Tertullian addressing Islam about 500 years before Muhammad

Tertullian, one of the first to write extensive apologetic works against heresies during the 2nd Century writes much on how Muslims treat Christianity as it relates to their Islamic beliefs. I think it’s telling that other heresies were using the same tactics that Muslims use today!

I find myself bringing up these quotes by Tertullian so I thought I would make a thread that shows just how little times have changed:

The work is called “The prescription against Heretics” starting at chapter XIV

10]For since they are still seekers, they have no fixed tenets yet;168 and being not fixed in tenet, they have not yet believed; and being not yet believers, they are not Christians.

I start here, because this is Islam as it relates to the Bible. They have no true fixed tenant in regards to our Scriptures and what they officially mean. Muslims often pick and choose Scriptures they like, while throwing out the ones they don’t; without any official explanation on why certain words should be rejected or accepted. No official tenant of belief actually comes from our Scriptures as it relates to Islam. No Muslim reads Jesus’s words found in the Bible and says “We believe [X] because the Bible says so, according to Jesus!” Rather, Muslims simply use the Bible and distort it to prove a point, and don’t actually use it with fellow Muslims to prove a tenant of their Faith. That’s what the Qur’an is for.

4]*If in these lie their resources, before they can use them, it ought to be clearly seen to whom belongs the possession of the Scriptures, that none may be admitted to the use thereof who has no title at all to the privilege.

Who owns the Scriptures? To whom do they belong? Muslims here are refuted by Tertullian, knowing straightaway that the Scriptures do not belong to them. The Christian Scriptures again are only used and twisted to argue against Christianity; and are not found as authoritative in their Mosques, homes, wherever.

And here comes the most telling…

*[1]Now this heresy of yours185 does not receive certain Scriptures; and whichever of them it does receive, it perverts by means of additions and diminutions, for the accomplishment of it own purpose; and such as it does receive, it receives not in their entirety; but even when it does receive any up to a certain point186 as entire, it nevertheless perverts even these by the contrivance of diverse interpretations

**3]*They rely on those which they have falsely put together, and which they have selected, because of188 their ambiguity. [4]*Though most skilled189 in the Scriptures, you will make no progress,190 when everything which you maintain is denied on the other side, and whatever you deny is (by them) maintained. [5]*As for yourself, indeed, you will lose nothing but your breath, and gain nothing but vexation from their blasphemy.

This is the driving home point I believe as it pertains to Muslims. Muslims take Scriptures in part, they ignore other parts and use ambiguous Scriptures to prove their point.

I just think it’s amazing that hundreds of years before Islam, and thousands before Muslims got ahold of our Scriptures, Tertullian describes what their conduct will be like perfectly.

He says more; check it out here:


??? There’s something wrong here. Mohammad started his religion in the 7th century, There were no Muslims until then.

Yes, that is true. My point is that Muslims use the same tactics that others have used even hundreds of years before Islam. They use them vehemently to this day.

Just so you know Ron, Justin Martyr was the first Church father to pen an apologetic work. Tertullian isn’t considered a Church Father because he himself fell in with a heretical cult later in life.

I know about his life.

I heard most of his montanist works are lost. Do you know where I could find some of the heretical things he wrote? I’ve looked but he has a lot of writings so it’s hard to filter through everything.

Tertullian’s arguments could equally apply to Protestantism. :rolleyes:

Tertullian’s pre-Montanist works are included in the writings of the Church Fathers, all of Volume 3 and part of Volume 4. Obviously somebody considered him to have been a Church Father.

Hi dronald. Reading this, a couple things come to mind. First is that “traditionalist” Catholics would say much the same thing about you, and indeed about every Christian who is not in communion with Rome. (I realize that you may not care about “traditionalists”, and I’m not even claiming that you ought to, but I wanted to mention that.)

The second is that what you’re saying doesn’t seem to work very well, because Muslims make no claim to be part of the Christian religion. Have you considered reworking it to apply it instead to Mormons?

It would be helpful to read about what you are referring to here dronald? Do you have specific verses in mind?

There are several OT passages which Jews state Christians often “pick and choose” from too. Let us be honest here :slight_smile:


I think it is clear as day that Christians too, use the same tactics against the meanings of the Old Testament. Is the famous passage in Isaiah referring to Jesus or to the state of Israel??


Frankly speaking I cannot agree that Muslims indeed pick and choose Scriptures (meaning the Bible). I think that they do not even consider the Bible at all nor it is important to them. The bottom line is they do not refer to the Bible, the Quran verse telling them to refer to the people of the Book about their belief notwithstanding. As far as Islam is concerned all previous scriptures, the Bible included, were lost or corrupted that they have become unreliable as source of truth, thus the necessity of a totally new scripture, the Quran, which superseded all previous scriptures.

Yes, there are modern day Muslims who would argue with you or make claim about certain verses of the Bible which they would use to support their belief or their prophet, Muhammad. These people are more interested in proselytizing potential converts and perhaps to make inroad into non-Muslims by engaging them with the so-called dialogues. If they can use the Bible for their purpose, probably to create certain amount of doubt among Christians, then why not? But if you ask them seriously, they just do not rely on the Bible and it does not matter what the Bible says.

Do you know which verse you are referring to in Isaiah? Just interested in taking a look at it to see what it says.


Here you go spedteacherita :slight_smile:



Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :smiley:

Just a quick question/observation - I’m fading fast and falling asleep so I’ll look more tomorrow but isn’t Israel usually spoke of in terms of the bride? The pronouns are all male so I wonder if that makes a difference?

Our Greek and Hebrew experts can weigh in on this…

God bless and good night!

:thumbsup: Rita

In the 4 “Servant Songs” of Isaiah, Israel is referred to as a Servant:

“You are My servant, O Israel” (41:8)
“You are My servant, Israel” (49:3)

Sweet dreams angel :slight_smile:


Awww, you’re sweet. My mom is in ICU and when she is in the hospital we maintain a vigil of one or more of us camping out at the hospital so we will be near enough to be with her if there’s a need.

Thanks for the other verses to ponder with the others. You guys keep me on my feet insofar as researching and focusing on texts that I need to read and study. Regardless of the fact that I’m not Catholic you are helping me build my faith in Christ through our interaction and sharing. God bless you!


Hi Rita, sorry to hear about your mother. I will keep her in my prayers :slight_smile:

Anything I say that can bring you closer to Christ is humbling and, as a Baha’i, it means that I have contributed something small towards a better world :slight_smile:

God bless you dear one


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