Trinity vs. Tawheed

This was an excellent debate where James White explains and defends the doctrine of the Trinity vs. a Muslim named Jake Brancatella, who uses worldly human philosophy over God’s Revelation (the New Testament). God has revealed Himself in history through prophets and apostles and books, written Scriptures. When we say “revelation”, we are not talking about the book of Revelation only, but all of the 66 books of holy Scripture. The Doctrine of the Trinity is based on Scriptural teaching. See the category of “the doctrine of the Trinity” and the Deity of Christ in the side bar for more.

Jake’s argument is a contradiction to Islam, since the Qur’an affirms the previous Scriptures as revelation from God (Surah 5:47; 5:68; 10:94; 3:3), both the New Testament Gospel message and the Old Testamant, even though Muhammad and the early Muslims did not know the content of the true Injeel الانجیل (gospel in Arabic). See many other posts I have made about Islam, Muslims, the Word of God, and how the Qur’an actually unwittingly confirms the Bible. (see the categories in the side bar, especially the “Bible is not corrupted”)

It is clear that the Qur’an wrongly thought the Christians were saying the Trinity is “God, Jesus, and His mother Mary”. (Surah 5:116 and Surah 5:72-75 and also 6:101 and 112 and 19:88-92 – the Qur’an seems to think that the Christians taught that God had sex with Mary and pro-created Jesus, which is also wrong and a blasphemy and shows that the true Allah did not inspire the Qur’an, but the true God would have known about the doctrines of the Deity of Christ, the Sonship of Christ, the Trinity, etc.

Another important aspect of sharing the gospel with Muslims is usually, one does not start with the doctrine of the Trinity. James White did with Jake, as they both already talk about this doctrine on line and they are all over the internet. But when you meet a Muslim, the average Muslim does not study this issue deeply. But more and more, because of the internet, they are studying what Christians believe about the Trinity. A Muslim may ask you up front early, “What is the Trinity?” or “Why do you worship three gods?” or “Why do you call Jesus the Son of God?”

It is important to start with terms that a Muslim might understand, for example, the Qur’an does indeed call Jesus “the Word” of God, which reminds us of John 1:1 that Jesus is the eternal Word, the logos ( λογος ); even though they also deny His Deity and deny the incarnation. Even in a main verse that the Qur’an denies Jesus is God and denies the Trinity (Surah 4:171), it also affirms that Jesus is “the word” or “His Word” کلمه (Word کلمت in Arabic, Kalimeh or Kalamat الكلمة, or Kalameh (Farsi) in Surah 4:171.

John 1:1 in Arabic:

في البدء كان الكلمة والكلمة كان عند الله وكان الكلمة الله.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1 in Farsi:

از ازل کلمه بود، کلمه با خدا بود و کلمه خود خدا بود.

This verse in the Qur’an (Surah 4:171) also says that Jesus is “a spirit” from Him (from God). It is saying that Jesus’ essence is Spirit. These are 2 things you can start with in by mentioning (calling Jesus “the Word” and “a Spirit from God”, in your friendship with a Muslim and then have them read John 1:1-5 and 1:14 in their own language. Then you can go from there as the conversation will take you into deeper details.

يَـٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ لَا تَغْلُوا۟ فِى دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱلْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُۥٓ أَلْقَىٰهَآ إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَـَٔامِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ ثَلَـٰثَةٌ ۚ ٱنتَهُوا۟ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱللَّهُ إِلَـٰهٌ وَٰحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَـٰنَهُۥٓ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُۥ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ وَكِيلًا

Surah 4:171

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion1 or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

Surah 4:171 in the Saheeh International English translation (translating Ruh روح as “soul” is not exact. The next 2 English translations are more precise on this:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.

Pickthall translation

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

Yusuf Ali translation

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)
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