What Early Christians Taught
- and Muslim Responses

These are notes from a friendly public discussion with a moderate Sunni Muslim leader and myself, an evangelical Christian, the morning of April 24, 2007.

The day before I had presented evidence that the Qur'an and Islam were wrong. Some Muslims in the audience said they did not come to hear that, but what Christianity taught, so the next day we agreed to shift gears and discuss that. But, as we had discussed the day before, there were many things that claimed to be Islam or follow Mohammed, and many things that claimed to be Christianity. Which should we compare? For Islam we would focus on what Mohammed taught in the Qur'an and six authoritative hadiths. For Christianity we would focus on what the Bible and the early followers of Jesus taught.

The following are among 220 doctrines and practices that four or more early Christians writers taught prior to the 325 A.D. Council of Nicea, and none denied. You can see who taught each doctrine at www.biblequery.org/ChurchHistory.htm.

The numbers are the end teal color are the number of early Christians whose preserved writings contain these doctrines.

After giving a description of a doctrine, the words in purple are his response of where as a Sunni Muslim he agreed, disagreed, or partially agreed. The black bold are also where he agreed. The responses were written down by me, but it was seen on the overhead, and he corrected where what I wrote was not his intention. The parts in square brackets [], are where I added explanatory comments after the presentation.

If you are a Muslim but have different views, please email me at webmaster@muslimHope.com and I can include your responses in a different color.

The Bible and God


B1. Study and obey God's Word as an authority 31 agreed

B2. The Old Testament is our authority 34 half

B3. The Old Testament prophesied About Jesus 21 agreed

B4. Jesus superseded some Old Testament laws 14 agreed

B5. The New Testament is our authority 22 Some

B6. There are only four true gospels 6 Some

B7. Paul's Letters are scripture 36 Some [He said that Muslims had to respect all the scriptures that the Jews and Christians held, and believed they still contained some of God's truth, though not in uncorrupted form.]

B8. The Gospel of John was written by John 23 No comment on this

B9. Heb, Jms, 1,2 Pet, 1,2 Jn, or Jude scripture 29 Some

B10. The Book of Revelation is scripture 19 Some

God's Nature

G1. There is only One True God 25 agreed

G2. God is almighty (omnipotent) 28 agreed

G3. God loves us and/or is kind 21 agreed

G4. God is holy, good, and or pure 27 agreed

G5. God does not speak lies / is truth 11 agreed

G6. God is a Father 51 disagreed

G7. The Trinity: one God in three 'Persons' 15 Bad [disagreed]

G8. God knows all / even the secret things 18 agreed

G9. God is everywhere 14 Some. Allah is not everywhere, but sees everywhere; His knowledge is everywhere

G10. God does not change 11 [I failed to record his comment here]

Jesus Christ


T1. Jesus is the Son of God 32 disagreed

T2. Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God 26 disagreed

Disagreed T3. The Deity of Jesus our Lord 30 disagreed

T4. Jesus is the Word of God 25 disagreed [I predicted that he would agree, but I was mistaken. He said that while both texts agreed on the words, the meaning was different. He believed Jesus is the Word of God referred to the miraculous birth of this messenger of God, while Christians also believed their referred to the deity of Christ.]

T5. Jesus is the Alpha & Omega or Door/Gate 12 disagreed

T6. Jesus was in heaven from ages past 20 disagreed

T7. All things were created through Christ 14 disagreed

T8. Worship, praise, or glorify Jesus 19 agreed with praised and glorify, not but worship. [He likewise said they would praise and glorify Mohammed, but not worship him.]

T9. Inseparable/Father in Son or Son in Father 14 disagreed

T10. Incarnation of the Word/Jesus 18 disagreed


J1. Virgin birth of Christ 18 agreed

J2. Jesus Christ was a real, sinless man 19 agreed. [I mentioned that the Gnostics denied this, but Muslims and Christians agree on this.]

J3. Jesus our High Priest and/or Lamb of God 18 disagreed [He disagreed with any link of the Old Testament blood sacrifices foreshadowing Jesus' sacrifice for us.]

J4. Jesus forgives us / remits sins 17 disagreed

J5. Jesus was crucified or died on the cross 29 disagreed

J6. Jesus suffered for us 25 disagreed

J7. Darkness and earthquake when Jesus died 13 probably not

J8. Jesus rose from the dead 27 disagreed

J9. Jesus ascended to heaven and will return 17 He said that yes, Jesus ascended, but it does not say how.

J10. Jesus: Mediator between God and man 11 disagreed

The Holy Spirit and God's Work


H1. Mention of the Holy Spirit 47 disagreed

H2. The Holy Spirit is God 14 disagreed

H3. Person of the Holy Spirit 28 disagreed

H4. Glorify/worship the Holy Spirit 7 disagreed

H5. Christ born of Mary by the Holy Spirit 11 disagreed

H6. Paraclete (Holy Spirit) already present 14 The (unknown) Spirit of God is present [I found this quite interesting that he said the Qur'an refers to the Spirit of Allah, but does not specify much about that. He said that Christians would be wrong to use this to claim the Qur'an taught more than one God though.]

H7. Baptized/washed with the Holy Spirit 6 disagreed

H8. The Holy Spirit seals believers 5 disagreed

H9. We are filled with the Holy Spirit 13 disagreed

H10. Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost 10 disagreed


W1. God made all things in heaven and earth 24 agreed

W2. Heaven and earth were created good 9 agreed [Gnostics disagreed with this and the previous, but Jews, Christians, and Muslims all agreed]

W3. God created things from nothing 9 agreed

W4. Enoch was translated without dying 8 disagreed

W5. Judgment of Noah's flood / deluge 12 agreed

W6. Judgment against Sodom or Gomorrah 9 agreed

W7. The crossing of the Red Sea 6 agreed

W8. God's appearances in the Old Testament 5 agreed

W9. Jesus performed miracles 20 agreed

W10. Jesus preached to the dead 4 disagreed

People and Salvation


P1. People are made in the image of God 20 agreed

P2. Our bodies die, but our souls are immortal 11 agreed

P3. Man fell when Adam and Eve ate the fruit 14 agreed I then asked he believed all the prophets were sinless, and Adam was a prophet, how could have done this and still be a prophet. He answered that Adam became a [sinless] prophet afterwards.

P4. We have inherited a sinful nature 9 disagreed with the word "inherit".

P5. Our reason/understanding was darkened 9 disagreed

P6. All have sinned; or we must be born again 10 All sin except prophets [Another Muslim pointed out that they believed babies are born innocent, and the go to heaven if they die before the age of accountability. He mentioned that the term "age of accountability" was also in the Bible.]

P7. No way of salvation apart from Christ 16 disagreed

P8. People have the will to choose 16 agreed [and I brought up the Mutzalites in Islam, and he did not claim to be a Mutzalite.]

P9. We are aliens awaiting our eternal home 8 agreed [I explained that concept is that believers are now citizens of heaven, and we do not belong to the earth, we are just passing though. He said that though the word was not in the Qur'an or hadiths, he agreed with the concept.]

P10. Salvation/church for all kinds of people 9 agreed [understanding mosque for church]


S1. O.T. pointed to salvation in Christ in New 11 disagreed

S2. Salvation is a gift of God's grace 11 agreed [He said he agreed since it does say "through Christ"]

S3. Jesus' death paid for our sins 14 disagreed

S4. Saved by Jesus' blood or dying for us 18 disagreed

S5. Even Jews who reject Jesus will perish 8 ? [The question mark meant that he could not say, because God is the only one who would judge.]

S6. Believers are the elect of God 12 agreed [Though the word 'elect' is not in the Qu'ran or hadiths, he agreed with the concept that God knew everyone who would go to heaven and hell before they were born.]

S7. The reprobate (non-elect) will be lost 9 disagreed [ditto]

S8. Some elect died before knowing Savior 10 disagreed on the term "Savior" here.

S9. Some follow Christ for a time, yet perish 9 Sort of agree, except the Christ part

S10. Not saved if living in sin 10 In God's hands [He differentiated between a heretical Muslim and a bad Muslim. A heretical Muslim would deny the Qur'an, all the hadiths, etc. while a bad Muslim would believe Islam but not practice it. A heretic would go to Hell, and all he could say about a bad Muslim is that it is in God's hands. I remarked that in Christianity it is similar in that if someone denies the key doctrines of Christianity, (Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the dead, etc.) they were definitely not saved. But someone can sin and still be a bad Christian. Another Muslim in the audience asked me if someone can be a Christian and still murder people. I replied that it would be hard for me to imagine it. I said that belief in the Bible does not merely mean intellectual agreement. It also means trusting Jesus as your Lord, which means master. Even in James it says that the demons believe in God, -and shudder. Christians are not perfect, but if a person agrees with the right things, but has not desire to follow God's commands, they do not truly believe. He then asked me what I thought of the Crusaders. I replied that in my opinion, most of them were going to Hell.

Ultimate Things


E1. The Antichrist will come -after 125 A.D. 13 agreed [I added that in Islam the Antichrist is called the dajjal, and it says one of his eyes will look funny, sort of like a grape.]

E2. Heresies and persecution come before him 9 agreed

E3. Before this will be many lesser antichrists 11 Many liars beforehand. He said that jal means liar, and Islam does not say there will be many dajjals, but there will be many liars before Christ returns.

E4. Two witnesses come before Christ returns 4 no record of this

E5. Jesus Christ will return -after 125 A.D. 12 agreed [Muslims all believe that Jesus will return. A Sh'ite in the audience added that in Shi'ite Islam, in the endtimes Jesus is not the main figure though, the Mahdi will be the main figure.]

E6. Resurrection of believers / all 23 agreed [He said Islam said resurrection of all, not just believers. He said the Bible also teaches resurrection of all; however early church writers emphasized the resurrection of believers, though they also mentioned all.]

E7. Christ will judge all / quick and dead 16 disagreed

E8. Our names are written in the Book of Life 7 God has the knowledge, but no mention of book of life

E9. Those who believe become sons of God 13 disagreed

E10. Believers will reign with Christ 6 disagreed


U1. Description of God's throne 7 Not same description [Islam teaches of Allah's throne, and a humanoid figure on the throne.]

U2. Angels are servants of God 21 agreed

U3. Satan and the demons fell from heaven 8 the jinn Iblis [I first mentioned that Shaytan in Islamic literature can refer to demons or one being, Satan, who is also called Iblis. I asked if he believed Satan was a fallen angel. He said that Satan was of the species jinn, so to speak, but he was standing among the angels at that time. I originally wrote 'genie', but one Muslim said that should be written jinn, not genie.]

U4. Some fallen angels sinned with women 7 disagree, as would I [We both disagreed that spiritual angels could have sexual relations with physical women. I added that I never said the early Christians were perfect, and this was one place where I thought their interpretation was flawed.]

U5. Devil and followers cast in Lake of Fire 15 agreed [I said I knew the Qur'an and hadiths spoke of the fire, but is there any mention of a Lake of Fire. He said there was that too.]

U6. The prince of this world is evil/Satan 9 disagreed

U7. Reincarnation (transmigration) is wrong 9 agreed [I added that there were small cults that claim to be Christian that believed reincarnation (such as Rev. Moon's unification church, and there were some sects that claimed to follow Mohammed and the Qur'an that believe in reincarnation such as the Bektashi, but we agreed that this is not the teaching of either Christianity or Islam.]

U8. Believers who die are with God forever 12 agreed [I added that people in heaven do not have to worry about getting kicked out later.]

U9. All who die rejecting Jesus go to Hell 15 agreed [This might sound surprising that he would agree, but he explained that one has to accept all the prophets in Islam. If a Muslim rejected Jesus, or any other true prophet, as a prophet of God, then they were not a Muslim.

U10. Believers have rewards in Heaven 12 agreed that believers can have varying rewards in heaven.

Specific Individuals


O1. Cain murdered Abel 9 agreed

O2. Abraham offered Isaac as a type of Christ 7 disagreed, the Qur'an implies Ishmael. [I mentioned that while Muslims today say it was Ishmael, the Qur'an, in mentioning this incident, does not specify which son. The Muslim historian al-Tabari gave a list of early Muslim scholars who believed it was Isaac, and a larger list of Muslim scholars who believed it was Ishmael. He responded that the Qur'an implies Ishmael.]

O3. Joseph and/or his brothers 9 agreed

O4. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt 11 agreed

O5. Joshua obeyed God to conquer Canaan 10 Not aware of any mention of this.

O6. David was godly (except adultery) 15 Disagreed with the exception [He does not believe David committed adultery with Bathsheba.]

O7. King Solomon was wise 14 agreed

O8. Elijah was a godly prophet 10 agreed

O9. Hezekiah and the Assyrian army 6 no mention of this

O10. Jonah in the fish and warned Ninevites 9 agreed


N1. Herod's slaughter in Bethlehem 7 no mention

N2. John the Baptist was a godly forerunner 15 agreed

N3. Judas wickedly betrayed Jesus 18 I think [All Muslims and Christians agree that it appeared that Jesus died on the cross. Christians and the Bible say that he really did die on the cross, and Muslims and the Qur'an say that God miraculously caused another to appear like Jesus, and the other died on the cross. Some Muslims think it was Judas who actually died on the cross, others think it was a volunteer among the disciples, and others someone God created.]

[Due to time, we stopped here and did not get to bring up the following part. The following are more individuals and the experience and practices early Christians taught. In the future I hope to discuss this with another imam]

[I mentioned that one Christian teaching is that all who reject Christ as the Son of God will perish in Hell. I also said that likewise Muslims believe all who reject Mohammed as a true prophet go to Hell. A Shi'ite in the audience that Shi'ites do not necessarily believe that. For those who follow God but reject Mohammed as a prophet, it is in God's hands where they go.]

One person, who did not claim to be Muslim or Christian, said the session went great until the last ten minutes.

N4. Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus 11

N5. High Priest Caiphas/Herod tried Jesus 9

N6. Peter was a godly apostle or martyr 22

N7. James the Lord's brother was godly 8

N8. Cornelius the centurion was saved 7

N9. Barnabas was a godly brother 7

N10. Paul was a godly apostle of Christ 21



X1. Do not worship any images or idols 15

X2. God/Christ lives inside of Christians 10

X3. Prayer to God is important 38

X4. Pray at all times and in any place 8

X5. Pray to Jesus 6

X6. Follow Jesus or His example 9

X7. Fasting to God is good 12

X8. The Lord disciplines and corrects us 6

X9. Do not love family more than Jesus 4

X10. Suffer persecution or martyrdom 44


R1. We need to repent and come to God 28

R2. Do not get drunk 19

R3. Drinking wine is OK 5

R4. No stealing or financial dishonesty 17

R5. Do not love money 10

R6. Forsake lies 9

R7. Abortion is evil/murder 10

R8. Do not murder 17

R9. No astrology 8

R10. No sorcery, witchcraft, or magic 10

Practicing Love


I1. Obey or love God 19

I2. Do not worship other gods 23

I3. Have pure speech 8

I4. Don't let the sun go down on your anger 4

I5. Be humble or not proud 10

I6. Be content with what you have 6

I7. Be peaceful, kind, gentle, or good 12

I8. Have patience or self-control 8

I9. Eating meat is fine 10

I10. No drinking or eating blood 4


L1. Love all / your neighbor as yourself 10

L2. Forgive others/enemies; turn other cheek 13

L3. Do not get revenge 7

L4. Do not envy, covet or be jealous 18

L5. Do to others as you would them do to you 6

L6. Help the poor 13

L7. Help widows or orphans 11

L8. Heavenly treasure; don't fear earthly loss 13

L9. Practice hospitality 13

L10. Preach the gospel to others 9



A1. Christians met together on Sunday 7

A2. Sing hymns to God, the Father, or Jesus 16

A3. Practice water baptism 26

A4. Partake of the Lord's Supper 17

A5. No more animal sacrifices needed 7

A6. Offer money/possessions to God 8

A7. Learn from prior church writers/councils 14

A8. Cheer up/encourage other believers 5

A9. Correct other believers 7

A10. Separate from those who persist in sin 4


C1. Obey authority of godly church leaders 6

C2. The Church should have unity 16

C3. Excommunicate or separate from heretics 15

C4. Bishop, elders/presbyters, or deacons 40

C5. Church leaders should accept each other 7

C6. Reject unchristian church leader authority 12

C7. Remove leaders fallen in gross sin/heresy 6

C8. Concept of one universal church 24

C9. Churches should greet other churches 9

C10. Tradition of the apostles or the church 11

Family and Government


F1. Honor marriage, no extra-marital relations 27

F2. No divorce except for unfaithfulness 9

F3. We should be modest and pure 10

F4. Do not watch violent or lewd shows 10

F5. No homosexuality 11

F6. We should honor our parents 10

F7. Cherish and nurture our family 7

F8. Having children (within marriage) is fine 9

F9. Celibacy is better than marriage 7

F10. Remarriage OK after death of spouse 4


K1. Honor the king or government 5

K2. Obey government when not against God 7

K3. Do not aid in persecuting Christians 6

K4. Pay taxes 7

K5. Pray for rulers and those in authority 6

K6. Pray for those who persecute you 13

K7. Government officials ought to be just 8

K8. Disobey or change unjust laws 8

K9. God's providence governs the world 27

K10. Christ is king, or kingdom of Christ 25

Refuting Error


r1. Dispute against Ebionites (Judaizers) 8

r2. Simon Magus persisted in his heresy 7

r3. From Marcion came many heresies 13

r4. Dispute against Valentinian Gnostics 16

r5. Dispute against Sethians or Ophites 6

r6. Dispute against Encratite Gnostics 7

r7. Dispute against other Gnostics 13

r8. No mixing Christ and other religions 18

r9. Avoid Docetism -only appeared to suffer 11

r10. Dispute against Sabellians (Oneness) 13


D1. Do not judge/condemn others 8

D2. Dispute against Judaism 16

D3. Dispute against Greco-Roman paganism 14

D4. Dispute philosophy that denies one God 13

D5. Dispute against the Magi / Zoroastrians 10

D6. Dispute against Indian Bra[c]hmans 6

D7. Dispute Egyptian myths 12

D8. Dispute Chaldean/Babylonian religion 9

D9. Dispute Syrian or Arabian religions 6

D10. Dispute Druid or other European myths 6

Doctrine Odds and Ends


X1. Do not worship any images or idols 15

X2. God/Christ lives inside of Christians 10

X3. Prayer to God is important 38

X4. Pray at all times and in any place 8

X5. Pray to Jesus 6

X6. Follow Jesus or His example 9

X7. Fasting to God is good 13

X8. The Lord disciplines and corrects us 6

X9. Do not love family more than Jesus 4

X10. Suffer persecution or martyrdom 43

Doctrinal Odds and Ends


B11. Old Testament has types of Christ 8

B12. Some parts of the Bible are allegorical 9

G11. Majesty/glory of God 21

B12. God is a Jealous God 4

G13. God rejoices over us 10

T11. Jesus our/the Lord 39

T12. Jesus at the right-hand of God 10

T13. Jesus is the first-born (not just of Mary) 16

J11. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist 8

J12. Jesus is our Shepherd 16


H11. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit 5

H12. Sevenfold Spirit or seven spirits 5

W11. Moses and the burning bush 7

W12. The apostles worked miracles 5

E11. Rapture of believers 5

E12. Believers will judge the world, or angels 4

E13. Believers are the bride of Christ 5

U11. The Millennium or the thousand years 6

U12. Mention of the angel Gabriel 8

U13. Mention of the archangel Michael 7

Experience and Pracdtice Odds and Ends


O11. Melchizedek of Salem 6

O12. Samson 8

N11. Mary Magdalene 5

N12. Thomas the apostle 9

N13. Stephen the martyr 10

X11. We rejoice when afflicted 6

X12. We rejoice -besides being afflicted 14

X13. Put on the armor of God/righteousness 7

X14. Out bodies are God's temple/temples 8

X15. Exorcism or casting out devils 12


I11. Do not be a slave of your belly 7

L11. Love covers a multitude of sins 4

D11. Do not throw pearls before swine 6

D12. Apologetic use of Plato's Timaeus 6

D13. Apologetic use of Jupiter's tomb 7

D14. Pointing out immoralities of Greek gods 12


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