Sunday, 13 May 2007

Challenge to the Church

Reading a book by Dr Patrock Sookhdeo - International Director of Barnabas Fund and director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity - called ISLAM; The Challenge to the Church.

The book gives and excellent outline of core Islamic beliefs, and customs (both religeous and social) and I am about half way through now.

But just finishing off the section on 'Compairing Islam and Christianity' I just felt I wanted to write out a bit of what he has to say.

"The real difference between Christianity and Islam lies in the core issues of their sacred writings and the persons of their founders. Christians have frequently in their long history departed from Christ’s teachings and perpetrated cruelties against Jews, Muslims and heretics. However, when returning to their source scriptures they come face to face with the person of Christ and the Gospel of love and forgiveness he preached, as well as his atoning death and supreme example of humility, service, suffering and non-violence.

When Muslims return to their original sources, they have a very different encounter. The later dated verses of the Qur’an, reveled to Muhammad in Medina, contain much that is intolerant and belligerent. According to the most commonly followed doctrine of abrogation, later verses supersede earlier (more peaceful) verses… Muslims also meet Muhammad whose words and actions, recorded in the hadith, give many clear examples of aggression, warmongering… and genocide."
(Page 48-49)

"From the... comparison [given on ideals of grace, salvation, core beliefs] it is clear that it is impossible for a Christian to regard Muhammad as a legitimate prophet in line with biblical revelation or to believe that his message was authentic revelation…

Islam should therefore not be viewed as a brother monotheistic faith like Judaism with which Christians have a special relationship. The idea of three sibling “Abrahamic” faiths is an Islamic concept, not a Christian one. Rather Islam should be viewed in the same bracket as Christian heresies, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons. To accept the Muslims’ concept of three “Abrahamic” faiths is effectively to agree with the Islamic teaching of replacement – Judaism was replaced by Christianity which was in turn replaced by Islam. The ultimate logic of this would be for all Christians to convert to Islam.

Christians must not let themselves forget the basic truth that it is faith in Jesus Christ which God is looking for, not faith in general. In a secular, materialistic culture, it is tempting to think that Muslims and Christians can be allies against the overwhelming godless hedonism which surrounds them both. But Christians must always bear in mind that Islam denies the heart of Christian faith, and that its very creed… was formulated to deny the deity of Christ and the finality of His revelation. When the muezzin calls “There is no god but God” he is saying that Jesus is not God, and when he adds that “Muhammad is his messenger” he is saying that Jesus has been superseded by Muhammad.”
(Page 53-54)

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