Muslim scholar makes a mistake from church history and seems to dig his heels in when corrected

Paul Williams quoted from Dr. Jonathan Brown’s book, Misquoting Muhammad, where he makes a mistake and claims that “church fathers like Papias”,  “believed the Paraclete to be a human being, and not the Holy Spirit.”  Dr. Jonathan Brown is a western convert to Islam, and a scholar.  But as we shall see, even scholars make mistakes.

“Christians at the time of Papias believed the Paraclete to be a human being (a prophet) not the Holy Spirit:

‘Church Fathers like Papias heard of wandering prophets who drew crowds from Europe to Asia Minor, claiming to be the awaited Paraclete mentioned in John’s Gospel, bringing the final apocalyptic chapter of Jesus’ message. ‘

Misquoting Muhammad‘, Jonathan AC Brown p. 165

This shows that there were people, early in the history of Christianity, who understood the Paraclete to be a prophet who would come after Jesus (p). Christians should look into Prophet Muhammad (p) as indeed he is the Prophet after Prophet Jesus (p).

NB Brown references Robert M. Grant, ‘Historical Criticism in the Ancient Church,’ 188-189

(Thanks to Yahya Snow for this)

See here for more details and comments in the com-boxes:  (and updates)

https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/05/11/christians-at-the-time-of-papias-believed-the-paraclete-to-be-a-human-being-a-prophet-not-the-holy-spirit/

I asked:

 

That info is nowhere in the extant fragments of Papias, so where does Robert M. Grant get that info ??

I think Brown is confusing Papias with a heretic, known as Montanus. He believed he was a prophet of God and that the Paraclete spoke through him, but he did not claim he was the paraclete. But one would have to see the full quote of Robert M. Grant, to understand where he is getting that idea.

Paul Williams rightly recognized this and I appreciate his honesty here.  Paul provided the pages from Robert Grant’s article, showing Brown’s mistake.  Robert Grant did not write what Jonathan Brown claims.

Paul later contacted Dr. Brown, asking about his mistake, and it seems Dr. Brown still would not admit the error of saying that Christians in the second century thought the Paraclete was a human being.  Dr. Brown admitted the Papias reference was wrong, but still stuck to his claim that ancient Christians thought the Paraclete could be a human being.  (see the updates at both blog articles.  First one:  “Christians at the time of Papias believed the Paraclete to be a human being,  – a prophet, and not the Holy Spirit”

The second one is here, and also linked below)

So I responded:

Even with the update, Brown is still wrong, as Montanus and his 2 women disciples, Maximillia and Pricilla, did not believe in a human Paraclete, but rather that the Paraclete was the Holy Spirit, a spirit and that He was indwelling them and speaking through them in tongues, prophesies, and ecstatic utterances. They connected this to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14. They were like the first Charismatics.

This is standard church history knowledge.

To try and make a point out of this as somehow parallel with Muhammad as a human 600 years later, claiming to be the paraclete (Ahmad, Surah 61:6) is a big big stretch.

There is no textual variants in the manuscript tradition; no evidence whatsoever even close to periklutos, which is what is required to be close to the meaning of the word “Ahmad” (praised one).

Paul made another blog post with updated information:  Dr. Brown sets the record straight

So I repeated the same basic information, pointing out Brown’s mistake, at that post also.

Robert Grant is a recognized church historian.

Montanus and 2 women with him, Maximillia and Priscilla were like the first Charismatics – ( In Phrygia, around 150s-170s AD) they believed they filled with the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete) and spoke in tongues and went into ecstatic utterances and spoke prophesies about the end times. (see 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14) (speaking about the age of the Millennium, as in Revelation 20).

they believed they were filled with the Spirit and spoke prophesies and spoke in tongues; they were not claiming to be humans who were the Paraclete, they were claiming that the Spirit, the Paraclete was speaking in them and through them. Since there were three of them, they did not believe that one was the Paraclete Himself as a human, but that the Paraclete is a spirit who works in them and speaks through them spiritual prophesies and tongues.

This is not a very good parallel that Brown is trying to make to Muhammad, who claimed to be a human prophet/apostle.

Jonathan Brown is basically saying that there are those in the early Christian Church who believed that the paraclete was not the Holy Spirit but rather another person. [Patrice wrote, trying to defend Dr. Brown]

but this is not what Montanus, Maximillia, and Priscilla believed. they still believed the Paraclete was a spirit, namely the Holy Spirit, speaking through them in prophesies and tongues and ecstatic utterances. They put it together with 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14 and the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”.

Brown is still wrong, because they did not believe there was a human who was a Paraclete (like the way Muhammad was just a human who claimed to be the final prophet or apostle) – rather they saw the Paraclete as the Holy Spirit speaking through them, very much like modern Charismatics do today.

Later, even Patrice admitted I was right, as she did further research on the Montanus movement in ancient church history:

I had not seen your initial reply until after i posted mine so whoops!

After reading up a little about the Montanists and their beliefs I have to agree with you Ken that they still believed that the Paraclete was the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit gave them the ability to prophecy even such ‘revelations’ supercede the words of Jesus!

Although there wasn’t much information about them outside of the rebuttals of the Church Fathers so i am hesitant to think we know everything about them.

BOOM to me! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!!!

But, Dr. Brown still maintained that early Christians thought the Paraclete was a human being and that that is relevant to Muhammad’s claim of 600 years later.

And as of this point, Paul Williams wrote that he would not follow up to Dr. Brown.

No I wont be following this up any further.

That is not good.  The Muslim scholar needs to be accurate about church history.

Advertisements

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
This entry was posted in Apologetics, church history, Islam, Muslims. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Muslim scholar makes a mistake from church history and seems to dig his heels in when corrected

  1. θ says:

    Human persons such as Montanus and Maximilla claimed themselves being Paraclete, as well as the promised spirit.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10521a.htm
    The prophets did not speak as messengers of God: “Thus saith the Lord,” but described themselves as possessed by God and spoke in His Person. “I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete,” said Montanus (Didymus, “De Trin.”, III, xli);

    And again: “I am the Lord God omnipotent, who have descended into to man”, and “neither an angel, nor an ambassador, but I, the Lord, the Father, am come” (Epiphanius, “Hær.”, xlviii, 11).

    And Maximilla said: “I am not a wolf, but I am speech, and spirit, and power.”

    This possession by a spirit, which spoke while the prophet was incapable of resisting, is described by the spirit of Montanus: “Behold the man is like a lyre, and I dart like the plectrum. The man sleeps, and I am awake” (Epiphanius, “Hær.”, xlviii, 4).

    Montanus declared: “The Lord hath sent me as the chooser, the revealer, the interpreter of this labor, this promise, and this covenant, being forced, willingly or unwillingly, to learn the gnosis of God.”

    • Ken Temple says:

      Montanus and the two women mean that they are the instruments by which the Holy Spirit speaks; like when a person goes into a trance and starts saying “i am”, etc. – it means they are being playing on like a lyre – “behold the man is like a lyre . . . ” proves this.

  2. Ken Temple says:

    “I am the Lord God omnipotent, who have descended into to man”,

    This shows what they mean, that the Spirit of God (the Parclete) [they believed] was speaking through and in them, not that they were literally the Paraclete. Only only one of them could be the paraclete, if they meant in the way that you and other Muslims are trying to claim, that the original prophesy and text in John 14, 15, and 16 is about a human being, once who comes 600 years later.

    Ridiculous.

  3. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: Montanus and the two women mean that they are the instruments by which the Holy Spirit speaks; like when a person goes into a trance and starts saying “i am”, etc. – it means they are being playing on like a lyre – “behold the man is like a lyre . . . ” proves this.”

    Paraclete is indeed an instrument that come from the Father.

    “Ken Temple says:“I am the Lord God omnipotent, who have descended into to man”,This shows what they mean, that the Spirit of God (the Parclete) [they believed] was speaking through and in them, not that they were literally the Paraclete. ”

    If it is allowed for Jesus, it is allowed for Montanus, right? It is supposed to be not difficult for Trinitarians to believe in a “multi-nature” of Montanus if they believe in Chalcedonian Jesus with dual nature. Be consistent, please?
    “I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete,” said Montanus (Didymus, “De Trin.”, III, xli);

  4. Ken Temple says:

    You don’t know much about the Montanus movement and how they related this to the spiritual gifts of 1 Cor. 12 and 14, and when they spoke, the would say “I am . . . ” , but they meant that God was speaking through them; that the Holy Spirit was speaking through them.

    Modern Charismatics do similar things today; but admit they are not claiming to be THE HOLY SPIRIT or Paraclete, rather that the Holy Spirit / Paraclete is speaking THROUGH them.

  5. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: You don’t know much about the Montanus movement and how they related this to the spiritual gifts of 1 Cor. 12 and 14, and when they spoke, the would say “I am . . . ” , but they meant that God was speaking through them; that the Holy Spirit was speaking through them.”

    Jesus uses the word “I am” too.
    If it is allowed for Jesus, it is allowed for Montanus. Nothing is more simpler than that.

  6. Sam Shamoun says:

    Thanks bro. I just posted the link to your blog article on my FB pages.

  7. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: but this is not what Montanus, Maximillia, and Priscilla believed. they still believed the Paraclete was a spirit, ”

    On the contrary, a man Montanus claims being the Paraclete.
    “I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete,” said Montanus (Didymus, “De Trin.”, III, xli);

  8. Ken Temple says:

    He meant that the Holy Spirit / Paraclete is speaking prophetically in and through him. You would have to understand 1 Cor. 12 and 14 also in order to understand the Montanists.

  9. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: He meant that the Holy Spirit / Paraclete is speaking prophetically in and through him. You would have to understand 1 Cor. 12 and 14 also in order to understand the Montanists.”

    For sure, a man Jesus is called the Paraclete in 1 John 2:1.

    Montanus claims being the Paraclete because not only prophetic trance also he does what Paraclete does:
    Montanus declared: “The Lord hath sent me as the chooser, the revealer, the interpreter of this labor, this promise, and this covenant, being forced, willingly or unwillingly, to learn the gnosis of God.”
    “I am the Father, the Word, and the Paraclete,” said Montanus (Didymus, “De Trin.”, III, xli);

    On the contrary to what Trinitarian assumed, Montanists believe to have a higher teaching that is even beyond the teaching of Christ to Paul (such as 1 Cor. 12 and 14) and to disciples.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10521a.htm
    It came to be thought higher than the Apostles, and even beyond the teaching of Christ. Priscilla went to sleep, she said, at Pepuza, and Christ came to her and slept by her side “in the form of a woman, clad in a bright garment, and put wisdom into me, and revealed to me that this place is holy, and that here Jerusalem above comes down”.

  10. Sam Shamoun says:

    Brother Ken, maybe you should write another post on Griffith’s rather desperate and pathetic attempt of explaining away the Quran’s gross misrepresentation and/or misunderstanding of the Christian faith. If you I will link to it.

    • Ken Temple says:

      Lord willing, as time permits.

      I just cut and paste for now one answer I gave in the comboxes (part 2 of Williams article, this time from Sidney Griffiths book, The Arabic Bible), that I don’t think the Muslims have answered yet.

      https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/05/13/understanding-the-qur%CA%BEans-creative-use-of-rhetorical-strategies-against-orthodox-christianity-and-a-refutation-of-do-christians-believe-allah-is-really-jesus-by-sam-shamoun/

      “This point that Griffiths is trying to make is about as clear as mud. It is just an assertion. How could it be “more effective” if it is inaccurate?

      “God is the Messiah” is inaccurate, as Griffiths admits. “God is one of three” is inaccurate, he also admits. And seeing Mary as part of the Trinity is inaccurate (Surah 5:116). It seems to me the easiest explanation is the right one, since you admit that Muhammad was illiterate (Surah 7:157), he is just hearing things and seeing the popular piety around Mary (but ignorant of doctrinal creeds and the Scriptures) – Muhammad is seeing the icons, statues and emphasis on Mary, and prayers to Mary (all man-made traditions that were becoming some of the main heresies and problems that Protestantism has with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox – they have exalted Mary too much. Praying should only be to God. It seems clear that Muhammad got things mixed up and garbled, and got info from heretical groups and apocryphal gospels and Jewish Midrash and Talmudic writings, all non inspired sources. Muhammad and the early Muslims may also have come across the Collyridians in N. Arabia (today’s Jordan), who worshipped Mary.

      To have credibility in apologetics and intellectual arguments, the opposing side should accurately understand and communicate what it is critiquing. This is basic logic and courtesy. The Qur’an fails at that big time.”

  11. Sam Shamoun says:

    If you I will link to it= if you do decide to write a post I will link to it.

  12. θ says:

    As Qur’an deals with the Arabians in the beginning, hence it doesn’t prefer the major Christian sect outside of the region of Arabia over the minor Christian sects within Arabia itself. A minor sect is equal to the major sect though.

Comments are closed.