Idolatry? by Wes McAdams


This is a very short, to the point article and worth reading. Click on the link above or paste the web-address into your browser. It is well worth your time!!!

Radical Feminists: Anti-Bible, Anti-God And Anti-Christ By Allan Turner


Radical Feminists: Anti-Bible, Anti-God And Anti-Christ
By Allan Turner

According to Elizabeth Gould Davis, there was a “golden age” in “prehistory” that was gynocratic (i.e., woman--ruled), and that lasted for untold millennia (Davis, The First Sex, p. 66). According to Davis, in this civilization the woman was civilizer, craftsman, industrialist, agriculturalist, engineer, inventor, and discoverer. Humans were pacific herbivores, unacquainted with warfare and violence. She further argues that during this “golden age” the earth was a semiparadise of peace and tranquility, presided over by an omnipotent goddess (Ibid., p. 65). Eventually, according to Davis' feminist surmisings, women lost their supremacy when men, who were genetic mutations of women, formed into bands and overthrew the peaceful matriarchies, inventing rape and other forms of violence.
Needless to say, Davis' book was quite controversial. Furthermore, she was unable to convince the historians that she was right, (she would, no doubt, remind us that they are just a bunch of “masculists”). Nevertheless, her theme has been incorporated into feminist ideology: “Women are different than men and women should be proud of these differences. In fact, even though we talk a lot about equality, it just may be that women are a bit more than equal to men.”
Even though Davis was unable to convince historians of what was, she certainly was successful in inspiring feminists with what could be. If the world was going to get better, patriarchy would have to be destroyed. “Any and all social reforms superimposed upon our sick civilization can be no more effective than a bandage on a gaping and putrefying wound. Only the complete and total demolition of the social body will cure the fatal sickness. Only the overthrow of the three--thousand--year--old beast of masculist materialism will save the race” (Ibid., p. 340). Echoing this theme, Barbara G. Walker wrote: “A feminist believes a world where socioreligious and legal systems are governed by women would be a more humane world than the present one, which is governed by men. There would be less greed, injustice, exploitation, and warfare” (The Skeptical Feminist: Discovering the Virgin, Mother and Crone, p. 1).
According to Rosemary Radford Ruether: “Feminist theology must create a new textual base, a new canon.... Feminist theology cannot be done from the existing base of the Christian Bible” (Womanguides: Readings Toward a Feminist Theology, p. ix). In other words, before society can be thoroughly feminized, the radical feminists know they must eliminate any influence the Bible has had on our society. In doing so, the feminists refer to pre--Christian, non--Christian, and so--called post--Christian religions that affirm the image of the Divine as male and female. For instance, Ruether's book, Womanguides, is a collection of writings from the ancient Near East, Hebrew and Greek mythology, Christian Science, paganism, goddess worship, and the New Age movement. As Phyllis Trible wrote in God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality: “A feminist who loves the Bible produces, in the thinking of many, an oxymoron.... After all, if no man can serve two masters, no woman can serve two authorities, a master called scripture and a mistress called feminism” (quoted in Mary A. Kassian, The Feminist Gospel, p. 109). These feminists, of course, do not just reject the Bible, but they reject the God of the Bible as well.
In her book, Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions, Naomi R. Goldenberg wrote: “`God is going to change,' I thought. `We women are going to bring an end to God. As we take positions in government, in medicine, in law, in business, in the arts and, finally, in religion, we will be the end of Him. We will change the world so much that He won't fit in anymore'” (p. 3). According to the feminists, “If God is male, then the male is God” (Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father, p. 9). Daly writes: “The symbol of the Father God, spawned in the human imagination and sustained as plausible by patriarchy, has in turn rendered service to [patriarchal] society by making its mechanism for the oppression of women appear right and fitting. If God in `his' heaven is a father ruling `his' people, then it is in the `nature' of things and according to divine plan and the order of the universe that society be male--dominated” (Ibid., p. 13).
In rejecting Jehovah, the only true and living God, feminists sought a new symbol that would affirm the legitimacy of their revolutionary movement: the goddess. According to Mary A. Kassian: “Initially, feminists reacted with scorn to the goddess and goddess worship. Why would intelligent, self--defining women want to bow down to ancient idols of stone? But feminists learned that goddess worship was not worship of an external deity; it was, in essence, worship of oneself. The goddess was merely a symbol that acknowledged the legitimacy of self--worship” (The Feminist Gospel, p. 159). In modern feminism, satan's old Edenic lie, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4), has come full--cycle.
Those who have tried to be feminists without giving up the Bible (something that is quite impossible) have insisted on the use of inclusive language. Rejecting masculine pronouns as limiting one's understanding of who God is, and citing His “feminine” characteristics, feminists feel justified in calling God “She” or “Mother.” And although feminists claim that using female as well as male pronouns to address God has de--sexualized Him, in effect, the opposite has occurred. When feminists switched from masculine to feminine in their description of God, they reduced God to sexuality. They actually presented an image of a deity who is bisexual or androgynous rather than one who transcends the polarity of the sexes. In addition, in renaming God as She/He, feminists have stripped God of independent, personalized existence. The Bible teaches that Jehovah is an individualized, personalized Being who has chosen to relate to His creation as “male.” He is not merely a “force,” as the pagans have traditionally identified Him. Nevertheless, in transforming Biblical feminine metaphors into a divine name for God, the feminists soon discovered that they needed to extend this practice to other metaphors as well, i.e., God ought to be understood as a “rock,” “eagle,” “door,” etc. As a result, His personality was further diffused to encompass all natural phenomena. Renaming God in a way other than He had named Himself has ultimately led the proponents of inclusive language to think of God as a force with no independent personality. This is evident by their reference to God as “He/She/It” (Virginia Mollenkott, The Divine Feminine, p. 113).
Rejecting God as Father, the feminists have rejected Jesus Christ as Son. They have argued that Jesus' maleness is inconsequential. In her book, Women & Worship, Sharon Neufer Emswiler surmised, “if the society had been reversed and Palestine had been a matriarchy instead of a patriarchy, surely God would have sent her Daughter” (p. 31). Therefore, feminists urge their followers to change their language about Christ. In doing so, they reject Son of Man, which they consider too masculine, and encourage the use of the Human One. But, of course, such theological shenanigans have serious consequences. The Son of Man is a title indicating that Jesus was divine and those who heard Him refer to Himself by this designation understood that He was really identifying Himself as the “Son of God” (Luke 22:69, 70). Whereas the designation the Human One indicates that Jesus was merely an example of ideal selfhood or humanity. In other words, through the feminist theologians' inclusive language, Christ is viewed as a model of the new humanity, the one sent by God to reveal to us what we can become, rather than God Almighty in the flesh, who took upon Himself the penalty for our sins.
Radical feminism is anti--Bible, anti--God and anti--Christ. It does not liberate, rather it enslaves all those who embrace it to the bondage of sin. It is the Bible, and the Bible alone, that contains the real hope for the liberation of women. Knowing the Truth makes one free indeed (John 8:32).

"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Two by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Two


1) To carefully consider the events surrounding the outpouring of the
   Spirit on the day of Pentecost

2) To examine Peter's first gospel sermon, and the evidence presented in
   it for the resurrection of Jesus Christ

3) To observe the response to the sermon, and what people were told to
   do in order to be saved

4) To note the establishment and characteristics of the church in


Ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, on the Jewish feast day of
Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is poured out as promised.  With the sound of
a rushing mighty wind, and with tongues of fire appearing above their
heads, those filled with the Holy Spirit begin to speak in other tongues
(1-4).  Devout Jews visiting from other countries are attracted and
amazed as they hear wonderful works of God proclaimed in their own
languages (5-13).

Peter, standing with the rest of the apostles, explains that what has
happened is a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (Joel 2:28-32), who
foretold that God would pour out His Spirit in the last days (14-21).
He then preaches Jesus of Nazareth to the crowd, reminding them of His
miracles, their involvement in His death, and proclaiming that God
raised Him from the dead.  As proof for the resurrection, Peter offers
three lines of evidence:  1) the prophecy by David, who foretold of the
resurrection (Ps 16:8-11);  2) the twelve apostles as witnesses;  3)
the Spirit's outpouring itself , indicative of Christ's exaltation and
reception of the promise of the Spirit from the Father.  In conclusion,
Peter pronounces that God has made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord
and Christ (22-36).

Cut to the heart, the people ask the apostles what they should do.
Peter commands them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins
and gift of the Holy Spirit.  With many other words he exhorts them to
be saved, and about 3000 souls gladly receive his word and are baptized

Thus begins the church in Jerusalem, which continues steadfastly in the
apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and prayers.
Signs and wonders are done by the apostles, while the believers display
their love and devotion through acts of benevolence and frequent
worship.  They enjoy the favor of the people, and the Lord adds to the
church daily those being saved (42-47).



      1. A Jewish holiday, also known as the Feast of Weeks and Feast of
         Harvest, one of three great annual festivals (cf. Lev 23:15-22;
         Exo 23:14-18; 34:22)
      2. Fifty days after the Passover Sabbath, i.e., Sunday
      3. They, most likely the apostles (cf. Ac 1:11,26; 2:7,14), were
         gathered in one place

      1. A sound from heaven
         a. As of a rushing mighty wind
         b. Filling the house where they were sitting
      2. Divided tongues
         a. As of fire
         b. One upon each one of them

      1. Speaking with other tongues (known languages, cf. Ac 2:8,11)
      2. As the Spirit gave them utterance


      1. The crowd made up of devout Jews visiting from other nations
      2. The effect of what they heard
         a. Drew the multitude together
         b. Confused them, for everyone heard them speaking in their own
         c. Amazed and marveled them, for those speaking were Galileans
         d. Yet were hearing languages of the countries of their birth
            1) Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia
            2) Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia
            3) Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rome
            4) Both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs
      3. Hearing in their languages the wonderful works of God

   B. TWO RESPONSES (12-13)
      1. One of serious questioning:  "Whatever could this mean?"
      2. One of mockery:  "They are full of new wine."


      1. Standing up with the eleven, Peter addresses the crowd
      2. It was too early in the day ("third hour", i.e., 9 a.m.) for
         them to be drunk

      1. The events were those prophesied by Joel (cf. Joel 2:28-32)
      2. Which foretold of the outpouring of the Spirit
         a. In the last days on all flesh
         b. Leading sons and daughters to prophesy, young men to see
            visions, and old men to dream dreams
         c. With signs and wonders in heaven above and earth beneath
            before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord
         d. With salvation to those who call upon the name of the Lord


      1. Jesus, a man attested to by miracles, signs and wonders
         a. Done by God in their midst
         b. Which they themselves knew
      2. Jesus, crucified and put to death
         a. According to the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God
         b. Which they did by lawless hands (via the Romans)
      3. Jesus, whom God raised from the dead
         a. Having loosed the pains of death
         b. For it was not possible that He should be held by it

      1. The testimony of David
         a. For David prophesied of Jesus (cf. Ps 16:8-11)
         b. David could not be speaking of himself
            1) For he was dead and buried
            2) With his tomb for all to see
         c. But spoke as a prophet
            1) He knew that God had sworn with an oath that one of his
               descendants would be raised to sit on his throne
            2) He therefore spoke of the resurrection of Christ, whose
               soul was not left in Hades nor did His flesh see
      2. The testimony of the apostles
         a. They were witnesses
         b. That God raised Jesus
      3. The testimony of the Spirit's outpouring
         a. Jesus poured forth what they saw and heard
            1) Having been exalted to the right hand of God
            2) Having received from the Father the promise of the Holy
         b. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but prophesied of
            the Lord (Ps 110:1)
            1) Who would sit at God's right hand
            2) Until His enemies became His footstool (cf. 1Co 15:

      1. All the house of Israel were to "know assuredly" (i.e., believe
         with all their hearts)
      2. That God made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ


      1. They were cut to the heart
      2. They said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and
         brethren, what shall we do?"

   B. THE REPLY BY PETER (38-39)
      1. Two commands
         a. Repent
         b. Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
      2. Two promises
         a. For the remissions of sins
         b. You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
      3. The extent of the promise
         a. To them and their children
         b. To all who afar off, as many as the Lord will call

      1. After Peter with many other words testified and exhorted them:
         "Be saved from this perverse generation"
      2. Those who gladly receive his word were baptized
      3. That day about 3000 were added (cf. Ac 2:47)


      1. They continued steadfastly in:
         a. The apostles' doctrine and fellowship
         b. The breaking of bread and prayers
      2. Fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done
         through the apostles

      1. Those who believed were together and had all things in common
         a. Those with possessions and goods sold them
         b. Dividing them among all according to their need
      2. They continued daily with one accord in the temple
      3. Breaking bread from house to house, eating with gladness and
         simplicity of heart
      4. Praising God and having favor with all the people
      5. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The outpouring of the Spirit (1-4)
   - The reaction of the crowd (5-13)
   - The explanation by Peter (14-21)
   - The sermon by Peter (22-36)
   - The conversion of 3000 souls (37-41)
   - The beginning of the church (42-47)

2) What day had arrived?  Who was gathered in one place? (1)
   - The Day of Pentecost; "they" (most likely the apostles, cf. 
      Ac 1:26; 2:7,14)

3) What audible and visible signs were evidence of the Spirit's
   outpouring? (2-3)
   - The sound of a mighty rushing wind filling the house where they
     were sitting
   - Divided tongues, as of fire, one sitting upon each of them

4) What did those filled with Spirit begin to do? (4)
   - To speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance

5) Who was present in Jerusalem at that time? (5)
   - Devout Jews from every nation

6) What indicates that the "tongues" were known languages of men? (6,11)
   - Everyone heard them speak in his own language
   - The people said, "We hear them speaking in our own tongues..."

7) What evidence is that those speaking were only the apostles? (7)
   - Those speaking were Galileans (which was true of the apostles,
     whereas many disciples were from other regions besides Galilee)

8) What was the reaction of those who heard? (7,12-13)
   - They were amazed and marveled, they were perplexed, some even

9) How did Peter and the eleven discount the charge that they were
   drunk? (14-15)
   - It was only the third hour of the day (9 a.m.)

10) To what does Peter attribute the events of that day? (16)
   - That which was spoken by the prophet Joel

11) When would the events described by Joel occur? (17)
   - In the last days

12) Upon whom would the Spirit be poured out? (17,18)
   - All flesh
   - God's menservants and maidservants

13) What did Joel prophesy would be some of the effects of the Spirit's
    outpouring? (17-18)
   - Sons and daughters shall prophesy (cf. Ac 21:8-9)
   - Young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams
   - God's menservants and maidservants shall prophesy (cf. 1Co 11:5)

14) What other events were foretold by Joel?  When would they occur?
   - Wonders in heaven and signs in the earth
   - The sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood
   - Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord

15) What reassuring promise was made by Joel? (21)
   - Whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved

16) How was Jesus attested to by God? (22)
   - By miracles, wonders, and signs which He did through Him

17) Could the audience deny that Jesus did these signs? (22)
   - No, for they were done in their midst and they were aware of them

18) Though crucified by lawless hands, according to what was Jesus'
    death? (23)
   - God's predetermined purpose and foreknowledge

19) What is the main proposition of Peter's sermon? (24)
   - God raised Jesus from the dead

20) What first line of evidence did Peter present to prove his
    proposition? (25-31)
   - The prophecy of David concerning the resurrection of the Christ

21) How was Peter able to prove that David did not speak of himself?
   - David was dead and buried, the tomb was still there
   - David did not ascend into the heavens

22) What two prophecies of David did Peter reference? (25-29,34-35)
   - Psalms 16:8-11; 110:1

23) What second line of evidence did Peter present to prove his
    proposition? (32)
   - The apostles were witnesses of the resurrection

24) What third line of evidence did Peter present to prove his
    proposition? (33-33)
   - The outpouring of the Spirit, indicative of being exalted to the
     right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise
     of the Holy Spirit

25) What did Peter want his audience to know assuredly? (36)
   - That God has made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ

26) How did this impact the audience?  What did they ask? (37)
   - They were cut to the heart; "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

27) What two commands did Peter give them? (38)
   - Repent and be baptized

28) What two promises did Peter offer them? (38)
   - Remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit

29) To whom was the promise offered? (39)
   - To them and their children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
     God would call

30) What else did Peter say? (40)
   - With many words he testified, and exhorted them, "Be saved from
     this perverse generation"

31) What did those who gladly received his word do?  How many? (41)
   - They were baptized; about 3000

32) What did those who were baptized then do? (42)
   - Continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in
     the breaking of bread and in prayers

33) Who were doing many wonders and signs? (43)
   - The apostles

34) What did those who believe do with their possessions? (44-45)
   - Sold them and shared with one another as anyone had need

35) What did the disciples do during those first days of the early
    church in Jerusalem? (46-47)
   - Continued daily in the temple with one accord
   - Breaking bread from house to house, eating with gladness and
     simplicity of heart
   - Praising God and having favor with all the people

36) What did the Lord do during those days? (47)
 - Added to the church daily those who were being saved

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter One by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter One


1) To begin our study of Acts with a review of things taught by Jesus
   between His resurrection and ascension:  the kingdom of God, the
   Promise of The Father, being baptized by the Spirit

2) To note the role and qualifications of the apostles as witnesses of
   the resurrection of Christ

3) To see how Luke sets the stage for the great events described in
   chapter two


Luke begins his second book to Theophilus by alluding to the first (the
gospel of Luke, Lk 1:1-4).  He briefly reviews what occurred during the
forty days between the resurrection and ascension of Christ (cf. Lk
24:1-53).  Special attention is given to the Promise of the Father
regarding the apostles being baptized by the Holy Spirit, who would
empower them as witnesses for Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and
even to the end of the earth (1-8).

The ascension of Jesus is then described (cf. also Lk 24:50-51), along
with the promise of His return by two men in white apparel standing by
(9-11).  Obeying the command of the Lord, the apostles return to
Jerusalem, where they wait and continue in prayer along with the women,
Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (12-14).

During this time, Peter addresses the (120) disciples regarding Judas
who betrayed Jesus.  Both the fall and replacement of Judas were
foretold by the Spirit through the mouth of David, so Peter proposes
guidelines for nominees to take the place of Judas in the apostolic
ministry of being a witness of Jesus' resurrection.  Two men are
selected for consideration, and following prayer for the Lord to show
which of the two He has chosen, lots are cast and Matthias is numbered
with the eleven apostles (15-26).



      1. Of all that Jesus began to do and teach
      2. Until the day in which Jesus was taken up
      3. After He had given commandments to the apostles
         a. To whom He had shown Himself alive, being seen during forty
         b. Speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God

      1. The apostles commanded to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the
         Promise of the Father
         a. Which they had heard from Him
         b. For while John baptized with water, they would be baptized
            with the Holy Spirit shortly
      2. The apostles question Jesus concerning the kingdom
         a. Would He now restore the kingdom to Israel?
         b. It is not for them to know the times or seasons which the
            Father has put in His own authority
      3. When the Spirit has come upon the apostles...
         a. They shall receive power
         b. They shall be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria,
            and to the end of the earth


      1. When He had spoken these words, while they watched
      2. A cloud received Him out of their sight

      1. While looking steadfastly as Jesus ascends, two men in white
         apparel stand by
      2. They address the apostles
         a. "Men of Galilee"
         b. "Why do you stand gazing up into heaven?"
      3. They promise Jesus will return
         a. "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven"
         b. "Will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven"


      1. From the mount called Olivet
      2. About a Sabbath day's journey

      1. In an upper room where they were staying
      2. The names of the apostles:  Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip,
         Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon
         the Zealot, Judas the son of James
      3. They pray with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and His


      1. To about 120 disciples, of  the need to replace Judas
         a. His betrayal prophesied by the Spirit through David
            1) He became a guide to those who arrested Jesus
            2) Though he was numbered with the apostles and had a part
               in their ministry
         b. His gruesome death described by Luke
            1) He purchased a field with the wages of iniquity (Mt27:3-8)
            2) He fell headlong, burst open in the middle, entrails
               gushing out
            3) The field is called Akel Dama, Field of Blood
         c. His end and replacement foretold in the Psalms
            1) "Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live
               in it" (Ps 69:25)
            2) "Let another take his office" (Ps 109:8)
      2. Stipulating requirements for one to be a witness of His
         resurrection with the apostles
         a. Having accompanied the apostles all the time Jesus went in
            and out among them
         b. Beginning from the baptism of John, until the day Jesus
            ascended to heaven

      1. Two are proposed
         a. Joseph called Barsabas and surnamed Justus
         b. Matthias
      2. Prayer is offered to the Lord, who knows the hearts of all
         a. To show which of these two He has chosen
         b. Who would take part in the ministry and apostleship from
            which Judas fell
      3. Lots are cast
         a. The lot fell on Matthias
         b. He was numbered with the eleven apostles


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The Prologue (1-8)
   - The Ascension Of Christ (9-11)
   - The Waiting In Jerusalem (12-14)
   - The Selection Of Matthias (15-26)

2) What is the "former account" Luke has reference to? (1)
   - The gospel of Luke (Lk 1:1-4)

3) What three things does Luke mention Jesus did before He ascended?
   - Gave commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen
   - Presented Himself alive by many infallible proofs
   - Spoke of things pertaining to the kingdom of God

4) How long a period was it between the resurrection and ascension of
   Christ? (3)
   - Forty days

5) What command did Jesus leave with His apostles? (4)
   - Not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the

6) What did this "promise" pertain to? (5)
   - Being baptized with the Holy Spirit

7) What question did the apostles ask Jesus?  How did he respond? (6-7)
   - Would He at that time restore the kingdom to Israel?
   - It was not for them to know the times and seasons which the Father
     has put in His own authority

8) What was promised when the Spirit came upon them? What would they
   then be? (8)
   - The apostles would receive power
   - His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to end of the earth

9) What happened as Jesus ascended to heaven? (9)
   - A cloud received Him out of their sight

10) As Jesus ascended to heaven, who stood nearby? (10)
   - Two men in white apparel

11) What did they promise? (11)
   - Jesus will return in like manner as they saw Him ascend to heaven

12) From where did Jesus ascend to heaven?  How far was this from
    Jerusalem? (12)
   - Mount Olivet (near Bethany, cf. Lk 24:50)
   - A Sabbath day's journey (nearly a mile)

13) Where did the apostles stay in Jerusalem?  With whom did they
    pray? (13-14)
   - An upper room
   - With the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers
     (cf. Mt 13:55; Jn 7:5)

14) How many disciples were gathered there in those days? (15)
   - 120

15) Who stood up to speak?  What about? (15-20)
   - Peter
   - Replacing Judas who betrayed Jesus and hung himself

16) What happened to the body of Judas?  In what field? (18; Mt 27:3-10)
   - Fell headlong, burst open in the middle, and entrails gushed out
     (presumably after he hanged himself)
   - The field purchased with money paid to betray Jesus, known as Akel
     Dama, the Field of Blood

17) What were the requirements to be considered a replacement for Judas?
   - Had accompanied the apostles all the time the Lord Jesus went in
     and out among them
   - From the baptism of John to the day Jesus ascended to heaven

18) What would be a primary role of the replacement? (22)
   - To be a witness with the apostles of the resurrection of Jesus

19) What two candidates were selected? (23)
   - Joseph called Barsabas, surnamed Justus
   - Matthias

20) What procedure was used to determine who would replace Judas?
   - Prayer, and then the casting of lots

21) Who was numbered with the eleven apostles? (26)
   - Matthias

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Introduction by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"



Commonly called "The Acts Of The Apostles", it is simply titled "Acts"
in some of the oldest manuscripts.  It might appropriately be called
"Some Of The Acts Of Some Of The Apostles" since it does not try to
describe all of the acts of all the apostles.  Rather, the focus is
clearly on some of the acts or deeds of mostly Peter (the key figure in
the first half) and Paul (the key figure in the second).  It might also
be called "The Acts Of The Holy Spirit", as that Person of the Godhead
is very much an active participant throughout the book.


Though he does not mention himself by name, the author is undoubtedly
Luke, physician and frequent traveling companion of the apostle Paul.
From 1:1-3, we learn Acts is the second historical account to Theophilus
(see below), the first being the gospel universally attributed to Luke
(cf. Lk 1:1-4).

Luke is described as "the beloved Physician" (Col 4:14), and the
vocabulary of both the gospel and Acts shows evidence of a medical mind.
Mentioned as a "fellow laborer" (Phm 24) who was with Paul in his last
days (2Ti 4:11), Luke often accompanied Paul on his travels beginning
with his second journey.  By carefully noting the use of "we" and "they"
in the book of Acts, we glean that Luke joined Paul at Troas (16:10-11),
and remained at Philippi (17:1) until Paul later picked him up on his
way to Troas (20:1-6).  The book ends with Luke accompanying Paul to his
imprisonment in Rome (28:16).

It is evident Luke was very careful to provide a historically accurate
account in the both the gospel and Acts (cf. Lk 1:1-4,5; 2:1-3; 3:1-2).
Sir William Ramsay, archaeologist who started his career to prove Luke
to be in error, offered this testimony as a result of his research:
"Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of
fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense...in short,
this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians."  In
fact, Luke provides the only record of the first thirty years of the
early church.


Both the gospel and Acts were written to one man:  Theophilus (Lk 1:3;
Ac 1:1), whose name means "God lover".  Ramsay suggests the use of "most
excellent" (Lk 1:3) was a title like "Your Excellency" (cf. 23:26;
26:25) and that Theophilus was a government official of high rank.  It
is not used in Acts (1:1), and one intriguing possibility is that he
became a believer in between receiving the gospel and Acts.  Some have
entertained the possibility that Theophilus was a Roman official in
charge of administering Paul's case before Caesar, and that the gospel
and Acts were written to help him understand the facts of Jesus Christ
and Paul's role in the history of the church.


The book ends abruptly with Paul under house arrest awaiting trial in
Rome (28:16,30-31).  This may indicate that the book was written before
Paul's trial and eventual release.  The dates for Paul's first
imprisonment in Rome are 60-62 A.D.  If the book was just before or
after Paul's release, then it was likely written around 63 A.D. from


As indicated previously, the original purpose of both the gospel and
Acts may have been to assist Theophilus in some official capacity in
learning about Jesus and His apostles.  Yet the inspiration and
preservation of the book would indicate an important future role in the
providence of God.  Based on its content, I would offer the following
purpose of this book:

   * To record the establishment and early growth of the church

Other reasons could be given for why this book was written.  The detail
given to conversions and the involvement of the Holy Spirit would
certainly suggest the book is designed to reveal:

   * Examples of conversions to the gospel of Christ

   * The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the apostles and the early

The value of Acts is also seen in that it provides the historical
framework for the epistles found in the New Testament.  From Romans to
Revelation, names, places, and events are mentioned upon which light is
shown by the historical account of Acts.  Without Acts, the gospels of
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John would be left without a satisfying answer
to the question, "What happened next?"


The book begins in Jerusalem and ends at Rome.  It describes the
establishment and growth of the Lord's church throughout the
Mediterranean world through the work of the apostles and other
Christians under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  We read their
sermons and see the conversions which resulted as they carried out the
Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16).  We learn how local
churches were established, and much of their work, worship and
organization.  But mostly we see the faith and efforts of those charged
to be witnesses of the Lord and of His resurrection from the dead.  An
appropriate theme of this book might therefore be:


KEY VERSE:  Acts 1:8

   "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
   you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all
   Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."



   A. PREPARATION (1:1-26)
      1. Introduction to the book (1:1-3)
      2. The promise of the Spirit (1:4-8)
      3. The ascension of Jesus (1:9-11)
      4. The waiting for the Spirit (1:12-14)
      5. The selection of Matthias (1:16-26)

      1. The outpouring of the Spirit (2:1-4)
      2. The reaction of the crowd (2:5-13)
      3. The explanation by Peter (2:14-21)
      4. The first gospel sermon by Peter (2:22-36)
      5. The conversion of 3000 souls (2:37-41)
      6. The beginning of the church (2:42-47)

      1. The healing of the lame man; Peter's second sermon (3:1-26)
      2. The first persecution against the church; the liberality of the
         church (4:1-37)
      3. The first trouble within; increasing persecution without
      4. The disturbance within resolved; intensifying persecution
         without (6:1-15)
      6. The address and martyrdom of Stephen (7:1-60)
      7. The persecution involving Saul against the church (8:1-3)


      1. The conversion of the Samaritans (8:4-25)
      2. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (8:26-40)

      1. The appearance of the Lord on the road to Damascus (9:1-8)
      2. The baptism of Saul by Ananias (9:9-19)
      3. The initial ministry and persecution of Saul (9:20-31)

      1. The healing of Aeneas (9:32-35)
      2. The raising of Dorcas from the dead (9:36-43)

      1. The account recorded by Luke (10:1-48)
      2. The account retold by Peter (11:1-18)

      1. The work of Barnabas and Saul in Antioch (11:19-26)
      2. The work of Barnabas and Saul in Judea (11:27-30; 12:25)
      3. The persecution by Herod; James beheaded, Peter arrested
      4. The release of Peter from prison by an angel; Herod's death


      1. The departure from Antioch of Syria (13:1-3)
      2. The ministry on the island of Cyprus (13:4-12)
      3. The preaching in Antioch of Pisidia (13:13-52)
      4. The work and persecution in Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (14:1-20)
      5. The confirmation of churches and appointment of elders
      6. The return trip to Antioch (14:24-28)

      1. The problem surfaces in Antioch (15:1-3)
      2. The problem resolved in Jerusalem (15:4-29)
      3. The letter delivered to Antioch (15:30-35)

      1. The separation of Paul and Barnabas (15:36-41)
      2. The addition of Timothy to Paul and Silas (16:1-5)
      3. The call to come to Macedonia (16:6-10)
      4. The conversion of Lydia in Philippi (16:11-15)
      5. The conversion of the Philippian jailor (16:16-40)
      6. The proclamation of Christ in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens
      7. The year and a half at Corinth (18:1-17)
      8. The quick trip back to Antioch (18:18-22)

      1. The strengthening of disciples in Galatia and Phrygia (18:23)
      2. The conversion of Apollos by Aquila and Priscilla (18:24-28)
      3. The three years at Ephesus, ending with a riot (19:1-41)
      4. The trip through Macedonia, three months in Greece, and return
         through Macedonia (20:1-5)
      5. The breaking of bread and miracle at Troas; heading toward
         Jerusalem (20:7-16)
      6. The meeting with the Ephesian elders at Miletus (20:17-38)
      7. The warnings on the way to Jerusalem; brief stays in Tyre and
         Caesarea (21:1-14)
      8. The arrival in Jerusalem (21:15-17)

      1. The counsel of James and elders of the church in Jerusalem
      2. The arrest of Paul in the temple (21:26-40)
      3. The defense by Paul to the Jewish mob (22:1-30)
      4. The defense by Paul before the Sanhedrin council (23:1-10)
      5. The plot against Paul and deliverance to Felix (23:11-35)
      6. The trial before Felix; procrastination by Felix (24:1-27)
      7. The appearance before Festus and appeal to Caesar (25:1-12)
      8. The defense before Festus and King Agrippa (25:13-26:32)
      9. The journey to Rome; shipwreck along the way (27:1-28:16)
     10. The explanation of Paul to the leaders of the Jews in Rome
     11. The waiting in Rome for two years, yet preaching and teaching


1) Who is the author of the book of Acts?  What was his profession?
   - Luke
   - Physician

2) To whom was this book written?  What other book is addressed to this
   - Theophilus (Ac 1:1)
   - The gospel of Luke (Lk 1:3)

3) What might indicate that this person was an official of high rank?
   - Being addressed as "most excellent" (Lk 1:3)

4) When was this book likely written?  From where?  What may be
   indicative of this?
   - 63 A.D.; Rome
   - It is when and where the book abruptly ends (Ac 28:30-31)

5) What is proposed as the primary purpose of the book of Acts?
   - To record the establishment and early growth of the church

6) Based on content, what else does the book appear designed to reveal?
   - Examples of conversions to the gospel of Christ
   - The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the apostles and the early

7) What is offered as the theme of the book of Acts?
   - Witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ

8) What is the key verse?
   - "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
     you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all
     Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." - Ac 1:8

9) What are the main divisions of the book as suggested by the key verse
   and the outline in the introduction?
   - Their witness in Jerusalem (1:1-8:3)
   - Their witness in Judea and Samaria (8:4-12:25)
   - Their witness to the end of the earth (13:1-28:31)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Violence and the Quran by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Violence and the Quran

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One would expect an uninspired book to contradict itself or speak ambiguously on various subjects, at times appearing both to endorse and condemn a practice. So it is with physical violence in the Quran. Yet, despite the occasional puzzling remark that may seem to imply the reverse, the Quran is replete with explicit and implicit sanction and promotion of armed conflict, violence, and bloodshed by Muslims. For example, within months of the Hijrah, Muhammad claimed to receive a revelation that clarified the issue:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain (Surah 47:4, emp. added).
Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things in retaliation. And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who ward off (evil) (Surah 2:190-194, emp. added).
Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel his people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can (Surah 2:216-217, emp. added).
Muhammad was informed that warfare was prescribed for him! Though he may have hated warfare, it was actually good for him, and what he loved, i.e., non-warfare, was actually bad for him! And though under normal circumstances, fighting is not appropriate during sacred months, killing was warranted against those who sought to prevent Muslims from practicing their religion.Killing is better than being persecuted! A similar injunction states: “Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory” (Surah22:39, emp. added). In fact, “Allah loveth those who battle for His cause in ranks, as if they were a solid structure” (Surah 61:4, emp. added).
In a surah titled “Repentance” that issues stern measures to be taken against idolaters, the requirement to engage in carnal warfare is apparent:
Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty: Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His guidance). And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve. Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfill their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him). Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Surah 9:1-5, emp. added).
The ancient Muslim histories elaborate on the occasion of these admonitions: “[T]he idolaters were given four months’ respite to come and go as they pleased in safety, but after that God and His Messenger would be free from any obligation towards them. War was declared upon them, and they were to be slain or taken captive wherever they were found” (Lings, 1983, p. 323).
Later in the same surah, “Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low” (Surah 9:29, emp. added). “Those who have been given the Scripture” is a reference to Jews and Christians. The surah advocates coercion against Jews and Christians in order to physically force them to pay the jizyah—a special religious tax imposed on religious minorities (see Nasr, 2002, p. 166). Muslim translator Mohammed Pickthall explains the historical setting of this quranic utterance: “It signified the end of idolatry in Arabia. The Christian Byzantine Empire had begun to move against the growing Muslim power, and this Surah contains mention of a greater war to come, and instructions with regard to it” (p. 145). Indeed, the final verse of Surah 2 calls upon Allah to give Muslims “victory over the disbelieving folk” (vs. 286), rendered by Rodwell: “give us victory therefore over the infidel nations.” That this stance by the Quran was to be expected is evident from the formulation of the Second Pledge of Aqabah, in which the men pledged their loyalty and their commitment to protecting Muhammad from all opponents. This pledge included duties of war, and was taken only by the males. Consequently, the First Aqabah pact, which contained no mention of war, became known as the “pledge of the women” (Lings, p. 112).
Additional allusions to warfare in the Quran are seen in the surah, “The Spoils,” dated in the second year of the Hijrah (A.D. 623), within a month after the Battle of Badr:
And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah.... If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them.... And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not.... O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty stedfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred stedfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence.... It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. Had it not been for an ordinance of Allah which had gone before, an awful doom had come upon you on account of what ye took. Now enjoy what ye have won, as lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (Surah8:39,57,59-60,65,67-69, emp. added; cf. 33:26).
Muslim scholar Pickthall readily concedes the context of these verses:
vv. 67-69 were revealed when the Prophet had decided to spare the lives of the prisoners taken at Badr and hold them to ransom, against the wish of Omar, who would have executed them for their past crimes. The Prophet took the verses as a reproof, and they are generally understood to mean that no quarter ought to have been given in that first battle (p. 144, emp. added).
So the Quran indicates that at the Battle of Badr, no captives should have been taken. The enemy should have been completely slaughtered, with no quarter given. This very fate awaited the Jewish Bani Qurayzah, when some 700 men were beheaded by the Muslims with Muhammad’s approval (Lings, p. 232). Likewise, members of a clan of the Bani Nadir were executed in Khaybar for concealing their treasure rather than forfeiting it to the Muslims (Lings, p. 267).
Another surah describes how allowances respecting the daily prayers were to be made for Muhammad’s Muslim warriors when engaged in military action:
And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you. And when thou (O Muhammad) art among them and arrangest (their) worship for them, let only a party of them stand with thee (to worship) and let them take their arms. Then when they have performed their prostrations let them fall to the rear and let another party come that hath not worshipped and let them worship with thee, andlet them take their precaution and their arms. Those who disbelieve long for you to neglect your arms and your baggage that they may attack you once for all. It is no sin for you to lay aside your arms, if rain impedeth you or ye are sick. But take your precaution. Lo! Allah prepareth for the disbelievers shameful punishment. When ye have performed the act of worship, remember Allah, standing, sitting and reclining. And when ye are in safety, observe proper worship. Worship at fixed hours hath been enjoined on the believers. Relent not in pursuit of the enemy (Surah 4:101-104, emp. added; cf. 73:20).
These verses show that the Quran implicitly endorses armed conflict and war to advance Islam.
Muslim historical sources themselves report the background details of those armed conflicts that have characterized Islam from its inception—including Muhammad’s own warring tendencies involving personal participation in and endorsement of military campaigns (cf. Lings, pp. 86,111). Muslim scholar Pickthall’s own summary of Muhammad’s war record is an eye-opener: “The number of the campaigns which he led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven, in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of the expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight” (n.d., p. xxvi).
What a contrast with Jesus—Who never once took up the sword or encouraged anyone else to do so! The one time that one of His close followers took it upon himself to do so, the disciple was soundly reprimanded and ordered to put the sword away, with the added warning: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Indeed, when Pilate quizzed Jesus regarding His intentions, He responded: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36)—the very opposite of the Aqabah pact. And whereas the Quran boldly declares, “And one who attacks you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you”(Surah 2:194; cf. 22:60), Jesus counters, “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:39,44). The New Testament record presents a far higher, more noble and godly ethic on the matter of violence and armed conflict. In fact, the following verses demonstrate how irrevocably deep the chasm is between the Quran and the New Testament on this point:
[L]ove your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? (Matthew 5:44-46).
But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).
What an amazing contrast! The New Testament says to love, bless, do good to, and pray for those who persecute you. The Quran says that “persecution is worse than killing” (Surah 2:217)—i.e., it is better to kill your persecutors than to endure their persecutions!
The standard Muslim attempt to justify the Quran’s endorsement of violence is that such violence was undertaken in self-defense (e.g., Surah 42:41). Consider the following Muslim explanation:
At the time when this surah (Surah 2—DM) was revealed at Al-Madinah, the Prophet’s own tribe, the pagan Qureysh at Mecca, were preparing to attack the Muslims in their place of refuge. Cruel persecution was the lot of Muslims who had stayed in Meccan territory or who journeyed thither, and Muslims were being prevented from performing the pilgrimage. The possible necessity of fighting had been foreseen in the terms of the oath, taken at Al-Aqabah by the Muslims of Yathrib before the Flight, to defend the Prophet as they would their own wives and children, and the first commandment to fight was revealed to the Prophet before his flight from Mecca; but there was no actual fighting by the Muslims until the battle of Badr. Many of them were reluctant, having before been subject to a rule of strict non-violence. It was with difficulty that they could accept the idea of fighting even in self-defence [sic].... (Pickthall, p. 33, emp. added).
Apart from the fact that the claim that Muhammad’s advocacy of fighting was justifiable on the ground of self-defense is contrary to the historical facts (since the wars waged by Muhammad and the territorial expansion of Islam achieved by his subsequent followers cannot all be dismissed as defensive), this explanation fails to come to grips with the propriety of shedding of blood and inflicting violence—regardless of the reason. Muslim scholar Seyyed Nasr seems unconscious of the inherent self-contradiction apparent in his own remark:
The spread of Islam occurred in waves. In less than a century after the establishment of the first Islamic society in Medina by the Prophet, Arab armies had conquered a land stretching from the Indus River to France and brought with them Islam, which, contrary to popular Western conceptions, was not, however, forced on the people by the sword (2003, p. 17, emp. added).
In other words, Muslim armies physically conquered—by military force and bloodshed—various nations, forcing the population to submit to Muslim rule, but did not require them to become Muslims! One suspects that, at the time, the distinction escaped the citizens of those conquered countries, even as it surely does the reader.
The Quran appears to have been somewhat influenced by the Law of Moses in this regard. For example, the Quran states: “If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted” (Surah 16:126). Similarly, “O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.... And there is life for you in retaliation, O men of understanding, that ye may ward off (evil)” (Surah 2:178-179). One is reminded of the lex talionis [literally “law as (or of) retaliation”] of the Law of Moses. However, whereas the Quran appears to enjoin retaliation, thelex talionis were not intended to promote retaliation. Enjoining retaliation would be in direct conflict with the nature of God. God is never vindictive. The New Testament law does not differ with the Old Testament in the areas of proper values, ethics, mercy, and justice. The “eye for an eye” injunctions of the Old Testament were designed to be prohibitive in their thrust, i.e., they humanely limited and restricted legal punishment to a degree in keeping with the crime. That is, they prevented dispensers of justice from punishing too harshly or too much. They were intended to inculcate into Israelite society the principle of confining retribution to appropriate parameters.
The fact that the author of the Quran failed to grasp this feature of God’s laws is evident in various quranic injunctions: “As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise” (Surah5:38, emp. added).
The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment.... And those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses,scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony—They indeed are evildoers (Surah 24:2,4, emp. added).
These latter verses conflict with Mosaic injunction on two significant points. First, on the one hand, it doubles the more reasonable and appropriate forty stripes (Deuteronomy 25:3)—a number that the Jews were so concerned not to exceed that they counted thirty-nine and stopped to allow for accidental miscount (2 Corinthians 11:24). On the other hand, this eighty increases to one hundred for adultery. Second, the requirement of four witnesses is an unreasonable number. The two or three witnesses of the Bible (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19) strikes a logical medium between the precariousness of only a single witness on the one hand, and the excessive and unlikely availability of the four witnesses required by the Quran.
It is true that the God of the Bible enjoined violent, armed conflict for the Israelites in the Old Testament. He did so in order to eliminate the morally corrupt Canaanite civilizations that inhabited Palestine prior to the Israelite occupation of the land (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-12; Leviticus 18:24-25,27-28). There simply was no viable solution to their condition except extermination. Their moral depravity was “full” (Genesis 15:16). They had slumped to such an immoral, depraved state, with no hope of recovery, that their existence on this Earth had to be ended—just like in Noah’s day when God waited while Noah preached for years but was unable to turn the world’s population from its wickedness (Genesis 6:3,5-7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:5-9).
Additionally, since the nation of Israel was also a civil entity in its own right, the government was also charged with implementing civil retribution upon lawbreakers. However, with the arrival of New Testament Christianity—an international religion intended for all persons without regard to ethnicity or nationality—God has assigned to civil government (not the church or the individual) the responsibility of regulating secular behavior. God’s people who live posterior to the cross of Christ (i.e., Christians) are not charged by God with the responsibility of inflicting physical punishment on the evildoer. Rather, civil government is charged with the responsibility of maintaining order and punishing lawbreakers (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14). Observe Paul’s explanation of this dichotomy:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrathon him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor (Romans 13:1-7, NKJV, emp. added).
One translation (NIV) renders the boldface type in the above quote “an agent of wrath to bring punishment.” But this assignment of judicial and penal retribution to the government is a contrast in Paul’s discussion with what he wrote in the three verses prior to this quotation:
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:19-21,NKJV, emp. added).
Notice that the very responsibility that is enjoined on the government, i.e., “an avenger to execute wrath” by use of the sword in 13:4, is strictly forbidden to the individual Christian in 12:19, i.e., “do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath.” To “give place to wrath” means to allow God’s wrath to show itself in His own appointed way that, according to the next few verses, is by means of the civil government.
True Christianity (i.e., that which is based strictly on the New Testament) dictates peace and non-retaliatory promotion of itself. The “absolute imperative” (Rahman, 1979, p. 22) of Islam is the submission/conversion of the whole world. In stark contrast, the absolute imperative of New Testament Christianity is the evangelism of the whole world, i.e., the dissemination of the message of salvation—whether people embrace it or not (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47). Absolutely no coercion is admissible from the Christian (i.e., New Testament) viewpoint. The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and all other violent activities undertaken in the name of Christ and Christianity have been in complete conflict with the teaching of the New Testament. The perpetrators acted without the authority and sanction of Christ.
Islam seeks to bring the entire world into submission to Allah and the Quran—even using jihad, coercion, and force; Christianity seeks to go into all the world and to announce the “good news” that God loves every individual, that Jesus Christ died for the sins of everyone, and that He offers salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation. But, each person has free choice to accept or reject without any retaliation by Christians against those who choose to reject. Jesus taught His disciples, when faced with opposition and resistance, simply to walk away: “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14). In fact, on one occasion when a Samaritan village was particularly nonreceptive, some of Jesus’ disciples wished to command fire to come down from heaven to consume them! But Jesus rebuked them and said, “ ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:55). Muhammad and the Quran stand in diametrical opposition to Jesus and the New Testament.
If the majority of Muslims were violent, that would not prove that Islam is a religion of violence. The vast majority of those who claim to be “Christian” are practicing a corrupted form of the Christian faith. So the validity of any religion is determined ultimately not by the imperfect, inaccurate practice of the religion by even a majority of its adherents, but by the official authority or standard upon which it is based, i.e., its Scriptures. The present discussion in the world regarding whether or not jihad includes physical force in the advancement of Islam is ultimately irrelevant (cf. Nasr, 2002, pp. 256-266). The Quran unquestionably endorses violence, war, and armed conflict. No wonder a substantial number of Muslims manifest a maniacal, reckless abandon in their willingness to die by sacrificing their lives in order to kill as many “infidels” (especially Israelis and Americans) as possible. They have read the following:
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks.... Andthose who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state, and bring them in unto the Garden [Paradise—DM] which He hath made known to them (Surah 47:4-6, emp. added).
O ye who believe! Be not as those who disbelieved and said of their brethren who went abroad in the land or were fighting in the field: If they had been (here) with us they would not have died or been killed.... And what though ye be slain in Allah’s way or die therein? Surely pardon from Allah and mercy are better than all that they amass. Whatthough ye be slain or die, when unto Allah ye are gathered?.... So those who...fought and were slain, verily I shall remit their evil deeds from them and verily I shall bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow—a reward from Allah (Surah 3:156-158,195, emp. added).
Even if the vast majority of Muslims in the world reject violence and refrain from terrorist activity (which would appear to be the case), it is still a fact that the Quran (as well as the example of Muhammad himself) endorses the advancement of Islam through physical force. While Muslim apologist Seyyed Hossein Nasr insists that “the traditional norms based on peace and openness to others” characterize true Islam and the majority of Muslims, in contradistinction, he freely admits that at times Islam “has been forced to take recourse to physical action in the form of defense” (Nasr, 2002, pp. 112,110). This concession cannot be successfully denied in view of the Quran’s own declarations. Hence, the Muslim is forced to maintain the self-contradictory position that, yes, there have been times that Islam has been properly violent and, yes, the Quran does endorse violence, but, no, most Muslims are not violent, and then only in self-defense. As reprehensible and cowardly as Islamic terrorists have shown themselves to be in recent years, an honest reading of the Quran leads one to believe that they, at least, are more consistent with, and true to, their own Scriptures—as revolting an idea as that may be.


Lings, Martin (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International).
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2002), The Heart of Islam (New York: HarperCollins).
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2003), Islam (New York: HarperCollins).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
Rahman, Fazlur (1979), Islam (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), second edition.
Rodwell, J.M., trans. (1950 reprint), The Koran (London: J.M. Dent and Sons).