On Sunday 22 May 2011 an invited guest speaker known for his Calvinistic position delivered a presentation on Perfect Love Casts out the fear of Islam to the morning congregation at Christian Witness Ministries Fellowship, Brisbane. The speaker of Dutch Reform persuasion used John 4:7-21(NIV) as his text after having expressed his strong recommendation for the book Encountering the World of Islam by Keith E. Swartley  as providing a biblical approach to the question of Islam.
The presentation introduced heresy to the congregation including but not limited to inference that the Allah of the Qur'an and the God of the Bible are one and the same, and that the Jesus of the Qur'an is the same as the Jesus of the Bible (Later he said he did not believe and did not intend to convey these ideas.) The speaker made reference to verses of the Qur'an and Bible. He stated, "If you know the Qur'an as well as your Bible you should know that Surah 3:55  says something about Jesus being raised from the dead". He went on to refer to Surah 19:33, 34  before making the statement that Christians "start a debate on matters that do not matter the slightest little bit What you believe about God may not be the same as what I understand about God it is not what you and I understand about God it is the Word of God that matters."
The above incident raised a controversy that strikes at the very heart of CWM's existence and could not be allowed to go unchallenged. Philip Powell founder of CWM was overseas so the elders of the Fellowship, prompted by an approach from some concerned members made a statement as reported at the above URL. B. Michael Bigg (BMB), assistant Editor of CETF was incensed so he wrote the following to counter what was claimed. This could well be one of the most significant issues of our time in the apostatising of the Church cf. American Churches To Embrace Chrislam On June 26, 2011 http://cetf.co/jgmtgh
By B. Michael Bigg
Chrislam is a syncretistic or blended religion which merges elements of Christianity and Islam. There are two different forms of Chrislam:
One started in the 1980s in Nigeria by Tela Tella, and is called Ifeoluwa,
The other in 1999 by a Muslim, Prophet (Dr.) Samson Saka, who after he went on a Hajj to Mecca, says, "The Lord told me, Make peace between Christian and Muslim.'"
Chrislam's ideologies are being formally developed, in the United States, by the Islamic-Christian National Dialogue Committee, the proponents of which include Rick Warren and Robert Schuller. But despite what some may see as such high profile endorsement, is Chrislam a valid thing, let alone a good thing?
Are Christianity and Islam compatible?
The Focus on Similarities
Those endorsing Chrislam, and its leaders and teachers, wish to highlight the similarities between Christianity and Islam, such as:
Abraham as "our" Father,
Regard for biblical prophets: Moses, David, etc.
Similarity of stories in the Bible and the Qur'an: e.g. the Flood.
Jesus born of the virgin Mary
The names/attributes of God
Though it is legitimate to note these similarities between Islam and Christianity are the similarities themselves legitimate?
YES in some cases they are, but not in all:
Abraham did have more than one son. He had Ishmael (Gen 16), Isaac (Gen 21), and others to Keturah (cf. Gen 25:1). Nevertheless, the promise of redemption was through the freeborn Isaac and not Ishmael. Indeed the entire story and history of God's plan of redemption was through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel and through the line of Judah. Isaac's son Esau, who was also Jacob's brother, aligned himself through marriage with Ishmael. The descendants of Ishmael and Esau were (and to this day are) enemies of Israel.
Islam's regard for biblical prophets is based on Muhammad's and the Qur'an's assertion that they are Muslims. Islam claims that because these prophets were truly men of God, they came back to God, i.e. reverted to being Muslims (since according to their teaching Adam was a Muslim); and this (reverting) is what everyone does when they believe the Qur'an's teachings.
Though there are matching historical events, places and people in the Qur'an, the timeline in the Qur'an places events in the wrong order, compared to the Bible. A prophet of the God of the Bible would not get this wrong (or, for that matter, a person who knew the Bible, and not just heard stories on one's travels, would likewise not get this wrong).
Believing Jesus is born of the Virgin Mary does not make two theologies compatible.
There are similarities in names, attributes and titles given to many ancient gods many of which match those given to the God of the Bible. Simply because Allah has 99 names, many of which correlate to names/attributes given to God in the Bible, doesn't make Allah the god of the Bible any more than Rome's Cupid (the god of love), Clementia (goddess of mercy); or the Sumerian "god of heaven" Anu.
But What about the Differences?
Compare the Greek with the KJV English
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life - John 3:16.
The "so" in "For God so loved the world" in the Greek text of John 3:16 is the word h utos. This is not a word meaning quantity, as if this verse is talking about the amount or degree of God's love; this word means "in this way", "in this manner". This is the crunch! This is the non-negotiable element of Christian doctrine which makes Chrislam a misnomer and contradiction. There can be no such entity as Chrislam because at the heart of their theology Christianity and Islam are opposites.
God has a Son
Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Jesus died on the Cross
Jesus died on our behalf
Man is inherently evil and even his righteous deeds are as dirty rags
Salvation is by Grace alone through Faith in Jesus Christ
God has no son
Christian Trinity: Father, Mary, Jesus
It only appeared that Jesus died on the Cross
Someone else (Judas or Simon of Cyrene) took Jesus' place on the cross
Man can do good deeds to become acceptable to god
Salvation is earned your good deeds must outweigh your bad deeds
There are elements within Islam and the Qur'an which can be used as points to instigate conversation or dialogue, but it is not what Christianity and Islam have in common that unites us, as our differences are fundamental differences. Chrislam exists because some people hold to the premise that both the Bible and the Qur'an can be regarded as inspired and authoritative. In order to do this, though, they are required to be selective in what they read, and apply a Christianised understanding to the text, rather than the Islamic they must deliberately ignore the fundamental teachings of Islam.
To say to a Muslim, "We have the same god" in order to initiate dialog allows that Muslim to equally say, "Then why won't you listen to what his Prophet Muhammad has said and written?" Our similarities don't unite us, because our differences keep us apart.
When in Samaria (John 4) Jesus was asked,
Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (verse 20).
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews (verse 22).
Jesus did not placate the Samaritan woman with things the Samaritans had in common with Judaism. Though supposedly knowing and (according to their traditions) correctly worshipping the same God as Israel, Jesus pointed out that they were wrong.
Likewise Paul at Athens (Acts 17) did not evangelise by preaching what God had in common with the Roman gods on the contrary he preached the Unknown God to them the God that they did not know, did not understand. The same too for Muslims, we need to tell them of the God they do not know, not the god they think they do know.
In Revelation's introductory letters Jesus stands before the churches (lamp stands meant to be a light to the world, witnesses for him) aware of their condition. To the Church we are told, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" and in these letters the church is told to be faithful, remain faithful, remain true, do not compromise. Some churches in these letters tried, like now, to syncretise Christianity they were rebuked.
As witnesses for Christ and of Christ, let us not compromise the Gospel (i.e. betray Christ) by talking about similarities. Preach Christ and Him Crucified.
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, - 1 Corinthians 1:23.
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. - 1 Corinthians 2:2.
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? - Galatians 3:1.
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