Mr Pandor’s book can be downloaded for free from the I.P.C.I. website. Mr Molana Pandor asked early in the book that we“Please read the entire book, not just mere browsing or else the essence of the books systematic sequence will be lost”.
Respectfully I have endeavored to do that and my response to Mr Pandor will be systematic and sequential from the first page to the last page of his book. If there are overlapping points I will refer to my previously stated reply.
Response: Section A-C.
Mr Pandor goes about showing the reader the definition of mercy as derived from the Quranic text [Section A] as well as the Hadith [Section B]. The Author attempts to find a direct parallel of the idea of mercy within the Old Testament and make it qualitatively similar than the concept of mercy in the Quran [Section C]. The Author draws heavily upon the Islamic understanding of God’s ultimate and unconditional mercy in parallel with the Old Testament and interprets the Old Testament understanding of forgiveness of sin in the exact same modus. The author refers to a plethora of Scriptures that seemingly justifies the Quranic perspective. In one specific instance the author referred to Psalms 51:1 where David says “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” The author clearly assumes the overall context of the Bible affirms the paradigm of the Quran which notes forgiveness without any cost and clearly affirmed that God is merciful in both the Quranic and Biblical perspectives. The author unfortunately does not delineate any further on the Biblical concept or cost of Salvation but rather only shows the rate of mercy. It would be beneficial for the reader to understand that the Christian Scripture clearly denotes sacrifices for various reasons including for Worship, atonement, thanksgiving, memorial, forgiveness as well as provision for Priests. Here follows 5 types of Offering and its use in the Old Testament Scriptures:
The Five Offerings in the Old Testament:
|NAME||ELEMENTS||PURPOSE||GOD’S PORTION||PRIEST’S PORTION||OFFERER’S PORTION|
|Burnt Offering |
Lev 1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24
|Bull, ram or bird (dove or young pigeon for the poor); wholly consumed; no defect||Voluntary act of worship; atonement for unintentional sin in general; expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God||Entire animal||Skin (to be sold)||Nothing|
|Grain Offering |
Lev 2; 6:14-23
|Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread (cakes or wafers), salt; no yeast or honey; accompanied burnt offering and peace offering (along with drink offering)||Voluntary act of worship; recognition of God’s goodness and provisions; devotion to God|| |
|Peace Offering |
Lev 3; 7:11-34
|Any animal without defect from herd or flock; variety of breads||Voluntary act of worship; thanksgiving and fellowship (it included a communal meal); included vow offerings, thanksgiving offerings and freewill offerings||Fatty portions (fat covering inner parts; fat tail, kidneys, lobe of the liver)||Breast given to High Priest (wave offering), right foreleg given to officiating priest (heave offering)|| |
|Sin Offering |
Lev 4; 5:1-13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22
|Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; confession of sin; forgiveness of sin; cleansing from defilement||Fatty portions (fat covering inner parts; fat tail, kidneys, lobe of the liver)|| |
|Trespass Offering |
Lev 5:14-19; 6:1-7; 7:1-6
|Ram||Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine||Fatty portions (fat covering inner parts; fat tail, kidneys, lobe of the liver)||All the reminder (had to be eaten within court of tabernacle)||Nothing|
As clearly denoted above, the Old Testament clearly shows two realities. 1) The reality of Man’s Sin and 2) the need for Satisfaction for man’s Sin. Satisfaction for man’s sin was clearly denoted by specific God ordained Sacrifice. To assume therefore that God just forgives is to ignore God’s instruction to atone for ones transgressions. Why would God require a Sacrifice for Sin? Theologian S. Michael Houdmann writes “God required animal sacrifices to provide a temporary covering of sins and to foreshadow the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 4:35, 5:10). Animal sacrifice is an important theme found throughout Scripture because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). When Adam and Eve sinned, animals were killed by God to provide clothing for them(Genesis 3:21). Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to the Lord. Cain’s was unacceptable because he brought fruit, while Abel’s was acceptable because it was the “firstborn of his flock” (Genesis 4:4-5). After the flood receded, Noah sacrificed animals to God (Genesis 8:20-21). God commanded the nation of Israel to perform numerous sacrifices according to certain procedures prescribed by God. First, the animal had to be spotless. Second, the person offering the sacrifice had to identify with the animal. Third, the person offering the animal had to inflict death upon it. When done in faith, this sacrifice provided a temporary covering of sins. Another sacrifice called for on the Day of Atonement, described in Leviticus 16, demonstrates forgiveness and the removal of sin. The high priest was to take two male goats for a sin offering. One of the goats was sacrificed as a sin offering for the people of Israel (Leviticus 16:15), while the other goat was released into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22). The sin offering provided forgiveness, while the other goat provided the removal of sin”.
We see therefore a God in the Old Testament that is clearly merciful as Mr Pandor have mentioned, but we also see a God that requires the penalty of Sin to be satisfied. Sin in Christianity is quite severe, and as Christians we affirm that a weak view of sin compromise the meaningful forgiveness of God. Theologian R.C. Sproul writes “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.” We do not assume that Islam has a weak view of Sin but we need to affirm Christianity has a strong view of man’s depraved nature. When we look at the Scriptures Mr Pandor’s cited we can agree with him that:
A). God is merciful:
Exodus 33:19 “And he said, I will make my goodness pass before thee and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy”.
Psalms 51:1 “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions”.
Unfortunately Mr Pandor did not give the complete qualification of these texts. We read further from the same context:
B) God is Holy:
Verse 7: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
C) God of Covenant:
Verse 10-25: Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you… Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites… “Do not make any idols. “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread… “The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons. “No one is to appear before me empty-handed. “Six days you shall labour, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel… “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.”
Psalm 50:5-6, 23 “Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice… Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
We see the Covenantal treaty clearly explained and we also see that the terms of mercy is amply reciprocated by the instructions of God with the demand of ultimate obedience. Interesting in Exodus 35-40 God immediately instructs Moses to the Building of the Tabernacle, as well as the making of the Ark, lampstands, table, altar of incense, basin, breastpiece, ephod, robe, priestly garments etc. All of these were for Sacrifice. The idea therefore that God extends mercy without Sacrifice is not Biblically based and therefore the Quranic concept obscure. Theologian R.C. Sproul makes an equally valid point when he wrote: “God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite. God sets limits to His patience and forbearance. He warns us over and over again that someday the ax will fall and His judgment will be poured out.” Both David and Moses show clearly that they are both connected and isolated passages should not be used out of its context otherwise it will create opinions that should be deemed as pretext.
Another important question is why don’t we offer animal sacrifice any longer today? Theologian S. Michael Houdmann answers that “Animal sacrifices have ended because Jesus Christ was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice. John the Baptist recognized this when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized and said, “Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). You may be asking yourself, why animals? What did they do wrong? That is the point—since the animals did no wrong, they died in place of the one performing the sacrifice. Jesus Christ also did no wrong but willingly gave Himself to die for the sins of mankind (1 Timothy 2:6). Jesus Christ took our sin upon Himself and died in our place. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Through faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, we can receive forgiveness.
In summation, animal sacrifices were commanded by God so that the individual could experience forgiveness of sin. The animal served as a substitute—that is, the animal died in place of the sinner, but only temporarily, which is why the sacrifices needed to be offered over and over. Animal sacrifices have stopped with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrificial substitute once for all time (Hebrews 7:27) and is now the only mediator between God and humanity(1 Timothy 2:5). Animal sacrifices foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. The only basis on which an animal sacrifice could provide forgiveness of sins is Christ who would sacrifice Himself for our sins, providing the forgiveness that animal sacrifices could only illustrate and foreshadow.”
When Mr Pandor quotes Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” as well as Christ’s words to the Pharisee’s: “Go and learn what this saying means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt 9:13). We clearly see the reason why God did this? First of all we need to understand singular statements in scripture and interpret them in the broader context. Jesus mentions to Monotheistic Jews that hold to the Shema (Deut 6:4-5) which shows that the sole priority of the Jew was to love the Lord their God with all they have. Unfortunately we see that in both instances the Jews did not offer sacrifices in love towards their God but rather did it ritualistically and laboriously. Their Sacrifice was a mere duty when the God of Israel demanded their affection. This is clearly seen as arduous and even offensive to the God of Israel (1 Sam15:22, Isa1:11-17, Amos 5:21-24, Mic6:6-8, Mat7:21-23, Rom 2:28-29, Mark 7:6). Jesus applied the Prophet Hosea’s teaching to the very Pharisee’s and shows without love the sacrifice is deemed null and void. When Mr Pandor asserts “God does not demand sacrifice but mercy and supreme kindness” he is clearly missing the point and marginalizing the overall context. The Church Father Anselm wrote in his book “Cur Deus Homo” that “This is the debt which men … owe to God, and no one who pays this debt commits sin; but everyone who does not pay it sins. This is justice, or uprightness of will, which makes a being just or upright in heart, that is, in will; and this is the sole and complete debt of honor which we owe to God, and which God requires of us. For it is such a will only, when it can be exercised, that does works pleasing to God; and when this will cannot be exercised, it is pleasing of itself alone, since without it no work is acceptable. He who does not render this honor which is due to God, robs God of his own and dishonors him; and this is sin.”
Response: Section D
Mr Pandor writes “is extremely mind provoking for non-religious rational minded people to understand why loving and merciful God wants to kill Jesus or himself for salvation of mankind as Christians believe. Would a God fearing judge sentence an innocent man to prison for the crime of another? Does salvation by the cross represent the true meanings of mercy, atonement and justice?”The concept of vicarious atonement seems repulsive to the Muslim purely because they perceive that an innocent man cannot be killed for the sins of another. For the Christian we see that this very horror of the Cross echoes the severity of our sins. Lorraine Boettner writes that “the idea of vicarious suffering underlay the entire sacrificial system of the Jews, impressing upon them the fact that a righteous God could make no compromise with sin, and that sin must be and eventually be punished with its merited recompense, death.” The Muslim needs to understand that for the Christian to deny the vicarious atonement is not just to deny salvation or the necessity of the cross but also to deny the severe consequences of sin. This culminates in an equally offensive aberration that Christians find ultimately disturbing. To get back to Mr Pandor’s statement that it is offensive for one person to suffer for the sins of another. We can simply reply that there is nothing unjust or improper if the person who is suffering is also the one who made the law if such an offence should follow. If the person prescribing the law that he could sentence and also carry the punishment willingly and in that provide satisfaction for the offenders charges who are we to deny that right or law? Boettner writes “In financial matters we readily see that there is no injustice when the creditor remits a debt, provided that he assumes the loss himself. Now what God has done in the sphere of redemption is strictly parallel to this. He assumes the loss Himself and set us free. In this case God, who is the offended party, took the initiative and (1) permitted a substitution, (2) provided a substitution, and (3) substituted Himself. If after man fell, God, as the sovereign Ruler of the university and with the purpose of manifesting His attributes of love and mercy before men and angles throughout eternal ages, voluntarily chose to pay man’s debt; surely there are no grounds for objecting that such action was not right.” To merely assert that God could just shrug of you sins without there being a severe penalty is just absolutely incompatible with His moral nature. Theologian Thomas N. Ralston noted correctly that “those who have denied the necessity, and consequently the reality, of the atonement, have contended that the Almighty might consistently, by the exercise of his mere prerogative as Governor of the universe, have extended pardon to the sinner, without any satisfaction or condition whatever. To this we reply, that perhaps such might be the case, provided the Almighty were destitute of moral character, and regardless of moral principle. But a little reflection will show that such a course of procedure would be at war with the holy and immutable perfections of God”. We can see clearly that the Cross of Jesus Christ affirms both God’s justice as well as His mercy.
Mr Pandor writes “Oozing blood gushing from the veins of a physical body has no links to mercy. The mercy of God does not demand that Jesus, Muhammed or God himself should die in order to secure eternal life and salvation. Majority of Christians depend on the blood of Jesus for salvation. Muslims depend on the Mercy of God and faith in one God for their salvation”. As we have amply illustrated earlier Mr Pandor is assessing that God’s mercy does not necessitate sacrifice but Scripture shows His Justice does. We cannot demand God’s mercy at the expense of God’s Justice. These are not mutually exclusive but as we see in the Bible mutually necessary. All four the Gospels makes it clear that Christ was not just willing to lay down His own life as a ransom for many but that He understood there was no other way to satisfy the wrath of a Holy God and for us to be ransomed for our sins. Again the Scriptural imperative indicates very clearly what Christ perceived:
Luke 9:21-22 “But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”
Matthew 16:21 “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”.
Mark 8:31 “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again”.
John 1:29 “John the Baptiser emphatically states: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Another interesting underlining idea is that no “man” could pay for the sins of the world. For Christians this is yet another reason why they believe Jesus was more than just a mere Prophet. Boettner absolutely sums it up very well when he wrote“Unless Christ was both Divine and human, the whole Christian system is reduced to foolishness. Had Christ been only a man He no more could have saved others than could Stephen, or Huss, or Lincoln, or any other martyr. God cannot take the sins of a criminal and lay them on a good man, but He can take them and lay them on Himself; and that is what the doctrine of the Atonement teaches us that He has done.” It is interesting to see Mr Pandor just merely dismissing the full reality of the Biblical Doctrine of Atonement? He also seems to be totally appalled by the idea of “Blood” when he writes “When I was a young boy the concept of blood made my bones shiver. Blood meant pain, terror and something unpleasant. A boy with a bleeding nose always ran to mum for medical assistance. Can blood represent Mercy! Would a loving mother ever pierce an arrow into the liver of her innocent infant child, and express emotional satisfaction? The laws of logic prove that a sane minded mother will never kill her child, similarly it is extremely mind provoking for non-religious rational minded people to understand why loving and merciful God wants to kill Jesus or himself for salvation of mankind as Christians believe.” Boettner marvellously describes the reality and use of “Blood” when he specifically explains: “the New Testament, as if anticipating this very offense, not only repeatedly asserts that salvation is not by works, but makes direct reference to the ‘blood’ of Christ some thirty-five or forty times; and in the Old Testament there are innumerable references to the blood of the animals which were used in the ceremonies and rituals which prefigured the death of Christ. Salvation in all ages has been through Christ alone; and the Old Testament saints who worshiped God in His appointed way of sacrifice and poured-out blood looked to the same Savior as do we who live in the Christian era. ‘The life of the flesh is in the blood,’ said the Lord to Moses, ‘and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life,’ Lev. 17:11. When the blood is poured out, the person or animal dies. Under the ceremonial law the blood with which atonement was made was secured in such a way that the life of the victim was always forfeited. In the twelfth chapter of Exodus we are given an account of the Passover, with its sprinkling of blood and the deliverance of all the firstborn of Israel from death. On the day of annual Atonement the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of the bullock and of the goat over the mercy seat and upon the horns of the altar, Lev. 16:1-34.The various Old Testament blood rituals were but prophetic types or prefigurements of the great sacrifice which later was to be made by Christ when He offered Himself for the sins of His people”.
From this then Mr Pandor’s next objection would imply that “we enter the truly staggering vicious circle of a God who punishes himself in order to forgive the men and women who offended him. One day there was a dentist who was an oral hygiene enthusiast. He loved his work and was a true expert in dentistry. However he could not tolerate bad teeth. Throughout his career, all his patients had some tooth defect or the other. Some peoples teeth were rotten, others plaque infested, some needed a filling, others needed a root canal. Old people had teeth missing while majority had wrong proportions; some were too ramped together, others to wide apart. None were perfect. After many years practicing, he lost all hope in finding anyone with a perfect, flawless, beautiful set of white teeth, free from any fault; except for one very precious well maintained set. HIS VERY OWN TEETH! So the dentist having perfect teeth thought; “How nice it would be if I sacrifice my lovely teeth for the sake of all my patients with defective teeth; granting them everlasting good teeth free from decay!” Hammer and chisel in hand he smashes his canines, incisors and finally the molars. Under no antistatic, the dentist suffers pain for all his past and future patients leaving him toothless. The dentist had reached the pinnacle of dental care, by paying the price for rotten teeth once and for all. Mankind‟s teeth problem is solved. Would not the entire dental fraternity not consider the dentist’s actions as immoral or looney?”
First of all Mr Pandor commits the basic “base rate fallacy” that demands one to make a judgement based solely on his own conditional probabilities without even considering or taking into account the above mentioned argument deduced from Christian theology. That being said the very narrative depiction illustrates a serious confusion as to the overall intention of the Biblical narrative. As we have already illustrated God is just and cannot merely overlook sin otherwise that would deem Him both: a) impotent to act righteously towards sin and; b) Violate His essential dignity and character to punish sin as moral law giver. We also noted that man is impotent to pay for His own sins and therefore God created a Sacrificial system that would foreshadow the Sacrifice to come in Christ Jesus as foreseen by Abraham(Gen 22:8).
We also affirm that do will not forgive Sins without a debt being paid and satisfaction or punishment must follow every Sin. We also saw that only the God-Man could pay for the debts of Sin and Jesus did that wilfully on our behalf. Propitiation speaks of the satisfaction of God’s holy wrath. “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:24-26). “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Now Mr Pandor might see this as a humiliating act but for Christians we understand the glory of Christ’s Humility. There is greatness in God’s willingness to provide man’s salvation. He did this in humility(Phil2:6-8) and in the Crucifixion is displayed the most incredible act of greatness. The earliest Disciples understood Christ’s act as being found in greatness when He was “lifted up” on the Cross (Joh12:32, 3:14-15, 8:28). John esteems this act as both a literal and figurative reality in that Christ was both physically Crucified and exalted to draw all nations to Himself (12:32). The moment of His humiliating death is when He was Glorified (Joh 12:23-24, 13:31-32). This is the humility Paul speaks about when he quotes the earliest Philippian Hymn the early Church used to sing. Martin Hegel even notes that “the discrepancy between the shameful death of a Jewish state criminal and the confession that depicts this executed man as the pre-existent divine figure who becomes man and himself to a slave’s death is, as far as I can see, without analogy in the ancient world.”
Mr Pandor’s analogy fails on so many levels and simply makes the wilful death of Christ to be merely silly and ardent. Christ’s death was not mere self-mutilation but in Christ a necessary death that had to be accomplished for the satisfaction of God’s wrath to atone for man’s sin. This is exactly what the Prophet Isaiah foresaw when he wrote “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? . . . But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:4-8, 10-11). This is a momentous reality that Mr Pandor seems to miss. God did this to illustrate His greatness (John 3:16-18, 36; Rom 5:8, 8:32) and Christ wilfully participated to consummate His faithfulness to the will of the Father (John 4:34, John 5:30, 36, 6:38, 8:29). Mr Pandor goes one step further and exclaims that “the wages of sin is not death. Sin is a means for you growing closer to God”. This is just totally diametrically opposite to what the whole Scriptures teaches when the following Scriptures clearly show us sin directly results in death:
Genesis 2:17 “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Proverbs 11:19 “Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death”.
Isaiah 3:9 “The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves”.
Ezekiel 18:4 “For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child–both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die”.
Sin is NOT a way to grow closer to God but as the Genesis account clearly show it drives us away from God!Genesis 3:23 says “So the Lord God expelled him from the orchard in Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken”. The result off sin is always separation from God! This is affirmed in the whole of the Scriptures:
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear”.
Isaiah 58:4 “Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high”.
Ezekiel 39:23 “And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword”.
Micah 3:4 “Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done”.
Mr Pandor merely marginalizes the effects and repulsiveness of sin. Further he extricates the very Holiness of the character of God and demands a deity that merely brushes off sin. Mr Pandor exclaims that “if a human exceeds in faith and good deeds and abstains from evil deeds he will surpass angels. A Muslim will never lose hope in the Mercy of God who enjoys the freedom to forgive those who love him and beseech his graceful pardon”. Christians do not deny the mercy of God, but they also dare not deny His Justice or Holiness! There are two problems with Mr Pandor’s argument:
1) If man can attain his own salvation with mere good works, why is it necessitated to ask God for forgiveness at all if one subsequently adjudicates his own salvation?
2) Any deity that excuses sin by mere will without the fortitude of its own divine decree and character could not be deemed holy but rather a despot or demi-god subversive to man’s sovereign will.
Response: Section E
In his next point Mr Pandor wrote “Rationally considered, it would also be the height of injustice to condemn the entire human race for the sins committed thousands of years ago by the first parents”. Theologian Wayne Grudem writes that “How does the sin of Adam affect us? Scripture teaches that we inherit sin from Adam in two ways.
1. Inherited Guilt: We Are Counted Guilty Because of Adam’s Sin.
Paul explains the effects of Adam’s sin in the following way: “Therefore…sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Rom. 5:12). The context shows that Paul is not talking about actual sins that people commit every day of their lives, for the entire paragraph (Rom. 5:12–21) is taken up with the comparison between Adam and Christ. And when Paul says, “so [Gk. ουτως, G4048, “thus, in this way”; that is, through Adam’s sin] death spread to all men because all men sinned,” he is saying that through the sin of Adam “all men sinned.”
This idea, that “all men sinned” means that God thought of us all as having sinned when Adam disobeyed, is further indicated by the next two verses, where Paul says:
Sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Rom. 5:13–14)
Here Paul points out that from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, people did not have God’s written laws. Though their sins were “not counted” (as infractions of the law), they still died. The fact that they died is very good proof that God counted people guilty on the basis of Adam’s sin.
The idea that God counted us guilty because of Adam’s sin is further affirmed in Romans 5:18–19:
Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
Here Paul says explicitly that through the trespass of one man “many were made [Gk. κατεσταθησαν from καθιστημι, G2770, also an aorist indicative indicating completed past action] sinners.” When Adam sinned, God thought of all who would descend from Adam [Page 495] as sinners. Though we did not yet exist, God, looking into the future and knowing that we would exist, began thinking of us as those who were guilty like Adam. This is also consistent with Paul’s statement that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Of course, some of us did not even exist when Christ died. But God nevertheless regarded us as sinners in need of salvation.
The conclusion to be drawn from these verses is that all members of the human race were represented by Adam in the time of testing in the Garden of Eden. As our representative, Adam sinned, and God counted us guilty as well as Adam. (A technical term that is sometimes used in this connection is impute meaning “to think of as belonging to someone, and therefore to cause it to belong to that person.”) God counted Adam’s guilt as belonging to us, and since God is the ultimate judge of all things in the universe, and since his thoughts are always true, Adam’s guilt does in fact belong to us. God rightly imputed Adam’s guilt to us.
Sometimes the doctrine of inherited sin from Adam is termed the doctrine of “original sin.” As explained above, I have not used this expression. If this term is used, it should be remembered that the sin spoken of does not refer to Adam’s first sin, but to the guilt and tendency to sin with which we are born. It is “original” in that it comes from Adam, and it is also original in that we have it from the beginning of our existence as persons, but it is still our sin, not Adam’s sin, that is meant. Parallel to the phrase “original sin” is the phrase “original guilt.” This is that aspect of inherited sin from Adam that we have been discussing above, namely, the idea that we inherit the guilt from Adam.
When we first confront the idea that we have been counted guilty because of Adam’s sin, our tendency is to protest because it seems unfair. We did not actually decide to sin, did we? Then how can we be counted guilty? Is it just for God to act this way?
In response, three things may be said:
(1) Everyone who protests that this is unfair has also voluntarily committed many actual sins for which God also holds us guilty. These will constitute the primary basis of our judgment on the last day, for God “will render to every man according to his works” (Rom. 2:6), and “the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done” (Col. 3:25).
(2) Moreover, some have argued, “If any one of us were in Adam’s place, we also would have sinned as he did, and our subsequent rebellion against God demonstrates that.” I think this is probably true, but it does not seem to be a conclusive argument, for it assumes too much about what would or would not happen. Such uncertainty may not help very much to lessen someone’s sense of unfairness.
(3) The most persuasive answer to the objection is to point out that if we think it is unfair for us to be represented by Adam, then we should also think it is unfair for us to be represented by Christ and to have his righteousness imputed to us by God. For the procedure that God used was just the same, and that is exactly Paul’s point in Romans 5:12–21: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). Adam, our first representative sinned—and God counted us guilty. But Christ, the representative of all who believe in him, obeyed God perfectly—and God counted us righteous. That is simply the way in which God set up the human race to work. God regards the human race as an organic whole, a unity, represented by  Adam as its head. And God also thinks of the new race of Christians, those who are redeemed by Christ, as an organic whole, a unity represented by Christ as head of his people.
Not all evangelical theologians, however, agree that we are counted guilty because of Adam’s sin. Some, especially Arminian theologians, think this to be unfair of God and do not believe that it is taught in Romans 5. However, evangelicals of all persuasions do agree that we receive a sinful disposition or a tendency to sin as an inheritance from Adam, a subject we shall now consider.
2. Inherited Corruption: We have a sinful nature because of Adam’s Sin.
In addition to the legal guilt that God imputes to us because of Adam’s sin, we also inherit a sinful nature because of Adam’s sin. This inherited sinful nature is sometimes simply called “original sin” and sometimes more precisely called “original pollution.” I have used instead the term “inherited corruption” because it seems to express more clearly the specific idea in view. David says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). Some have mistakenly thought that the sin of David’s mother is in view here, but this is incorrect, for the entire context has nothing to do with David’s mother. David is confessing his own personal sin throughout this section. He says:
Have mercy on me O God …blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity …I know my transgressions. …Against you…have I sinned. (Ps. 51:1–4)
David is so overwhelmed with the consciousness of his own sin that as he looks back on his life he realizes that he was sinful from the beginning. As far back as he can think of himself, he realizes that he has had a sinful nature. In fact, when he was born or “brought forth” from his mother’s womb, he was “brought forth in iniquity” (Ps. 51:5). Moreover, even before he was born, he had a sinful disposition: he affirms that at the moment of conception he had a sinful nature, for “in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). Here is a strong statement of the inherent tendency to sin that attaches to our lives from the very beginning. A similar idea is affirmed in Psalm 58:3, “The wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth, speaking lies.” Therefore, our nature includes a disposition to sin so that Paul can affirm that before we were Christians “we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:3). Anyone who has raised children can give experiential testimony to the fact that we are all born with a tendency to sin. Children do not have to be taught how to do wrong; they discover that by themselves. What we have to do as parents is to teach them how to do right, to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).
This inherited tendency to sin does not mean that human beings are all as bad as they could be. The constraints of civil law, the expectations of family and society, and the conviction of human conscience (Rom. 2:14–15) all provide restraining influences on the sinful tendencies in our hearts. Therefore, by God’s “common grace” (that is, by his undeserved favor that is given to all human beings), people have been able to do much good in the areas of education, the development of civilization, scientific and technological progress, the development of beauty and skill in the arts, the development of just laws, and general acts of human benevolence and kindness to others. In fact, the more Christian influence there is in a society in general, the more clearly the influence of “common grace” will be seen in the lives of unbelievers as well. But in spite of the ability to do good in many senses of that word, our inherited corruption, our tendency to sin, which we received from Adam, means that as far as God is concerned we are not able to do anything that pleases him.
This may be seen in two ways:
a. In Our Natures We Totally Lack Spiritual Good Before God: It is not just that some parts of us are sinful and others are pure. Rather, every part of our being is affected by sin—our intellects, our emotions and desires, our hearts (the center of our desires and decision-making processes), our goals and motives, and even our physical bodies. Paul says, “I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom. 7:18), and, “to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted” (Titus 1:15). Moreover, Jeremiah tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). In these passages Scripture is not denying that unbelievers can do good in human society in some senses. But it is denying that they can do any spiritual good or be good in terms of a relationship with God. Apart from the work of Christ in our lives, we are like all other unbelievers who are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18).
b. In Our Actions We Are Totally Unable to Do Spiritual Good Before God: This idea is related to the previous one. Not only do we as sinners lack any spiritual good in ourselves, but we also lack the ability to do anything that will in itself please God and the ability to come to God in our own strength. Paul says that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). Moreover, in terms of bearing fruit for God’s kingdom and doing what pleases him, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In fact, unbelievers are not pleasing to God, if for no other reason, simply because their actions do not proceed from faith in God or from love to him, and “without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb. 11:6). When Paul’s readers were unbelievers, he tells them, “You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Eph. 2:1–2). Unbelievers are in a state of bondage or enslavement to sin, because “everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Though from a human standpoint people might be able to do much good, Isaiah affirms that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isa. 64:6; cf. Rom. 3:9–20). Unbelievers are not even able to understand the things of God correctly, for the “natural man does not receive the gifts [lit. “things’] of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14 RSV mg). Nor can we come to God in our own power, for Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).
But if we have a total inability to do any spiritual good in God’s sight, then do we still have any freedom of choice? Certainly, those who are outside of Christ do still make voluntary choices—that is, they decide what they want to do, then they do it. In this sense there is still a kind of “freedom” in the choices that people make. Yet because of their inability to do good and to escape from their fundamental rebellion against God and their fundamental preference for sin, unbelievers do not have freedom in the most important sense of freedom—that is, the freedom to do right, and to do what is pleasing to God.
The application to our lives is quite evident: if God gives anyone a desire to repent and trust in Christ, he or she should not delay and should not harden his or her heart (cf. Heb. 3:7–8; 12:17). This ability to repent and desire to trust in God is not naturally ours but is given by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and it will not last forever. “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:15).Scripture in many places testifies to the universal sinfulness of mankind. “They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one” (Ps. 14:3). David says, “No man living is righteous before you” (Ps. 143:2). And Solomon says, “There is no man who does not sin”(1 Kings 8:46; cf. Prov. 20:9).
In the New Testament, Paul has an extensive argument in Romans 1:18–3:20 showing that all people, both Jews and Greeks, stand guilty before God. He says, “All men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one”’ (Rom. 3:9–10). He is certain that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Rom. 3:23). James, the Lord’s brother, admits, “We all make many mistakes” (James 3:2), and if he, as a leader and an apostle in the early church, could admit that he made many mistakes, then we also should be willing to admit that of ourselves. John, the beloved disciple, who was especially close to Jesus, said: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”. (1 John 1:8–10) 
Mr Pandor seems to inquire without really challenging the biblical imperatives. Mere statements are not arguments. We see that the Bible shows:
1) Man to be sinful (Ps 51:5, Eph 2:2-3, Gen 8:21, Ps 14:2, 3, Job 15:14-16, Jer 17:9, Eccl 9:3).
2) Man is unable to save himself (Isaiah 64:6, Eph 2:1, John 6.44, Rom 5:6).
3) God is by nature good (1 Tim. 2:3-4, Ezek 33:11, Ps 136:1).
4) God by His own decree chose to safe man (Rom 5:8, John 3:16, Rom 8:32).
5) Salvation requires satisfaction or the payment of the penalty of Sin which is death (Rom 6:23, Ps 145:20, Ezek 18:4, James 1:15).
6) Christ as the perfect substitution offered His life as a ransom for many in the wilful dead of the cross (1 John1:7, Heb 9:14, 23-28; 10:1-18, 2 Pet 2:9, 28).
7) God raised Jesus from the dead to show that He fully accepts the price paid on the cross (John 2:19-21, Acts 2:23-40, 3:15,26; 5:30; 4:10; 10:40, Rom 8:11,34;14:19).
8) Man has to come to the Father through Christ to be redeemed (Matt 1:21 Acts 4:12, Acts 10:43, 1 Tim 2:5).
9) Man is not worthy as a result of his own works but rather through God’s grace (Eph2:5, 8, Acts 15:11, Rom 3:24, 9:16).
Mr Pandor writes further that “God’s justice requires that a price must be paid for original and other sins of men and that it would be a denial of His justice, if God were to pardon a sinner without punishment. This view shows complete ignorance of the nature of God. He can punish or forgive as he wills.” As we have shown already Mr Pandor is the one under question here and not God. He is showing a lack of interest in the fallen nature of man as explained in Scripture and ignores the absolute decree of God’s Holiness as well as His way for mercy and Grace which is by Christ Jesus. Mr Pandor adds that “To punish a person, even after he has repented and reformed himself, is a sign of vengeance and not of justice”. This is unfortunately not the Biblical paradigm? Jesus clearly says “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS… (Matt 11:28-29). I am not sure if Mr Pandor really understands the Biblical call of Grace or even attempts to really explain it accordingly? The Beloved Disciple makes it clear that “If we admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1: 9). God is Holy and not vengeful, merciful and not grudging.
Mr Pandor writes that “The idea of substitutionary or vicarious sacrifice is illogical and unjust. The fact is that shedding of blood is not necessary for redemption. What is necessary to wash away sin is not blood, but repentance, remorse persistent struggle against evil inclinations, determination to carry out the Will of God as revealed to us through the prophets, and doing good to God’s creatures.” As we have amply demonstrated, the Scriptural imperative clearly shows the stipulation of the Atoning Sacrifice and that forgiveness requires repentance. I am not sure if Mr Pandor implies that there has to be no remorse for our sins? Yet, Jesus gives an incredible illustration of this in Luke 18:10-14when He said: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’ I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” When Peter spoke the words about Christ in Acts 2:37 it says “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?” These people were vexed by their sin not assured of their goodness to save themselves? For them the Gospel was bad news before it was Good news. Scripture teaches that God revels in a broken and contrite Spirit and He embraces the lost when they turn to him in sincere repentance (Ps 51:17, 2 Chron 7:14, James 4:10, 2 Chron 6:37, Ps 34:18, Isa 57:15, Joel 2:13).
Mr Pandor writes that “The Christian scheme of Salvation is not only morally and rationally unsound; it also has no support of the words of Jesus”.Mr Pandor writes that “Jesus did not come to die voluntarily and spontaneously for the sins of men is clear form his prayer to God: “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup form me; nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” [Mark 14:36]”. Mr Pandor obviously have not read the story and seems oblivious to the full context. In verse 1 we see that the Pharisee’s sought to “kill him” and Jesus even mentions that “she hath anointed my body beforehand for the burying” (v/9). In verse 22-25 Jesus makes it emphatically clear that He will be broken and His blood poured out when He is smitten (v/27) when the priests condemned Him to death (v/64).
Mr Pandor is referring to the idiomatic Aramaic cry of dereliction on the cross? What he needs to look at is the whole overall syntax and what the author/s are trying to establish. For Matthew specifically he is communicating to a Jewish context that would have known what he was referring to which is in this case Psalm22:1. He is clearly showing them that Christ is the fulfilment of this future prophetic statement uttered by David in this Psalm. We also see Matthew doing this throughout the whole Gospel for example: (Mat.1:23; 2:6&18; 3:3; 4:4, 6, 10, 15-16; 8:17) and we can clearly see that Matthew is affirming what was prophesied in the Old Testamental Books.
Secondly, Matthew affirms Christ’s words on the cross as being authentic and we clearly see Jesus affirming He was NOT the Father! Also Jesus, like David (Ps.22:20) calls to remembrance this promise where David was saved and Christ foresaw and claimed the same privilege in His predicted resurrection as affirmed by Hebrews 2:12&22. Jesus understood He had to suffer and die (Mark8:31-38) but clearly expected and affirmed His own resurrection (Mat.20:17-19). So clearly we can see Jesus did not lose anything but like the whole narrative depicts He understood His Divine destiny and there was no illusions as to the suffering it would take!
This is not an imagined idea but we see clearly the whole of the New Testament makes clear that Christ was a wilful sacrifice for the Sins of many. Mr Pandor shows a gross ignorance to even consider what Jesus said in the overall context and how His Disciples interpreted it. “John introduced Jesus as the lamb “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). The lamb he refers to was slain. It is through His death life came to us. A covenant in the Old Testament was not just blood but required the death of the animal (representing that life is given for sin) Heb. 9:15-16: “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”
Heb. 9:26-28: “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
This is why he became man:
Phil 2:8: “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Heb. 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
Jesus referred to Jonah as an example of what would happen to him Luke 11:29: “and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.”
The sign was the resurrection, which means He would have to die to be alive again.
Matt. 12:40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jesus spoke of his death and resurrection numerous times
Matt 16:21 “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
It was necessary for Scripture to be fulfilled.
Luke 24:6-8 “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, “saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words”.
Jesus told them ahead of time that He would die, it was necessary, it would fulfill Scripture i.e Psalm 22 describes in detail what he would experience and he even quotes a portion of it from the cross. Specifically Psalm 22:16-17 “For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.”
Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
The Scripture says it was necessary.
John 11:49-51 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, “nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation”
Prophecy comes from God, it was declared even to the unbelievers and scoffers what He would do by one who held the office of the high priest.
John 2:19-22 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”
At his trial they repeated what he said.
Matt 26:61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'”
At the cross they mocked him
Matt 27:40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
I John 3:16 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Heb. 2:14: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil”
Heb 10:10 “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Col 1:21-22: “yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight”
This is what Paul says is the gospel-1 Cor 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”
Notice it says died for our sins, not just bled, and He rose again- which means one must die to rise again. And it was told in the Scriptures. By whom, God through the prophets.
Paul repeats this as a fundamental teaching in his writings. Rom 5:6-8 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Rom 14:9: “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”
2 Cor. 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Paul even goes as far as saying that keeping the law would not help anyone because they must receive righteousness through Jesus Christ:
Gal. 2:21: “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
It was promised that He would be raised from the dead: Acts 2:29-32: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.”
So Jesus blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin and his death was necessary to prove that his blood was accepted as the means to cleanse our sin. “was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25)
1 Peter 1:3: God “has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”
Mr Pandor writes that “In both Islam and Christianity it is absurd to think that the prophet Jesus was wicked, accursed and faithless. However if we cross examine the Bible we find Jesus was wicked and faithless (God Forbid): The wicked is a ransom for the righteous and the faithless for the upright. (Proverbs 21:18) The Son of man (Jesus) came ……. to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45). Paul writes: Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by BECOMING A CURSE instead of us because it is written: “Accursed is every man hanged upon a cross.” Galatians 3:13. Islam defends Jesus from the allegations and theories of Jesus being accursed and hanged upon the cross, and refutes the dogma of Jesus offering himself as a ransom.
Was Jesus unrightfully charged with man’s sin? Theologian Charles Hodge answered that “To impute sin, in Scriptural and theological language, is to impute the guilt of sin. And by guilt is meant not criminality or moral ill-desert, or demerit, much less moral pollution, but the judicial obligation to satisfy justice;… When it is said that our sins were imputed to Christ, or that He bore our sins, it is not meant that he actually committed our sins, or that He was morally criminal on account of them, or that the demerit of them rested upon Him. All that is meant is that He assumed, in the language of the older theologians, ‘our law-place.’… In like manner, when it is said that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers, it does not mean that they wrought out that righteousness; …nor that the merit of his righteousness is their personal merit; nor that it constitutes their moral character; it simply means … it is laid to their account. “Jesus was not wicked or faithless. In fact He was assured and even on the Cross professed that God will not abandon Him as quoted in Psalms 22. Mr Pandor clearly does not know what imputation is? Theologian M. G. Easton writes, “IMPUTATION: “is used to designate any action or word or thing as reckoned to a person. Thus in doctrinal language (1) the sin of Adam is imputed to all his descendants, i.e., it is reckoned as theirs, and they are dealt with therefore as guilty; (2) the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them that believe in him, or so attributed to them as to be considered their own; and (3) our sins are imputed to Christ, i.e., he assumed our “law-place,” undertook to answer the demands of justice for our sins. In all these cases the nature of imputation is the same (Rom. 5:12-19; comp. Philemon 1:18, 19).” Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross where He became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) and died with them (Isaiah 53:4-6). Therefore, our sins are forgiven. Understanding imputation is very important. Imputation is the means of our salvation. Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross. Our sins were “given” to Jesus. When he died on the cross, our sins, in a sense, died with him. The righteousness that was his through his perfect obedience to the Father in his complete obedience to the Law is imputed, given, to us. In short, our sins were given to Jesus. His righteousness was given to us. Technically speaking our sins were imputed to Jesus. His righteousness was imputed to us.
Response: Section F
Mr Pandor writes that “Certainly, a good deed enlightens the soul and nourishes the heart. A venomous cobra bite can be treated with antidote. Good deeds and repentance are the best antidotes for sins. If a child makes an error and follows it up with some noble tasks, the ill effect of his wrong is ignored and the child is rewarded for his good deed. Similar good deeds compensate the ill effects of sins. This however, does not give anyone permission to sin. It is through the mercy of God alone that sins can be forgiven.” Christians could surely agree that God alone can forgive our sin but where our agreement seems to depart is as to effect and severity of our sins. As I have demonstrated earlier God does not dismiss sins based purely on our goodness but rather as a result of His own goodness. God also does not just brush aside our sins but due to His holy nature demands justice and recompense for sin. John the Beloved Disciple writes (3:13-15) “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Further John writes “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”(1 John 2:2).
Mr Pandor writes that “In Islam Adam was directly forgiven by God. There is no concept of original sin…“Abraham, Moses, David and Jacob lived on earth before the birth of Jesus and were not in need of a Savior, they worshipped God directly.”
What Mr Pandor is missing is that the Old Testament covenant was done in anticipation of a new or better covenant. God speaks in Jeremiah (31:31-34) and declares “Behold, the days come, said Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, said Jehovah”. This announcement marks a pivotal point in the history of God and his relation to his people. It is his promise of a new covenant, different from, and much improved, from the covenant made at Mount Sinai. This is the first biblical reference to a new covenant. The passage is seen fulfilled and quoted in the New Testament (Heb. 8:8-12). The Old Testament patriarchs also died in anticipation of the New covenant (Heb. 8:7-13). Christ’s death was for the redemption for people under Moses’s covenant as well as under the New Covenant (Heb 9:15). People under the Old covenant had no means for lasting forgiveness and thereby God required sacrifice on their part. The law was through Moses and grace through Christ (John 1:17). Under the Old covenant the people had to sacrifice constantly because they had no sacrifice that would take away their sins permanently (Heb 10:1-18). Jesus brought a New covenant and removed the Old (Col 2:14, 16; Heb. 10:9, 10; 9:16, 17). Under the New covenant we have the means for forgiveness and we have the fulfillment of what these patriarchs anticipated. God’s forgiveness was therefore clearly extended on the merit of His promise for a future sacrifice.
Mr Pandor writes that “If one takes the dogma that God has a son, it will result that the son is the direct offspring of God, or is God or apart of him having his qualities ect. Now if the Son of God were to also have a son it would result to the conclusion that God has a grandson who shares his nature, and if this semi-god has a son it will result that God has a great grandson and this process will continue. The conclusion of this theory will result to various denominations claiming that the only way to reach God is through the great grandson then the grandson then the son then God.” Mr Pandor clear has a very anthropomorphic idea of the relationship between Jesus as Son and God the Father and thinks of this only in a paternal sense. Surely paternity can be understood in more than just a biological sense? When we refer to the phrase “Son of God” or “Beget” it does not imply that Jesus was the offspring of physical relations? The Bible actually says about the miraculous conception of Jesus without any sexual relations (Matt. 1:18—24; Luke 1:26-35). Geisler and Saleeb write “There are two Arabic words for “son” that must be distinguished. The word “walad” denotes a son born of sexual relations. Jesus is definitely not a son in this sense. However, there is another Arabic word for son, “ibn”, that can be used in a wider figurative or metaphorical sense. A traveler, for example, is spoken of as a “son of the road” (ibnussabil). It is in this wider sense that it makes sense to speak of Jesus as the “Son / “ibn” of God.“
Mr Pandor writes that “And on the morrow, when they came from Bethany, he (Jesus) was hungry. And after seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon : and when he came to it HE FOUND NOTHING BUT LEAVES, for the time of figs was not yet. (Mark 11 : 12-13) Jesus thought the tree had figs, reaching it he found it fruitless. Jesus was clueless. If the tree had no figs God would know and not waste his time looking for food on a tree which he created, sustained and be acquainted with. God is all seeing. Jesus could see leaves. If Jesus saw leaves he would see if the tree had fruit. Never the less Jesus was clueless. “If Jesus failed in his lifetime regarding the presence of figs on a tree, in full sight afar off; how then do you justify or trust mankind’s future salvation plan through him?”
It really stuns me that Mr Pandor misses the whole point of the exercise Jesus tried to portray? In the narrative the fig tree presents Israel which was God’s chosen nation to present light and truth to the nations around them. Unfortunately Israel was not bearing the “fruits” that fit their election and they lacked in giving glory to God. Jesus therefore uses the example to show that Israel has no fruit and would be cut off. Theologian F. F. Bruce notes: “The other miracle is the cursing of the barren fig tree (Mk. xi 12 ff.), a stumbling block to many. They feel that it is unlike Jesus, and so someone must have misunderstood what actually happened, or turned a spoken parable into an acted miracle, or something like that. Some, on the other hand, welcome the story because it shows that Jesus was human enough to get unreasonably annoyed on occasion. It appears, however, that a closer acquaintance with fig trees would have prevented such misunderstandings. ‘The time of the fig is not yet,’ says Mark, for it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears. The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about. When the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the real fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig-tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time of figs came. For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree.“
Mr Pandor writes that “Job 25:4-6 “How than man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon it shine not nor are the stars pure in his eyes. How much less man that is a worm? AND THE SON OF MAN WHICH IS A WORM. Jesus is called son of man 88 times in the bible! Jesus was born of a woman!” Mr Pandor should really read the context before making emphatic statements? Firstly it should be noted that Bildad is speaking and not God. Secondly, this is a rhetorical question and God enquires Bildad and all others to give an account for his vicarious statements and “ignorant words” (38:2). Mr Pandor should consider his view on the use of this scripture and seriously consider God’s instruction not to use “ignorant words”.
Mr Pandor writes that “How can Jesus be God the father, God the incarnated human in the form of Jesus the son and God the Holy Spirit in one moment whilst on earth or heaven? If any one of the three suffered any form of pain it would result in all getting pain. God is free from tasting pain. How can his creation hurt him or murder him? If one was crucified it will result in all getting crucified and going to hell for the payment of sins. Why would God inflict self-harm to himself?” Mr Pandor clearly thinks all Christians are “oneness” Pentecostals. Let me also add, to assume the Father, Spirit & Son are explicitly ONE person is called “modalistic monarchianism” and this is NOT what Christians believe. Also, to think Jesus joined His Divine nature with the human nature is called “monophysitism” and is also not adequately describing what true biblical Trinitarians believe? Now if you assert Jesus was merely a man “induced” with the Divine again you make the error of “apollinarianism”. The question that is left is simply how do we define the Trinity? We do not believe the Son is the Father and the Father the Holy Spirit? Trinitarian Christians do not hold to “modalism”. Apologist Matt Slick writes “Modalism states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes, or forms. Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times. At the incarnation, the mode was the Son and after Jesus’ ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit. These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous. In other words, this view states that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another. Modalism denies the distinctiveness of the three persons in the Trinity even though it retains the divinity of Christ.”
My friend James White writes “We are not saying that the Father is the Son, or the Son the Spirit, or the Spirit the Father. It is very common for people to misunderstand the doctrine as to mean that we are saying Jesus is the Father. The doctrine of the Trinity does not in any way say this! The three Biblical doctrines that flow directly into the river that is the Trinity are as follows:
1) There is one and only one God, eternal, immutable.
2) There are three eternal Persons described in Scripture – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. These Persons are never identified with one another – that is, they are carefully differentiated as Persons.
3) The Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are identified as being fully deity—that is, the Bible teaches the Deity of Christ and the Deity of the Holy Spirit.
In the incarnation Christ did experience death and suffering but we cannot ignore His wilful sacrifice on our behalves (John 10:18, Heb 4:15).
Response: Section H
Mr Pandor writes that “God is not incarnated into birds, animals, sun, idol, jin or man. Unlike Hindus who believe that Sai Baba is God incarnate or Christians who claim Jesus is God incarnate, Muslims abhor the thought that God Almighty transforms into man. God becoming a man is repulsive. Does God eat, sleep, urinate, pass wind and make stool! Never, Purity be to God from what man has attributed to him. God cannot evolve, he is as he is, and there is no similitude to him.
God is free from faults, mistakes, remorse, guilt and the need to pay for mankind‟s sin. God‟s mercy overpowers his anger. God‟s justice system is reward for the doers of good, forgiveness for those who truly repent and punishment to those who deny him or make partners to him.” The Hindu concept of Polytheism and the Christian concept of the Incarnation are miles apart from one another? He goes further and says “god cannot evolve”. This is also not what Christians hold when it comes to the incarnation? (John 1, Phil 2:6-11).
Response: Section J.
Mr Pandor writes that “It is not possible for a man (Jesus) who God has given a book and wisdom and prophethood, that he would tell people to worship himself instead of Allah rather he would say; be servants of God alone.” Allow me to make it clear to Mr Pandor to demand Christ only gave honour to the Father is to dismiss the Scriptural imperative. If we simply consider one passage we will see that the overall Scriptural witness is one where Jesus is not just Honouring the Father but where He requires more Himself. Let me explain:
When we can look at John 5:18-26 where we clearly see that Jesus showed He was not “Father” God; He was distinct but that they shared unity in:
V/17– One in Working.
V/19 – One in Will.
V/21 – One in Prerogative.
V/23 – One in Honor.
V/26 – One in Giving Life.
V/27-30 – One in Judicial Power.
It is important to realize this is not just a “functional” unity but an “ontological” unity. It is NOT just volition of will as some would assume but rather, a necessity of being as the text show (V/31-46).Allow me also to point out how the Jews around Him understood what Jesus said as Himself being equal with God!(V/18) Interesting that the Word “Equal” in this context is “Ison” which means equal in quality & quantity. Now if you assert He was a servant of the Father you are right, He was! But the context takes it even further in providing the fact that He was also equal in His Essential person as God. This is how the Jews understood it and the author John understood it. And immediately in the next Chapter we see Christ feeding the 5000 and walking on water.
Let’s look deeper:
Action – The Father and the Son are one in action, since the Son does not act independently of the Father. The Father and Son are so united that the Son does nothing that the Father does not do. It would be against the divine nature of Christ to do anything contrary to the Father. Father and Son are of one mind and one divine nature. Neither acts independently of the other.
Love & intent – The Father and the Son are one in love and intent. The Father sent the Son to die for lost humanity (John 3:16), and the Son gave Himself for lost humanity (Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:25). Everything Jesus did on Earth manifested the love that the Father and Son share in common for each other and for human beings. Father and Son did not act independently of each other in Jesus coming to Earth to perform His 33-year role to die, be resurrected, or execute judgment. They are completely united in thought and purpose. Being divine, Christ’s nature was contrary to doing anything out of harmony with the Father.
Giving Life – The Father and the Son are one in giving spiritual life to those who desire it. Only deity has the right and ability to forgive sin (cf. John 6:58; 11:25; Romans 11:15). The pre-condition to receiving eternal life is to believe in, love, and obey the Son (3:36; 6:29; 14:15).
One in judgement – The Father and the Son are one in judgment. Even as both Father and Son are one in dispensing spiritual life to those who respond with obedient faith, so both are united in imparting judgment and condemnation to those who refuse to obey. Pronouncements of spiritual judgment from the Father and Son are made in this life, and will be made ultimately at the final Judgment (vs. 29; 12:48).
One in Honor – The Father and the Son are one in the honor due them. Since Jesus is fully God, He is deserving of the same honor due the Father. To fail to honor the Son is to fail to honor the Father.
Necessity for salvation – The Father and the Son are one in the prerequisites of salvation. One must hear the Word of God and submit to that Word in obedient faith. The Father sent the Son to Earth; the Son articulated the way to be saved. They are unified in the means of receiving eternal life.
One in giving Life – The Father and the Son are one in their possession of life. The Father and the Son share life that is self-existent and eternal. Only they can impart any life to others—whether physical or spiritual. They are the source of life. Only they have a right to dispense life according to their Word. The Son came to Earth to make provision for human access to spiritual life.
When we allow the OVERALL context to interpret IMMEDIATE passages we clearly see that Jesus spoke of Himself as the Son, and declared the intimate interconnection between Himself and the Father, He clearly implied a divine relationship that consists of EQUALITY OF NATURE!!—a fact not lost on the Jews who wanted to execute Him for BLASPHEMY.
Mr Pandor’s evaluation of the critical elements in Christianity seems ambiguous and quite simply inadequate. The author of this article would like to point out that the very trajectory of the book is defective. This is due to the insistence of Mr Pandor that there exist a mutual line of thought without delineating Christian and Islamic terms within their actual definitions Section A-C]. Mr Pandor then unequivocally contradicts the full context of the overall text and shows gross obliviousness to the overall Scriptural pericope. There also seems to be another underlining contradiction in insisting that there exists an unified message within both texts [Section A-C] yet, insisting that in concept they are different [Section D-F].
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Rudolph P. Boshoff.
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg. 2
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg. 9
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 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.27
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.27
 R.C. Sproul: The Holiness of God
 R.C. Sproul: The Holiness of God
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.29
 Cur Deus Homo “Why the God Man?” XI: 1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/anselm/basic_works.vi.ii.xi.html
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.30
 Studies in Theology. Pg.275
 Studies in Theology. Pg. 276.
 Elements of Divinity Pg.202
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 Studies in Theology Pg.276
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 Studies in Theology Pg.279-280.
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 The Son of God: the origin of Christology and the history of Jewish Hellenic History Pg.1
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 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.33
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.36
 Grudem Pg. 496
 Grudem Pg. 497
 Grudem Pg. 498
 Wayne Grudem “Sin” Page 499
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 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.37
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 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.39
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.43
 Systematic Theology Pg.194-195
 Easton, M. G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893.)
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.44
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.49
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.50
 Answering Islam Saleeb/Geisler.
 THE CONCEPT OF GOD’S MERCY IN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY by Molana Ahmed Pandor Pg.51
 F.F. Bruce, Are The New Testament Documents Reliable? [Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove, Ill, fifth revised edition 1992], pp. 73-74)
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