Christianity, Divine or Defined?
In the name of Allah the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
Ask the nearest Christian to you right now, What is Christianity? You will certainly hear, it’s simply “salvation”. That is the most intellectual dishonest answer I have heard from Christians. In fact, it’s like trying to prove that the perimeter of a circle is not the same as finding the circumference of that same circle.
Salvation is claimed by almost all the religions in the world for God’s sake. Maybe we should tell WAEC, NECO and Jamb to remove CRS on the religious studies list of subjects.
The reason why they can’t confidently and accurately define Christianity is because, the term Christianity is nowhere to be found in their holy book.
However, for the sake of this discourse, let me allow Wikipedia to define Christianity for us.
“Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus Christ , who is the focal point of the Christian faith . ”
Who is a Christian? That sounds straight. A typical Christian will give you the shortest answer, “Christ-like”.
Ask for reference, you will get;
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they ASSEMBLED THEMSELVES with THE CHURCH, and taught much people. And the disciples were called CHRISTIANS first in Antioch.
This verse will be subjected to proper scrutiny as it exposes many things about Christianity.
From that verse, it was stated that the disciples were first called called CHRISTIANS at Antioch. But the disciples being referred to in the verse are just Paul and Barnabas. Let’s first note that Jesus never met Paul physically as a person. But Paul narrated his encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus, even though there is contradicting report in his narration (Acts 9:3-9 and 22:6-21). His journey and conversion would be thoroughly scrutinized to bring out the truth inshaa Allah.
Let’s go back to Acts 11. There is a story before the verse 26, where Paul and Barnabas were first called Christians. Before we look into the story, did you notice this statement?
“And it came to pass, that a whole year they ASSEMBLED THEMSELVES with THE CHURCH, and taught much people.
Let me quote from other versions
ESV:. and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year THEY MET WITH the CHURCH and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
NIV:. and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul MET WITH the CHURCH and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
AMP:. And when he had found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For a whole year they ASSEMBLED TOGETHER WITH and were guests of the CHURCH and instructed a large number of people; and in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
It’s obvious, there was a church in Antioch which Paul and Barnabas met with and preached. But who founded the church? Who was leading the church? What were the members of this church called before Paul and Barnabas arrived? How come they suddenly called Paul and Barnabas Christians? On which doctrine was their church established on? Many questions are begging for answers already.
Looking back into the verses that preceded verse 26, from verse 19. We read that:
19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
You see that? The disciples scattered after the persecution of Stephen but they were preaching to only Jews.
20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus.
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
….Afterwards, the disciples got to places preaching. Antioch was one of them. And a great numbers believed.
22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
The news got to Jerusalem that great number of people have believed, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch as eyewitness. He got there and confirmed it. Then he went to look for Paul at Tarsus to accompany him in Antioch. And that was when they were now named Christians. ( They must have taught a different version of gospel to warrant that mockery that finally became a name).
Who among the disciples got to Antioch first? Who first preached for the multitudes that believed? What were they called?
It was Peter. Yes!! Peter. He was in Antioch first.
“Church tradition maintains that the Church of Antioch was founded by Saint Peter the Apostle in A.D. 34 ” (antiochian.org/patofant)
“The Church of Antioch is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul , who are its patron saints . (https://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Antioch)
It’s crystal clear. Peter started the “ministry” first. How come Paul and Barnabas were the ones called Christians first?
When we tell them Christianity was founded by Paul, to them it looks like a fallacy. The bible has confirmed it.
“The history of early Christianity covers the period from its origins to the First Council of Nicaea in 325. The first part of the period, during the lifetimes of the Twelve Apostles , is called the Apostolic Age . The earliest followers of Jesus comprised an apocalyptic, Second Temple Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity .
Though Paul ‘s influence on Christian thinking is said to be more significant than that of any other New Testament author, the relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism remains a matter of dispute. Early Christianity gradually grew apart from Judaism during the first two centuries of the Christian Era ; it established itself as a predominantly gentile religion in the Roman Empire . In the Ante-Nicene Period (literally before the First Council of Nicaea in 325), following the Apostolic Age , both incredible diversity and unifying characteristics lacking in the apostolic period emerged simultaneously.
By the beginning of the Nicene period, the Christian faith had spread throughout Western Europe and the
Mediterranean Basin , and to North Africa and the East . The Mediterranean Christianity journey consisted of 48 cities that St John visited to get the gentiles to join the Christian community. Historians commonly use the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the toleration/ promotion of Christianity by Emperor Constantine I (reigned 306–337) in the Roman Empire to mark the end of early Christianity and the beginning of the era of the first seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787).
And what were the early Christians called before Paul’s influence?
1. SECT OF THE NAZARENES–
“For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes ,” (Acts 24:5 ).
2. FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY–
“and [Saul who became Paul] asked for letters from him to the synagogues at
Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and
women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem,” (Acts 9:2 ).
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:27-28 ).
For a record, nobody from the earliest “Christians” prayed using the name of the Father, son and the holy spirit. Trinity was invented later.
Father Dr. Labib Kobti, an Arab Christian priest, in one his articles titled The Christian Arab Heritage (available on his web site at: http://www.al-bushra.org/arbhrtg/
arbxtn04.htm ) says: “Recently Father Pecerillo, a famous Franciscan Archaeologist, found more than twenty churches in Madaba at the south of Jordan. From the Fourth Century, we found houses in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine with this inscription in Arabic :” Bism El-Lah al Rahman al Rahim” .
What this Christian priest is revealing is extremely important for the following reasons:
1. This Arabic phrase “BismiLah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim” ( ﺑِﺴۡﻢِ ﭐﻟﻠﻪِ ﭐﻟﺮَّﺣۡﻤَـٰﻦِ ﭐﻟﺮَّﺣِﻴﻢِ)
that the priest says has been discovered in houses of Christians dating back to the 4th Century is
the same phrase that 113 Surahs (Chapters) of the Quran start with (One Surah didn’t start with the Phrase : Surah At:Taubah).
This phrase can be translated as “In the name of Allah the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful”.
2. The fact that this phrase was found in houses of Christians dating back to the 4th Century, meaning three centuries before the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad. This indicates that the beliefs of early Christians were very similar to the beliefs of Muslims. In other words, early Christians did not believe in the Trinity:
“In the name of Father, Son, Holy Spirit”, instead they used the Muslims phrase “In the name of Allah the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful”. This is a proof that Jesus was a Muslim and he preached Islam, and early followers of Jesus were Muslims.
Christianity is not divine!!!
Sanusi Olawale Ibn AbdulWasiu (Sanoosy) @ knowislam.com.ng