Thursday, September 3, 2009

Before Nicea - A Debate Between Abdul Haq and Anthony McRoy

I have been writing a response to a little book called Before Nicea: The Early Followers of Prophet Jesus (1998) by Muslim polemicists Paul Addae and Tim Bowes (Abdul-Haq and Abdur-Rahmaan). The book attempts to make the case that the first Christians were proto-Muslims. That is, Christians who denied the crucifixion, the deity of Christ, etc. So, in short, absolute rubbish for anyone who knows about the unanimous first century attestation to Jesus' death by crucifixion.

My reasons for writing the response are two-fold. Firstly, an apologetic with response to the utter rubbish thrown out by these two individuals and, secondly, it gives me a chance to put my recent work on defining orthodoxy into some practical application.

Now - to actually bring a point to this post. Have a listen to the 'debate' between Abdul Haq and Dr Anthony McRoy (currently a lecturer at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology) on Premier Christian Radio's Unbelievable?

The description for the episode reads:
What did the first Christians believe about Jesus? Muslim Abdul Haq, the author of "Before Nicea" claims that key doctrines of Christianity were formulated through later councils of the church. He says that there is no good evidence that early Christians believed in Jesus' divinity or even his crucifixion.

Evangelical Christian scholar Anthony McRoy counters Haq's claims, insisting that the key doctrines of Christianity were well established in the early church and are implicit in Scripture.

After hearing Abdul Haq you will come to understand why his book is so easy to rip to shreds. For the show click here; or to download it as an mp3 here.

What someone really should have done is pointed out that Jesus is not divine because he is called the Son of God. We have the identity woven throughout the New Testament totally unrelated to son of God as an honourary title. However, if one wishes to argue regarding the title the best way would be through the discourses in John. In John, Jesus is not just the or a son of God; he is the only unique son of God. Here, the title is specific and exploding with Christological significance.

His issues with regard to the crucifixion are simply hilarious. He is trying to convince us that Mark testifies that it was Simon of Cyrene on the cross? Other than the fact that the narrative makes it impossible, the explicit references do an even better job. Take, well, anything from Mark for example. Mark 15:37, "With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last."

Now I feel kinda annoyed - Dr McRoy already gave out some of my punches!

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