I don’t tend to think of Christian apologetics and advanced stomach cancer as particularly related. I enjoy plunging into the big questions, learning the arguments and evidence which show my faith to be a most reasonable thing. I don’t enjoy the hygienic medical terminology in which we drape grim prognoses, shielding ourselves from what we know even without state-of-the-art equipment: it is appointed for man to die once.
But the truth is, cancers and all their ilk — so vividly pointing to the death that is inevitable — are what make Christian apologetics so urgent. Seeking the Truth is no mere intellectual exercise; what we believe to be true has direct implications on how we live and how we die, particularly on how we live in light of the fact that we must die.
The closing section of Nabeel Qureshi’s latest book, No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, queries, “Is the Truth Worth Dying For?” and answers the question with a resounding Yes: “God is more beautiful than this life itself, and the one who loves Him is ready to die when death comes, not just to glorify Him but to hasten to His arms. Though we die, we will live.”
The context? A discussion of the rival truth-claims of Islam and Christianity, highlighting the two religions’ differences, delving into their histories, and examining the evidence for each religion’s positions. Qureshi seeks to evaluate the evidence as an objective observer would, drawing on the most reliable sources, on expert scholarship, and on his own journey from passionate defender of Islam to passionate follower of Christ.
Since first hearing him share his testimony at a conference in 2013, I’ve thought of Nabeel Qureshi as a strong person in the world of apologetics — not just intellectually, but also physically. Tall enough to be intimidating, square-shouldered, young and confident — when, returned to the same conference the next year, he told me in passing that I “didn’t want to miss Michael Ramsden,” I got up and went to the session which I had intended to skip.
His first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, presented his testimony in long-form, with many of the arguments and struggles that finally led him to Christianity. No God but One majors on the arguments and evidence, revisiting his story for support, but not majoring on story. With carefully-organized, conveniently-titled chapters, this is a book you can use for targeted research into one specific question — like, how reliable is the Quran? — but it is also excellent for cover-to-cover consumption. Read front-to-back, Qureshi’s argument for the truth lands weightily on that last section and question, Is it worth dying for?
The day the book released — August 30 — Qureshi made an announcement which lends even more weight to the conclusion: he has been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer and faces a grim prognosis. In his early thirties, husband to a young wife, father to a baby girl, working on an Oxford PhD, writing books, maintaining a rigorous speaking schedule, and having a far-reaching gospel influence: adding cancer to that equation seems silly at best.
But in the economy of a God whose very foolishness is wiser than our wisdom, whose ways are heavens-higher than our ways, this is the path by which He has chosen to be glorified: in physical weakness, in pain, and in difficult treatments with an uncertain outcome. And already He is receiving glory. Because it is one thing for a strong and successful man to say a thing is true, but when he is facing a potential death sentence, if he has any doubt of that truth, it will show.
Qureshi’s testimony? “. . . never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God.”
While faith only comes by the work of the Holy Spirit, the evidence presented in No God but One can lend confidence to those inclined to doubt. This book is not simply a tool for reaching Muslims, it may also be a strengthening tonic for Christians, helping us to live –and to die — with certainty in the things we hold True.
I had the opportunity to be part of the launch team for this book — which means I received an advance copy in order to review and promote it. Since I had a baby in the middle of the pre-release promotion month, I kind of dropped the ball on that, but there is still a special offer of bonus content — including a workbook, and audio and video material — if you order the book before September 16, 2016. Click the above image to read about that.
©2016 by Stacy Crouch