QURAN IN THE PEWS
JESUS IN THE QURAN
This weekend, the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston along with Christian communities in Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit will initiate a series of sermons that have been designed to produce an ecumenical reconciliation between Christianity and Islam.
In addition to the sermons, the Sunday school lessons will center on the inspired teachings of the Prophet Mohammad.
Qurans will be placed in the pews next to the Bibles.
The concept of Chrislam, now embraced by such preachers as Rick Warren and Robert Schuller, appears to have emerged from a program on the meaning of “love your neighbor” at Grace Fellowship Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “In 2001, like most Americans, we were pretty awakened to the true Islamic presence in the world and in the United States,” says Jon Stallsmith, the outreach minister at Grace Fellowship. “Jesus says we should love our neighbors. We can’t do that without having a relationship with them.”
Stallsmith maintains that a rapprochement between Muslims and Christians can be achieved by the fact that Jesus is mentioned twenty-five times in the Quran.
The Chrislam movement has gained impetus by statements from President George W. Bush and that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the same God and by Rick Warren’s reference to Isa (the Muslim name for Jesus) in his prayer at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Only 30 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Muslims, according to a Pew Forum poll. At the same time, more than half the country says they know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about the Islamic faith.
“The recent political developments and the fact that we’re fighting two wars in Muslim countries should sharpen that need to know how to talk to these guys,” Stallsmith insists “We want to find peace, reconciliation around a scriptural understanding of Jesus.”
Jesus in the Quran is neither the only-begotten Son of God nor the Messiah who was divinely appointed to restore the House of David. He is rather viewed as a prophet who was appointed by Allah to prepare mankind for the coming of Mohammad.
In the Quran, Jesus neither suffers nor dies on the cross but is rather raised alive into heaven:
“That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto the himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise” (4: 157-158)
The victim at Calvary, Islam teaches, was either Simon of Cyrene or Judas Iscariot.
The Quran mentions that Jesus was born of the virgin Maryam – - not by an immaculate conception but rather the will of Allah and that He performed miracles to show the Jewish people that He was a maseh in the manner of Moses and Ibrahim (Abraham):
“In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary. Say: “Who then hath the least power against God, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and all every – one that is on the earth? For to God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For God hath power over all things” (5:17).
Belief in the divinity of Jesus is condemned in Islam as shirk (filth).