The Muslim apologist Shabir Ally wrote,
“I refer to Biblical scholars for questions about the Bible, and to Quranic scholars for questions about the Quran.” http://www.shabirally.com/rejoinder_to_james.php
This sounds noble, but I haven’t found this to be the case regarding Jesus’ death on the cross.This is one of the central points of contention between Islam and Christianity.
Furthermore, Shabir’s above comment raises the question: where should one turn when answering questions about history?
I can understand why Shabir, as a Muslim, would turn first to the Qur’an for his theology. But why start with the Qur’an when looking for answers to 1st century historical events?
There is a close connection between what orthodox Christianity (as opposed to cults and liberalism) believes about history and theology. The Christian scholar J. Gresham Machen pointed out years ago,
Christianity is an historical phenomenon, like the Roman Empire, or the Kingdom of Prussia, or the United States of America. And as an historical phenomenon it must be investigated on the basis of historical evidence (Christianity and Liberalism, 20).
The Qur’an does not give historical evidence for denying Jesus’ death on the cross. In fact, Islam’s denial of the historic event of Jesus’ death on the cross should raise red flags about its theology.
The Mormon cult faces a similar problem. Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet and to have received revelation from heaven. Yet, Joseph Smith’s testimony about history is untrue because the Book of Mormon describes the rise and development of two great civilizations that archaeological researchers have repudiated. In fact, Thomas Stuart Ferguson founded the Department of Archaeology (later renamed Anthropology) at Brigham Young University for the purpose of discovering proofs for the Book of Mormon. After twenty-five years of archaeological research, he called the geography of the Book of Mormon “fictional” – an appropriate term therefore to describe Mormon theology.