A Mentally Ill God?
14 August 2010
Mission Frontiers magazine for about 5 or 6 years now, ever since I took the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class, sponsored by the U.S. Center for World Mission.
I've been beneficially impacted by some of the issues and articles, as I will share in further detail in some future articles. Therefore I was really shocked and saddened by some of the ideas communicated in an article entitled When God's Kingdom Grows Like Yeast: Frequently-Asked Questions About Jesus Movements Within Muslim Communities which appeared in the July-August 2010 issue.
The topic for discussion in this article is "Insider Movements" among Muslims, sometimes referred to as "Messianic Muslims", or C-5 on the C-1 to C-6 Spectrum of Contextualization. As stated in the C-5 definition, "These followers of Isa [Yeshua, Jesus] remain legally and socially within the community of Islam, referring to themselves as Muslims and they are, in fact, regarded by the Muslim community as Muslims. Features of Islamic theology which are clearly incompatible with Biblical faith are rejected or cleverly reinterpreted if possible."
There is a growing debate among Christian missionaries and leaders about the validity of these "Insider Movements", and whether the positive aspects outweigh the negative aspects. After reading this article, I felt like I needed to address some of these issues in the context of this Your Islamic Future Web site.
Let's start with this quote from section 17 of the article:
Even before the rise of Islam, Arabic-speaking Christians called God Allah, since the name Allah pre-dates Islam. Jews used the term Allah in their Arabic translation of the Old Testament. Following in the tradition of Arab and Christian use of the term Allah, the Qur'an uses Allah to refer to God, the creator of heaven and earth, the God who revealed himself in Abraham, the God of the Bible, indeed the God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims.In one of my first articles, Another Gospel, Another God, I took an in-depth look at the differences between what the Qur'an teaches and what the Bible teaches, and the great differences between the god of the Qur'an and the God of the Bible. If you have not read it yet, I encourage you to do so now before you continue with this article.
Regarding their respective books, Jews obviously believe that their Tanakh (the Old Testament) is the inspired word of God, Christians obviously believe that their Bible (Old and New Testaments) is the inspired word of God, and Muslims obviously believe that their Qur'an is the inspired word of God. But a substantial number of world political and Christian leaders seem to believe and propagate the idea that the God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims is indeed the exact same God. Therefore, the Bible and the Qur'an are equally the inspired words of the exact same God. But is this true, or a devilish deception?
A fairly large chunk of the Qur'an is the retelling of passages found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. But invariably, the Qur'anic accounts are different from the Biblical accounts — sometimes slightly different, but more often than not substantially different. In fact, so different that they contradict each other. So different, that either one account or the other can be true — but they can't BOTH be true.
For example, take the story of Abraham — who is supposedly the father of these three religions with the same God — when he takes his son to offer him as a sacrifice to God. In the Biblical account, it is Abraham's son Isaac who is offered (see Genesis 22) on one of the hilltops of Jerusalem. In the Qur'anic account, it is Abraham's son Ishmael who is offered (see Surah 37:100-107, and especially the explanatory notes by Yusuf Ali) on one of the hilltops of Mecca.
Obviously, these two account contradict each other — so how can they BOTH be true? Yet according to those who believe that the God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims is the exact same God, both of these accounts are the inspired, infallible word of one God. How can this be? How can one logically and satisfactorily explain and reconcile these fundamental differences in the two accounts? From what I can see, there are two and only two possible explanations:
As I wrote in my previous article:
In a very short time we can easily see that the Qur'an and the Bible contradict each other. These two books actually contradict each other many, many more times... Obviously, these two books cannot be divine revelations from the same God. Nor can they both be true.Such nonsense, such delusion, is incredibly shocking to see printed in an article in a well-respected Christian missions magazine, written by seasoned missiologists! I suppose the proponents of such a theology — that the Jewish, Christian and Muslim God is the exact same God — would rather believe in a mentally ill God with multiple personalities than acknowledge the evidence, by comparing the Bible and the Qur'an, which clearly shows that they CANNOT be the same God. Such a state of affairs is tragic!
Throughout the Qur'an, it clearly states that those who do not believe that Allah is God will be sent to hell. Throughout the New Testament, it clearly states that those who do not believe that Yeshua is God will be sent to hell. Either Allah is God or Yeshua is God ... you can't have it both ways. You have to decide which one is telling the truth. You're decision will determine where you spend eternity. It is truly a matter of (eternal) life and (eternal) death.
Those who say such things [that the God of the Christians and the god of Islam are the same God] are either ignorant (they have not taken the trouble to research the truth), or else they are deceived (they have researched the truth, but for some reason are unable to believe it), or else they are deceivers (they know the truth, but purposely decide to spread this lie instead). This really reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11:
... those who are perishing ... perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.I can't imagine very many lies bigger than this: the God of the Bible and the god of the Qur'an are the same God! This is definitely a powerful delusion! Total nonsense!
This total contradiction between the Bible and the Qur'an is clearly illustrated in the passages I quoted from the article I posted yesterday. In the book I Dared to Call Him Father, Bilquis Sheikh describes how she, as a Muslim seeking the truth about God, started to read the Bible and compare it to the Qur'an. While still a Muslim, she expresses her confusion over these two books. Then, once she had met her Heavenly Father, she asks Him about these differences:
If the Bible and Quran represent the same God, why is there so much confusion and contradiction? How could it be the same God if the God of the Quran is one of vengeance and punishment and the God of the Christian Bible is one of mercy and forgiveness? God couldn't be in both books, I knew, because their messages were so different....If this woman, who as a Muslim and then as a brand-new Christian, was able to see the obvious contradictions between the Bible and the Qur'an, and then had the matter completely settled in her mind that the Bible and not the Qur'an is the true word of the one true God, the God of the Bible, then how is it that long-time Christians and missionaries like the authors of the article in question, and many others, can still think that the god of the Qur'an and the God of the Bible are the same God? It's just beyond comprehension!
"I am confused, Father," I said. "I have to get one thing straight right away." I reached over to the bedside table where I kept the Bible and the Quran side by side. I picked up both books and lifted them, one in each hand. "Which, Father?" I said. "Which one is Your book?" Then a remarkable thing happened. Nothing like it had ever occurred in my life in quite this way. For I heard a voice inside my being, a voice that spoke to me as clearly as if I were repeating words in my inner mind. They were fresh, full of kindness, yet at the same time full of authority. In which book do you meet Me as your Father? I found myself answering: "In the Bible." That's all it took. Now there was no question in my mind which one was His book....
Well, there's a lot more to say about this topic, which is continued in part two: Messianic Muslims?