Islam and the Gospel

The Islamic Curtain separating Muslim countries from
the rest of the world is every bit as impenetrable as the
Iron Curtain ever was, but who hears a word of it in the
media? In Saudi Arabia, for example, which Americans
died to protect, there is a total blackout on anything
Christian; one cannot carry a Bible on the street or have a
Bible study in the privacy of one’s own home. Even in our
embassy, over which the American flag flies, Christian
church services are banned. It is officially the death
penalty in Saudi Arabia and some other Muslim countries
(and enforced unofficially elsewhere) for a Muslim to
convert to any other religion.

Only Muslims can be citizens of Saudi Arabia. Even in
Arab countries where shari’a (Islamic law) is not enforced
by the government, Islam’s influence prevents freedom of
speech, of the press, of religion and of conscience. In PLO
territories, Christian Arabs, who once had freedom under
Israel, now suffer persecution, imprisonment and death
for their faith. Yet neither the UN nor our own government
protest such oppression behind the Islamic curtain.
Muslims build mosques and worship freely in the West,
but in their own countries they deny such freedoms to
others. Instead of reporting this hypocrisy, the world media
cover it up. One Midleast author writes,
Islam is…more antagonistic to the Christian faith
than Communism ever was….In Communist China
today, Christianity still thrives. But confession of
Christ by a national in an Islamic country is regarded
as high treason….[N]ot even an official Church that
a Communist government could allow is
permitted…in an Islamic country. (G.J.O. Moshay,
Who Is This Allah? Dorchester, 1994, p. 111)
Islam spread rapidly under Muhammad and his
successors through jihad (“holy war”). Muhammad
himself planned 65 campaigns and personally led 27
involving naked aggression and treachery. This incredible
“evangelism” made “converts” by the millions at the point
of a sword. At its peak, Islam had conquered all of North Africa and almost took over Europe.
Islam continues its conquest worldwide. Today’s
invaders are millions of immigrants who make converts
to Islam through misrepresentation. One sees on TV wellcoifed
and fashionably dressed women who claim to be
converts to Islam and testify to its joys and peace-loving
ways. Yet in a Muslim country they would have to be veiled
with only their eyes showing, would have to wear plain
black full-length robes, could not drive a car, could be one
of four wives habitually mistreated by their husband, to
be divorced by his mere denunciation, virtual slaves under
shari’a. Oddly enough, Hillary Clinton, National
Organization of Women (NOW), and other outspoken
champions of women’s rights are silent about Islam’s
notorious abuse of women.

The Goal of Islam
Islam’s earnest goal, set forth in the Qur’an (three
versions were consulted) and hadith (Islamic written
tradition), remains the same: to bring all mankind into
submission (that’s what “Islam” means) and to kill or
enslave all “infidels”(i.e., unbelievers in Allah and
Muhammad his prophet—Surah 2:190-92;4:76;5:33;
9:5,29,41;47:4, etc.). Islam (in obedience to the Qur’an
and Muhammad’s example) is the driving force behind
most terrorism today. Muhammad declared, “The last hour
will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews and the
Muslims kill them.”
Westerners naively accept Allah, who inspired
Muhammad, as the God of the Bible. Yet Allah has no son,
and rejects the Trinity (4:171), is unknowable, and was
the pagan idol/god of Muhammad’s tribe before he was
born. Allah tells Muslims, “Take not the Jews and
Christians for friends…slay the idolaters [infidels] wherever
ye find them….Fight against those who…believe not
in Allah nor the Last Day” (5:51;9:5,29,41). But the triune
God of the Bible wants men to know Him (Jer 9:24), a
knowledge essential to salvation (Jn 17:3). Jews are His
“chosen people” (Ex 6:7; Lv 20:26; 1 Chr 16:13; Ps 105:6,
etc.) and Christians are His dearly loved children (Rom
8:16,21; Gal 3:26; Eph 1:5;5:1, etc.).
Instead of conversion by force, Christ said that His
disciples did not fight because His kingdom was not of this
world (Jn 18:36). Indeed, He told His disciples, “Love your
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that
hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you
and persecute you” (Mt 5:44).
Christ gave His life to save sinners, and His followers
must be willing to lay down their lives to bring this good
news to the world. Biblical salvation is a free gift paid for
by the death of Christ, who said, “go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). That
command includes today’s one billion Muslims. They
present a tremendous (and inescapable) challenge to every
Christian. But how can we bring the gospel to those who
may be killed for believing it, or who may kill us for offering
it to them? To die fighting infidels is considered to be the
most sure way for a Muslim to gain Paradise. Yet Christ
also died for Muslims, and His love compels us.
Attempts to evangelize Muslims have had little success
for obvious reasons. Lately, however, a new and seemingly
more fruitful approach is being adopted: using Muslim
scriptures to present Christ. In this regard, several former
Muslims have written some helpful material.
The hadith attests to the virgin birth, sinless life and
miracles of Christ, who is called “the Word of Allah.” Some
portions of the Qur’an, too, speak highly of Christ: that He
was born of Mary as a virgin (Surah 3:45-47; 21:91, etc.);
He is the highest example (43:57); and He alone is called
“Isa,” which means Savior (3:45). Whereas Muhammad was
unable to perform miracles (17:90-96; 29:50-52, etc.),
Christ did so (2:252-53;3:49); and unlike others such as
Moses who did miracles at God’s command, Jesus did
miracles on His own initiative (26:63, etc.), even raising the
dead (3:49;5:110;36:78-79, etc.). Further, the Qur’an
declares that Muhammad was a sinner (9:43;40:55;47:19;
48:2;294:1-3, etc.), but Jesus was sinless (19:17-19).
In spite of the honor and reverence accorded Jesus,
however, the Jesus of Islam is not the Jesus of the Bible
but “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4)—so be careful.
The Traditions of Islam
While the Qur’an in its early passages honors at least
parts of the Bible as “the Book” and both Jews and
Christians as “the people of the Book,” it often contradicts
the Bible: It denies that Jesus is God (3:59,62;4:171) and
that He died on the cross (4:157-58; 5:116-20) for our sins.
Early tradition held that at Christ’s request a look-alike
disciple rescued Him from the cross by dying in His place.
Other passages, however, seem to declare that Christ did
indeed die (3:33,55;5:117;19:33), and many Islamic
scholars take that view today. The Qur’an denies that one
person could die for another (17:13-15; 35:18). Actually,
it says that no “soul laden [i.e., sinner] bears the load [sin]
of another.” Since Jesus was without sin, He would have
to be an exception.
For the sinner to be righteously forgiven, God himself
had to pay the penalty demanded by His justice; but that
concept is foreign to Islam. The Qur’an breeds uncertainty:
“Forgiveness is only incumbent on Allah toward
those who do evil in ignorance [and] then turn quickly
[in repentance] to Allah….Lo! Allah pardoneth…all save
[except] that to whom he will not….” (4:17,106,110,
116). Neither “ignorance” nor “quickly” are defined nor
why Allah forgives some and not others. Nor does
repentance guarantee forgiveness.
Ayatollah Khomeini declared, “Even if Salman
Rushdie (author of The Satanic Verses) repents and
becomes the most pious man of all time, it is incumbent
upon every Muslim to employ everything he has, his life
and his wealth, to send him to hell.” In contrast, the Bible
offers forgiveness to all. Christ even died to redeem
those who hated Him, and asked His Father to forgive
those who crucified Him (Lk 23:34).
No Repentance Possible
In real life, Allah’s forgiveness never comes in time
to prevent a hand, foot or ear from being cut off as the
penalty for stealing. Hundreds of Iraqis mutilated by this
inhumane Islamic decree flee to camps bordering that
country. Yet kidnaping requires no such mutilation
because a person is not considered to be property.
Fornication also requires no such mutilation, while petty
thievery does.
The Antichrist (Dajjal) is a major topic of the hadith,
which warns of his coming. He is called the “false Christ”
who will deceive many near the end of time. The hadith
teaches that Jesus will return at the end to destroy the
Dajjal. Belief in “the Last Day” is an essential part of the
Muslim’s faith (2:62).
Of course, seeking to win Muslims by quoting the
Qur’an and hadith could imply that these Islamic
writings are inspired of God. Even M.N. Anderson, who
has done such excellent work, fell into that trap in Proud
to be a Muslim at p. 6: “Although it was Gabriel [equated
in Islam with the Spirit of Allah] that conveyed the
Qur’an to him, he [Muhammad] was referred to the
people of the Book for assurance, when in doubt
concerning the Qur’an.” Unfortunately, that sounds as
though the Qur’an was inspired of God, and that the
people of the Book (Jews and Christians) would confirm
its teachings from the Bible. That implication would
tragically confirm Muslims in their error.
The Qur’an’s contradictions of the Bible are excused
by claiming that the Bible was corrupted. But the Qur’an
was sent to stand “as a guardian” over the Bible (5:48);
therefore, if the Bible was corrupted, the Qur’an failed.

The Muslim’s Holy Book itself admits that much of its
text is ambiguous (3:7); Muslims are even to ask “the
People of the Book [Bible]” for enlightenment (21:7)!
The Qur’an also contradicts itself: Allah created
everything “in the twinkling of an eye” (54:49,50), “in
two Days” (41:9,12), “in four Days” (41:10), “in six Days”
(7:54, 10:4;32:4), “a Day,” equaling “a thousand years”
(32:5) and also “fifty thousand years” (70:4); Jesus is
not the Son of God (4:171), yet He is (19:17-21), etc.
There are scientific errors in the Qur’an. Even
Arabian legends are recounted as actual happenings.
The Qur’an contains much superstition and occultism,
especially in its references to jinn (genies).
Avoiding Wrong Impressions
In quoting the Qur’an and hadith we must carefully
avoid the impression that we are endorsing these
writings. Consider Paul’s discussion with the
philosophers on Mars Hill: “…as certain also of your own
poets have said” (Acts 17:28). Paul was not suggesting
that these writers were inspired of God—and he went
beyond them to present the gospel. Likewise, we must
lovingly go beyond what the Qur’an and hadith say
about Jesus to present the true gospel; otherwise there
is no basis for salvation.
For a Muslim to become a true Christian he must
renounce Islam’s false god, Allah, and its false gospel of
salvation by works. Unfortunately, the gospel is being
compromised to make it appealing to Muslims. (In the
West it’s being made appealing to everyone.) Many
“converts” have never understood the gospel and thus
have not believed that which is “the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom 1:16). The
gospel is definitely not in the Qur’an. Yet Muslims are
supposedly being saved by heeding it. The author of
Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam (NavPress,
1997) gives the testimony of a Muslim “converted” to
Christianity in Pakistan (p. 27): “As I was listening to
the Qur’an read on the radio day after day, I heard that
Christ was highly honored…and near-stationed to God.
I said to myself, ‘If I wanted someone to intercede for
me to God, who would be better than someone like
Christ…?’ And so I prayed, ‘Lord Isa [Jesus], please come
to my help. I want to devote myself to God through you.
Since you are highly honored and sitting near Him, you
can do it.’ ” The author then comments, “After that, he
felt like a changed man, much happier than before….”
This is a delusion similar to that of those who say,
“Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?…and
in thy name done many wonderful works?”, to whom the
Lord responds, “I never knew you: depart from me…” (Mt
7:21-23). Asking Islam’s Isa to intercede for oneself will
not save. One must believe the gospel to be saved: “[H]ow
that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:1-4); “That
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
eternal life” (Jn 3:15). That gospel is not in the Qur’an,
and there is nothing in this “convert’s” testimony to
indicate that he knew or believed it.
The same author declares that “60 percent of Muslims
who are approached with the methods explained in this
book put their trust in Christ….” Yet Christ and His apostles
experienced no such percentage of converts. Jesus said
that few would be saved (Mt 7:13-14). The author enthusiastically
refers to Muslims converted to Christ “while
remaining [for years] in the fold of their Islamic community…
without becoming detestable to their own communities”
(p.10). But Jesus warned His disciples, “And ye
shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake…” (Mt 10:22;
Jn 15:20). All men, except Muslims?
We want to be wise, and not to needlessly offend in our
presentation of the gospel (1 Cor 10:32), whether to
Muslims or anyone else to whom the Lord gives us the
grace to present the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph
3:8). But there is an unavoidable offense because of Christ
(Mt 26:31; Rom 9:33; 1 Pt 2:8) and the Cross (Gal 5:11).
We must be careful that we actually present the gospel
which one must believe to be saved. It will only damn souls
if in our zeal to get the world to accept the gospel we preach
another gospel acceptable to the world.
—Dave Hunt
Reprint July 2002