GIVING & SHARING NEWSLETTER                                                    December, 1990 No. 13


Electronic Bible Available


      If you have a personal computer, you may already have purchased Bible research software to aid your study of the Creator’s Word.  Our free list of recommended Computer Bible Study Software may help you decide which programs to buy.

      But if you are on the go, and/or do not have a computer, there is another, less expensive, way to use modern electronic tools to aid your Bible Study.  The Franklin Electronic Bible puts the King James Bible at your fingertips.  Instantly “turn” to any portion of scripture and read just as you would a printed Bible.  Or, use powerful concordance search features to look up all scriptures where a word or phrase are used.  It runs on four AA batteries and fits in the palm of your hand. The LCD screen is easy to read.  In a recent Bible Study group, a friend using the Electronic Bible turned to scripture passages faster than any of us flipping pages.   The Electronic Bible won’t replace the printed Bible, but it is a very useful tool, available from Giving & Sharing.


New Items on Giving & Sharing Order Blank


      Several new items appear on the recent Giving & Sharing Order Blank:

      The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, edited by Spiros Zodhiates.  This is a Strong’s Concordance Lexicon combined with a King James Version Bible.  The key words of the Bible text are underlined, and the Strong’s number given.  The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries are included in the reference section of this Bible.  In addition, there is a 168-page section of further word studies by Spiros Zodhiates, plus notes, maps and other helps, and words of the Messiah in red.  It is called “The world’s best Bible for original meaning.”

      Jewish New Testament, translation by David Stern.  Paperback, 391 pages.  David Stern, a Messianic Jew, translated the New Testament from the Greek as a Jew would.  He helps us understand the Jewishness of the New Testament, as well as correct some theological misconceptions.  For example, anti-Jewish bias has mistranslated Romans 10:4 as “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” while Stern translates it as a Jew would:  “For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts.”

      Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures.  New Jewish Publication Society translation of Old Testament, 1985.  Cloth, 1,624 pages.  Tanakh is an abbreviation for the three parts of the Jewish Old Testament:  Torah (the Law, the five books of Moses), Nevi’im (the Prophets), and Kethuvim (the Writings).  This major new Jewish translation, the product of all three branches of Judaism, is said by the authors to be the greatest work of Jewish scholarship since the Septuagint.


Moslem Influence Increases


      One fifth of the world’s population is Moslem.  Some eight million Americans are Moslems.  Most Moslems are not Arabs.  There are many misconceptions and much misunderstanding about the religion founded by Mohammed the Prophet in the 7th Century A.D.  Today, Marxism crumbles, so-called Christianity is weak and ineffective, yet Islamic fundamentalism is on the march.  Petroleum dollars are being used to build Moslem centers in every major city in the world.  France had only one mosque in 1974; now there are over 1,500.

      There is an irreconcilable difference between the religion of the Koran, Islam, and the religion of the Bible.  As believers in Messiah the Son of the Almighty, we need to know about this major non-Christian religion.  Even though Moslems believe that Jesus was a prophet, and speak highly of Moses, don’t let this fool you.  They believe in forced conversion with the sword.  Historically, Moslem warriors gave “infidels” (non-Moslems) three choices:  accept Islam, pay tribute, or die by the sword.  Some modern Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, forbid Christians to engage in missionary activity whatsoever.  Since Mohammed, there has been a continual jihad (holy war) going on.  Nearly one billion strong, Moslems are gaining ground on the world scene.

      Anis Shorrosh, a Christian Arab, analyzes the Moslem religion from the orthodox Christian perspective in his book, Islam Revealed (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988).  Shorrosh  is an apologist for Christianity versus the Moslem religion.

      Dr. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut in his famous book, Story of the Christian Church gives several pros and cons of the religion of Mohammed, to which I have added three points:


Positive Values of the Moslem Faith


      1.   Simplicity of Doctrine.  Moslems believe in One God, and that it is every man’s duty to obey implicitly.  It doesn’t take theological scholars to understand Islamic faith.  [Nor should it take scholarship to understand true Christianity, either.]

      2.   Opposition to Idolatry.  Hurlbut states, “Throughout the [so-called] Christian world the statues of the old gods and goddesses of Greece had simply given place to images and pictures of the Virgin Mary and the saints, worshiped in all the churches.  Moslems cast them out, destroyed them, and denounced all adoration of images whether carved or painted as idolatry,”  (pages 118-119).  Good for them!

      3.   Rejection of Priestly and Saintly Mediation.  False Christianity makes salvation depend upon a man, not on simple faith in Christ and obedience to Him as Lord.  Islam brings every soul face to face with God.

      4.   Abstinence from Liquor.  Moslems are forbidden to drink alcohol.  Thus, faithful Moslems are spared the plagues of alcohol abuse rampant in the Western world.

      5.   Promotion of Literature and Science.  Arab Moslems gave us the numerals 1, 2, 3, etc.  They advanced in astronomy, mathematics and other scientific fields when Europe was in the Dark Ages imposed by the Catholic Church who insisted the earth was the center of the universe.

      6.   Opposition to Usury.  Moslems are forbidden to charge interest.  Therefore, when a Moslem business needs capital, it joins into partnership with a financial institution rather than receiving a bank loan with interest.

      7.   Swift Punishment for Crimes.  Though it seems severe, Islamic law is better in many aspects than in liberal Western law.  Thieves lose their hands.  In Moslem lands, execution for capital crimes is swift and sure.  A business associate of mine once worked in Saudi Arabia.  One early morning he was standing outside a bank waiting for a ride to work.  A delivery man drove up to the bank, threw a sack of money on the doorstep right next to my friend, and drove off.  The bank was not yet open for business.   My friend was amazed!  In America, the sack of money would probably have been quickly stolen.  In the Moslem world, it is safe to throw a sack of money in front of a bank not yet open for business.  As a foreigner, my friend knew that if he had stolen the money, he would not just suffer a loss of a hand like a native.  He would have been executed and buried in the sand, with nobody knowing the difference.

      8.   Abstinence from Pork.  Moslems don’t eat pork, but because Mohammed lived in the desert, he allowed his followers to eat camel meat, which the Bible terms “unclean,” Leviticus 11:4.


Negative Aspects of Islam


      Dr. Hurlbut also gives the unfavorable aspects of Mohammedism  (Ibid., pp. 120-121):

      1.   Conversion by Conquest, rather than by missionary preaching, has long been the standard cruel method of expanding the number of Moslem faithful.

      2.   Religion over the State.  In Islamic states, the government is expected to use its power to the utmost for the promotion of the Islamic faith, and the suppression of all other faiths.  Reports from Sabbath-keepers in Nigeria demonstrate that even in a mixed-religion country, Moslems give Christians a hard time.

      3.   Harsh, Cruel View of God.  To a Moslem, God is a ruthless Oriental despot, with no love for those outside the faith.

      4.   Low View of Jesus.  Moslems recognize Jesus as a worthy Jewish prophet, but not the Son of God and the Savior of men.

      5.   Sensuous Heaven.  The abode of the blessed in the life to come, according to Moslems, is like a perpetual orgy with many women.

      6.   Degradation of Women.  Women are looked upon merely as the slaves or playthings of men.

      7.   Lack of Statesmanship.  Islamic governments are some of the most brutal and poverty-producing administrations of human government on earth.

      It would behoove all true believers in the Messiah to spend more time studying the Moslem faith, because sooner or later they will be confronted by Moslems and may need to be able to defend their faith.                             Ω