Summary: This sermon explores nine fundamental differences between Christian and Muslim beliefs.
People have long talked about the idea that “all religions are basically saying the same thing.”
This morning we want to examine that idea a little more closely when it comes to Christians and Muslims. Muslims mention Jesus and claim to revere him, so we ask the question, “Do Muslims believe in Jesus?”
In order to answer that question, we’re going to be looking this morning at some of the key differences between Muslim and Christian belief. I realize that nine points are a lot for a sermon and, to be honest, I wanted to cut it down some, but each of these ideas is so basic and so important that we really need to try to cover them all.
Nine Fundamental Differences In Muslim and Christian Beliefs:
1. CHRISTIAN: The Bible is God’s Word.
MUSLIM: The Quran is God’s Word.
- We as Christians believe that the Bible - Old and New Testament - is our authoritative Word for God.
- Muslims believe that the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus (while being on their list of holy books) have been corrupted by Christians and Jews to the point where they are not fully reliable. The Quran is God’s most recent and final work - it supercedes all others.
2. CHRISTIAN: Jesus is the Son of God.
MUSLIM: Jesus is one of the prophets.
- Christian belief is plainly stated in John 10:30 - Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”
- Conversely, Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet like Ezekiel or Daniel, but not as important a prophet as Muhammad.
- In fact, the very idea that God had a son is repugnant to Muslims. The Quran states in Surah
4:17 - “Jesus. . . was only a messenger of Allah. . . Far is it removed from His transcendent
majesty that He should have a son.” For Muslims, being a son is a pampered and privileged
position, not a role associated with being a servant or enduring a cross.
3. CHRISTIAN: Jesus died on the cross.
MUSLIM: Jesus did not die on the cross.
- V. 5 of our passage this morning alludes (“dead in trespasses. . .alive together with Christ”) to the essential Christian belief that Jesus died on the cross. In fact, that’s about as essential as you
can get when you’re talking Christian beliefs.
- Muslims believe, however, that Jesus was condemned to die on the cross, but was not crucified. The Quran states in Surah 4:155 - “they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them.” Many Muslims believe that Judas was crucified in Jesus’ place and that Jesus went straight to heaven. The Muslim view is that if He died, He failed.
4. CHRISTIAN: God is the source of good.
MUSLIM: Allah is the source of good and evil.
- Muslims believe that Allah is the source of good and evil and that his will is supreme. Allah is
capricious - whatever he does is right simply because he did it, no matter what the ethics of it. Therefore, there is a strong sense of fatalism and predestination - Allah is absolute will and we are all just puppets.
- The Quran states in Surah 37:94 - “All other things are passive. Allah alone is active.”
- One can easily see where the idea that there are no ethical boundaries within which God will remain could quickly lead down a path toward justifying the actions we saw on September 11.
5. CHRISTIAN: God is love.
MUSLIM: Love is not used to describe Allah.
- V. 4 of our passage clearly shares the love of God.
- Allah’s supreme attribute is justice, not love. Actually, love is almost never used to describe
Allah in the Quran.
6. CHRISTIAN: God is our Father.
MUSLIM: It is blasphemous to call Allah “Father.”
- In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus invited us to pray with the affectionate title “Father.”
- For Muslims, the underlying issue is that Allah is unknowable. You cannot really know him; the best you can hope for is to identify his actions.
- Allah is not affected by our actions or attitudes. Conversely, the Bible teaches that our Father created us specifically for a relationship.
7. CHRISTIAN: Humans are inherently sinful.
MUSLIM: There is no original sin.
- V. 1 of Ephesians 2 explains our situation when it comes to sin.
- Muslims believe that Adam and Eve sinned, but they repented and were restored. They believe
that no permanent consequences came from their actions. Therefore, because no one is lost,
there is no need for a Savior.
8. CHRISTIAN: Salvation comes by grace.
MUSLIM: Salvation comes by works.