Mar 24, 2004
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is buying space in local newspapers to advertise their views about Jesus Christ. The ad carries the headline, "More In Common Than You Think".
The advertisement quotes from a chapter in the Quran called al-imran. The quote in the advertisement is from verse 45:
"'Behold (O Mary!)' The Angel said, 'God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Christ (Masih or Messiah), Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the hereafter, and one of those brought near to God."
The ad goes on to state:
"Like Christians, Muslims respect and revere Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus is one of the greatest of God's prophets and messengers to humankind.
"Like Christians, every day, over 1.3 billion Muslims strive to live by his teachings of love, peace, and forgiveness. Those teachings, which have become universal values, remind us that all of us, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and all others have more in common than we think."
Christians and Muslims do have more in common than what most Americans realize. I've been educating Christians for over 20 years about the basic beliefs of Muslims and many are surprised to learn of what we have in common. But it is the distinction between the Islamic understanding of Jesus and the Christian understanding of Jesus that CAIR chooses to ignore and thus seek to confuse Americans.
It should be noted that Islam denies the historical truth of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. Forget the theological implications of the death of Jesus, Islam even denies the historical truth of his death.
Islam also denies the resurrection of Jesus, another historical truth which brings Jesus to a place of the highest honor in all of human history.
The CAIR advertisement states that, "over 1.3 billion Muslims strive to live by his teachings of love, peace, and forgiveness." CAIR does not seem to recognize that the teachings of Jesus about love, peace, and forgiveness are in the context of his crucifixion and resurrection. The passion of Jesus and his resurrection from death is the very means by which all humankind can experience God's love, peace, and forgiveness.
So by denying the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Islam actually diminishes the character of Jesus and greatly dishonors Jesus and his teachings in the most fundamental way.
Jesus demonstrated by his life, character, and teachings that he is more than a prophet. He is God himself who took on a human form.
The great Muslim theologian, Maududi, in his translation and commentary on the Quran, "The Meaning of the Quran", states about the verse of the Quran quoted by CAIR:
"This discourse is particularly addressed to the Christians and invites them to accept Islam. It clears Jesus and his mother not only from the stigma maliciously set upon them by the Jews, but also refutes the erroneous Christian creed of the Divinity of Jesus which had been formulated because of his miraculous birth."
The Quran also states, "Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him."
Islam knocks Jesus down from his throne and CAIR says that Islam respects and reveres Jesus.
It is as if an unbeliever refers to the creator of the universe as "the man upstairs" and then goes on to claim that his reference demonstrates his great respect for God. Or as if an artist immerses the symbol of the cross in a jar of urine and then claims to be honoring the cross.
Additionally, the quote from the Quran in the CAIR advertisement says the name given to Jesus is the Christ. Islam has very little teaching about the meaning of the word Christ. Islam has no understanding of the teachings from the great prophets Isaiah and Daniel about the Messiah.
So void of any real meaning of the word Christ and without understanding the message of some of the great writing prophets, CAIR claims to bring honor on the one of whom they in fact do not understand.
Followers of Christ should not be overly impressed when CAIR says what seem to be good things about Jesus. There is more difference between the Islamic teachings about Jesus and the Christian teachings about Jesus than CAIR wants you to know. The common ground they speak of in their newspaper advertisement has nothing to do with historical, orthodox Christianity.
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