A response to 5.3

Poison yourself or be damned?

Because some Christians have a similar misunderstanding about some parts of the passage in Mark 16, Peter Ballard wrote an article on "The Bit About Tongues in Mark 16". (See also Sam Shamoun's response to Zakir Naik: The Challenge of Mark 16.) This answer basically dispenses with the need to say anything more, but since Al-Kadhi draws further strange conclusions from these verses, let us look at some more aspects of his claims.

Al-Kadhi points out that Jesus' teaching was not His own, but was earler revealed to Moses. Jesus Himself said, "My teaching is not my own ... I only do what I see My Father doing." This confirms the coherence of the Bible. In a continuance of his attack on Paul, Al-Kadhi once again tries to make Pauline teaching seem to contradict Jesus'.

He says Jesus' message is "faith plus works" while Paul's is "faith without works", or "sensationalism". But he has seemingly not read let alone understood Paul. Who can better answer than Paul himself who wrote,

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph.2:8-10)

So Paul says that we are to do good works upon receiving the grace to do so! Nothing is more from the mind of Paul than to proclaim "no works". He says were were created for good works.

As to the nature of the works, Jesus said, "This is the work the Father requires you to do - to believe in the one He has sent." (John 6:29) The nature of the "works" are miraculous by nature, but can include the giving of material possessions, etc. The Bible refers to a miracle as a "work of power". To pit works against sensationalism is to deny that the very works which Jesus performed and commanded His disciples to perform were sensational. This again, is the very thing which Paul taught and did, which things he was also commanded to do by Jesus.

The rest of the argument is trite - Al-Kadhi creates a straw argument then knocks it down. He challenges the reader to believe that Jesus' promise of protection for the believer against harm is meant to be some kind of dare-the-devil test of faith. He interprets: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:16-18) to mean that we should try drinking poison deliberately to check our salvation.

To this Jesus responded in a parallel situation, where Satan asked him also to prove his status with God by throwing himself from the temple based on the promise that God would protect him:

"It is written: You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Matt. 4:7)

Could it be significant that Mr. Al-Kadhi uses the very same trick as Satan? Where did he learn this argument?

And isn't it good work to drive out evil spirits and to heal the sick? Why would this passage even speak in the favor of Al-Kadhi's claims?

Side remark: In the Qur'an we find Sura 40:60 to promise this:

And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer):
but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!"

According to this verse, there are two groups of people. Those whose Lord is Allah and those who are too arrogant to serve him. Over the first group there is the promise that Allah will answer their prayer. The other group are those who will find themselves in Hell.

Is Mr. Al-Kadhi willing to put his standing as a Muslim to the test by making a concrete prayer request to Allah which is objectively verifiable? This could be for example a request for one million dollars being transfered to his personal bank account within one week (with informing any Saudi Sheikh or other Muslims about this test which is to be only between him and Allah, and obviously, informing me beforehand). If it doesn't happen, then either the Qur'an is false or at least it is shown that Mr. Al-Kadhi belongs to the second category. Not to those whom Allah calls their Lord, but to those who find themselves in Hell. In order to make this not look like personal greed, let him beforehand sign that this money will then go to a charity or even to Muslim dawah. I don't suggest this approach seriously, but if Mr. Al-Kadhi wants to insist on this argument, this would only be fair. He claims: Poison yourself or be damned! We ask: When did Mr. Al-Kadhi have the most recent dramatic answer from God to any of his prayers? How many of his specific prayers are promptly answered?

Al-Kadhi goes on to challenge our faith to do the very works which Jesus gave us power to do, saying a believer should be able to heal the sick and they recover, etc. My response is the same as his here. I was saved by miracles, as are 50% of Muslims who convert. Jesus said, "If you don't believe my words, at least believe in the works that I do, that you might be saved."

He also says to those who only seek to set up traps and have no intention to believe even though they have seen him do many miracles:

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied: ... A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away. (Matt. 16:1,4)

We have no other answer than our Lord and master.

To those though, who seek him with upright hearts, Jesus says

Jesus said, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." ... "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." (John 1:47,50)

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:12-14)

And Mr. Al-Kadhi is most welcome to visit my home church at some time and see for himself that God is regularly answering our prayers. We have several walking miracles in our church. Of the objectively verifiable kind. Let us know when you are coming to Atlanta next time, or if you would like to visit a living church in an area near you. We will try to be of help.

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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