God, Hope & Helping Others
March 20, 2014 | Christine Pasciuti
A number of Christian leaders today are attempting to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians. While perhaps well intentioned, the foundation of this new mantra, often called Chrislam is that "we all worship the same God". At the heart of this movement and perhaps the most dangerous issue is that these Christian leaders suggest that because we use similar terms such as "God" and "Jesus" - there is a form of shared belief. What we mean by the words we use matters and when no one defines the terms we are using - deception can slip in (which is why lawyers will fill page after page of small print defining the terms in a contract). Whether intentional or not, many Christian leaders are leading their followers into believing Chrislam is acceptable. Some unfortunate examples: Recently, Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Australia, addressed his congregation with these words, "Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God. And of course through history, those views have changed greatly. But lets make sure that we view God through the eyes of Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the beauty of a Savior, the loving open inclusive arms of a loving God." At President Obama's inaugural invocation in 2009, Pastor of Orange County, California's Saddleback Church, Rick Warren, cited several names for Jesus when leading the audience into the Lord's Prayer: "I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray..." While the context of Rick Warrens comments suggest he was attempting to bridge the gap of different names used for Jesus - his efforts show how easy is is for our words to cause confusion. To the Muslim, the "Isa" of the Qu'ran is very different than the Jesus of the Bible. The Qur’an’s Isa is not an historical figure. His identity and role as a prophet of Islam is based solely on supposed revelations to Muhammad over half a millennium after the Jesus of history lived and died. Islam’s Qur'an does not portray the divinity of Jesus Christ, nor claim Him to be the only-begotten Son of God - Messiah - God in human flesh, nor state that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and resurrected from the dead, Islam denies the true gospel of Christianity – the core reason Jesus came to earth. This fundamental gap between Christians and Muslims cannot and should not be bridged or smoothed over with a watered-down doctrine for the sake of "brotherly love". For a very detailed break down of the differences between Isa and Jesus please click here In 2010, Larry Reimer, a minister of the United Church of Gainesville, FL, in response to a local Qur'an burning, chose to read scripture from the Qur'an as part of his worship services, adding, "Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all part of the Abrahamic tree of faith. We all believe in the same God, and in many aspects we are all trying to accomplish the same goals.” We increasingly hear and read that Christianity and Islam ‘share’ Jesus, that he belongs to both religions. So also with Abraham: there is talk of the West’s ‘Abrahamic civilization’ where once people spoke of ‘Judeo-Christian civilization’. This shift of thinking reflects the growing influence of Islam. Islam regards itself, not as a subsequent faith to Judaism and Christianity, but as the primordial religion, the faith from which Judaism and Christianity are subsequent developments. In the Qur’an we read that Abraham ‘was not a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a monotheist, a Muslim’ (Âl 'Imran 3:66). So it is Muslims, and not Christians or Jews, who are the true representatives of the faith of Abraham to the world today. (Al-Baqarah 2:135) While housing the offices for "Christians and Muslims for Peace", Robert Schuller, pastor of Crystal Cathedral, began the movement toward softening the well-known words of Jesus in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Schuller told an Imam of the Muslim American Society that "if he came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him...." Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, an Episcopal priest for over twenty years, dons her white collar of Episcopal priesthood on Sunday mornings, then ties on her black headscarf to pray with her Muslim group on Fridays, saying, "I am both Muslim and Christian". She sees compatibility in Islam and Christianity at the most basic level and has endorsed the Muslim teaching that all all true Christians will accept Islam: Some Christians and Jews are faithful and believe truly. (Âl 'Imran 3:113,114) Any such true believers will submit to Allah by accepting Muhammad as the prophet of Islam, i.e. they will become Muslims. (Âl 'Imran 3:198) Brian Mclaren, founding pastor of non-denominational Cedar Ridge Community Church in Baltimore, Washington, and a leading voice in the emergent church movement encouraged his congregation and other Christians through his blog to participate with Muslims in a Ramadan fast, which celebrates the month the Qu'ran was supposed to be sent down. Another leader in the Emerging Church movement, Dr. Tony Campolo, says he is not convinced that Jesus lives only in Christians, reasoning that an Islamic “brother” who has fed the hungry and clothed the naked clearly has a personal relationship with Christ, only he doesn’t know it. A few years ago, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston joined with Christian communities in Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit to create a series of sermons designed to promote an ecumenical reconciliation between Christianity and Islam. Sunday School lessons on the same theme would center on the inspired teachings of the Prophet Mohammad, and Qu’rans and Bibles would be placed side by side in the church pews. Ironically, a side by side comparison of the Bible and the Qu’ran would show two faiths that are the exact opposite. The Jesus of the gospels is the base upon which Christianity developed. By Islamicizing him, and making of him a Muslim prophet who preached the Qur’an, Islam destroys Christianity and takes over all its history. It does the same to Judaism. In the end times as described by Muhammad, ‘Isa becomes a warrior who will return with his sword and lance. He will destroy the Christian religion and make Islam the only religion in all the world. Finally at the last judgment he will condemn Christians to hell for believing in the crucifixion and the incarnation. This final act of the Muslim ‘Isa reflects Islam’s apologetic strategy in relation to Christianity, which is to deny the Yeshua of history, and replace him with a facsimile of Muhammad, so that nothing remains but Islam. Rather than trying to pretend we believe the same things - a frank and honest discussion about our differences would seem to make much more sense. Many ministries are doing just that in a spirit of love but remain uncompromising on the teachings of the Bible. We highly recommend the site Answering Islam for a honest and intelligent conversation on the key differences between the Bible and the Qu’ran. Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/March20/201.html#MfifeZOW5OIJ...