Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Allah vs. the Sovereign and Gracious God

Any strongly held monotheism that has no Savior-God, no wise, loving, holy Father, quickly becomes a hard fatalism, as in the whole Muslim world.
Culver, p. 132
Paul, in addressing the pagans at Lystra says, “We... preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who... did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17) In preaching to a people who worshipped capricious, immoral, selfish and immoral 'gods', Paul, apart from emphasising the witness of general, or natural, revelation, also seems to have emphasised the goodness of the living and true God.

Culver brings out the difference between the true God and the false Allah of Islam, and so in the light of Paul's preaching, we also should mark out the contrast in our evangelism of Muslims (and indeed generic unbelievers who think that Christianity and Islam are basically the same thing).

Ron Rhodes in his excellent, but imperfect (esp. in the area of God's sovereignty), book, 'Reasoning from the Scriptures with Muslims', quotes a story about Islam's fatalism:
“[C]hildren in apartment buildings in Tehran... would fall over low balcony railings to their deaths, [but] because of the belief that this must have been the will of Allah, nothing was done to heighten the railings to prevent such tragedies in the future.”
What a contrast with the health and safety law provided by our loving God in Deut. 22:8: “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.”

People are very much like their gods. The people of Islam reflect the nature of their 'god'. I don't know about you, but my dealings with Muslims have been universally of people who are satisfied to perform the Five Pillars of Islam, but don't care about holiness, just as their 'god' doesn't care about holiness. One Muslim even said to me, “You Christians are always concerned about holiness. God isn't holy. He's above all that. This is an invention of your minds.”

How we need to show them the true God, who is sovereign and terrible in judgement, but who is also gracious, loving and does good. A God who is righteous and holy, and abhors even the taint of sin, who will not be appeased with Five Pillars of religious deeds, but who could only be appeased with the precious blood of His only Son, the Second Person of the Godhead, who alone could provide propitiation for the many who believe. The God who comports with reality and whose holiness, righteous and goodness is higher than our own.


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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. Have you ever checked out the site "Answering Islam" http://www.answering-islam.de/Main///index.html

A site that goes into a lot of the details of Islam from a Christian perspective and to witness to Muslims.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 6:46:00 am  
Blogger Paul said...

Re: Allah vs. the Sovereign and Gracious God

May I take this opportunity to correct some misunderstandings in your piece?

Muslims believe that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. We also believe in a God who is ‘sovereign and terrible in judgement, but who is also gracious, loving and does good. A God who is righteous and holy, and abhors even the taint of sin.’ We do not seek to earn our salvation, but call on God for forgiveness and mercy for our sins. Whatever your dealings with imperfect Muslims, you need to assess the religion by its key sources: the Qur’an and the sunnah. But we do not believe (along with the consensus of NT scholarship) that Jesus was a god or claimed to be God. That is a later Christian invention.

The Qur’an says: ‘He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, The Fashioner, to Him belong the most beautiful names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, do declare His praises and glory. And He is the Exalted in Might, The Wise. (Qur’an 59:24)

"The most beautiful names belong to God: so call on Him by them;..." (7:180)

It is not possible to perfectly translate the names and attributes of Allah from their original Arabic into English. However, here are some fairly close explanations of three of them:

Al-Quddus means ‘The Most Holy’

Al-Hakim means ‘The Most Wise’

Al-Wadud means ‘The Most Loving’

God says in His Book, the Holy Qur’an, warning Christians:

"People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him - He is above having a son." (4:171)

Paul

Monday, July 30, 2007 4:09:00 pm  

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