Thursday, February 15, 2007

Two Faiths – Two Books – Two Deities, But Only One Will Prevail!

Islam, embraced by Muslims, has millions of devotees all over the world. Likewise, Christianity, embraced by those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, has a considerable number in many parts of the world.

The Muslims have a holy book known as the Qur’an (or Koran) and get very upset if it is shown any kind of disrespect. Christians also have a holy book known as the Bible. They also get upset if the Bible is shown disrespect. How Muslims and Christians react to those who would show and demonstrate disrespect for their holy books can be very different.

The deity of the Muslims is Allah. The deity of the Christians is most often referred to as God Who has chosen to manifest Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout the centuries of human history. Christians have been criticized and accused of being polytheists because of identifying God in such a manner.

The United States is one country where efforts have been made to enter into “dialog” and establish “civil” discourse among Muslims and Christians. For some it is a matter of recognizing that we are all “on a spiritual journey” and we are all “seeking the same goal” therefore we ought to respect one another and discuss where we have “common ground” so that we can work together for the common good of all persons, nations, etc.

President George W. Bush speaking at a news conference held with Tony Blair in the United Kingdom some time back stated that he believes Muslims and Christians worship the same God. A number of persons would heartily agree with the statement and appeal that we should be able to live peaceably with each other on this basis.

The hard reality is that Christianity and Islam in their purest expressions are totally incompatible. When these two faiths become corrupted due to false teachings within the ranks, or professed “believers” rely on personal opinions and what “feels good” rather than on the teachings as revealed in the Bible or the Qur’an, or leaders in these faiths claim to speak with “authority” but at same time deny basic teachings of the holy books, then the faith of each has been compromised. The claims of being exclusively the only true faith have been essentially destroyed and anyone can jump on the religious band wagon, stake out a claim, and be recognized as being as genuine as anyone else who has a “spiritual” fiddle to play!

The grand finale of human history is where one sees the sharp contrast between a future as viewed from statements in the Qur’an and that of the holy Bible.

First, see the Qur’an, Surah 2. The Cow (statements 126 – 132):

And remember Abraham said: "My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits,-such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." He said: "(Yea), and such as reject Faith,-for a while will I grant them their pleasure, but will soon drive them to the torment of Fire,- an evil destination (indeed)!" And remember Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. Our Lord! send amongst them an Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise." And who turns away from the religion of Abraham but such as debase their souls with folly? Him We chose and rendered pure in this world: And he will be in the Hereafter in the ranks of the Righteous. Behold! his Lord said to him: "Bow (thy will to Me):" He said: "I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe." And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam."

Next, see the Qur’an, Surah 2. The Cow (statements 191 – 193):

"And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors."

Now see what is revealed in the Christians' holy Bible in Philippians 2:5 – 11:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And note Bible statements in 1 Timothy 6:11 – 16:

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

However, the greatest contrast not only between Christianity and Islam, but between Christianity and all other religious expressions in the world is in the fact of incarnation and redemption. Only Christianity reveals a God Who loved the members of the human race so much He was willing to become human. And not only did He become human, but ultimately He sacrificed Himself for all the sins of the human race and made possible total forgiveness of those sins on the condition of repentance (turning away from those sins) and acceptance of Jesus Christ (God in human form) as Savior and Lord.

Thus the Christian can say to the Muslim or a member of some other religious group, “Jesus died for your sins just as He did for mine – He loves you, and by accepting Him as Savior and Lord of your life, you can be forgiven, have peace with God, and the assurance of a place in His Kingdom forever!”

The Muslim, or a practitioner of some other religion cannot make similar statements of that kind to a Christian – there is nothing in whatever “sacred” writings they may have that even comes close to teaching their deity or deities becoming human and personally atoning for the sins of each human being ever born into this world! In fact, in some areas where Islam fully dominates and controls the culture, if a Muslim should choose to become Christian, execution of that convert will usually take place -- the reason being that the Muslim has abandoned his faith and has become an infidel! Islam in its purest form seeks to establish a world where it is fully accepted and infidels exist no longer.

However, the exclusive claims and demands made by Jesus set Him apart from and superior to all deities as taught by the hundreds, if not thousands of religious groups which have sprung up as human history has run its course through the centuries. If you haven’t done so lately, review His claims and demands as revealed particularly in the Gospel of John in the New Testament.

It was after His glorious resurrection from the dead that He commanded His followers to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (the "good news" of a Savior Who has come to seek and save that which was lost) to all nations, to baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to teach the things which He has revealed to us in His Word. See final statements in the gospel of Matthew in the New Testament, chapter 28.

Think about it!

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