Witnessing for Christ has never been and will never be an easy task and this is probably truer today than ever before. Today, any notion of there being an absolute, exclusive, narrow ‘truth’ in the spiritual realm flies totally in the face of the ‘spirit of this age’ – an age that is characterised by an unwillingness to accept the ‘truth’ of absolute ‘truth’, that promotes as dogma, both religiously and politically, the supposed ‘truth’ of ‘truth’ being relative and that despises those who would preach an absolute ‘truth’, such as faithful Christian witnesses [a good example was both the audience and some panel reaction to the participation of Stephen Green of Christian Voice in the BBC’s Question Time on 29 September 2005] and ministers of The Gospel. In recent years the focus of the world has been very much directed to the religion of Islam. Constantly high-ranking politicians such as Tony Blair and George W Bush tell us that ‘Islam means peace’. Well, even the new Pope has more sense than to agree with such an erroneous statement. In a report of an interview given by the Pope to journalists, the Roman Catholic Zenit News Agency reported as follows [25 July 2005]
Journalists asked the Holy Father today, after a meeting with priests, religious and deacons of the Diocese of Val d’Aosta, where he is on vacation… if Islam can be regarded as a “religion of peace,” Benedict XVI responded: “I wouldn’t like to generalize. It certainly has elements that could make peace prevail; it also has other elements.”
The truth is that Islam means ‘submission’ to the will of Allah and the supposed fruit of this submission is ‘peace’. This misrepresentation of the meaning of Islam [‘peace’] was well illustrated in email exchanges I had earlier this year with the BBC. I wrote to them to challenge a view expressed on a Newsround Week of programmes on Islam that ‘Islam means peace’. This was part of the BBC’s response to me –
For our report we asked a young British Moslem to explain to our audience of under 12s what Islam means to him. He said in the report ‘Islam means peace, which means we try to be modest, kind and honest to all people.’ This was his own interpretation as a young practicing Moslem. We spoke to his family who said ‘Islam is often translated as ‘submission’ but that is only due to the relative poverty of expression in the English language…..A precise translation of Islam would be ‘the act of peacefully accepting (God)’. Also a BBC World service guide to Islam states that: ‘”Islam” is an Arabic word which means surrendering oneself to the will of God, and achieving peace and security by doing so.’
The following is part of my response to them
As regards the meaning of ‘Islam’ the definitions that you cited actually confirm what I said in my email that Islam means SUBMISSION – it does not mean ‘peace’. Your first definition was ‘the act of peacefully accepting God’ – that simply means SUBMITTING to God in a peaceful manner – it does not mean that the word ‘Islam’ itself means ‘peace’. Your second definition was ‘surrendering oneself to the will of God and achieving peace and security by doing so’ – that simply again means SUBMITTING to God and the ‘fruit’ of that SUBMISSION will be ‘peace and security’ but again it does not mean that the word ‘Islam’ itself means ‘peace’. In these definitions ‘peace’ is simply the manner of SUBMITTING and the fruit of SUBMITTING as required by ‘Islam’.
Not only is Islam being misrepresented to non-Muslims, including Christians, but sadly, on the other side of the coin, supposed ‘Christianity’ has for a long, long time now been misrepresented to Muslims and this is what makes the task of Christians witnessing to Muslims even more difficult. Muslims have been fed with a raft of false ‘Christian’ statements as to what the Christian Gospel is and also as to how Christianity relates to their non-Christian religion of Islam.
This devilish deception has weighed heavily with me for some time now and so I have written an ‘outreach letter’ tract that I hope Christians will want to use as a tool for reaching Muslims with the true “gospel of Christ”. It is entitled ‘Dear Muslim neighbour’ and the text of the tract reads as follows –
Dear Muslim neighbour,
I am writing to you to correct a grave disservice that has been done to you by some who claim to be ‘Christian’ leaders. Over many years they have said and done things in the name of ‘Christianity’ that do not accurately reflect the true beliefs and practices of Christianity as they relate to the beliefs and practices of non-Christian religions, such as Islam. My desire is to correct the false teachings and impressions that they have propagated so that you will actually have a true understanding of the genuine Christian position in a number of key areas.
As far as faithful Christians are concerned the only God-inspired written Scriptures are to be found in the 66 books of The Bible [39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books]. No other written books are considered by Christians to be Scripturesbecause God, in His Bible, forbids any other written works being regarded as Scriptures. This prohibition is found both in the Old Testament [Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee and thou be found a liar”] and also in the New Testament [Revelation 22:18 “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book”].
This means that genuine Christians do not regard the ‘Scriptures’ of other religions as being God-inspired and authoritative, whether those ‘Scriptures’ are for instance ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ of Hinduism, ‘The Book of Mormon’ of Mormonism or as in your own case ‘The Koran’. In 1999 the Pope was pictured kissing a copy of ‘The Koran’. Some people claimed the Pope’s kiss was ‘a sign of respect for the book’ whilst others claimed it was the Pope ‘demonstrating his awareness of the suffering of the Iraqi people’.Whatever the reason for the Pope’s gesture is irrelevant – it is the gesture itself that is contrary to true Christian behaviour for the Pope was kissing a book that, as we shall see later, denies some very important truths about the Person and Work of God the Son, Jesus Christ. By this kiss Pope John Paul II was, in the eyes of faithful Christians, betraying the Lord Jesus Christ every bit as much as Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ with a kiss to His captors in the Garden of Gethsemane [Matthew 26:47-49 “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve came…Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus and said, Hail, master, and kissed him”].
This action of the Pope probably conveyed to you, a false and erroneous ‘Christian’ view of The Koran. Christians do not kiss books, even The Bible – we certainly reverence and seek to obey what God has revealed to us through its pages, but the materials, simply paper and possibly leather, are just the carriers of God’s truth, and are not themselves to be given any special, almost idolatrous, ‘holy’ respect.
The God of The Scriptures
In what is wrongly portrayed as a ‘Christian’ statement of faith, the Roman Catholic Church stated the following in Vatican Council II: Volume 1 on page 367 ‘But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day’. This statement is repeated in Paragraph 841 of what again is wrongly portrayed as a‘Christian’ statement of faith namely the 1994 Catechism of The [Roman] Catholic Church.
In 1999, the late Pope John Paul II said this during his general audience of May 5th “We Christians joyfully recognise the religious values we have in common with Islam. Today I would like to repeat what I said some years ago in Casablanca. ‘We believe in the same God, the God who created the world and brings His creatures to their perfection’.”
During a visit to America in June 2004, friends that I was staying with had video-taped a couple of religious panel discussions hosted by American broadcaster Larry King and in the course of one of these discussions a Roman Catholic priest, wrongly perceived to be a ‘Christian’, called ‘Father’ Michael Manning, stated to all [including his fellow panellists that included Jewish and Muslim religious representatives] that ‘Jews and Muslims worship The Father’ and by ‘The Father’ he meant the First Person of the Triune God revealed in the Bible.
True Christians would both repudiate and disassociate themselves from all these supposed ‘Christian’ statements that are in effect Roman Catholic statements. Muslims and many other religions have been ‘sold the lie’ that Rome represents ‘Christianity’ – nothing could be further from the truth. According to The Bible the ‘God’ of Islam and the ‘God’ of Christianity are most certainly not the same. Christians worship a Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed in The Scriptures, for example in Matthew 28:18-19“And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
When I watched ‘Father’ Michael Manning say that ‘Jews and Muslims worship The Father’ I immediately thought of several portions of The Scriptures that show that this is not true. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:14 “The Father [1st Person of the Triune Godhead] sent the Son [2nd Person of the Triune Godhead] to be the Saviour of the world”. Jews as well as Muslims do not believe this Biblical truth. In rejecting this they do not ‘adore the one, merciful [Triune] God’ as falsely stated in the Vatican Council IIdocuments and in the Catholic Catechism: Paragraph 841. By rejecting this truth they, according to The Scriptures actually insult ‘The Father’ that ‘Father’ Manning says they worship, as the following scripture clearly shows.
The Lord Jesus [2nd Person of the Triune Godhead] Himself said this in John 5:23 “He that honoureth not the Son [‘the Saviour of the world’] honoureth not the Father [1st Person of the Triune Godhead] who hath sent him”. Jews and Muslims neither‘honour’ nor ‘adore’ ‘The [true] Father’ as revealed in The Scriptures. The Koran of course rejects the Christian truth that Jesus Christ is God the Son in passages such as Sura 4:171 ‘…The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle and His Word…God is but one God. God forbid that He should have a son!’ Sura 5:17 [and Sura 5:72] ‘Unbelievers are those who declare: “God is the Messiah, the son of Mary”; and Sura 9:30-33 ‘…the Christians say the Messiah is the Son of God…They make of their clerics and their monks, and of the Messiah, the son of Mary, Lords beside God; though they were ordered to serve one God only. There is no God but Him’.
The Christian truth of the Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed in The Scriptures is clearly rejected in The Koran as we read in Sura 5:73 ‘Unbelievers are those that say “God is one of three”. There is but one God. If they do not desist from so saying, those of them that disbelieve shall be sternly punished’.
N J Dawood, in the introduction to his translation of The Koran, states on page x ‘The Koran accuses…the Christians of worshipping Jesus as the son of God…Having thus gone astray, they must be brought back to the right path…The Koran preaches the oneness of God’.
The statements made by the Roman Catholic Church, in the name of ‘Christianity’, that as far as ‘Christians’ and Muslims are concerned that ‘they adore the one, merciful God’ and that ‘We believe in the same God’ are patently not true as they are rejected by both The Bible and The Koran.
The Roman Catholic Church seeks to establish, in the name of ‘Christianity’, a common spiritual bond between ‘Christians’, Jews and Moslems by inferring that we are all the ‘spiritual offspring’ of a common ancestor, namely Abraham. This again is another lie thatThe Scriptures expose in Galatians 3:29 where the Apostle Paul writes “And if ye be Christ’s [i.e. Christians] then are ye Abraham’s seed [i.e. Abraham’s ‘spiritual offspring’] and heirs according to the promise”.
The Scriptures teach that The God of The Scriptures is not the God of Islam despite the ‘Christian’ pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Salvation of The Scriptures
In the section we have just considered on ‘The God of The Scriptures’ I quoted from the Roman Catholic Vatican Council II: Volume 1 documents in which, from a supposedly ‘Christian’ perspective they made reference to ‘the plan of salvation’. When it comes to the subject of ‘salvation’ it is important to know precisely what The Bible has to say on this most serious of all issues. When Joseph was told by an angel that Mary was going to “bring forth a son” he was also told “and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” [Matthew 1:21].
What then is “sin” and what are its consequences? “Sin” is defined in The Scriptures as “the transgression of the law” [1 John 3:4]. When someone breaks the “law” of God that person has sinned in the sight of God. So much for “sin” but what are its consequences? The scriptures show that they are twofold – (1) GOD’S ANGER (2) MAN’S GUILT. In ‘the plan of salvation’ there must be something that can turn away ‘God’s anger’ and that can remove ‘Man’s guilt’.
According to The Bible, what turns away God’s anger? In Exodus 12:13 God said to His people “when I see the blood, I will pass over you”. The applied blood of a sacrificed lamb [“without blemish” v 5] was able to deflect the anger of God poured out upon theland of Egypt. It was in biblical, theological terms what is known as a ‘propitiation’ for God’s anger.
What can remove Man’s guilt? Only full payment of the prescribed penalty can remove the guilt for an offence committed. In biblical, theological terms this is ‘expiation’ of guilt. God’s law did allow for payment of this penalty by a SUBSTITUTE who was both willing and able to discharge a debt or penalty on behalf of someone within his or her family circle who could not himself or herself pay the prescribed penalty. Such a SUBSTITUTE was known as a “kinsman redeemer” [see Leviticus 25:25 “If thy brother becomes poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold”].
The Apostle Paul wrote the following concerning the death of Christ on the cross at Calvary, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” [Romans 3:25] and the Apostle Peter said of the death of Christ that it was “as of a lamb without blemish” 1 Peter 1:19. The substitutionary death of Christ on the cross [“the just for the unjust” 1 Peter 3:18] was able to fully deal with the problem of God’s anger because of “sin”.
But what about the problem of Man’s guilt cause by his “sin”? To “expiate” means to bear away or remove and in the Bible we read in Hebrews 9:28 “So Christ was once offered to bear [away] the sins of many”.
The true ‘Christian’ understanding and ‘gospel’ [good news] concerning The Salvation of The Scriptures is based entirely upon the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ at Calvary and the evidence that His work was effective in accomplishing “salvation” for His peopleis that after 3 days He rose from the grave. This demonstrated that His sacrifice was acceptable to His Father and Christ is now seated in heaven until the time of His second coming when He will come to this world as its judge.
The ‘Christian gospel’ or The Salvation of The Scriptures are neatly summed up by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Brethren I declare unto you the gospel…by which also ye are saved…how 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”.
Any faithful ‘Christian’ presentation of ‘the plan of salvation’ will limit it to those who are trusting alone in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. As a Muslim, the Roman Catholic Church has falsely told you, in the name of ‘Christianity’, that you are in‘the plan of salvation’. The Koran actually teaches that Jesus Christ did not die at Calvary Sura 4:157 ’They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him’.
The Roman Catholic Church, again in the name of ‘Christianity’ also falsely tells those followers of other religions that ‘Those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere hear and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience, those too may achieve eternal salvation” [Vatican Council II: Volume 1; page 367]. Rome teaches that those who have never heard of Christ but who ‘do their best’ may achieve “salvation”. Rome also teaches falsely in the name of ‘Christianity’, as I wrote earlier, that Muslims are in ‘the plan of salvation’.
As a Muslim you will know what The Koran teaches about ‘salvation’ and about getting to Paradise – Sura 22: 56 ‘On that day God will reign supreme. He will judge them all. Those that have embraced the true Faith [Islam] and done good works shall enter the gardens of delight’. Sura 23:104 ‘[At the day of Resurrection] Those whose scales are heavy shall triumph but those whose scales are light shall forfeit their souls and abide in Hell for ever’.
According to Rome it is possible for individual non-Christians, including Muslims, to earn ‘salvation’ on the basis of their own individual actions or good deeds. This is not an honest presentation of the Christian understanding of ‘the plan of salvation’ as revealed inThe Scriptures. For Rome, in the name of ‘Christianity’, to say to you as a Muslim, that by being faithful to the teachings of Islam, that you are in ‘the plan of salvation’, is a total misrepresentation of The Salvation of The Scriptures.
The Bible teaches that ‘salvation’ is not based upon an individual’s works but is a gracious [unearned and unmerited] gift from God based solely upon the sinless life of Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross at Calvary. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus and said “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast” [Ephesians 2:8-9]. Trying to keep God’s law will never earn anyone “salvation”. Again the Apostle Paul stated this when he wrote to the Christians in Rome “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified [perfectly and permanently pardoned] by faith [in the work of Christ] apart from the deeds of the law” [Romans 3:28].
According to the Bible ‘salvation’ is only to be found in Christ or as the Apostle Peter said concerning Christ “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” [Acts 4:12].
The Peace of The Scriptures
The Scriptures teach that those who are in what Rome referred to as ‘the plan of salvation’ possess “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” [Philippians 4:7]. This is a “peace” which Jesus Christ promised to his disciples “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” [John 14:27]. When does someone receive this wonderful Peace of The Scriptures? It happens when they knowingly possessThe Salvation of The scriptures that we considered earlier. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome “Therefore being justified [perfectly and permanently pardoned] by faith [in the work of Christ] we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” [Romans 5:1].
When the Roman Catholic Church falsely asserted, in the name of ‘Christianity’, that ‘the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems’ she was holding out to you, as a Muslim, a false assurance of “peace” with God. “Peace” with God, according to true Christianity is found only in Jesus Christ and through acceptance of His Gospel. In the Old Testament Jesus Christ is referred to prophetically as “The Prince of Peace” [Isaiah 9:6] and in the New Testament the Apostle Paul twice refers in his writings to “the gospel of peace” [Romans 10:15 and Ephesians 6:15].
The Scriptures clearly teach that this “peace” has been earned alone by the work of Christ on the cross at Calvary. The Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 1:20 of Christ “having made peace through the blood of his cross”. The Bible warns against false prophets and priests who would proclaim “Peace, peace when there is no peace” [Jeremiah 6:14]. The ‘prophets and priests’ of the Roman Catholic Church have in effect been falsely saying to Muslims that as they are in ‘the plan of salvation’ they therefore possess ‘peace, peace, when there is no peace’ and in so doing they have done a great disservice to you as a Muslim and also to The Peace of The Scriptures.
The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ was The Prophet promised by God in Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren like unto me, unto him ye shall hearken”. This truth was confirmed in the New Testament as we read in John 1:45 “Philip findeth Nathanael and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth”.
A Prophet was one appointed to bring God to the people and after Christ there would be no more Prophets and in fact Christ warned against those who would claim to be Prophets as can be read in Matthew 24:11 & 24.
The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ was The Priest who would deal once and for all time with the problem of “sin”. A Priest was one appointed to bring people to God by offering a suitable sacrifice on their behalf and in Hebrews 10:12 & 14 we read this concerning Christ “this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified”.
The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is The King who will one day return to judge this world. We read concerning Christ in Revelation 19:11, 13 & 16 “And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge…And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God…And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.
The Peace of The Scriptures are to be found alone in a living relationship with God’s Prophet, Priest and King, the one revealed in The Scriptures to be Jesus Christ.
In writing to you my desire has been solely to accurately portray what are the true Christian beliefs and convictions in a number of crucial areas as opposed to the false set of supposed ‘Christian’ beliefs and convictions put forth, in particular, in the name of‘Christianity’, by the Roman Catholic Church. I pray that you will realise that in so doing it is certainly not my intention to insult or offend Muslims in any way but rather to reveal to them the true nature of “the glorious gospel of Christ” [2 Corinthians 4:4].
If you would like a free copy of further literature that explains in greater detail what the true Christian Gospel is, then please request it from me by writing to me at the address in the box below.
Yours, a Christian neighbour
© Copyright 2005.
- ‘Take Heed’ Publications
- 29 Edengrove Park,
- BT24 8Az
- Northern Ireland
This ‘outreach letter’ tract has been printed up on good quality green art paper as an ‘attractive’ 8-panel tract for distribution to Muslims and can be purchased direct from us at a cost of 10p per tract [it will cost more if purchased from Christian bookshops]
As you will see there is space on the tract for you to include your own contact details and to offer Christian literature that you deem suitable.
If ordering copies please also include an allowance for postage equivalent to 20% of the value of the tracts being ordered.
If you live outside the United Kingdom please email your order to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I shall reply to you with details of the costs including overseas postage and where applicable the currency equivalent [such as US Dollars or Euros]. Above all please pray for this outreach to Muslims.
The following ‘Order Form’ can be used for orders from people living within the United Kingdom.
Order form for copies of ‘Dear Muslim neighbour’
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- ‘Take Heed’ Publications
- 29 Edengrove Park,
- BT24 8Az
- Northern Ireland