This is the third and final installment of our rebuttal to Shabir Ally. Shabir writes:
This is why the true followers of Jesus, holding on to his teachings, did not let unclean food such as pork enter their mouths, so that Peter, the chief disciple, can say, "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean" (Acts of the Apostles, ch. 10, v. 14)
Before responding specifically to Shabirs misquotes, some preliminary comments are in order. The NT teaches that Christ declared all foods clean:
"Are you so dull? he asked. Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him "unclean"? For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body. (In saying this Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: What comes out of a man is what makes him "unclean." For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man "unclean."" Mark 7:18-23
Mark gives us an inspired commentary regarding Jesus statement on food not defiling a person, as well as giving us a glimpse at how the first Christians understood Jesus statement. The Christians understood Jesus as stating that all foods were now essentially clean, with the implication being that a person was no longer bound to follow the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law.
However, this applies specifically to Gentile believers, Marks intended audience. It is evident from other passages of the NT that Jewish believers were still required to maintain many aspects of the Mosaic Law, such as the dietary rules, yet not for their salvation but as a means of their sanctification.
With that just said, we now turn to Acts 10:
"About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, Get up, Peter. Kill and eat. Surely not, Lord! Peter replied. I have never eaten anything impure or unclean. The voice spoke to him a second time, Do not call anything impure that God has made clean. This happened THREE TIMES, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, Simon, THREE MEN are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them. Peter went down and said to the men, I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come? The men replied, We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say. Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call ANY MAN IMPURE OR UNCLEAN. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me? Then Peter began to speak: I NOW REALIZE how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right." Acts 10:9-23, 27-29, 34-35
It is quite evident that this passage does nothing to support Shabirs assertions. If anything, this proves that God has made all foods clean and permissible for consumption! Yet, the context makes it clear that Peters vision had little do with the permissibility of consuming clean and unclean animals. The animals actually symbolized the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. God was now entering into covenant relations with the Gentiles, which meant that the Jews could no longer consider them ritually impure or unclean. Peters own comments show that this is precisely how he understood the vision. This is further reiterated by the Jewish reaction to Peters visit with a Gentile:
"The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers CRITICIZED him and said, You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them. Peter began and explained everything to them precisely as it had happened: I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision The voice spoke from heaven a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." This happened THREE TIMES, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. Right then THREE MEN who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house. He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, "Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved." As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, WHO BELIEVED IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, who was I to think that I could oppose God? When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." Acts 11:1-5a, 9-18
Shabir continues to misquote scripture:
Five chapters later in the Acts of the Apostles, 15:29, we find that the original disciples still differentiate between clean and unclean foods, and this time Paul is in agreement with them. Six chapters later, in ch. 21, v. 25, their decision to impose food regulations on believers is mentioned without regret, and this time Paul is challenged to prove that he is in agreement with them; and he demonstrated his full agreement with them.
Shabir again fails to quote the context, but simply mentions the verses in passing. The most amazing thing about all this is that a careful reading of these passages actually results in a resounding refutation of Shabir, exposing his gross misreading of the text!:
"Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts BY FAITH. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples A YOKE THAT NEITHER WE NOR OUR FATHERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BEAR? No! We believe it is THROUGH THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS THAT WE ARE SAVED, JUST AS THEY ARE. The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: Brothers, listen to me ... It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath ... Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul - men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell." Acts 15:1-13, 19-29
Several comments are in order. First, do notice that Peter clearly says that both Jews and Gentiles are saved solely by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, not by observing the Law. Peter also calls the Law a yoke that neither the Gentiles nor the Jews could bear. This affirms my earlier point, namely, that the Jewish believers in Jesus werent obligated to observe the Law as a means of obtaining salvation, since they knew they were saved by grace through faith. Rather, they observed the Law as a means of living holy lives devoted to God.
Second, even though the Jews were observing the Law of Moses Gentiles were not under any obligation to do so. This is reiterated in the following passage:
"The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. When they heard this, THEY PRAISED GOD. Then they said to Paul: You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. They have been informed that you teach ALL THE JEWS who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. AS FOR THE GENTILE BELIEVERS, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them." Acts 21:18-26
Again, nothing in this passage supports Shabirs claim that Gentile Christians are obligated to observe the Mosaic dietary restrictions in general or the prohibition to eat pork in particular. Nor does this passage imply that Jews were required to observe the Law of Moses for their salvation.
This leads us to our third point, namely, Shabirs gross misrepresentations and implicit assault on the beloved Apostle Paul. Shabir claims that in Acts 21 Paul was challenged to show his compliance to the food regulations imposed on believers. This gives the misleading impression that the Gentile believers were required to follow the dietary restrictions of the Torah. Yet, as we just saw, THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT GENTILES NEEDING TO BE TORAH OBSERVANT! The context refers to Jews who were falsely accusing Paul of teaching that JEWS living amongst the Gentiles didnt need to circumcise their children or observe Jewish customs. This was clearly a lie since Paul himself faithfully observed Jewish customs, as well as making sure that others who were Jews observed them:
"He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek." Acts 16:1-3
"Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken." Acts 18:18
Paul, in agreement with the rest of the Apostles, taught that GENTILES didnt need to observe the Mosaic injunctions regarding circumcision, food regulations, ceremonies, Sabbaths etc.
Again, we need to reiterate that the Jews were not required to observe the Mosaic Law for salvation. They followed it as a means of living out a holy and obedient life to the God who had saved them freely and perfectly through their faith in the risen Lord and eternal Savior Jesus Christ.
What remains, then, is that Jesus, on whom be peace, upheld the prohibition against pork. His disciples also upheld it, and so must all his followers. Those who fail to uphold it need to be informed and reminded of this rule from God. This is one reason why God sent His final messenger, on whom be peace. God says:
"O people of the Scripture ! Now has Our Messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which you used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now has come unto you light from Allah and a plain Scripture." (The Meaning of the Glorious Quran 5:15).
Contrary to Shabirs erroneous assertion, this article has demonstrated that neither the Lord Jesus nor his followers required Gentile believers to uphold the prohibition against pork. Jewish believers followed dietary restrictions solely because this was the way God had decreed for them to work out their personal holiness now that they had been given salvation through their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone WHO BELIEVES is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses." Acts 13:38-39
Second, we have also shown that Shabirs own book claims that the Lord Jesus made lawful some of the forbidden things of the Law. Yet, Muhammad contradicts this by prohibiting what Christ made lawful! Muhammad also broke the dietary prohibitions of the Law, as well as other Mosaic injunctions, which demonstrates that Muhammad was a lawbreaker.
These are some of the many reasons why Christians reject Muhammad. Since he contradicted the true and pure message of the true prophets of God, he was therefore a false prophet. In light of this, Shabirs claim that God is the One speaking in the Quran is a lie since the Quran is not the word of the true God.
We advise Shabir to follow the advice of his own book, which says:
And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. S. 10:94 Pickthall
Muhammad himself did not listen to this command, and for him it is too late now. Shabir still has the option to start listening and asking. Once Shabir does this, he will have no choice but to reject Muhammad and embrace Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior:
"Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
"That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10
May the God and Father of our risen Lord and eternal Savior Jesus Christ use this to bring many into his glorious truth, as his Holy Spirit convicts their hearts. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. You alone we worship and to you alone we turn to in time of need.
Responses to Shabir Ally and his "Islamic Information"
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