Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Nabeel spoke to us on the opening morning. He told us that the doctors have given up hope and that there will be no surgical intervention (which was to have happened only if the chemo and radiation had worked). Medicine feels it has done all it can. 

Too many people, including charismatics, fed him false hope. What does it say about their "revelations" that God would heal him? They need to examine themselves regarding what they take to be divine revelations. 

From the time he first received the dire diagnosis and prognosis, he needed to prepare himself intellectually for the likelihood that he had terminal cancer. He needed to make preparations for death.

That doesn't mean he had to give up hope–even now. But you can do two things at once. Throughout the process he was grasping at straws. That makes the landing far harder when medical options fail. Coming to terms with the eventuality of death, early on, would soften the landing. Too late for that now. 

One of Nabeel's stated concerns is that Muslims will say Allah struck him down as punishment for his apostasy from Islam. Although it's precarious to speculate on why God might cause Nabeel to die young, yet since people are bound to speculate, including malicious explanations, I'll offer a few suggestions. I don't think there's anything inherently disreputable about theological speculation, especially in reference to theodicy, so long as we admit at this outset that this is conjectural:

i) Cancer is hardly unique to Christians. Muslims die of cancer. Do Muslims die of cancer at lower rates than Christians? Is there any demonstrable correlation between immunity from cancer among devout Muslims and liability to cancer among devout Christians? It would be self-incriminating for Muslims to attribute Nabeel's plight to divine judgment, since that allegation will ricochet. 

ii) Nabeel is at high risk of being abducted and tortured to death. He's a prime target for jihadis. And this wouldn't be a garden variety honor-killing. Rather, they'd make an example of him to deter others. Make a video. Upload it onto YouTube. "This is what happens to traitors!" So they might well execute him by the slowest, most painful method imaginable. And as ISIS has demonstrated, Muslims can be very imaginative when it comes to excruciating ways of killing the infidel. 

I found it concerning that he's in a doctoral program at Oxford. Very prestigious, but England has a far higher concentration of Muslims than the USA, so it would be much easier for him to be spotted there by jihadis. Kidnapped. Videotaped. 

Although gastric cancer is an unpleasant way to go, it's better to die with the benefit of IV painkillers and anti-nausea medication than death by torture. So perhaps God is taking his life to spare him a far more gruesome fate at the hands of jihadis.

iii) Sex scandals have ruined not a few Christian ministries. In one of his vlogs, I think Nabeel said, before his ministry was sidelined by cancer therapy, that he spent something like 250 days a year on the road. That's a lot of time in hotels and motels. Presumably away from his wife for most of those junkets. 

That presents opportunities for sexual temptation. Imagine if he gave into temptation. If he's anxious about how Muslims will gloat over his untimely death by cancer, that's nothing compared to what would happen if he was caught in a sex scandal. 

iv) His celebrity could go to his head. That happens. 

If he dies of cancer, that may actually be a merciful act of divine intervention–to protect him from greater harm, or preserve his reputation intact.


  1. wow
    you really cut through to the bottom line truths and reality in the least amount of words possible.


  2. Ravi Zacharias' tribute to Nabeel: http://rzim.org/global-blog/torn-emotions-a-visit-with-nabeel-qureshi/

    Like many other Christians I'm still praying for Nabeel to be healed. God's never in a rush to do His will (whatever that might be).

  3. Its simply not over yet. "Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead" ~ 2 Cor. 1:9

    My friends mom also received the death sentence for Stage IV Stomach Cancer. They had to go through the experimental treatment route because the normal stuff either would not work or was of minimal effect. Post all this she is so far ok.

    That aside... point (i) - what the fall out will be - I think would depend on the culture. In certain non-western contexts, you can simply spin it as God punishing Nabeel for apostasy and thats that. The imam said so and thats all there is to it. There would not be any richochet. I have worried that this would bring dishonor to God.

    I have to be honest... if he dies, it will not make sense. It would be like Jesus and the storm. He asked the disciples where their faith was. Almost as if to say, you have seen the miracles, the exorcisms, heard the teachings and all this is just supposed to suddenly plummet down into the Sea of Galilee one fine night? This can't be how the Missio Dei works. Have you no reason?

    In Him,
    ~ Raj

    1. Yes, miraculous healing is still a possibility.

      One fringe benefit is that Nabeel's parents and siblings have been reconciled to him. Although his family didn't disown him, his conversion left them fairly estranged.

  4. faith that God will do something for me is harder than faith in God's goodness and wisdom and Sovereignty and given that God has allowed so much suffering and wars and pain and trials in history . . . and experience

    . . . I confess the gospel accounts of healings are the harder for me than Romans 9 or the book of Job or Isaiah 40 or the sufferings and laments and honesty in the Psalms.

    I cannnot "work up" faith that God is going to definitely heal me (or Nabeel); but I know for sure that God can heal Nabeel.

    When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus *said to them, “Do you believe that
    I am able to do this?”

    Matthew 9:28

    Matthew 9:28 is easier to believe (for me) than Matthew 17:19-20 or Matthew 21:20-22 / Mark 11:22-24 (even after interpreted properly in light of context and metaphors and other passages on God's Sovereignty)

    Is faith primarily about
    1. "believing that God will do something" (healing, blessing, etc.)
    2. "trusting God and His character of goodness and wisdom and love even if He does not give me what I want" (healing, etc.) ?

    1. I think that in the nature of the case, miracles are unpredictable. Sometimes they happen when people don't expect them and sometimes they don't happen when people do expect them.

    2. A problem with some charismatics is that they don't allow anything to disprove their expectations. If they pray for a miracle and it happens (or they can interpret the outcome as miraculous), they take that as vindication. But if it doesn't happen, they still act as though they were right to expect it all along, and every time their expectation fails, they bounce back to their default setting of expectant faith, as if they're starting all over again for the very first time. "We thought X was going to be healed. He wasn't. Next time around, we think Y is going to be healed." No matter what happens, they're never wrong.

    3. That's right; especially the "word of Faith" crowd.

      They say "have faith, confess it already happened", etc.

      then, if it didn't happen, they say - "It's your fault, you didn't have enough faith", etc.

      What a cruel and bondage-making teaching and practice!!
      I don't see how they can psychologically last in that kind of mind-set, because life is just too fragile and filled with mysteries, pain, sorrow, death, trials, suffering, scandals, etc.

    4. When they're right they're right–but when they're wrong they're still right!

  5. God will rid Nabeel of his cancer (and me of mine). Either this side of the grave or the other side of the resurrection. All in God's good time.