Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice III : Sin and Atonement 1


This is the first segment in a long series on atonement. In this introduction, Dr. Badawi will, once again, selectively quote Bible passages in an attempt to prove that atonement is not necessary for salvation. After establishing this untruth, Badawi will proceed to tell us that the Bible does not say something that it clearly says : that Jesus died for our sins and salvation is found only through Him.

What do we mean when we use the term atonement? Atonement means that we correct the effects of a sin that we have committed. In reference to the Bible, atonement means to remove sin. The Old Testament atonements, the blood sacrifice of various animals offered by the high priests, were temporary. Only the people in that place and time received the atonement from the blood sacrifice. These sacrifices foreshadow the real and final atonement made by Jesus. The idea of atonement and blood sacrifice is found throughout the Old and New Testaments and the people who lived during the ministry of Jesus were well aware of this concept. It is interesting that the Qur'an is so quiet concerning a theme which an eternal and unchanging God has stressed for thousands of years.

The Bible clearly tells us, in spite of Dr. Badawi's claims, that Jesus atoned for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). Why did it require the death of Jesus to atone for our sins? All humans are sinners (Romans 5:8) and we cannot atone for any of our actions. It was the love of God the Father that sent Jesus (1 John 4:10) to die in our place (1 Peter 3:18) and for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). We receive the free gift of atonement by faith (Romans 5:1 and Ephesians 2:8). The wonderful news is: because of the atonement made for us by Jesus, our fellowship with God is restored (Romans 5:10).

Host: What is the essence of the doctrine of atonement?

Jamal Badawi: God made Adam perfect and holy and told him not to eat from the tree of knowledge. Adam disobeyed and ate from that tree and lost his holiness and perfection.

Correction : God told Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not the "tree of knowledge".

Genesis 2:17:

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Adam did not fall by himself, all of humanity fell. People are sinners from birth and cannot escape. The sin of Adam merited death for him and all of his descendants. The penalty for that sin is eternal punishment. No human can pay the penalty or can intercede for others because all are sinners so there must be another redeemer who is divine, Jesus is divine and was sent to redeem us. Are these based on the Old or New Testaments?

Yes they are based on the Old and New Testaments. Genesis 3:17 tells us that humanity fell with Adam:

To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

and Romans 5:12 says

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--

People are sinners Jeremiah 17:9 says:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

and Mark 17:21-23 tells us:

For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.'"

The penalty for sin is death Romans 6:23:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus is divine and He was sent to redeem us:

and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Ephesians 5:2

Host: Is this doctrine based on the Bible?

Jamal Badawi: We need to look at it from the positive and negative standpoints. In Genesis Abraham had to sacrifice his only son Isaac but we know that Ishmael was already there. The question is what does this story have to do with God shedding the blood of his son? This was a test of the faith of Abraham, God was testing his obedience. The ram is not a symbol of the divine but is a symbol of the mercy of God

God did not tell mankind everything all at once. The story of God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (not Ishmael) is the beginning of the idea of substitution, which has a long history in the Old Testament. In Genesis 22, a ram is substituted for Isaac as a sacrifice and in Leviticus 16, the idea of substituting an offering in place of the one who sinned is given by God to man. According to the Bible, it is necessary for the offering to die for "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." In other words, atonement sacrifices one who is not guilty in the place of one who is guilty allowing God to judge sin and man to escape from judgment.

The ram, and all other sacrifices in the Old Testament, were not divine and did not have to be divine. These animals served as blood sacrifices to atone for the sins of a specific group of people at a specific time in history. Jesus is the sacrifice that atones for all people who accept Him. The atonement through Jesus solves many problems for us. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God can look at us as if we never sinned. This atonement gives us the right to be resurrected and we are "therefore no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God"(Galatians 4:7). We also know that "when He shall appear we shall be like Him" (1 John3:2) and that Jesus will "transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His Glory"(Philippians 3:21). This is the good news that even Dr. Badawi cannot obscure!

Exodus 12: 12-13 God instructed the Israelites to kill a lamb to spare them when God smites the first born and the Jews celebrate this by killing an unblemished lamb and Jesus was the unblemished lamb. The problem is that the commemoration of the Passover has nothing to do with the divine shedding his blood. The Jews never understood this as atonement.

The Passover has everything to do with the divine Jesus shedding His blood! Jesus is the lamb who took our place and the Jews understood this and many followed Him and established His Church.

Exodus 20:4 :

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

I wonder how this text can be presented about the inheritance of sin and the need for the divine to die for atonement? It says the third or forth generation not for all generations from Adam. This verse says to the third or forth generation of those who hate God, those who do not are excluded. Verse 5 does not go with this interpretation of the divine dying. God shows his love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. There is no evidence for the doctrine of atonement. A forth evidence is

There is no evidence for atonement through blood sacrifice Dr. Badawi? Please continue reading this chapter:

Exodus 20:24 "`Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.

Once again, the doctrine of blood sacrifice for the atonement of sins was established in the Old Testament as this passage clearly shows.

Lamentations 5:7:

Our fathers sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.

If you read the next verse, he is not talking about original sin but the contemporary suffering of the Israelites. Jeremiah said that they were punished because they sinned (Jeremiah 14:20). Fifth, David said that he is sinful, that he was conceived in sin in Psalm 51:5, but is says nothing about the divine dying because he can pray to God to wash him whiter than snow. He did not ask for the blood of his son in many centuries later.

These are the words of Jeremiah telling God why He should pity the Israelites. Atonement is something which is given by God, not man. However, in this case, Jeremiah is asking God for relief against the earthly punishment that the Israelites were receiving.

David tells us, in Psalm 51 that the condition of our hearts are more important than the physical action of blood sacrifice. However, once our hearts are pure, the blood sacrifice can be made for atonement:

Psalm 51:19

Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Host: Is there anything in the Old Testament that is not consistent with the doctrine of atonement?

Now Dr. Badawi will give us a number of passages which do not mention blood sacrifice. The fact is that blood sacrifice and atonement were a major theme in the Old Testament, even if each and every verse does not contain these words.

Jamal Badawi: A few examples. Deuteronomy 24:16:

Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.

If this verse applied to guilt, there is no notion of automatic inheritance of sin.

This verse may not say that there is inheritance of sin, it talks about the guilt of sin. We are all guilty of sin. The Greek word, used in the Bible, for sin is "hamartia", which means "to miss the mark". In respect to God's perfection, we all "miss the mark"; but, fortunately, God reached out to us by giving us Jesus, whose death was the price for our sins. In Romans 5:8 we read:

"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Incidentally, other Bible passages do talk about the inheritance of sin from our ancient father Adam:

Romans 5:12:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--

In 1 Samuel 15:22-23:

But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

That is obvious, God is not interested in sacrifice.

No, that is not what this verse says. God is more interested in the condition of our heart than He is with external acts such as sacrifice, prayers, alms, and pilgrimages. However, the condition of our heart will never atone for our sins since "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins."

In Psalms there are 4 or 5, Psalm 30:5

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Yes God was angry with Adam but it was not inherited. Psalm 32:5:

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD" -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

David did not say that Jesus would forgive him.

Of course David did not say that Jesus would forgive him! Jesus would not come to earth for many centuries. His sacrifice on the cross provides us with atonement, and that did not occur in the lifetime of David.

Psalm 51:16:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

Psalm 69:30-31:

I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.

Once again, God is more concerned with the state of our hearts than He is with our external actions. These passages do not dismiss the doctrine of atonement in any way.

Psalm 106:23

So he said he would destroy them-- had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.

Humans can intercede for other humans.

Humans can pray for their fellow humans, however, no amount of prayer for another person can ever atone for their sins.

Jeremiah 31:29-30:

"In those days people will no longer say, `The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes--his own teeth will be set on edge.

Nothing talks about physical death,

I think that it does talk about physical death. If you read verse 31, you will see a glimpse of the sacrifice of Jesus which is to come:

"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

In Ezekiel 18:20:

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

Once again, this verse tells about sin and how we will be held accountable for it. The only way to escape the sentence, which we are all under, is through the blood of Jesus.

Ezekiel 18:30-32:

"Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

The Bible does indeed call us to repent, however, these verses do not take away the need for atonement.

Hosea 6:6

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Once again, God is more concerned with our hearts than with external actions.

Host: Did Jesus teach this doctrine?

Jamal Badawi: Not at all. From the very beginning the basic theme was to tell people that the kingdom was at hand. Matthew 7:21:

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

The only qualification to get into heaven is to do the will of the Father. In Luke 7:47:

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

He didn't give any explanation. As one theologian Rashelan said that if you looked at the Bible nothing really talked about atonement except a couple of expressions which are not conclusive.

Wrong again. Jesus was very clear and conclusive:

Matthew 20:28:

"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

John 3:17 and Luke 19:10:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

Host: Why would you say that it is inconclusive?

Jamal Badawi: He refers to the statement that Jesus gave his life for the ransom of many and the language of the last supper which some thinks talks about atonement, are these statement genuine and are they conclusive? Many scholars says that these statements were ecclesiastical inclusions, but these statements do not mention the idea of substitution or sacrifice.

It is amazing how Dr. Badawi, when confronted with a Bible verse that does not fit his model, retreats to the "ecclesiastical inclusions" argument! Is there any proof what so ever to back this claim?

Hebrews 2:17 tells us:

"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."

Is this verse also an "ecclesiastical inclusion" Dr. Badawi?

All of the disciples were sad when Jesus was killed, they should have been happy because the sins of man were washed away. It is impossible to image that he was teaching about blood sacrifice and the divine. Why would Jesus pray for God to take the cup away from him, it sounds as if Jesus is praying to get out of this situation of sacrificing his life for many.

It is a normal human emotion for people to be sad when a loved one dies and the disciples of Jesus were human. Did Muhammad's wives and friends grieve when he died? Of course they did! Jesus was fully human and fully God. His humanity did not want to suffer and die, however, He obediently fulfilled the divine plan of the cross.

Host: Did Jesus say anything that would negate the doctrine of atonement?

Jamal Badawi: Luke 5:32:

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Nothing about substitution and sacrifice.

Keep reading:

Luke 5:33-35

They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking." Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."

How will He be taken from them Dr. Badawi? If we read the entire Bible in context, we see that there is a consistent theme of blood sacrifice from the Old Testament to Jesus. The people who heard Jesus were well aware of this Biblical theme and did not have to be constantly reminded.

In Luke 13:3 says that they failure to repent. In Luke 15:7, repentance is the prerequisite. Matthew 19:16-19 :

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "`Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and `love your neighbor as yourself.'

Repentance is the first important step towards salvation. We must first realize that we have done wrong and have sinned against God. The next step is to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and to accept His sacrifice as the full and complete payment for our sins. The we are saved. Can we be saved simply by following the commandments of the Old Testament? The better question is : can anyone follow these commandments? Please remember what Jesus said:

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.Matthew 5:21-22

"You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Matthew 5:27-28

Do any of us follow the commandments of God? Of course not, that is why we need atonement through Jesus.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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