A Muslim, an Evangelical, and Jesus Walk into a Bar …

It might well be that Jesus is the only one who would place an order. American Evangelicalism has longed harbored a strain of teetotalism while the Qur’an strictly forbids Muslims from drinking alcohol. Jesus, of course, turned water into wine, according to the Gospel of John.

Relations between Christians and Muslims have been on my mind lately not only because of the daily deluge of anguish coming from many Muslim-majority nations (most recently Pakistan), but also because the honors program that I direct at Gordon College recently hosted a local imam, Dr. Imam Talal Eid, on the topic of “How Muslims Read the Qur’an.” It was an instructive experience for my students and for me.

Any Christian reading the Qur’an will be struck by the significance that it accords to Jesus even if he not treated as the deity incarnate. What does the Qur’an say about Jesus? It might surprise you. Here are a few facts:

-Muslims believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus by Mary, announced to her by the angel Gabriel, who says: “‘I am only a messenger from your Lord, [to announce] to you the gift of a righteous son.’ She said: ‘How can I have a son, when no man hath touched me, nor am I unchaste?’ He said: ‘So your Lord said That is easy for Me [God]: And [We wish] to appoint him as a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us), and it is a matter decreed [by God]’” (Qur’an 19:16-21).

-Muslims believe that Jesus performed miracles, including raising people from the dead (Qur’an 5).

-Muslims believe in a version of the “resurrection,” but in their interpretation Jesus did not die; rather he was called up to be with God and he will come again: “God lifted him to His presence” (Qur’an 4).

-Muslims believe in the return of Jesus (as the Messiah) to earth, although the role and reason for his return differ from what Christians believe. In fact, for Muslims Jesus will return to earth to prove his mortality and to refute false beliefs held about him. He will live a normal life, marry, and then die as any other human.

-Muslims believe that before Jesus’ death he will vanquish the Antichrist, and all people will recognize and accept the true religion, Islam.

-Finally, many Muslims believe the Jesus himself foretold of another prophet, Mohammed, who would be sent. This is a common Muslim interpretation of John 14:16: “And I will give you another Counselor (i.e. Mohammed) to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth.”

To be sure, the huge difference remains that while Christians equate Jesus with the incarnate God and include Him as an aspect of God’s triune nature, Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet, albeit a very important one, sent by God to preach the essential oneness of God. In this view, deifying Jesus, making him a “partner” or an “associate” of God, constitutes a grave blasphemy against the oneness of God. For this reason, both the outer and inner Qur’anic inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem begin with a pointed rebuke to Christians: “In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate” (emphasis added).

These are some of the facts, essential for Christian-Muslim dialogue—a task today as difficult as it is important. I am grateful for Imam Talal Eid for his instruction.

(Incidentally, Dr. Eid is the founding director of the Boston Islamic Institute. He is an outspoken critic of violence done in the name of Islam (or of any religion). In May of 2007, he became the first Muslim cleric appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom . . . Finally, permit me to indulge in a brief advertisement: On September 21, 2015, the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College will host a conference, “Islam in the Classroom: The Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching about Islam in a Post 9/11 Age.” For further information, one could contact cfi@gordon.edu.)

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  • philipjenkins

    Terrific idea for a conference! All success to it.

  • Zina Ciceklic

    First of all Jesus turned water into wine, but the word Logos, from his words, people were drunk although they drank water: The Gospel of John 1: 1-5. The second wine is the blood, a secret night Jesus eats bread that is his body and drink the wine which is his blood, that Jesus eats and drinks himself, it is Ureboros, himself resurrected. And now this paralels Christianity – Islam: Islam is the third monotheistic religion of Abraham, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Prophet Muhammad refers to the voice of Allah in whose name suggests, most of the repeats of the Bible. Mohammed says the Quranic words that freely operate names and events recorded in the Bible and the Gospel, referring to the fact that Allah has declared one and the same learning only No Judaism and Christianity much what was blended and poorly understood, while the Prophet of Allah properly understood essence – so it is Allah most. So Jesus Christ is not the same, Jesus was a historical figure, Christ appears as Jesus died, Paul, whom God reveals that Christ is his son – the Son of God. Simply Paul claims that God is destined to this publication as a new religion, Christianity. Paul’s converts was a Jew and believed in Judaism, and when God has established for the apostles and is now a Christian. And now, Jesus was crucified by the Roman authorities for violating the laws of the Roman Empire, but it shows that the Jews forced the Romans to crucify Jesus for blasphemy against the Jewish law, which is now as Christ in the new religion of Christianity and the Son of God, and Christianity now frees Rome emperors for the crucifixion of Jesus: Romans 13: 1-7, which provides a strong incentive, without which the Gospel would not have got no chance. But that is really obtained the approval and support of the Roman emperors, because how do you explain Jesus’ crucifixion by the Roman authorities. And how will the Roman emperor support a religion that worships man and elevates him to the Son of God who was executed by one of the emperor’s own predecessor. Therefore, it is written in the Gospel by the Apostles who were not followers of Jesus, that Jews are somehow managed to force reportedly reluctant Roman authorities to crucify Jesus. With this in Romans 13: 1-7 when read it is clear that Christianity is totally a strong stimulation emperors. The prophet calls this confusion and says that Judaism and Christianity much what was blended and the rest is not understandable.

  • Jerry Lynch

    Better to read and study the Gospels yourself than to just repeat some propaganda about it.

  • Zina Ciceklic

    Please do not permit you to lay propaganda, very good, carefully and conscientiously and responsibly read the Epistle to the Galatians, and they shall know that and I’m not saying anything beyond this letter.

  • Thomas Hart, OSB

    I follow most of what you’re saying, but you do not indicate how the Qur’an addresses the crucifixion. You simply pass over it.

  • Zina Ciceklic

    After Jesus’ crucifixion and rate of ascent of Jesus to heaven, the prophet stepped back away, but the Gospel is separate the passion-suffering and to end in the sense of ‘passion’ and not suffering. The prophet says. way to Heaven is brutal, it can withstand only a man. Prophet maximizing the right conduct – One leader who warns that such a power of light and not as a prophet but as a man. Prophet Muhammad was near to Adam, and Jesus had to be crucified for the sins and falls, to resurrected sin and fall, the prophet asks that sin can not be forgiven, but must go beyond knowledge, the Prophet’s resurrection rebirth that transcends sin. Prophet revelation of the Qur’an let angels to fall down before the first man Adam: Sura II verses 28-32, that the Prophet Muhammad merges with Adam, and that is the power of light not as a prophet, but light a man who lives in Islam. So Prophet Muhammad himself learned as ‘Son of Man’ he was like Enoch who talks to God – Allah, and that climbs towards Allah. Jesus says, ‘God is spirit,’ John 4: 24, and the prophet says, ‘not to speak at his whim, it is the only publication that he published, Sura LIII verses 3-12, and then Surah LXXIV -‘ where Prophet ordered arise and warn ‘. So the spirit announces the publication of the Prophet, the Prophet says, spirit and life are two forces necessity between which set man, the spirit of man’s life gives meaning and possibility of highest development, almost tangible in the material plasticity points to the spirit, which he declares disclosed and prosecuted him immense power ‘Arise and warn.’ Prophet Muhammad first appearances as warner – warns that comes before the court, is by no means immediately appeared as the dominant leader of the ‘new order of Arab Muslims and the team has established a ranking of the Mind – Ummah planetary unity of Muslims and that failed as a leader of Islam would be reduced to a geographic morass. and the conquest of the Byzantine and Persian empires would not have happened. Prophet is above all a revolutionary and leader, he is the revolution replaced the existing Arab social order with the new founded radically different with a new social system. He is the founder of one indomitable creative process. He performs as a prophet of victory, pravovođenje One, One – Mahdi in the Revelation of John, Jesus avenger – the return of Jesus – Isa who will kill Dajjal or Ahriman-evil throughout the world and Jesus – Isa will kill the Dajjal and unite mankind. The prophet indicates that the second coming of Jesus to defeat evil in the world and the struggle of jihad continues until doomsday, the second coming of Jesus – Isa called Parusija – coming of the Mahdi – Isa that is Jesus of Revelation of John against al-Masih ad-Dajjal, Isis will descend on the site east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes, which will join the Mahdi in the war against the Dajjal whom to kill Jesus with a spear in the chest and then will unite all faith in the truth of Islam, without encouraging new religion. So the Prophet saw that the death of Jesus produces a critical situation that will give rise to many concerns as it approaches the collision with the evil of the world and the Day of Judgment, the Prophet is the guardian of Parousia, that wins the evil of the world. Therefore, the password victory Allahu Akbar, therefore the Prophet says, ‘The struggle must continue until the Day of Judgment, Allah has prescribed limit’ and that is a fact of Jihad, but it still used for violence as justification for their crimes. Today, this shows quite clearly.

  • Guest

    The Quran is false; I don’t care what it says. Islam is blasphemy.