When You Struggle With What to Believe: Abdu Murray

 

“There are those of you who have bought in to the cultural idea that if it feels right, it must be true. And you’ve come to be satisfied with that. You’re plagued with doubts and you’re thinking about, “Are there any things certain in life anymore? Can I hold on to anything that’s actually worth holding on to that’s solid that’s not just a matter of opinion?”

Let me encourage you to take that feeling, that desire for something solid and go and look at Christianity. Offer yourself to that pursuit of what might be true. The Lord Jesus actually is a matter of history, not a matter of opinion, not a matter of fables. He was in this world and he died on the cross as a matter of history; and he rose from the dead as a matter of actual history so that you and I can have life. That is solid. It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of fact. That is something in your darkest day when you don’t know what to believe that you can cling on to.

So I would ask you this: If you’re someone who’s struggling, who’s hurting, who doesn’t know what’s going on and is looking at a world of uncertainty. I would ask you to focus yourself on Jesus, the God who came in this world and gave His life for us.”

– Atty. Abdu Murray

abdu murray 2

Doctor of Jurisprudence, Abdu Murray, was several times named in Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyer.  He is North North American Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Scholar in Residence of Christian Thought and Apologetics at the Josh McDowell Institute of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Formerly a proud Muslim who studied the Qur’an and Islam, he spent nine years intensely investigating historical, philosophical, and scientific foundations of the major world religions. That led to his discovery that the Christian faith, based on solid historical facts, can answer the questions of the mind and the longings of the heart.

A family man now based in Detroit, Atty. Abdu Murray is a national and international speaker for conventions, university campuses, churches, radio and TV programs across the United States.  He authored these three books:

  1. Apocalypse Later: Why the Gospel of Peace Must Trump the Politics of Prophecy in the Middle East
  2. Saving Truth: Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World
  3. Grand Central Question: Answering the Critical Concerns of the Major Worldviews

Atty. Murray was one of the speakers at last weekend’s Intentional Discipleship Conference at Christ’s Commission Fellowship. Here are my notes for his talk:

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Being a doctor of law, Abdu Murray liked to win debates, not in the quarrelsome sense but in the classical sense of presenting arguments. He differentiated between beating someone in argument visavis winning the person over.

He pointed out the hallmark of Apologetics as Colossians 4:5-6

Col  4:5-6 
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

What we can derive from this passage:

  1. Do not walk away from people.
  2. Make the most of time. (Other people have all the time)
  3. Address them as human beings and care about what they care about.
  4. Conversations should be gracious and seasoned with salt.
  5. Try to anticipate what they are curious about and have an answer. You will be in the answering business; people will need answers.

Having spent most of his life studying Islam, Atty. Murray talked about the expression, “Allahu Akbar,” which in its original sense before it earned today’s unfortunate connotation associated with terrorist fundamentalists, has been a beautiful prayer and praise to God. Translated as “God is greater,” the phrase expresses the person’s desire to worship someone who is truly great.

If God is truly great what qualities must he have?

  1. All powerful – If not, why believe him. He will just be like Zeus and fake gods.
  2. Trustworthy – If not, why believe him? He could be lying

In Islam, Abdu Murray was taught that the bible (referred to as Torah, Gospel of Jesus, and Psalms of David) is a revelation from God but in time, it got corrupted. Qur’an came to fix all corruptions.

Problem : If bible is Gods word corrupted… Either God

(a) couldn’t or (b) wouldn’t prevent corruption of the bible.

If he couldn’t, then he’s not all-powerful. He’s not worthy of worship because he’s not great.

If he could have but shows not to, it shows he’s not trustworthy.  Why believe him? He’s not doing well. He’s not worthy of worship; he’s not great and God’s greatness is most important to Muslim

Actually, bible is intact and uncorrupted from the day it was written. It shows 1 God in 3 persons.

If God is great, we have to believe that

  1. God is Self-subsistent (doesn’t need anything or anyone in order to exist).
  2. God is Relational being
  3. God is Love (1 John 4:8)

Self-subsistent: If God is truly great, he would need nothing to be who he is but he’s also the only uncreated being.

Relational: How can he be relational if he’s alone? In order to be relational, it takes more than 1 unit (the lover and the loved).   If God is relational, he needs something to exist outside of himself.  If he’s not relational, he’s defective.  God doesn’t need you and me or anything else to exist

There is one God who exists in 3 persons:

  1. Father
  2. Son
  3. Holy Spirit

It’s the same what but different who’s [Previous post about the Triune God]

Why 3 and not another number?

God uses the minimum number necessary for true honest eternal love.

Love– For God to be a God of love, love is expressed to

  1. Self
  2. Another
  3. Community

The number you need for that is 3 to cover every area of relationality.

The most pure expression of love is the kind that gives but benefits the receiver (instead of the self).

If God is triune, why create something (like man) to mess things up?

He’s  not lonely. He doesn’t need you but he created you so you can have relationship (with Him).

He extends to us what the Father has given.

For Muslim to believe God is great, the triune God answers his searches.

God’s greatness is proven by Jesus’s  Incarnation (becoming man and dwelling among people) and Cross: that God died at hand of the creation he creates . He doesn’t look great cursed and hung on tree.

In Islam, God sends something but not himself.

Would the greatest possible center of all morality, intimacy, and love give us something or someone?

God spoke to us by His son.

You can follow me on twitter or read my books but you won’t really know me until I’m present in your life. That’s why Jesus became flesh to… to make God known through His presence and dwelling among man.

Augustine pondered that God loved us so much that He who made man was made man,

born of a (human) mother He created, without whom eloquence is mute.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God so we don’t have to guess what He is like.

He’s a person to be loved.

Incarnation leads to the cross.

Jesus told us He came to give his life as a ransom for many, to give us the character of God.

Son leaves heavenly throne so we could have life eternal

Express love (greatest ethic)

He is oft-forgiving most merciful

God is the greatest being

Love is the greatest ethic.

If God judged humanity according to what it deserved,

Your sin and my sin pollutes the world around us.

If God is truly just and never compromised on his justice, how will we deserve mercy?

Love harmonised justice and mercy and doesn’t override them.

Justice is getting what you deserve; mercy is getting what you don’t deserve.

If God is unchanging, never compromising justice mercy, how can He do both without compromising the other?

The Cross is perfectly just but perfectly merciful.

Can you have harmony ?

Because love is the greatest ethic and God is love,

God did not come to to say something about sin but do something about it.

Self-sacrifice is love’s greatest expression on the cross.

Try to understand if bible is reliable.

Intellectual ascent [understanding truth of Jesus in mind] and emotional response [say yes to Jesus] is the longest journey.

As I began to look, a sense of hope welled up inside me, the culmination of wanting to believe the Greatest Possible Being express

The Greatest Ethic in the Greatest Possible Way…

We see sacrificial love when a mother will go without food so her child can eat

We are awed by it when soldier jumps on grenade to save comrades.

If we are awed by human sacrifice, comprehend that

it was God who showed me this sacrificial love.

We don’t sacrifice for those who hate us nor want to take the place of

someone’s death just so he could hear the gospel and be saved.

But God died for Charles Manson, Osama Bin Laden…

those who have 100 % hatred for Him.

Romans 5:8 God’s sacrifice for those who hate Him and that turns them around.

The Muslims I know who hear this say that the Cross speaks in a way so beautiful they wish it is true.

At the Cross,what they wish were true and what is true converge.

Love for all hatred for none – pacifist

God helped me to see

Quran doesn’t love the evil doer

The ethic you uphold is a demonstrable ethic. That’s what God did. That’s the price of truth. It’s worth paying.

Gospel offers two truths that Muslims want:

Among believers there are three perspectives:

Worship God to Attain heaven – Merchant mentality

Worship God to Avoid hell – Slave Mentality

Worship God in Gratitude – Worship of noble man

You already have heaven. Your Cross is already gone

For Jesus followers,  Jesus has taken your place at the cross

 

They gave Jesus the cross not guessing He should make it His throne

King of glory come in

Planting imperishably the name they intended to destroy

God who conquered thru evil- thru cross is

Triune

Incarnational

Sacrificial

In his life as a pursuer of Islam, Atty. Murray mocked Christians by changing the lyrics of the song “How Great Thou Art” to “How Great Thou Aren’t” but today, he declares to all the world:

How Great Thou Art
Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
And when I think of God,
His son not sparing,
Sent Him to die,
I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden
gladly bearing He bled and died
to take away my sin
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Songwriter: Stuart Hine

 

 

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