The course is an intensive study of the differences between Christianity and Islam with special focus on arguments for Christianity and against Islam that involve comparative theology and bibliology. The theologies proper to Islam and Christianity is centrally important in this apologetic discussion. How a worldview’s theology effects anthroplogy is a final constituent to this study.
The Christian worldview includes clear affirmations of its doctrine of God while clearly distinguishing it from other worldviews. This course discusses the Christian doctrine of God within the larger framework of the Christian worldview, explains the Islamic doctrine of Allah within the larger Islamic worldview, stresses the defensibility of Christianity over Islam in terms of comparative Scripture and theology, and notes areas of accord and discord between Islam and Christianity. The educated Christian will exit this course ready to engage Muslims; the Muslim popoulation is roughly estimated at 1.8 billion.
Required Resource Purchase(s)
Ayoub, Mahmoud. A Muslim View of Christianity: Essays on Dialogue, ed. Irfan Omar, faith meets faith. New York: Orbis, 2007. ISBN: 1570756902.
Scalise, Brian. Disseration Notes: An Apologetic from Human Relationships against Islam. [found in the Liberty bookstore].
Timothy of Baghdad. Apology for Christianity. E-book ed. Kindle Digital Services, 2010. Kindle. This source can also be found online for free at http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/timothy_i_apology_01_text.htm
Volf, Miroslav. Allah: A Christian Response. New York: HarperCollins, 2011. IBSN: 0061927082.
White, James. What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2013. ISBN: 0764209760.
Additional Materials for Learning
Computer with basic audio and video equipment.
Internet access (broadband recommended)
(Microsoft Office is available at a special discount to LU students.)
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
Analyze Christian Trinitarian theology in view of Muslim objections.
Analyze the Tawḥīdic (oneness) nature of Allah in Islam with an eye to Christian criticisms.
Differentiate Christian cosmology from that of Islamic cosmologies with a special focus on theological anthropologies.
Discuss the relevant issues pertaining to qur’anic bibliology in a context of biblical bibliology.
Articulate the apologetic argument from human relationships against Islam.
Summarize Christology in terms of the New Testament doctrine in contrast to and against the Qur’anic view of Christ.
Course Requirements and Assignments (Number of Assignments may vary)
Outline of Timothy of Baghdad’s Apology for Christianity.
The student will outline Timothy’s apology in preparation for this course. The student must (1) identify the question Timothy is answering, (2) in no more than two sentences summarize Timothy’s answer to that question, and (3) explain how Timothy’s answer leads to the next question by the Muslim Caliph (King). This is due on the first day of class. The student must be ready to discuss their outline in class as part of a rigorous analysis of this text. LOs A, B, D, & F.
Two Book Reviews
The student will write to separate reviews of five pages, due on the first day of class, for A Muslim View of Christianity (Ayoub) and What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an (White). These reviews must be broken into three parts by means of headings: (1) two pages should discuss the book’s content with the student’s limited commentary. This means that for every paragragh that summarizes part of the book, the student’s comments should be no more than a third of that paragraph and no less than a fourth of that paragraph. (2) Two pages must discuss the themes that are most important to the author. These are identified by close attention to the introductions and conclusions in each section of a book, carefully looking for repeated words or ideas that clue us in to what is important to our authors. (3) The student will discuss, in one page, the relevance of the book for apologetics and interreligious dialogue. LOs A, B, D, & F.
The student will write one term paper of 12 – 15 pages, double spaced, not including title page, table of contents, or bibliography. It is due on April 30, 2015. The paper will engage one of the following apologetic topics, hopefully elucidating and contributing substantial data on chosen topic. This paper must rely on no less than twenty sources, substantially used in the actual construction of the paper and not as “padding” for the bibliography. LOs A, B, C, E, & F.
The Prophet Muhammad: problems with him as a Prophet
The history of Muhammad with special focus on the ethical dimensions of his life
The transmission of the Qur’an across the centuries
Qur’anic variations (textual variants) in the text compared with biblical variations
The trouble of Muslim centralized authority: Shia, Sunni, and Sufi
Troubling differences on a particular doctrine or tenant of Islam among Shia, Sunni, and/or Sufi
Trinity and Allah: ontologically different
The Old Testament’s openness to the possibility of the Son of God in comparison to the Qur’an closeness to the possibility of the Son of God
How Muslims handle the Torah, Zobar (Psalms), and Injil (Gospels) as Scripture although under the greater authority of the Qur’an: are there levels of “inspiredness”
Presenting and defending a traditional Christology (Christ as God) in view of specific Muslim objectors with their objections
Overcoming the Muslim accusation that the Apostle Paul changed the nature of Christianity by teaching doctrine about Jesus’ identity that was different from what Jesus taught about Himself in the Gospels
Dealing with the Muslim claim that the Bible, especially certain texts in the Gospels, has been corrupted
Articulating different theological anthropologies based on the difference between Christian doctrine of God and the Islamic doctrine of Allah.
The student’s ability to discuss the relevant issues in Timothy of Baghdad’s Apology for Christianity will be assessed closely for a participation grade. Moreover, students’ are expected to dialogue with the professor and other students about the specified content of the book reviews.
Course Grading and Policies
Outline of Timothy of Baghdad
White book review
Ayoub book review
In class participation
Late work is not accepted except in view of dire circumstances individually discussed with the professor.
The student is obliged to follow the attendance policies identified in the graduate catalog. In an intensive, needing to miss a full day of class will require that the course be dropped.
Academic Misconduct Policies
Academic misconduct is strictly prohibited. See the graduate catalog for specific definitions, penalties, and processes for reporting.
The student is obliged to follow the drop/add policies identified in the graduate catalog.
The student is expected to maintain a neat, professional appearance while in class. The code is described in the graduate catalog and may be amended with guidelines by the school of study.
The use of cell phones will not be permitted, except for emergencies. The use of computers is provisional and only permitted during lecture. Discussion portions of the course require the closing of laptops for the purpose of undivided attention. The student will only be allowed to use a computer if he/she is taking notes during class. Surfing of the web, social networking, or any other activity on a computer that distracts the student from the lecture (in the opinion of the professor) will result in the forfeiture of the privilege of the use of the computer in class. Should one student’s behavior result in the forfeiture of the use of a computer for that student, the entire class may lose the privilege of the use of computers.
Students with a documented disability may contact the Office of Disability Academic Support (ODAS) in Green Hall 2668 to make arrangements for academic accommodations. For all disability testing accommodation requests (i.e. quieter environment, extended time, oral testing, etc.) the Testing Center (Green Hall 2700) is the officially designated place for all tests administered outside of the regular classroom.
Student Conduct Policy
The student is expected to conduct himself/herself in a Godly and civil manner when addressing the professor or other students. While good healthy discussion will be expected and encouraged, at no time will personal attacks be tolerated.
Semester: The following calendar is a general representation of the course material and is subject to date adjustment and/or change of content if necessary, at the professor’s discretion.
Introduction and relevance of course; Trinity and Allah; ontological differences; anthropological ramifications
Timothy of Baghdad outline discussion; Christian and Islamic cosmology with an eye to anthropology
A, B, C, D, E, F
Answering Qur’anic objections to the Christian doctrine of God; Answering Muslim objections to the Christian Scriptures; theories of predication of the Deity
A, B, D, F
Christian Christology; Islamic Christology; the argument from human relationships; the argument from love; the problem of the one and the many
A, B, C, E, F,
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_______________. Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad: Understanding the Differences between Christianity and Islam. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
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