"Allah is not our God: Islam vs Christianity"
Sadly over the last several years we have learned a new vocabulary in America; words such as Islam, Mohammad, Allah, Jihad, Taliban, and Al Quieda. For most Americans before 9/11 these were distant irrelevant words, if not out right unknown words. The Terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 changed all that and has brought the religion of Islam to front page news status. Yet the world’s leaders have bent over backward to make sure the world understands that the "War on Terror" is not about Islam, that Islam and terrorism are really not related. Yet day after day we hear the Taliban and Al Quieda proclaim that they are in a "Holy War" a Jihad against the U.S. the great Satan. The comments of Salmon Rushdie, a Muslim sentenced to death by Muslim clerics over his 1988 book, "The Satanic Verses" seem to bear this out. Rushdie said, "The trouble with this …. disclaimer is that it isn’t true. If this isn’t about Islam, why the worldwide Muslim demonstrations in support of Osama bin Laden and Al Quieda?" [as quoted in "Israel My Glory" (March/April 2002) p. 7 ]
At this point I would like to acknowledge Pastor John Hamby of The First Baptist Church of Vilonia, AR for some of the material I am presenting here today, he graciously let me steal it. Thank you Pastor !!
"In commenting on the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA, Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, said of Islam, "I don’t believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion. When you read the Koran the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel, or those that are non-Muslim." He went on to say, "It wasn’t Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn’t Lutherans, or Catholics it was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith." [as quoted by Andrew Webb. "A More Realistic Assessment of Islam." PCA News.com]. In like fashion Chuck Colson has commented, "The Truth is that bin Laden and his followers did not hijack Islam; they simply took it seriously."
Awhile back, one of the major denominations met in Columbus to debate, of all things, whether or not Jesus Christ is the one true Savior of the world. Is He the universal Savior or might there be several? What about the other world religions and their claims? Some people wonder if perhaps there are not many paths to God? If you asked the average American today what the difference is between the major world religions, they would probably mumble something about all religions being pretty much the same. People assume that all religions have nearly the same moral teachings and ideals. They might have different names for God, but it is the same God, isn't it? These religions, many people believe, may travel different roads, but they all lead to God don't they? As long as you believe in something, as long as you believe in "God", it really doesn’t matter what form your belief takes does it? The truth is that these religions are all very different and even contradict each other at various crucial points. What this means is that we are left with two options: either none of them are true, or one of them is true and the others are not. It's up to you to decide which school of thought you believe.
George Barna has done a great deal of research in religious circles. In surveys taken about fifteen years ago (1996 and 1997), he found some amazing facts. Most Americans, including many professing Christians, believe that people are inherently good and that their primary purpose is to enjoy life as much as possible. 38% believed that it doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons. 44% believed that all people will experience the same outcome after death, regardless of their religious beliefs. 55% believed that if a person is generally good or does enough good things for others during their life, that they will earn a place in heaven. [Contributed by: Martin Wiles – Sermon Central – Illustrations] I wonder what those numbers would be now almost 15 years later? We may not want to know !!!
"Anyone who claims that all religions are the same diplays not only an ignorance of all religions, but also a seriously skewed view of even the best-known ones. "Every religion at its core is exclusive." [Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message, p. 7] There are many voices shouting at us from many different directions today. It is important to know something about them in order to be able to discern one shout from another so that we might be discerning in our search for truth. So, wouldn't it be important to see what God says about Himself in the Bible ?? Exodous 20:2&3 say: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me." Bill Hybels, after interviewing people from the different religions said: "You need to know that the law of non-contradiction says that positions that are different from one another cannot be equally true. You’ve got to figure out what you believe and where you’re going to drive that stake in the ground and say, ‘On the evidence, on the search that I’ve done, this is what I believe. This is what I’ll stake my life and my eternity on." One of the professors at a famed seminary, use to ask his students after they had given their translation of a scripture from Greek to English, "Well, brother, would you swing out over Hell on that translation??" And that church,is exactly the point. This is not just a preference of philosophies. It is not just an intellectual quest. Your life and eternity are at stake. You need to make a careful decision.
So what are the real differences between the Islamic faith and Christianity?
1. Muslims are unquestionably sincere and devout, but that is clearly not enough. Muslims generally are among the most serious and devout people on the earth. Many of them have completely memorized the Koran. They pray at least five times a day. They fast for one month every year (during Ramadan, from sunrise to sunset). But for them, salvation is something which must be earned. It is not graciously given by Allah. Also, Islam does have a high standard of morality called the "straight path," which must be strictly maintained. Women are regarded as possible temptations which would lead men away from the path, so women must be modest to the point of being veiled and wearing clothing that completely covers them.
While the overwhelming majority of Arabs are Muslim, most Muslims are not Arab. Although Islam had it origins in the Middle East, the four largest populations of Muslims are Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today (there are over 1.2 billion Muslims in the world). There are 11,000 converts to Islam each year in the United States (Newsweek, Oct. 30, 1995) and 90% of them are among the African-American population.
Islam like Judaism traces its lineage to the patriarch Abraham. The Arabs, however, trace their lineage to the firstborn son of Abraham by Hagar, Ishmael. The Jews trace their lineage to Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah who had been promised by God. The war in the Middle East today can be traced back to this very Biblical story of who really is the rightful son of Abraham. But does it really matter?? The truth about the Middle East, is that the Palestinians and surrounding Muslim nations will never make a genuine and lasting peace with Israel. They don’t want peace – they have never wanted peace – they want Israel, all of it. The word Islam, meaning submission, says much about the attitude of the followers of Islam. Thus, their desire to see everyone "submit" thereby converting to Islam
2. It is good thing to believe in God, but clearly it is not enough.
True Christianity worships the eternally self-existent God who spoke the world into being. Islam worships a god named Allah who is not eternal and who created nothing. This is a problem even in this country, there are some who think that because they believe in
the existence of God, they are alright. Over the years I have met a lot of people who assume that because they simply believed in a god that it was enough. The Bible speaks directly to this supposition when it says in James 2:19, "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe---and tremble!" Acknowledging the existence of a god is not the same as trusting in "the" God for salvation. There is a vast difference !!
Muslims believe that Allah is their god. The word Allah is derived from al-ilah which had become the general name for whatever god was considered the highest of all their gods at the time. During the days of Muhammad, each Arab tribe used the word Allah to refer to its own particular high god. Before Islam began, their moon god was the central focus of prayer and worship at Kabah. Interestingly the moon god was worshiped by praying toward Mecca several times a day, by making an annual pilgrimage to the Kabah which was the temple of the moon god, running around the Kabah seven times, touching a black stone set in the wall of the Kabah and gathering on Fridays for prayer and giving of alms to the poor. These were all part of the pagan rites practiced by the Arabs long before Muhammad was born and they still serve as "the five pillars" of Islam practiced today.
3. Christianity is not trying to appease an angry God; we are learning how to fall in love with our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. It is interesting that in the Koran there are no miracles performed by Muhammad or anyone else. There is not a single mention of the love of Allah for the world or the people in it. There are many, many laws and strict warnings of the penalty of not keeping those laws. The concept of having a relationship with Allah is not found anywhere in the Koran. But Christians understand that Christianity is not about moral laws or religious practices — it is about a relationship with a living Savior, Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8-11: "But indeed, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" -NKJ- It is this relationship with Christ that is the center of our faith. The early church ministered in an age of religious pluralism but preached a message of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
4. It is a good thing to believe in Jesus but it is what you believe about Jesus that is important. The greatest tension between Christian and Muslims is the difference between Muhammad and Jesus Christ. To Muslims, Jesus was a prophet but not the Son of God. While Christians understand that Jesus was not a way to God, He is the only way to God and eternity in heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6-7 about himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (7) "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." -NKJ-
This principle is repeated in Acts 4:12 which States, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." -NKJ-_ Jesus the only Savior of mankind.
Muhammad on the other hand was born into a tribe who was keeper of a pagan shrine housing the sacred black meteorite (Kaabah) at Mecca. Muslims are taught that it was Abraham who received the Kaabah stone from the angel Gabriel and who established the shrine at Mecca.
Muhammad received a series of revelations from Allah that culminated in the Qur’an, the Islamic bible. They submit unquestioningly to the teachings of the Koran, the Islamic Bible. The Koran contains divine messages said to be given by the angel Gabriel to Mohammed, a self-proclaimed prophet who lived in the seventh century. There is no room for questions or doubt, only submission. An interesting note about Mohammed is that he was completely illiterate. He could neither read nor write. He dictated what Gabriel told him and his followers wrote it down. Also, Mohammed was given special permission by Allah to have 13 wives. His last wife was six-years-old when she was betrothed to him, and the marriage was consummated when she was nine.
On June 11, 2002 Rev. Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla, and former a SBC president, told a gathering of SBC pastors, "Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a 9-year-old girl." [as quoted in World. (September/October 2002) p. 41] A harsh assessment to be sure, but it appears to be extremely accurate.
5. True Christianity is spread by love and choice – Islam is spread by sword and force. It is true that some Muslims, like Christians, are willing to die for their faith. Some unfortunately, are also willing to kill for it. In fact the one sure way of earning salvation as a Muslim is to die as a martyr for the faith. They believe that just as Muhammad was whisked immediately to heaven and given several maidens, so will it be done for those who die for the cause of Islam. Those who attacked the Word Trade Center and engaged in other acts of terrorism were acting in full accord with the tenets of Islam and the teachings of the Koran. The West, the United States in particular, is seen as corrupting the entire world and worthy of death. The U. S. policy of befriending Israel is particularly seen as harmful to the Muslim people and their cause. The principle of Jihad, or "Holy War" is taught in the Koran as a viable tool for the cause of Islam. Evangelism is not so much by the word as it is with the sword. The followers of Muhammad have been the most violent people in the history of the world, and continue to be so to this day a fact well attested to in history. Jesus taught that we are to love the sinner. Muhammad taught that the infidel must be killed if he refuses to convert. So,
whether you stop to realize it or not America is at war. How severe this war will be, how long will it last, how many lives it will cost, what form will it take? Those are questions that no one can answer.
But make no mistake about it, we are fighting for our way of life, we are fighting for survival. We are fighting against people who are willing to kill us any rotten way they can. We are not playing on a level playing field, as was proven in the first Gulf war, and even today, we are not allowed to give out Bibles in their lands, even to our own troops, yet they are allowed to build Mosques in our country.
One of the saddest things about the Islamic belief system is, like many others, they believe that they will either make it to heaven or not based on either their good works outweighing their bad deeds or maybe that Allah will simply decide to let them in. According to their beliefs there is no way to know whether or not they are going to paradise or not, until the day of judgement. I submit to you, that that it is one heck of a time to find out you were wrong? But for a Muslim there is no way of knowing until the final judgment.
I am so glad that We can know just as the writer of 1 John 5, says in verses 11-13 : "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (12) He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name
of the Son of God." Believing in the name here means that we have placed our faith, and continue to place our faith in Jesus Christ, in all that He is and has done on our behalf to provide us with eternal life and an assurance of our place in heaven upon our deaths. Praise God !!! Let me close with this:
It's no secret that we live in exciting but dangerous times church. The world is going to hell on an express train moving faster and faster toward the end of the age. So I must ask,where is your faith today ?? Is it in Christ Jesus or in someone or something else? Consider this church, the very roots of our Christian heritage are under attack right here at home in America like never before. Is it over for America?? President Reagan once said "If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, it won't be long before we are one nation gone under." Look around you, I believe we are sinking fast, because today's church has been compromised and lost it's way. Do we as the body of Christ continue to just float along like nothing's wrong, or do we take a stand pray for the restoration of our nation as in II Chron. 7:14 ?? It's up to each one of us to decide. Hiding our heads in the sand is no longer an option.
Prayer for forgiveness:
Let's Pray: "Jesus, I believe that you died for my sins, and that God raised you from the dead I'm sorry Lord that I have sin in my life. I turn away from my old life, and choose to follow you as my Savior and Lord. Create in me a new heart, living for you today and for the rest of my life. Thank you Lord for all you have done. In Jesus name. Amen.
Copyright © 2010 Steve Burch. All Rights Reserved
Visit The Very Least