By Jay Rogers
Published April 3, 2008
Islam has been called the most Christian-like, yet most anti-Christian religion in the world.
Muslims believe in one, true God, they acknowledge many truths about Jesus Christ; they accept the Bible as a divinely inspired book; they respect the Hebrew prophets; they believe in divine revelation, heaven and hell, and many other truths which correspond with Christianity.
Yet a close look at the whole religious system of Islam confirms that Muslims are, in fact, lost and need to be brought to the Truth. There are possibly more bridges between Islam and Christianity than any other two world religions, but a close examination reveals that these bridges are actually roadblocks which hinder Muslims from a clear understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Belief in One God
Muslims believe in one God Who created the universe. However, the God of Islam is far removed. He is separate, aloof and impersonal. Islam offers no father-child relationship with the Almighty. Submission to Allah implies a blind surrender of a helpless slave to the tyranny of a ruthless despot.
There is a great gap between Allah, Islam’s unpredictable, arbitrary God, and the dependable, faithful God of Christianity whose promises never fail to the end. Muslims deserve to hear that God loves them, that He seeks them through Jesus the Savior, that He wants to adopt them as children and take them to be with Him forever. This is the good news.
The Nature of Man
This is the greatest point of difference between Christianity and Islam. Muslims are taught that although man is weak, he is intrinsically good. What a Christian calls a sin, a Muslim calls a “mistake.” The good and bad things that man brings about are not due to man’s sinful nature according to Islam. Rather, man is an innocent victim of circumstance within a universal battle between good and evil.
Unless Muslims realize that no one is “basically good,” they can never be saved. Bridging the gap is impossible unless a Muslim realizes that he possesses a sinful nature and can only be liberated from his slavery to sin if he accepts Jesus’ victory on the cross.
Since in Islamic belief, man is basically good and not evil, it follows that man does not really need a Savior. Therefore the death of Jesus is not only misunderstood but rejected as unnecessary. It depicts the Almighty Allah as weak and incapable of protecting His “prophet.”
Muslims can be brought to God only after they realize their need for atonement based on their inability to save themselves and the conviction that Jesus is the only redeemer.
Jesus Christ – a Prophet?
All Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet of God sent from heaven. The Qur’an speaks of Jesus as the “Word of God and Spirit from Him.” Muslims believe in many of the other facts about Jesus that the Bible teaches. This is a good starting point, but in fact, the Islamic acceptance of Jesus is a great stumbling block.
What good is it to accept Jesus as a prophet, if His claim to be the Savior of the world is rejected? If Jesus claimed to be God and was not, then he must have either been crazy or had evil intentions. A Muslim is not likely to see Jesus in the true light until he becomes aware of this erroneous and contradictory idea, and transforms his convictions regarding Jesus.
Acceptance of the Bible
The Qur’an makes numerous references to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The Bible is considered by Muslims to be divinely inspired. Nevertheless, Islamic teaching rejects many of the claims of the Bible claiming that the original manuscripts are missing and that the Bible has been corrupted. The Qur’an is considered to be the ultimate authority which outshines the Bible.
This belief is a major obstacle in communicating the Truth to Muslims. The Bible is considered to be God’s word, however, any point that diverges from the teaching of Islam is automatically considered to be a corruption. No Muslim can come to know God until he accepts the Bible as God’s true Word.
The very concept of salvation is nonexistent in Islam. The closest idea to salvation is “going to heaven.” Going to heaven is based on the doctrine of balancing good deeds against bad deeds. This decision is made arbitrarily and there is no guarantee that anyone will get to heaven. If God desires, according to Islam, He may allow you into heaven, but if he does not, none of your works will get you anywhere.
Muslims live continually with this insecurity and need to understand that salvation is not a matter of “getting into heaven” but of knowing and loving God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only in knowing Christ can a Muslim obtain eternal life. This “life” is not based on good works of religious practices; it is a gift from God.
Bridging the Gap
The true “gap” is not between Islam and Christianity at all. Rather the true gap is between God and man. This gap is only bridgeable as Muslims begin to understand that they are sinners; that their sin has separated them from God; and that only in Jesus Christ is there the guarantee of eternal life.
It is not the conversion of Muslims to the Christian religion that we are seeking here, but regeneration – the rebirth and transformation of a Muslim’s heart and mind. Argument and debate between two religious philosophies will lead us nowhere. Rather, the Muslim world is waiting to see a fresh demonstration of the power and love of the Spirit of God moving through His people.
This is the greatest difference between Islam and Christianity. Islam offers us a set of man-made religious rules, but Jesus offers us a relationship with a living, compassionate God Who forgives us and gives us the power to overcome evil.
Islam – Statistics
- There are over 1 billion Muslims worldwide.
- Almost 1 out of every 5 people in the world is a Muslim.
- An estimated 3.5 million Muslims live in the United States.
- An estimated 2% of all Christian workers minister to Muslims.
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