Book Review: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur'an by James R. White
James R. White is a well-known Apologist that has held over one hundred professionally moderated debates. He is usually a good researcher and generally learns the opposing viewpoints straight from the authoritative sources. Therefore, he provides excellent first-hand accounts of what the Qur'an really teaches and what truly faithful Muslims must believe about their faith and about those that reject it.
More people need to read books like this one. Islam is not a passing fad, but it's here to stay. It's mandate is not to coexist with other religions but rather to bring everyone in the world under submission to Allah.
If you have been obtaining your information on Islam from the news or politicians, hold on to your seat; authoritative Islamic sources will alter your point of view on the subject after reading this book.
Is the book perfect? No, and maybe White spends a little too much time on certain hobbyhorses; but, overall, you will get your money's worth. You cannot afford to live in the dark on this all-important topic.
[Kindle version only: Before purchasing, make sure the footnote links work. My version didn't and it was a hassle.]
Disclosure: The book was received for free from Net Galley book review program. The program does not require a positive review, only an unbiased one.
[[This is an excerpt from my full review on my blog here: http://mydigitalseminary.com/what-eve...]]
I learned a great deal from this book about Islam and am extremely thankful for this book. I was also very grateful for White's thoroughness. There's nothing better than hearing your opponent express their views in their own words. White even represents disagreements within Islam when he could have only represented one side and taken an easy cheap shot instead. At times the large block quotes and very detailed engagement with Islam became tedious though.
However with that said, I cannot praise this book highly enough! I know of no other introduction to the Qur'an with this level of fairness and detail. White's representation and eventual criticisms of the Qur'an are fair and laser-sharp, ignoring the easy shots that others take at Islam and getting straight to the most important points in the discussion. White is not just an apologist but a theologian, he is not simply attacking Islam from no sure foundation of his own, he is constantly drawing the reader's attention to the most important theological issues dividing both religions.
What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur'an is a real step forward in serious dialogue between Islam and Christianity. If every Christian read this book carefully we would avoid oversimplification and stereotype and be better apologists to Muslims, and with the Spirit's empowering, win more to Christ.
[[Many thanks to Bethany House and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.]]
I was sent this book to review from Bethany House so I have a physical copy of the book.
This is one of those books that you will want to have a copy of in your home library, a study book full of information and notes and references and scripture. This is not an easy read but it is a worth while book that will require time for study and deeper thought.
If you are searching for information about Islam, Muslims and the Qur'an, this is the book you need.
It is packed full of question/answer type discussions that will help you delve into an otherwise foggy topic for Christian. By the end of the book, you will be much more ready to interact with Muslims and talk to them about your faith.
It also digs into the Bible and the Qur'an to prepare you for questions you may be asked about what you believe and why you believe it.
The author did a thorough job of presenting a difficult topic and challenges you to learn more as you pray for Muslims and talk to them about Jesus.
We share the planet with over a billion Muslims. According to the 2010 U.S. Religion Census, there are 2.6 million Muslims living in the U.S. today with Islam being the fastest growing religion in America in the last decade.
As the Muslim community continues to grow in the U.S., the likelihood of having an opportunity to engage them with the gospel has increased. As redeemed people, we need to be ready to tell others about our Redeemer. Are you ready?
Many moons ago, I studied Islam in a World Religions and a World History course in college, but I couldn't have an intelligent conversation with a Muslim about their religion and even pretend to have a clue.
Enter James R. White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries and apologist par excellence. When it comes to exposing error in light of the truth and teaching it in a way that is attainable no one does it better or more clearly.
In What Every Christian Needs To Know About The Qur'an, Dr. White sets out to,
"F]ocus on what Christians need to understand about the Qur'an's teachings particularly as it impacts our interactions with Muslims and our thinking on events throughout our world."
He accomplishes just that by using primary texts, primarily the Qur'an itself and systematically showing how the Qur'an is not an inspired text, but most likely written by Muhammad despite Islamic orthodoxy to the contrary.
For instance, Surah 5:73-75 (a surah is a chapter, 116 is an ayah or verse) convincingly calls into question the Qur'an's accuracy regarding its understanding of the Trinity.
"73. They have disbelieved who say: "Allah is the third of three," when there is no god save One God. If they cease not what the say, a painful torment will fall upon those of them who disbelieve."
Punishment is promised to those who say that Allah is the third in three gods a belief they attribute to the People of the Book, in this case Christians. Then it continues,
"74. Will they not instead turn to Allah in repentance and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate.75. The Messiah son of Mary was none other than a Messenger, before whom Messengers had passed away. And his mother was a saintly woman. They both used to eat [earthly] food. See how We make the signs clear for them; then see how they follow falsehood"
The author of the Qur'an argues against the deity of Jesus and Mary by stating they were both merely human. In a different section, Dr. White highlights a highly respected Qur'an commentary, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, which states,
"So believe in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say, "Three gods: Allah, Isa [Jesus] and his mother." It is better that you stop saying theses things. Affirming the Divine Unity [is] better. Allah is only One God. He is too Glorious to have a son!"
The author of the Qur'an believed that Christians believed the Trinity consisted of Jesus, Mary, and Allah and its prominent commentators believe that is precisely what the Qur'an teaches. This leads us to conclude the Qur'an is in error and cannot be divine.
That's just a snippet of what Dr. White interacts with in this book and does it at a level that is very accessible even when using the primary sources.
Another feature I appreciate about Dr. White's books is not only how he presents the facts, but how he shows his readers how to practically use them.
What Every Christian Needs To Know About the Qur'an is essential reading for the Christian. After reading this book, you will be prepared to engage your Muslim friends, neighbors, and co-workers in a frank and honest discussion about their faith, which may provide you the platform to share the gospel. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
What Every Christian NEEDS To Know About The Qur'an
The emphasis in the title was placed by the reviewer, because that is the emphasis the writer communicates in the preface of the book. This is not an exhaustive compendium which will tell you everything you need to know about the Qur'an, in all of its minutiae of transmission, transliteration, textual criticism and emendations.
Nor is this a "How-To" book which will equip zealous followers of Christ with the necessary information to "go forth and convince the Muslims of the error of their ways, and bring them into the truth of salvation."
James R. White is an accomplished debater of Muslim apologists, and in his own words notes: "I learned as a young person that the single best way to honor the truth and to show honor to those you seek to reach is to "hear them in their own language," that is, to enter into their worldview and their theology.""
That is the main thrust of this book: to honor the truth, and to show honor to those one seeks to reach.
If you are picking up this book for any other reason, you might as well put it back down.
But . . . if you are still holding this book, perhaps you are dedicated to the same goals the author espouses in his preface. His heart is for the Muslim believer; his passion is for the truth; his concern is for the gospel of Christ. He engages the central text of the Muslim religion honestly, openly and fairly. And he does so with the example of the Apostle Paul in mind:
"To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some." 1 Corinthians 9:22