How to Deal with Sin: Christian-Muslim Contrast

This month, when U.S. Representative Peter King organized hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in the U.S. he ignited a furor. The hearings were born out of concern over recent arrests of U.S. citizens who had converted to Islam and were plotting or had carried out terrorist acts.

Muslim advocacy groups accused King of promoting "Islamophobia," generating hate for all Muslims for the misdeeds of a few. King claims he only wants to determine how extensive the radicalization is and challenge the "moderate" Muslim community to step up and counter it. He points to the lack of general Muslim outrage over incidents such as the 13 fellow soldiers shot to death by Major Nidal Hasan.

This political confusion is paralleled in the church. Some "Christian" leaders are reaching out to partner with Muslim leaders to promote "understanding."  Others are simply ignoring them. Even Bible believers seem stymied when a mosque springs up in their neighborhood. So what is the bottom line here? Lauren Green, religion correspondent for Fox News says it is sin. Green asks the question in the headline of her March 10 article: Is There Something in Islam that Makes Believers More Susceptible to Radicalization?

Green points out that the basic difference between Islam and Christianity is the handling of sin. Islam is like all other unbiblical religions: salvation from sin is earned by ritual prayers, good works, and promotion of the religion, often by violence.

By contrast, Christianity provides salvation as a free gift, divorced from any effort required to earn it. Religious activity is the result of a loving response to the free gift, not part of a requirement for salvation. And, this "loving response" is another contrast with Islam. In fact, as Green points out, the key difference is the central figure in each religion, Muhammad and Jesus. Muhammad was a product of his era of tribalism, rife with revenge and violence. His book, the Qur'an, is a compilation of philosophies of conquest, plunder, and enslavement. Modern Islamic "radicals" are simply acting out these philosophies.

Jesus is the culmination of the story of God reaching out to a rebellious creation in mercy and love for those who would respond to His overtures. The Bible is a complete narrative, from God creating the world to His continual dealings with mankind, and prophecy of how He will finish the project. Free from coercion, man may choose to obey God's commandments and prosper, or rebel and face disgrace and eternal damnation.

This differing approach to the sin problem sets Islam miles apart from Christianity. And, since this "Judeo-Christian ethic" is the foundation of the culture of the Western World, Muslim infiltration has such a jarring effect.

Until Bible believers realize these fundamental differences, they will be largely immobilized by this befuddling religion. The few soul winners who are successful in converting Muslims have used their respect for Jesus as a prophet spoken of favorably in the Qur'an. Since Islam teaches that a prophet cannot lie, when Muslims read of Jesus' claim to be God, they are stopped cold.  How can they deny what He is saying?

Mohammad Ghazoli, in his book, Christ, Muhammad and I, describes in detail his amazement when he discovered the loving God of the Bible. Muhammad's Allah was just too capricious and inscrutable to be true. But this God made sense: a loving Creator, free from violence and force, offering eternal life freely to everyone who would love Him in return.

Other details of the contrast between Muhammad and Christ, the Qur'an and the Bible can be found in two other books published by Chick Publications: Who is this Allah and Anatomy of the Qur'an. Several tracts are also available for use with Muslims or to teach about Islam.

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