April 30, 2021

Exploring Islam 10

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Exploring Islam

10. The Jesus of Islam

Part 1 - A Prophet with Miraculous Signs

Today we start looking at how Islam views Jesus. He is not the most important person in Islam, which is reserved for Muhammad, but as he is for Christianity it is prudent to understand how Muslims view him. This will be released over 3 successive weeks…

As we have seen in previous sections Islam views many characters from the Old Testament as Islamic prophets and the same is said of Jesus from the New Testament. Islam considers their understanding of who Jesus was and his religious affiliation to be the original correct one, and that Christianity has over time corrupted this truth to place him as the forerunner for their religious system.

As a prophet he was blessed by Allah with miracles in order to convince those who saw him of his divine messenger status. One of these was the production of the holy book called the Gospel which Islam views as containing a similar message to that of the Qur’an, but specifically given by Allah to the people of Israel. Jesus’ role as a prophet was to reach out to the Jewish people and properly teach them about Allah through using the existing Islamic version of the Torah (or Old Testament law) and his Gospel (Qur’an 5:49).

However, no original Islamic versions of these writings have been found. Most Muslims are not challenged by this as they place supreme authority on the Qur’an’s testimony. In addition to the Gospel Jesus displayed other signs, the first being his miraculous birth to a virgin named Mary.

She says - Qur’an 5:47 – ‘My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal has touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah creates what He will. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only Be! And it is.’

The account of Jesus’ birth in the Qur’an is remarkably similar to that found in the Christian Bible. However, the Qur’an also affirms that Jesus was capable of speaking ‘like that of an adult’ even when he was only a baby (Qur’an 5:110). This verse also lists other miracles Jesus did through the will and power of Allah; he breathed life into a lump of clay which turned into a bird, he healed leapers, and raised the dead. Jesus was indeed a prominent figure during his day.

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This now is available to buy as a book on Amazon :

UK/Europe - £3 - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

USA - $7 - http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

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April 29, 2021

Exploring Islam 09

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Exploring Islam

9. The possibility of Salvation

We have previously looked at the concept of sin in Islam and Christianity, now we shall naturally move onto their ideas of salvation. Salvation is the common idea that there is a need to be saved from punishment and condemnation for sinful acts, ultimately seen in going to Paradise and Heaven. Paradise for the Muslim is not about spending time in the presence of Allah as his transcendence still remains even here. For the Christian, Heaven is all about worshipping God directly in his presence in a way which is not fully possible now because of sin. This fundamental difference can help us see how and why their routes for salvation are equally dissimilar.

 

Salvation Within Islam

Within Islam salvation is mostly a concept based upon works seen in belief and actions;

Qur’an 3:57 – ‘But as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards.’

It is something which at first glance is achievable by the Muslim on their own, unlike a Christian who believes that only God can help them out of their sinful predicament. Recognising that you are a slave unto Allah, after all this is what the word ‘Muslim’ literally means, and that it is your duty to be obedient to his law in the way you live your life.

However, despite the most ardent attempts by the most committed Muslim does not guarantee entrance into Paradise. Allah’s will in deciding who does gain entry is always above any actions by any person even if they are in accordance to the law. Ultimately, a Muslim’s salvation is in the hands of Allah, in a way predestined, and they will never know for sure their fate.

Qur’an 7:178 – ‘Whoever Allah guides - he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray - it is those who are the losers.’

Salvation Within Christianity

(For more about salvation in Christian thought on this website, please do click here. )

These ideas are in stark contrast with salvation found in Christianity, of which only a summary is presented. In order for forgiveness to be given by God for humanity’s sin punishment must be borne by someone. Instead of every individual suffering death for their disobedience God, in Jesus Christ, chose to suffer the penalty of death on their behalf.

1 Peter 2:24 – ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.’

This is something alien to the Muslim where a substitutionary sacrifice for sin is outright refused as even possible. We will talk about how Islam views Jesus in a later podcast. Earning salvation for the Christian is therefore not achieved by their own efforts or successes even though the Bible does advocate a way of life which God wishes. Instead, forgiveness is a gift to humanity out of God’s grace, love and desire to have a real personal relationship with his creations which would not be possible with sin in the way.

Ephesians 2:8 – ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.’

Although there are concepts of predestination within Christianity, salvation once accepted by a person and confirmed by the Holy Spirit is guaranteed by God giving a sense of peace and assurance which a Muslim is forever searching for.

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This now is available to buy as a book on Amazon :

UK/Europe - £3 - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

USA - $7 - http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

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John RW Stott

Pioneer Outreach Worker

Today on Partakers Podcasts, we are looking back on the life of one of the most influential leaders of the Christian Church in the 20th Century. 27th April 2021 was the centenary of his birth. That leader, was John Stott. Come on in!

Introduction

G'day and welcome to Partake!  Tonight I want to give a reflection somebody who is indeed a servant of the Lord and took great delight in all of Scripture.  That person, is John RW Stott. By necessity, this is just a very brief introduction of the life of Reverend John Stott, and I concentrate mainly on his role as an evangelist. John Stott holds that he is more "an activist than a thinker", which is certainly evident in his ministry as a pioneer outreach worker.  From the evidence of his life, we can see that has indeed fulfilled this thought.

Together we look briefly at:

His life and ministry

Being a pioneering outreach worker

His outreach theology

Outreach locally

Outreach globally

Influence

A lesson to be heeded

 

Conclusion

John Stott's life exemplifies radical outreach and innovation, blended with a desire to serve Jesus Christ as Lord.  He is truly one of the twentieth centuries master servants of Jesus Christ.  To the staff and many members of the congregation of All Souls Langham Place down through the years, he is simply known as "Uncle John".  He is unique in the Anglican church in that he has always been associated with the one church throughout his life and ministry. As we have seen here briefly, he was certainly one of them, and it is all to the glory of God that He raised up his servant, Uncle John.

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