A Sokoto-based Islamic scholar, Prof. Mansur Ibrahim Sokoto, has argued that the biblical punishment for blasphemy is the death penalty.
In a video obtained by PRNigeria, the scholar quoted the Book of Matthew chapter 12: 31-32 wherein the punishment for those who talk against the holy ghost lies.
According to him, the biblical verse states that “’Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Verse 32 says ”Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit (Ghost)will not be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.'”
He cited other verses from religious scriptures and said that the biblical stance on blasphemy is consistent with the stance of Islamic books on blasphemers, where death is the punishment for such crimes.
Reacting to the claim, the Senior Special Assistant to the President of the Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Bayo Oladeji said there was a dispensation in the Bible which means there were times when some laws existed and there are times some laws do not exist.
Speaking to PRNigeria, Pastor Bayo said: “The Islamic scholar may be wrong because the verse he quoted was referring to when the people of Moses were going to the promised land. They were in Egypt where somebody committed blasphemy and put him somewhere.
“They ran to Moses and he waited for God’s command. God commanded that he should be stoned to death by the whole people of the camp.
“We are called Christians because we follow the teachings and directives of Jesus Christ through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is no record of Jesus ordering the stoning of a blasphemer and there is nowhere in the New Testament where such order or sentence was carried out. In the Bible, rejecting Jesus Christ as the Son of God is a blasphemy yet no reasonable and genuine Christian will call for the death of those who disagree. Why? Because it is not our responsibility to judge those who blaspheme or insult our God.”