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There are quite a few Muslims who come across this ministry blog and many Christians looking for answers. A friend of mine recently posted a picture of a billboard located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On the left side of the sign over a blue background, the sign reads,
On the other side over a red background, it reads,
Over the course of my ministry, I have had the opportunity to talk with many Muslims about Jesus. In many ways, Muslims overall care more about honoring Jesus than most people in the West who refer to themselves as Christians. I respect sincere Muslims more than they know. What I want to do, for the Muslim and Christian alike, is consider the claim that this sign makes, its implications, and what it means for Islam.
The reason we see “One family,” listed before these names is because Muslims believe, and Islam teaches, that Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad are all prophets, and that Muhammad is the final prophet. While there is an air of inclusivity in the wording of the sign, the Quran actually excludes all of those who believe Jesus is God and Lord from this one family. The claim that this particular sign makes is that the message of these prophets, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, is a singular message- that of Islam. Even on the website that this sign points to addresses the different messages of groups within Islam, particularly between Shia and Sunni. This means that the use of the sign, itself, employs some kind of bait and switch tactic. On one hand, it appeals to the false inclusivity of our own culture and draws people into a message that turns out to be very exclusive. Of course, this is the case with every message I’ve seen that presents itself as inclusive. True inclusivity is a myth.
Almost every Muslim that I get to talk to about Jesus begins in the same place. He or she claims to believe in Jesus. Jesus was a great teacher and a great prophet. Muhammad taught that we are all people of the book and that we, essentially, worship the same God. This could not be further from actuality because as a Christian, I worship Jesus as God. This is strictly forbidden in the Quran. If it were true that we worshipped the same God, I would either have to forsake my faith in Jesus or the Muslim would have to leave Islam in order to worship Jesus as God and Lord. The two worldviews are entirely incompatible. There is a similar difference between Biblical Christianity and quite a few other worldviews by which Jesus is celebrated. Often, the different systems, which all espouse belief in Jesus, actually describe Jesus to be completely different people. So, they are worshipping different versions of Jesus (e.g. Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness). So, we always want to get at who Jesus really is, not who he is claimed to be within the context of some human worldview.
I will ask, “What does the Quran say about Jesus?” The answers vary, but the basic concept is the same. The Quran states that Jesus is a prophet and that the books of Jesus (the four Gospels) are revelation from God to Jesus.
My next question is simple, “What did Jesus say about who He is?” The Muslim usually does not know because they have not actually read the Gospels, or books of Jesus. So, I tell them. Jesus claimed to be God (Matthew 1:23, Mark 2:5-7, John 1:1, John 5:18, John 8:49-58, John 20:27-29).
If Muhammad taught and the Quran states that Jesus was a prophet, then Jesus spoke the words of God. The words of God are truth. If Muhammad was correct about Jesus being a prophet, then he was necessarily incorrect about Jesus’ identity as God. If Jesus is not God, then Muhammad was incorrect about Jesus being a prophet. Do you see the problem, here?
Some Muslims, not all, will reply by saying that the Gospels have been corrupted along with the books of Moses (the Pentateuch). To this, I simply ask, “You believe in a god who is sovereign but not able to preserve His own word through His prophets?” If this is the case, then we have no reason to believe that the Quran has not also been corrupted. The claim that any part of God’s word has been corrupted is self-defeating. With Islam, we are left with a god who is either incoherent or not sovereign… If Muhammad was correct, he proves himself to be wrong. If not, then the god of Muhammad is weak. Most Muslims usually will choose to defend Muhammad even though this means admitting that their god is not sovereign. The truth is that Muhammad’s message was different from that of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He disagrees with them on God’s very identity. So, Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. This is impossible. Furthermore, Islam is an incoherent worldview. If we believe the message of Islam is correct, we also must necessarily believe that it is incorrect. I have not yet talked with a Muslim who is able to explain to me how the teachings of Muhammad can possibly be reconciled with his other teachings about Jesus. One cannot be a Muslim without confessing Jesus as Lord and God, but at that moment he or she ceases to be a Muslim.
If you are a Muslim, I am not speaking hatefully to you here. In fact, I have a deep love for you, and I care more deeply about you than you can ever know. My truest desire is simply that we think about what we believe and why. I don’t think it is God’s design for anyone to have blind faith. I think He wants us to understand who He is. Please read the Quran honestly. Read books of Moses and Jesus. See what Jesus said about Himself or, rather, what God said about Jesus through Jesus’ prophetic ministry. If you have dreamt of a man in white, this man is Jesus.
If you claim to be a Christian, please seek to know Jesus more. There are many who profess to be Christians who have no idea who Jesus really is. If you are irreligious or claim to be a member of some other religious faith. I make this simple plea: seek the truth. Use the resources on this blog. A truly Christian worldview offers something that no other religion, that I have seen, offers. It makes more sense. Ask questions. My desire is that you know God as He is.