Islam & Christianity

As Seen In The Bible Page 3

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4 The Name 'Christianity' Its Origin And Meaning

We will see that 'Christianity' as it is now known, is not the teaching of Jesus (pbuh). In fact, Muslims are closer to the teaching of Jesus (pbuh) in their beliefs and practices than are 'Christians'. Muslims, feel that their love for God and love for Jesus (pbuh) is as much their right as it is for Christians. One must remember that no person can be a Muslim, unless he believes in Jesus (pbuh). Both Muslims and Christians have a common heritage, and both should benefit from it. This is the reason why the teachings of Jesus (pbuh) need special attention.

We shall proceed now to see 'Christianity' in the Bible.

We will put forth the same two questions which were put forth regarding Islam.

The name 'Christianity' - Is it really a valid name? If so, where is it recorded? In other words, where is its identity certificate?

Who has given the name? Or, who is the certifying authority?

The name 'Christian' was used for the first time in Antioch, as we read in the Bible:

Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called 'Christians'.

(Acts 11:25-26)

Who gave this name? Neither God nor Jesus (pbuh). We can mention the following points concerning the name 'Christianity':

The name does not bear the authority from God or from Jesus (pbuh).

It was given by Jews and pagans in Antioch (a city in the then Roman Empire), i.e., by foes rather than by friends.

The name was given after Jesus (pbuh) had left this world.

The name was first used derogatorily, as determined by the historians.

One may contend, 'But what's in a name?' Does the name really matter?'. This may or may not be a valid objection, but for the sake of argument, let us proceed to explicate its meaning.

The word 'Christianity' does not carry a functional meaning, unlike the word 'Islam'. It is a word for identification, derived from 'Christ' (as 'Buddhism' took its name from Buddha). Then the next question would be: What is the definition of 'Christianity'?
Now we run into a problem.

One may say that a Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ (pbuh). We Muslims also believe in him (it is an article of faith for Muslims to believe in him). So, we can also be called 'Christians' by this standard.

One may say that a Christian is one who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ (pbuh). We Muslims claim that we follow him more than those who call themselves Christians. If so, then we are rather better "Christians".

One may say that a Christian is one who worships Jesus Christ (pbuh). But we can not accept this definition. Why ? Simply because Jesus (pbuh) never claimed: 'I am God and you must worship me', or 'I am co-equal and co-eternal with God', or 'you will enter the Kingdom of heaven if you believe in my blood sacrifice'. We have no evidence that even once did he utter any such statement. Jesus (pbuh) certainly would not have used vague language to explain such vital and highly important a matter, or leave it to the people's own imagination and interpretation. In fact, this matter of the nature of Jesus (pbuh) and his 'divinity' is the product of speculation on the part of later "Church Fathers" and theologians.

Then what was Jesus' (pbuh) teaching? What was the essence of his mission? We shall be discussing this point in more detail.


The Practice And Meaning Of 'Christianity' In The Bible

The word 'Christianity' is not found anywhere in the Gospels. In the other books of the New Testament 'Christian' is mentioned only a few times (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, I Peter 4:16). This is understandable, because the term was coined much later, when Jesus (pbuh) had left this world.

The Two Profiles Of Christ:

One Profile

The Other Profile

1.   is of a historical Jesus (pbuh)

1.    is of a mythical, interpreted Jesus

2.    that existed during the life time of Jesus (pbuh)

2.    that was formulated after his departure from this world

3.    that was original

3.    that gradually evolved

4.   which Jesus himself preached and practiced

4.   which is contrary to his teachings and practices

5.   that invites to pure monotheism

5.    that is influenced by Greco-Roman mythology and philosophy

6.    that is in line with the teachings of ALL the Prophets of God

6. that is in line with NONE of the Prophets of God

7.    that is simple, clear, and logical

7.    that is mysterious, tenuous, and illogical

8.    that is authentic

8.    that is contrived

9.    that originated in the Revelation from God to the Messenger of God (Jesus)

9.    that originated in the vision of an enemy-turned-apostle of Jesus

10.   that has the authority of Jesus, the master

10.   that has the authority of St. Paul, the self-appointed disciple

Such differences between the teaching of Jesus (pbuh) and the teaching of the Church have created problems for the common man to understand the true God-revealed religion, and have resulted in confusion and conflict. No wonder there are so many disagreeing points of view within the Christian world itself, each denomination claiming to be on the correct path.

Let us look into the teachings, found in each of the two versions of Christianity.

The Person Of Christ And His Teachings:

For a proper understanding of the teachings of Jesus (pbuh), it is important to examine who he was, in what capacity he taught, and what his mission was. The answers are given by Jesus (pbuh) himself as recorded in the 'Gospel' writings of the New Testament:

Son Of Man:

Jesus (pbuh) referred to himself as 'son of man' :

So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, ...

(John 8:28)

For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.

(Luke 19:10)

A Man:

but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.

(John 8:40)

A Prophet Of God :

He presented himself as a prophet and a messenger of God, and a representative of the Kingdom of heaven. He always invited people to follow him in that capacity only :

Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.

(Luke 13: 33)

But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown, and among his own kin, and in his own house'.

(Mark 6:4)

Son Of Man:

Jesus (pbuh) referred to himself as 'son of man' :

So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, ...

(John 8:28)

For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.

(Luke 19:10)

People did recognise him as a Prophet of God.

The crowds answered, 'This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.

(Matthew 21:11)

A Messenger Of God (i.e., one who is 'sent by God'):

Jesus answered them, 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me'.

(John 7:16)

... and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me, but the one who sent me.

(Mark 9:37)

... for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.

(John 12:49)

Aim Of His Mission :

He believed in the worship of God alone, and made it the ultimate aim of all his activities:

Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

(Matthew 4:10)

My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to complete his work.

(John 4:34)

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

(Matthew 6:10)

The Teachings Of Jesus (pbuh) :

Coming to the teachings in Christianity as derived from Jesus (pbuh), we may confine our discussion to the two basic and roost significant issues: obeying the Law, and Salvation.

Concerning the Divine Law :

Jesus (pbuh) laid emphasis on obeying the Divine Law and submitting to God's commands - the same thing that had been taught by Moses and other prophets earlier. Jesus (pbuh) himself obeyed the Law and taught others to uphold it. Consider his statement contained in the 'Sermon on the Mount':

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law, or the prophets; I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill it

(Matthew 5:17)

He wanted the people to obey the Divine Law rather than substituting man-made law, and to leave the hypocrisy common to the Jewish leadership of his day:

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honour with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.

(Matthew 15:7-9)

Concerning Salvation:

Jesus' (pbuh) teaching regarding salvation was also not something different from that of earlier Prophets and Messengers of God. He made it very clear that Salvation is through keeping God's commandments, following the teachings of Jesus (pbuh), doing righteous deeds, and repentance from sin.

Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments

(Matthew 19:17)

And this is life eternal, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

(John 17:3)

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes on him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come underjudgment, but has passed from death to life.

(John 5:24)

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:20)

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.

(Luke 13:3)

The Person Of Paul And His Apostleship :

Let us examine the profile of Paul, the author of some 14 out of the 27 books in the New Testament.

Paul was not one of the disciples chosen by Jesus (pbuh), nor did he ever meet Jesus (pbuh). He was a native of Tarsus (a city in modem day Turkey). Though a Jew by race and religion, he enjoyed the privilege of being a citizen of the Roman Empire. He had influential connections with the ruling elite. He was an intelligent, educated person with a knowledge of Greek literature and non-Jewish culture.

Paul strongly opposed Jesus (pbuh) during his life time; he tortured and killed many of his followers (Acts 26:9-11, Galatians 1:13). He was present at the stoning of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58-60). He made havoc of the church (Acts 8:3). According to his own report, he was travelling to Damascus to arrest the followers of Jesus (pbuh), when he experienced a visionary encounter with Jesus (pbuh), who, as Paul claimed, commissioned him to be his apostle.

Paul did not learn his 'Gospel' from any of Jesus' disciples or followers:

I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

(Galatians 1:12)

He always believed in the Jesus (pbuh) of his vision - the mystic Christ, and was not interested in the person of Jesus (pbuh) who lived among his people and preached his Gospel:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point-of-view, even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

(2 Corinthians 5:16)

Accordingly, Paul preached his own revealed version of Christianity that was fundamentally different from what Jesus (pbuh) himself taught, and different from what Jesus' chosen disciples believed. He achieved tremendous success among the Gentiles as he used all means to win them :

To the Jews I became a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law.

(1 Corinthians 9:20-21)

Is it not strange that Paul portrays the law of the mystic Christ and differing from God's law?

He himself admits to using deceit :

But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), 'Let us do evil so that good may come'?

(Romans 3:7-8)

He explained his position admitting that :

He was not necessarily innocent :

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me

(1 Corinthians 4:4)

His preaching was of his own founding:

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

(1 Corinthians 3:5-6)

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.

(1 Corinthians 3:10)

At times he was not even divinely inspired or guided, but spoke on his own authority:

But to the rest I say- I not the Lord...

(1 Corinthians 7:12)

What I am saying in regard to this boastful confidence, I am saying not with the Lord's authority, but as a fool;

(2 Corinthians 11:17)

Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.

(1 Corinthians 7:25)

He preached the mysterious doctrine of Jesus' resurrection in this world as his own 'gospel':

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.

(2 Timothy 2:8-9)

For deviating from the original teachings of Jesus (pbuh), Paul was rebuked by James, the Head of the Church in Jerusalem and younger brother of Jesus (pbuh). James considered Paul no better than a renegade and a polluted person, and hence prescribed for Paul to go and cleanse himself according to the Law (Acts 21:22-24).

In the process of making give-and-take adjustments with the pagans, the Roman Sunday was 'Christianized' to take the place of the Jewish Sabbath (Friday nightfall to Saturday nightfall), the traditional birthday of the Sun god (25 December) came to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus (pbuh), and the pagan spring festival of renewal ('Easter') was taken over as a celebration of the Christianized teaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even the Indo- European concept of a triune god was imported; such a 'trinity' was, and remains, offensive to the Hebrew/Semitic religious traditions.

Paul'S Teachings:

Coming to the teachings in Christianity as derived from Jesus (pbuh), we may confine our discussion to the two basic and roost significant issues: obeying the Law, and Salvation.

Concerning the Law :

But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the spirit.

(Romans 7:6)

For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

(Romans 4:15)

You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourself off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

(Galatians 5:4)

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes.

(Romans 10:4)

Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ [of Christ -KJV*], and not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

(Hebrews 6:1)

Therefore the law was our disciplinarian [schoolmaster - KJV] until Christ came, so that we might be Justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian [schoolmaster - KJV]

(Galatians 3:24-25)

These statements imply that while the Law was binding on Jesus (pbuh), it was not binding on Paul and his followers! Remember what Jesus (pbuh) said, almost as if he had anticipated Paul's position of influence:

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:18-19)

Concerning Salvation:

Paul presented a very simplistic formula to attain salvation, in sharp contrast to the teachings of Jesus (pbuh):

That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord, ' and believe in your heart that God raised him from dead, you will be saved.

(Romans 10:9)

These two versions of the person of Christ and his message ('Gospel') lead us to ask whether Paul could have better comprehended the meaning of the Gospel than Jesus (pbuh) himself did?

Jesus' Verdict

The question as to who is correct need not go unanswered. Jesus (pbuh) himself has provided us with the solution to this question; after all, he was a foremost Messenger of God; he in fact foretold such situations. The solution is to be seen in these following statements :

Jesus (pbuh) clearly stated :

A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master.

(Matthew 10:24)

We can only conclude, thus, that Paul had no authority to nullify or supersede what was preached openly and clearly, by Jesus (pbuh) himself.

Jesus (pbuh) did not teach anything in secret or anything complicated. In his own words :

I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.

(John 18:20)

The same openness of teaching is true of God's previous revelation :

I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness;

(Isaiah 45:19)

So, Paul cannot be justified when he pushes aside Jesus' (pbuh) own teachings and establishes in its place a contrasting theology of his own making, marketed under the name of 'Christ'. Can we believe that :

Jesus (pbuh) taught one thing to his chosen disciples during his life time, and something different to Paul after leaving this world, rendering his message inconsistent ?

Jesus' (pbuh) own preaching to the disciples was useless, and his mission in life was in vain, since something totally different was to be preached later by his 'true' followers?

In fact, in no uncertain terms did Jesus (pbuh) enjoin on his followers 'to do the works' which he himself was doing.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do...

(John 14:12)

In fact, Jesus regarded obedience to his commands as a test of love for him and as friendship with him :

If you love me, you will obey what I command.

(John 14:15)

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.

(John 14:21)

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

(John 15:14)

Then how could the Church accept it when Paul excluded himself from obeying Jesus' (pbuh) commands, and taught others to do so?

Nothing could be a more clear and befitting parable regarding these two versions of Christianity than what Jesus (pbuh) himself gave. Referring to those who call on him as 'Lord', he said:

Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been founded upon the rock. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.

(Luke 6:46-49)

This 'foundation' could be understood to mean the Abrahamic faith of pure monotheism and the Divine Law - the things that Jesus (pbuh) was preaching. In fact, when Jesus (pbuh) taught his people, he compared himself to Abraham as an authentic spokesman of God's message. (John 8:31-59)

Jesus' Warning

Jesus (pbuh) warned those 'Christians' who do not follow him. Please listen to his warning carefully:

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 1 never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'

(Matthew 7:21-23)

He also warned the people against any careless attitude towards such important matters:

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

(Matthew 12:36-37)

It is of the utmost importance to know which profile of Jesus (pbuh) is correct. A Christian must be careful to believe and teach others the correct 'Gospel; can Paul's interpretation of 'Christ' be more accurate than Jesus' own clear statements?



Islam and original Christianity are not different religions in concept or in historical origin.

'ISLAM' is, in fact, a Biblical religion. Islamic beliefs and practices are fully evident in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

The message of Islam as brought by Mohammed (pbuh) is the continuation and fulfillment of the same Abrahamic faith, which was taught by Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Jesus (pbut), and all the other prophets. All of them, as well as their followers, were 'MUSLIMS', in the truest sense of the word.

Christianity as practiced today, is but an adulterated and a deviated form of the revealed monotheistic religion 'ISLAM'. Muslims are the true followers of the historical Jesus Christ (pbuh).


* King James' Version Back

This page last updated 10/11/2009 12:39 p.m.