Is Islam the prophesized Anti-Christianity?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Zhukov, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Zhukov
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    Zhukov VIP Member

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    Alright, those of you who know me know I'm atheist, but there was something I read in this forum awhile ago that intrigued my interest. I meant to ask a question about it earlier but I had my reservations about doing so.

    Before I even ask this question I want to point out I do not ask this question to start an anti-Islam thread, nor do I want this to devolve into an anti-Islam thread, nor do I ignore the possibility that this could very easily degenerate into just that sort of thread.

    So, without further ado, for our biblical scholars, how does Islam (or perhaps specific sects of Islam) correspond to the prophetic New Testament (or even Old, if there is anything in there) descriptions of the anti-Christian religion that will preceed the apocalypse?

    I'm looking for both similarities and differences.
     
  2. freeandfun1
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    The biggest similarity that immediately comes to mind for me is beheading. In the NT, if you do not accept the mark of the beast and worship him, death is by beheading. As we see, the radicals within Islam are using beheading to kill those that do not accept or adhere to their beliefs. Eerily similar.

    Another would just be the simple fact that radical Muslims say one MUST accept Islam or die. In the end times, one must accept the beast or die.
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Zhukov, I don't think that Islam will be the pre-apocolypse (sp?) religion. The book of Revelation states that the Beast demands to be worshipped. Islam would have a hard time accepting the worship of a human in lieu of Allah.
     
  4. archangel
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    Islam is the beast...all along I just thought they were a bunch of speed freaks...tripping out on to much coffee and tea...way too much caffeine over there..now I know the beast...shit...I thought he would be way more powerful! :rolleyes:
     
  5. freeandfun1
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    Pay attention to his question. I know paying attention can be hard for you sometimes, but still, please try.

    I provided a similarity.
     
  6. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    Again, Zhukov didn't say (nor did I) that it is... he asked for similarities and differences.

    You provided a difference. I think you are wrong though, as Muslims would worship a human if they thought that human was Allah or a special messenger of Allah that Allah supposedly tell them to worship or revere.
     
  7. archangel
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    just having a little fun...serious thoughts need a break from time to time! geeeez! GRUMPY!!!!!!
     
  8. -Cp
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    -Cp Senior Member

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    Part 1:


    Is islam the “end” of christianity? (part one)


    This article first appeared in the Effective Evangelism column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 25, number 2 (2002). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org

    Fundamental to the Muslim view of Christianity are the two lenses through which Muslims see all of reality: The Qur’an and the Hadith (traditions regarding Muhammad’s teachings and way of life). For example, the Qur’an teaches that the doctrine of the Trinity is polytheistic and that Christians believe Jesus was conceived through a sexual union between God as the father and Mary as the mother (Sura 4:171; 5:73, 116). As a result, despite protests to the contrary, appeals to Scripture,1 and explanations,2 it is extremely difficult to persuade Muslims that Christianity is monotheistic.

    Compounding such misunderstandings of our faith is the Muslim belief that Islam has superseded (fulfilled and replaced) the Christian faith, thus abrogating (bringing to an end) Christianity as a valid faith. Muslims suppose that as Christianity is to Old Testament religion (Judaism), so Islam is to Christianity. Let’s understand how they have come to this conclusion.

    In the Beginning, Islam. Muslims believe the original religion of humanity was Islam (Sura 7:172), and every human being is born a Muslim. The Hadith states, “Allah’s Apostle [Muhammad] said, ‘Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e., to worship none but Allah alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magainism [Zoroastrianism]….”3

    God graciously sent messengers to every nation to teach them submission to God and to warn them against falsehood (16:36; 35:24). Moses and Jesus are understood to have been prophets of Islam, as well as Ishmael, Isaac, and Jacob (3:67; 61:6; 2:136). Muslims are expected to honor these prophets and their books (4:136). The religions that predated Muhammad are thus said to have been originally Islamic and their prophets Muslims (15:10). The Qur’an even affirms, “Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous good deeds shall have their reward with the Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (2:62; cf. 5:69).4

    Then Came Muhammad. Muhammad is considered a successor of the prophets of old (61:6) — their books containing prophecies regarding him (7:157). Many Muslims believe the Bible contains several prophecies concerning Muhammad, most significantly Deuteronomy 18:15–18 and John 14:16.5 The other prophets’ missions were limited, while Muhammad is the one prophet for all humankind (7:158; 34:28), the last of the prophets (33:40). A well-known Hadith affirms this belief: “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: “Would that this brick be put in its place!” So I am that brick, and I am the last of the Prophets.’”6

    Muslims ascribe superlative status to the Qur’an as well as to Muhammad. The Qur’an is the incomparable and final revelation from God (17:88–89), confirming the previous revelations (10:37; 46:12). Unlike previous revelations, which have been textually corrupted and muted by human interpretations, the Qur’an was inscribed on a tablet in heaven (85:21–22) and is kept incorruptible by God: “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message [the Qur’an]; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)” (15:9).

    Islam and Other Religions Today. Because Muhammad was the final prophet and the Qur’an God’s final revelation, Muslims reject claims to new revelations. They are highly critical of such groups as the Baha’i,7 Ahmadiyyah,8 and Nation of Islam,9 each of which asserts elements of succession and abrogation. At first, Muslims embraced adherents to other monotheistic faiths, but that came to an end with the finished work of Muhammad and the Qur’an. Now only Muslims are accepted by God: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good)” (3:85).10

    The Importance of Continuity. As Christianity is to Judaism, so Islam is to Christianity. This analogy is at the heart of Islamic claims to supersession and abrogation; yet, for one religion to fulfill a preceding religion, there must be continuity with what is essential to that prior religion.

    Islam claims such continuity. Muslims believe there is only one God, who created the universe and is sovereign, powerful, and active with His creation. God knows the intimate details of human lives and will one day bring all humanity to judgment. Both Christians and Muslims believe God has spoken through messengers and that this revelation has been written in holy books.

    Even with these agreements, however, several significant discontinuities exist that undermine the Islamic claim to fulfill or replace Christianity. These discontinuities include such areas as sin, the Atonement, salvation, and the acknowledgment of previous revelation. Here we’ll address the last point, saving the others for part two.

    Revelation: Continuity or Criticism? Christians often respond to Muslim claims to supersession by referring to such doctrines as the Trinity or the incarnation of Christ. Muslims attempt to mute the significance of our doctrinal differences by arguing that the text of the Bible has been corrupted. This is a major disanalogy between Christianity and Islam. Simply put, the New Testament authors never criticized the text of the Old Testament Scriptures, the contemporary manuscripts, or the revelation found in them.

    In contrast to Muslim criticisms, in the New Testament we find an affirmation of the entire Old Testament as inspired by God, even providing wisdom for salvation through Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:14–17). The Old Testament prophets are acknowledged to have been inspired (2 Pet. 1:21; cf. 2 Sam. 23:2). In both the Old and New Testaments, moreover, we find declarations that God’s Word will not pass away (Isa. 40:6–8; 1 Pet. 1:24–25).

    Jesus confirmed the reliability of the Old Testament in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7; especially 5:17–18) and elsewhere (e.g., Luke 16:31; 24:27; John 10:35; 17:17).11 This is significant because we have found large portions of the Old Testament among the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls show that the text we have is substantially that of Jesus’ time; thus, critics have no grounds to claim that the Old Testament text was somehow emptied of Islamic teachings.12 We must ask, If God can sustain the Qur’an throughout the ages, could He not sustain the biblical texts? The evidence shows he has indeed sustained the biblical texts.13

    In addition to these straightforward statements, throughout the New Testament we find regular appeals to the Old Testament as the source and confirmation of Christianity. For example, consider the affirmations and teachings of the apostle Paul in the book of Romans.14 Paul both introduced and concluded Romans noting how the Gospel he proclaimed stems from the Old Testament (Rom. 1:1–2; 16:25–27; cf. Gal. 3:6–8). Along with these agenda-setting declarations, Paul noted that the righteousness of God, which is the heart of the Gospel, was testified to by the law and the prophets (3:21). Even though some charged Paul with being unlawful, he declared the contrary: “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law” (3:31, NIV). His ministry and message of Christ confirm God’s promises to the patriarchs: “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy” (15:8–9). Paul even viewed himself and his congregations as accountable to the Old Testament Scriptures: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (15:4, NIV; cf. 4:23–24 and 1 Cor. 10:1ff.).

    Paul’s dependence on the Old Testament is amply verified through even a cursory reading of his letter to the Romans (and not only this letter!) with its explicit Old Testament references (e.g., Rom. 3:10–18; 10:5–21; 15:8–12), as well as his innumerable allusions.15 His gospel was no innovation but was dependent on, and derived from, the Old Testament.

    Paul’s practice clearly stands in sharp contrast to the critical charges of Muslims and others; indeed, Islam stands in sharp disanalogy to Christianity when it seeks to establish its teachings by criticizing the text of the Bible. We can best illustrate the truthfulness of God’s Word by showing Muslims our high regard for the Bible — both the Old and New Testaments.

    In the conclusion of this series we’ll focus on the significant doctrinal discontinuities between Christianity and Islam regarding sin and salvation. We’ll also consider the Christian view of Old Testament religious practices.

    http://www.equip.org/free/DI210-1.htm
     
  9. -Cp
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    Part 2:

    In the first part of our study, we examined the Muslim belief that Islam has fulfilled and superseded Christianity, thus bringing it to an end as a viable religion. Their view is that Islam is to Christianity as Christianity is to Judaism. We noted that the claim of fulfillment is only legitimate if there is a continuity of essence, though not necessarily of form; otherwise, the result would be negation and replacement, not fulfillment. We observed that while New Testament authors never criticized the Old Testament, Islam denies the textual and doctrinal integrity of both the Old and New Testaments. Regarding previous revelation, therefore, Islam is not to Christianity as Christianity is to Judaism. As we’ll see below, additional areas of essential discontinuity are sin, atonement, and salvation. After illustrating these discontinuities, we will discuss Christianity’s relationship to the Mosaic Law.

    Human Sinfulness. The claim that Islam confirms the teaching of previous prophets is weakened by its contradiction of biblical teaching regarding human sinfulness. For example, both the Old and New Testaments affirm that humans are sinful by nature (Ps. 53:1–3; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9–18; Eph. 2:3), even from birth (Ps. 51:5). This sinfulness stems from Adam (Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12–19) and results in an inherent inability to live according to God’s revealed will — His law (Rom. 8:6–8).

    In contrast, Islam denies that we are born with a sinful nature. Muslim apologist Hammudah Abdalati writes: “The idea of Original Sin…has no room in the teachings of Islam. Man, according to the Qur’an (30:30) and to the Prophet [Muhammad], is born in a natural state of purity or fitrah, that is, Islam or submission to the will and law of God. Whatever becomes of man after birth is the result of external influence and intruding factors.…Sin is acquired not inborn, emergent not built-in, avoidable not inevitable.”1

    Atonement for Sin. Islam also believes that one’s good works tip the balance for salvation (Sura 7:8–9; 21:47). The Qur’an teaches that atonement for bad deeds is found in good deeds such as almsgiving (2:271), prayers (11:114), pilgrimage (2:158), and listening to and memorizing the Qur’an (7:204). Islam, furthermore, denies not only that Jesus is God incarnate but also that He died upon the cross, thus rejecting the reality of His resurrection (Sura 4:157–158; cf. 3:54).

    The Bible, however, teaches that all have sinned (Ps. 14:3; Rom. 3:23) and thus face the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18; 2:8). Our only hope is in the sinless Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5), who atoned for our sins in His death upon the cross (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13; Heb. 2:17; 4:15; cf. Isa. 53:5) and rose from the dead on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3–4). Islam denies these all-important affirmations of the Christian faith.

    These doctrinal discontinuities devastate the claim that Islam fulfills Christianity. To deny the resurrection of Jesus is to denounce the Christian faith as a fraud from its beginning (1 Cor. 15:14–17). Islam negates Christianity; it does not fulfill Christianity.

    Muslim Responses. Muslims respond in different ways to such assertions. Some argue that appeals to biblical teachings are invalid since the Bible is corrupted and unreliable. This, however, demonstrates the false analogy between Islam and Christianity, since, as noted in the first installment, Christians affirm the reliability of the biblical texts.2

    Muslims also argue that since Christians do not observe circumcision, dietary restrictions, and the Sabbath, it is actually Christians who negate, rather than fulfill, Judaism. If true, all this would establish is that neither Christianity nor Islam is a viable religious tradition stemming from Judaism. Even so, this is one of the most compelling Muslim arguments against Christianity. How can we show that Christianity actually fulfills, rather than negates, Judaism? We’ll focus our attention on questions of circumcision, Christian morality, greater and lesser commands, and the new covenant.

    Gentiles and Circumcision. In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul argued against those who insisted that Gentiles cannot be right with God (justified) apart from “the works of the law,” with circumcision being the ultimate “work” (Gal. 2:14–15; 5:2–6; 6:12). Circumcision was the primary mark distinguishing Israelites from Gentiles;3 the Jews, in fact, were simply “the circumcision” and Gentiles the “uncircumcision” (2:7–9, 12).4 Judaizers (Jewish Christians who insisted on adhering to the laws of Moses), in effect, taught that uncircumcised Gentiles could not be right with God unless they became Jews!5

    Paul, in response, argued in defense of the Gospel, which he identified as God’s promise to Abraham: “All nations [Gentiles] will be blessed through you” (Gal. 3:8).6 The true Gospel is that people are justified by faith, just as was Abraham (3:6–9),7 not by “the works of the law” — that is, apart from being circumcised (2:14–16; 3:10–14).8 Since God promised to bless the Gentiles as Gentiles, any other “Gospel” is no Gospel at all (1:6–9).9

    Why would circumcision now be set aside? Paul explained that the Mosaic covenant was temporary, instituted until Jesus, the seed promised to Abraham, had come (Gal. 3:15–19, 24). It was added because of transgressions (3:19), like someone put in charge to keep youths out of trouble (3:23–25).10 Now that the Messiah has come, however, God’s people transcend national boundaries; they are no longer defined by race but by grace. There is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ (3:26–29).11 The religious and social distinctions between Jews and Gentiles have ended. To require Gentile circumcision, therefore, would be to bring them under the old covenant (4:21–31), obligating them to observe all facets of the law (5:2–3), including separation from uncircumcised believers — the very hypocrisy Peter had committed in Antioch (2:11–14)! The teaching of the Judaizers thus amounted to a denial that God had made good on His promise to Abraham through Jesus Christ. Such a teaching denies the Gospel (1:6–9). Such a teaching denies the work of Christ (2:21).

    The Law of Christ. In light of our observations thus far, we can understand Paul when he wrote, “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts” (1 Cor. 7:19); and, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6).

    Paul said he was “not under the law,” though he was “not free from God’s law,” yet he was “under Christ’s law” (1 Cor. 9:20–21; cf. Gal. 6:2). We recognize that when Paul wrote these things he was being conscientious as he reached out to Jews (those “under the law”) and Gentiles (those “not under the law”). Old covenant laws that segregated Jews from Gentiles are no longer binding, yet some commands remain. The law of God is thus refracted through Christ, becoming “the law of Christ”; so, when Paul wrote regarding Christian ethics, he showed that Christians are not to be immoral and idolatrous (1 Cor. 5–6; Eph. 4:17–21), but are to “uphold the law” (Rom. 3:31) and fulfill “the righteous requirements of the law” (Rom. 8:4; cf. 13:8–10).

    Greater and Lesser Commands. The very distinction Paul made between greater commands (e.g., a contrite heart, justice, mercy, faithfulness, love of God and neighbor) and lesser commands (e.g., sacrifices, festivals, circumcision) of the law was foreshadowed in the Old Testament (see 1 Sam. 15:22–23; Ps. 40:6–8; 51:16–17; Jer. 7:21–23; Hos. 6:6; Mic. 6:6–8). Even Jesus made this distinction (Matt. 22:36–40; 23:23; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 10:25–28).

    The New Covenant. We should also recall God’s promises regarding the coming Messiah and the new covenant (Jer. 31:31; cf. Luke 22:20; Heb. 8:7ff.). The Messiah atoned for our sins (Isa. 53:5; Zech. 12:10), bringing an end to bloody sacrifices (Heb. 9:11–10:18). Under the new covenant God grants us His Spirit (Ezek. 11:19; 18:31; 36:26), giving us new lives (Rom. 8:1–14; Gal. 5:22–25). Our hearts are circumcised (Deut. 30:6; Phil. 3:3; Col. 2:11),12 and God’s law is written on our hearts (Isa. 51:7; Jer. 31:33) that we might love God and others as we should (Rom. 2:14–15, 29).13

    Our discussion of circumcision, Christian morality, greater and lesser commands, and the new covenant refutes the Muslim assertion that Christianity negates, rather than fulfills, Judaism.14 The claim that Islam is to Christianity as Christianity is to Judaism cannot hold. Islam is discontinuous with both biblical revelation and biblical doctrine, while Christianity affirms both Old Testament revelation and its teachings regarding human sinfulness, atonement, and salvation. In Jesus Christ God’s promise to Abraham is now enjoyed by all true believers, regardless of ethnicity, gender, class, or age. Now that’s good news!

    http://www.equip.org/free/DI210-2.htm
     
  10. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    Between Trinity, Pope, Saints, Mary, Jesus, Holy Ghost, and Old Testament God vs. New Testament God it's not only Muslims who find it difficult to conceive that Christianity is monotheistic. Any outsider would.
     

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