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A Common Word: Love of God and Love of Neighbor

Published by Steven Masood - August 15th 2013

A Common Word: Love of God and Love of Neighbor

Does the Bible instruct Christians to find common ground with other faiths so to live in peace? In the name of tolerance, peace, interfaith and multi-culturalism many Christians have opened their hearts to a wave known as ‘coexist’. In recent years some Muslim scholars and activists too have joined in to use all such efforts to their advantage. More ‘Christian leaders’ are joining in to support world peace initiatives. Others have even gone to the extent of agreeing not to encourage Muslims to become Christians.

In October 2007, a group of 138 Muslim scholars, headed by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan, sent the open letter “A Common Word between Us and You” to Pope Benedict, as well as to key Protestant leaders of various Christian denominations. In their letter the Muslim scholars wrote:

“…in obedience to the Holy Qur’an, we as Muslims invite Christians to come together with us on the basis of what is common to us, which is also what is most essential to our faith and practice: the Two Commandments of love.” (The document can be found at http://www.acommonword.com/the-acw-document/)

Several responses to the letter appeared in the media. The most highly-publicized response was by a group of scholars from Yale University, entitled “Loving God and Neighbor Together.(A copy of this document can be found at http://faith.yale.edu/common-word/common-word-christian-response). It was endorsed by over 300 Christian leaders, including some well-known theologians, scholars and pastors. These includ Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Leith Anderson, Timothy George, Richard Mouw, Robert Schuller, and John Stott. To obtain a pdf copy of the published article as advert in the newspaper with the signatories, you may send us an e-mail.

We are praying that Christian leaders will withdraw their signatures as soon as they come to know the whole story. As of now, only a few have done so. In fact, almost every year more Christian leaders have joined and have supported initiatives of so-called dialogues. Some have even gone to the extent of agreeing not to encourage Muslims to become Christians (which is contrary to Jesus’ Great Commission: to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Although some of the key names mentioned above deny this, as a whole we have found that the majority of the signatories on the Yale response work towards a world peace program. The question still remains at what price this type of peace can be achieved in these last days. So far I have been directing friends who asked for comments on the subject matter to several responses available elsewhere on the net. 'What about your perspective, Steven?' I have been asked often. Based on my lifetime of studying the two beliefs of Islam and Christianity, here is my perspective based on studying the two beliefs:

Highlights of the contents of the open letter

  1. According to the letter, the common word or rather the common ground between Muslims and Christians is “love of the One God, and love of the neighbor.” This letter claims that this is the foundational principle of both faiths. The letter bases its title on Sura 3:64-85 and asks Christians to “let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill.”

 

  1. The letter points out that since Christianity and Islam are the largest and second largest religions in the world, together making up more than 55% of the world's population, the relationship between these two religious communities contributes to meaningful peace around the world. If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world, with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake.

 

  1. The letter asks “Is Christianity necessarily against Muslims?” It answers with a “No” because Muslims recognize Jesus as the Messiah (citing Sura 4:171). Therefore the letter declares that Christians should not consider Muslims to be against them. Using Jesus’ words accounted in Mark 9:40 and Luke 9:50 – “he who is not against us is on our side”, the letter urges Christians to regard Muslims as being on their side.

Highlights of Yale’s response

  1. One notices that the Yale response attributed the title “Prophet” to Muhammad and explicitly apologized for the Crusades – neither of which was called for in the original wording of “A Common Word.”

 

  1. The response in this letter is one of penitence and delight: penitence for wrongs the letter claims to have been committed by Christians against Muslims, and delight for the efforts of the Islamic scholars to find a common ground between the faiths.

 

  1. The response simply accepted the word of the Muslim letter which claimed that Islam is founded on the dual command to love God and neighbor. The letter hopes that this (alleged) common ground brings deep cooperation between Muslims and Christians and is the hallmark of relations between our two communities.

 

  1. The letter then concludes with further agreement that this common ground ought to be the basis for further interfaith dialogue towards the goal set by these Muslim clerics.

Analysis of the Muslim letter

Deception: the Context of Sura 3:64-85 - anti-Christian polemic

As a former Muslim who accepted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead,  I have learned how vital it is to study the Qur’an to understand Islam and the Bible to understand Christianity. Although the Muslim open letter asks for a dialogue and bases the commonality of Islam and Christianity on love for God and people, it takes the title of the letter from the text of Sura 3:64-85. This makes it necessary to study this passage of the Qur’an to understand its true meaning.

Most of Sura 3:64 is actually quoted in the letter from the Muslim clerics. However the true meanings, along with the real background of the text, has been obscured by changing the interpretations found in the various Muslim commentaries. Applications of this aspect of “veiling” the intended meaning (a doctrine known as taqiyyah or deception) of the text appears throughout the Muslims’ open letter.

Islamic traditions and classical exegetes link the context (Sura 3:1-80) to a visit of a delegation of Christians from Najran (Yaman) to Madina. The discussion that ensued was about Jesus. The delegation claimed in His divine incarnation. Thus Muhammad is claimed to receive revelation in refutation, saying that Jesus was like Adam. As God created Adam, he created Jesus the Son of Mary. (Ibn Tabari (d. 923), Tafsir al-Tabari, vol. 2, pp. 293-295; Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), Tafsir Ibn Kathir(one volume), pp. 236-237).

We find that in Sura 3 of the Qur’an, Christians are charged with the sin of idolatry for calling Jesus divine and equal to God. They are then exhorted to “serve none but God.” Thus, if Christians engage in dialogue with Muslims, they are expected first to renounce their belief in the divine nature of Jesus and accept Him as only a prophet, the Messiah, and the son of Mary. The Qur’an denies that Jesus is the Son of God (Sura 4:171; 9:30; 43:59).

It is important to note that the context of Sura 3:61 invokes a curse on Christians for believing in the incarnation. (Sura 9:30 invokes a wish for Allah to destroy those who believe the Christ is the Son of God.) In such a context, the “common word” verse of Sura 3:64 can only be interpreted as a clear rejection of Christian Trinitarian theology.

Not only the preceding verses, but also the immediate following verses are polemical. They discuss the religion of Abraham and assert that he was “neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim” (Sura 3:67). To claim an Islamic link and inheritance of Abraham, the next Qur’anic verse (Sura 3:68) makes clear that only Islam, in contrast to Judaism and Christianity, can claim the title of “Abrahamic faith” for “Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet [Muhammad] and those who have believed [in Muhammad’s message].”

The context goes further to accuse Christians as those who mix truth with vanity and for refusing to believe in Allah’s signs (Sura 3:70-71). Finally, the exclusivist nature of Islam is seen in verse 85:

He who seeks a religion other than Islam, that will not be acceptable of him, and at the Last Day, he will be among the Lost.

Sura 3:64 - a poor starting point for dialogue with Christians

Muhammad used this verse in his letter of declaration of war to the Byzantine Caesar, Heraclius. In the collection of Ismail Bukhari (d. 870) Sahih Bukhari, which is treated as the most prestigious collection of hadith in Sunni Islam, we find the text of this letter in “The Book of Jihad” (Hadith No. 2940).

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. (This letter is) from Muhammad, the slave of Allah, and His Messenger, to Heraclius, the Ruler of the Byzantines. Peace be upon him, who follows the (true) guidance. Now then, I invite you to Islam (i.e. surrender to Allah), embrace Islam and you will be safe [aslim taslam]; embrace Islam and Allah will bestow on you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation of Islam, you shall be responsible for misguiding the peasants (i.e. your nation). O people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians)! Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partners with him; and that none of us shall take lords besides Allah. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.”(Sura 3.64) [Sahih Al-Bukhari. Vol 4: pp.120ff]

This hadith illustrates Muhammad’s principle that, before attacking non-Muslims, it was necessary first to invite them to embrace Islam. The message aslim taslam means “surrender (or embrace Islam) and you will be safe.” This is an essential component of a declaration of war in Islam. This invitation is known also as Da’wa and is reflected in hadith 2946 from Bukhari’s “Book of Jihad,” in which Muhammad announces that:

I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people till they say La ilaha illallah [There is no god but Allah], and whoever said La ilaha illallah, he saved his life and property from me …(Sahih Al-Bukhari. Vol 4: p.126.)

The doctrine of Tawhid: the Unity of God

Both Christians and Muslims agree that there is only one God. The Muslims’ letter presupposes that Allah is the same God as the God Christians believe. This is a cornerstone of the “common word” offered to Christians as the foundation for dialogue. To accept the “common word” as offered means accepting that we do indeed both worship the same God. There are of course deep problems with accepting this presupposition. The One God Christians worship is the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No true Muslim believes that Allah is Triune.

The letter clearly puts forward tawhid as the common ground between Muslims and Christians, yet it offers this to Christians in the wrapping paper of loving God and loving one’s neighbor, which are central Christian values (Matthew 22:37-40). The intention seems to be that this will make it easier for Christians to say “yes” to tawhid.

Both the Muslim letter and the Yale response pretend and take for granted that the God of Christianity is the God of Islam. Nowhere in these documents would one come to believe that the God of the Bible is different than the Allah of Islam.

On the one hand, the Muslim letter invites Christians to join together with Muslims. On the other hand, the common ground invited to Christians to agree on includes Islamic doctrine, particularly tawhid. Tawhid is the Islamic understanding of the unity of Allah. Tawhid by no means includes the idea that God is Triune or that Jesus is the Son of God. The message of tawhid is one of the two core principles of Islam, the other being the prophethood of Muhammad.

In essence, the point in the background of the Muslim letter is that to love God means to be devoted to Him. Being devoted to Him means to adhere to the Islamic doctrine of the unity of Allah. In other words, loving God is equivalent to acknowledging His unity as Islam understands it.

What the Muslims’ open letter is saying is that if you believe in loving God and loving your neighbor, you must also accept tawhid. The letter even proposes: “Thus Unity of God, love of Him, and love of the neighbor form a common ground upon which Islam and Christianity (and Judaism) are founded.” (p.13).

Sura 112 – the Islamic Shema

Both the summary introduction and the body of the text of the open letter cited Sura 112 as the Islamic equivalent of the Hebrew Shema. This very short chapter of the Qur’an is a famous text which is frequently recited by Muslims who are very familiar with all its contents. Muhammad said of this Sura that it was worth a third of the Qur’an. The open letter intentionally cites only the first two verses. Here is the text of the whole Sura:

Say: He, God, is One. God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all. He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. (Sura 112)

This Sura is regarded in Islam as a central statement of the doctrine of tawhid. It includes a specific denial of the possibility of God having a son. Yet “A Common Word” declares immediately after citing the first part of this Sura that “…the Unity of God…” forms “… a common ground upon which Islam and Christianity (and Judaism) are founded.” This is only true if the incarnation, Jesus being the Son of God, is not one of the foundational beliefs of Christians!

The doctrine of Da’wa

This letter, at its heart, is an invitation or call to Christians to agree with Muslims on certain Islamic teachings. Thus the introductory summary to the letter concludes with these words:

“…in obedience to the Holy Qur’an, we as Muslims invite Christians to come together with us…”

Da‘wa (invite) is a broad concept of inviting others to embrace Islam. Such invitations to Islam may be issued in a variety of different ways. One way is through a call to peaceful dialogue. The words of Sura 16:125 as quoted in this letter certainly do encourage Muslims to call others to Islam using skill, wisdom, and appealing arguments.

Loving God and loving neighbor as portrayed by this letter has flaws

This letter is formally structured around the two themes of loving God and loving one’s neighbor.

Love for God is defined by the Muslim scholars as being complete devotion – i.e. submission to God in all things, presented as a mandatory response to the Unity of God. This means that the Muslims’ concept of love for God, as presented in this letter, requires no reference to God’s love for humanity as a whole, nor to any idea of God being love. The “love of God” is limited to the concept of being devoted to Islam – submission to Allah.

In stark contrast to the Islamic view, the Christian understanding of loving God is relational: love for God is first and foremost a response to God’s love for us: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19) for “…God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loves us so much, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:9-11).

The Gospel is centrally a declaration of God’s love for mankind, demonstrated in the love of Christ. In response to this demonstration of God’s love, Jesus tells people to love each other, which is the “new commandment” (John 13:34). The Gospel teaches love for all people, not just fellow Christians. Christ himself taught that just as God loves all, so His children should love all people, including their enemies (Matthew 5:43-45; see also Romans 12:14-21).

It is striking that the open letter includes citations from Matthew and Mark for “loving one’s neighbor” but not the crucial Luke reference (Luke 10:27-37), where Jesus provides the parable of the Good Samaritan to explain the definition of neighbor. Jesus’ point was that even though Jews and Samaritans were sworn enemies, the Samaritan was the true neighbor in the story. This crucial clarification, that my enemy is my neighbor (found also in the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 6:27-28), is of enormous importance for Christian-Muslim relations. The letter’s silence on this point is telling, for it stops well short of advocating an inclusive understanding of “neighbor.”

Whereas Jesus makes clear that loving one’s neighbor includes loving one’s enemies, the Muslim scholars behind “A Common Word” have been unable to offer a clear foundation in the example and teaching for Muhammad (or in the Qur’an) for loving people who are not of one’s own religion.

The letter makes no reference to the love of God for humanity as a whole. There are only a few passing references to God’s love for those who submit to him (pp.6-7). Those passages of the Qur’an (Sura 2 and Sura 3) on the love of God read in the context that God will perhaps step in love towards the believer if he/she will follow Allah and the teaching of Islam and that of Muhammad.

Loving the neighbor or Muslim neighbor?

About loving the neighbor, the writers look to the teaching of Muhammad in the form of two similar hadiths:

“None of you has faith until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” and “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.”

The meaning of these hadiths then is explained briefly with reference to two Qur’anic verses (Sura 2:177 and 3:92). The main basis offered for this teaching is the hadiths, because the Muslim scholars can provide no clear call from the Qur’an to love one’s neighbor.

The two Qur’anic verses which are offered in support of hadiths in fact take us in other directions. The first (Sura 2:177) promotes justice. The second (Sura 3:92) instructs Muslims to spend their resources to support righteousness. These are attempts to ground the principle of loving others in the Qur’an, but in this they fall well short.

Let’s see who is my neighbor according to the traditions of Islam…

The hadiths cited restrict “neighbor” and “brother” to fellow Muslims. This is reflected, for example, in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim. In the English translation of Bukhari, the translator adds “(Muslim)” to make clear that it is love for fellow Muslims which is meant:

The Prophet said, ‘None of you will have faith till he likes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself (The translation of the meanings of Sahih Al-Bukhari. Vol 1: pp.60-61. Trans. Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Riyadh: Darussalam.).

If in Islamic tradition, one’s brother or one’s neighbour whose good is to be promoted is only one’s fellow Muslim, ‘al-Muslim akhuwal Muslim’ – A Muslim is a brother of a Muslim.

This teaching falls far short of the message of Christ. Jesus makes clear that loving one’s neighbor means loving one’s enemies. The Muslim scholars behind “A Common Word” have been unable to offer a clear foundation in the example and teaching for Muhammad (or in the Qur’an) for loving people who are not of one’s own religion.

The doctrine of Taqiyya in play

The Muslim letter has deliberately reinterpreted and ignored some key issues:

 

1. The position of Christ: The letter is dismissive of Christian beliefs about Christ, on the grounds that “Christians themselves anyway have never all agreed with each other on Jesus Christ’s nature” (p.15).                                                                

The letter deliberately overlooks the call in the Qur’an for Muslims to fight against Christians and Jews (as “people of the Book”) [Sura 9:29]. This verse, which was never abrogated, but instead has been considered to have abrogated many other verses, has been used to justify untold misery down the ages. It has provided the Qur’anic basis for the system of dhimmitude, which determined second-class status for Christians and other non-Muslims after Islamic conquests. The worldview projected by this verse continues to be used to support human rights abuses against Christians and people of other beliefs living in Muslim societies.

 

2. Jihad as an act of love? As an illustration of total devotion to God, that is to say, of loving God, “A Common Word” cites Sura 9:38-39 – “Go forth in the way of God. …. If ye not go forth, he will afflict you with a painful doom” (p.6). This verse occurs just after Sura 9:29, the general call to wage jihad against Christians and Jews. It ironically falls within a passage referring to the expedition of Tabuk, which was the first time Muhammad’s forces took up arms against Christians. It is ironic that this verse, with its origins as a text inciting Muslims to go on an anti-Christian jihad campaign, should be used now by this letter to bring “peace” between Muslims and Christians.

 

3. An invitation or a threat?  Although “A Common Word” is presented as an invitation, it contains a warning of devastating conflict if the invitation is rejected. This is reminiscent of Muhammad’s approach to da‘wa, and should be evaluated in the light of his example.

 

4. Who are the good Christians? Another ironic citation occurs in the final paragraphs of A Common Word, where it is argued that Muslims are not against Christians. The verses cited are:

They are not all alike. Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of Allah in the night season, falling prostrate (before Him). They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and vie one with another in good works. These are of the righteous. And whatever good they do, they will not be denied the meed thereof. Allah is Aware of those who ward off (evil). (Sura 3:113-115)

 

These verses appear to be commending Christians. However, the traditional interpretation is that they refer to Christians who are converting to Islam. In the Qur’an, Sura 3:113-115 follows immediately after a passage which declares the supremacy of Muslims over Jews and Christians:

 

Ye [Muslims] are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah.  And if the People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians] had believed, it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-livers. (Sura 3:110).

 

The key question to ask is “Who are these believers?” According to Ibn Kathir and Ibn Ishaq, verses 113-115 refer to those among the People of the Book who become believers, embracing Islam.

Just to remove any ambiguity, the immediately following verse, Sura 3:116, declares that those who do not enter Islam are destined for the fires of Hell. Then comes the famous warning to Muslims to not befriend unbelievers:

O ye who believe [Muslims]! Take not for intimates others than your own folk [Muslims], who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. Lo! ye are those who love them though they love you not, and ye believe in all the Scripture. When they fall in with you they say: We believe; but when they go apart they bite their finger-tips at you, for rage. Say: ‘Perish in your rage! Lo! Allah is Aware of what is hidden in (your) breasts.’ (Sura 3:118-119)

 

It is misleading for “A Common Word” to imply that because of these verses, Muslims must be considered to be well-disposed to Christians. The best that can be said is that these verses promote positive regard for Christians who are converting to Islam.

Flaws in Yale’s response

The Yale response gives a wrong assumption of Christians being involved in the past to destroy Muslims. Indeed the crusades were a bad response to the Islamic war against the West and were not Biblical. However, Muslims in their commentaries on the Jihad aspect still treat Western governments as fighting against Islam and Muslims. The fact is that when western governments fight the “war on terror,” it is not the church doing this.

America may be a majority Christian country, but Christian theologians do not enterprise its military policies. Despite the widespread Muslim view that there is a “Christian” conspiracy to destroy Islam, most western nations which have been involved in military action against Muslims (in Iraq or Afghanistan, for example) have not been driven by Christian theological principles, much less by a specifically Christian rejection of Islam.

Many Muslims consider themselves to be engaged in jihad conflicts today in Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, pagan, Jewish, post-communist, secularist, and Islamic contexts. To Muslims, these conflicts may have a religious character. Indeed in orthodox Islamic theology, all just wars are religious by definition. However, their adversaries in most cases do not fight on a religious basis (with a few notable exceptions).

For example, some Muslims consider themselves to be fighting a religious jihad against “crusaders” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the United Kingdom and the USA do not consider their military actions against jihadi insurgents in Iraq to be a Christian holy war.

God and Peace?

Both the “Common Word “and Yale’s letter craftily recast that both Christians and Muslims believe in the same God. The Yale letter for example juxtapose three quotations: one from the Qur’an, one from the New Testament, and one from the Torah:

Bring about reconciliation between your brothers, and fear God, that you may receive mercy. (Sura 49:10)

God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.    (2 Corinthians 5:19)

You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)

They have lifted the passage out of context from the Qur’an. The context refers to believers (mu’miniin), Muslim believers. Now, consider the quotation within a little more of the context.

And if two groups of believers fight each other, then make peace between them, but if one of them commits excessiveness against the other, then fight the one that has committed excessiveness till it reverts to the command of Allah. Then if it reverts rectify between them with justice and do justice. Verily Allah loves the equitable. Believers are brothers, therefore make peace between the two brothers and fear Allah that the mercy may be shown to you. (Sura 49:9-10)

As earlier mentioned that Sura 3 on which the Islamic letter centers its context in fact denounces Christians and Jews, unless they become Muslims. In clear words this Sura makes the point:

And whoso will desire for a religion other than Islam that shall never be accepted from him and in the next world he shall be among the losers. How Allah shall wish to guide such a people who disbelieved after believing and had borne witness that the Messenger is true and to whom had come clear signs? And Allah guides not a people unjust. Their need is this that on them there is curse of Allah, and of angels and of men, all together. (Sura 3:85-87)

Does this read like Islam is truly desirous for peace, harmony, reconciliation, and unity with Christians and Jews? Not really, in fact the Qur’an in clear words mentions that Allah has revealed the religion of Islam to take over all others (Sura 9:33; 48:28; 61:9).

Peace and Reconciliation?

The Peace and Reconciliation Program is the newest program at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. In its initial phase, such a program is focused primarily on bridge-building scholarly research on the major theological, political, cultural, social and ethical issues which traditionally divide Muslims and Christians, and on concerns which unite them. Indeed, this is the kind of peace and reconciliation that the "multiculturalism and diversity" worldview preaches and advocates.

World peace! What an idea! Everyone would certainly like that. After all, we represent the Prince of Peace don’t we? However, it is a theological misconception to believe that we are here on earth solely to make peace. Jesus never said that. In fact, He proclaimed the opposite. Nowhere in the Bible do we find Jesus telling us to find common ground with other faiths. Rather, He commanded us to declare the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).

Jesus told His followers: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Please note: This does NOT mean for Jesus’ followers to be violent, but rather means that believing in Jesus will separate people from their families and communities, like what happened when I made the decision to follow Jesus instead of Muhammad. I was disowned and my Dad and other Muslims tried to kill me. I did not fight them but rather escaped by God’s grace.

 Jesus talks about this after His proclamation that “...ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake...” in verse 22. Though He proclaimed that peacemakers would be blessed in the Beatitudes of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 5:9), He never came close to intimating that we'd bring ultimate peace or be accepted by the world because of Him. Quite the opposite is true.

What liberal theologians at Yale have ignored and what we must remember is that any peace which results from the compromising of absolute truth isn’t really true peace at all. Such would be a counterfeit based on falsehood. I believe this is why Jesus clearly points out that the world will always be at enmity with His teaching and His true people.

The Bible also talks about a very different reconciliation:

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:16-21).

Those who believe “A Common Word” are playing right into Satan’s hand, for they seek peace and reconciliation with Muslims without Biblical truth as their guide. This can only advance the cause of Islam and confuse and misinform countless Christians. As Christians, we should love Muslims as Jesus loves them. We should invite them to follow Jesus instead of Muhammad. Jesus is where all people find true peace (John 14:27) and reconciliation to the One and only God. 

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