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Your Beach Books

Read a good book lately? Tell us what your favorite summer reads are in the comment section below.  read more

Worship With Bethel Church

Below watch videos with worship and teaching from Bethel Church.

Being Aware of His Presence by Bill Johnson

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A New Way of Thinking by Kris Vallotton

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Do You Believe by Jessica Meshell

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Divine Encounters

Read below to be inspired by stories of powerful Holy Spirit encounters in the lives of world-changers.

Evan Roberts was the spark plug of the great Welsh revival of 1904–1906. During this time, more than one hundred thousand souls were saved, and a complete transformation of a nation took place. But even more significant was the fact that this move of God sparked the Azusa Street revival that has since gone all over the world.

Evan had a series of unusual experiences with God, including a number of face-to-face encounters. He described these in an interview with W. T. Stead, the editor of the British newsletter “Review of Reviews.” That interview is quoted in Stead’s book The Story of the Welsh Revival, written in 1905.

For a long, long time, I was much troubled in my soul and my heart by thinking over the failure of Christianity?.?.?.?but that night, after I had been in great distress praying about this, I went to sleep, and at 1 am in the morning suddenly I was wakened up?.?.?.?and found myself with unspeakable joy and awe in the very presence of the Almighty God. And for the space of four hours I was privileged to speak face to face with Him, as a man speaks face to face with a friend. At 5 am it seemed to me as if I again returned to earth.?.?.?.?And it was not only that morning, but every morning for three or four months.?.?.?.?I felt it and it seemed to change all my nature, and I saw things in a different light, and I knew that God was going to work in the land, and not in this land only, but in all the world.


John G. Lake was a wealthy insurance salesman who was touched by God in an extraordinary way. Day and night, earnestly and at great length, he sought more of the Holy Spirit.

Lake had an early experience in which he felt what he called “Waves of Holy Glory” by which he “was lifted into a new realm of God’s presence and power. After this, answers to prayer were frequent and miracles of healing occurred from time to time. I felt myself on the borderland of a great spiritual realm, but was unable to enter in fully, so my nature was not satisfied with the attainment.”

In response, he pursued God’s face more and more, dedicating certain hours of the day to prayer and maintaining communion with God’s Spirit as he conducted his daily business. Almost every evening after his day’s business was completed, Lake preached and ministered. He also met with a group of like-minded friends. Together, they were determined to “pray through” to their goal—a complete baptism of the Holy Spirit, as they believed the early disciples had received it, with signs following.

Lake said to the Lord, “God, if you will baptize me in the Holy Spirit, and give me the power of God, nothing shall be permitted to stand between me and a hundred-fold obedience.”

One day, the Lord said to him, “Be patient until autumn,” and Lake knew his prayers were being heard. One afternoon that fall, a fellow minister asked Lake to accompany him to the home of a woman who had requested prayers for healing. For ten years this woman had been in a wheelchair because of inflammatory rheumatism. As his friend spoke with the lady to prepare her for prayer, Lake sat across the large room in a low chair. There, he had a powerful encounter with God:

My soul was crying out to God in a yearning too deep for words, when suddenly it seemed to me that I had passed under a shower of warm tropical rain, which was not falling upon me but through me. My spirit and soul and body, under this influence, was soothed into such a deep still calm as I had never known. My brain, which had always been so active, became perfectly still. An awe of the presence of God settled over me. I knew it was God.

Some moments passed; I do not know how many. The Spirit said, “I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears. You are now baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Then currents of power began to rush through my being from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. The shocks of power increased in rapidity and voltage. As these currents of power would pass through me, they seemed to come upon my head, rush through my body and through my feet into the floor. The power was so great that my body began to vibrate intensely so that I believe if I had not been sitting in such a deep low chair I might have fallen upon the floor.

At that point, his friend, not noticing the state he was in, invited Lake to come to help him pray. Lake could hardly walk, he was trembling so violently. While his friend continued to kneel down in front of the woman’s wheelchair, Lake simply touched her head lightly (so as not to jar her with his trembling), and he felt “currents of holy power” pass through his body. He knew she felt it too, even though she didn’t say anything.

My friend who had been talking to her in his great earnestness had been kneeling as he talked to her. He arose saying, “Let us pray that the Lord will now heal you.” As he did so he took her by the hand. At the instant their hands touched, a flash of dynamic power went through my person and through the sick woman, and as my friend held her hand the shock of power went through her hand into him. The rush of power into his person was so great that it caused him to fall on the floor. He looked up at me with joy and surprise, and springing to his feet said, “Praise the Lord, John, Jesus has baptized you in the Holy Ghost!”

Then he took the crippled hand, that had been set for so many years. The clenched hands opened and the joints began to work, first the fingers, then the hand and the wrist, then the elbow and shoulder.

Lake himself was thrilled at the inexpressible peace and joy that flooded his inner being. He felt that truly the Spirit had imparted to him “a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14, KJV). God’s love poured through him. He saw people as lost sheep, and the passionate desire of his soul became the proclamation of the salvation message of Jesus, accompanied by powerful healing and blessing.



Charles Finney was a lawyer who became a revivalist. The experience he had with God changed everything about his life, enabling him to bring about great transformation to the nation. Here is the story in his own words:

By evening we got the books and furniture adjusted; and I made up, in an open fire-place, a good fire, hoping to spend the evening alone. Just at dark Squire W——, seeing that everything was adjusted, bade me good-night and went to his home. I had accompanied him to the door; and as I closed the door and turned around my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out; and the utterance of my heart was, “I want to pour my whole soul out to God.” The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office to pray.

There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary it seemed to me that I saw him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed that he stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance.

I must have continued in this state for a good while; but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to recollect anything that I said. But I know, as soon as my mind became calm, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more;” yet I had no fear of death.

How long I continued in this state I do not know. But it was late in the evening when a member of my choir came to see me. He was a member of the church. He found me in this state of loud weeping, and said, “Mr. Finney, what ails you?” I could make him no answer for some time. He then said, “Are you in pain?” I gathered myself up as best I could, and replied, “No, but so happy that I cannot live.”

He left the office, and in a few minutes returned with one of the elders of the church, whose shop was nearly across the way from our office. This elder was a very serious man; and in my presence had been very watchful, and I had scarcely ever seen him laugh. He asked me how I felt, and I began to tell him. Instead of saying anything, he fell into a most spasmodic laughter. It seemed as if it was impossible for him to keep from laughing from the very bottom of his heart.

There was a young man in the neighborhood who was preparing for college, with whom I had been very intimate. Our minister, as I afterward learned, had repeatedly talked with him on the subject of religion, and warned him against being misled by me. He informed him that I was a very careless young man about religion; and he thought that if he associated much with me his mind would be diverted, and he would not be converted.

After I was converted, and this young man was converted, he told me that he had said to Mr. Gale several times, when he had admonished him about associating so much with me, that my conversations had often affected him more, religiously, than his preaching. I had, indeed, let out my feelings a good deal to this young man.

But just at this time when I was giving an account of my feelings to this elder of the church, and to the other member who was with him, this young man came into the office. I was sitting with my back toward the door, and barely observed that he came in. He listened with astonishment to what I was saying, and the first I knew he partly fell upon the floor, and cried out in the greatest agony of mind, “Do pray for me!” The elder of the church and the other member knelt down and began to pray for him; and when they had prayed, I prayed for him myself. Soon after this they all retired and left me alone.

The question then arose in my mind, “Why did Elder B—— laugh so? Did he not think that I was under a delusion, or crazy?” This suggestion brought a kind of darkness over my mind; and I began to query with myself whether it was proper for me—such a sinner as I had been—to pray for that young man. A cloud seemed to shut in over me; I had no hold upon anything in which I could rest; and after a little while I retired to bed, not distressed in mind, but still at a loss to know what to make of my present state. Notwithstanding the baptism I had received, this temptation so obscured my view that I went to bed without feeling sure that my peace was made with God.

I soon fell asleep, but almost as soon awoke again on account of the great flow of the love of God that was in my heart. I was so filled with love that I could not sleep. Soon I fell asleep again, and awoke in the same manner. When I awoke, this temptation would return upon me, and the love that seemed to be in my heart would abate; but as soon as I was asleep, it was so warm within me that I would immediately awake. Thus I continued till, late at night, I obtained some sound repose.

When I awoke in the morning the sun had risen, and was pouring a clear light into my room. Words cannot express the impression that this sunlight made upon me. Instantly the baptism that I had received the night before returned upon me in the same manner. I arose upon my knees in the bed and wept aloud with joy, and remained for some time too much overwhelmed with the baptism of the Spirit to do anything but pour out my soul to God. It seemed as if this morning’s baptism was accompanied with a gentle reproof, and the Spirit seemed to say to me, “Will you doubt?” “Will you doubt?” I cried, “No! I will not doubt; I cannot doubt.” He then cleared the subject up so much to my mind that it was in fact impossible for me to doubt that the Spirit of God had taken possession of my soul.

In this state I was taught the doctrine of justification by faith, as a present experience. That doctrine had never taken any such possession of my mind, that I had ever viewed it distinctly as a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel. Indeed, I did not know at all what it meant in the proper sense. But I could now see and understand what was meant by the passage, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I could see that the moment I believed, while up in the woods all sense of condemnation had entirely dropped out of my mind; and that from that moment I could not feel a sense of guilt or condemnation by any effort that I could make. My sense of guilt was gone; my sins were gone; and I do not think I felt any more sense of guilt than if I never had sinned.


These stories were excerpted from Face to Face With God by Bill Johnson. Click here to purchase the book. read more

Miraculous Deliverance

Jesus Trumps 18 Hens in Deliverance Story

Sharda's demonic possession was agonizing. The demon torturing her wouldn't allow her to stay in one place, and sometimes Sharda couldn't even breathe properly. Although her parents tried many things to free her from the demonic oppression, they didn't know how to solve the problem. Sharda seemed trapped in the clutches of the evil spirit.

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Villager Delivered from Witchcraft

Witchcraft is as common as water in the village where Saroja and her husband live.

The villagers practice witchcraft hoping it will give them permanent relief from the sickness and difficulties that plague their lives. They also believe worshiping their many gods and goddesses will help them attain a complete transformation in their bodies, minds and spirits.
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Deciphering Your Dreams

Evangelist Perry Stone believes people will experience dreams and visions with increasing frequency as Christ’s return nears. Discover why he says this, as well as the purpose dreams and visions serve and how you can interpret them.

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Scriptures Against Gay Marriage

Find scriptures addressing the argument against gay marriage.

Genesis 19

Leviticus 18:22: You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.


Leviticus 20:13: If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

1 Kings  22:46: The remnant of the sodomites who remained in the days of his father Asa, he expelled from the land.

Romans 1:26-27: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their woman did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And like wise the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another: men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Hebrews 13:4: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. read more

Help Male Prostitutes Find a Way Out

According to John Green, founder of Emmaus Ministries, 75 percent of male prostitutes claim to be heterosexual yet have mostly male clientele. Many of these men use drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of their situation????—which often results in a vicious cycle of addiction fed by more prostitution. Watch the video below to discover how Green and other ministers help these sexually broken men break free.

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You’re Already in the Gay Debate, Why Not Learn the Argument?

Christians who still believe homosexuality is incompatible with biblical faith feel painted into a corner. If we defend Christian morality, and even if we speak with compassion to those who may struggle with same-sex attraction, we are accused of hate speech or branded as judgmental. So we tiptoe through the minefield of political correctness—and keep our mouths shut.

Sorry, but timidity on this issue is not acceptable. The sins we avoid addressing from the pulpit are the sins that will thrive unchallenged in our culture. We must develop some backbone and speak the truth in love. Here are four truths that should factor into any discussion on this topic:

1. Everyone is born with issues. King David wrote: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB). David acknowledged that he had an inborn sin nature. This is true for all of us!

Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that some people are born homosexuals and therefore they have no hope of altering their orientation. But this is a lame argument since we all are born with a propensity toward certain sins. This is the human condition: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Just because you are born with an inclination toward adultery, alcoholism, shoplifting or pride doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.

2. Christ offers forgiveness and sexual healing. The more strident voices in the gay community hate when Christians speak about homosexuals being healed or reformed. They insist that if you are gay, you must stay that way. They choose to ignore the fact that thousands of people have left homosexuality after coming to faith in Christ.

My friend Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, came out of the gay lifestyle many years ago and now has a great marriage with his wife, Leslie, plus two beautiful children. The ministry he leads has helped countless people—including many Christian “strugglers”—find emotional freedom. Some of them experienced same-sex feelings from childhood; others developed these feelings because they were sexually molested or because of dysfunction in their families.

Whatever the cause of sexual brokenness, the gospel has always provided the solution. It was true for people in the Corinthian church, to whom Paul wrote: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals … will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, emphasis added).

3. Discipleship requires self-denial. In his announcement to his church last week, Jim Swilley said he decided to come out as gay because he was tired of pretending. I’ve talked with others who told me they felt they were being “dishonest” by ignoring their gay feelings. They said they felt free when they accepted “who they really are” and got involved in gay relationships.

For a Christian, that’s a cop out. The essence of our walk with Christ involves denial. Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). Jesus was not asking us to pretend we don’t have problems—He calls us to bring all of those problems into His light through repentance. But the Holy Spirit gives us the power to deny sinful desires. That quality of self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22-23).

4. Homosexuality is not a protected category of sin. Many “gay Christian” advocates insist that if you are gay, then it’s fine to go out and have all the sex you want. They ignore biblical commandments against homosexuality (usually by saying that Old Testament law doesn’t apply today); meanwhile they advocate gay marriage even though most gay men are rarely monogamous. The message is clear: If you have same-sex desires, just go ahead and indulge because that’s how you were created.

This is what the Bible calls licentiousness—which means “lacking legal or moral restraints, especially sexual restraints; disregarding rules.” Actually, the Bible lumps homosexuality in with every other form of sexual sin—and says God will punish those who engage in it. After Paul warns about every form of immorality, he says: “So, he who rejects [these rules] is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thess. 4:8).

Regardless of how loudly the world trumpets its hedonistic agenda—and no matter how many backslidden preachers dance to the tune—God has the final say on this matter.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady His most recent book is The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale (Chosen). For more information about Exodus International, go to exodusinternational.org. read more

Set Free From Homosexuality

We often hear people say that they’re “born gay” or that they can’t help the way they feel. Watch a video from a woman who not only left the homosexual lifestyle, but also says gays and lesbians don’t have to remain that way.

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Perry Stone Interprets the Signs of Our Time: Full Interview

When Charisma Publisher Steve Strang sat down with Bible teacher Perry Stone, he expected to talk about dreams and visions. What he got instead was a download of Stone’s interpretation of how today’s events relate to the end times—and what believers can do. Watch the full interview with Perry Stone and Steve Strang below. read more

Low Cost Ways to a Christian College

FIVE cost-effective ways to send your child to a Christian university.

Start early. Encourage your child to take Advanced Placement courses in high school to cut down on the amount of classes that you’ll need to pay for at a four-year university.

Search for scholarships. You may be amazed at the variety of faith-based scholarships  that are available. Broaden your search beyond just academics grants.

Think ahead. Parents should consider putting away money for their child’s education when they are still in elementary school. Some states allow you to lock in tuition rates.

Cut the time. In order to save money, your child may want to attend a community college for the first two years.

Try Uncle Sam. Federal loans are one way students pay for school. Remember don’t borrow more than is needed. Go to FAFSA. read more

Lingel

When Muslims Attack ... the Faith

Christians are woefully unprepared to defend their beliefs when confronted by devout Muslims. Here's how to prepare for talking with followers of Islam.

Devout Muslims attacked my faith when I was 18 years of age. In rapid-fire succession I was asked these questions and challenged with these statements: “Your Bible is corrupted and your New Testament can’t be trusted. The Gospel of Barnabas is a more truthful gospel. How Can God have a Son? Jesus never died on the cross.

"Where in the Bible does Jesus ever say: 'I am God, worship me?' Did God have sex to generate Jesus? Does God go to the bathroom? How can God be three and one? Why does someone else have to die for your sins? Why can’t God just forgive you? If Jesus was God why did he pray to himself? Why did Moses die in the Pentateuch if he wrote it? Why are the prophets of the Bible committing big sins (adultery)? Why do you have seven fewer books in your Bible then the Catholics?

"Islam is the straight path. Muhammad is the final prophet to mankind. Muhammad is prophesied hundreds of times in the Bible. Every Quran is the same, not a letter, dot or vowel is different from east to west, a matchless miracle preserved by Allah. Islam is a whole way of life. The Quran is a scientific miracle. Islam is simple and not complicated, unlike all these contradictions of Christianity and the failed, immoral Western society it has produced.”

I was challenged by these questions. I wanted to be ready. My attackers were pushing me back to my foundations—was what I believed actually true? I was put on the defensive by a seemingly endless list of questions and polemical attacks, while Islam was presented in glowing, idyllic terms. I was surprised at the intensity and level of the questions. They were trained and equipped for this discussion, but I had no preparation. 

This is typical of so many interactions between Muslims and Christians. Since those days, I have extensively studied Islam at six universities. I’m not afraid of Islam, but feel compassion for the Muslim people. We have taught thousands of Christian students and missionaries globally to confront Islam, and we’ve learned there are three main fears that debilitate Christians in these situations: 1) fear of persecution at the hands of Muslims; 2) not knowing enough about Christianity; and 3) not knowing enough about Islam. There are four steps you can take to be ready:

1. Prepare for Spiritual Warfare. Make no mistake, dealing with Islam puts us in the center of a fierce spiritual battle. The biggest demons in the world are in Islam, holding captive more souls than any other religion, false god or ideology. Paul tells us, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought [idea] into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4-5, emphasis added). Islam raises arguments and exalts itself against the knowledge of the true God. Our job as Christians is to war against Islam with spiritual weapons. These weapons are in the realm of love and learning, knowledge, ideas, thoughts and arguments. Make Jesus Lord of your life (see 1 Pet. 3:15) and learn the answers to the questions Muslims ask.

2. Don’t Fear Suffering. The New Testament was written by suffering Christians, to suffering Christians, for suffering Christians. The Bible explains: “All who wish to live godly lives in Christ will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12); and “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28); and finally, “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

On the other hand, the Quran says: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” (Sura 8:12). Jesus prophesies about this: “In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God [Allah]” (see John 16:2). Jesus said of the devil: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

The good news is, God has prepared for every believer involved a reward that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived” (1 Cor 2:9). Therefore, don’t fear! Be more concerned about the witness you are giving to Muslims by exalting Jesus than your own life! Otherwise you will never be effective with Muslims—being more concerned with your comfort, and constantly measuring your safety rather than expanding His Kingdom. Do what Jesus told us to do.

3. Learn the Foundations of Your Christian Faith. How do people learn to recognize counterfeit money? By studying the real thing. In the same way, “Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Ask your pastor to have courses offered in your local church on the subjects of Islam and Christianity. There is no other way to learn about our faith than to study, study, study. Sorry!

We must know God, and know his Son, Jesus. In Christianity, the entire Bible is about God making Himself known and desiring to be known by man in covenant relationship.

The Bible is clear that God walked in the Garden desiring to know Adam, calling to him by name (Gen 3:15); led Israel as a cloud by day and fire by night (Ex. 13:21); spoke to Moses face to face (Ex. 33:11); came as the eternal Son of God incarnated in the man Jesus of Nazareth (John1:1, 14); suffered and sacrificed out of love for us on the cross (Matt. 27:35,50); and continues to lead His people by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5,8). God made continual covenants with men—from Adam to Abraham to Moses to David to Jesus, and so on. In fact, the entire Bible is about God’s empowering presence among us.[1] God is knowable!

Consider your own experiences with God. Is He not a God who is knowable? Does He not speak to His disciples (John 10:27), lead them by His Spirit (Rom. 8:14), bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25) and manifest His presence in signs that follow those who believe (Mark 16:17; 1 Cor. 12, 14; Acts of the Apostles)? Millions of Christians experience this around the world every day. Be sure to share your testimony with the Muslims you share the gospel with.

However, this is simple blasphemy in Islam to speak about Allah as knowable in a personal relationship with man. In Islam, Allah is "unknowable" (Sura 2:30-39; 7:19-25; 20:116-123). Muhammad never met Allah, nor did Allah speak directly to him; revelations reportedly came through an angel (cf. Gal. 1:8) that contradicts the historical first century witness in the Bible.

This separates Christianity and Islam forever. Is God knowable? In Islam—impossible! For Christians—absolutely! Why perform all the religious acts when at the end of your religion you don’t know your god (Allah)?

We must know who Jesus really is (see John 1:1,14; 5:18; 8:24; 8:58; 10:30-33; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 1:8; Matt. 4:10; 2:2; 2:11; 14:33; 28:9; 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6; Is. 44:6; Rev. 1:17).[2] Was Peter right when he said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16; emphasis added)? Consider the importance of this belief: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12, emphasis added); “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him" (John 3:36, emphasis added). Jesus is called the “Son” or the “Son of God” 77 times in the first century New Testament.[3]

Jesus was crucified (see Matt. 27:31-28:10; Mark 15; Luke 23:13-24:12; John 19-20). Salvation can be known (John 3:16). Salvation is by faith and not by works (Rom 3:21, 4:5; Gal 3:21) and is a free gift (Rom 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9). There is only one God (see Deut 6:4; Is. 44:6,8; 45:6,14,18,21,22). God is a Trinity of persons, revealed as Father (Phil. 1:2), Son (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9) and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Jesus showed His disciples what it really means to be a human being in covenant relationship (see Matthew 5-7).

Or should we wait 600 years after Jesus’ earthly life—believing one man, Muhammad—to learn that Jesus is not the Son of God,[4] that he was neither crucified nor killed,[5] that God is not a Trinity[6] and that there is no salvation through Jesus?[7] These are a few reasons that Christians consider Muhammad demonstratively a false prophet (see Is. 8:20; 1 Thess. 5:21).

Sura 4:171 of the Quran says: “Say not, 'Three.' Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be it from His glory that He should have a son.”

No historian would accept information coming 600 years after an event as more valid than what was written during the lifetime of eyewitnesses. All historians agree that Matthew, Mark, Luke and the other New Testament witnesses wrote the earliest first-century writings available for Jesus Christ. No historical Jesus scholar uses the Quran for information about the life of Jesus because the Quran comes at least 632 years after the life of Jesus. The more you study the Scriptures, the more you will be anchored in the truth.

4. Deepen Your Study and Knowledge of Islam. Study the early origins of Islam so you can counter the idyllic way Muslims present it. Is Islam actually the straight path, the simple pure way, in contrast to the contradictions of Christianity and a failed, immoral Western society?

To answer that, here is its actual early history: In A.D. 622 Muhammad had a mere 100 Muslim converts to Islam when he migrated from Mecca to Medina and was instructed by Allah to warfare in the way of Islam. By the time of Muhammad’s death 10 years later in A.D. 632, Arabia was entirely Muslim. The majority of pagans, Jews and Christians had been killed, converted or chased out of the hijaz (western Arabia, Mecca and Medina).

These were not defensive battles, as some Muslims present; two-thirds of them were offensive battles for plundering pagan tribes.[8] The earliest surviving recorded biographies of Muhammad record 86 battles[9] led by the Muslim false prophet and are replete with a history of killings,[10] assassinations,[11] beheadings,[12] mutilations,[13] thefts,[14] kidnappings of wives and concubines,[15] as well as lying,[16] slavery,[17] torture,[18] forced conversions[19] and rape.[20] Indeed, nearly 75 percent of the 813-page Life of Muhammad covers the Muslim battles.[21] Muslim armies killed 1 million Christians (Jews, pagans and Zoroastrians) in the first 10 years of the Islamic Conquests.[22] Within 100 years, 50 percent of global Christianity was under Islamic rule, including the Middle East and north Africa.[23]

We are told commonly by Muslim scholars, such as Maulana Maududi, that the Quran "contains the word of Allah."

"In it is preserved the divine revelation, unalloyed by human interpolation of any kind, unaffected by any change or loss to the original," he states.[24] Later in the same work he writes, “The Qur’an—the book he gave to mankind—exists in its original text, without a word, syllable nor even letter having been changed."[25]

Is this true? Let’s look at just one of those—the “missing vowel” and “dot.” Dr. Arthur Jeffery shows us thousands of textual variants from Islamic traditions between Quranic manuscripts in his book.[26] Early Quranic manuscripts do not use many vowel points (dots) compared with the modern manuscripts (today’s Quran is based off of a 1924 text from Cairo!). If these dots were added later, then how is it they come down from Allah, preserved by a matchless miracle? In other manuscripts there are missing words, multiple word variances and entire chapters missing.[27] Their holy book does not hold up to their own standards, yet they apply the same standard to our Bible. [28]

(image courtesy of Dr. Gerd-R Puin)

Among the more interesting variants are the two that come from the same page of an ancient Qur’an and are  shown below:

This first example (above) shows a spot at which the scribe forgot to put the word “Allah” in the text.  At some later point in time, most likely after the initial completion of the manuscript, that scribe or another came back and, having realized their error, corrected the verse by adding in the word, “Allah.”[29]

… and this one ends sura 67, skips 68-70, and goes directly to the start of 71

(photo courtesy of Gerd-R. Puin, used by permission)

If there is even the smallest discrepancy between our biblical manuscripts they call them corrupted. “the claim of the Qur’an and Islam in general is ‘perfection and preservation by Divine decree.’ In a text which is only valid if it is preserved for all time, a multitude of divergences is unforgivable.”[30] As for the Biblical Manuscripts, we have a substantial, reliable text preserving the life, works and words of Jesus.  

Muslims are doing a good job of attacking and reaching Christians. With 1.6 billion Muslims[1] in 97 nations, you can be certain that the challenge of Islam is coming your way. Prepare yourself so you will be ready to hold out the Word of life to Muslims who so desperately need the Savior. The biggest problem in the world is not radical Islam; it is nominal Christianity! God is calling pastors to train their young and old to evangelize the Muslims.

Once, while out sharing the gospel on a Friday night, my evangelism partner was approaced by a Saudi Muslim who said to him: "Do you remember me? I am Muhammad. I became a Christian after the night you shared the gospel with me." It had been one year since that night.

From his back pocket Muhammad proudly pulled out a baptism certificate given to him by a local baptist church. Muhammad told my friend, "Thank you so much for sharing with me!" Then he whispered, "And thank your friend with all the book knowledge." That was one year after I had shared the gospel with him."

Over the past 30 years, more Muslims came to Christ than in the other 1370 years of Islam.



[1] Pew Research Center’s Froum on Religion & Public Life * Future of the Global Muslim Population, January 2011

The biggest problem in the world is not radical Islam; it is nominal Christianity! Let us answer God's call to evangelize Muslims.



[1] Fee, Gordon D., God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, Hendrickson Publishers, 1994.

[2] Of note, extant manuscripts, p66 (Bodmer II), was thought to be written 125-150 A.D. containing John 1:1-6:11; 6:35b-7:53; 8:11-14:26,29-30; 15:2-26; 16:2-4; 16:5-7; 16:10-20:20; 20:22-23; 20:25-21:9; 21:12,17, 19:16.

[3] Thanks to Miriam Casiano Alves for this detail.

[4] S. 4:171

[5] S. 4:157

[6] S. 2: 4:171

[7] Salvation through works, Sura 5:9, 42:26

[8] Thanks to Dr. David Cook, Rice University, for this comment and observation.

[9] J.M.B. Jones, “The Chronology of the Maghazi—A Textual Survey,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 19 (1957), pp. 245-80 (who details a total of 86).

[10] Guillaume, A., The Life of Muhammad, (London; Oxford University Press, 1955, 2002), p. 303, 308, 310, 369, 407, 447, 464-466, 550-1, 554-5, 560-562 577, 589, 597, 618-620, 643, 647, 661, 665-6, 669, 674-6

[11] Life of Muhammad, p. 316, 368, 482-3, 586, 666, 671-2, 673, 675, 676

[12] Life of Muhammad, p. 303, 304, 464-466, 515, 545, 547, 550, 564, 574, 646, 649, 661, 671-2

[13] Life of Muhammad, p. 322, 387, 588

[14] Life of Muhammad, p. 281, 287-8, 307, 321, 490, 548-9, 561, 572, 576, 577, 584, 588, 590, 592-3, 643, 559-560, 671-672

[15] Life of Muhammad, p. 99, 169, 309, 464-6, 490, 493-9, 511, 531, 593, 651, 653, 665

[16] Life of Muhammad, p. 294, 367, 368-9, 458, 482-483, 519-520, 543,

[17] Life of Muhammad, p. 144, 493-499, 551, 572, 576, 590, 648, 653,

[18] Life of Muhammad, p. 515, 665, 674-5, 677-8

[19] Life of Muhammad, p. 213, 241, 478, 587-8, 593, 598, 614-5, 618, 628, 629, 645-6, 669, 672, 676

[20] Life of Muhammad, p. 490, 590, 594

[21] Guillaume, A., The Life of Muhammad, (London; Oxford University Press, 1955, 2002): a translation of the work by Ibn Ishaq (d. 763) This is by far the most important body of material on Muhammad's life;  it forms the basis of every biography written after that time. A slightly later rendition of Muhammad's life, that by al-Tabari (d. 923), is also available in English in the translation series The History of al-Tabari, published by the State University of New York Press: volume 6, Muhammad at Mecca; volume 7, The Foundation of the Community; volume 8, The Victory of Islam; volume 9, The Last Years of the Prophet. Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat provides another source; the two volumes on Muhammad are translated into English: Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir: English translation, by S. Moinul Haq (1967, 1972)

[22] Waqidi, al-. The Islamic Conquest of Syria. Translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi. London: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 2005.

In the early period, if one rejects Islam, slaughter or enslavement awaits: “I ordered him [Khalid] not to fight anyone or to kill anyone until he has called him to the cause of God; so that those who respond to him and acknowledge [Him] and renounce [unbelief] and do good works, [my envoy] shall accept him and help him to [do right], but I have ordered him to fight those who deny [Him] for that reason. So he will not spare any one of them he can gain mastery over, [but may] burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take women and children captive; nor shall he accept from anyone anything except Islam” (Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, vol. 10, 57. Bold emphasis added.). Again, “Whoever does not respond to the cause of God shall be killed and fought wherever he may be and wherever he may have come to, as an enemy. [God] shall not accept from [such a] one anything that he may give, except Islam; but whoever responds to Him and acknowledges [Him], He shall accept [it] from him and instruct him. (The Muslim) should fight whoever denies [God]; so, if God lets him prevail over (the unbeliever), he should make slaughter among them by any means, with weapons and fire; then he should divide that which God bestowed as spoil upon him…” (Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, vol. 10, 59. Bold emphasis added.).

[23] Ye’or, Bat. The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude. London: Associated University Press, 1996.

[24] Maulana Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi. Towards Understanding Islam (Markazi Maktaba Islami, 1993), 11.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Jeffery, Arthur. Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur'an. New York, AMS Press, 1975. (1937). Lingel, Joshua. “History of Qur’anic Textual Variants,” SOAS, University of London, Thesis Submitted to Dr. GR Hawting.

[27] There are also a number of "facts" that need to be considered. One is that the earliest datable Quran verses are on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Of course, this only attests to part of the Quran. Another is that the earliest dated, complete Quran is dated to 394 A.H., that is the end of the fourth Islamic century (sometime during the eleventh century AD).  Also, there are a number of manuscripts that have been only partially studied in Yemen and other places that attest to variants in early Quran codices.  There are rock inscriptions from the Hijaz and southern Palestine that also appear to be variants on Quran verses.  What does seem to be clear is that the "final" form of the Quran text took some time to develop, and it may be that some of the earliest extant Quran commentaries provide the earliest evidence for a canonical text of the Quran.

[28] This page shows some of these typical variations, compared with the 1924 Cairo edition pasted in for comparison. All four of the highlighted words on this page show that today’s version includes alifs that are not in the words within this particular manuscript. Other manuscripts show missing words, multiple word variance, and chapters that are missing. See, Prof. Lingel, Joshua, Christian Apologetics to Islam, Mission Muslim World University: Session #11: Textual Criticism of the Qur’an. Church-based DVD training program: Course #2 of 35. www.i2ministries.org

. Altikulac, Dr. Tayyar (ed.), Al-Mushaf al-Sharif, Attributed to ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, Istanbul: IRCICA, 2007. Such variants can be found in 2270 such examples comparing the Topkapi MS compared to the 1924 (1984) edition. The early manuscripts are filled with variations involving the long vowels, especially the alif. Also see: Mark, Brother, A ‘Perfect’ Qur’an, Privately published, 2000.

[29] See Daniel Brubaker, “Asking Forgiveness Seventy Times”, 2010). Thanks to Dan Brubaker for permissions to use this variant.

[30] Brother Mark, A Perfect Qur’an, 168

[31] Pew Research Center’s Froum on Religion & Public Life * Future of the Global Muslim Population, January 2011

 

Joshua Lingel attended six universities for Islamic studies, including University of Washington, University of London, Harvard and Talbot School of Theology. You may contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . read more

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How Has the Digital Age Affected Christianity?

In what ways has new technology (e.g.  smartphones, iPads, websites, Internet video/audio) affected your personal relationship with God? Is your church doing anything innovative on the tech front? What impact has the digital world had on it?

These are some of the questions we'll be dealing with in an upcoming issue, but we want to hear from you. If you have any thoughts on the topic or, better yet, know of great examples we should highlight (e.g., churches/ministries pioneering on the digital front), send us a message. You could be featured in an upcoming issue of Charisma. Answer here or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . read more

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