Christ and/or Muhammad

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I want to thank John Piper for his bold rejoinder to A Common Word, an ecumenical movement to foster peace among Muslims and Christians.and especially to the Christian response from over 300 Christian leaders, including many leading Evangelicals.  As Piper points out, the problem with this initiative is not the sincere desire to promote peace and mutual respect, but in what it concedes in order to do so.  In short, the Christian endorsers of A Common Word laud the "common ground" that Muslims and Christians share in our convictions regarding the love of God and our calling to love our neighbor.  Piper points out, however, that the Muslim ideas of God and God's love are radically opposed to the Christian beliefs of God and His love.   The unavoidable effect of this joint resolution is strongly to suggest that when it comes to God and His love, Muslims and Christians believe substantially the same thing.  Piper calls on Christians to seek peace and respect with greater honesty, i.e., that which refuses to downplay the fundamentally different beliefs of Islam and Christianity -- not merely in degree but in kind -- and which refuses to demure from calling all men to faith in God's only Son and our only Savior.

I suppose that a survey of the history of religion and war would show that in times of great violence there is usually an impulse to downplay important religious differences so as to soften inter-religious anger and hatred.  But it is always distressing to see Christians so willing to downplay the most central and vital aspects of our faith in pursuit of some "higher" end.  I am sure that the signatories of the Christian response mean well.  But for Christians there must never be a higher end that the glory of God as revealed in his Word and the spread of the biblical gospel with clarity, love, and courage.  At the very moment when increasing numbers of people have concluded that "all religions believe the same thing," the very worst thing Christians could do -- the least loving and ultimately the least peaceful -- is to foster the idea that one's understanding of God need not embrace Jesus Christ as the unique revelation of God and as the Savior-Son God has sent as the only hope for a sinful world. 

In this respect, the most distressing part of the Christian response was the willing and favorable comparison between Jesus and Muhammad as exemplars of divine love.  Have we so lost our nerve?  Have we so lost our sense?  Have we so lost our devotion to Christ as the unique and essential revelation of God and His love?  If we have, we can be sure that the result of our apologetic compromise will not be either love or peace.


Posted January 23, 2008 @ 11:58 AM by Rick Phillips

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