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

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice IV : Sin and Atonement 2


In this segment, Dr. Badawi continues to claim that we do not need the atonement, through the death of Jesus in order to reach heaven. Using his standard practice of quoting Bible verses out of context, he attempts to convince us that we can get to heaven without Jesus by merely following some rules such as the 10 Commandments.

Host: Can you tell us more about the counter evidence for atonement?

Jamal Badawi: A few example Matthew 9:13 Jesus repeated the Old Testament:

But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus indeed repeated the Old Testament in this passage. The Lord makes two points in this passage. First, He came to save the sinners and all of us are sinners. Second, God cares more about our sincerity and our repentance than He cares about an external act such as a sacrifice. What good is sacrifice or prayer when we are not sorry for are sins?

This passage does not remove the Biblical requirement of atonement through blood sacrifice. The Bible is very clear "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin" (Hebrews 9:22). The theme of atonement through blood sacrifice is found throughout the Old Testament (Leviticus 17:11 and Genesis 22). I find it amazing that the Qur'an says nothing of the idea of blood sacrifice and atonement. If we assume that the Qur'an is the word of God [which I do not assume] how could God, after thousands of years of stressing the idea of blood sacrifice and atonement, completely forget about it?

Also, if we read this passage in the context of history, no Jew during the time of Jesus believed that he could attain the forgiveness of his sins simply by asking for it. If we read the books of Exodus and Leviticus, there are many sacrifices ordered by God for forgiveness and atonement.

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.'

Jesus refereed to the 10 commandments, he said nothing about the divine dying. Mark 10:14 he told about the children and did not say that they were born sinners and did not need the Trinity to be saved. There are several place in the New Testament which offer the hope of salvation without atonement.

This is a wonderful passage from the Bible. What is happening and what is Jesus telling us? A rich young man approached Jesus and asked Him what he needed to do to attain salvation. It appears that this young man was of good character and we know that he was very wealthy. Jesus was attempting to teach this young man about salvation, so he started with what the young man knew before getting to the heart of the matter. This man followed the Ten Commandments, although no one can truly follow them according to Jesus' definitions, yet the young man knew in his heart that something was missing. When Jesus told him to give up his wealth and become a disciple, the young man walked away and he was very sad. The problem was that this man loved his wealth, which was like a god for him, more than he loved God. Jesus is not saying that following the 10 Commandments is all that we need to do to attain salvation. In fact Jesus said:

"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 5:28

So, do we honestly follow the 10 Commandments?

Mark 10 is also a interesting passage. Verses 13-15 tell us many things:

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

I doubt that Jesus was lecturing these children about origin sin, the legalism of blood sacrifice, or the triune nature of God. He was teaching them in terms that they were able to understand at their age. In fact, the children are teaching us a lesson in this passage. Children love gifts and they freely received the love of Jesus without asking questions. We have to accept the gift of salvation, through Jesus, in the same way, putting aside out adult ideas that everything must be earned. We cannot earn our salvation, it is a gift given to us by God through Jesus.

Host: If the doctrine of atonement is not based on the Old or New Testaments, where did it come from?

You must be kidding! The doctrine of atonement through blood sacrifice is a major theme in the Old Testament. In fact, atonement is mentioned 107 times in the Old and New Testaments.

Jamal Badawi: The main articles of this came from Paul and he propagated it. Remember Paul was not an eyewitness of Jesus. Where did Paul come up with this idea? Paul said

1. Every child comes into this world a sinner

No, we do not inherit Adam's sin, we inherit his sinful nature:

". . . through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned"(Romans 5:12)

2. Salvation does not depend on good works but on accepting the death of Jesus as the penalty for our sins.

This was what Jesus taught and the Apostles and disciples believed. John said:

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.i John 2:2

3. Jesus was a heavenly being who existed with God before he came to earth.

Paul did not invent this idea, this is what Jesus Himself preached.

John 8:56-59

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad." The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

4. Jesus is distinct from God 1 Corinthians 8:6:

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

He distinguished between them.

He distinguishes between Them as persons sharing the same divine essence. Please note that all things came through God the Father and God the Son.

5. Jesus was subordinate to God in Philippians 2:5-8 he speaks about Jesus as a servant who became obedient.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

This passage is a hymn, not a biography of Jesus and is telling us that we need to follow the example that Jesus gave us.

Host: Can we have more documentation about how Paul got his views?

Paul got his views from the teachings of Jesus. These views were also shared by the Apostles.

Jamal Badawi: Roman 3:23-24:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Other passages, not written by Paul say the same.

Jeremiah 17:9

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

Mark 7:21-23.

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.'"

Roman 5:8-9 he says that Christ died for us and we are justified by his blood. In Romans 5:18 he addresses the consequences of sin.

Romans 6:14 he tells people that they are not under the law but grace.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Galatians 2:16:

know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Romans 10:13:

for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 he makes a comparison between Adam and Jesus

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Hebrews 9:22:

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

This is very clear and reflects his attitude of atonement, there is no other way.

This was also the attitude preached by Jesus. Jesus came to give His life so that others may be saved through Him:

"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." (Matthew 20:28)

Jesus came to give us eternal life through Him:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full...I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:10,28)

And His sacrifice was perfect because He was sinless:

1 John 3:5

"But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin."

Hebrews 2:9:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

He tells the people that Jesus tastes death for everyone.

Jesus said:

"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." (Matthew 20:28)

Host: : Is Paul's view in line with other New Testament writers?

Jamal Badawi: Yes, many like Peter and Luke were influenced by Paul. Some did not take the same line, and others were not as explicit as Paul.

All were consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

Host: : Maybe you can give us examples of those who were not the same?

Jamal Badawi: Peter, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Peter tells people that they were ransomed and in 19 he talks about the blood of Christ. On one sense this is similar to Paul but Peter also emphasizes faith in God and purification of the soul. In verse 14, he says be holy yourselves, verse 22 he focuses on confidence in God for salvation. In chapter 1 Peter 2, he says that good behavior is important. Unlike Paul, who speak clearly about blood and salvation, Peter speaks about it but emphasizes behavior and purification. There is nothing in Peters views that talk about substitution.

Yes he does:

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,

Host: : What about Luke?

Jamal Badawi: The interesting thing about Luke's view is the mention of the correction of what has been attributed to Luke. Look at KJV and RSV and compare Luke 22:17-30, Jesus says two things: the food represents his body and he passed a cup who said it was his blood shed for them. This does not mean that this was the blood of forgiveness, it was the blood of a martyr. The RSV in verse 19, it omits that it is remembrance of me, it is left out. The other difference is verse 20 is dropped in the RSV. It shows that the KJV is not authentic.

The RSV verse 19 reads:

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

Verse 20 in the RSV reads:

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Once again, Dr. Badawi is wrong.

Host: : It is believed that Paul and John are similar in their views, does that apply to the issue of atonement?

Jamal Badawi: If you examine the Gospel of John, we find that there are some differences. John speaks about crucifixion as the love of God. John 14:21:

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

Jesus does not tells us that he is paying for original sin with his blood. As in John 14:24 he says that what he says is from God, he is not talking on his own authority.

The idea of atonement through blood sacrifice was very common knowledge among the Jews of Jesus's time. He did not have to constantly remind them. The idea of atonement through the death of Jesus is found in the Gospel of John as well as in the other Gospels.

John 17:4:

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.

He did not say anything about death when he said that he finished the work while he was alive.

No, It is very important to note that Jesus is speaking in the past tense, otherwise it might be thought that His work was already "finished". It is important to note that Jesus speaks throughout this passage as being beyond this present scene and so must be supposed to include in His "finished work" as well as the last act which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem.

John 17: 8:

For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Notice that he is not talking about substitution and sacrifice. He is only a messenger. John 16:27

Only a messenger? He also said in the next verse (5):

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Has any other messenger spoken in this way?

No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

What I am concluded is that John uses a language which seems to resonate with Paul but he is far less explicit than Paul about the doctrine of atonement and that behavior and keeping the commandments is important and that the mission of Jesus was finished before he died.

The comparison is a distinction without a difference.

Andrew Vargo

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