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Don Stewart :: What Should Be the Proper Attitude of Christians toward the Belief System of Islam?

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What Should Be the Proper Attitude of Christians toward the Belief System of Islam?

Islam – Question 21

It is important that Christians have the correct attitude toward the religion of Islam. What should our response be when Islam is proclaimed? How should Christians respond?

As far as the religion of Islam, and the proper Christian response, there are a number of points that need to be made. They can be summed up as follows.

1. We Must Realize That Islam and Christianity Cannot Both Be True at the Same Time

To begin with, it must be understood that Islam and Christianity cannot both be true at the same time. Both faiths can be wrong in their claims, but both cannot be true. Somebody has to be wrong. The following points need to be emphasized.

2. There Is a Different Source of Authority in Each Religion

Christianity believes that God revealed Himself through a number of sacred books. These books were written by over forty different human authors. They were eventually collected and put into one Book, the Bible.

God gave humanity His revelation in order to redeem the world, to save us from our sins and to lead us to a live a life pleasing to Him. His Word teaches us how we can be free freed from the bondage of sin both in this world and in the world to come. Christianity believes and teaches that there has been no more divine revelation to humanity since the time of Christ and His apostles. All written revelation has ceased.

This is in contrast to Islam. They believe God, Allah, has given his final revelation to the human race through the “prophet” Muhammad. Instead of a book composed by many different authors over a long period of time, the Quran which was recited by one man, Muhammad.

Furthermore, in Islam, revelation is not for the purpose of redemption or saving one from their sins, but for the sake of guidance. The Quran was given provide guidance for living in this world.

In Christianity, revelation was given by God but written down by human beings. God did not dictate His Word to the various writers but rather He used their words and personalities to record His truth.

The situation is different In Islam. Islam stresses very strongly that in receiving his revelation Muhammad was illiterate and hence completely passive. He simply recited what was put into his mouth, without any input of his own.

Thus, while Christianity has the Bible, Islam has a different source of authority, the Quran. In addition, the means of communication of this word to humanity was completely different.

3. There Are Different Views of the Nature of God

Not only do Islam and Christianity have a different source of spiritual authority, their sacred books reveal a completely different God.

The God is Islam is aloof from humanity. He is to be feared rather than loved. There is no personal relationship that a human can have with Allah.

Contrast this to the loving God of the Bible. Those who believe in Him are His children. The Bible is full of passages where God’s love for His children is expressed. Again, we have tremendous differences between the two.

4. There Are Differing Views of Jesus Christ

Islam presents a different Jesus than the one who is found in the New Testament. In Islam, Jesus is merely a prophet. He is one in a long line of prophets. Muhammad is supposedly the last and greatest of the prophets or the seal of the prophets.

In Christianity, Jesus is God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He has been God for all eternity.

The issue is clear: Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all. He cannot be placed into the category of a prophet. A great prophet would not have made the sort of claims that Jesus made. He is either more than a prophet; God the Son, or a liar or lunatic.

Either Islam or Christianity is wrong about the Person of Jesus Christ.

5. There Is Different Understanding of Salvation

The doctrine of sin and salvation are central to Christian belief. It is because of our sins that Jesus Christ died in our place. The Bible teaches that humanity is in desperate need of a Savior.

However, Islam does not see things the same way. They do not believe in original sin, neither do they see the need for sacrifice. Consequently, they do not see the need for a Savior. Instead, they view Jesus as an Islamic prophet and not as the Savior of the world.

6. Each Has a Different View of What Will Happen in the Future

Both Christianity and Islam believe in a final judgment for humanity and then an eternal separation of the human race to one of two places, heaven or hell. However, the judgment is different in Islam than in Christianity. Heaven is a described differently in both religions. In Islam, the emphasis is on the pleasures humans will receive. In Christianity, the emphasis is upon the God whom we worship.

In Islam those who reach heaven will go there because their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. Christianity says our deeds are not the issue when it comes to entrance to heaven. The only issue is how people reacted to Jesus Christ. Those who believe in Him will enter heaven. Those who do not believe will not go to heaven; no matter how good they may have been in this life.

7. Islam Has a Violent Side

While Christianity emphasizes peace, Islam is a religion that is both peaceful and violent. While it is often said that “peace” is the main characteristic of religion of Islam this is simply not true. Neither is it true that the Arabic word “Islam” means “peace,” as it is so often claimed. The word Islam means “submission.” As a religion, Islam emphasizes the necessity of Muslims submitting to their God Allah. There is also the necessity for non-Muslims to submit to Muslims. We read the following in the Quran about the proper attitude toward unbelievers.

Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). (Surah 9:5)

While there are some Muslims that say this verse need not be understood literally, the majority believe that the Quran is the unchanging word of Allah. Problems like these make Islam the complex faith that it is. It cannot be simply categorized as either a “peaceful religion” or a “violent religion.” It is both.

The Quran does contain some verses that urge tolerance of non-Muslims. However, these verses were written before the more confrontational ones. Islamic scholars have developed a simple rule to deal with such contradictions in the Quran. This is the law of abrogation. This means that the later verses take precedence over the earlier ones and it is these later verses which preach violence.

Another verse from the Quran which is not often quoted in non-Islamic contexts runs:

You shall be summoned to fight against a people given to vehement war: then shall you fight or they shall submit. (Surah 48:16)

This verse commands Muslims to fight against their opponents until embrace Islam.

There is no doubt that in the early days of Islam, the faith was spread by means of the sword. Those who would not submit to Islam were killed. All of our early sources confirm this.

Therefore, we find two views in contemporary Islam about violence. There are the peaceable Muslims and then we find the violent war-like individuals. It is important to realize that Islam is not one or the other. It is both of these at the same time.

This warlike teaching of Islam is totally opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Any atrocities that have been committed in the name of Jesus have not been sanctioned by the His teachings or practices. Indeed, Jesus Himself is called, “The Prince of Peace”

While atrocities committed in the name of Islam may be condemned by many individual Muslims, it cannot be denied that they are justified by the clear teaching of the Quran which is the supposed word of Allah. Therefore, we may rightly conclude that while some Muslims are peaceful the religion of Islam certainly is not.

8. In Speaking Out against Islam, Christians Are Responding to Their Attacks

It must be emphasized that when Christians speak out against Islam it is not an attack on their faith. To the contrary, Islam has attacked Christianity. Islam arose six centuries after the life of Christ. It reinterpreted or denied every main point of the Christian gospel. In doing so, the Quran claimed to be the final revelation of the same God which is revealed in the Bible. Christians cannot let those charges get by. We are responding to them. Therefore, when Christians speak out against the belief system of Islam it is not “hate speech.” Rather it is responding to their false claims which they have made against us.

9. We Cannot Compromise Our Beliefs about Jesus

While we approach Muslims with the love of Jesus Christ, we cannot compromise the message that He commanded us to give. While we may express love for the individual Muslim, we cannot pretend that we are working together with them in spiritual matters. The message to Muslims must be clear. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. He is God the Son. Muhammad presents a different Jesus. Therefore, he and his message should be rejected.

Summary – Question 21
What Should Be the Proper Attitude of Christians toward the Belief System of Islam?

Christians need to have the proper response to the beliefs of Islam. To begin with, we must realize that Christianity and Islam cannot both be true at the same time. The differences between the two faiths are great.

They have a different source of authority. Christianity accepts the Old and New Testament while Islam gives lips service to accepting the Old and New Testaments but, in actuality, sees the Quran as the final source of authority.

The two faiths present a different God. The God of the Bible is not the God of Islam. The God of the Bible is a personal loving God who cares about His people while the God of Islam is an aloof being who does not love his people.

Jesus Christ is viewed differently in both faiths. To Muslims, He is an Islamic prophet. While a great prophet He is lesser than Muhammad who is supposed to be the last and greatest of prophets. In Christianity, Jesus is not a mere prophet but rather God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It is blasphemous to compare Jesus to any human prophet. This is especially true of Muhammad whom Christians view as a false prophet.

There is also a different understanding of how a person is saved or enters into a right relationship with God. Salvation in Islam is not from original sin because they do not believe in original sin. Consequently, they see no need for a Savior.

There is also a different view of the afterlife, of heaven and hell. Heaven is full of sensual pleasures for the Muslim while for Christians the emphasis is God Himself. To get to heaven one must believe in Jesus Christ. Heaven for Muslims is based upon good works outweighing the bad works.

In addition, Islam, as opposed to Christianity, has a violent side in its teachings. Muhammad encouraged violence and practiced violence while Jesus practiced and encouraged non-violence. It also must be remembered that Islam has attacked Christianity. They claim to have the final truth about God which goes beyond what is taught in the Bible. Therefore, Christianity is responding to their attacks.

Above all, Christians cannot compromise our beliefs about Jesus Christ. The Christian faith and Islam cannot both be correct at the same time. We must make this clear to everyone. It is Jesus who is “the truth.” It is not found in Muhammad or the Quran.

What Is the Law of Abrogation in Islam? ← Prior Section
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