Cover image for Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? : understanding the differences between Christianity and Islam
Title:
Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? : understanding the differences between Christianity and Islam
Author:
George, Timothy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
159 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
What is Islam? -- Ties that bind, scars that hurt -- Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad? -- Why the Trinity matters -- Jesus with freckles? -- Grace for the straight path -- Truth to tell -- Appendix: The Nicene Creed.
ISBN:
9780310247487
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The days when western Christians could ignore the influence of Islam are over. Today as never before, the world's second largest religion is shaping our culture, and words such as jihad, imam, Quran, and fatwa have entered our vocabulary. While all Muslims are no more alike than all Christians are alike, there are certain fundamental beliefs that all Muslims hold in common--some of which Christians would agree with, including belief in one true God. But is it the same God? How does the God of Muhammad differ from the God of Christianity? Written in a clear, passionate style that is conciliatory, balanced, and uncompromisingly biblical, this book describes and contrasts the distinctives of Christianity and Islam. Its author, a noted historian and theologian who has studied Islam for many years, writes with an eye on helping Christians better understand how to interact with Muslims. Beginning with an overview of Islam--what it is and how it arose--here are fascinating and relevant insights on · the Five Pillars of Islam · the role of religious violence from the Crusades onward · the doctrine of the Trinity and the character of God · Christian and Muslim views of Jesus Christ and salvation · what Christians can learn from Muslims · how Christians can share Christ with their Muslim neighbors . . . and more


Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The authors' characterizations of opposing forces indicate how their perspectives on the current global conflict differ. For George, Christianity and Islam are in conflict; for Van de Weyer, Islam and Western culture are at odds. They concur, however, that Islam and the Western religion, Christianity, are sibling evangelical monotheisms with highly congruent ethical systems and prophetic pronouncements; and that peace, not war, will resolve the conflict. Divinity-school dean George clarifies the two religions' conceptualizations of God. For Islam, God is nonhuman and transcendent, whereas Christianity conceives of God relationally, which is why the doctrine of the Trinity, encompassing physical and spiritual relationship, is fundamental to Christianity. For Islam, obedience to God is needed to obtain love, forgiveness, and mercy, and sin is a matter of personal ignorance or forgetfulness of the duties of obedience. Christianity regards sin as personally intrinsic and inalienable, and it is the grace of God's relationship that guarantees love and promises mercy and forgiveness. The Christian response to even terroristic Islam is to preach and pray that all souls may be brought to Christ. Although Van de Weyer, like George, is a clergyman, the strength of his book lies in its rehearsal of Islamic-Western relations and its analysis of capitalist globalism, a phenomenon he dates from the eighteenth-century launching of European commercial empires. Van de Weyer saliently recognizes the role of shame, as well as the more frequently noted one of moral outrage, in Islamic reaction to economic imperialism. But the religious underpinning of his prescription (reducible to democracy and freedom of conscience) for resolving Islamic-Western strife may strike many as inadequate and even nihilistic. He suggests that the ideal symbol for a "free and open religion" of peace is "the figure 0," standing for "no beliefs." Still, his brief is a good historical-economical supplement to Roger Scruton's immensely cogent and persuasive The West and the Rest (see review p.1899), just as George's is Scruton's fine Christian apologetic complement. --Ray Olson


Excerpts

Excerpts

WHAT IS ISLAM? To hold back from the fullest meeting with Muslims would be to refrain from the fullest discipleship to Christ. . . . Not to care about Islam would be not to care about Christ. KENNETH CRAGG How would you characterize someone who believes in the literal, verbal inspiration of Scripture, who holds that Jesus is God's virgin-born Messiah, that Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, bodily ascended into heaven, and will one day return to do battle with the antichrist and in the end truly reign on earth? This person knows that Satan is alive and well on planet Earth, that angels and demons are real forces to be reckoned with, and that after death everyone on earth will go to one of two places-- the burning fires of hell or the beautiful palaces of heaven. This individual does not believe in evolution, but believes that God created the world in six literal days. This person happens to be a tee-totaler, is strongly pro-life, and is committed to traditional family values. Women are highly regarded in the religious community to which this person belongs, but they do not function as preachers and leaders there. This person is also deeply patriotic, regards pacifism as a weakness, deplores the separation of church and state, and believes that government (ideally) should enforce God's will in every area of society. Do you recognize this person as a strict, conservative, Bible-believing Christian? Well, maybe. But he or she might just as well be a devout, conscientious Muslim! More than any two religious traditions on earth, Christianity and Islam share both striking similarities and radical differences. Historically, the relationship between Christians and Muslims has been strained at best. All too frequently it has been marked by bloodshed and violence. But there is a verse in the Quran that presents a helpful perspective. This verse tells Muslims, "You will surely find that the nearest in affection to those who believe are the ones who say, 'We are Christians'" (5:82). On this good note, we begin our brief overview of the world's second largest and fastest growing religious tradition. Who Are Muslims? Muslims are sometimes called Muhammadans, after the prophet Muhammad. He organized the first Muslim community, or ummah, in seventh-century Arabia, and through him the Quran was given to the world. But Muslims themselves take the word Muhammadan as an insult. For all their devotion to Muhammad, they regard him neither as divine nor as the founder of their religion. Muhammad did not claim to be sinless or perfect, and, unlike Jesus, he did not receive worship from other human beings. Another word still found in most dictionaries is Moslem, the anglicized form of the Arabic Muslim. Moslem is also heard as a term of condescension that harks back to colonial times, a word coined by stodgy Westerners with stiff upper lips who found it difficult to make the mu sound! More than one billion Muslims in the world are followers of Islam. The word islam literally means "submission" or "surrender." It comes from the Arabic root word s-l-m, which connotes peace in Semitic languages--as in the Hebrew greeting shalom or in the name of the holy city, Jeru-salem. We hear echoes of this same root word in the common everyday greetings of Muslims-- salamalek ("peace be with you)" and bissalma ("go in peace"). Muslims believe that the very word islam, as well as the way of life to which it points, was revealed by God himself in the Quran. Some eighty days before he died in A.D. 632, Muhammad received a final word of revelation. After warning Muslims not to eat pork or any animals that hadn't been slaughtered in a ritually pure manner (a kosherlike procedure called halal), God said to them, "This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favor to you. I have chosen Islam to be your faith" (5:3). Islam, in its original meaning, then, refers to a life of total surrender and obedience to God--exactly the kind of complete commitment called for in the love-hymn Christians sing about Jesus: All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give. . . . All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee. . . . Although Muhammad rediscovered this "straight path to God" (another description of Islam), Muslims believe that this kind of submissiveness has always been the true natural religion of human beings everywhere. This is an important point in understanding the contrasting views of salvation in Islam and Christianity--a theme to be discussed in chapter 6. If Islam means surrender to the will of God, then a Muslim is one who has made this commitment. Who are Muslims? Where do they live? What languages do they speak? What religious duties are required of them? Many people mistakenly think that most, if not all, Muslims are Arabs. Perhaps this is because so much attention is focused in the news media on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East and the fact that Muhammad himself was from Arabia. Many are surprised to learn of the truly global reach of Islam. For example, some 200 million Muslims live in Indonesia alone-- about the same number as live in all the Arab countries combined. There are more Muslims in China alone than there are Southern Baptists in the whole world. When we speak of Islam at the dawn of the twenty-first century, we refer to a world-encompassing faith that has a growing presence in every continent. The "Abode of Islam" (as Muslims refer to the Islamic world) stretches from Morocco in the western part of North Africa to Indonesia and the Philippines in the Far East. It extends from Nigeria and Tanzania in sub-Saharan Africa to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. Within this vast sea of humanity, missiologists have identified five major blocs of people bound together by common cultural and language networks: • Arabic--This includes Saudi Arabia, with its Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, as well as Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinians in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. It also includes the Arabic peoples of Egypt and other North African countries. • Indo-Persian--A complex assortment of peoples that includes the Kurds, many Afghans, the Tajiks of central Asia, and Urdu speakers in India and Pakistan, among others. Excerpted from Is the Father of Jesus God of Muhammad: Understanding the Differences Between Christianity and Islam by Timothy George All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1 1 9 What Is Islam?
Chapter 2 4 1 Ties That Bind, Scars That Hurt
Chapter 3 5 5 Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?
Chapter 4 6 9 Why the Trinity Matters
Chapter 5 8 9 Jesus with Freckles?
Chapter 6 1 0 5 Grace for the Straight Path
Chapter 7 1 2 5 Truth to Tell
Appendix / 1 4 1
The Nicene Creed
Forfurtherreading / 1 4 3
Glossary Of Key Terms / 1 4 7
Notes / 1 5 3