MOST OF THE COMMENTS WERE IN THE FORM
OF QUESTIONS: "HOW COULD THEY DO IT?"
or "WHY DID THEY DO IT?"
The action being questioned is the signing of the letter
prepared at the Yale Divinity School Center for Faith
and Culture, "Loving God and Neighbor Together." It
was prepared as a response to a letter circulated last
September from a group of 138 Muslim scholars of the
Islam religion, and addressed to Pope Gregory XVI, to
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and generally to many
prominent Christians throughout the West.
The Yale letter was published as a full page ad in the
New York Times, with some 300 signatures from all
types of Christians, including both nominal and true
believers. It is reported that there are a few hundred
additional signatures on file at Yale, and their website
offers a convenient way for others to sign. One writer
opined that the signatures represented a "who’s who"
of the theological left.
The Pope is said to have received the Islam letter
"warmly," although in response he proposed to the
Muslim writers a different approach, writing that the
path to true dialogue lies in "effective respect for the
dignity of every human person, on objective
knowledge of the religion of the other, on the sharing
of religious experience, and finally on common
commitment to promoting mutual respect and
acceptance among the younger generation."
One is not surprised that Liberal Christians (a term
which we consider to be an Oxymoron) rushed to
sign the Yale response. Since they do not treat the
Bible as the authoritative Word of God, the nice
sounding quotations from Mohammad in the Quran
sounded fine to them.
One is surprised, however, to note that several
individuals who are generally considered to be
Evangelical Christian believers also signed the
Yale response letter.
The Islam letter made repetitive references to Matt.
22:36-40 in which Jesus said that the two great
commandments are to love God and to love one’s
neighbor as oneself. When Mohammad wrote the
Quran in about the year 600 AD, the Christian faith
had already been in existence for 600 years, and he
had portions of the Old Testament and at least the
Gospel records from which to quote verses which
seemed to be in compliance with his religious
convictions. That quotation from Jesus seems to
have registered strongly with the Islamic scholars.
And by forgetting or ignoring the basic foundational
facts of Islam, these so-called Evangelical leaders
have rushed into the doctrinal trap set by the Muslims.
It is not possible in terms of time and space to deal
exhaustively here with these issues, but just a few
examples should suffice to demonstrate that there
is little or no common ground between the two
largest of the world’s several religions.
The Islamic claim that Allah and Jehovah are the
same God is false. As Emir Caner, Dean of The College
at Southwestern, summarizes it, "To say that ...
Christians and Muslims worship the same God is
beyond naive – it is blasphemous." Allah is clearly
defined as being alone, with no associate, in these
words from the Quran, "Allah is one. He begets not
nor is He begotten. And none is like Him." The
Christian doctrine of the Trinity, of God as Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, is foreign to Islam, as is the Sonship
and Deity of Jesus Christ – whom Mohammad refuses
to accept as having been slain for the sins of the
world – in fact the Quran clearly denies both the
Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, yet these
truths are the very heart of the Christian Gospel.
One other false claim of Islam might be mentioned –
the claim that Muslims and Christians share in the
Abrahamic covenant. Yet the facts are that God’s
covenant with Abraham and his heirs was made with
Abraham involving Isaac. the son to be born to Sarah,
and not involving Ishmael, the son born to Hagar.
Ishmael became the father of the Arab race, and it
was foretold that he would bring trouble to the
descendants of Abraham. So the Islamic claim of
common ground on the basis of the Abrahamic
covenant is also false.
So the questions do rightly arise: how could these men
who profess to be Evangelical Christian believers find
a basis for any hope of common ground between Islam --
which denies the Trinity, the Sonship of Jesus Christ,
the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
– and Christianity, for which these are the foundational
truths? Perhaps publicity, or the popular acclaim of
being associated with prominent Christian leaders
in the West.
It is to be noted that Leith Anderson, NAE President,
explained his signature in these words, "I agreed to add my
name to the letter. While I am indicated as the President
of the National Association of Evangelicals, I added my
name as an individual and not as an institution." Other
NAE members may find some comfort in this admission.
We have not commented on the abject apology in the
letter for the attacks on Muslims during the Crusades –
although why Americans should apologize for those
Crusades which occurred some seven centuries before
America even existed is not immediately apparent.
Eric Barger, of Take a Stand! Ministries, wrote quite
persuasively on this subject and we offer his quote as
the final comment: "True to their lack of convictions,
this bunch of milk toast, self-proclaimed Christian
leaders espousing the Rodney King ‘why-can’t-we-all-
just-get-along?’ theology, have made the decision that
toiling over doctrine and truth is something less
important than public perception... Groveling at the
feet of Islam isn’t going to win Muslims over – even
if it really was the right thing to do. It is sickening
and each of the signers of the Yale letter – including
Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Leith Anderson and two
prominent Assemblies of God bible college presidents
[note: not mentioned here are the Presidents of
Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary]
– should fall on their knees in shame and beg
Jehovah God for forgiveness."
As Leith Anderson said, in concluding his explanation:
"Will there be misunderstandings and criticisms? I
am sure there will be."
What then, as Christians, should our relationships
with Muslims, people of the Islamic religion, be? Surely
it should not be to join with them and surrender the
basic tenets of our Christian faith, but rather that we
should include them within the Great Commission of
Jesus Christ to whom the Gospel must be preached.
We should consider them as prospects for conversion,
we should witness to them in love concerning our faith,
and seek to have them experience the blessings of
salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We should pray for them individually and as a people
for whom Christ died.
Afterthoughts . . .
Hanukkah candles said to affect climate – in
one of the most ridiculous effects of Al Gore’s "Global
Warming" campaign, a group of environmentalists
launched a campaign to encourage Jews around the
world to light one less Menorah candle to reduce CO2
in the atmosphere. Lighting of the Menorah candles
is the most important Hanukkah tradition, and this idea
seems just a bit too much.
A warning from Russia, but not the usual. This one
has a real Christian application. The Russian Orthodox
Patriarch Alexy II has issued a plea to European people
to retain their Christian heritage or risk fading into
oblivion as nations. "Losing their Christian roots, the
people of Europe will sign their own death warrants.
Modern Europe will not create a new post-Christian
culture and civilization, but will simply vanish from
history." His warning is applicable also to America, as
we continue to depart from the faith of our founders.
A touch of humor . . . how current day newspapers
might headline Bible stories:
— On the Red Sea crossing
WETLANDS TRAMPLED IN LABOR STRIKE
Pursuing Environmentalists Killed
– On the Birth of Christ
HOTELS FULL; ANIMALS LEFT HOMELESS
Insensitive Couple Enrage Animal Rights Activists
– On Feeding the 5,000
PREACHER STEALS CHILD’S LUNCH
Disciples Mystified Over Behavior
– On Healing the 10 Lepers
LOCAL DOCTOR’S PRACTICE RUINED
"Faith Healer" Causes Bankruptcy
A note of concern from the Holy Land: Justus
Weiner at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)
warns, "If Western governments do not address the
Muslim persecution and economic plight of Palestinian
Arab Christians, there won’t be many Christians left in
the Holy Land within 15 years." In Bethlehem, the
birthplace of Jesus, the exodus has been most acute. In
1990 60% of the population was Christian. Today that
figure is 20% or less. Weiner said that church leaders
who should be protecting their followers, are being
forced to abandon them to the forces of radical Islam.
Truly a matter for prayer by Christians in America.
A great quote for the Season: "Christianity won’t
rise or fall on whether WalMart employees can say
‘Merry Christmas.’ But its future does depend on how
God’s people advance God’s kingdom, as we help
establish His peaceful rule in the present historical
moment, until Christ reigns in all His glory." – Chuck
Colson and Anne Morse in Christianity Today, Dec. 6.
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