“Rival Messiah in a Proposed Prayer Duel”

Volume XXVI, No. 25

“Rival Messiah in a Proposed Prayer Duel”

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, of Qadian, Punjab, India, is the “promised Messiah,” according to statements made over his own signature.  He has challenged Dr. Dowie, of this country, to a duel, the weapon being prayer and each side to petition “the Almighty that of us two whoever is the liar may perish first.”  The person who issues this challenge, according to The Review of Religions (Gurdaspur, India), is the “promised Messiah” sent for the reformation of the world exactly at the time fixed by calculations based on biblical prophecies as the time of the advent of the ?Messiah,? and has a following of over a hundred thousand members, “rapidly growing.”  The teaching of this Messiah is that Christ was a mere mortal, a good man, without divinity.  Mirza Ghulam Ahmad further declares in the organ already named:
“Dr. Dowie should further bear in mind that this challenge does not proceed from an ordinary Muhammadan.  I am the very Messiah, the promised one, for whom he is so anxiously waiting.  Between Dr. Dowie’s position and mine the difference is this that Dowie fixes the appearance of the Messiah within the next twenty-five years, while I give him the glad tidings that the Messiah has already appeared.  I am the Messiah, and Almighty God has shown, numerous signs from earth as well as from the heaven in my support.  My following, which already claims a hundred thousand souls, is making a rapid progress.  The proof that Dr. Dowie furnishes in support of his extravagant claims is the very height of absurdity.  He claims to have healed hundreds of sick men.  But why did his healing-power fall in the case of his own beloved daughter, where it should have been exercised in the highest degree?”

John Alexander Dowie, writes the messiah, “claims to have been sent by the son of Mary in his capacity of Godhead, that as his apostle he may draw the whole world to a belief in the despicable dogma of his divinity.”  The Indian claimant proceeds:
“Whether the God of Muhammadan or the God of Dowie is the true God may be settled without the loss of millions of lives which Dr. Dowie?s prediction would involve.  The method is that, without threatening the Mohammedan public in general with destruction, he should choose me as his opponent and pray to God that of us two whoever is the liar may perish first.  I look upon the son of Mary as a weak human being, although I recognize him as the prophet of God, while Dr. Dowie takes him for the Lord of the Universe.  Which of us is right, is the real point at issue.  If Dr. Dowie is certain of the divinity of the son of Mary, he should publish the proposed prayer with the signatures of one thousand men affixed to it.  Upon receiving it, I should address the same prayer to Almighty God and publish it with the signatures of the same number of witnesses.  If Dr. Dowie has the courage, he will thereby open a way for all other Christians to the acceptance of the truth.  In making this proposal, I have not taken the initiative, but the jealous God has inspired me upon Dr. Dowie’s presumptuous prediction that all Mohammedans shall perish.”

“An important discovery regarding Jesus Christ” has been made by the followers of the challenging Messiah, as we read in the Indian publication already named.  The discovery is that “Jesus did not die upon the Cross,” but was “taken down alive and senseless”.  Subsequently the son of Mary “recovered, traveled eastward, and lived up to a good old age.”  His tomb, it is also stated, is situated in the Khan Yar Street at Srinagar, Cashmere.”  Our authority opines:  “The incontrovertible testimony afforded by the tomb itself, backed as it is by the unanimous oral testimony of hundreds of thousands of men, and by the written evidence of ancient documents, becomes in our opinion too strong to be resisted by the most determined of skeptics.”

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