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What’s the main idea?
On his many caravan rides along the trading route between
Syria and Arabia, a merchant named Muhammad observed people of
all kinds of faiths. He became increasingly concerned that
people were straying from ethical and moral responsibility. In
A.D. 610, when Muhammad was 40 years old, the angel Gabriel
allegedly commanded him to become a prophet, calling people
back to the truth. The foundation of Islam was laid.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the world (after
Christianity), claiming one billion followers, called Muslims.
The religion hangs on the phrase, "There is no god but Allah
and Muhammad is his prophet." Allah (Arabic for "God") is
alone to be worshiped. So it’s a big mistake to think Muslims
view Muhammad the same way Christians view Jesus. Muhammad was
not a deity to be worshiped, but the last and greatest
prophet -- someone who brought a perfect message from God.
Muslims aren’t concerned as much about the right beliefs as
they are about the right actions. In "submitting to the will
of God" (that’s the meaning of the word "Islam"), they stick
to the Five Pillars, a set of important requirements that
includes regular charity, praying five times a day, and making
at least one hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca (Islam’s holy city).
In addition to this, most Muslims devoutly refrain from
alcohol, drugs, gambling, and certain foods such as pork. The
Qur’an (or Koran), which Muslims believe is the written
recollection of the visions Muhammad received, is the most
important text, although our Old and New Testaments are also
significant in Islam.
ANY COMMON GROUND?
Christians and Muslims share a lot of similar beliefs. For
instance, Moses, Jacob, and David are influential in both
faiths. And Muslims have enormous respect for Jesus, seeing
him as the second-greatest prophet. Muslims also believe in
Jesus’ virgin birth and his miracles, even saying he’s the
WHAT SETS US APART?
Muslims don’t believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and
they consider the Christian claim of Jesus’ divinity
blasphemous. In Islam, Muhammad is the greatest and most
authentic prophet. While they think highly of the Bible,
Muslims think the Qur’an is the true Word of God. Most
significantly, the Christian concept of grace is completely
absent in Islam. Allah is relatively cold and removed, and the
principles of right and wrong, do’s and don’ts, form the
foundation of the faith.
Dr. James Lewis, Associate Professor of World Religions at
Wheaton College and Campus Life.
June 26, 2002
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King.’
- Charles Wesley
Donald Walker, Jr.
Listen to this song of praise about the incarnation written by Graham Kendrick:
Meekness and majesty, human and deity, in
perfect harmony the one who is God.
Lord of eternity dwells in humanity, kneels in
humility and washes our feet.
Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible, love
indestructible in frailty appears,
Lord of infinity, stooping so tenderly lifts our
humanity to the heights of his throne.
O what a mystery. Meekness and majesty. Bow
down and worship, for this is your God.
(Graham Kendrick, "Meekness and Majesty" found in Seasoning the Season, Mainstay Church Resources, p. B.146)
We don’t seem to want to worship a God who’s too big, too authoritative. We seem more comfortable with a deity who’s more ma...
Because Jesus was God, He could not sin. He could sin as a man, but He could not as God. It would be like taking a hollow cane pole and a steel rod that is small enough in diameter to fit through the pole. The cane pole represents Jesus’ humanity; the steel rod represents His deity. If you took just the cane pole and tried to break it over your knee, you would eventually break it. Jesus the man could eventually be broken by sin---give in to temptation. However, if you put the steel rod through the cane pole, you could not break it. Similarly, the steel rod represents the divine nature of Jesus. Consequently, because Jesus, the human, was also divine, He could not break and commit sin.
"Several years ago Time published some revealing statistics. It reported that every year 36 to 77 of every 100,000 physicians in our country commit suicide, three times the rate of the general population … Los Angeles psychiatrist Robert Litman offers his explanation: ’They believe themselves to be omnipotent, semi-deities in a white smock’ … It’s not easy playing God. After trying it for a while and failing, the physicians have to admit they are failing. Omnipotence is beyond them, so they turn, the article says, to drugs, alcohol, psychotherapy, and eventually suicide."
Dr. LeRoy Lawson, A Strength Not My Own, 15.
There is evidence for the deity of Jesus -- good, strong, historical , cumulative evidence; evidence to which an honest person can subscribe without committing intellectual suicide.
SOURCE: -- John Stott
"The Easter event, so they affirm,
demonstrated Jesus’ deity; validated his teaching;
attested the completion of his work of atonement for sin;
confirms his present cosmic dominion and his coming reappearance as Judge; assures us that his personal pardon, presence, and power in people’s lives today is fact; and guarantees each believer’s own reembodiment by ...
"There exists in the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, a sense of Deity."
"It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity... But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continuing investigation of the great subject of the Deity."
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, vol. 1, 1855 (Pasadena, Tex.: Pilgrim Publications, 1975), 1.