My greatest critique of Islam is that it is an ahistorical religion. Their key text, the Quran, re-writes religious and secular history. As a Christian, when I dialogue with a Muslim, I focus on the character of Christ. According to the Quran, the earthly disciples of Christ were Muslims. In Surah 5:111 we read:
Muslims and Christians both like to look at each others sacred text. The two faiths share a lot in common. Both believe in one God, though the nature of God is disputed. Both believe that God sent many Prophets and revealed sacred texts. Whether these texts have been corrupted is a matter of dispute. Both believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and born of the Virgin Mary. That’s quite a lot in common. However, when Christians look at the Quran, they look at it very differently than how Muslims look at the Bible.
Back in September, British writer Tom Holland wrote an article about how he changed his mind on Christianity. He specifically stated that his morality was not Greek or Roman but Christian. Holland is an atheist and has been for most of his life.
As all of my readers on this blog know, I’m a huge fan of Church history. I study Church history because I think it’s a very useful tool when engaging the enemies of God.
Several years ago, when Michael Coren used to be a Christian, he had a scuffle with the anti-Christian, sodomy promoting Rabbi Shmuley Boteach over the issue of Pius XII. All Boteach could do was slander the Pope and then said to Coren: “Read Hitler’s Pope!”
Have you ever been doing research and can’t remember where you found a quote or a certain piece of information? You might even know what book it’s in but you have to look through hundreds of pages. What do you do?
One of my favorite Church Fathers to read is St. John of Damascus. He is a saint and one of three dozen Doctors of the Church, which means that his writings are held in very high regard. He was an Arab born in Damascus in 675 and he became a monk in the Mar Saba monastery in the Holy Land. He was ordained a priest in the last years of his life. He is known for his writings on theology and polemics against heretical movements. St. john is also known for his extensive writings on the Assumption of Mary and is referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption. He died in 750.
As I often mention, Church history is a subject that is extremely important to a Christian apologist. Many apologists don’t understand its value. They believe that since the Bible is the word of God and Church history is not divine, we should focus wholly or almost wholly on scripture. I agree that scripture is the priority and that is why I try to spend two hours each day studying scripture but Church history is the second most important area to study.
People often wonder what Church fathers to read. That’s a very important question since the Church fathers were the ones that formed the faith in the early centuries and fought many heresies. As stated on previous posts, I like focusing on primary sources when I read Church history in contrast to people like Dr. James White. What I’m trying to say is that we need to read the Church fathers.
Protestant apologist James White always claims that he teaches Church history. Listening to his show and his debates shows that he doesn’t know the subject as well as he thinks. In 2000 White debated Robert Sungenis on whether the Catholic Mass is Biblical and Ancient. Sungenis was quoting Church fathers while James White was quoting Philip Schaff, Jaroslav Pelikan, JND Kelly and other modern Protestant historians.
A couple of years ago, I was reading a set of homilies by St. Francis de Sales bound into one volume. The preface of this volume was written by Cardinal Carberry on May 31, 1985. In the preface he wrote: