellow student. This fellow student is holding up a sign in protest of the event and in support of the Bible. The atheist is attempting to explain why his group equates the Bible with pornography. The fellow student disagrees, and then the atheist asks the student, “Have you read the Bible in its entirety?” The student shakes his head almost imperceptibly, and in a very low voice admits he has not read the Bible. After that, he tries to walk away as the atheist follows him explaining to him all the alleged “horrible things” found “in the Bible” that the young man had not read.
The fact that the young man had not read the Bible utterly demolished any credibility he may have had. Of course, the atheist was misrepresenting what the Bible says. In no legitimate way does the Bible compare to a pornagraphic magazine. But the young student could do nothing to defend the Bible because he had not read it. Suppose that question were asked of you? Could you respond that you have read the Bible? Or would you be shamed into silence and forced to walk away as you listened to an enemy of God revile His precious Word. How in the world can Christians always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks them a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15), if those Christians have not read the Bible in its entirety?
In Romans 2, Paul explained to the Jews that their sinful lives were causing the Gentiles to speak evil of the God of Israel. He scolded them in harsh terms when he wrote: “For ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’” (Romans 2:24). In a similar way, the modern skeptical community delights in pinpointing “Christians” living sinful lives, or being so apathetic to the teachings of Christ that they do not care enough to read the Bible. Let it never be said of you that your stand for the truth was rendered useless to the cause of Christ because you could not honestly say that you had read the Bible in its entirety. “Hear the word of the Lord…. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:1,6).
Hallowell, Billy (2012), “Atheist Students Encourage Christians to Exchange Their Bibles for…Pornography,” The Blaze, http://news.yahoo.com/atheist-students-encourage-christians-exchange-bibles-pornography-013422828.html.
Baptism and the New Birth
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
A major cleavage within Christendom pertains to the point at which the “new birth” occurs. Most of Christendom maintains that a person is born again, and thus has sin washed away by the blood of Christ, when that person “accepts Jesus Christ as his personal savior.” By this expression, it is meant that a person must mentally and/or orally decide to embrace Christ as the Lord of his life. Hence, the new birth is seen simply as a determination of the will—a moment in time when the person accepts Christ in his mind and couples that decision with an oral confession.
The passage in the New Testament that alludes specifically to being born again pertains to a conversation that Jesus had with a high-ranking Jewish official:
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ ” (John 3:1-7, emp. added).
In an effort to avoid identifying “water” (vs. 5) as water baptism, many within Christendom in the last half century have proposed a variety of novel interpretations. For example, some have proposed that “water” is a reference to the Holy Spirit. While it certainly is true that John uses the word “water” symbolically to represent the Spirit later in his book (7:38-39), that fact had to be explained by the inspired writer. However, in chapter three, the normal, literal meaning is clearly in view, not only because water baptism throughout the New Testament is consistently associated with the salvation event (e.g., Acts 2:38; 8:12-13,36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15,33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21), but even in this context, eighteen verses later, the term clearly has a literal meaning: “Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (John 3:23). Additionally, if “water” in John 3:5 is an allusion to the Holy Spirit, the result would be nonsensical: “unless one is born of the Spirit and the Spirit.”
Another quibble offered in an effort to avoid the clear import of John 3:5 is that “water” is a symbol for the blood of Jesus. Of course, no rationale exists for making such a connection. Elsewhere John refers explicitly to water and blood, but clearly distinguishes them from each other in their import (1 John 5:6).
Perhaps the most popular notion, advanced only in recent years, is that “water” is a reference to a pregnant woman’s “water”—i.e., the amniotic fluid that accompanies the physical birth of a child. However, this suggestion likewise fails to fit the context of Jesus’ remarks. In fact, Nicodemus himself thought that Jesus was referring to physical birth (“mother’s womb”). But Jesus corrected his misconception, and contrasted such thinking with the intended meaning of “water and Spirit.” Indeed, Jesus would not have told Nicodemus that he needed to be born physically (“water”). He would not have included the act of physical birth in His listing of prerequisites to entering the kingdom. That would make Jesus say that before a person can enter the kingdom he or she must first be a person! What would be the point of stating such a thing? [Would it perhaps be to ensure that everyone understands that non-humans (i.e., animals) cannot enter the kingdom?!] Later in the same chapter, did John baptize near Salim “because there was much amniotic fluid there”?
If one cares to consult the rest of the New Testament in order to allow the Bible to be its own best interpreter, and in order to allow the Bible to harmonize with itself, additional passages shed light on the meaning of John 3:5. According to the rest of the New Testament, spiritual conception occurs when the Gospel (i.e., the seed of the Holy Spirit—Luke 8:11) is implanted in the human heart and mind (James 1:18; 1 Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:23). The Word of God, in turn, generates penitent faith in the human heart (Romans 10:17) that leads the individual to obey the Gospel by being baptized in water (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Hebrews 10:22). The resulting condition of the individual is that he or she is now a child of God, a citizen of the kingdom, and member of the church of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:4).
Additional verses in the New Testament clarify and cinch this meaning of John 3:5, pinpointing the “new birth,” while also allowing us to understand the activity of the Holy Spirit in the act of conversion. Consider the following chart (Jackson, 1988):
|1 Corinthians 12:13||Spirit||Baptized||Body|
|Ephesians 5:26||Word||Washing/Water||Cleansed Church|
|Titus 3:5||Renewal of Spirit||Washing of Regeneration||Saved by Mercy|
These verses demonstrate that God achieves conversion through the Gospel message authored by the Holy Spirit. When a person comes to an understanding (Acts 8:30) of the that inspired message, his penitent faith leads him to submit to water immersion for the remission of sins (Acts 8:36,38; 10:47). The result of his obedient response to the Gospel is that he is saved and cleansed from past sin and instantaneously placed into the kingdom of Christ.
Notice that submission to the divine plan of salvation does not mean that humans save themselves by effecting their own salvation. Their obedience does not earn or merit their forgiveness. Rather, the terms or conditions of salvation are stipulated by God—not by humans—and are a manifestation ofHis mercy! When people submit to the terms of entrance into the kingdom of Christ, they are saved by the blood of Jesus and the grace of God—not their own effort! Water immersion is not to be viewed as a “work of righteousness which we have done” (Titus 3:5). When we submit to baptism, we are being saved by “the kindness and love of God our Savior” (Titus 3:4). We are being saved “according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).
Jackson, Wayne (1988), “The New Birth: What is It?,” Christian Courier, 24:14, August.
If He Were a Prophet...
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
The gospel accounts paint a picture of the character of Jesus unrivaled by any other personality in human history. On one memorable occasion, Jesus was invited to eat with a Pharisee named Simon (Luke 7:36-50). During his stay, a woman who was known in the area for her sinful lifestyle approached Jesus. She proceeded to wash His feet with her tears, dry them with her hair, and anoint Jesus with fragrant oil.
Simon, seeing the sinful woman’s behavior, said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). Notice two important aspects of Simon’s response. First, he spoke to himself. There is no indication that his thoughts were verbalized or in any way audible to those around him. Second, the criterion he set to determine whether Christ was a prophet was knowledge of the woman’s sinful lifestyle.
Jesus’ response to Simon proved that He was far more than a prophet. He answered the Pharisee by explaining that those who have sinned much and been forgiven of their sins will love God more than those who feel they have few sins to forgive. Jesus then forgave the woman’s sins. His response exhibited a knowledge, not only of the spiritual condition of the woman, but also of Simon’s inner conversation with himself. Not only did Jesus know the woman was a sinner, but He knew the conversation Simon had with himself about Jesus’ reaction to the woman. What did Jesus’ reaction prove? It should have proved to Simon that Jesus was far more than a prophet. When Jesus forgave the woman’s sins, He proved that He was God in the flesh.
The modern application of this story is profound. Jesus has exhibited far more evidence validating His deity than any reasonable person could demand. His life was prophesied in minute detail hundreds of years before He was born, He accomplished miracles that supported the prophesies, He foretold His own death and resurrection, He showed Himself alive to many witnesses after His resurrection, and ascended to Heaven in the sight of many witnesses as the culmination of His earthly ministry. The honest, reasonable response to Jesus’ personality and power is perfectly summarized in Nathanael’s reaction to Jesus’ miraculous knowledge. After Jesus explained to Nathanael that He had miraculously seen Nathanael under the fig tree, Nathanael exclaimed: “Rabbi, You are the Son of God” (John 1:49)!
“Why Are Dinosaurs Not Mentioned in the Bible?”
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
A college student visited our offices some time ago and asked what he believed were troubling questions about the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans. One question that puzzled him was why dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible. “If God really did create dinosaurs, and if humans cohabited the Earth with them in the past, then surely we would read the word ‘dinosaur’ at least once in the Bible.”
Admittedly, a person will not find the word “dinosaur” in most English translations of the Bible. However, this does not negate the fact that dinosaurs once cohabited the Earth with man. First, we must keep in mind that the Bible is not a taxonomical book. The Bible’s main purpose is to tell us about God and His scheme of redemption, not to list every animal God created. The Bible mentions avariety of animals (including snakes, chickens, horses, goats, etc.), but not every animal. Simply because the Scriptures do not mention an animal does not mean that the Bible teaches the animal never existed alongside humans. There are many animals the Bible never specifically mentions, including cats, kangaroos, elephants, aardvarks, anteaters, platypuses, and penguins. To say that these animals do not cohabit the Earth with man because the Bible does not mention them, would, of course, be false. To assume dinosaurs and humans never lived together because “the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs,” is equally erroneous.
Second, one must recognize that whereas the Bible was completed 1,900 years ago and was translated fully into English by 1535 (by Miles Coverdale), the English word “dinosaur” was not coined until 1842—more than 300 years after the first complete English translation of the Old and New Testaments. Obviously, one would not expect to find the English term dinosaur—meaning “fearfully great” (deinos) “lizard” or “reptile” (sauros)—in a translation of the Bible that preceded its coinage.
Third, though most modern English Bible translators have elected to omit the term “dinosaur” in translations produced after 1842, such exclusion does not necessarily mean that Bible writers refrained from mentioning dinosaurs or dinosaur-like creatures. Consider the Hebrew term tannin. In Job 7:12, it is translated “sea monster” (ASV, NASB, RSV), “monster of the deep” (NIV), or “sea serpent” (NKJV). In Genesis 1:21 and Psalm 148:7 where the plural form of tannin is used (tannim) in literal contexts (like Job 7:12), the word is translated “great sea creatures/monsters” (NKJV, NIV; ASV, NASB, RSV). What are these “monsters” of the sea? No one knows for sure. It is possible that these are references to dinosaur-like, water-living reptiles (e.g., plesiosaurs). Also of interest is the fact that Isaiah referred to the “flying serpent” (30:6). Although it is impossible to know the exact identity of the “flying serpent,” we know that flying reptiles with long tails and slender bodies (e.g., Rhamphorynchus, Dimorphodon) once lived (cf. Herodotus, 1850, pp. 75-76). What’s more, the Bible gives God’s description of two massive creatures in Job 40-41, behemoth and leviathan, which sound exactly like dinosaurs or dinosaur-like, water-living reptiles (see Lyons, 2001).
Finally, regardless of whether dinosaurs are mentioned specifically in the Bible or not, one can know that they were created alongside man during the Creation week (Genesis 1), and not millions of years earlier. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11, emp. added).
Herodotus (1850 reprint), Historiae, trans. Henry Clay (London: Henry G. Bohn).
Lyons, Eric (2001), “Behemoth and Leviathan—Creatures of Controversy,” Reason & Revelation, 21:1-7, January, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/154.
Adult Cells Still the Better Option for Therapeutic Research
|by||Caleb Colley, Ph.D.|
For years, ethical issues have plagued the development of embryonic stem-cell research in America (cf. Bush, 2001). Despite its slight potential for therapeutic benefits in the distant future, embryonic stem-cell research has been shown to be unethical because it necessitates killing people (seeThompson and Harrub, 2001; cf. Gibson, 2007; Colley, 2007b). Scientists also have known for several years that adult stem-cell research has yielded greater results than embryonic stem-cell research (see Harrub and Thompson, 2004; Saunders and Prentice, 2006; “Stem Cell Research: Facts...,” 2001; Miller, 2007). Unlike embryonic stem cells, however, adult stem cells are only partially pluripotent, “capable of forming several cell types—principally blood, muscle, and nerve cells. It has been possible to recognize, select, and develop them to the point that they form mature cell types with the help of growth factors and regulating proteins” (Lillge, 2001; cf. “Stem Cell Basics,” 2006). In 2007, researchers determined that adult stem cells may be transformed into “blank slates that should be able to turn into any of the 220 cell types of the human body, be it heart, brain, blood or bone” (Kolata, 2007). This method allows for the development of truly pluripotent cells without resorting to “therapeutic” cloning or the destruction of embryos (see Kolata). Stem cells from adults may offer hope of developing therapies for patients suffering from diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s (see Takahashi, et al., 2007; cf. McIlroy, 2007; Colley, 2007a).
Not only have scientists changed adult stem cells into “iPS,” or pluripotent cells that carry the same possibilities for regenerative medicine as do embryonic stem cells (see Vogel and Holden, 2007), but now scientists have “transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal” (Stein, 2008). Harvard biologists have “pinpointed three crucial molecular switches that, when flipped, completely convert a common [adult] cell in the pancreas into the more precious insulin-producing ones that diabetics need to survive” (Stein, bracketed item added; cf. Zhou, et al., 2007). This raises the possibility that “patients suffering from not only diabetes but also heart disease, strokes and many other ailments could eventually have some of their cells reprogrammed to cure their afflictions without the need for drugs, transplants or other therapies” (Stein). Zhou and colleagues discussed their research, in Nature:
Here...we identify a specific combination of three transcription factors (Ngn3 (also known as Neurog3) Pdx1 and Mafa) that reprograms differentiated pancreatic exocrine cells in adult mice into cells that closely resemble β-cells. The induced β-cells are indistinguishable from endogenous islet β-cells in size, shape and ultrastructure. They express genes essential for β-cell function and can ameliorate hyperglycaemiaby remodelling [sic] local vasculature and secreting insulin. This study provides an example of cellular reprogramming using defined factors in an adult organ and suggests a general paradigm for directing cell reprogramming without reversion to a pluripotent stem cell state (2008, parenthetical items in orig., emp. added).
Researchers in the field of regenerative medicine have grand dreams of using adult cells to replace conventional surgery with a sort of genetic substitution (see Stein, 2008).
Those of us at Apologetics Press continue to pray that the Creator’s view of the matter will be paramount in the minds of those who push our society to new limits of biological inquiry. Embryonic stem-cell research is unscriptural and unethical. The scientific community is making it increasingly clear that embryonic stem-cell research is also unnecessary.
Bush, George W. (2001), “Remarks by the President on Stem-Cell Research,” [On-line], URL:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/08/20010809-2.html.
Colley, Caleb (2007a), “Adult Stem Cells Match the Potential of Embryonic Stem Cells,” [On-line],URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3551.
Colley, Caleb (2007b), “Therapeutic Embryonic Stem-Cell Research ‘Just Not Realistic’,” [On-line],URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3504.
Gibson, Robert (2007), “Stem Cell Research Is Good News for Heart Patients,” The Epoch Times, [On-line], URL: http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-10-11/60678.html.
Harrub, Brad and Bert Thompson (2004), “Presidential Elections, Superman, Embryonic Stem Cells, Bad Science, and False Hope,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2621.
Kolata, Gina (2007), “Scientists Bypass Need for Embryo to Get Stem Cells,” The New York Times, [On-line], URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/science/21stem.html.
Lillge, Wolfgang (2001), “The Case for Adult Stem Cell Research,” 21st Century Science and Technology Magazine, [On-line], URL:http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/winter01/stem_cell.html.
McIlroy, Anne (2007), “Stem-Cell Method Hailed as ‘Massive Breakthrough’,” The Globe and Mail, [On-line], URL:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071121.wstemcells21/BNStory/Science/home.
Miller, Dave (2007), “Adult Stem-Cell Research,” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3272.
Saunders, William L., Jr., and David Prentice (2006), “Adult Stem Cell Treatments–Nine Faces of Success” (Washington, D.C.: Family Research Council), a tract.
Stein, Rob (2008), “Scientists Reprogram Adult Cells’ Function,” The Washington Post, [On-line],URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/27/AR2008082701829.html.
“Stem Cell Basics” (2006), The National Institutes of Health, [On-line], URL:http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics5.asp.
“Stem Cell Research: Facts and Fallacies” (2001), National Right to Life, [On-line], URL:http://www.nrlc.org/Factsheets/FS08_StemCellResearch.pdf.
Takahashi, Kazutoshi, et al. (2007), “Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors,” Cell, 131:1-12, November, [On-line], URL:http://images.cell.com/images/Edimages/Cell/IEPs/3661.pdf.
Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2001), “Human Cloning and Stem-Cell Research—Science’s ‘Slippery Slope’ [Part III],” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2510.
Vogel, Gretchen and Constance Holden (2007), “Field Leaps Forward With New Stem Cell Advances,” Science, 318:1224-1225, November 23.
Zhou, Qiao, et al. (2008), “In Vivo Reprogramming of Adult Pancreatic Exocrine Cells to β-Cells,”Nature, [On-line], URL: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature07314.html.