Response to Akbarally Meherally's Claim

Paul was NOT a "Messenger of God"

Mr. Meherally introduces all of his writings about Christianity and the Bible with a deceptive trick which is in its method quite typical for all of his articles. Only because it is so exemplary, will we even bother to take note of it and discuss it. On his entry page, we find near the top:

When Jesus came with Clear Signs he said: "Now have I come to you with Wisdom and in order to make clear to you some of that concerning which you dispute. So fear Allah and obey me. Lo! He is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him. This is a Straight Way." (Qur'an 43: 63-64)
Note: Paul  was NOT a "Messenger of God". He testifies being made "a minister" (Acts 26:16 K.J.V.)

Mr. Meherally's quotation from the Qur'an shall not concern us here. We do not believe that the Qur'an has any authority to make statements about Jesus. We want to point out his false claim about the Apostle Paul and the deceptive reasoning employed in the last line of the above quotation.

Let us look the Biblical passage that Meherally refers to in its context:

Acts 26 (KJV)
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

To make the meaning even clearer, let us also quote a modern translation:

Acts 26 (NIV)
15 "Then I asked, `Who are you, Lord?' "`I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 16 `Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending (apostello) you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

In modern English, the word "minister" has become an honorary title applied to clergymen in the church and to the highest ranks of civil servants in governments. However, the meaning of the Greek word in the above passage means nothing else than "servant".

The conclusion that Meherally wants to draw, i.e. because Paul is called a servant in one place, therefore he cannot possibly be an apostle, is more than ignorant. Because already in the next verse, it is said that Paul is "sent to the the Gentiles" to preach to them the Gospel; i.e. he is "a sent one" (an apostle) with the message of salvation and forgiveness by faith in Jesus (26:18).

[Remark: "Apostle" and "messenger" are basically equivalent terms; see the entry on MESSENGER in the Comparative Index to Islam.]

To further illustrate how utterly futile Meherally's reasoning is, let us quote one verse from the Qur'an:

"Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His slave that he may be a warner for the nations." (25:1)

Muhammad is called God's "slave" and given the task to warn the nations. The description is quite similar to the calling of Paul in Acts 26:16-18 to be "a servant" and in respect to the nations "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God". Applying Meherally's reasoning to this one isolated verse, we conclude therefore, that Muhammad is only a "slave" and a "warner" but not a messenger (despite dozens of verses in the Qur'an which say so).

Even though Acts 26:17-18 already makes it clear that Paul is sent to the nations with a particular message, i.e. he is a messenger, let us quote some further places from the Bible where the title "Apostle" is applied to him.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, ... (Romans 1:1)

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, ... (1 Cor. 1:1)

Paul, an apostle - sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God, the Father, ... (Galatians 1:1)

... they [i.e. the other apostles] saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. (Galatians 2:7-10)

Certainly, Meherally who poses in public as somebody who knows the Bible well, cannot possibly have been ignorant of all of those verses? They clearly show that Paul is indeed a messenger/apostle of God according to the Bible. To deny that is nothing short of deliberate deception of those readers of his articles who are not so familiar with the Bible.

Meherally might want to deny the apostleship of Paul on the basis of Islam (though even that is difficult, since it is accepted in various early Islamic sources, see these quotations), but to claim that Paul is not a messenger based on a reference to the Bible is dishonest.

This approach of selective quotations and unjustified conclusions against the clear teaching of the Scriptures is sadly the mark of most of Meherally's articles. This lie was a "small" one in comparison to some of the other crafty articles. But it is certainly enlightening to see, how even the front page of his web site is revealing the nature of his work.

Akbarally Meherally, may God give you grace to repent of your ways, and may you stop your deliberate misinformation of ignorant people. Your articles are read widely and you let the Devil use your writings to lead people astray. You will have to bear God's punishment at the last day for what you are doing. You might not think it is serious to lie in the cause of Islam. But it is. You will be judged for every word, despite Muhammad's promise to the contrary. However, still is the time of grace. But you are an old man. Repent before it is too late.

Jochen Katz

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