5. Wild Statements in Deedat's Booklet
One of the things that struck me again and again as I read through Deedat's booklets was his unrestrained tendency to make wild statements devoid of good sense and authority. It seems he trades on Muslim ignorance of the Bible and simply hopes his readers will accept without question whatever he says. He surely cannot be endeavoring to convince Christian readers who know their Bible well and who can only marvel at his presumptuousness. To begin with, he says in his booklet:
The last statement, to the effect that Jesus knew nothing about his crucifixion is a fallacy set forth in bare defiance of overwhelming facts to the contrary. Time and again Jesus told his disciples that he would be crucified, killed, and rise again on the third day in statements like these:
When he was duly raised from the dead he rebuked his disciples for not believing all that he had told them as well as the prophecies of the former prophets that he would be killed and rise on the third day (Luke 24:25-26.46). On numerous other occasions he made it plain that this was the whole purpose of his coming to earth. He told them he had come to lay down his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), that his body would be broken and his blood shed for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 26:26-28), that he would give up his life that the world might live (John 6:51), and that he had power to lay down his life and power to take it again (John 10:18). It is surely absurd to suggest that Jesus knew nothing about his pending crucifixion. On the contrary, as he faced this climactic moment of his life when, as the Savior of the world, he would redeem mankind and pave the way for many to enter eternal life, he proclaimed “I have come for this hour” (John 12:27). So aware was he of the fateful climax that awaited him that he constantly referred to it as “my hour” (John 2:4) and “my time” (John 7:6). Of no other man was it more truly said, “cometh the hour, cometh the man”. The hour for the salvation of the world had come, and God had sent the only man who could achieve it, Jesus Christ.
Deedat makes a similar loose statement when he says that the title “Son of God” in the Bible “is also another harmless expression in Jewish theology” (page 25). On the contrary, just as Muslims hold to an austere Unitarianism which does not allow that it is possible for God to have a Son, so the Jews of that time and to this day reject the concept completely. When the high priest asked Jesus if he was the Son of God, as he had been reported as making such a claim, Jesus answered, “I am” (Mark 14:62). If this was a “harmless expression” as Deedat claims, the high priest would hardly have taken exception to it, but he immediately cried out “he has uttered blasphemy” (Matthew 26:65). When Jesus appeared before Pilate, the Jews cried out:
Muslims to this day attempt to avoid this issue and allege that Christians have turned the prophet Jesus into the Son of God. But the Jews could hardly foist this claim on his followers when Jesus himself made this very confession before them. “He has made himself the Son of God”, they cried, and this was why they condemned Jesus for blasphemy. Through his resurrection, however, God gave assurance to all men that Jesus was indeed his own beloved Son just as he had claimed (Romans 1:4).
Deedat makes a similar outlandish claim when he says that “any Christian scholar will confirm” that the Gospels were only written anything up to a number of centuries after the time of Jesus. It has been generally accepted among all good Biblical scholars that the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) were all written about 55-60 AD (less than thirty years after Jesus' resurrection) and the Gospel of John up to 70 AD. Only the most prejudiced “scholars” could suggest otherwise, and even hostile Critics have accepted these dates. How could the Gospels have been written centuries later when manuscript fragments dating as early as 120 AD still exist and quotes from the Gospels are found in the writings of the early Christians in the generation immediately succeeding the apostolic age?
Deedat makes a most unfortunate statement when he says in another place “Salvation is cheap in Christianity” (page 61). We doubt whether Muslims will consider Abraham's willingness to offer his son to God a “cheap” sacrifice. Surely, then, there can be nothing cheap in the willingness of God to give his own Son as a sacrifice for our sins. The Bible tells Christians plainly, “you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) - what a price! - and the apostle can only speak in consequence of God's “inexpressible gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). There is no way to possibly evaluate the price that was paid to save men from sin, death and hell. Salvation in Christianity is the most expensive thing this world has ever seen - the life of the only Son of the eternal God. In the same way no man can obtain this salvation unless he commits his whole life to God through faith in his Son, and surrenders his whole personality and character to his will.
Lastly, in one of his typically inaccurate charges, Deedat claims that the story of the appearance of Jesus to his doubting disciple Thomas, as recorded in John 20:24-29, is a “flagrant ‘gospel fabrication’ ” (page 31), and has the temerity to claim further:
Most significantly Deedat does not tell us who these so-called “Biblical scholars” are. There is not a shred of evidence anywhere to back up the claim that the story of Thomas's unwillingness to believe in the risen Christ until he had seen him and his declaration on duly seeing him that he was his Lord and his God, is a “fabrication”. The story is found extant in all the earliest manuscripts available to us without any variance in reading, and the evidences therefore are unanimously in favor of its authenticity. There is no support whatsoever for the speculation that this story may have been invented.
Deedat seems to base his claim on the assumption that Jesus was not nailed to the cross but only tied with ropes. He makes another really wild statement when he says “contrary to common belief, Jesus was not nailed to the cross” (page 31). Archaeological discoveries in the land of Palestine have confirmed that Romans crucified victims by nailing them to their crosses (a skeleton was found with a nail through both feet in recent years). Furthermore it is the universal testimony of the prophecies to and historical records of Jesus' crucifixion that he was nailed to his cross (Psalm 22:16, John 20:25, Colossians 2:14). Deedat's argument is not only “contrary to common belief” as he admits, but, like so many of his points, is also contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to reliable historical records, contrary to archaeological discoveries, contrary to the evidences, and, as all too often, contrary to good sense. He cannot produce even an iota or a shred of evidence to support his claim that Jesus was fastened to the cross with ropes and, instead, has to resort to an unwarranted and thoroughly presumptuous attack on the sound historical record that Jesus was nailed to the cross, once again without any evidence whatsoever that this record is a “fabrication”.
If there had been any merit at all in Deedat's attack on the Biblical record of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he would hardly have had to resort to such ridiculous claims as those we have considered. They indicate a fair measure of desperation in the critic as he battles against the odds to prove an untenable thesis.