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The True Path

Seven Muslims Make Their Greatest Discovery


Mark Hanna

CONTENTS Introduction CHAPTER I CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6 CHAPTER 7 EPILOGUE I Discovered Good News I Discovered True Salvation I Discovered a True Friend I Discovered That God Is Not Dead I Discovered That God Answers Prayer I Discovered the True Ideal I Discovered True Certainty The Meaning of the True Path Glossary APPENDIX A The Books of the Bible APPENDIX B Selected Biblical Passages APPENDIX C Selected Bibliography Copyright 1975 by International Students, Inc. (ISI). The content of this book may not be used in other publications (printed or electronic) without prior express written permission of ISI.

Introduction

The history of the Arab peoples is distinguished by impressive discoveries and developments in medicine, mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, geography, and astronomy. They made important contributions to the progress of civilization both by transmitting the great intellectual legacy of antiquity and by their own original research. Periods of unusual achievement were marked by an expanding spirit of open and free inquiry. The same attitude should be cultivated today among all peoples, for it is a prerequisite of both social progress and personal discovery. And there is very little in the range of human experience to match the joyous excitement of one who makes a great discovery. Who can verbally recapture the thrill that swept over Columbus and his men when they discovered the New World, or the elation of Sir James Simpson when he discovered chloroform, or the nearecstasy of Neil Armstrong when he became the first man to feel the solidity of the moon under his feet? This book has been written because the first-person accounts it presents flow from the irrepressible excitement of those who have made a great discovery. The contributors to this volume all agree that their discovery is more than a great one - rather it is the greatest discovery any human being can make. It is little wonder, then, that each one felt that his story must be told.* The reader is invited to reflect carefully on the nature of the discovery described - in each case the same, yet arrived at in different circumstances. While each individual has his own unique account to relate, he shares a common experience and a common conviction with the others. What the experience and conviction are will emerge as the reader follows the paths charted by these discoverers. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to recapture the same joyful surprise felt by the great discoverers of the past, all of the contributors to this volume would like to emphasize that anyone can know the same tranforming joy that they have experienced. Their personal accounts are not merely interesting stories, they are also disclosures of the way you, the reader, can make the same discovery. Since this is the greatest discovery to be made, no loss can be greater than to go through life without it. In the final analysis, therefore, there is only one important question: Have you made this discovery? A discovery of this kind cannot be made unless one is willing to take the appropriate steps. Who, today, does not deplore the unwillingness of certain medieval Scholastics to look through Galileo's telescope because they had their minds closed to everything but their own

preconceptions? If one is sincerely interested in finding the truth, he will not be afraid to examine positions that do not conform to his own traditions and presuppositions. Indeed, the individual who is honest in his search for truth will be eager to learn all he can about the basic issues of life. He will subject his own beliefs and practices to careful evaluation and he will diligently seek to be open and objective, fair and impartial, in his assessment of claims to truth. To derive the greatest benefit from this volume, each chapter should be read successively and the epilogue should be studied carefully. This book is like a telescope. By reading it, you will be looking through the lens of the experiences of others toward a reality that you too may discover. Will you look through this telescope and be honest with what you see?

*Although most of the contributors were gladly willing to be identified, the editor has deemed it advisable to omit their names. He personally gathered these testimonies, however, and he possesses documentation to verify the accuracy of these accounts.

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Socrates

"I considered that all men agree that man, as his name indicates, is a bundle of forgetfulness, disobedience, and transgressions. His life never remains so pure as to be absolutely free from the stain of sin. Sin has become man's second nature. It is a true saying that `to err is human.' The question is how can one escape accountability and punishment? How is one to be saved? What does Islam have to say about it? And what is the message of Christianity? It is my duty to investigate this important matter honestly and without prejudice." Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

I Discovered Good News

What an amazing thing it was! I could hardly believe that I was all alone in a Muslim cemetery at midnight. Of all people, of all places, of all times! But there I was, on a night I shall always remember. Most people were afraid even to go near the graveyard at night - and that's why I was there. It seemed to be the safest refuge I could find. There wasn't even a remote possibility that anyone would look for me there. Worse than my nighttime retreat to the cemetery, however, was the awesome realization that I had left home permanently. More precisely, I was compelled to leave home. I never expected the dramatic turn of events that so profoundly changed my life. I came from a good home and I felt that I had received the best of everything from my father. He was recognized as a man of scholarship and financial substance and, as a consequence, he wielded considerable influence in our society. Nevertheless, in spite of the intimate bonds that welded

me to my family and community, I found myself painfully severed from all that I once held dear. Although not many miles separate me today from the place of my birth, a village three miles from Gujrat, the distance in the vicissitudes of my experience is almost incalculable. When I was a young man, only seventeen years old, my grandmother pressured my father into having me married. Unlike the West, the East is still characterized by considerable family control over the decisions of young people, and this was especially so in my youth. I had almost no choice in the matter and so I submissively agreed to my grandmother's wishes. This step was to pose a serious problem later, but it would also become the means for revealing God's wonderful power to me. The most remarkable experience of my youth occurred when the Bible* came into my possession. For weeks I studied it with care. One day when I was out, my father noticed it on my desk. When I returned, he asked me if had been reading it. When I told him I had been reading it for some time, he became angry and asked me why I would do such a thing. He urged me to stop reading it. In fact, I was surprised when he told me that if I continued reading it I would become a Christian.* This statement of his only spurred me on to read it more diligently.
[ * Words followed by an asterisk are defined in the glossary at the end of this book. ]

I was amazed that my father, who was a scholar and knowledgeable in Islam, would warn me to stop reading it because he was certain that I would become a Christian as a result. Thus, I thought that there was reality at the foundation of the Christian faith and that it was true beyond doubt. I realized that my father was afraid of the convincing power of the Bible and that is why he asked me not to read it. I had started reading it out of curiosity about the Christian faith, but after that encounter with my father I read it with a deep longing to know the truth. The Bible's message about the love of God revealed in Christ* touched me to the core of my being. It was not the kind of book I had previously supposed. In it I found good news - in fact, the most wonderful news a human being could ever receive. My life was radically changed by the power of Jesus Christ who loved me and gave himself for me on the cross.* And that he rose from the dead was demonstrated in his living power by which he made me a new person. Without the direct influence of any human being, I was brought to trust in Christ. The reading of the Bible led me to surrender myself to him unconditionally. I knew that my decision would mean separation from the family and friends I loved. But I also knew that Christ had said that if anyone loved family or friends more than him, he was not worthy of the Lord. There were many tears that day, but there was also a deep joy that I knew was from God. It was a very difficult step to take, but the day came when I knew that I should give public demonstration of the reality of my faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.* I had heard about a Christian in a town that was forty miles away and I set out to find him so I could be baptized.* When I located him, he gave me a warm welcome. I told him that I had been raised a Muslim but that I had become convinced that Christ is the only way, and therefore I wanted to be baptized. I also told him that I wanted to be accepted into the fellowship of the Christian Church* so that I could work freely for the Lord.

He responded with understandable caution: "How can I baptize you when I don't know you? What brought you here?" I reminded him that as a Christian he was concerned about reaching others with the good news of Christ, and I also told him that I had become a believer in Christ without being contacted by any Christian. I said, "I have come to you, so you should be happy that God has sent me to you." He insisted, however, that he could not baptize someone he didn't know. I told him that I had not come to borrow money from him but simply to be baptized. At the conclusion of our three-hour talk, he finally agreed that I was ready to be baptized. When some of the Christian elders examined me, they asked me what errors I had seen in Islam. I stated that it was not so much what is wrong in Islam as what is right in the Christian faith that brought me to my commitment to Christ. After clarifying the basis of my conviction and hope in Christ, I was glad to identify myself with him by being baptized publicly in his name. When I returned home, I discovered that my father had already received word about my public profession of faith in Christ in the act of baptism. Many deviations from religious and cultural norms could be tolerated in our society, but open conversion to the Christian faith as demonstrated in baptism constituted a decisive break in the view of virtually everyone. And it was unforgivable. My father knew about my bold step, but for three days he said nothing. The hurt and resentment were so deep that they seemed to paralyze his tongue. Then one day he broke the silence - not in a violent outburst of rage but in a solemn statement of fact: "Son, I heard that you have become a Christian." I knew that my father hated to utter those words. Even to let the term "Christian" pass his lips in any way but contempt and scorn was distasteful to him. I kept quiet. My silence was not a denial that I had become a believer in Christ. Rather, it was the only reaction that I could allow, for my profound respect for my father held me in check. I didn't want to hurt him. Calmly and deliberately he said, "I know that you are young and you still do not know very much. I am sure that it is some outside influence that has brought this about. But I am confident that you will come back to Islam." I knew I never would go back to Islam, however, because Jesus had bound me with a love that surpassed anything I had experienced or heard about in all the world. My assurance did not rest on my determination. It was simply a matter of knowing that the Lord would never let me go. I knew that I was weak and that I could not count on any of my own resources to keep me faithful to the truth. But I also knew that he was strong and that he would not forsake me. I did not doubt that he could give victory over every temptation. He has overcome everything and he has victory over everything. I was certain that as I trusted him he would give me that victory and cause me to remain firm by his grace.* As soon as I told my father that I had taken a public stand for Christ and that I believed in him and his love with my whole heart, my father became furious. He grabbed a large stick

and began to beat me. One blow after another struck my body in rapid succession. He beat me so hard that the stick broke in half. He went into another room of the house, perhaps to look for another stick with which to beat me. My relatives came into the room where I was and pleaded with me to flee before he returned with something worse than a stick. They feared for my life. I paused and thought of how much I loved my father and how he had given me the best of everything in my life. But now he was enraged, and it seemed that nothing could tame the savage fury which he was venting on me. There appeared to be no option; I was compelled to leave home. Before my father returned from the other part of the house, I had dashed out of the door. I cannot describe the anguish I felt. I knew that I was leaving home permanently. It wasn't like the other times I had gone on trips. This time it was a complete break that was forced upon me against my deepest desires. I asked myself where I should go. I had no money. Neither did I have time to take any of my belongings. I felt I could not go to any of my old friends, for they would undoubtedly take a hostile attitude toward me upon learning of my public commitment to Christ. I decided to get out of the town altogether - for my own safety. It was then that I decided to go to the one place that I would not be found - the Muslim graveyard. Most people carefully avoided it even in the daytime. I stayed there until midnight. But it became so cold that I began shivering uncontrollably. I had to seek refuge from the cold night air, so I had no choice but to return to the city. Not only was the city entirely enclosed by a wall, but at that hour of the night its gates were also locked. And each gate was guarded by a contingent of sentinels. So I went to the main gate and began beating on it. When the guards heard the pounding on the door, they shouted back, "Don't you know it can't be opened at this hour? It will be opened at five o'clock in the morning." Nevertheless, I was insistent. I made my plea with unyielding determination. Finally, one of the guards agreed to open the gate, but he gave me advance warning that I would have to be locked up in the police station for the duration of the night. When he opened the gate and brought me into the light, he recognized me immediately. He was a friend of my father. He became very apologetic and asked me not to report him. I assured him that I wouldn't and then I thanked him for letting me into the city. I went directly to a friend's house to see if I could spend the night with him. He was not at home. I went to another home where I felt certain there would be someone to welcome me. When they knew who it was at their door, they said, "We have heard through your servant how cruel your father was, and that is why we are sympathetic toward you. Come in." First of all, I made certain that they would not send word to my father that I was staying with them. Armed with their promise, I decided to remain with them for three days. Yet I knew that I would have to find a job and provide for my own support. I set out for a nearby town. Everywhere I went, I inquired about a job - but to no avail. Then I began to pray earnestly and said, "Lord, I cannot find a job and I have never begged before. I am ready to work now. Lord, please open the door for me."

While I was waiting in that town, a British army officer came to me and asked me to be his servant. It was a menial job, and only those of the lower economic classes would consider doing it. I had come from a prominent family and I was used to all the benefits of a prosperous household. In fact, I had had my own servant, and during the years I was in school he looked after all my needs. It now seemed so ironical that I was being asked to become someone else's personal servant. I rebelled against the very idea. I was hungry, but it seemed better to starve than to lower myself to that extent. My only thought at that time was that there could be no way for me to escape the consequences of my Christian commitment. Indeed, it seemed to be the inevitable result of believing in Christ that one must take a lowly task and become a mere servant. The perplexity and distress I felt over this were not easily removed from my mind. In the inner struggle I experienced, I knew that God was teaching me a very important lesson. The Lord Jesus said that he did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. I, too, had to experience the meaning of serving in humility and lowliness. In answer to prayer, God gave me the willingness and courage to accept the job. But then my thoughts turned to my father. He held a high government position in that district, and I knew that when it was discovered that I was working as a servant it would hurt him and bring reproach on the family name. I reasoned that it was not right for a Christian son to hurt his father. So I told the British officer that I could not take the job, and I asked him if he had some other position that might be available for me. He told me that he could not help me because he was being transferred from that location to a place that was far away in Pakistan. I was happy and told him that it was good, because everyone knew my father in the local region. I accepted the job as the officer's servant, and we left immediately on the long trip to the place of his new assignment. As God enabled me to be a loyal and efficient servant, I was asked to sit at the table with the officers. This was an unheard of honor for a servant, but I knew that God was taking care of me. My officer said that we were no longer master and servant but friends. He confided, "I know that you were not meant to be a servant and that you are doing it for Jesus' sake. You see, I came from a Christian family, but I have never been to church. Would you please pray for me. Please pray to Jesus that he may guide me that I may know what he wants me to do for him." We had become true friends. My officer told others about my sincere desire to live for the sake of Jesus. Some were true believers in Christ and they asked me to speak in a Christian gathering. I was overwhelmed and prayed, "Lord, I can't speak, but what I can do is tell them what Jesus has done for me." It was a great privilege for me. When I spoke the response was wonderful, for many Christians invited me to their homes and they showed true love and friendship in the way they received me. When I left home under a cloud of bitterness and the threat of death, my father also sent my wife back to her own family. He never told them that I had become a believer in Christ. I had never ceased praying for my father and the rest of the family. And I prayed for my wife whom I loved very much. I contacted her family and told them that I was a Christian, but that I wanted her to come live with me. I assured them that she could remain a Muslim and that I would not talk to her about changing her religion. They agreed and sent her to join me.

My wife and I lived in one room. I read my Bible and prayed regularly. I felt I had to tell her the wonderful news about the Lord Jesus for her own sake and for her eternal salvation.* But I also knew that I could not break my promise, and, besides, she had asked me never to talk about these things. One day I decided to read the Bible aloud. She overheard me and asked me what I was reading. I replied, "I'm not supposed to tell you." She said she liked what she heard. I told her that I could not tell her about it but that she could read the Bible for herself. Shortly after this, a Christian woman came to visit my wife regularly. Her kindness to my wife and little daughter had a deep effect on her. Her thoughtful ways and the reading of the Bible led my wife to put her trust in Christ a few months later. Forty years have passed since then, and during all of this time she has been a great help and encouragement in the ministry* God has given me. She has been a faithful and devoted Christian and wife all of these years, often showing great courage and wisdom in her life. It was soon after my wife's decision to believe in Christ that we began devoting our full time to spreading the good news of God's love to people throughout our country. I was given no salary and I was employed by no foreigner or organization. I depended on God alone for the supply of all of our needs. And for forty-three years he has not failed us. In answer to prayer, God has done many wonderful things in our lives. One time on an evangelistic* tour, my co-workers and I were surrounded by about six hundred people. They were very angry with us for preaching the gospel* of Christ. One of the main mischief-makers purchased a New Testament* from us. As soon as he took it in his hands, he began tearing it into pieces and shouting, "Beware of these Christians. They are out to deceive you. We have the only true religion, and that is Islam." He was trying to stir up the people to harm us. But I knew that the Lord was with us and that he would protect us. A young co-worker was afraid, so I spoke to him: "Rest assured; the Lord is with us. No one can harm us." The people were threatening and cursing us. Just as they were on the verge of attacking us physically, there was an unusual manifestation of Christ's presence with us. I sensed a supernatural peace and calm that came from God. In a few moments the police were on the scene. The inspector came to me and asked, "What is your nationality? You speak Urdu so freely." "I am a Pakistani," I replied. He asked, "Don't you see what is happening here?" "Yes," I said, "but I am not worried at all." "What brought you here?" he asked. "I have brought good news." With puzzled nervousness, he then said, "Don't you know what they are doing?"

"Yes," I responded, "they are giving what they have to us, and we are giving what we have to them - and that is blessing, prayer, and good news." "What good news?" he snapped. I said, 'The Injil.*" "Who is it for?" he queried. "It is for you," I affirmed. He was amazed and said that they had been sent by the chief of police to investigate a report of trouble in the town. He offered to walk with us and guarantee our safety - for in Pakistan we are given freedom to preach by our nation's constitution. I gratefully refused his offer to escort us, because we wanted to depend on the love of Christ, not on the force of the police. The inspector decided to purchase a copy of the Injil. I went to speak to the man who had agitated the crowd and stirred up the trouble. He started to run like a coward. The crowd rebuked him and asked why he was running away and why he would not stand up like a man. Then they began to come to us and ask for Bibles. I never saw so many sold in one day. We had a wonderful confirmation of the power of Christ to provide for us, to protect us, and to use us as we trusted him. We would have sold very little under different circumstances, but that day we sold everything we had. We rejoiced, not for the sale of the literature, but for the distribution of the Word of God. We witnessed the living power of God again and again over the years. He is truly the Lord of all circumstances. I want to tell all Muslims about the Savior who loves them. I have found that the happiest thing in all he world is to know and trust the Lord Jesus Christ. Muslims say they believe in the Injil, but they make a judgment about it before they have read it It is sad that so many read novels and worthless books and neglect the Injil. And of course many refuse to listen to teaching about the true nature of Christ, especially the meaning of his sonship. But I have found that they seriously misunderstand this doctrine and other truths in the Bible. I know how difficult it is for Muslims to open their hearts to the truth of the Injil, because to become a believer in Christ in this part of the world is to degrade oneself socially, politically, and morally. Such people become outcasts and they have no place in their society. In spite of all of this, however, interest in the Christian faith is growing, and many are inquiring into the true meaning of the Injil. Some say they believe, but the real proof of one's sincerity is seen only if he takes a public stand for Christ. He must publicly renounce trust in everything and everyone else, and he must be prepared to suffer persecution. Yet if he truly believes and publicly acknowledges his absolute trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, he will know an unspeakable joy, a surpassing peace, and eternal life in the presence of God. I made that decision one day and I have never regretted it. I was a Muslim and I have lived all of my life in a Muslim society. For the sake of the love of Christ, however, I was glad to repudiate all that I had formerly boasted in and trusted. Christ has set me free from guilt and fear. He has set me free to love and serve the living God And I long to give my life for the sake of telling others about the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of the whole world.

When a man desires earnestly to know God, it only indicates that he is responding to God's search for him, and such a desire, if sincere, must culminate in God's finding him . . . A copy of the gospel was given to me by a Muslim friend who himself had received it from a preacher or a colporteur. On a previous occasion I had torn it into pieces, for when attracted by its title "Injil," a term with which I was familiarized by the study of the Quran, I had taken it to my teacher. I was warned in all seriousess not to read it because it was not a true Injil of which the Quran testifies, but a corrupted form of it, and consequently containing blasphemous teachings, the very acts of pronouncing its words pollute the mind and the soul of a believer. My inner longing, however, to read the book revealed to Jesus was very great . . . J. A. Subhan

"Why should I read the Bible?" said I. "Who would read such an altered book which you people change every year?" At my reply . . . he said . . . Do you consider that all we Christians are dishonest? Do you think we fear God so little that we should keep deceiving the world by making changes in the Holy Scriptures? When Muslims say that Christians keep altering the text of the Tawrat and the Injil . . . they suggest that all Christians are dishonest and that they are deceivers of the people. Now this is a serious and unwarranted indictment. Christians believe in the Bible as the Word of God as Muslims do in the Quran. Thus, if no Muslim can change the text of the Quran, how is it that a Christian can change the text of the Book of the all-wise God, the Holy Bible? . . . if some mischievous Christian were to change the text of any verse of Scripture, would not all other true Christians consider him outside the pale of their religion and make public the facts about him? Of course they would! . . . the contention . . . that the text of God's Word has been altered is absolutely without foundation and futile . . ." Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

I Discovered True Salvation

Although I was raised as a Muslim, I found myself wrestling with the question of God's existence.

I never thought I would come to the point where I seriously entertained doubts about the reality of God. But in college I found myself absorbed in one of the greatest mental struggles of my life. Did God exist or not? That was the burning question that occupied the minds of many of the students who fell under the amiable charm of a professor of the Persian language. And because of his influence, I wavered for a long time over the question of God's existence. He had been a believer in Islam, but he made no point of concealing the abandonment of his religious views in favor of atheism. My Islamic roots were deep. I was born into a devout Shi'ite family in Lucknow, India. My first form of instruction was received in a Quranic school where I studied Arabic. From my family and from my teachers I learned to be diligent in memorizing the Quran and in saying my prayers. With faithful regularity, I was found in the mosque for congregational prayer. The precepts and practices of Islam permeated my life and my society. I had no occasion to question its claims and commandments. From time to time there were clashes between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and it was natural for me to become embroiled in the emotional tension they generated. I remember Sunnis becoming infuriated at Shi'ities when the latter would pronounce a curse on Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. This was especially the case during the festivals that were held in remembrance of Ali, who should have been Muhammad's successor from the beginning, according to Shi'ite belief. Our family belonged to a minority within a minority. Of the six hundred million people in India, only about sixty-five million are Muslims. And there are probably not many more than one million who are Shi'ites. While Sunnis and Shi'ites generally live together in friendliness, there are differences that make the relationship a strained one. Virtually all Shi'ites reject the idea that the present Quran is the complete book that came from heaven. They believe that there are important deletions that Sunnis have made, especially in reference to Ali as the rightful successor of Muhammad. It was from this perspective that I viewed the world around me. The time came for me to go to college, and I decided to go to Rampur to study Persian and the Islamic religion in much greater depth than I had done previously. During my first year I became very fond of one of my professors who was an atheist. He had come to the persuasion that matter was eternal and he saw no need to believe in God. In fact, the idea of God was unscientific and outdated, in his view. His influence on the students was subtle and powerful. I fell under the sway of his opinions for a while, but atheism left me discontented. There were too many questions it left unanswered. Many students found his views attractive, however. Yet when they would go home they would conform to their Muslim way of life because of the overwhelming pressure of societal sanctions. I was determined to overcome such vacillation and hypocrisy by thinking through to an intelligent resolution of the problem. As I learned that there was unmistakable evidence that the structured universe is not eternal, I became convinced that there must be a powerful and intelligent Being who made this world. I reasoned that if that creative power was blind, there could be no order. But there is order, and this implied that the Power who made all things must be intelligent. A personal Being is ultimate and he has created order, and that is why order is found everywhere. That same Being governs the world and thereby sustains the order. My reflective contemplation of the design of all levels of existence served to restore my conviction of the reality of God.

Up to that point in my life I had not been brought into close contact with any Christian. My mother, who was well-educated, was the first person who spoke to me about Christ. Although she was a Muslim, she had an unusual esteem for Jesus Christ. When I was just a child, she recounted various stories about him to me. My admiration for him began to grow. Of course I still believed that Muhammad was the last of the prophets. Nevertheless, in my early years I found myself thinking of Christ as the greatest prophet who had ever lived. And I am confident that one of the reasons was his power to perform miracles, which even Muhammad could not do, as we are told in the Quran. After I earned a degree in Oriental languages in Rampur, I went to teach at a school in Allahabad. On my way there I spent some time in Naini Tal where I attended a meeting of poets. I met a man there who shared my intense interest in poetry and we became good friends. He was the first Christian that I had come to know well. He gave me a New Testament, and this stimulated my most serious reflections on the Christian faith until that time. This interest was rekindled in Allahabad, for on my way to teach each day, I passed by a Christian library that I eventually entered. I not only found some excellent books on morality and literature, but I also found a genuine friend in the librarian. He was an earnest Indian Christian. Through the librarian I met another Christian whose Christ-like life affected me very much. He would give almost all of his income to the poor and he would not sleep in a bed but on a mat on the floor. When I went to see him, I would usually find him in prayer on his knees. He was very kind to me and he even invited me to stay with him in his house. I lived with him for about three years. As I continued to carry on my teaching, he began to teach me the New Testament. In fact, he took the time to teach me the New Teatament from beginning to end. I had previously come to believe that Christ was the highest and best of all the prophets, but it was not until I finished studying the entire New Testament that I came to believe in him as Savior and Lord. Then I realized that he is the Savior of the world and the only hope of acceptance with God. In my study of the New Testament I was especially impressed with the records of Christ's miracles. I was also greatly affected by John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." This showed me that God does not want anyone to be punished, but rather he wants everyone to come to him through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I was deeply impressed by the account of the crucifixion* of Christ - how he willingly and selflessly laid down his life on the cross for the sake of others. I came to see that it was only by his death and resurrection* that human beings could be forgiven of their sin and come to know God. During those days my mind was troubled with many questions. I especially had great difficulty understanding how Christ could be the Son of God. The Quran says that God has not begotten nor does he beget. It seemed inconceivable to me that God could have a son the way a man has a child. When I studied the New Testament, however I realized that nowhere did it teach this view of Christ's sonship. As I studied Arabic literature I discovered that there were enlightening analogies of that expression. For example, in the Quran itself there is the term, ibn essabil, which is literally "son of the path." One will also find the expression, ibn esshaitan, i.e., "son of Satan." It is obvious that these arc figurative forms of expression and do not involve physical

reproduction. But they are meaningful terms that indicate relationship and character. The Kaaba is called "the mother of the town (of Mecca)." In a similar way, the title "Son of God" indicates a unique relationship between God and Christ, not any act or process of procreation. In my consideration of the Christian faith, the problem of the meaning of the designation "Son of God" was inseparably connected with the doctrine of the Trinity. In typical Muslim fashion I believed that Christians were idolators. I thought that they believed in three gods. A careful examination of the Bible revealed that this was a misunderstanding of the Christian faith. I found that over and over again the Bible denounced idolatry and polytheism. It was emphatic and clear in its affirmation of the unity of God. No fair-minded person could fail to see that the Bible consistently teaches that there is only one true God. The important question related to the nature of God and the kind of unity that characterized his being. That unity is complex, according to the Bible. There is only one being who is God, but within that one being there are personal distinctions. And the Bible refers to these distinctions as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are not three gods, for they are eternally and organically one in the Being who is the only God. That means that Christ is not a second god, for there is no second or third god. For me, the question naturally arose as to the reliability of the Bible. Was it the word of God? Had it been changed? Did the present Bible represent a distorted version of what may have been originally revealed by God? Careful study led me to see that the Bible is accurate and trustworthy, and that no one had either the opportunity or capacity to alter it. Attempts had been made by heretics but they were always exposed by the Christian community. Moreover, the thousands of manuscripts of both the Old and New Testaments that we possess today demonstrate that the Bible we now have is the same as the Bible that the Christians had in the first century. This evidence is sufficient and irrefutable, but unfortunately Muslims are not aware of it. My father had died before I went to Allahabad. When my mother heard that I was studying the New Testament with a Christian, she did not object or try to interfere. She said that it was a personal matter between me and God. She not only reverenced Christ but she was a wellinformed and open-minded woman. When she died, however, my relatives agreed to disinherit me because I had become a Christian. According to Muslim law, when a man leaves Islam he should not receive anything. But I was prepared for this, because I knew that it would happen before I decided to become a Christian. My relatives were divided into two factions: those who persecuted me (and they were in the majority) and those who tolerated me (and they numbered only three or four). The latter group based their tolerance on their conviction that I was old enough and sufficiently educated to make my own decisions and live my own life. Almost inevitably, the larger faction prevailed, and opposition became so intense that I felt compelled to go to another city for employment. God opened the door for me to teach in a high schol in Hyderabad. Eventually I became a lecturer in a college and the author of six books in Urdu. Of course I am often asked why I became a Christian. My answer is a direct and simple one. I found salvation in Christ! There is not one word about the assurance of salvation in the Quran. As a Muslim I never had the confidence that my sins were forgiven, for Allah may or may not forgive on the last day. I lived in dread of that day of judgment. No matter how diligent and fervent I was in my practice of Islam, there was no certainty that I would be saved and accepted by God. Fear, doubt, and anxiety haunted me in the undercurrent of every

endeavor I made according to Islamic requirements. I longed for one word of unqualified assurance that my sins had been removed and my guilt pardoned. I could not find it in Islam and I was left restless and burdened. The message of the Bible, in striking contrast to all of that, is truly good news. It tells of true salvation in Christ. In other words, it not only offers the assurance of forgiveness here and now, it also tells about the historical basis of that assurance. The basis of acceptance with God is the death of Christ on the cross for my sins and his resurrection from the grave for my justification.* By trusting in Christ I have full satisfaction and complete peace. From my own experience I know how difflcult it is for a Muslim to rid himself of the shackles of prejudice and to open his mind to an objective examnation of the Christian faith. There is an advance fear that such serious consideration of it will result in strained relations with one's family and society. And if a Muslim receives Christ as Savior and Lord, becoming a Christian in the true sense of that term, he is viewed as a religious apostate, a moral leper, and in many countries, a political traitor. I had to face all of this, but I was gripped by the words of Christ in the New Testament: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36). For me it is worth giving up everything in order to have Christ and the salvation that he alone can give. And the only way he gives it is freely, not on the basis of man's efforts. That is why my trust is in him. He is my Savior, for through his sacrifice I have forever been forgiven of all of my sins. I neither want nor need any other ground of hope. As long as I live, I intend to spread the good news about Christ and his salvation to all my people.

. . . it (the Injil) must contain at least parts of the original revelation, as for its blasphemous contents surely they can be easily detected and consequently discarded as lies and interpolations introduced into it by wicked Christians. The result of my first reading was startling. In the first place I did not find a single sentence or a clause which in any sense could be interpreted as blasphemous or Satanic, and I had read it with a mind vigilant to detect any expression which implied any such notion directly or indirectly. Secondly, my common sense told me that if certain followers of a religion were to corrupt their sacred books or introduce interpolations into it, they must have an adequate reason or sufficient motive behind it. An enterprise as such, which is not only highly impious but also extremely presumptuous, would not and could not be undertaken by any class of people unless they were to derive some great advantage or benefit from it. In the light of this principle I closely examined every passage of the gospel, and found none which would supply an adequate ground for such an act on the part of the Christians. J. A. Subhan

I raised my hands to God in prayer: "O God, Thou knowest that I am and was born a Muslim, and that generation after generation of my ancestors were born into this religion and have died in it. In it I, too, have received my education, and in it I have been brought up. Therefore, now, remove every obstacle that would prevent me from discovering Thy true way, and show me the way to Thy salvation that, when I leave this transitory world, I may not be displeasing to Thee. Amen." Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

I Discovered A True Friend

During Ramadan I felt that I was the holiest man in the world. I wore the Muslim garb and I spent hour after hour praising Allah. I wanted to obey Allah as the prophets obeyed him. My life was dominated by a fear of incurring his wrath on the great day of judgment. I tried to do everything that was expected of a devout Muslim. Fasting, praying, almsgiving, the repetition of the kalima, and the hope of making a pilgrimage to Mecca - these were the central concerns of my life. I even became a muezzin and called people to prayer day after day. The mosque was like my second home, so often was I within its precincts and in its minarets. I thought I was holy when I was performing the religious duties of Islam, but I had no true joy. The holiness I had achieved was, in reality, self-righteousness. I was proud of my religious accomplishments and legalistic virtue. But my life was devoid of real knowledge of God. I had no genuine fellowship with him and I sensed his absence and distance from me. In the Quran, Allah is depicted as the Creator who is not only far above the world he has made but is also far from every human being. He is the one who keeps an accurate record of our deeds so that he can recompense us with final rewards or ultimate punishment on the last day. This filled my heart with terror and dread, for I knew I had often fallen short of the requirements of true virtue and righteousness. According to the belief of many Muslims, when we die an angel stands ready to assist us. But each one of us has to face judgment alone, on the basis of his own achievements and failures. At the judgment there is a bridge over which everyone must walk. It is only one-seventh of the thickness of a hair. If one's good deeds are greater than his evil deeds, the bridge widens to enable him to go across to heaven. Otherwise, he will fall into hell below. Islam has many adherents in Java, where I have lived all my life. At the age of twelve, I made a conscious resolve to follow Islam with wholehearted determination. I went to the mosque almost every day, and I received instruction in Islam with great eagerness. Of course, I memorized long passages from the Quran and I learned all of the prescribed ritual prayers. I tried to obey Allah as faithfully as Muhammad did. Nothing was more important to me than

preparation for the final judgment. My constant preoccupation was the fulfillment of the will of Allah in my daily affairs. At the age of sixteen I had such a strong desire to become a teacher that I decided to leave home. I was even willing to attend a Christian teachers college in Jakarta. There was an opening for me there - and besides, I was so well-established in my Islamic convictions that I had no fear that anything could deflect me from them. When I arrived at the college and was assigned a room in one of the dormitories, I continued to pray five times a day. This annoyed the other students, especially since I was the only one who did it. Profound dissatisfaction in my heart could not be expelled by such means, however. I knew there was something missing at the very root of my being. One evening a man came to the dormitory to talk to all the students about Christ. He had a warm and genuine smile that radiated an undeniable inner joy. I hated Christians, and so I concealed my feelings of envy at his peace and happiness. Instead of listening with respect and sincerity, I mocked him. He was a fellow Indonesian, but that was not as important as the fact that he was not a Muslim. To me he was an unclean heathen. My resistance was intense, and my questions were designed to provoke him to anger. But he never lost his composure. He continued to smile and patiently answer my questions. I tried to do everything possible to upset him, however, and eventually he left with obvious regret over my belligerent attitude. After that encounter with a radiant Christian, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I could not shake the image of his kind and happy face from my mind. I knew that he had something in his life that I didn't have. And yet, on the other hand, I was confident that he was a purveyor of error and an enemy of God. I was especially disturbed by his quotation from the Bible: "Jesus answered, `I am the way - and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6). The claim that Christ is the only way angered me more than anything. But it also made me uncertain about my own beliefs. This confusion was increased by the fact that the students who were sincere Christians lived good lives. They were different from all the rest of us. There was one in the dormitory whose life greatly attracted me to the Christian faith. My doubts concerning Islam began to increase. My friend in the dormitory kept the Christian faith before me, not only in words but in his character and actions. He had joy in his life, and I did not. I was a very religious man, but I was not happy. Even when I did what was expected of me by Islam, I still did not have joy. When I saw Christians smiling and happy, I knew that there must be something good and true in the Christian faith. I tried to act as though I were indifferent and hostile. But my excuses and defenses were slowly crumbling. I couldn't forget what I had heard that evening. That Christian man made it very clear that the Bible teaches that every human being is a sinner, and yet God loves us and through Christ he can forgive and save us. There was so much I did not understand about Jesus. I had heard that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23), but I did not know what it meant. My Christian classmate told me that his joy came from trusting in Jesus as his Savior and Lord. He not only told me about God's holiness and justice in judging sin, he also told me about God's love. When he told me that God demonstrated his love by coming in the person of Christ to give his life on the cross for our sins, I was amazed. I had never heard anything like that before. It was wonderful, even overwhelming, to think that God is like that and that by trusting in Jesus Christ one could have all of his sins

forgiven. Now I could begin to understand why my Christian friend had so much joy. He did not need to fear the judgment of God. He had his sins forgiven because Christ took those sins on himself when he died on the cross. I wondered if all of this could be true. I thought about it very much - in fact, I thought about it for three months. I then decided to go to church with my classmate I went with him because he was a real friend, and his sincere interest in me touched me very much. At that church meeting I was more impressed by what I saw than what I heard. What affected me most of all was the attitude of the Christians. They had joyful faces and they were loving people. They were so kind to me that I was astonished. It was difficult for me to believe that they would be that way with a person of another religion. My friend showed such love and kindness to me that I could not understand why. I continued to go to church because of the great joy and sincerity I saw in the people there. One day my friend could not go with me, so he told me to take from his wallet whatever money I needed to go there. He wanted me to have enough money for transportation and he did not care whether I ever repaid him. I took some money because I had no doubt that he was sincere and that he wanted to help me. He trusted me implicitly. By his gracious and generous life I saw the love of Christ made real before my eyes. My friend was a true friend and the first one to demonstrate God's love toward me. It was this and the wonderful fellowship I saw at the church that affected me most deeply. After several months of inner turmoil over the question of the truth of the Christian faith, I finally concluded that I must forsake Islam and put my entire trust in Christ as my Savior and Lord. It is impossible for me to describe the change that Christ brought in my life when I turned from everything else and put my faith in him. I felt that a great burden had been removed from my heart. I experienced the same joy that other Christians had. It became a personal reality to me and no longer something I only saw and envied in others. Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it in all of its fulness (John 10:10). Now I discovered what he meant. He also gave me the desire and power to do what was right. Before I trusted in him, I frequently told lies. When I would make mistakes, I would try to cover them up because I was afraid of the consequences. After I believed in Christ, I did not care what would happen to me. I had to tell the truth, and only the truth. I also discovered that I was no longer afraid to die and meet God. Even though I had been a faithful Muslim, I never lost my fear of death. But when I believed that Christ loved me and died for my sins and conquered death by his resurrection, the fear of death was taken away. Now I know that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21), for to depart from this life is to be with Christ which is far better. But I also came to learn that God left me in this world because he has something special for me to do. His loving purpose for my life became my main motivation and goal. My heart had previously been dominated by fear and hate, but Christ cleansed me of these base and corrupt attitudes and replaced them with assurance and love. I found that I had a great desire to tell my people about the wonderful Savior whom I had met. I went home and told my adoptive parents about my faith in Christ. My father had died when I was four years of age, and while I was still young I was adopted by another family. When they learned that I was sincere about my commitment to Christ, they used a variety of pressures to reclaim me for Islam. They were very fearful that the rest of the children in the family would be influenced by me. They denounced the Christian faith as evil and foolish.

Every Sunday my mother tried to keep me from going to church by asking me to do something for her at home. So Saturday night I would ask her what she wanted me to do the following day. And when she would tell me what task I was to perform on Sunday, I would arise early in the morning and finish it in time for me to go to church. My mother became very angry one day and said, "Son, you have to choose between me and Jesus Christ." I replied, "I am sorry, Mother, I have to follow Christ. It does not mean that I hate you; I love you, but I must put Christ first in my life." She kept silent. Then I told her that I was going to become a Christian preacher. My father and mother both stood against my decision. He was the ambassador to a European country and he could give me many advantages. The choice before me was clear. They said that I must choose them or Christ. They warned me that I would lose all the privileges and opportunities that they could give me: a European university education, a car, travel in the West. It was not an easy decision for me to make. A conflict raged in my mind. I wondered what would happen to me if they disowned me. Where would I get the money I needed for my education? Was I being a fool for giving up all the advantages I knew were in the palm of my hand? I was still young and dependent on my parents' support. And I did not want to hurt them, for they had been kind to me and I loved them very much. But I had to determine whether or not Christ was worth the renunciation of all things. After careful consideration and agonizing reflection, I decided to let nothing be more important to me than Christ. There was no alternative, for he gave all for me - he died for me and he is coming again for me. I knew I must put him above everyone else. I wanted to serve him and tell others about his power to forgive and reconcile* them to God. I was convinced that no other endeavor in life could compare with that joyful calling. By the grace of God, my decision was made. There was no turning back. I finished my studies at the teachers college and then taught for three years. After that I went to study in a theological school so I could be adequately prepared to preach the gospel of Christ and teach others about his love. Some of my Muslim friends ridiculed me for becoming a believer in Christ. One of them who said I was insane later agreed to go to church with me. He came out of curiosity. He wanted to find out what it was that attracted me. But he had no intention of becoming a believer. However, he too was overwhelmed by the love of Christ and put his trust in him. To this day he is living for him and serving him in sincerity. I never regretted the decision that I made to serve Christ and proclaim his word. It was a privilege and joy for me to give up all temporal things for him. And that joy has been multiplied by my seeing many others come to Christ. I was thankful to have a small part in the great work of God that brought several million Muslims into the Christian faith in the last few years in Indonesia. I went to various parts of Java to preach about Jesus Christ, and I was amazed as I witnessed hundreds of people turning to him with tears and deep sincerity. Most of them had never heard the wonderful truth that God loves them and forgives every sin through Christ. A number of hajis have had a deep transformation in their lives as a result of believing in Christ. Some of them had been leaders in Muslim communities and they knew Islam both in terms of its literature and its practices. They also saw its most sacred city when they made their pilgrimage to Mecca. Yet they found something in Christ that Islam could not give

them. Only genuine Christians know the peace and joy that come from fellowship with God and with other believers in Christ. Many persons have asked me why I became a believer and committed my life to Christ. One of the most important reasons was that Christ alone could give me the assurance that I am accepted by God and that I have nothing to fear. It is a glorious experience to have this certainty - to know that all of my sins are forgiven. If I were to count my sins, I would not be able to conceive of how they could be forgiven except by Christ who died for my sins on the cross and rose from the dead. No other religion knows a God of love such as the God who is revealed* in Jesus Christ. He loves sinners, not in the sense that he approves their sins but in the sense that he loves persons even though he does not love the evil things they do. And God's love is not just a matter of words, for the Bible says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). In Islam I had no certainty and no peace. I was always in a state of anxiety and frustration. But in Christ I have assurance and rest in my heart. The most important thing to me is the love of Christ and the love he puts in the hearts of those who sincerely believe in him and know him. True Christians love Muslims. If anyone calls himself a Christian and hates anyone else, he is self-deceived, for he does not truly know Christ. The Bible warns against all of those who think that by persecuting and killing others they are doing God service (John 16:2). When I became a believer in Christ, I lost my family and relatives, for they rejected me. But Christ has taken care of me, and since I came to know him I have found that I have hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ all around me - and many more all over the world. I lost my family, but God gave me a greater family. In fact, God gave me far more than I lost. Some time after I became a believer in Christ, I went to see a former Christian teacher of mine. I had given him much trouble, for I was a proud, argumentative, mocking student. When I went to his home, I found that he had heard about my turning to Christ. As soon as he saw me, he arose and came to me and embraced me. My astonishment at this only increased when he sat down next to me and spent several hours talking with me. He had nothing but love and forgiveness in his heart. It was another evidence to me of the power of Christ. My former teacher said, "You were my foe, but now you are my friend." I have thought again and again about that statement - "my foe, but now my friend." My classmate had been a faithful friend and now my former teacher had become a wonderful friend. I realized that the sincerity of their friendship was a reality because of the ultimate Friend whom they knew and loved - the Lord Jesus Christ. I also realized that I had been an enemy of God and a foe of Christ because of my sin and rebellion. But now, because of what he had done for me, I was no longer his foe but his friend. The very words of Jesus tell us that those who love him are not merely his servants but his friends (John 15:15). And now I knew and loved him, too. I belonged to him - heart, mind, body, and soul - because in him I had discovered the one true Friend who will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

I was impressed with the high ethical teachings of the gospel. If the Christians were to corrupt their book, the standard of its ethical teachings would have been lowered. The narratives of the gospel studied under this light suggested no motive for alteration or corruption in the text. The story of the crucifixion was an outstandiny event in all the narratives concerning the life of Jesus, which completely contradicted the idea of the gospel being corrupted. No follower of religion would intentionally invent a narrative which would attribute to his leader or founder such a shameful treatment at the hands of his enemies. It is no matter of pride to be a follower of one who was shamefully put to death. The appearances of Jesus subsequent to His death were confined to His disciples only, and hence they made no redeeming feature of His ignominious death. The enemies remained triumphant over his death. Why? If the Christians were to alter or expurgate anything from the gospel, the account of the crucifixion would have been the first thing to be removed or modified. J. A. Subhan

Finally, I said to myself: "Sultan, consider that you are the child of an hour and the world is fleeting. When you die, your country and your inheritance will be of no benefit to you; nor will your family and friends be of help to you. All these belong to this world alone. Nothing but your faith can go beyond the grave. Therefore, it is not wise to forsake eternal life and spiritual happiness for the sake of this transitory life." Then I bowed my knees before God and offered this prayer: "O omnipotent, eternal God, Searcher of hearts, I yield myself to Thee. Accept this offering and protect me from all the snares of the devil and from spiritual dangers. Remove from my heart the world and its desires. Grant me courage and strength that I may be able to confess Thine only Son Jesus Christ publicly before all men. Hear and accept my prayer for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen." Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

I Discovered That God Is Not Dead

I had been reading Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre for months. Even before that, I had entertained doubts about the value and meaning of life, but by immersing myself in the pessimistic philosophies of these men I became convinced that there was no reason for living. My discouragement with life had turned into bitter despair.

The one unshakable impression such philosophers left with me was that God is dead. For them he was dead, and for me he was dead. There was nothing that justified my existence nothing for which I could live. The path that led to this despair had its beginnings in my early childhood. I was born in 1951 in a town whose compass pointed in the direction of the nearby city of Algiers, a place that held a special fascination for me because it was alluringly tinged with European sophistication and glamour. The fact that I was a girl did not hinder my parents from giving me the best education they could afford. I began in a Quranic school where I learned many portions of the Surahs by heart. I wee also taught the forms and techniques of ritual prayers. As far back as I can remember, I had a deep desire to know God. From a window of my house I could see the minaret and I often thought about God and wondered if I could know him personally. I wanted to talk to God directly and not limit myself to the prescribed prayers. Of course, I was expected to recite my prayers according to Islamic stipulation, but there was something about them that left me deeply dissatiafied. Consequently, I began to grow lax in complying with the requirements of the formal prayers. Nevertheless, I continued to observe the fast of Ramadan - primarily because of social pressure and the fear it induced. My growing indifference to Islamic practices was undoubtedly encouraged by my father's religious skepticism. Although he was from a Muslim family, he regarded himself as a freethinker. That was difficult for me to understand then, but as I grew older I began to realize that he was only one of a host of skeptics who veiled their doubts under a cloak of external conformity to traditional Islamic practices and customs. My own belief in Islam was severely tested by the empty formality and unconcealed hypocrisy I witnessed in virtually every aspect of its social and institutional life. I finally came to the place where I cried out to God, "If you exist, show yourself to me; prove yourself." There was no reply. There was only silence. When I had my first contact with the teaching of the Bible I was only ten years of age. A friend of mine invited me to a meeting where a Christian woman showed Biblical and historical films and had sewing classes for the young girls in our neighborhood. She also lent the girls books about the Christian faith. The first time I went to her house I found that a film was being shown on the life of Abraham. This made me very happy and I continued to go to her house for a number of weeks. I also borrowed some books from the woman's library. Some of the books were about the life of Jesus and the prophets. One day I was reading one of the books as I was walking toward my house, and as I was not paying much attention to where I was going, an automobile ran into me and sent me sprawling on the street. But to my surprise, I found that I was not seriously injured. Little did I realize then, however, that this accident would have far-reaching consequencs. Some of the people who saw the accident reported it to my parents. And they also told them about the book that I had been reading. They had seen the book lying next to me in the street. When I returned home, my father was waiting for me. I could see that he was very angry. He told me that I could no longer go to see that Christian woman. I accepted the new restriction without too much complaining, for the time that I had spent with the Christian woman and girls did not mean very much to me anyway. I had learned

some Christian hymns, but whenever I came to the name of Jesus I substituted the name of Muhammad. I thought that Jesua was good and that he was a prophet, but he really meant nothing to me. Also I had been warned by my friends to be careful to withstand the Christian woman's influence and especially to avoid singing about Jesus. So I went there with the determination to cling to Islam and not to change my religion. After the accident, however, and the resultant warning from my father, I had no contact with Christians for the next seven years. I had a renewed interest in trying to live as a Muslim until I was about thirteen years of age. But then a great tragedy occurred in my life. My father killed my mother and he was sent to prison for a year. This left me in a terrible state of shock. I had no desire to see my father again. My mind was deeply troubled over the nature of God. After that incident I began to wonder if God was truly loving. I had heard from the Christian woman that God is love and I had also read that in some of the books that she let me read. But I couldn't believe that he would have allowed my mother to die if he was a God of love. And if he was not a God of love, I didn't want him. So I began to ignore every thought about God and religion. At least, I tried to ignore such thoughts. I was going through a time of great struggle, however, because I found it difficult to believe in the goodness of God, and yet I could not entirely let go of my thoughts about him. My relatives sent me to a boarding school shortly after my mother died. I was glad that I would not have to live with my father after he was released from prison. It was during those years at the boarding school that I began to read philosophy and to fall under the spell of Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre. I felt that living was pointless and I had no motivation to strive for any goal in life. During the vacation periods from school I stayed with my aunt. She told me that my father had become very ill and it seemed that he was going to die. She too had become sick. She called me to her room one day and told me that it was time for me to consider marriage. She had a friend who was a policeman and she insisted that I marry him. I surrendered to her insistence and agreed to marry him. In any case, it seemed that I had no choice, for she had convinced me that this would be the only way my younger brothers would be cared for in the event of my father's death. When my father heard about my decision, he said that he did not want me to marry until I had completed secondary school. Although I had become engaged to the policeman, I knew that he didn't love me. I didn't know at that time whether I could actually go through with the marriage. As I drew near to the end of my secondary school training, I became more and more convinced that I should not marry that man. He was a nice person and he said he would take care of my younger brothers, but I realized that I had no desire to marry him. It seemed to me that the only way I could prevent it was by failing in one of my final exams so that I wouldn't get my diploma. After all, I reasoned, this was my father's requirement, and by postponing my graduation I would escape marriage - at least for a little while longer. So during one of my final exams, I simply walked out of the room without completing it although I knew the subject well. My teacher was amazed at my behavior, for he knew that I

could pass the exam without any great difficulty. My father and aunt were extremely upset when they found out what I did. Before I left the boarding school, I happened to run into the Christian woman I knew when I was ten years of age. She was with some of my classmates in the school corridor, and I recognized her immediately although she did not recognize me. When I greeted her, however, she remembered who I was. She saw that I was unhappy and she wanted to help me. So we set a time to meet on the following Saturday to discuss my problems. Not only did she try to give me some encouragement, she also invited me to spend three weeks at a camp on the Mediterranean seashore. This was to be a Christian camp for young people, and she said I would hear about Jesus there. With contempt I replied, "Your Jesus - what do I have to do with him ?" But I decided to go because I wanted three weeks away from my family. I told the Christian woman that I had no other interest in going. Nevertheless, she agreed to let me go. When I arrived at the camp, I found that the group had prayer every night before they went to sleep, and every day a preacher was scheduled to give a talk on the Bible. I rebelled because I found it almost intolerable. I particularly did not like the Christian teaching that everyone is a sinner.* I did not think that I had done anything evil and I certainly did not think that I was a sinner who needed to repent. The very idea upset me and made me furious. With nothing but bitterness in my heart I left the first meeting and returned to the dormitory. I was appalled to hear the other girls mocking the Christian leaders that evening. They returned to their rooms saying, "These Christians think that we are believers too, but we only come here for the fun." Their attitude bothered me deeply, because I had been honest and frank about my feelings. I had openly told the Christian leaders that I did not want to have anything to do with the Christian faith. I felt that the girls in my dormitory were being very hypocritical in covering up their true motives. I was so upset by what I was hearing in the meetings and by what I was hearing in the dormitory that I decided I couldn't stay another day. So that night I tried to run away from the camp. As I was climbing over the wall surrounding the camp, the director happened to see me. She came and took me to the infirmary and I began to weep. When the Christian leaders gathered around me, they asked me why I was trying to leave the camp. I blurted out that I didn't want anything of their Jesus. At that point, I saw how kind they really were, for they showed great patience and understanding. As we talked, they asked me if I believed in God. I knew that all of my efforts to resist God did not avail to eliminate him from my thoughts, so I nodded agreement. Then they asked me if I was earnestly seeking for God. I answered them in the affirmative, but I also told them that it was difficult for me to believe in him because he didn't answer my prayers. Then they asked me if I was sincerely seeking the truth, and I replied, "Yes." They responded with the assertion that Jesus Christ is the truth. I said, "This may be the case for you, but I have never learned that - it is not for me." They explained that Christ had come for everyone - not just for Christians - and that since he is the truth, to reject him is to fall into the greatest of all errors. At that point I became concerned about my relationship to God and I asked them what I must do. They urged me to talk directly to God and ask him if Christ is really the truth. They said that I should ask God to show me his reality. By then I had recovered my composure and I

was sitting there in quiet reflection. They did not put any pressure on me but simply took me back to the dormitory. I talked to one of my friends in the dormitory and I told her that I would like to talk to God but didn't know how. I asked her what language I should use in speaking to God. In Islam the only language to be used in prayer is Arabic. I didn't know if the God of Jesus would listen to me if I prayed in Arabic, so I prayed half in French and half in Arabic and I said, "We will see if he understands." I now know that such a notion was foolish. I was not only ignorant of God's wisdom but I was also unaware of his love and personal care. The next day held a wonderful surprise for me. The Christian leaders said that I did not have to go to the meetings. However, I had prayed that Christ would show himself to me in reality and power, so when I heard the group singing in a joyful way I decided to attend the meeting. The Christian woman who spoke in the meeting told us about the love of Christ and the forgiveness he came to bring. It seemed that every word she said was just for me. When she explained that Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead, I began to understand what it meant for me to be a sinner and for God to be a God of righteousness* and love. I realized that there was nothing I could do to make myself acceptable to God, for there was no way I could redeem myself. Somehow I saw that God is love in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. This was what I was looking for, and when I realized that this was the truth and believed in such a loving Savior, I felt a great burden roll off of me. I no longer had the sense of guilt and despair that I had felt in my heart for many years. The relief and joy were written all over my face. This was a great miracle to me, because I never thought that I could be converted to Christ. A friend of mine was also converted in that meeting, and my other friends were all amazed at what had happened to us. Although I now believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord, I did not know what lay ahead for me. All kinds of new questions came to my mind. And when another woman spoke to us at the camp, many doubts were kindled in my mind. She told how she had been a practicing Muslim for a long time and how only in Christ did the living God come into her life. After she told how she came to trust in Christ, I went to her and asked, "Do you really know the Quranic verses by heart? If so, recite them to me." I was amazed when I found that she knew them far better than I did. I also asked her many questions, and she was not only very kind in her manner but also very reasonable and knowledgeable in her answers. My faith in Christ was greatly strengthened. I now had the assurance that God would hear and answer my prayers. I asked God to do something about my impending marriage to the policeman. Without my attempts to prevent it, God caused the policeman to dissolve the engagement and stop the plans for the wedding. Another serious problem was the reaction of my father and aunt to my faith in Christ. At first they were very angry, but when they saw that my life had been changed for the better, their attitude was changed from hostility to acceptance. What changes did Christ bring into my life? He brought assurance and confidence in the place of the doubt and uncertainty that had previously plagued me. I had personally witnessed my mother's murder and after that I was continually tormented by fear. But Christ removed

my fear and gave me courage and peace. He also took away my confusion about the meaning of life and my anxiety about death. Furthermore, after my mother's death, I withdrew from others and shielded myself from anything that could hurt me. I was once aloof from other people, but Christ gave me a genuine love for others and a desire to be with them and help them. Whereas I was formerly impatient and unkind with my younger brothers, I now have an entirely new relationship with them. Christ has given me a patience and gentleness that I never dreamed I would experience. Before I put my trust in Christ I would tell lies whenever I felt it was to my advantage. In my home and in my society it is natural to tell lies and to invoke the name of God in the act. I became aware of this and other evils around me, and I knew that as a believer in Christ I could not condone or practice these things. Since Christ is with me, I can now tell the truth without fearing the consequences. Moreover, studying at the university put me in a very immoral atmosphere, but with the presence and power of Christ in my life I am enabled to escape this corruption without feeling the pride and self-righteousness that come from assuming that one can do this in his own wisdom and strength. One of my severest tests came when I returned to the boarding school prior to enrollment in the university. I was having a difficult time trying to see if the Bible and the Quran were compatible. When the month of Ramadan came, I yielded to the pressure of my peers and for fifteen days I observed the fast. But then I realized how hypocritical it was for me to maintain that I was a true believer in Christ in front of Christians but not in front of Muslims, so I quit fasting and took a firm stand for Christ. The isolation and persecution I suffered as a result were not easy to bear, but I learned much of the Lord's sustaining grace during those days. What have I found in Christ that I did not find in Islam? The main thing is that God is a God of love, and he has proved his love by giving himself to us in Christ who died for us and rose triumphant from death. There is also the great discovery that I did not have to try to earn my salvation by my efforts or works. It is free, and there is no place for merit. In trusting my life to Christ for time and eternity, I found that there is a unique relationship between God and the believer - a personal relationship of love and fellowship that brings the highest furfillment and meaning to life. I was once attracted to the views of Karl Marx because of his interest in humanity. I came to realize, however, that without changing the heart of man, human beings would not serve others unselfishly. Many people give only lip service to the ideal of working for the good of others, but Christ transforms a person so that he has the love and care that makes a difference in the way he lives and relates to others. Improving man's external conditions cannot, by itself, change man. The decisive difference between the Christian faith and all ideologies and religions is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, for he alone is the Savior - God's one remedy for all human beings. These words from the Bible have become a reality in my daily life: "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22). I have had this proved in my experience again and again, and I can truthfully say: God is not dead but gloriously alive!

The second reading of the gospel produced in me the deep

conviction that it was THE true "Injil." It was God's word and His Revelation. The inner urge to know God was to find satisfaction through it. The effect produced on the mind by its reading was so very different from that of the recitation of the Quran. The latter in its original language was something sublime, its recitation was charming, its eloquence fascinating, and sometimes its passages had thrown me into ecstasy, but in the "Injil" I found something which spoke to my soul. The gospel spoke to me in my own mother tongue, whispering to me the secrets of God. Its reading was comforting to my soul, every sentence touched it to its very depths, and it roused the slumbering faculties of my soul to a new state of conciousness. J. A. Subhan

When I became a Christian, a wonderful change took place in my life. My speech, actions, and whole manner of life were so transformed that a year later, when I visited Bombay for a short time, my Muslim friends wondered at it. They marvelled at my mildness, for they knew how easily I used to lose my temper. Before I became a Christian, I recognized sin to be sin. But I did not realize, as I do now, what a dangerous and destructive force sin is. Although I am still merely a weak man and a handful of dust, yet when I have sinned, I cannot describe the shame and sorrow with which I am filled. Immediately I fall on my face and with tears I repent and beg for forgiveness. This attitude can be acquired only by the recognition of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin cannot be removed by repentance alone. It must be cleansed by the sacred blood of our Savior. For this very reason the world, which makes light of sin, is daily approaching nearer and nearer to destruction. Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

I Discovered That God Answers Prayer

One time during a Muslim festival my family awakened me at three o'clock in the morning to go to a mosque to pray. We arrived while it was still dark. During the prayer I became ill with a high fever and I fell to the ground. But no one came to help me, because everyone was supposed to be quiet and rigorously follow the prescribed ritual of prayer. They thought it would be a sin to interrupt their prayers or to be distracted from them by coming to help me. So all of them, including my own family, left me writhing in pain on the ground. My fever went higher and I grew more desperately ill by the minute. There were many in the crowd of praying people that morning who saw me, but no one would leave his place to assist me.

I was a young boy at that time, but the incident left an indelible imprint on my mind. To me it all failed to make sense - to go early in the morning to pray in a language none of us understood and to follow a ritual so closely that we ignored people in need in order to fulfill external religious requirements. I also felt that we were neglecting some things that were very important when we had to give so much time to the performance of ritual. I was forced to go to say prayers several times a day, and as a result I could not give adequate attention to my studies and to my other responsibilities. I felt we should be helping others more than we should be repeating a meaningless series of sounds in a language we did not understand. My family was very faithful in observing prayer times. Five times a day, for thirty minutes each time, we would give ourselves to the routine of stated prayers. When I would go to pray with my family, I did so because I wanted my father to see that I was conforming to his expectations. It was not because I wanted to pray or because I felt the need to pray. Nevertheless, I made this outward accommodation to my father's wishes until the day he died. After that I felt free of the pressure he exerted on me to perform the daily rituals. Although I no longer repeated the prayers, I never abandoned the desire to know God. That was an abiding concern of mine. Islam did not seem reasonable to me, however, and I could no longer accept the empty formalism of its prayer routine. It also appeared irrational to believe that the reading of the Quran was good for one even if he did not understand the Arabic in which it was written. My parents made certain that I received thorough instruction in Islam. At the age of twelve I was sent to a mullah to study the Quran. One hour a day, every day, I was at the mosque learning the words of the Quran - but not its meaning. Although I memorized much of the Quran, it meant nothing to me because it was in a language I did not know. The mullahs were afraid to translate the Quran into our own language. Such an attempt would have been considered a sin. Arabic was conceived to be the only divine language, and by learning to read the Quran in the original language in which it was given, I was making myself a better Muslim and I was adding to my chances of getting into paradise. For three years I was subjected to this grueling exercise in meaninglessness. In spite of the boredom and tedium that I and the other fifteen boys in the class felt, I endured it because I was afraid my father would beat me, or even kill me, if I did not attend the Quranic lessons faithfully. My parents were such strict Muslims that they spent every Friday at the mosque, and my father considered his pilgrimage to Mecca the greatest achievement of his life. We met people from other religions, but we thought of them as victims of error. And we particularly considered Christianity to be false. After my father died when I was in my teens, I set my heart on becoming an engineer so that I could make a good living and help my country. I enrolled in the Afghanistan Institute of Technology and studied there for three years. I enjoyed my studies immensely, especially since there were no classes in religious subjects. Religious questions occasionally intruded into my mind, even during those years. I had heard enough about Jesus to wonder if he could be the way to God. I did not find anything in Islam that appealed to me. It seemed that everyone had something to believe in, however. Everyone

needed something that gave meaning and purpose to life. I wondered if I should believe in Jesus as Christians did, but I did not take any steps to find out more about him. When I was studying at the Institute, I tried to forget about religious issues. None of my teachers talked to me about Jesus. None ever tried to influence me to read the Bible or to be converted to faith in Christ. I remember meeting only one Christian who read the Bible, but that individual never spoke to me about Jesus. Since there was a law at that time that forbade Afghans to visit foreigners in their homes, I did not dare to enter the house of any Christian. One day I came across a book that made a deep impression on me and renewed my interest in the person of Jesus. The book, entitled Religion, was written in the Persian language by a Muslim. It was about the life of Jesus and it raised questions in my mind that I had not seriously considered before. The author described the entrance of Jesus into the world by a virgin. In fact, there were other remarkable things about the life of Jesus that evoked more respect for him than for Muhammad. When I understood that Christ was born of a virgin, then I began to believe in him as the true way. Of course, I knew that this was the teaching of the Quran also, and that it ascribes a unique place to him was clear to me, too. But I had never perceived the significance of this until I read that book. I came to understand that Jesus was greater than Muhammad, for he was not born the ordinary way as were the rest of us. I felt compelled to draw the conclusion that he was greater, because he came into the world by God's power, as demonstrated in his virgin birth. My attitude toward Jesus was changing, but there were still many things I did not understand. I wanted to know the true path to God and I wanted to read the Bible for myself. But there was no Bible available to me at that time. And every Afghan I knew was opposed to Christianity. I had often heard mullahs denounce the Christian faith, both inside the mosque and outside of it. They said that those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God would go to hell, for Muhammad was the final and ultimate prophet and he gave us the only way to Allah. After reading the book, Religion, I realized that what the mullahs were saying was not true. By bringing together all that the Quran said about Jesus, and by drawing on other sources as well, the author of that book made it clear to me that Jesus had to be more than a prophet. He also gave some convincing reasons for believing that Jesus had been put to death on the cross - and I, too, become aware of it. Unfortunately, I did not learn about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead until much later. After I finished my studies at the Institute of Technology, I went to an Afghan college for four years where I earned a degree in mechanical engineering. During those years I never totally lost my interest in Jesus Christ. I wanted to know more about him, but I was afraid to look for Christians. At that time it was very dangerous for an Afghan to be seen with Christians or to attend a Christian meeting. It was common knowledge that if any Afghan changed his religion from Islam to Christianity, he would be stoned to death. My desire for an adequate education remained strong. I was delighted when I was given an opportunity to go to the United States to get advanced training in engineering. Shortly after I arrived in America, I met a very friendly man at the place where I was given a job so that I could gain some practical experience in my chosen field. I told him that I wanted to go to a church to see what Christians did in their meetings. He very kindly invited me to go to church

with him, after which he took me to his home for dinner. What I heard at church made sense to me and was very logical. My friend gave me a Bible in the Persian language, and as I studied it, it seemed that everything was new to me. I was especially impressed with the fourth book of the New Testament, "The Gospel According to John." It affected my thinking very much. When I told my friend that I had to go to another state to study, he gave me the address of a godly Christian lady. Upon my arrival, she allowed me to rent a room in her home. I was there only forty days, but every Sunday I went to church with her. She asked me if I wanted to study the Bible with her, and I told her I would like that very much. Almost every day we spent two hours studying the Bible together. Up to this point I was not convinced that Jesus was the Son of God. Only after a careful study of the Bible did I come to understand and believe in him. Like most other Muslims, I misunderstood that term, for I wrongly thought that Christians believed that God produced Jesus by some kind of physical relation with Mary, his mother. It was a surprise for me to find that there was nothing like that in the Bible. It is very clear that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who came into the world by being born of a virgin. He had no beginning and he has no end, and he stands in a permanent relation to God as Son to Father.* I could see how this made sense in a way that physical reproduction could not explain the meaning of the term "Son of God." While I was renting the room from the Christian lady, I became very ill. I did not know what was causing my sickness. I could not get out of my bed, or stand or walk. The Christian woman sat beside my bed and prayed for me constantly as she took care of me. I grew desperately worse, but she continued to pray all day, and late into the night, that I would get well. The following day a doctor was scheduled to examine me. To my surprise, however, the fever and weakness that had afflicted me were gone. They had disappeared overnight. I told her that I did not need to see the doctor because I was well. And then I said, "I know you prayed for me in the name of Jesus. He is really great. Now I am a Christian." My conversion to Christ did not simply result from my healing in one night. That certainly amazed me, of course. But it was also that I knew that I was so desperately ill that I needed extraordinary help if I were to have any hope of getting well. I went through a dark valley that night. I wondered if I would survive to see the doctor the next day. As the Christian lady prayed, I sensed something beyond her own sincerity and earnestness. I knew she believed in Jesus, but I also came to know something else that night. There was another power, another presence, another person who was alive and drawing near to me. The conviction was inescapable. Jesus heard and answered prayer. He had come to make me well. It was that added dimension of his personal presence and his personal touch that affected me. I was convinced that it was nothing other than the power of Christ that had healed me. He answered the simple prayer of that woman, and that was what I needed to see. My doubts and questions were stilled by the plain and direct answer to her prayers. I knew that Christ was the one for me to love and trust. After that experience I was not ashamed to tell others about my faith in Christ. It now appeared that whatever I prayed for in the name of Jesus, I received. This increased my confidence and strengthened my faith in him. My conversion to Christ was not merely

theoretical. He proved himself over and over again to me in my daily experience. In my youth, prayer had been a burdensome waste of time. It was a tedious external routine. But now that I knew Jesus as my Savior and Lord, prayer was a vital reality and great joy. It was wonderful to see how he would give me what I asked for and needed. It was not until my conversion experience that I truly understood that God loved me and that Jesus died for me on the cross and rose from the dead. There was a consequent change in my whole way of life. I began to love people and I was able to get along with them in a way that I had never experienced before; and no one was more surprised at this than I! Although there was unbelievable joy in my life as a result of trusting in Christ, troubles did not cease. Some of my Muslim friends found out that I had become a believer in Christ and they began to persecute me. They spent many hours arguing with me and putting much pressure on me to return to Islam. They warned me that I would face many difficulties in the future and that my family would be disgraced and that they would not accept me. They urged me to change my mind, saying that I would not be given a job when I returned home and that I would be left without friends in a society that had no place for Christians. When they saw that all of their arguments were futile and that my faith in Christ was immovable, they resorted to threats. For many months they tried to make life miserable for me.
I When I made my decision to trust in Christ and to obey him as Lord of my life, I knew that my family and relatives would cut me off and that I would face persecution and possibly death, However, I also knew that he is more than life itself and that he is worthy of my complete devotion. I was determined to let nothing keep me from following the truth.

I shall be eternally grateful for the assurance that Christ has given me that my sins are forgiven and that I am accepted by God. I could never find such assurance in Islam. Christ is wonderful to me, and I am convinced that no one is greater or higher than he. I am praying that my people will have an open mind to consider the love of Christ and to find out the truth about him. And I pray that I will have the courage to speak to them about the way to know God. My deep desire is that they will be saved and be on the true path and right way to eternal life. I am glad to know that Christ is alive and answers prayer today. His promise has been made real in my experience - as he told his disciples: "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete" (John 16:24).

Is it possible for us to do only good and no evil? Does man possess such power? When I considered this carefully, and at the same time reckoned with the faculties and passions of man, it became clear to me that it is impossible for man to remain sinless. Nor has he the power continually to do good and only good . . . A distinguished Muslim has stated the matter thus: I am entrapped in four things, the ascendancy of which is the cause of my misery and suffering. These four things

are Satan, the world, lust, and greed. How may I be free from these when all of them are my enemies? Evil desires allure me and throw me into the dark abyss of sensuality and pleasure. Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

If the gospel was not true, the sun was not shining, the moon was not bright and the stars did not illuminate the path of heaven. I find it difficult to describe the experience that I had at the reading of the gospel on that memorable day; words are inadequate to express it. It was something like an object finding its missing complement. My spiritual life was incomplete without it, but as it had never known that which was intended to complete it, it never missed it till it came to it. It can be illustrated by a piece from a jig-saw puzzle which will not fit in any other part of it but in the particular corner for which it is intended. The gospel dove-tailed my soul, and in the person of Christ that it presented I found the object of my deeper and inner urge, and of the unsatisfied longing of my heart. It was liko a stream of fresh water in a desert to a man dying of thirst. The words of the gospel were the words of God, for they conveyed to me the message of Him who was my Maker. J. A. Subhan

I Discovered The True Ideal

In secondary school, when I began to think for myself, I discovered three men whose lives impressed me very much. They became my ideals. These three were Gandhi, Muhammad, and Christ. My interest in Christ began as a result of my acquaintance with the Quran. From it I learned that he was an innocent man. I asked a mullah about him: "Who is next to Jesus in the line of the prophets?" The mullah responded by mentioning a long line of prophets, beginning with Adam. He was emphatic, however, in asserting that Muhammad was the chief of the prophets. Nevertheless, I had mixed feelings about Muhammad. On the one hand, I was impressed with his claim to be a messenger of peace. On the other hand, I was disappointed with his militancy. I knew that he had been a shrewd military strategist and conqueror, but that seemed fundamentally incompatible with his assertion that he was a peacemaker and spokesman for God. In this respect, and in other ways, Muhammad fell short of fulfilling the requirements of a true ideal for me. His imperfections, like Gandhi's, were unconcealable and undeniable.

There was something different about Jesus, however. His righteous, loving, humble, kind character set him in a class by himself. No matter how much I searched history books and observed contemporary leaders, I could not find anyone to compare with Christ. All of these were extremely difficult conclusions for me to draw. I came from a prominent Muslim family in Pakistan. They were passionately devoted to Islam and followed the prescribed rituals with painstaking care. In my early years, I sought to excel in religious zeal and Islamic faithfulness. This was the case even though one of my first experiences with religious training was exceedingly unpleasant. When I was six years of age, I was sent to a mullah to learn the Quran. Of course, it was necessary for me to memorize it in Arabic, a language that was strange and difficult for me. I clearly remember the first time I made a mistake in my recitation of a passage from the Quran. The mullah took a large stick and began to beat me. He scolded me with this added warning: "If you recite the Quran incorrectly, you will accumulate sin and God will not forgive you." That incident created resentment that led to a change in my attitude toward Islam. I even began to think of God as an ogre holding a big stick over me and watching for every little mistake I made. I came to fear the punishment of God intensely. My process of alienation from Islam did not take very long. I turned from its harsh legalism to diversions that I could enjoy. Athletics and games became the preoccupation of my youth. I was still restlessly searching for meaning and purpose, however, but Islam had lost its appeal. The stern view of God that I encountered in Islam has repelled me to this day. Of course, I had read the Quran and knew that it spoke of God's mercy and compassion. But even in the Quran it was the wrath and punishment of God that overwhelmed me and subordinated the concept of his mercy to a secondary role. When I was still a child I was watching some streetsweepers and as I approached them, my grandmother stopped me and told me not to go near them or touch them or have any association with them. I felt sorry for them and as I began to realize that they were a minority, I wanted to grow up and help them both socially and economically. It was not long after that incident that my grandmother took me to a mission hospital. There I saw a doctor who was a wise, kind man and the center of the hospital's activity. When I was told that he was a Christian, I was surprised. I was allowed to touch him and talk to him. My grandmother did not forbid it. I was puzzled, and when I asked my grandmother why this situation was different, she merely replied that although not all Christians were poor and ignorant, they were all unclean infidels and idol worshipers - and therefore I should not associate with them too closely. My grandmother's response did not satisfy me. I had many questions that continued to burn in my mind until they set my conscience aflame with a fervent concern for social and economic justice for the poor and downtrodden. I was deeply disturbed by the inequities and injustices I saw all around me. Once a mullah was found to be the murderer of a ten-year-old girl, and he was allowed to go free with a mere reprimand. Since the people only lamented and did nothing, I tried to arouse many to take action to see justice done. But it was to no avail. My frustration intensified. I felt that the mullahs and social leaders were very hypocritical. They would perform the religious rituals of Islam and even make a big show of what they did for the religion, but they were living dishonest and wicked lives. At least, this was what I found in all the cases that I personally knew.

Going to the mosque was devoid of value to me. I could not bear to go anymore, because the mullahs spoke of peace and love and yet they beat children and failed in many other ways to be loving peacemakers. When I read Islamic history, I read about a long succession of military campaigns - wars and slaughter that were fostered and sanctioned by Muslim leaders in the name of Allah and the Quran. I was sick of all the violence and hatred I read about and also saw around me. With no one to turn to with these problems of mine, I felt alone and isolated. I could not go to my father for counsel and guidance. He was a bitter and dejected man, for he had been disappointed by Muslims who rejected him and took advantage of his wealth. He was cruel and domineering and mistreated my mother and the rest of the family. In fact, when I saw how much women and children suffered in our society, I longed to do something to elevate their position and see them acquire more freedom and happiness. I could not discuss these matters or any other problems with my father. He lost my respect, and besides, he was a confused, broken man who had no answers and no encouragement to give to anyone. The poverty and disease I saw everywhere among my countrymen stimulated a resolve within me to become a social scientist. I detested the apathy and unconcern of those who had wealth and social status but had little or no interest in doing something to alleviate the poverty and suffering of those around them. And this sad state of affairs existed within the framework of Islam. The religion seemed to accept the state of affairs that prevailed, and sometimes it seemed to worsen the deplorable wretchedness in which so many millions were living in my society. I turned to Communism for some answers. At least it professed to have an interest in the plight of oppressed people who were victims of harsh circumstances and exploitation by the wealthy. For a time I studied Communist literature and became actively involved with a group of young Communists. One group fell under severe censure and persecution, and opposition intensified until our leader was shot. I went to a Russian agent in our country and offered to unite our group with his in the pursuit of Communist goals for our society. However, as a result of intramural conflicts in the struggle for power over the following five months, I grew disillusioned with the entire ideology. It proved to be unworkable and superficial. Its diagnosis of man's real condition did not reach to the core of his problems. This series of disappointments led me to reconsider questions of religious truth. I collected many books on different religions and studied them carefully. I spent much time alone, reading my books and thinking about the meaning of life and the course of my future. Someone had given me a number of books on Christianity, and I read them with avid interest. They raised many questions in my mind, and as a result, I began to go to a Christian teacher to find the answers. He helped me to understand why Jesus is called the Son of God and why it is false to say Christians worship three gods. When he saw that my interest in the Christian faith was increasing, he became fearful that my family and relatives would learn that I was going to see him and that, as a result, they would create trouble. He discouraged me from coming to see him anymore and he urged me to go to a large city where there were Christians who could help me more freely, without fear of reprisal. When I told my mother that I wanted to leave our town for the city so that I could learn about Jesus Christ, she became angry and said that my father would kill me if he heard about this intention of mine. In spite of this, I went to the city and shortly after I arrived there I began

working to support myself. I did not want to receive money from my mother; I wanted to send her money. I did not immediately find any Christians in the city. Nevertheless, I continued my search, and I talked to God and told him that the more I searched for him the more he ran away from me. I could not understand why. I wanted to be a good man, but I didn't know how. I fasted and tortured my body to humble myself. I tried to live according to high moral standards, because I thought that was the way to find God. I bought a Bible and tried to study it by myself. When I had saved a substantial amount of money, I traveled to different parts of Pakistan to meet Christian leaders and tell them that I had a socio-economic program that I would like to see implemented. The few I met were glad to know of my concern but none of them told me how I could come to know God in a personal way. I knew that something was lacking in me and in my program of reform, too. I continued to talk to God and I told him that I was living aimlessly, accomplishing nothing, and that my travels were unproductive. I earnestly asked him to show me the way, and I told him that if he didn't, then I would feel that I must become a Communist again. I was so troubled in my heart that I took the Bible in my hands and I talked to Christ. I said, "I am ready to follow you. You are my hero and leader, but I can't understand how you can be God." I read the words of Christ in Matthew 5:6: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." I told him that I had searched for him, and then I asked him why he was running away from me. I prayed, "Lord, I want to see your reality." One night I read the words of Jesus in John 7:37,38, and they affected me greatly: "If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." As I pondered the meaning of these words, I realized that Christ was calling us to a personal experience. What he said was so direct and simple. I knew then that I wanted to experience these streams of living water in my own life. Soon after that night, I met some Christians in the city I asked them to tell me more about Christ and what it meant to trust in him. One of the Christians read the New Testament with me and told me about his experience with Christ. We studied the book of Galatians together, and for the first time I discovered the contrast between law and grace. I thought I had to keep certain religious laws and rituals to be accepted by God. That he would only accept us on the basis of grace was something entirely new to me. It was so wonderful to learn that grace means that Christ has done all that was needed for my forgiveness and salvation by dying for my sins and rising from the dead. This was something I did not deserve and could not earn no matter how much I tried to do my best. During the two-month period when I was studying the book of Galatians, I came to understand the true meaning of the gospel of Christ and I put my trust in him as my Savior and Lord. I frequently meditated on the words of Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Two months later I was baptized; it was a great joy for me to give public testimony to the love of Christ that had changed my life.

The change in my life was great - all as a result of trusting in Christ and unashamedly declaring my faith in him. I had a deep desire to tell my relatives and friends about the truth as it is in Christ. For a number of years now I have been doing all I can to share the good news that God loves us and has provided forgiveness and eternal life in the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the most wonderful things about being a believer in Christ is that I have assurance that God has already accepted me. I do not have to dread the day of judgment, and I do not have to wait until then to know whether or not I will go to heaven. I had been seeking for this kind of assurance for a long time and I could not find it in Islam. I had tried to insure that I would be accepted by God by doing all the good works that I could perform. But I also knew that I was a failure. In my heart I was aware of the fact that I fell short of the standard of perfect goodness. That awareness left me in a state of doubt and fear, for I saw no way to escape the consequences of my guilt. When I believed in Christ and experienced his loving forgiveness, I was also surprised to find his wonderful promise that he will always keep me: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27,28). Christ has removed my proud, critical, unloving spirit and he has given me a genuine love for others. He continues to change me in other ways, too. Of course, I know I am far from being perfect, but I also know that God's power is in me and he is changing me more and more. The people in my home town were very surprised when they saw what kind of a man I had become, and many of them wanted to find out how Christ produced this change in my life. My mother and brother were also amazed that I had become a new person. But for years my mother resisted the message of Christ, saying that she could not leave Islam which she considered to be the best way. But she finally opened her heart and mind and saw the truth in Christ. She, too, trusted in him, and now she is a joyful believer who has acceptance and fellowship with God. I also rejoice over many other Muslims who are turning from sin to Christ. Formerly, I had to struggle with the same problems that all Muslims face when they consider the Christian faith. But it was so liberating when I found out that there was an answer to every question that I had. I realized that I first had to be sincere and humble. I was very proud and I would not listen to anything with which I disagreed. It took a long time for me to realize that I was hurting myself by pride, for it kept me from making a careful, objective study of truth When I began studying the Christian faith, I was drawn to its very center - the person of Jesus Christ. This was the question I had to face: Who is Jesus Christ? I had to make up my mind about him. The important issue was not what I had been taught to believe about him; rather, it was what I should believe about him. And to decide that in a sensible way, I knew I had to be sincere enough to look at the evidence, especially the Bible. In Islam, Jesus is considered one of the greatest prophets. But the characteristics of a prophet are truthfulness, honesty, and righteousness. A true prophet never lies, and therefore Jesus was telling the truth when he said, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) and "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). He claimed to be God - the one true God who came into the world by being born of a virgin.

I had to face the objection that alleged that Christians had changed the Bible. Of course, it is easy to say something like that, but proving it is another matter. I searched for such proof and I have asked others to prove it to me, but no one has been able to do so. I have told my Muslim friends that when they are able to prove that the Bible has been changed, then I would follow them. Not only is there no proof that the Bible has been changed, however, there is proof that the Bible we have today is the same as the original Bible. If anyone doubts that, he should study the thousands of manuscripts that overlap across the centuries since the Bible was completed. Even the Quran does not say that the Bible has been changed. It says that if one cannot understand, then he should go to the Christians and their Scriptures. This indicates that the Quran accepted the Bible as the true Word of God, having suffered no alteration or perversion. For anyone who will look at the evidence, it is clear that the Bible was not changed before or after the Quran was written. When I realized all of this, I began to understand why there was only one person who was worthy of being my ideal, and not mine only, but also the ideal for all the world. Jesus Christ was a perfect man because he is the eternal God who came into the world in the flesh, and he proved it by his works and his words. When I understood why he came into the world and that he loved me enough to die for my sins, and when I realized tnat he rose from the dead and is alive today, I knew that I could follow no other. He is, and always will be, my true Ideal, my Savior and my Lord.

The . . . thing that became clear to me from the Traditions (Hadith) was that even the Prophet of Islam cannot save anyone, not even his daughter Fatimah or his relations. Hence, the idea that the Prophet would intercede for the faithful, which I thought would surely prove correct, was proved wrong. One tradition runs thus:
"Abu Huraira related that when the verse, `Cause thy near relatives to fear,' was revealed to the Prophet of Islam, the Prophet arose and began to proclaim: `Oh people of the Quraysh, and you sons of Abdul Manaf, and you Abbas, son of Abdul Muttalib, and you, Safiyyah my aunt, I cannot save you from the punishment of the Day of Resurrection. Take care of yourself, O my daughter Fatimah; you may use my property, but I cannot save you from God. Take care of yourself.'" (Bukhari)

From the traditions I gathered that no one can obtain salvation unless God's mercy rests on him. This comforted me a little, but at the same time I began to think: "If God is merciful, He is likewise just. If God should forgive by the exercise of His mercy alone, He would be evading the demands of His justice and righteousness. Such an evasion of His justice would indicate a defect in the being of God. Certainly such an act would be

unworthy of the glory of God." Sultan Muhammad P. Khan

". . . I found a copy of the English Bible with references . . . The first few days I spent in picking out of it . . . the Gospel of Matthew. In the reading of this gospel what impressed me most was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ . . . The search for the fulfilled prophecies gave me an exciting time. As a Muslim I was taught to believe that all the previous scriptures pointed to the coming of Muhammad, the last of the line of the Prophets beginning with Adam, but my study of the Bible proved to me conclusively that Christ was the last of all to come as God's final Messenger, and being His Son He could not be superseded by another . . . The passages in the book of Isaiah, chapter 53, helped me a great deal to understand the nature of the death of Christ: "He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed . . ." J. A. Subhan

FREE FORGIVENESS*

Nothing is free in this world, The question merely is: "Who pays the price? Who bears the cost?" Forgiveness is not free In the sense that no one pays; That it does not matter who does. Always someone must pay, Someone must bear the consequences, Must bear "the load of sin" that's left behind. The forgiver forgoes the cost of the priceless vase, The host picks up the tab. Divine bounty scatters gifts abroad, Of his fulness have we all received. He who can and has the heart Bears the other's burden Takes it upon himself; Consequences suffered, The burden borne, The cup drained to the last bitter drop; Forgiveness may be free to you and me It may be free but not cheap.

He Himself "took away our illnesses, Himself lifted our diseases from us." "Behold the Lamb of God; It is He who takes away the sin of the world." The cup of bitterness, The lonely Cross of agony and anguish, The forsaken horrors in Love's name; He bore them all for our sake. Now for ever flows From the Throne of God The life-giving River of forgiveness and grace, To all God's scattered children of every race.

* The author of this poem and the two poems included in the following account is the same person whose
story it relates. His main avenue of expression is the Urdu language, but he has written a few poems in English. He is still engaged in literary and scholarly activity and is held in esteem by those who know him.

I Discovered True Certainty

When I was a young man, I visited my uncle's home shortly after a political strike had led me to drop out of college for a brief time. One reason I enjoyed going to his home was the large collection of books he had in his library. My uncle was not only an avid reader and scholar but he was also an author and poet. One day I came across a book written in Urdu verse by my uncle. It was called A Prayer of a True Christian. Its theme was that since Christians had missed the way, Muslims were their true successors. It ended with the prayer, "Do not lead us in the way of the Christians, but make us walk in the straight path of Islam." I didn't realize it then, but that book was destined to become the first of a series of unusual events that served to revolutionize my life. I was raised in an orthodox Muslim home, and our entire family was fully and actively engaged in the practice of Islam. In fact, there was a nearby mosque that was under the patronage of my mother's family. On my father's side, too, the family provided religious instruction and leadership in the Muslim community. When I was three years old, my mother died in an epidemic that wiped out thousands of people. My sister also died in that plague, and one of the earliest pictures in my mind is that of my twenty-two-year-old uncle being prepared for burial. All of that made a solemn and lasting impression on me. My grandmother, who was a very fervent Muslim, brought me up. At an early age I was sent to the local mosque to learn Arabic and to memorize the Quran. All of my family were so regular in prayer and fasting that we were called "the maulvi family" by everyone in the community. Islam dominated our lives from morning to sunset; it was truly woven into the

warp and woof of our daily existence. I remember seeing my father delirious with fever get out of bed to say his prayers five times a day. Even though we took a keen interest in Islam and sought to gain a firm understanding of it, I must admit that we also used the name of Allah in taking presumptuous oaths and in telling lies. This was an integral part of the way of life of everyone in our town. Until I was about twenty years of age, my view of the Christian faith was the typical misunderstanding that is prevalent in Islam. I had no intimate contact with Christians and what I knew about their beliefs was derived from the Quran and various mullahs. Although my father had a copy of the New Testament, I never cared to read it, nor did I see my father read it. I was simply indifferent to the whole matter of the Christian faith. In an unexpected way, however, my indifference began to be undermined. It all started with the reading of my uncle's book, A Prayer of a True Christian. But it wasn't any particular statement in the book that affected me. Rather my attention was directed to the footnotes my uncle had included in it. In them I found certain references made to the Bible. Then I remembered the New Testament my father had and I went to get it. My curiosity had been whetted. I wanted to know what the Bible actually did say. As I searched the New Testament for those references, I was struck by the fact that it presented something very different from what I had been taught in my childhood. I became so interested in it that I went on to read the rest of the New Testament. I found this to be a startling experience. The entire atmosphere of the New Testament was fundamentally different from that of the Quran. The teaching that God is love and that he demonstrated his love for us in Christ's sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection, the Sermon on the Mount,* the revelation that salvation is by grace alone - these are categories in which a Muslim does not even think. Not long after this, I saw one of my former college classmates who was a Christian and I thought that this was a good opportunity to get some of my questions answered. I had been particularly puzzled about the doctrine of the Trinity and the meaning of redemption through Christ. My friend was unable to answer my questions, but he told me about a Chriatian professor who could help me with these problems. When I went to see the professor, I was pleased that he patiently answered my questions. For the first time, I felt that I was beginning to understand the meaning of the Christian faith. Formerly I had known it in a remote and distorted way. I thought of it as the foreign religion of Europeans, and especially of the British who occupied our land. But I had never seen the Christian faith truly lived and demonstrated in their way of life. In spite of my prejudices and misunderstanding, I was beginning to glimpse something of the nature of genuine Christianity. One day a friend of my father observed me going to see the Christian professor and he went and told my family. When I arrived home, I went straight to my bed because I was so tired. All of a sudden I was awakened from my sleep by the blistering pain of my father's walking cane across my back. My father was furious; he was enraged by the mere fact that I had been talking to a Christian! He beat me so severely that I had welts all over my body. As far as he was concerned, there was no justification for what I had done. Since it was inexcusable in his eyes, he refused to talk with me about it.

When I awoke the next morning, my aunt treated my welts and bruises. My father appeared inflexible, and I didn't know what to do. It seemed that I had no option but to leave home. When I left I had no posessions but the shirt and trousers I was wearing. I went to a Christian of whom I had heard and I told him what had happened and that now I was on my own. He not only received me but he also gave me a letter to someone who would help me in another town. The love and care of these true Christians touched me very much. And although I was leaning more and more toward the Christian faith, I still had not embraced it at that time. But I was on the path to certainty, and after much study and reflection, I was led to believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. This was followed by baptism as the act that made it decisive in public. God had used my difficulties to bring me to himself in genuine repentance and faith. When I left home I knew I was taking a big step. I didn't know where I was going. I walked for many miles without anything to eat. But I had a Bible and I read and re-read it. I had many questions but I spent long hours studying and talking with a Christian who was able to help me. In my doubt and loneliness, Christ became a reality to me. I returned to Gordon College to complete my studies and to become a teacher. I studied philosophy and psychology and earned my B.A. in English. Some years later, I went to the United States where I earned an M.A., and that was followed by a B.D. Through all those years I was on my own, without any financial help from home. I taught Urdu some of the time, but I hardly had enough money for food and books. Yet the Lord Jesus Christ was with me and many times God answered prayer and supplied my needs. Moreover, I could not begin to count all the times Christians were kind to me and helped me through many difficulties. I placed my trust in Christ fifty-two years ago, and he has never failed me. In all of these years I have not once regretted the step I took. I can also say that I never had any doubt about Christ. Of course, there were things that I wanted to have clarified. But as to this one fact the fact that Christ loved me and gave himself for me on the cross - there has been no doubt. I am totally satisfied with him. To me the most wonderful thing has been that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself because God is love. For me there has been nothing beyond that; there is nothing beyond that. I have never had any doubt that he is the perfect, complete revelation of God. I have never had any doubt that no one is ethically or morally superior to him. This certitude has kept me going against all kinds of opposition. If there had been anything short of this, I would have gone back long, long ago. The pivot, the center, the grip of the whole thing has been Christ. I claim nothing for myself. It is his doing, not mine. If I had to choose again a thousand times, I would do exactly the same thing. Even in the darkest moments, I have never regretted it. That is of his mercy. When people say that I have given up a great deal, I tell them that I have not given up anything. I have received more from him than I can ever say. I would never have known God as my heavenly Father but for the revelation that has come to me in Christ. My entire experience issues out of this hold of Christ on me. Only the person of Christ gripped me and held me all these years right from the time I first read the New Testament. The one thing that means the most to me is the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. He is the one person I know who has no double motives. But everyone else has, and

somewhere in everyone's life there is a dark chapter; there is something of which everyone is ashamed. Every person hides things even from those who are the nearest and dearest to him. There are some things he will not share - some things he wants no one else to know about. There is at least one room that is locked and bolted from the inside. Christ is the only one who has no such room. He is the crystal-clear Christ, the ideal of perfect manhood. He is transparently real, a person in whom there is no playing at politics and diplomacy. I just cannot get away from this aspect of him in particular. The Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection are all of one piece. The Incarnation of the Son of God leads to such a life, the Crucifixion is the result of such a life, and the Resurrection is the logical sequence to such a life. Apart from that I have nothing. Who Christ is and what he has done constitute the beginning, middle, and end of my theology. All of us who are true believers in Christ are sinners saved by grace. None of us can claim superiority. Loyalty to Christ as demonstrated in our conduct is the essential thing. What ought to grieve us is the tragedy of people deliberately doing evil and setting themselves against Christ. I returned home a year after my father's punishment drove me away. When my father saw that I had become a Christian, he did his utmost to persuade me to return to Islam. That was a difficult experience and it is not easy for me to speak about it to this day. My father broke down and wept because it was such a shame for his son to become a Christian. But I didn't feel that it was out of real concern for me. It was rather that he, the father of the family, had a son who had fallen away from Islam. I was in tears as he talked with me, and my mother was sitting there crying too as we spoke about it. Then I didn't know what to do. I just closed my eyes. And with my mind's eye I saw the Lord on his cross. I asked myself, "Have I suffered more or has Christ?" There was no doubt in my mind. For me the paramount thing was the love of Christ and his indescribable suffering for me. In my heart I knew that I had no alternative but to cling to him. Once I had seen the light, I could not turn back. When one sees the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, then to whom shall he go? Only the highest and best is good enough for me, even though I fall short. And Christ is the highest and best, and in him are hid all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom. Christ is the focal point of all we can know of God. And most wonderful of all, he says that he will never leave me or forsake me - no matter how far short I come of pleasing him. This is all part of his free and abundant grace. And it is only by his grace that any of us can be accepted by God. The kingdom of God is something to which people are admitted because of their faith in Christ, regardless of race, age, color, and social position. One of the most difficult things a Muslim has to face when he comes to Christ is loneliness. He is rejected by his own people and sometimes he is not fully accepted by Christians. I taught in a college for forty years and for a few years I was the principal. When I was about to retire from that college, a man made the charge that I would go directly to a mosque and repeat the kalima. After I had taken a firm stand for Christ for so many years, there were still some who had doubts about the sincerity of my profession of faith in him. This kind of treatment is often what happens to a person who comes from a Muslim background to Christ. A certain degree of suspicion and mistrust are almost inevitable. And frequently one must stand alone - except for the Lord Jesus Christ who never abandons his own. Such an individual must be prepared to face many difficulties and problems regarding his relatives, home, fellowship, marriage, finances, and society in general. Christ must mean

so much to him that he is willing to consider everything else rubbish. And though this is not an easy path in some respects, it is the path of true certainty.

PERFECTION

He who has gazed on perfection Can afterwards never accept imperfection. He looks on the perfect beauty of the rose But takes the thorn into his breast Discontented, restless, nothing satisfies him. The after-image of the sun Blinds him to all lesser lights, The moon and the stars leave him cold; Even though he must greet The brilliant perfection from afar. O perfect Jesus! Love and Truth incarnate! How can I accept a lesser good Now that I have gazed on Thee, The noblest and the best? Everything is insipid, trivial, tawdry, Now that I have seen Thy matchless grace. All beauty palls but what reminds me Of Thy divine radiancy. Lord! help me to attain Something of that same loveliness . . . Thy love, which alone means redemption; That walking humbly by Thy side, Transformed by Thy Spirit, I may with Thee for ever abide.

THE RISEN CHRIST

Greet the Resurrection Morn with song; Lift high your voice, join the happy throng; Sing out the melody in your heart, The Risen Lord greets His friends apart. Greet the Risen Christ with joyful praise; Highest Hosannas to God we raise; Resplendent holiness, robed in right, Enthroned in praises, heart's true delight. Greet the Living Jesus, Lord of Life, Ever conquering the world of strife;

Eclipsed by death, now radiantly shine Clouds of Glory round His head Divine. Greet the Sun of Righteousness whose rays, Give life and healing to all our days; Harvest rich the Dying Grain has brought. Our eternal joy His blood has bought.

Epilogue:

The Meaning of the True Path


If you have read through this entire book, you were undoubtedly impressed by the moral and spiritual quality of the life-changing experiences recounted in each chapter. Yet you may not be clear in your own mind concerning the explanation of these experiences. Are they experiences that anyone can have in any religion? Are such experiences, as narrated in this book, subjective delusions? Do they have any basis in fact, that is, can we be sure that the foundations of such experiences are objectively and truly there? Is the object of their faith real or imaginary? It is natural for someone to resist beliefs and ways of life that are alien to his own background. It is also understandable if one looks with suspicion on the Christian faith when he has been taught that it is obsolete, having been superseded by a faith that is superior and final. Opposition or indifference to the Christian faith will be increased if one unknowingly substitutes a caricature for the real thing. There have been many individuals, churches, organizations, and movements that have claimed the name "Christian," but their actions have offended others because they violated Christ's spirit of love and humility. One should not lose the truth, however, because it has been misrepresented in deed and word by those whose claim is unfounded. In order for you to have a more adequate basis for understanding the Christian faith, I want to sketch the distinctive elements that define it as it truly is - apart from the distortions and misrepresentations that so often conceal its true nature. How is one to arrive at an objective and adequate understanding of the Christian faith? Certainly not by taking a church or an individual Christian as the standard according to which one proceeds to construct a comprehensive and full interpretation. No church or Christian believer completely embodies the meaning and reality of the Christian faith. There is only one place where the true nature of the Christian faith can be seen in its completeness and perfection, and that is in the Bible itself. And the central theme of the Bible is God revealing himself and redeeming man in the person of Jesus Christ who gave his life on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead. Every true Christian acknowledges that his life and the churches' doctrines and practices must be judged by the Bible, not vice versa. Unfortunately, most Muslims, from the time of Muhammad to the present, have been led to think of Christianity in terms of the sacramental* churches of Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. These groups are conspicuous examples of extreme departure from the teaching of the New Testament. Contrary to these churches, the Bible clearly teaches that there should be no idolatry (e.g., the elevation of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the level of deity* - Matthew 12:46-50), no images or icons in

worship (Exodus 20:3,4; John 4:24), no mediating "saints" (I Timothy 2:5), no priestly class and no religious distinctions among believers (I Peter 2:5; Matthew 23:1-12), no sacramentalism (John 6:63; I Peter 3:21), no use of force (e.g., the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition) and no alignment with worldly powers (John 18:36), no holy days and no sacred diets (Colossians 2:16), no holy places (John 4:20-26), and no monks and monasteries (I Corinthians 5:9,10; Colossians 2:23). It is understandable that Muhammad condemned various aspects of the "Christianity" he saw in the Arab world, for they were perversions of the true teaching of the Bible. If a Muslim, or anyone else, desires to know the truth about the Christian faith, he must not confuse it with the unbiblical traditions and notions of men.

THE BIBLE

What is the Bible? It is a book composed of sixty-six smaller books, ranging in size from one page to almost a hundred pages. These sixty-six books are divided into two main sections, the Old Testament (thirty-nine books) and the New Testament (twenty-seven books). [For a list of these books in the order they appear in the Bible, see Appendix A at the end of this book.] They were written by prophets and apostles who were inspired by God to convey his word to mankind. There were about forty such writers, beginning with Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible over three thousand years ago. While the writing of the Old Testament began at that time, its narrative begins with the creation of the world and significant subsequent events. Its historical account ends in the fifth century B.C.,* but its numerous prophecies span the ages in a graphic foreview that culminates in the second coming of the Messiah* and the final judgment. There was no additional prophetic voice from the fifth century B.C. until John the Baptist, who prophesied at the time of Jesus in the first half of the first century A.D.* By the end of the first century all twenty-seven books of the New Testament had been written. The books of the Bible claim to be the revelation of God, true and accurate from beginning to end. If one reads them carefully, it becomes evident that there is an integral unity that binds them together even though they come from different centuries and diverse cultures. As a result of painstaking textual and historical examination of the documents and sources of the Bible, scholars have established that it is reliable and trustworthy. [For a list of some recent, scholarly books on the truthfulness of the Bible, see Appendix C.] It has been shown that the writings of the New Testament are those of eyewitnesses or are based on testimonies of eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ. It is inconceivable that the all-powerful God who gave his revealed Word would fail to keep it from corruption. He not only had the power to reveal his words in the first place, he also has the power to preserve them forever - and he promised that he would: "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times over. You will keep them and preserve them, O Lord . . ." (Psalm 12:6,7a). What, then, does the Bible teach about the Christian faith? What is Christianity? How does one become a Christian? Can one know God apart from Christ? Is there any other way to be accepted by God both now and for eternity?

In his brief autobiography, Why I Became a Christian, Sultan Muhammad P. Khan expressed the key issue in these terms: . . . the question came to my mind: "Can one have confidence in this extraordinary claim of Christ?" I concluded that one could rest upon it, for in the first place, Christ is accepted by Muslims as sinless, glorious in this world and the next, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God. These and other such descriptives applied to Jesus indicate perfection. Secondly, according to Christians He is perfect God and perfect man, free from all base passions and worldly ambitions. Hence, it is impossible that Christ, who, according to both Muslims and Christians, possesses the highest qualities, would sin or do anything unworthy of Himself. (Gospel Literature Service: Bombay, India, pp. 26-27)

OUR NEED TO KNOW GOD

The Bible was not written merely to give man a theoretical knowledge about God or to satisfy his intellectual curiosity. While intellectual content and accurate information are an inseparable part of it, the Bible was given to bring man into a life-transforming, personal relationship with God. Who is the God that speaks in the Bible, and who is the God of whom the Bible speaks? Christ said: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). The consistent affirmation throughout the Bible is that God is not material, not composed of spatial parts or accessible to sensory experience - unless he chooses to manifest himself to man in that dimension (John 1:18; II Corinthians 5:19; I Timothy 3:15,16). To say he is spirit is also to affirm that he has personality, intelligence, and will. The Bible asserts that only God is eternal, without beginning and end (Psalm 90:2). He has made the whole universe and he sustains it entirely and in all of its parts. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). He also made man in his likeness: "And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). This act of creation established man's responsibility to God; the creature must give an account of himself to the Creator. It also laid the basis for relationship and fellowship; man as a personal being can enter into vital communication with a personal God. In the beginning, when man was created by God, he was without sin or defect. In making him in his image, however, God made him with the capacity for conscious choice. And he decided to test man's loyalty and devotion by giving him the opportunity to choose between obedience and disobedience to his will. The Bible tells how man deliberately chose to rebel against God (Genesis 3) and it describes the disastrous consequences of that choice (Romans 1-3). The Bible does not present any superficial notions about man's plight. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (John 8:34). Man does not have it in his own power to forgive his sin or to free himself from its bondage and guilt: "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature . . . For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing . . . When I want to do good, evil is right

there with me" (Romans 7:18,19,21). These are the words of Paul, an opponent and blasphemer of Jesus Christ at one time, but later converted and called to be one of his apostles.* His conscience became sensitive to his self-righteous pride, and in this new awareness of his own sinfulness, he cried out, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24,25). Shallow optimism about human nature is not found in the Bible. Not only is man capable of committing terrible crimes, he also reveals his wickedness by corrupt motives and thoughts: "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 7:21-23). The most serious of all the consequences of man's revolt against God is spiritual separation and estrangement from him. God is holy and perfect in his righteousness; one of the prophets speaks to God in these words: "Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and Thou canst not look on wickedness with favor" (Habakkuk 1:13). To rebellious man the Bible says: ". . . your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you" (Isaiah 59:2). Man was made to have fellowship with God and to enjoy his presence in a life of loving devotion to him. When man sinned, however, spiritual death resulted and he lost this ultimate good. "When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death" (James 1:15). The Bible teaches that human beings are dead in transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1), because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This death is separation from God, now and forever - unless God's one remedy is accepted. Only if we have a correct diagnosis of man's condition will we understand the radical nature of the cure required. If one has a malignant tumor in the brain, an aspirin will not remove it or prevent death. Surgery is needed. What man needs to remedy his spiritual plight is not ethical precepts, moral commands, or ceremonial prescriptions. These are merely cosmetic and fail to reach the root of the problem. Man's most desperate need is to have his rebellion turned into love, his sin forgiven and cleansed, his inner being morally transformed, his guilt replaccd with the declaration of God's acquittal and imputed righteousness,* his wayward will brought into conformity with the will of God, his despair conquered by an assured hope, his broken relationship with God healed and restored, his life raised from the grave of spiritual death. These are not mere figures of speech; they refer to the realities of man's predicament. Nothing less than this is required if man is to experience wholeness and the ultimate fulfillment of the meaning of his existence. There must be an effective means of justifying man while at the same time preserving the justice of God. There must be a way for man to have new life, hope, love, and power to transform him at the roots of his being and bring him into intimate and vital fellowship with God. Since the first act of sinful rebellion on the part of man, the natural state of all men is spiritual estrangement from God. This estrangement is accompanied hy spiritual blindness, an inability to properly understand the truth of God. This is evidenced in both gross and subtle forms of idolatry, the worship of the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18-32). The worship of many gods is as wrong as the denial of the reality of the one true God. The Bible is consistently clear that there is only one God, not two or three or a million: "The Lord is our

God, the Lord is one!" (Deuteronomy 6:4). "Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, he is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other" (Deuteronomy 4:39). The New Testament is just as clear as the Old Testament: ". . . there is but one God" (I Corinthians 8:6). Atheism is the denial of the truth of God's reality. Polytheism is the denial of the truth that there is only one God. The Christian faith is uncompromising in its insistence that there is no less and no more than one true God, "for from him and through him and to him are all things" (Romans 11:36). To worship anything or anyone other than the one true God is idolatry. In fact, to fail to love God with one's total being is to break the first and greatest commandment, and to fail to love your neighbor as yourself is to disobey the second commandment (Matthew 22:36-39). Apart from Christ, every human being has failed to keep these commandments, and the Bible teaches that "whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point, is guilty of breaking all of it" (James 2:10). The whole world is guilty before God, and this means that we are in need of divine deliverance from our tragic condition (Romans 3:19,20).

OUR NEED OF FORGIVENESS

The Bible tells us that the commandments of God were given to show us that we are sinners, that we have broken his law, and that we have rebelled against his love (Romans 3:20). And there are no exceptions to this. Every human being has sinned and has fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23), so that "there is none righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10). Since we are not perfectly righteous as God is, and since our evil thoughts and actions come from within us, how can we be forgiven for our sinful failures? How can we have our guilt removed? How can we be reconciled to God? How can we overcome the downward-pull of our evil passions? How can we find genuine fulfillment and meaning in our lives? The Bible gives a clear answer to these questions. First, it is emphatic that no one can earn these things from God. It cannot be of works or human effort, otherwise men would have some basis for boasting before God (Ephesians 2:8,9). This is a subtle form of pride, called self-righteousness, and God rejects the proud. If a person trusts in his own character, then, he is both proud and foolish. He is proud, because he thinks he is good enough to be accepted by a holy God. He is foolish, because he thinks that his character is good in the sight of God. He errs by making the evaluation of others or his own self-evaluation the criterion for determining God's judgment of him (II Corinthians 10:12,18). No matter what others think of us or what we think of ourselves, the judgment of God is according to truth and righteousness - and it is final. Nothing keeps us from knowing the truth about ourselves and about God more than our pride - which he always condemns (James 4:6). While many are deceived by the self-righteous pride that offers one's own character before God as meriting his acceptance, there are others who place their ultimate confidence in religious works. They err in thinking that the avoidance of evil actions and the performance of good ones, including certain religious acts of devotion, will bring them forgiveness and acceptance with God. Once Jesus told about two men who wanted to pray to God. One was a Pharisee, a very strict religious devotee, and the other was a tax collector, a man despised by most of his countrymen. The Pharisee said this when he prayed: "God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice

a week and give a tenth of all my income" (Luke 18:11,12). But the tax collector would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, "but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner'" (Luke 18:13). Jesus said that the Pharisee was not accepted by God because he trusted in himself and his deeds. By thinking he was righteous, he was exalting himself in pride before God (Luke 18:14). Thus, when there is external conformity to religious requirements (even those given by God), one's heart may be far from God. Christ spoke of such persons when he said, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (Matthew 15:8). It is impossible for fasting and praying, giving alms and doing works of charity to give man acceptance with God, for "all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment" (Isaiah 64:6). Forgiveness cannot be bought. Love cannot be earned. Acceptance cannot be merited. Man's refusal to admit this is itself a form of pride. Yet people all over the world strive to accumulate "good works" in order to gain entrance into God's presence. They continue to trust in pilgrimages and fasts, prayers and rituals, holy places and holy chants. They seek to create a balance of "good deeds" over evil deeds, hoping that by that means, on the day of judgment, they will be received into God's kingdom. But this represents a serious misunderstanding of God, righteousness, sin, forgiveness, human nature, and divine judgment. How, then, can you and I be forgiven by God? How can we know him and experience the new life that he alone can give ? Seeing that man is not able to do the will of God merely if he knows what it is, and seeing that man has an inner bias toward evil, how can he be changed at the roots of his being so as to be enabled to love and obey God from the heart? Every human being needs forgiveness, for all of us have offended God by doing what we should not do and by leaving undone what we should do. But only those who are honest and humble enough to admit their failure will truly acknowledge their need for forgiveness. Those who are self-righteous have an unwarranted self-satisfaction, and it is difficult for them to see their needy condition before God. When one truly senses his sinfulness and sincerely believes he is a sinner before God, he becomes open to the reality of God's forgiveness. If we are to know God and have fellowship with him both now and in eternity, we must be forgiven by him. Even on a human level forgiveness is necessary when we have offended someone. There can be no genuine acceptance and fellowship when a relationship is broken by an offense. All sin is against God, and the deepest meaning of sin is not merely that we have broken the law of God but that we have offended him by our rejection of his love and authority. Since God is absolutely holy and righteous, he cannot ignore sin. He must deal with it; he must judge it. It is a barrier that must be removed if man is to enter into a personal relationship with God. If the sinner cannot be forgiven until the last judgment, then no one can have fellowship with God now, and prayers in this life are not heard by God. God would compromise his righteousness if he accepted the sinner in his unforgiven state. Moreover, since God cannot accept man's efforts and works as a means of forgiveness, there is no basis for the expectation that forgiveness may be granted at the last judgment. If it is a manifestation of human pride to appeal to works as meritorious in this life, it is equally so at the judgment throne of God.

While it is true that God is all-powerful, it is also true that God is all-righteous. It would be as wrong to compromise the righteousness of God as it would be to compromise his power. For God to forgive sin without vindicating his righteousness would be for him to become an accomplice with the sinner in his sin. God would be an unjust judge, acquitting the guilty without providing for the penalty of his sin. It is impossible for a perfectly righteous God to declare the sinner righteous unless the penalty is paid and the basis for righteousness is provided. Man needs forgiveness because he is responsible for the sin that he has introduced into God's world. To attribute the cause of sin to God is to deny that he is righteous. God does not tempt anyone with evil (James 1:13). If God were the author of evil, then he would be less than perfect and he could not be trusted to keep his word or do anything that he promises. Any view that compromises his righteous character removes the basis of forgiveness and acceptance with God. What kind of assured hope can one have with an imperfect and untrustworthy God?

HOW GOD PROVIDES FORGIVENESS

How can a righteous God declare the sinner righteous and yet remain righteous himself? This can be done only if the penalty of sin is paid, not in theory or in word but in fact and in reality. The penalty of sin in death, that is, spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. Spiritual death is the separation of a person from God's fellowship; it is the lack of personal relationship with God in the experience of his love and presence. Physical death is not only the termination of our earthly existence, it is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. Eternal death is the unending separation of the sinner from the presence of God. Both physical and eternal death are the result of spiritual death. How can the penalty of sin be paid? It cannot be paid by any finite or merely human act, such as works, rituals, ceremonies, almsgiving, pilgrimages, fasts, self-mortification, etc. The penalty is an infinite one because the guilt incurred stems from rebellion against an infinite and holy God. No finite act or finite offering can provide the grounds of forgiveness and restoration to God. To bear the penalty oneself is to be eternally doomed. How, then, can a penalty of infinite consequences be paid? The Bible teaches that (1) there is one God, (2) God's being is a unity, (3) the divine unity is complex, (4) God is righteous, and (5) God is love. The only infinite being is God. Therefore, if the penalty of sin is to be removed from man, and if that penalty has infinite consequences, only God is able to bear it. That the penalty must be borne is required by the fact that God is absolutely righteous. That God wants the penalty to be removed from man follows from the fact that God is love, that is, God personally, intimately, truly cares about us. How can God bear the penalty of sin that justly falls on us? The central message of the Bible is that God has come, literally and historically, into the world as a human being. His love is so great that he decided to come into the very midst of human suffering and need. His power is so great that he was able to enter the human race as an infant born of a virgin, as foretold by Isaiah the prophet in the eighth century B.C.: "The Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel"

(Isaiah 7:14). How could this be? The key is found in the nature of the unity which characterizes God's being. The only way we can know about the nature of God is by revelation. Human speculation is incapable of determining it. God's revelation in the Bible indicates that his being is a unity, but it distinguishes between simple and complex unity. When the Bible states that "the Lord is one" (Deuteronomy 6:4), the original word for "one" indicates a composite unity - for example, as a bunch of grapes is "one" and yet at the same time has a plurality of grapes within it. That is one kind of complex unity. One solitary grape, in contradistinction to the bunch of grapes, would be an example of simple unity. The complex unity of God's being consists in the fact that, while there is only one God, there is personal differentiation within the being of God. The Bible speaks of the one true God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - not as mere names alternately used for God but as eternally real distinctions in the nature of God's unitary being (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14 )* * For passages front the Bible on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, see Appendix B. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are organically one, equal in essence, power, and dignity. When the Father acts, it is God who acts. When the Son acts, it is God who acts. When the Holy Spirit acts, it is God who acts. There is perfect oneness and harmony in the triune being of God, and in every action there is complete agreement. God so loved the world that he decided to come into the world in the person of his Son and thereby take the penalty of the world's sin on himself (John 1:29; 3:16). When the Bible speaks of Christ as the Son of God, it does not mean that he was brought into being or that he was created by God. It does not mean that Jesus was produced by God as the result of physical procreation. He is called the Son of God because of his eternal relation to the Father and the Holy Spirit - three persons in one being, not three beings or three gods. Whenever God reveals himself to man, he does so in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says that no one has seen God at any time but that his Son has manifested him (John 1:18). Since God is personal, the highest and fullest revelation of him must be personal. Since the persons of the Trinity share the same being, Christ could say, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) and "he who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). The same kind of distinction in persons and identification in being is seen in Christ's relationship to the Holy Spirit. Shortly before he went to the cross to die, Christ told his disciples, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18). In this instance, he is referring to the Holy Spirit, as the context indicates: "... the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). The doctrine of the Trinity, properly understood according to the teaching of the Bible, bears the marks of divine revelation, for it is unlikely that man would have ever invented it. In Christ's life of love, compassion, purity, righteousness, and humility, the reality of God's character is demonstrated. He humbled himself and came into the world in a lowly way (Philippians 2:5-9), born into a simple and unpretentious home. The Son of God did not merely come in the outward form of a man, he actually became a human being while retaining his divine nature. And yet he identified with the poor and the downtrodden. He cared about the oppressed and the rejected. He healed the sick, restored withered limbs, gave sight to the blind, imparted hearing to the deaf, brought wholeness to the paralytic, cleansed the leper, lifted the downcast, raised the dead, and forgave the sinner. His contemporaries

marveled and said that no one had ever spoken with such authority and graciousness (John 7:46; Luke 4:22). Even those who did not accept his claims admitted that they could find no guilt in him (John 19:4). He was not only faultless and perfect in every respect, he was also the decisive and final revelation of God. It could not have been otherwise, because he is the eternal Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-3). Although Jesus Christ came to reveal God to man, that was not the only purpose for which he came. He himself said that he came "to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). He repeatedly foretold his own death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave three days later (Matthew 16:21). When he first told his disciples that he was going to be crucified, they could not understand it or accept it. They thought it was not fitting that he, the Messiah and Son of the living God, should die on the cross. Jesus replied that the denial of his death was not from God but from Satan (Matthew 16:16-23). In fact, Jesus said that he must be killed and raised from the dead for the sake of others (John 12:24-33). And yet he made it clear that his death would be a voluntary act, freely chosen by his own decision. He says that no one can take his life from him but that he lays down his life on his own initiative and he takes it up again by his own power (John 10:17,18). Christ's death on the cross is graphically presented in the New Testament. In fact, more attention is given to his sufferings, death, and resurrection than to any other event in his earthly life. And there are four historical documents - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - that attest the factuality and circumstances of these events. These are eyewitness accounts that together fulfill the requirements of an important legal principle: "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (II Corinthians 13:1). The death and resurrection of Christ are also referred to hundreds of times throughout the New Testament and in extra-biblical literature as well. Central to the Christian faith is the gospel, that is the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, just as the Old Testament foretold it (I Corinthians 15:1-4).*
For a list of some of the Old Testament prophecies that have been fulfilled in Christ, see Appendix B.

A Sufi scholar from India, J.A. Subhan, placed his faith in Christ when he came to understand the meaning of the gospel. In his autobiograplly, How a Sufi Found his Lord, he records these reflections:
It is true that Muslims have peculiar difficulties in accepting Christianity. Islam, coming after Christ, takes cognizance of His claims and then categorically denies them. It claims not only to correct but to supersede Christianity. It is for this reason that the objections of a Muslim to Christianity are of a different nature than those of the followers of other religions. I was aware of these, but since my reading of the gospel, I was not troubled by them. The gospel at its very first perusal inspired me with a new sense of confidence in the veracity of the Christian religion, and I was perfectly willing to ignore what others said about it. I have come to believe, for instance, that the term Son for Jesus could never mean what the Muslims have asserted in their objection, and I was quite confident that the Christians who derived their faith from the Injil (Gospel) never held that God needed a wife to beget a son! Similarly, I believed that the doctrine of the Trinity could never be interpreted on the basis of the crude and materialistic plurality as was implied by the Muslims in their objectors to it. In fact, I had come to the conclusion that as the Muslims have proved themselves to be mistaken as to the nature of the current New Testament by calling it corrupted, spurious and

Satanic, so in their opinion as to the forms of Christian belief they must also be wrong. If the Maulvies were flagrantly mistaken in their views of the Christian Scriptures, how could they be relied on regarding what they said and taught as to the nature of the Christian beliefs? (The Lucknow Publishing House: Lucknow, India, pp. 25-26)

WHY DID JESUS DIE?

Why did Christ give his life on the cross? There are two questions implicit in this one. First, what motivated him to give his life? And secondly, what was the purpose for which he gave his life? The Bible gives an explicit answer to both of these questions. Christ was motivated by love. The Bible teaches that God is love (I John 4:8). It also says, "No one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). How do we know that God loves us? We know his love by this, that he laid down his life for us (I John 3:16). He does not limit his love to a particular nation or race. It is universal, for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (John 3:16). This love is for all human beings, for God desires all men to respond to his love and to come to a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). God's love is unconditional and prior to all else: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). No one naturally loves God, and it is always God who loves us first (I John 4:19). And his love is not theoretical, but genuine and active. He proves and communicates his love in taking the initiative to reconcile estranged man by giving himself on the cross. His love is effective in removing barriers and restoring relationships that have been broken by sinful rebellion against him. His love is unfailing and eternal. God's love is not separate from justice, however. Christ died for us because he loves us, and also because God's righteousness necessitates a sufficient sacrifice for sin. To be sure, God does not compel man to turn from sin to him. He allows man to make his own choices and to bear the consequences of those choices. This is the way of his love - to refrain from coercion. But he must deal with sin, because sin destroys our relationship with him and with others. His wrath is directed against sin because he is righteous and loving. Since he is righteous, he will not compromise with sin but will see that the just penalty of sin is paid. Since he is loving, he does not want man to destroy himself by sin. He wants to free us from guilt and condemnation. He wants to liberate us from the bondage and power of sin. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). This is the purpose for which Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. He bore the penalty of our sin that we might be forgiven and accepted by God for time and eternity. Without the death and resurrection of Christ no one could be forgiven or brought into fellowship with God. Just as God's nature makes it impossible for him to lie, so his nature makes it impossible for him to forgive and accept a sinner without the penalty of sin being paid and the barrier of sin being removed. To believe that God arbitrarily forgives sin is to think of him as unrighteous, and in fact it is to make him an accomplice with man in his evil. If a judge unjustly acquits a criminal, he thereby becomes implicated in his crime. God cannot be unjust. He can acquit a sinner and declare him righteous only when the guilt is

justly removed. That is the only way God could be just and at the same time justify the sinner - and we are all sinners (Romans 3:23-26). If Jesus Christ had been a mere man, he would have been a sinner. For there is no human being who is righteous (Romans 3:10). And if Christ had been a sinner, he could not have given his life as a ransom for anyone. He would have his own guilt and punishment to bear. He would need a savior. But the unanimous attestation of his contemporaries both friends and enemies, was that he was without sin. The Bible affirms that Christ never sinned in thought, word, or deed. Even those who lived with him for three years asserted this (Acts 3:14; I Peter 2:22; I John 3:5; II Corinthians 5:21). If Christ had been only a perfect man or mere prophet, his life could not have been given to redeem the world. As we have seen, the Bible teaches that the penalty of sin is infinite, because it is separation from the infinite God for all eternity under his wrath (John 3:36; Matthew 25:46). No merely finite being, no matter how special and great his calling and position in the created order, could have the inherent value in his person to effect reconciliation between God and man. Every being other than God is created. Every created being is finite. If Christ were not truly and fully divine in his person - if he had not been God manifest in the flesh - then he could not have given his life to redeem a sinful humanity. His death could not determine man's relationship to God. But because he is the all-powerful, allloving God who made this universe (John 1:1-3), the giving of his life on the cross has infinite value. It is often asked how Christ could die if he is God. Can God die? No, God cannot die, but man can and does die. This is why he was incarnated and became a genuine man, without surrendering his deity (John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9). Only in this way could he suffer and die for man (Hebrews 1:8; 2:14-17). Only in the light of the cross can we have a true understanding of the love and righteousness of God. And only in terms of Christ's death can we understand the depth and seriousness of man's sin and guilt. There is no other way to know God and be accepted by him than through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). Sultan Muhammad P. Khan states the uniqueness of the Christian faith in these words of personal testimony: Christ gave his life for us sinners. This is a marvelous way to which the world can show no counterpart. Scores of men have founded religions in this world, but no one of them claimed that his death will serve for the forgiveness of sins. Christ alone not only made this claim but also fulfilled it . . . The picture of Christ and His love for men made an indelible impression on my heart. But while I was absorbed in this ecstasy, another question came to my mind: "What was the need of Christ's sacrifice and atonement? Could He not have given salvation without giving His life?" After a little further thought I found the answer to this also: God is both merciful and just. If Christ had promised salvation without giving His life, the demands of mercy would certainly have been fulfilled. In order to satisfy the demands of justice also, Christ paid the ransom, which was His precious blood. In this way God has manifested His love for us. "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I John 4:10).

In short, I continued my investigation in the New Testament, and read it several times from beginning to end. In the course of this reading I found hundreds of verses and scores of parables which proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that salvation (which is the very heart and purpose of religion) is available only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Why I Became a Christian, Gospel Literature Service: Bombay India, pp. 27-28) There is no person other than Christ who is both God and man - God from eternity to eternity and man from the moment of his incarnation. There is no other person who has taken the sins of the world on himself. There is no one else who has given his life and shed his blood as the ransom for sin. He alone is the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep (John 10:11). There is no mediator between God and men but Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5). Therefore, one's attitude toward Jesus Christ is the touchstone by which his eternal destiny is determined: "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist - he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (I John 2:22,23). Therefore, it is impossible to know and serve the true God apart from genuine trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Bible. "Now this is eternal life: that men may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3).

CHRIST IS NOW ALIVE

The proof of Christ's claims and the evidence that he is the Son of God whose crucifixion avails to bring men to God is found in his resurrection from the dead. For he "was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). His resurrection was also at the center of the apostles' preaching. And they proclaimed it not only because his burial tomb was found empty on the third day after his death, but also because he personally and bodily appeared to them for a period of forty days after he was raised from the dead (Acts 1:3; I Corinthians 15:1-8; I John 1:1-3; Luke 24:33-48). This is the glorious message of the Bible: Christ has conquered sin and death, and he is alive and able to save forever those who come to God through him, because he always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25). Since he has died for our sins and has risen from the dead, and is alive now, he has the power to break the chains of evil habits and to defeat the overpowering mastery of sin in the human heart. Christ made no empty claim when he said, "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36), or when he said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). When one sincerely opens his heart to Christ and invites him in (Revelation 3:20), a supernatural change takes place at the roots of his being. This is what the Bible calls being "born from above" (John 3:3) or being "born of God" (John 1:12,13). Thus, the individual who places his entire trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is brought into a living relationship with God. He also experiences a moral and spiritual transformation that changes his desires so that he wants to please God - not out of a fear of punishment but out of love and gratitude for the free gift of salvation in Christ. When one receives Christ into his life, Christ truly comes to dwell in his heart by the Holy Spirit. And this indwelling of the Holy Spirit changes the individual on the inside so that he has a new inner power to please God (Romans 8:9; John 14:16,17; Romans 5:5; I Corinthians

6:9-11,19,20). This change in a person's life is so deep and permanent that the Bible says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (II Corinthians 5:17). While perfection is not experienced by any of us in this life, the pattern of our behavior is changed by faith in Christ. One of the greatest benefits that the believer in Christ has is the present assurance of his permanent and unfailing acceptance by God. The New Testament states it clearly:
Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (I John 5:10-13)

The person who places his trust in Christ does not have to wait until death or until the day of judgment to know that he is accepted by God. Since Christ has paid the full penalty of sin for us, one cannot perform one good deed to add to the completed work of redemption accomplished on the cross. And since there is no place for merit, there is no reason to be in doubt as to the balance of good deeds over evil deeds. Good deeds can have nothing to do with salvation. They are the outward demonstration of the reality of the transforming power of Christ who indwells the Christian believer. Forgiveness of sin and acceptance with God are by his grace (i.e., God's undeserved love) in Christ, and that is different from every system of works and self-effort (Romans 4:4,5; 11:6). Therefore, whenever anyone receives Christ as Savior and Lord, he can know, precisely at that moment, that he belongs to him for time and eternity. Nothing can destroy that bond of relationship with the living God through Christ: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27,28). For the true believer in Christ there is no fear of the day of judgment, because Christ has borne that judgment (II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 3:18). There can be no condemnation for the one who trusts in Christ (Romans 8:1). And nothing can separate us from the love of God which is given to us in Christ (Romans 8:31-39). It is no wonder, then, that the genuine believer in Christ has joy that is inexpressible and full of glory (I Peter 1:8) and peace that surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, two matters need special emphasis. First, this personal, joyous, life-changing relationship to God is the experience of only those who place their unreserved trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. The majority of those who call themselves "Christians" are merely nominal in their profession of faith, that is, they have not personally committed themselves to Christ as Savior and Lord. Nominal "Christians" are in the same condition before God as all other people. They are without God and without hope in the world. They need to know the living God through Christ just as everyone else does. To be born in a Christian family does not make one a true believer. This is the chief explanation of the fact that many people who call themselves Christians do not demonstrate the pattern of life and conduct that is consistent

with the teaching of the New Testament. It is also the reason why the so-called Christian West is not truly Christian. A relatively small number of people in the West are true believers in Christ. Becoming a Christian does not make one a Westerner any more than being a Westerner makes one a Christian. Now, dear reader, I want to speak to you on a very personal level. Perhaps you have received a glimpse of the truth of God's love for you in Christ, but you are hesitating to trust him and commit yourself to him because you are afraid of the consequences. Your family and society may disown you and persecute you. You may think that it will cost too much in the way of suffering for you to acknowledge Christ as your Savior and Lord. But in reality it will cost you far more if you do not commit your life to him, for the consequences are eternal. This is why Christ said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36). And what he said of Judas, who betrayed him, can be applied to everyone who refuses to believe in Christ: "It would be better for him if he had not been born" (Mark 14:21). The important question is this: Do you love truth more than anything else - more than your family, friends, national identity, traditions, and biases? Do you love truth more than falsehood and error, more than sin and evil, more than lust and pleasure? The Bible warns that people will "perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:10). Christ said that if anyone is willing to do the will of God, he will come to know the truth (John 7:17). Are you thoroughly sincere and earnest about your relationship to God? He loves you and invites you to experience his fellowship through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have that opportunity now, but it will not last forever. The Bible solemnly warns us against the postponement of commitment to Christ (Proverbs 27:1; 29:1; II Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7). For the one who rejects Christ, there is no hope or opportunity beyond this life, for "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Genuine faith in Christ requires that you turn from sinful rebellion and false concepts to the true and living God (I Thessalonians 1:9). Christ alone can give you the power to live for God in loving and sacrificial service to others. Christ did not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45), and the same attitude will be evident in the daily activities and relationships of his followers. And if one is truly Christ's disciple, he will face suffering, for "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (II Timothy 3:12). In that suffering, however, God's comfort, power, and wisdom will be experienced in a profound way (II Corinthians 1:3,4; 12:9,10; James 1:1-5; I Peter 4:16). You can take every problem to God in prayer, for he is concerned about your total life - spiritual, moral, mental, emotional, physical, and social (I Peter 5:7). He loves you and wants your joy to be full (John 15:11; I John 1:4), and that is why he has promised that whatever you ask in the name of Christ and for the glory of God you will receive (John 14:13; 16:24). Will you call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer and trust in him right now? If so, you will understand why Sultan Muhammad P. Khan makes the following affirmation:
Listen to me, my friends. What I have explained to you is not something which is superficial and fabricated. It is a matter which is certain and decisive, based on years of investigation . . . At that time I promised God that henceforth I would read the Holy Bible, not as I had read it previously but as a seeker after truth, so that the way of truth and righteousness might be

revealed to me. Accordingly, setting aside prejudice and philosophical quibbling, I compared with one another the Avesta, Satyarth Prakash, the Bible, and the Quran. I came to the conclusion that salvation is to be found in Christ only. (Why I Became a Christian, Gospel Literature Service: Bombay, India, pp. 29-30)

Christ is willing to come into your life and make you a new person if you humble yourself and confess that you are a sinner in need of him who is the only one who loved you so much that he died for you and rose again. He will accept you and transform you, for "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). If you will make this commitment now, please write to us and tell us. We will do our best to put you into contact with other true believers in Christ so that you can be part of their joyous fellowship. At the end of this book is an "Inquiry Page" that can be filled out and sent to the address at the bottom. If you have prayed to God and asked Christ to become your Savior and Lord, please indicate it by marking the appropriate box. We will send you additional literature that will help you to grow in your new life in Christ. Or it may be that you have some questions that you need answered before you can decide to commit your life to Christ. Please send us your questions, and we will correspond with you. And if you do not have a New Testament but would like to study it for yourself, please indicate that by checking the box, and we will send you a copy that you may keep.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 6:1-11

The New Testament

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns7 Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all the day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 The New Testament
Glossary

A.D.: Anno Domini, Latin term meaning "in the year of the Lord." History's great divide is the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. Thus, A.D. is used to indicate that a date is after the birth of Christ. APOSTLES: The word "apostle" comes from the Greek term that means "one sent out." The main use of the word in the Bible is in reference to the twelve men Jesus called and sent out to act in his name (Luke 6:13). They were also his special witnesses after he was raised from the dead. lt was necessary for them to have been with Jesus from the beginning of his public ministry until the time he returned to heaven so that they could be firsthand witnesses of what he said and did, and especially of his crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 1:21-26). In addition to the twelve apostles, Christ appeared in his resurrection body to Paul and he made him the special apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9; I Corinthians 15:1-10). It was through the apostles that the good news about Christ was taken to the world of the first century and some of them were used by God to complete the writing of his revelation, that is, the New Testament (John 16:12-15; 17:14-20). B.C.: These letters, which mean "before Christ," are used to indicate that a date is prior to the coming of Christ into the world at his birth. BAPTIZED, BAPTIZE, BAPTISM: To be baptized is to publicly acknowledge one's faith in Christ as Savior and Lord by being immersed in water (or in some instances, by having water placed on the head). Since acceptance with God is based solely on trust in the person of Christ who died for our sins and rose from the dead, water baptism is only a sign or outward

indication of one's faith. It is not necessary for salvation (I Corinthians 1:10-18; 15:1-4). Water baptism should be distinguished from other kinds of baptism mentioned in the New Testament. For instance, the term is sometimes used to indicate spiritual identification with Christ by being incorporated into the organic unity or one body of all true believers in him (Ephesians 4:5). This spiritual baptism has nothing to do with water for it is accomplished by the Holy Spirit at the instant one believes in Christ (Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 12:12,13). BIBLE: The Old and New Testaments which consist of 39 books and 27 books respectively. The 66 books of the Bible vary in size from one page to almost a hundred pages. The English word "Bible" comes from the Greek term which means "book." The Bible is the divinely inspired record of God's revelation, and as such it is the final authority for both faith and practice. The Bible teaches its own completeness (Revelation 22:18,19) and sufficiency (II Timothy 3:16,17). Portions of the Bible have been translated into 1400 languages, many of which have all of it. CHRIST: "The anointed one," that is, the one whose coming was foretold in the Old Testament. The word "Christ" is from the Greek christos which is the equivalent of the Aramaic and Hebrew terms for messiah. Jesus fulfilled the specific identifying characteristics of the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament and his followers recognized this and proclaimed it (Matthew 16:13-17; Acts 2:36). CHRISTIAN: "Christ's ones," that is, believers in Christ. In Acts 11:26 it says that "the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." The word is often misused today, for it is frequently applied to people in the West simply because they are Westerners or because they are not Muslims or Hindus or Jews, etc. The fact is that many of the one billion people in the world who are considered Christians are so only nominally, that is, they have never truly placed their faith in Christ so that their lives have been morally and spiritually transformed. They need to turn from their sin and selfishness to Christ as much as any atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Parsee, Jew, etc. The word "Christian" should not be applied to Westerners alone any more than it should be applied to all Westerners. There are true Christians found in almost every nation in the world, and many, if not most, of them are nonWesterners. CHURCH: Believers in Christ collectively, either universally - that is, all believers from the day of the church's beginning (Acts 2) to the day ot Christ's return which is still in the future (John 14:2,3; Acts 1:10,11; Ephesians 5:25-27) or locally - that is, the assembly of believers meeting in any particular place, whether in a home, a building, or in the open air (I Thessalonians 1:1; Philemon 1,2). The word "church" comes from the Greek kuriakon, which means "the Lord's." In the New Testament, however, the Greek word which is translated "church" is ekkleisia, meaning "a gathering" or "assembly." It is never used of a building or a politicized institution. The church in the New Tcstament is a living fellowship of believers in Christ who are seeking to serve him and to minister in love to mankind. Every believer is exhorted to meet with other believers in Christ for mutual encouragement and growth (Hebrews 10:25). It is to be noted that many so-called churches today have strayed from the teaching of the Bible, so that their beliefs and practices reflect mere human tradition and the commandments of men rather than the Word of God (Mark 7:9,13; I Timothy 4:1,2; II Timothy 3:1-5; 4:3,4; Revelation 3:14-21). CROSS: The upright beam or stake on which people were executed in the ancient world, especially by the Romans. Jesus was put to death by this means, and a proportionately large

section of the gospel accounts narrates the event. In certain contexts the word "cross" is used to refer to the redeeming death of Christ that is, what he did to reconcile us to God by giving his life freely and out of love for us. The apostles speak about the "message of the cross" (I Corinthians 1:18-31) as an abbreviated way to refer to the central events that constitute the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4). CRUCIFIXION: Execution on a cross. In the context of the Christian faith, it refers to the death of Christ on a cross. Crucifixion was a form of execution that was primarily reserved for the worst criminals. Therefore, the willingness of Christ to give his life for the sins of the world by this means indicates his amazing humility and his willingness to identify with the lowest human beings. His crucifixion does not mean that God was defeated or that God is weak because he allowed Jesus to die at the hands of wicked men. Some of the prophets of Old Testament times became martyrs by violent deaths, and in the New Testament one can find the account of the brutal beheading of the Prophet Yahya, or John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). But that did not mean that God was weak or unable to deliver them. No one is stronger than God. It is a question of God's will. Out of his love for us, and with the voluntary, self-giving love of Christ, God demonstrated his power by the crucifixion. To sacrifice oneself for another requires great strength. "Love is as strong as death" (Song of Solomon 8:6), and there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for the sake of others (John 15:13). The crucifixion reveals how much God loves us (I John 3:16; 4:9,10). Christ's resurrection showed that he is stronger than death, and that his death was voluntary (John 10:18; Romans 1:3,4). DEITY: The essential nature of God. It is blasphemous and idolatrous to use the word "deity" in reference to a mere creature, such as Mary, the mother of Jesus. "The deity of Christ" is a term that indicates that Christ's nature is divine from all eternity, although he took on human nature at his incarnation - while still retaining his deity (John 1:1,14,18). This use of the term is not blasphemous for it is not the attempt to make a creature the Creator or a mere man God. The question of blasphemy or idolatry can only be settled on the basis of the revealed nature of God. If God is not only one but a complex oneness of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then it is blasphemy to deny the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. The fundamental question, then, is: What is the nature of God according to divine revelation? (Deuteronomy 29:29; John 1:18). EVANGELISTIC: This word is based on the Greek term, euaggelion, which means "good news," and which is often translated "gospel" in the New Testament. "Evangelistic" refers to the proclamation of the good news of Christ's redeeming crucifixion and resurrection, and an "evangelist" is one who proclaims this message to those who are not believers so that they will understand God's message and turn from their sin and unbelief to faith in Christ (Ephesians 4:11; II Timothy 4:5). FATHER: When used in reference to God, this term designates the first person of the Trinity. The notion that God begets children is not found in the Bible, and the term "Father" has no reference to such an alleged act. Since God is spirit, he does not enter into conjugal relations and he does not sexually reproduce. Such an idea is blasphemous and ridiculous and utterly opposed to the Bible. In the Old Testament, God is spoken of as Father with reference to the fact that he is the Creator of angels and men (Job 1:6; Malachi 2:10) and to indicate that he cares for men, especially the people of God, as a loving father (Isaiah 1:2; II Samuel 7:14; Psalm 103:13). A primary use of the term in the New Testament indicates the unique, eternal relation in which Christ stands to him (Matthew 11:27; John 3:16, 17:1-26). Also

when one believes in Christ, God becomes his father, for he creates a new nature within the believer and a new relationship is effected (John 1:12,13; Galatians 4:6; I John 1:3; 3:1; Hebrews 12:7-10). GOSPEL: This term translates the New Testament Greek, euaggelion, which means "good news." The gospel is summarized in I Corinthians 15:1-4. It is constituted by both the person of Christ and the facts of his sacrificial, redeeming death, burial, and resurrection as the only way to God (Acts 4:12). In Romans 1:16, the gospel of Christ is said to be the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. GRACE: This is the important New Testament word that refers to God's love in Christ giving us the very opposite of what we deserve. Our sin and rebellion deserve God's judgment and wrath, but God comes to us in Christ because he loves us and wants us reconciled to him and he wants our fellowship eternally. "Grace" indicates what Christ has freely done for us by coming into the world, being born as a human being, dying on the cross, and rising from the dead so that we might be forgiven and accepted by God (John 1:14,17; II Corinthians 8:9). It also emphasizes the fact that forgiveness and acceptance with God cannot be merited or earned, but that they are given freely, on the basis of Christ's substitutionary death for us (Romans 3:23,24) It is not by works of any kind that we perform that we can enter into God's fellowship but only by undeserved love, known and experienced in Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9). Grace is exclusive, therefore, so that attempts to offer our works to God for salvation are incompatible with it. No one can be accepted with God on the basis of his efforts, character, or religiosity, for these fall in the category of works, which are irreconcilably opposed to God's grace (Romans 10:3,4; 11:6) when one trusts in them for salvation (Titus 3:5). INCARNATION: "In the flesh," that is, Christ has come in the flesh, as a genuine human being (John 1:1,14; Romans 8:3; I Timothy 3:16; I John 4:2). This term also indicates that he did not begin to exist at his birth, for John 1:1 states his eternal pre-existence. He was the only one who existed before being born into this world (John 8:58). His coming was historical; it occurred in space-time, on the earth (Matthew 1:18-25; Galatians 4:4). He did not come into the world as an angel or as an apparition but by a physical, human birth. Jesus was truly a man, but without sin (II Corinthians 5:21). And he never ceased being divine, and so after his incarnation he had two natures (divine and human ). This is why he is called both God (John 20:28; II Peter 1:1) and man (I Timothy 2:6). INJIL: This term transliterates the Arabic term for the Greek euaggelion, "good news." It is often wrongly thought to refer to a book that was revealed to Jesus. This misunderstanding rests primarily on the assumption that Jesus was essentially a prophet who received a divine book - similar to the Muslim belief that Muhammad received a book from heaven (i.e., the Quran). A careful examination of the facts yields a different conclusion. There is not the slightest evidence, either within the Bible or outside of it, that Jesus ever received such a book or that he wrote one. The Bible teaches that the person of Jesus Christ and his reconciling death for our sins, his burial, and resurrection constitute the "Injil," or the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4). The first four books of the New Testament are referred to as "gospels," and the meaning of this designation is that the account of Christ's life, death, and resurrection is found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thus, they are "the gospel according to Matthew," etc. There are not four gospels; rather, there are four harmonious, complementary accounts of the one and only gospel. The divine provision of these four accounts meets the high legal standards for credibility, as in a court of law (II

Corinthians 13:1), and communicates the good news in terms that were easily understood by people of diverse backgrounds (e.g., Matthew's account was directed to the Hebrew people primarily, Mark's account was especially aimed at the Romans, etc. ). The accounts are based on firsthand experience with Christ or on the testimonies of eyewitnesses (John 19:35). They were written in the lifetime of his immediate followers (I Corinthians 15:6). JESUS: The name that was given to the Messiah before his birth (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31). It means "the Lord will save" (from the Hebrew "Joshua"), and thus it indicates the main purpose for which Christ came into the world. The Isa of the Quran is a radically different portrayal of Jesus from what the Bible presents. In the nature of the case, the Isa of the Quran could not save man from sin (for he is not divine and he did not die or rise from the dead), but the Jesus of the Bible can and does save (Romans 5:8-10; Hebrews 7:25; I John 4:1-13). JOHN: In the usage under consideration, this term refers to the fourth book of the New Testament, "The Gospel according to John." He was one of the twelve apostles chosen by Christ. The significance of the asterisk in this connection is to indicate the characteristic manner in which references to the Bible are made. "John 3:16" designates the book (John), the chapter (3), and the verse (16). JUSTIFICATION: The declaration that a guilty person is acquitted or pronounced righteous. The Bible teaches that all human beings are guilty before God. All of us have rebelled against him and have broken his law (Romans 3:10-19). This brings condemnation (Ephesians 2:3). When one trusts in Christ, however, God declares him to be righteous, and therefore he passes from condemnation to acceptance, from death to life (John 5:24). Christ's righteousness is given to the believer, not by works but by faith (Galatians 2:16; 3:10-14). In this way God is both just and the justifier of those who believe. By trusting in Christ we are justified freely, that is, we are fully and completely accepted as righteous by God and we have peace with him (Romans 3:24,25; 4:5; 5:1,2). God justifies sinners on a just basis, which is the redeeming death of Christ who bore the penalty of sin and the broken law of God in himself on the cross (Galatians 3:13; II Corinthians 5:21). The power of his death to bring us to God was demonstrated in his resurrection from the dead (Romans 4:25). The believer in Christ can know, even now, that there is no condemnation in store for him - in time or eternity (Romans 8:1). This is the great question for every human being to face: How can I be justified before God? Will I hold on to my own "righteousness," which the Bible labels "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), or will I turn from my self-righteousness and pride to receive the gift of God's righteousness which is provided only in Christ (Philippians 3:9; Romans 10:3,4,9,10; I Corinthians 1:30,31)? LORD: This term, which translates the Greek word kyrios, has a variety of meanings in the New Testament. The basic idea that they have in common is that of possessing authority. In some instances it is a polite form of address that expresses courtesy and respect. Sometimes it means the master of a slave or of a household, and at other times it is used of civil authorities. It is also used to refer to God (Matthew 9:38; 11:25; Acts 17:24) and for Christ (Matthew 8:2,8; Luke 11:1; Acts 1:6; 2:36; Romans 1:4; Philippians 2:5-11). When Christ was referred to or addressed as "Lord" during his public ministry, it is unlikely that those who used the term understood its full significance or even intended to ascribe deity to him. Even his disciples, at the beginning, did not understand the true scope of its significance. This was as Christ intended, for there were many things that they were to learn only gradually (John 16:12-15). Only after his resurrection from the dead did his disciples understand that all authority was his (Matthew 28:18), although they saw some indications of his power in his

miracles and in his authority over nature, man, and demons. Today, if one begins with the recognition that Christ's lordship means his authority as prophet and teacher, and then, with an open mind and sincere heart, proceeds to study his words and deeds, he may also come to understand that his lordship also signifies his exalted rule as Messiah and his divine glory as Lord of all (Acts 10:36; Revelation 17:14; John 20:28). To acknowledge Christ as Lord, in the true meaning of the term, is necessary for acceptance with God (Romans 10:9-13). MESSIAH: This term comes from the Hebrew word that means "anointed one." It refers to the redeemer whose coming was promised in Old Testament times. After the time of King David, he was especially spoken of as the royal descendant of David who would establish a universal kingdom on earth - the rule of God in which peace and righteousness would reign (Daniel 9:24,25; Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:1-10). The Old Testament foretold both his suffering death and his glorious reign, and the New Testament shows how the former was fulfilled in Jesus at his first coming and how the latter will be fulfilled at this second coming (Luke 24:25-27). Peter and the other apostles recognized that he was the Messiah, i.e., the Christ (Matthew 16:13-17), and after his resurrection and return to heaven, they proclaimed his messiahship in Jerusalem and throughout the world (Acts 2:36; Colossians 1:5,6,27,28). MINISTRY: "Service," that is, the responsibility and work that God commits to believers in Christ, each according to the special capacity that God gives for instructing and helping others. Service for Christ is not to be done out of a desire to achieve merit or on the basis of a legalistic obligation. It is to be done out of love and gratitude to God for what he has done for us in Christ (Romans 12:1; John 21:15,16; II Corinthians 4:1-6). NEW TESTAMENT: The second part of the Bible. It consists of 27 small books. They are called "The New Testament" because they focus on the new covenant (testament) which was effected by the death and resurrection of Christ (Luke 22:20). The new covenant (testament) both fulfills and contrasts with the old covenant (II Corinthians 3:7-17). RECONCILE: This term refers to the change in our relationship with God from rebellion and enmity to acceptance and peace through Christ's death on the cross (II Corinthians 5:19). All human beings are in a state of estrangement and opposition to God, and thus we are all in need of reconciliation to him (Romans 8:7). Since he loves us, he provided the reconciler, Jesus Christ, who is our peace (Ephesians 2:14-18). No one else can reconcile us to God, because no one else took our sins on himself and gave his life for us but Jesus Christ (John 14:6; I Peter 3:18; Romans 5:1,8). RESURRECTION: The bringing back to life of someone after death. The resurrection of Christ from the dead, after three days in the tomb, is an integral part of the gospel and is an event of supreme importance (I Corinthians 15). He rose in a glorified body and could be seen and touched by others (Luke 24:36-43). He showed himself alive, after his resurrection, for forty days, giving his disciples many convincing proofs (Acts 1:3; I John 1:1,2). At the end of the forty days of post-resurrection appearances, he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:911). He will come again and raise from the dead all true believers in him and those believers who are alive will also be caught up in the air by him to ever be with the Lord (I Corinthians 15:51-57; I Thessalonians 4:13-18). REVELATION: This term refers to the disclosure of what is hidden or unknown. Man is incapable, because of finitude and sin, of penetrating to the nature of ultimate reality. He can know about God only by revelation, that is, God must make himself known to man if there is

to be true and accurate knowledge of him and his will. Nature, history, and conscience bear witness to God (Romans 1:18-20), but man suppresses this awareness in the interests of sin. God has also revealed himself in special acts, manifestations, and words, but his supreme revelation is in Jesus Christ. Since God is personal, it is not surprising that he would reveal himself in a person and as a person. And it is not surprising that this form of revelation surpasses all other means that he uses to reveal himself (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:1-8). The Bible is the unique, inspired revelation of God, not in the sense that it was handed down piecemeal from heaven, but in the sense that God operated on the minds and wills of certain men (prophets) in order to lead them to write his word (II Peter 1:21; II Timothy 3:16,17). While he preserved them from error in accomplishing this particular task, he did not mechanically dictate his word in disregard of their unique personalities. The result is that God has revealed his truth in words and sentences, but in doing so he used the personalities and vocabulary of the writers. Thus, the Bible is the sole personal, propositional, historical disclosure of the person and will of God, with the redemption of man and the glory of God the chief purpose for the divine communication in Scripture - and it is to be believed (Hebrews 11:6). RIGHTEOUSNESS: That which conforms to a standard. In the Bible, that standard is God's character of holiness. Apart from righteousness, one cannot be accepted by God (Matthew 5:8,20). But no one is capable of attaining the standarcl of God's righteousness (Romans 3:10-23). The failure of people to understand the absoluteness of God's righteousness and his requirement that we conform to it leads to the prideful attempt to establish one's own righteousness (Romans 10:3). This attempt is itself another expression of sin and unrighteousness. The only way to meet God's requirement of righteousness is by receiving God's gift of righteousness (Romans 3:21,22). This gift is received in Christ alone (Romans 6:23; II Corinthians 5:21). Receiving Christ into one's life means that one's heart is purified by faith (Acts 15:9). But the reception of Ghrist and the gift of righteousness in him does not leave the believer unchanged (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God, and by his practice of wickedness he demonstrates that he does not truly trust in Christ, regardless of his profession of belief (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 21:8). It is important to see that the lack of a wicked way of life does not merit salvation. Rather, a lawless, sinful pattern of life indicates that one does not have Christ abiding in his heart (James 2:18-20; I John 3:14,15). In spite of the profession one makes, then, it is the way one lives that declares the true state of his heart. SACRAMENTAL: Although this term is used in various ways - some of them mutually incompatible - its meaning in the instance under consideration is that a religious rite or ceremony is thought to be a channel of grace or a means of salvation. For example, when water baptism is interpreted as the means for cleansing one of sin or guilt, or as a necessary requirement for acceptance with God, it is thereby wrongly understood as sacramental. In this sense, anything that is sacramental is a "work," that is, something that one does or depends upon for forgiveness and acceptance with God - and as such it is condemned by the Bible as contrary to the free grace of God in Christ (Galatians 1:6-9; 2:21). Water baptism is a sign or outward declaration of one's trust in Christ and allegiance to him as Messiah and Lord. It is not contributory to salvation. The only other ordinance, the Lord's supper (also called "the breaking of bread"), is a sign too. The latter is the special way in which believers in Christ are to remember his death for them and to show forth that death until he comes the second time (I Corinthians 11:23-26). Some institutional forms of Christianity have developed human traditions that either consider these ordinances to be sacraments in the unbiblical sense indicated, or they have added other rites and ceremonies which they consider sacraments.

This has led to confusion and error, tragically leading people to trust in things other than Christ the Savior (John 6:27-29). Sacramentalism is usually coupled with the unbiblical view that certain men are priests and have a special authority from God to perform the "sacraments." According to the New Testament, there is no priestly class (Matthew 23:1-12; I Timothy 2:5; I Peter 2:5). Such distortions of New Testament Christianity have driven many people away from the Christian faith because they confuse it with these institutional forms that are characterized by superstition, arrogance, and blasphemy. SALVATION: This is a term that translates a New Testament word which, in its primary spiritual sense, sums up the entirety of God's deliverance of the believer in Christ from sin and its consequences to eternal life and its glories. By his death and resurrection, Christ saves us from guilt and the spiritual death that holds all men in bondage (Ephesians 2:1-9), from the dominion of sin over our daily lives in the present (John 8:34,36; 10:10; Romans 6:14-23), and in the future from all the consequences of sin (Romans 13:11). The believer is delivered into the kingdom of God and the most glorious of all positions, that of a son of God, sharing the gift of the divine nature and becoming an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:16,17). Even though we will always remain only human beings, we will be made to conform to Christ's character (I John 3:2). SERMON ON THE MOUNT: This is a term that is used for the discourse that Jesus gave in Matthew 5-7. In it he speaks with divine authority and indicates that he is fulfilling the Old Testament. He also intensifies the demands of the moral law and states the highest ethical principles. The effect of the discourse is to heighten awareness of sin and failure so that we might be shown our desperate need of the Savior whose death and resurrection provide us with the righteousness that we could never attain by our efforts (Galatians 3:24). SINNER: The Bible teaches that every human being, with the exception of Jesus Christ, is a rebel against God and that all of us fail to conform to the character and will of God in thought, word, and deed (Romans 3:23; John 8:34). That we are all sinners is seen in our attitudes of pride and unbelief, and these rebellious attitudes toward God manifest themselves in wicked acts (James 1:13-15). This destroys our relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2; I John 1:5,6). We are sinners by choice and by practice, for sin dwells within us - although God originally made man innocent and without sin (Romans 5:12; 7:20,23). Sin is the most serious of all human problems, and it cannot be removed or forgiven apart from the sacrificial death of Christ (Hebrews 9:22; I Timothy 1:15; John 1:29; I John 1:7). Nothing we can do or say can bring the forgiveness that Christ alone can provide (Acts 4:12). God commands us to turn from trusting in ourselves and every error to trusting in him as he has come in the person of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30,31; I John 2:23). SON OF GOD: This is a descriptive title given to Jesus Christ in the Bible to indicate that he is unique in his relationship to God the Father and that he is one with him in his very nature and being (John 5:17-26). It is a serious misunderstanding to think that the term implies that Jesus was produced by God cohabiting with Mary. The Bible is absolutely opposed to such a notion. The Son of God has always existed and he came into the world by the miraculous means of the virginal conception and birth. Even the Old Testament, written hundreds of years before Christ's incarnation, refers to him as the eternal Son (Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 2:12; Micah 5:2). When the Bible refers to him as "the only begotten Son," the Greek word for "begotten" is monogenes, and it literally means "one of a kind." It does not refer to his conception or birth. It is used to declare his uniqueness. To deny that Jesus Christ is the Son

of God, in this unique biblical sense, is to reject God the Father (I John 2:22,23). The resurrection of Christ provided decisive proof that he is the Son of God (Romans 1:3,4). TRINITY: This word is used to express the teaching of the Bible about the nature of God. The Bible declares that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; I Corinthians 8:6). It also teaches that God's being is complex, that is, that there are personal distinctions within God's unitary being (John 1:1; II Corinthians 3:17; Zechariah 14:7; Psalm 110:1). The Bible speaks of the Father as God (John 5:18; I Corinthians 1:3, Galatians 1:1), the Son as God (John 1:1,18; 5:17,18; 20:28, Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8; II Peter 1:1), and the Holy Spirit as God (II Corinthians 3:17,18; Acts 5:3,4). In addition to these explicit statements, the Bible refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit within the same passage in a way that implies that they are equally personal, co-equal in essence, power, and attributes (Matthew 28:19; I Corinthians 12:3-6; II Corinthians 13:14). There are two main errors to be avoided in this connection: first, to hold that there are three gods, separate and distinct beings, is to deny the Trinity; secondly, to hold that God is without inner personal distinctions is also to deny the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is unique. It is knowable only by revelation, and it so far surpasses human speculation that it defies the claim that it is the product of human invention. God is not three beings, he is one being. God is not one person; he is tri-personal. He is a unity with inner differentiation. Therefore, it is false to say that there is a contradiction in the doctrine of the Trinity, that it implies that one is three in some illogical fashion. A logical contradiction consists of the affirmation and denial of the same meaning or proposition. But the doctrine of the Trinity does not say that one being is three beings or that three persons are one person. It asserts that one being is constituted by three persons. The meaning of "being" and "persons" is different; therefore, the doctrine does not affirm and deny the same thing. Of course the personal distinctions in the being of God transcend the limitations of human persons. Thus, there is a mystery that transcends the minds of all creatures. That is not only to be expected with reference to God, the highest of all beings, it is also the case that every other view of ultimate reality confronts mysteries as well. God's being is fully comprehensible to God alone (Romans 11:33-36).

Appendix A

The Books of the Bible

The Old Testament - 39 Books Name of the Book Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Approximate Date of Composition 15th Century B.C. 15th Century B.C. 15th Century B.C. 15th Century B.C.

Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth I Samuel II Samuel I Kings II Kings I Chronicles II Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Solomon Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea

15th Century B.C. 14th Century B.C. 11th Century B.C. 11th Century B.C. 10th Century B.C. 10th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 5th Century B.C. 5th Century B.C. 5th Century B.C. 5th Century B.C. 5th Century B.C. Uncertain 10th Century B.C. and Later 10th Century B.C. 10th Century B.C. 10th Century B.C. 8th Century B.C. 7th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 8th Century B.C.

Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

9th or 8th Century B.C. 8th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 8th Century B.C. 8th Century B.C. 7th Century B.C. 7th Century B.C. 7th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 6th Century B.C. 5th Century B.C.

The New Testament - 27 Books Name of the Book Matthew Mark Luke John The Acts Romans I Corinthians II Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Approximate Date of Composition A.D. 50 A.D. 50 A.D. 60 A.D. 85 A.D. 60 A.D. 56 A.D. 56 A.D. 57 A.D. 52 A.D. 60

Philippians Colossians I Thessalonians II Thessalonians I Timothy II Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James I Peter II Peter I John II John III John Jude The Revelation

A.D. 60 A.D. 60 A.D. 51 A.D. 51 A.D. 64 A.D. 67 A.D. 65 A.D. 60 A.D. 68 A.D. 50 A.D. 65 A.D. 66 A.D. 85 A.D. 85 A.D. 85 A.D. 68 A.D. 95

Appendix B:

Selected Biblical Passages


The Bible teaches that there is only one true God. Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Acts 17:23-26; Romans 3:29,30; I Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 3:20; Ephesians 4:6; I Timothy 2:5 The Bible teaches that the one God eternally exists with a tripersonal inner distinction in his being - not tritheism ("three gods") but a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Genesis 1:1,2,26; Psalm 2:12; 110:1; Isaiah 48:16; 63:10,11; Zechariah 13:7; 14:4,5; Matthew 3:16,17; 16:16; 28:19; John 1:1,14,18; 5:17-24; 10:30; 14:1,6,16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 20:28; Acts 5:3,4; Romans 1:1-4; 8:9; 9:5; I Corinthians 12:4-6; II Corinthians 3:17; 13:14; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4-6; Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 1:8, 9:14, I Peter 1:2; II Peter 1:1; I John 2:22,23; Jude 20,21; Revelation 4:10,11; 5:13,14; 22:16-21 The first coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. Jesus said, "the Scriptures testify about me" (John 5:39) and "the Scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35). And about Jesus, the New Testament affirms: "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:43). Some of the prophecies are the following:
1. The Messiah was to be the promised seed of the woman and he was to triumph over evil even though he would suffer in order to do it. Old Testament Prophecy Genesis 3:15 New Testament Fulfillment Galatians 4:4; Romans 16:20; I John 3:8

2. The Messiah was to be the descendant of Abraham. Old Testament Prophecy Genesis 22:18 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16

3. The Messiah was to be a descendant of David. Old Testament Prophecy Psalm 132:11; Jeremiah 23:5 New Testament Fulfillment Luke 3:23,31; Romans 1:3; II Timothy 2:8

4. The Messiah was to be born of a virgin. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 7:14 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38

5. The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.

Old Testament Prophecy Micah 5:2

New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 2:1-11

6. The Messiah was to be a prophet like Moses. Old Testament Prophecy Deuteronomy 18:15,18 New Testament Fulfillment John 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22,23; 7:37

7. The Messiah was to be God incarnated as a human being. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Zechariah 13:7; 14:4,5 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 1:23-25; John 10:30; 14:9; Romans 9:5

8. The Messiah was to be known by the miracles he performed. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 35:5,6 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 11:1-6; John 5:36; 14:11

9. The Messiah was to present himself to the nation of Israel by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Old Testament Prophecy Zechariah 9:9 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 21:1-11

10. The Messiah was to be rejected by his own people. Old Testament Prophecy Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 53:1-3 New Testament Fulfillment John 1:11; Romans 9:31-33; I Peter 2:6-8

11. The Messiah was to be betrayed by one of his followers. Old Testament Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment

Psalm 41:9

John 13:18-30

12. The Messiah was to be put on trial and condemned. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 53:8 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 27:11-26

13. The Messiah was to be silent before his accusers. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 53:7 New Testament Fulfillment Mark 15:3-5; Acts 8:32-35

14. The Messiah was to be mocked and beaten. Old Testament Prophecy Psalm 22:7,8; Isaiah 50:6 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 27:26-31; John 19:1-3

15. The Messiah was to be crucified. Old Testament Prophecy Psalm 22:14-17 New Testament Fulfillment John 19:16-20; 20:25

16. The Messiah was to suffer with tranagressors and pray for those who hated him. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 53:12 New Testament Fulfillment Mark 15:27,28

17. The Messiah was to die as a sacrifice for sin. Old Testament Prophecy Isaiah 53:5-12 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 20:28; John 1:29; Romans 5:8; I Peter 3:18

18. The Messiah was to be killed before A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was to be destroyed.

Old Testament Prophecy Daniel 9:24-26

New Testament Fulfillment Luke 19:41-44; 21:24

19. The Messiah was to be raised from the dead. Old Testament Prophecy Psalm 16:10 New Testament Fulfillment Matthew 28:5-7; Acts 2:31,32

20. The Messiah was to be seated in the highest place of honor in God's presence. Old Testament Prophecy Psalm 110:1 New Testament Fulfillment Hebrews 1:1-3; 12:3; Acts 7:56

The second coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is foretold in both the Old and New Testaments.
Jesus said, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart that you do not believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:25-27).

The following are some of the prophecies yet to be fulfilled.


1. The Messiah is to return to take all true believers to be with him in heaven. John 14:2,3; I Corinthians 16:51-53; Philippians 3:20,21; I Thessalonians 1:9,10; 4:1318; Hebrews 9:28 2. The Messiah is to come, bringing the believers with him, from heaven to earth in great power and glory. Daniel 7:13,14; Matthew 24:29,30; Revelation 1:7 3. The Messiah is to come during a time of great trouble when the nations of the world are gathered together in battle at Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:2,3,8,9; 14:1-5; Mark 13:14-26; Revelation 11:1,2 4. The Messiah is to stand on the Mount of Olives at his second advent. Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:11,12

5. The Messiah is to sit on the throne of David. Psalm 89:3,4; Jeremiah 23:5; Isaiah 9:6,7; Matthew 19:28; Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 20:4 6. The Messiah is to judge all nations and rule the world. Psalm 2:6-8; Isaiah 11:1,10-13; Zechariah 9:10; 14:9; Matthew 13:41; 25:31-46; Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16 7. The Messiah is to be universally worshiped, for he is to be manifested as Lord. Zechariah 14:16-21; Psalm 2:1-12; Philippians 2:9-11

Appendix C:

Selected Biblical Bibliography


Anderson, J.N.D. Christianity: The Witness of History. London: Tyndale Press, 1969. Bruce, F.F. The Books and the Parchments. Revised edition. Westwood, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1963. __________. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Fifth revised edition. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972. Free, Joseph. Archaeology and Bible History. Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969. Geisler, Norman. Christ: The Theme of the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1969. Geisler, Norman and Nix, William. A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968. Greenleaf, Simon. Testimony of the Evangelists, Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1965. Harris, R.L. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957. Henry, Carl F.H. (ed.). Revelation and the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969. Khan, Sultan Muhammad P. Why I Became a Christian. Bombay, India: Gospel Literature Service, no date. McDowell, Josh. Evidence that Demands a Verdict. San Bernardino, Calif.: Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc., 1972. Miller, William M. Ten Muslims Meet Christ. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969.

Montgomery, John W. History and Christianity. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1964. Morison, Frank. Who Moved the Stone? London: Faber and Faber, 1967. Pache, Rene. The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture. Chicago: Moody Press, 1969. Pfeiffer, C.F. and Harrison, E.F. (eds.). The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1962. Pinnock, Clark H. Biblical Revelation. Chicago: Moody Press, 1971. Ramm, Bernard. Protestant Christian Evidences. Chicago: Moody Press, 1953. Subhan, J.A. How a Sufi Found his Lord. Fourth revised edition. Lucknow, India: Lucknow Publishing House, 1952. Tenney, Merrill C. The Reality of the Resurrection. Chicago: Moody Press, 1963. Unger, Merrill F. Unger's Bible Handbook. Chicago: Moody Press, 1967. Vos, Howard (ed.). Can I Trust My Bible? Chicago: Moody Press. 1963.