Ask Abdu Murray (April 23-27, 2018)

abdumurray

(Cynthia Ware) #21

Hi Abdu,

All the churches I’ve attended use the expression ‘once saved always saved’ but I can find no verses to support this. On the contrary, I find many that say ‘if’. Jesus said ‘if you remain in me’ and Hebrews says “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” Hebrews 6:4-6. There are so many others. I believe this is talking about a willful turning away by a believer–not that any and every sin puts them in danger of losing their salvation. And Judas to me is a perfect example. Jesus would not choose an unbeliever, no more than a pastor of a church would (and I don’t believe foreknowing means God predestined it–even Jesus said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me”–I believe a number of things could have happened to cause scripture to be fulfilled with our without Judas betrayal). Luke said in Acts 1:17 "For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” And in Mark 6 it says Jesus sent out the 12 and they cast out evil spirits and told people to believe and repent. So to my question. Where did this teaching come about when it’s not in scripture?


(Edward Davidson) #22

Hi Abdu. I appreciate all you do in the name of Christ. Some of my friends didn’t grow up going to church, and some of life’s hardships have made them somewhat skeptical of God’s goodness or even existence. I don’t want to lose their friendship, but I also want them to feel the joy and comfort of knowing God and Christ’s gift of salvation. I can tell it’s not a subject they’re comfortable with. I come across as “preachy” and they change the subject, or laugh it off (and then have another beer). So do you have any advice on how to talk to stubborn “guy friends” about God? Thank you.


(Tim Ramey) #23

Abdu, I so very much appreciate hearing you speak as you are genuine and yet hit directly the answer to the question. I just ordered your book because, if your book is as intriguing as your answers in the Q&A or discussions, it’s a must! I look forward to it. An aside is that I so miss our brother Nabeel, though I never met him. I still feel his loss!

My question to you is one that I run into often. It’s not particular to Islam but to spirituality in general. The question is not a stumper for you but I wanted to hear how you would answer the comment that you your belief will coincide with how you were raised. Now you and Nabeel have/had it tough but along that line, you have it made! How do you answer without using yourself as the example to the fallacy of the comment? And now, with truth not often mattering, does it complicate it further?


(Abdu Murray) #24

Hi Jimmy. Thanks for the question. I see that another in the Connect family has a similar question so I think I’ll try to answer both!

First, I want to make sure I understand what you mean by social and cultural determinism. I take your meaning to be that our beliefs, whether religious or not, are determined by where we’re born, the context, etc. Is that right ? (I’m going to assume it is and then provide an answer, but if I have you wrong, please follow up!)

There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, there is the logical fallacy aspect of this issue. To say that something’s truth value is determined by the way someone has come to believe it is to commit what’s called the 'genetic fallacy." So, let’s say it is the case that someone is a Muslim because they were raised in a Muslim home in a Muslim country and they never had a chance to hear a counter perspective. That does nothing to say whether Islam is true or false. It could be utterly false or absolutely true. How a person comes to believe it says nothing about that (but it does speak to quite a bit about a person’s motivations for believing something).

Another thing to think about is a subtle difference in human experience. I don’t think that social or cultural contexts determine beliefs. Rather, they influence them. And this, of course, shouldn’t surprise anyone because influence is all around us. It is inevitable. But it isn’t a deterministic thing.

I look at my own conversion experience as an example. Being raised in a strong Muslim social context influenced me to be a Muslim and stay that way for most of my life. I, in fact, influenced non-Muslims to practice Islam even though they were in a largely “Christian” culture! I also personally know many people who were not only raised in Muslim homes but also in Muslim countries and yet they became either Christians or atheists. Yes, there was influence, but not determinism.

But, the fact is, culture and social issues, like family and persecution, have a profound impact not on the truth of our beliefs, but on the motivations for holding onto those beliefs. In my second book, Grand Central Question, the first chapter is dedicated to discussing this. In fact, the excerpt from that book was run in Just Thinking a few years ago If you haven’ already read my book or that issue of Just Thinking, I would recommend you do so. The link for that JT article is HERE. The bottom line is this: Her Emirati friend will undoubtedly be influenced by his culture to stay Muslim and to shun the gospel as unthinkable, lest there be serious consequences. But it is my hope that your friend will lovingly and forthrightly point out that the truth is more important than culture of comfort.

Blessing to both you and her!


(Abdu Murray) #25

Hi Tim. Thanks so much for the kind words and I pray that you enjoy and are able to use the book for His glory!

I responded to a similar question in this forum so I’ll copy and paste part of that answer, but also add another insight.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, let’s look at the claim: “belief coincides with how you were raised.” My first response is, “And?” What does that prove? That my belief is false? That my belief is true? That beliefs are not provable? In any case, the argument (as you point out) is logically fallacious. We don’t need illustrations (like my conversion) to prove the fallacious nature of the statement. To say that something’s truth value is determined by the way someone has come to believe it is to commit what’s called the 'genetic fallacy." How we come to believe something has nothing to do with whether that belief is true. Such an argument is simply a nonsequitor. So, let’s say it is the case that someone is a Muslim because they were raised in a Muslim home in a Muslim country and they never had a chance to hear a counter perspective. That does nothing to say whether Islam is true or false. It could be utterly false or absolutely true. How a person comes to believe it says nothing about that (but it does speak to quite a bit about a person’s motivations for believing something).

Let’s turn the argument on its head. If someone argues that a belief can’t be proven true (or false or whatever) because it coincides with how you were raised, then we could respond by saying “How you were raised determined your belief that belief is determined by how you were raised, which means that your belief is either untrue or can’t be proven!” The claim is shown to be either a tautalogy or self defeating.

Another thing to think about is a subtle difference in human experience. I don’t think that social or cultural contexts determine beliefs. Rather, they influence them. And this, of course, shouldn’t surprise anyone because influence is all around us. It is inevitable. But it isn’t a deterministic thing or something that determines truth.

But, the fact is, culture and social issues, like family and persecution, have a profound impact not on the truth of our beliefs, but on the motivations for holding onto those beliefs. In my second book, Grand Central Question, the first chapter is dedicated to discussing this. In fact, the excerpt from that book was run in Just Thinking a few years ago If you haven’ already read my book or that issue of Just Thinking, I would recommend you do so. The link for that JT article is HERE.

Let me close with a story. My very first day officially as an RZIM speaker also found me on stage with Ravi during an open forum answering questions at a Canadian university (which made me nervous that it could have been my last day, too!). A young Indian man came to the microphone and asked, “If God wants me to be a Christian, why did he cause me to be born in a Hindu home?” I though for sure Ravi was going to take that one, but he left it to me because of my background. I began by pointing out the genetic fallacy but then also said this: “In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul says that God has ‘determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.’ With that in mind, I find it fascinating that you, a Hindu immigrant, were able to come to a western university in a country that allows freedom of religion (including to change) and you asked this question to a former Muslim and an Indian with Hindu roots. Perhaps God has determined that you should be able to come to such a place so you’d have the freedom to explore who the true God is. That’s the question you should be asking.”

We had a wonderful interaction after. I hope that helps!


(Jimmy Osler) #26

Thanks Abdu!


(Abdu Murray) #27

Hi Omar,

Thanks for the question and desire to see Muslims introduced to Jesus!

First and foremost is a good working understanding of the key doctrines that Muslims often find to be stumbling blocks and/or points of attack, like the Trinity, incarnation, cross, and reliability of the scriptures. That’s why I specifically wrote chapters on each issue in section 3 of my book, Grand Central Question.

Second, I think at least a basic understanding of the 5 pillars of Islam and the 6 fundamental beliefs is helpful (but not necessary). These really help you to see why Muslims believe and say the things they do. Often, we will end up surprising our Muslim friends if we know something of their religious beliefs. In fact, we might see that we know more than they do! Having that knowledge gives us extra credibility and tells the Muslim that we seek to understand before seeking to be understood.

Third, cultivate the skill of asking great questions of our Muslim friends. And finally, live that life of hope that Peter talks about so that what you believe matches how you live.

If you haven’t already done so, I’d encourage you to read Grand Central Question, Nabeel’s Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and his No God But One. These should really get you on your way!

Above all - have genuine relationships with Muslims. Blessings!


(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #28

Thank you so much @Abdu_Murray. This is very helpful. I’ll definitely share this with my friends to be sure that they’ll be ready to reach out to Muslims as well.


(Tim Ramey) #29

Abu, I sure appreciate your thinking and thanks for the response. However, a basic component still remains. If I am a Christian, the inference is that I am a Christian mainly because I was brought up in a Christian home. The commentators are not necessarily seeking the truth but as they see areas of the world Hindus, of course, they say that you most likely will be a Hindu because it’s your culture more than your belief. Why do the percentage of people remain the same faith? The Muslim world is growing because they have Muslim children - like it or not. I’ve heard that repeatedly and it is somewhat true because that is what happens. It’s why the world of Islam is growing and they have many children and very few are like you and Nabeel, though it happens obviously,

Does that make sense and did you answer it in your first reply but it went over my head?


(Jimmy Sellers) #30

Abdu:
What are your thoughts on the new Saudi Prince, Mohammad bin Salman? Is it possible that we will see an Islamic reformation and if so will it last or will there always be the true believer in the wings? Thanks in advance for your consideration.


(Carson Weitnauer) #31