December 18, 2017

Islam: What’s the Real Problem?

Gordon A. Dickson

After the jetliners pierced the World Trade Center in fiery explosions on September 11, 2001, the whole world seemed to be asking, “Why?” What is at the root of these terrible crimes? How can whole groups of people be so devoted to killing others? How does terrorism prosper in a world that tells itself it wants peace? While much as been written recently that portrays “a kinder, gentler” Islam, the explosive problem remains. The problem is that the Prince of Peace—Jesus Christ— has been rejected. Modern religious leaders insist that there is “a” place for Jesus Christ under the big religious umbrella. But the facts are easy to find. The problem with Islam is that it has discarded the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Even today, the religion of Islam rejects the Biblical Christ.

Islam Rejects the Biblical Christ with Its Words.

In 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, the apostle Paul referred to the Scriptures as “the word of reconciliation” (which believers use in the ministry of sharing God’s peace). These precious words communicate that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” Through these words, one comes to know the peace of God. As believers, we are called to reach out with peace to all people, including Muslims. Through His Word, God communicates His immanence (or nearness.) From the earliest moments of human existence, God has used His Words to form a personal relationship with man. Throughout the Scriptures, God has revealed Himself as a Father and a Shepherd. But Islamic teachings (as well as the historic, liberal German theologians) teach that God is “wholly other.” This means that He cannot be known intimately. This comes as the result of rejecting the Word of God—the Word of reconciliation. Those who do so are left with only the natural revelation described in Psalm 19 and Romans 1. They also fall prey to the five-step descension into vain imaginations described in Romans 1:21. It’s easy to see why they would insist that God is “wholly other” and cannot be known. How does Islam reject the Scripture?

Islam maintains that the written Word of God was corrupted. Most of the materials produced for public viewing insist that Islam has great respect for the Christian Scriptures. A closer look is in order. Muslims view Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Jesus (along with Lot and Ishmael) as messengers of God. They make no distinction between them. They hold that Mohammed was the last of the Islamic messengers and that he alone restored the true message of God. (Where the previous messengers contradicted Mohammed, their messages are viewed as having been corrupted.) Of course, this reflects badly on Jesus Christ and the Scriptural teaching about Him. A brochure entitled Who Was Jesus? puts it succinctly:

The only records that have come down to us concerning Jesus are some sketchy biographical material, poorly researched and compiled, which can in no way be representative of the full and accurate Message of Jesus, the Son of Mary. The time of the final and incorruptible Message was not yet at hand. It would be left to the last prophet of God, Mohammed, to clarify the truth from man’s additions and deletions.[1]

This is a reflection of Mohammed’s teaching that Jesus must be included with the other prophets and the conclusion was drawn, “no difference do we make between them.”(2:125-136)[2] Historically, Muslims were referred to as “Mohammedans” because they viewed Mohammed as the only uncorrupted prophet. By holding this position, Islam rejects the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Islam maintains that the Living Word of God (Jesus Christ) was merely a man. The Qur’an absolutely rejects the deity of Christ, and in so doing, rejects the Biblical Christ. Note the following teachings from the Qu’ran:

  1. Christ was created, just like Adam. (3:59)
  2. Christ did not die on the cross, but was rescued by God. (4:157)
  3. Christ was the Messiah, but was not God. (4:171; 5:75-80)
  4. God would never have a son. (4:169; 19:35, 90)
  5. Christ could be destroyed if Allah wished. (5:17-19)
  6. The teaching of the trinity is false. (5:73)
  7. Fables about Christ’s boyhood are declared to be true. (5:110)

As you can see, this is an attempt to cut the heart out of true Christianity. The current religious movement insists that Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God. The Qur’an provides irrefutable proof that this is not the case. They cry “peace, peace, when there is no peace” apart from the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. From this brief review, it is easy to see that Islam rejects the Biblical Christ with its words.

Islam rejects the Biblical Christ with its works.

Near the end of His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “ I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Christ taught that a man must enter heaven through Him, “the way, the truth, and the life.” He further taught that no one would go to heaven apart from trusting in Him. Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5 insist that no one will be saved by doing good works. Salvation is a free gift given by the grace of God. The rejection of God’s gift is the rejection of God’s grace.

Islam rejects this Biblical teaching of Christ, and it does so with its emphasis on works for salvation. For the Muslim, attaining heaven (or paradise) rests upon five pillars, or five good works. These are the confession of faith, prayer (with purification), fasting, giving alms, and the pilgrimage to Mecca.[3] The Islamic confession of faith is “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” The Muslim believes that this statement must be made aloud. This is followed by praying (five times each day), fasting, giving to the poor and, at least once in the lifetime, taking a trip to Mecca. Muslim scholars were asked if doing these things would assure one of a place in heaven. They responded that they could not be certain.[4]

The problem for the religion of Islam is basically theological. Islamic teaching insists that Allah is a just God—giving men exactly what they deserve. But they also hold that Allah is merciful—which includes not giving men exactly what they deserve. For the Muslim, this problem can only be resolved by redefining man’s evil as something else. On one occasion, a devotee of Islam asked this author how Christians resolve this problem. What a joy it was to be able to respond, “God the Father sent God the Son to be the sin sacrifice so that everything the believer deserves was justly poured out upon Christ. Only on this basis can God be merciful— not giving the believer what he deserves.” This precious, gracious Sacrifice, the Biblical Christ, is rejected by the religion of Islam.

Islam rejects the Biblical Christ with its warfare.

This final aspect has received the widest attention since the tragedies of September 11, 2001. The religion of Islam rejects Jesus Christ, Who is “the Life.” In Proverbs 8:36, the Lord taught “all they that hate me love death.” The preoccupation with suicide and death is merely a symptom of Islam’s rejection of the Biblical Christ, the gracious God of peace and life. While a large number of Muslims would not agree with using terrorism, the fact remains that Islamic terrorism exists on a global scale. This grieves the Sunni (peaceful) faction of Islam, as indicated by recent public statements. Nevertheless, the “jihad” (or “holy war against the infidels”) continues. Again, the problem is theological. In love, the God of the Bible sent His Son to give others life. In the Qur’an, Allah sends his sons to kill those who will not convert to Islam: “And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush: but if they shall convert, and observe prayer, and pay the obligatory alms, then let them go their way, for God is gracious, merciful.”(9:5)[5] As a recent issue of Newsweek put it, “Though few in number, these aggressive verses have fired Muslim zealots in every age.”[6]

Muslims have historically applied this warfare theology. When the conversation turns to “the Crusades,” it’s important to ask “which Crusades?” Islam has made many converts at the point of a sword. After the death of Mohammed, Islamic expansion reached across the Middle East and into Europe. In 711 A.D., Spain fell to the Muslim armies. Finally, in 732 A.D., the armies of Islam were turned back at the Battle of Tours (France). The “Christian Crusades” of 750–1258 A.D. were an attempt to recapture the “Christian sites” of the day. This article is not attempting to justify the Islamic or Christian crusades. However, it is important to note that the theological principles of Islam were practiced historically.

Politically, the religion of Islam has insisted upon uniting religion with the state. The result is that many nations include the Islamic star and crescent in their national flags to show their devotion to Islam.[7] (The official name of Pakistan, for instance, is “The Islamic State of Pakistan.”) The existence of these “religious states” explains why there is no religious freedom in these nations. This further explains why Christians are persecuted and tortured in these countries.

Currently, this Islamic warfare is continuing. At this moment, “dozens of militant Palestinians . . . aspire to become martyrs by blowing themselves up. Their goal: to kill or injure as many Jews as possible.”[8] From all indications, there is a new generation of terrorists coming. “In Hamas kindergartens, signs on the walls read: ‘The children of the kindergarten are the martyrs of tomorrow.’”[9] This “love of death” has reached epidemic proportions. “The world has seen a university campus on the West Bank mark the first anniversary of the intifada with a scale model of the Jerusalem pizzeria where 15 Israelis perished in a suicide bombing, an exhibit replete with imitation body parts suspended from the ceiling.”[10] This is horrible, but it is merely a symptom of the real problem— the rejection of Jesus Christ, “the way, the truth, and the life.”

The religion of Islam rejects the Jesus Christ of the Bible. It does so with its words, its works, and its warfare. Don’t be fooled by the talk of “a kinder, gentler” Islam. Do be faithful to tell others, including Muslim friends, about the Prince of Peace who brings real peace.

Dr. Gordon A. Dickson is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio.

(Originally published in FrontLine • March/April 2002. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)

  1. Emerick, Yahiya, Who Was Jesus?, Islamic Circle of North America (Jamaica, NY) n.d. []
  2. Rodwell, J.M., (translator) The Qu’ran, (Ballantine Books: New York), 1993, p. 12 (This same passage, by the way, instructs Muslims not to become Jews or Christians because this is not the true religion of Abraham. This flies in the face of the current ecumenical view that all worship the same God.) []
  3. Some say there are six pillars. Islam is divided into three groups: the majority of Muslims are Sunni (peaceful), roughly ten percent are Shi’ite (violent) and a very small number are Suffi (mystical). The Shi’ites insist that there are six pillars instead of five. For them, the sixth pillar is “jihad” or “holy war.” More about this is discussed in the third section of this article. []
  4. Website address: []
  5. Rodwell, p. 112 ,The Qu’ran 9:5 []
  6. Woodward, Kenneth L., “In the Beginning There Were the Holy Books.” Newsweek, February 11, 2002, p. 52 []
  7. Algeria, Azerbaijan, Comoros, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan []
  8. Kelly, Jack, “Wired for Death,” Reader’s Digest, October 2001. p. 79 []
  9. Ibid. p. 80 []
  10. Freedman, Samuel G. “Will Arafat Father a Country?” USA Today, October 16, 2001, p. 15A []

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