Friday, September 10, 2010

Qur'an Burning and Fundamentalism: Can Muslims and Christians ever get along?

There has been much controversy in the news this week as a result of Ps Terry Jones’ announcement and subsequent cancellation of his plans to hold a public Qur’an burning on
September 11:


Let me say that while the idea of interfaith dialogue may seem encouraging
within today's politically correct, multicultural, postmodern society, when one
weighs the teachings of historical Christianity against Islam, it is
impossibile to have dialogue (let alone syncretism) without compromising either

What I'd like to do in this post is to compare what the Bible and Qur'an have to say with regards to the nature of God, the person of Jesus Christ, divine revelation, sin and salvation; with addition exposition from Ps Mark Driscoll and Yasir Qadhi, representing Evangelical Christianity and Islam respectively:


Christianity - One God represented by a Trinitarian nature: God the Father, God the
Son (Jesus Christ), God the Holy Spirit.

Mat 3:16
As soon
as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was
opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him
Mat 3:17
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am
well pleased."
Mat 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mat 28:20 and teaching them to obey
everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very
end of the age."

1Jn 5:6 This is the one who came by water
and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

1Jn 5:7 For there are three that testify:

1Jn 5:8 the Spirit, the water and the blood;
and the three are in agreement.
1Jn 5:9 We accept man's testimony, but
God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has
given about his Son.

1Jn 5:10 Anyone who believes in the Son of
God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made
him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given
about his Son.

Islam -
God is singular not just in number, but also in nature (Tawhid), having no
creator or offspring.

Say: [1] Say: He, Allah, is One.
2] Allah is He on Whom all depend. 

[3] He begets not, nor is He begotten.
4] And none is like Him

Indeed, the truth deny they who say, "Behold, God is the third of a
trinity" - seeing that there is no deity whatever save the One God. And
unless they desist from this their assertion, grievous suffering is bound to
befall such of them as are bent on denying the truth.

The Identity of Jesus

Christianity -
Jesus is God the son incarnate as a human being, fully God and also fully man; born of a virgin (Mary) to live a live without sin.

Joh 8:52 At this the Jews
exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so
did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never
taste death.

Joh 8:53 Are you greater than our father
Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"

Joh 8:54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

Joh 8:55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.

Joh 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

Joh 8:57 "You are not yet fifty yearsold," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"

Joh 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM!"

Php 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as
that of Christ Jesus:

Php 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did
not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

Php 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the
very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Php 2:8 And being found in appearance as a
man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Php 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the
highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

Php 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

Php 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did God
ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? Or again,
"I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? 

Heb 1:6 And again, when he brings the
firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship

Heb 1:7 Of the angels he says, "He
makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire." 

Heb 1:8 But of the Son he says, "Your
throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter
of your kingdom. 

Heb 1:9 You have loved righteousness and
hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness
beyond your companions."

Heb 1:10 And, "You, Lord, laid the
foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your

Heb 1:11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment, 

Heb 1:12 like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will
have no end."

Heb 1:13 And to which of the angels has he
ever said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for
your feet"?

Islam -
While Islam affirms the virgin birth of Jesus, muslims deny that he was the Son of God, let alone God incarnate.

O FOLLOWERS of the Gospel! Do not overstep the bounds [of truth] in your
religious beliefs,and do not say of God anything but the truth. The Christ
Jesus, son of Mary, was but God's Apostle - [the fulfilment of] His promise
which He had conveyed unto Mary - and a soul created by Him.Believe, then, in
God and His apostles, and do not say, "[God is] a trinity". Desist
[from this assertion] for your own good. God is but One God; utterly remote is
He, in His glory, from having a son: unto Him belongs all that is in the
heavens and all that is on earth; and none is as worthy of trust as God.

The Christ, son of Mary, was but an apostle: all [other] apostles had
passed away before him; and his mother was one who never deviated from the
truth; and they both ate food [like other mortals].Behold how clear We make
these messages unto them: and then behold how perverted are their minds!

[As for Jesus,] he was nothing but [a human being -] a servant [of
Ours] whom We had graced [with prophethood], and whom We made an example for
the children of Israel .

And had We so willed, [O you who worship angels,] We could indeed have
made you into angels succeeding one another on earth!

AND, BEHOLD, this [divine writ] is indeed a means to know [that] the
Last Hour [is bound to come];hence, have no doubt whatever about it, but follow
Me: this [alone] is a straight way.

And let not Satan bars you [from it] - for, verily, he is your open

NOW WHEN Jesus came [to his people] with all evidence of the truth, he
said: “I have now come unto you with wisdom,and to make clear Unto you some of
that on which you are at variance:hence, be conscious of God, and pay heed unto

“Verily, God is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer; so worship [none
but] Him: this [alone] is a straight way!”

But factions from among those [who came after Jesus] began to hold
divergent views:woe, then, unto those who are bent on evildoing - [woe] for the
suffering [that will befall them] on a grievous Day!

Inspired texts and revelation

Christianity - Christians believe the text of the Bible - Creation, Law,
Prophets, Chronicles, the Gospel - to be the inspired, infallible and innerant
Word of God containing all that is sufficient for teaching and doctrine. Apart
from it, there is no authoritative revelaton from which to base teaching.

Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven
should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him
be accursed. 

Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say
again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received,
let him be accursed.

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by
God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training
in righteousness, 

2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be
competent, equipped for every good work. 

2Pe 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly
devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2Pe 1:17 For when he received honor and
glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic
Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," 

2Pe 1:18 we ourselves heard this very voice
borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 

2Pe 1:19 And we have something more sure,
the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp
shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your

2Pe 1:20 knowing this first of all, that no
prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 

2Pe 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced
by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the
Holy Spirit.

Islam - While Muslims declare that the original revelations
of the Jewish Torah as well as the Gospel preached by Jesus were inspired by
God, it is believed that the Qur'an, received by Muhammed is superior to both
and that the former have been corrupted over time.

SAY [O Prophet]: "Whosoever is an
enemy of Gabriel" -who,, verily, by God's leave, has brought down upon thy
heart this [divine writ] which confirms the truth of whatever there still
remains [of earlier revelations], and is a guidance and a glad tiding for the

"whosover is an enemy of God
and His angels and His message-bearers, including Gabriel and Michael, [should
know that,] verily, God is the enemy of all who deny the truth."

For, clear messages indeed have We bestowed upon thee from on high; and
none denies their truth save the iniquitous.

Is it not so that every time they made a promise [unto God], some of
them cast it aside? Nay, indeed: most of them do not believe.
And do not argue with the followers of earlier
revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner - unless it be such of them
as are bent on evildoingand say: “We believe in that which has been be stowed
from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: or our
God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that We [all]
surrender ourselves.”

For it is thusthat We have bestowed this divine writ from on high upon
thee [O Muhammad]. And they to whom we have vouchsafed this divine writ believe
in itjust as among those [followers of earlier revelation] there are some who
believe in it. And none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such
as would deny [an obvious] truth: 

for, [O Muhammad,] thou hast never been able to recite any divine writ
ere this one [was revealed], nor didst thou ever transcribe one with your own
handor else, they who try to disprove the truth [of thy revelation] might
indeed have had cause to doubt [it].

Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages clear to the hearts of
all who are gifted with [innate] knowledgeand none could knowingly reject Our
messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves].

And yet they say, “Why have no miraculous signs ever been bestowed upon
him from on high by his Sustainer?” Say: “Miracles are in the power of God
alone;and as for me - I am but a plain warner.”

Why - is it not enough for them that We have bestowed this divine writ on
thee from on high, to be conveyed [by thee] to them?For, verily, in it is
[manifested Our] grace, and a reminder to people who will believe.

Say [unto those who will not believe]: “God is witness enough between me
and you! He knows all that is in the heavens and on earth; and they who are
bent on believing in what is false and vain, and thus on
denying God - it is they, they who shall be the losers!”


Christianity -

"What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence. The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy. That’s the gospel." - John Piper 

Joh 1:28
These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Joh 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming
toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of
the world! 

Joh 1:30 This is he of whom I said, 'After
me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.' 

Joh 1:31 I myself did not know him, but for
this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to

Joh 1:32 And John bore witness: "I saw
the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
Joh 1:33 I myself did not know him, but he
who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit
descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 

Joh 1:34 And I have seen and have borne
witness that this is the Son of God."
Joh 1:35 The next day again John was
standing with two of his disciples, 

Joh 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked
by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" 

Act 17:30
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people
everywhere to repent, 

Act 17:31 because he has fixed a day on
which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed;
and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been
manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness
to it-- 

Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God through
faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God, 

Rom 3:24 and are justified by his grace as a
gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Rom 3:25 whom God put forward as a
propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's
righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former
Rom 3:26 It was to show his righteousness
at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who
has faith in Jesus.

1Co 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the
gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 

1Co 15:2 and by which you are being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 

1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first
importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance
with the Scriptures, 

1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was
raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 

1Co 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas,
then to the twelve. 

1Co 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five
hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have
fallen asleep. 

1Co 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to
all the apostles. 

1Co 15:8 Last of all, as to one untimely
born, he appeared also to me. 

1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles,
unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 

1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what
I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder
than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 

1Co 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so
we preach and so you believed.

Islam - Since Islam denies the divinity of Christ, muslims therefore
deny the Christian concept of atonement, stating that a man is responsible for
his own sin and must come to repentance and faith in Allah on his own.

If you avoid the great sins,
which you have been enjoined to shun, We shall efface your [minor] bad deeds,
and shall cause you to enter an abode of glory.

do not covet the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on some of you
than on others. Men shall have a benefit from what they earn, and women shall
have a benefit from what they earn. Ask, therefore, God [to give you] out of
His bounty: behold, God has indeed full knowledge of everything.

And so, [We punished them] for the breaking of their pledge, and their refusal to
acknowledge God's messages, and their slaying of prophets against all right,
and their boast, "Our hearts are already full of knowledge"- nay, but
God has sealed their hearts in result of their denial of the truth, and [now]
they believe in but few things - ;

and for their refusal to acknowledge the truth, and the awesome calumny
which they utter against Mary,

and their boast, "Behold, we have slain the Christ Jesus, son of
Mary, [who claimed to be] an apostle of God!" However, they did not slay
him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only seemed to them [as if it had
been] so;and, verily, those who hold conflict ing views thereon are indeed
confused, having no [real] knowledge thereof, and following mere con jecture.
For, of a certainty, they did not slay him:

nay, God exalted him unto Himself- and God is indeed almighty, wise.

Yet there is not one of the followers of earlier revelation who does
not, at the moment of his death, grasp the truth about Jesus;and on the Day of
Resurrection he [himself] shall bear witness to the truth against them.

The same did say [to themselves many of] those who lived before their
time; but of no avail to them was all that they had ever achieved:

for all the evil deeds that they had wrought fell [back] upon them. And
[the same will happen to] people of the present time who are bent on
wrongdoing:all the evil deeds that they have ever wrought will fall [back] upon
them, and never will they be able to elude [God]!

Are they, then, not aware that it is God who grants abundant sustenance,
or gives it in scant measure, unto whomever He wills? In this, behold, there
are messages indeed for peo ple who will believe!

SAY: “[Thus speaks God:]‘O you servants of Mine who have transgressed
against your own selves! Despair not of God’s mercy: behold, God forgives all
sins - for, verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dis penser of grace!’ ”

Hence, when one considers Islam's and Christianity's views towards God, Jesus, Divine revelation and Salvation, the two are simply incompatible. One has to triumph over the other. It could be argued that those who would push for inter-faith dialogue in the hope of
building a bridge between the two faiths may not truly be representing their own faith as they know they should.
   The same could be said of the Jewish and Christian leaders who, while not condoning the actions of Terry Jones, are nonetheless reluctant to contend for the exclusivity of Christian
worldview and in response to the actions of extremists in their ranks, default to compromise and flattery. Of course, in the case of the latter, this is obviously a case of not following sola christus

   This blog post is nether an apology to my Muslim neighbours, nor an accolade for the likes of Terry Jones; however, for both sides neither flattery nor extremism is the answer to the issue. On that note, I close with one final message:

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