Christian Apologetics Society

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
- Matthew 22:29

Isaiah 55:11
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it
Gen 1:3
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light
Matthew 26:26
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body."
Malachi 1:11
My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
John 20:23
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Luke 20:38
For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.
Rev 21:27
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
1 Cor 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.
John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
1 Timothy 3:15
but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Islam - First Contact

A CAS milestone was reached this past day. An Islamic apologist operating under the false name of "President Ahmadinejad" (PA) posted an unoriginal, canned diatribe to my post on John of Damascus' the Heresy of the Ishmaelites.

So, let's step through how to answer PA's comment...

1. Determine if the comment is original or a copycat. PA's comment included the unique phrase "MAKE ISHMAEL 17 YEARS OLD". A search of Google reveals numerous entries with the same phrase and amazingly with the exact same paragraphs and arguements before it. And, they were all posted anonymously or under a false name. Imagine that. We're dealing with an unoriginal copycat comment.

2. Determine if the comment has been answered previously. Copycat comments are usually posted in abundance, therefore there is also likely to be an abundance of responses. While one could locate one such response and paste it in reply, the better tactic is to collect the replies as aids in developing your own original reply. This causes you, the Christian apologist, to read, ponder, and understand, making you a better and more capable apologist.

One of my favorite replies to our Islamic comment of the moment is at Amillenialist Contra Mundum.

3. Form a response based on truth. This step is critical because all Truth is of God and Truth cannot contradict Truth. There are many Christian heresies (not Truth) and they must be avoided as any untruth is also the undoing of the Christian apologist's arguement.

4. Answer just the question or point and don't introduce anything extra. Christian apologists should resist the urge to introduce Islamic disbelief in the Trinity or other arguements external to the point at hand. PA's diatribe focuses on just Genesis and the question regarding Ismael's age. So we can disregard the bottom half of PA's post from the Koran as it is not germaine to the discussion and is meant only to distract. Ditto for the many links to Islamic apologetics sites.

Looking at the long authorized Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible we find, in sequence (our Islamic friend skipped about):

    And again he said: I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, and it shall not be numbered for multitude.

    And again: Behold, said he, thou art with child, and thou shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Ismael, because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. He shall be a wild man: his hand will be against all men, and all men's hands against him: and he shall pitch his tents over against all his brethren.

    And she called the name of the Lord that spoke unto her: Thou the God who hast seen me. For she said: Verily, here have I seen the hinder parts of him that seeth me. Therefore she called that well, the well of him that liveth and seeth me. The same is between Cades and Barad.

    And Agar brought forth a son to Abram: who called his name Ismael. Abram was four score and six years old when Agar brought him forth Ismael.

    Genesis 16:10-16

So, in Genesis 16 we find God promising to Abram a child named Ismael and promising Abram numerous descendants. No problem here. Ismael promised to Abram. Amen. Abram promised many descendants. Amen. Christians believe both 100%.

We also find that Ismael is to be a wild child. Ismael will be against everyone and everyone will be against Ismael. No problem here either. If anything, these passages seem to foreshadow Islam. Islam (ismaelites) is opposed to Judaism and Christianity. Likewise, Judaism and Christianity are opposed to Islam. Things are looking grim for PA's case.

    Again God said to Abraham: And thou therefore shalt keep my covenant, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant which you shall observe between me and you, and thy seed after thee:

    All the male kind of you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every manchild in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant, shall be circumcised, and whosoever is not of your stock: And my covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant. The male whose flesh of his foreskin shall not be circumcised, that soul shall be destroyed out of his people: because he hath broken my covenant.

    Genesis 17:7-14

In Genesis 17, we find that the covenant to be kept is that all male descendants of Abram will be circumcised. Any and all uncircimcised males will be destroyed for breaking God's covenant. If you're a male descendant under the old covenant between God and Abram, you'd better be "snipped" or else. Amen. Christian believe this 100%. No contradicton here.

    And God said to Abraham: Sara thy wife shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him for a perpetual covenant, and with his seed after him.

    And as for Ismael I have also heard thee. Behold, I will bless him, and increase, and multiply him exceedingly: he shall beget twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation.

    But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sara shall bring forth to thee at this time in the next year.

    Genesis 17:19-21

In the midst of Genesis 17, we learn that the covenant is perpetual and exclusive to Isaac and Isaac's descendants. Ismael is not promised a perpetual covenant, but will be blessed and have 12 sons. Amen. Christians believe this 100%. No contradictons with anything earlier.

    Abraham was ninety and nine years old, when he circumcised the flesh of his foreskin. And Ismael his son was full thirteen years old at the time of his circumcision. The selfsame day was Abraham circumcised and Ismael his son.

    Genesis 17:24-26

Well, that had to hurt for both of them. So at the end of Genesis 17, we find Ismael has grown to 13 years of age and was snipped, even though Ismael isn't under the covenant. Bummer. Christians believe all of Genesis 17:24-26 100%. Again, no contradictons to be found.

    And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast on the day of his weaning.

    Genesis 21:8

From Genesis 21:8 we can deduce that at least 2 years have passed. Ismael is at least 15 years-old and snipped. Amen. Christians believe Genesis 21:8 100%.

    So Abraham rose up in the morning, and taking bread and a bottle of water, put it upon her shoulder, and delivered the boy, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Bersabee.

    And when the water in the bottle was spent, she cast the boy under one of the trees that were there. And she went her way, and sat overagainst him a great way off, as far as a bow can carry, for she said: I will not see the boy die: and sitting overagainst, she lifted up her voice and wept.

    And God heard the voice of the boy: and an angel of God called to Agar from heaven, saying: What art thou doing, Agar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the boy, from the place wherein he is. Arise, take up the boy, and hold him by the hand, for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes: and she saw a well of water, and went and filled the bottle, and gave the boy to drink.

    And God was with him: and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became a young man, an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Pharan, and his mother took a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.

    Genesis 21:14-21

In the midle of Genesis 21, we find Ismael about 15-17 years of age and accompanying his mother. No one is riding on anyones shoulder and no one is a baby. We also learn that Ismael grew up roaming the desert and eventually married an Egyptian.

This last turn of events is unfortunate for our friend PA, who posted in his comments:

    The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 than the JUDEO/CHRISTIAN point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions.
    - PA

As there is no evidence in Genesis to the contrary, Ismael is likely the age specified in Genesis 21, about 15-17 years old.

I concur with PA that the Judeo/Christian view of the Abrahamic covenant is true 100%.

I also concur with PA that this does indeed have "devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions" for the heresy that is Islam.

I can't imagine how someone would even attempt to counter the Truth of Genesis regarding Ismael and Abram's descendents. The poor case brought by PA reminds me of the words of Christian apologist, G.K. Chsterton:

    "I could not understand why these romancers never took the trouble to find out a few elementary facts about the thing they denounced. The facts might easily have helped the denunciation, where the fictions discredited it. . . . But the enemies of the Church never found these real rocks of offence. They never looked for them. They never looked for anything . . . Boundless freedom reigned; it was not treated as if it were a question of fact at all . . . It puzzled me very much, even at that early stage, to imagine why people bringing controversial charges against a powerful and prominent institution should thus neglect to test their own case, and should draw in this random way on their own imagination . . . I never dreamed that the Roman religion was true; but I knew that its accusers, for some reason or other, were curiously inaccurate.

    (The Catholic Church and Conversion, NY: Macmillan, 1926, 36-38)"

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Blogger Unknown said...

You talked about circumcision, and I just have to put my 2 cents in. Not only was Abraham and his descendants circumcised, but also all of his slaves and any man of that household. Later, in Genesis 34:13-24 we find that Dinah was not able to marry a man with foreskin and not only did her newfound husband have to be circumsized, to be "become like us", but every male of his. And lets not forget Zipporah using a sharp rock to circumcise Moses' son right there on the road when God appeared before her.(Ex 4:24-26)
Now, lets move on. Paul (who in my opinion was nothing more than a charlatan and a salesman of Christianity.) being somewhat hypocritical and circumcised Timothy before they were to speak before the Jews. -which basically says to me, they wanted to seem legitimate, so abided by Judaic law and became circumcised. (Acts 16:1-3) But then he turns RIGHT AROUND and says to the Gentiles that they dont have to be circumcised in Corinthians, Phillipians, and I even believe Galatians, but dont get me to lying, i'd have to dig those up.

Okay, so here Paul is getting circumcised himself, and circumcising Timothy, but then turning RIGHT around and telling the Gentiles that they need not be. And I'm sorry, but I dont buy this "we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh"(Ph 3:3). Jesus was a jew, he was OBVIOUSLY circumcised, if the path to salvation lay through him, and the VERY FIRST covenant made between man and God was to circumcise your children and all men of the household, then how can Paul come along and say its alright if you AREN'T circumcised. No man can set aside what God has decreed. PERIOD. Even Jesus FULFILLED the prophecy, he never said "oh yeah, by the way, you guys dont have to snipped anymore, my father said so". NEVER ONCE, does God change his mind, he's GOD !! Therefore, how can you call yourself a child of God and that you are obeying his word if you deny the VERY FIRST thing that he required of man?

Something SOOO important, that every male has to be circumcised on the 8th day of its life, EVEN IF ITS ON THE SABBATH !! and thats even verified in John 7:22-23, the New Testament! It "makes a man whole" in the eyes of God. The Law of Moses should not be broken.

Alright, so enough of that rant, lets move on to another part. Lets approach this from a more scientific point of view. If Gallileo was imprisoned for going against the church's dogma, and then they later find out that low and behold, the earth is NOT the center of the universe, and the way of thinking is changed within the church, then what about the scientific breakthroughs that have been discovered about circumcision? ( Using the logic that all truths come from God, and that scientific fact cannot be in opposition to the word of God, since ALL truths emanate FROM God. etc etc. Something a wonderful Catholic friend of mine explained to me.) FACT: there is a lower rate of prostate cancer among those who are circumcized. FACT: Infections and irritations are found less in circumcised individuals. And JUST a few weeks ago, I was reading of a study done in Africa, that those who are circumcised have an astoundingly lower rate of HIV tranfer among heterosexual partners. So, by that logic, WHY WHY WHY WHY would you not have your male children circumcised? If you exclude the words of Paul, ONE MAN - NOT JESUS, BUT PAUL - and you exclude Pauls words on circumcision, then find me where its okay NOT to get your child circumcised.

(and just as a gross afterthought, remember when David brought back 200 foreskins to Saul as a dowry, ewwwwwww)

12:27 AM  

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