Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque

What it’s like to follow Christ embedded in Muslim culture. An interview with a Muslim follower of Isa.

Gene Daniels

Can people from other religious traditions genuinely follow Jesus without becoming “Christians”? The question is a point of much dispute within today’s missions world. Those who follow Jesus yet don’t formally express Christian faith are said to belong to insider movements. And no insider movement has received more attention than Muslims who embrace Christ yet stay within their Islamic community. “Insiders” are hard to access due to cultural, geographic, and linguistic barriers. As a result, many Christians have taken positions on insider movements without ever having met or spoken with someone who belongs to one. In the following exclusive interview, we hear from just such an insider.

The following is the synthesis of two interviews conducted in 2011 with “Abu Jaz,” a key leader in a movement that describes itself as the People of the Gospel. This group represents several thousand Muslims in eastern Africa who have converted to faith in Christ during the past decade, but who have remained in their Muslim communities. Abu Jaz is married and has three children. He started following Isa al Masih (“Jesus the Messiah”) as the Savior 18 years ago.

The interview was conducted by “Gene Daniels,” a missionary in the Muslim community for over a decade, who has published many articles in missionary journals. Christianity Today has verified the authenticity of the interviewer and interviewee, whose real names are withheld so that the work of the People of the Gospel will be protected.

Describe your conversion to Christ.

One night the only food my wife and I had was a small portion of macaroni. My wife prepared it very nicely. Then one of her friends knocked on the door. I told myself, The macaroni is not sufficient for even the two of us, so how will it be enough for three of us? But because we have no other custom, we opened the door, and she came in to eat with us.

While we were eating, the macaroni started to multiply; it became full in the bowl. I suspected that something was wrong with my eyes, so I started rubbing them. I thought maybe my wife hid some macaroni under the small table, so I checked, but there was nothing. My wife and I looked at each other, but because the guest was there we said nothing.

Afterward I lay down on the bed, and as I slept, Isa came to me and asked me, “Do you know who multiplied the macaroni?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I am Isa al Masih. If you follow me, not only the macaroni but your life will be multiplied.”

He didn’t tell me that he was God; he didn’t tell me that he died on behalf of me; he didn’t say, “I am the Son of God.” He didn’t talk to me about any complicated theological issues. He only told me that if I followed him, he would multiply my life. At that time, I was very happy if he only multiplied the macaroni like he did that day. I didn’t understand what he meant when he said that my life would be multiplied. Now I understand what that means. But at that time, I accepted him simply as the “lord of macaroni.”

Much like the crowds in the Gospels who accepted him as “lord of bread.”

Yes, I just accepted him as one who satisfied my needs. That day I understood that because Allah loved me, Isa came to my home.

When I think back now, the kingdom of God came to my home. Jesus said, “[I]f I cast out demons … the kingdom … has come upon you” (Luke 11:20, NASB). Any miracle that takes place by Isa al Masih speaks of the kingdom of God. It was not because I was poor that Isa came to my home; there are many poor. It is not because he wanted to multiply my macaroni. Maybe there might be other people who can multiply macaroni, like magic. So what is the purpose? Isa al Masih came to my home with the kingdom of God. He didn’t completely explain theological issues, he only said, “If you will follow.”

I have my own expression of worship. When it comes to greetings, I say, As-salaam ‘alaykum (“Peace be upon you”), and I expect people to reply, Wa ‘alaykum Salaam wa rahmatu l-laahi wa barakaatuh (“Peace to you and may God’s mercy and blessings be upon you”). And we Muslims have a way of shaking hands. But in the church, it was totally different. Nobody liked my expressions. Brothers and sisters told me that As-salaam ‘alaykum and Wa ‘alaykum salaam were from the Devil, so it was hard for me to join and start life with members of the church.

I went to an [evangelical] church, and I faced a cultural challenge as a Muslim. Everything was different—their way of worship, the way they sang songs, the way they danced. Nothing was familiar to me.

One day the pastor came to me and said, “How are you?” I answered, “Alhamdulillah!” (“Praise be to God!”). The pastor was very angry. He said, “No, brother! No more Alhamdulillah. Your God is changed from Allah to God [using the tribal name]. You have to express your thanksgiving to God as a Christian, and we have our own expression of thanksgiving to God.” He ordered me to say, “Praise the Lord” and “Praise to God.” He asked me to not use the term Allah because Allah is evil, Allah is the Devil, Allah is the black stone, Allah is an idol. That was the first time I had heard [anyone say] that Allah is an idol or evil. I was shocked. When I do my spiritual duties, I think I am doing them for Allah. He is the one who created the universe, sustains the universe, and judges the universe. I couldn’t in my mind imagine that Allah is an idol or evil.

The next day the pastor asked, “How are you?” I wanted to replace his words with my own Alhamdulillah, but since the pastor warned me not to, I didn’t. I tried to say, “Praise the Lord,” or “Praise to God,” but for 33 years I had never used these words or the tribal name for God, and it was difficult to do so. So I stayed [in the church] without saying Alhamdulillah for more than three months. I simply said, “I am fine.” I wanted to express my gratitude to Allah, but because of their understanding [of the term], I suppressed it.

Then I started questioning the justice of God. I asked him, “God, you are the one who put me in a Muslim culture; it was not my choice. They don’t allow me to express [my praise] in the congregation. When they hear Islamic terminologies, they immediately rebuke me, so I prefer to keep silent. You like the Orthodox culture, you like the traditional African culture, you like Jewish culture, you like the European culture, you like cultures of other people groups, but you dislike the Muslims. So you are not just.”

This stayed with me for two years. But finally, because I had no other alternative, I completely accepted the evangelical cultural context, and I dissolved all of my Islamic cultural identity. No more Islamic terms; [you could say] that in my context I became circumcised. Then people finally accepted me as a believer, but it isolated me from my own Muslim community.

Did the church accept you when you abandoned your Islamic identity?

When I changed my culture they thought I had finally become a believer; before that they did not consider me one. When I changed my culture to become like them, they even clapped their hands and said, “Now Abu Jaz has become a believer.” But I had already believed for two years.

After some time, I had the chance to go to a Bible college. While I studied there, I learned the difference between the supracultural substance of the Word of God and the cultural form that expresses it. Then my question was answered, [and I understood] that God really does love everyone. God opened my eyes to understand that all cultures are equal in his eyes. It is not holy contexts, only holy texts.

From that time, 1998 by the European calendar, I started to prepare myself to speak with my own community. In the Bible college, I discovered myself, and I wanted to restore my cultural identity again, the identity of my culture, not for the sake of the people, but to express myself and my faith in God. I went back and restored my former Islamic cultural identity. Then I rejoiced that God is just.

Still, even if I had theological and cultural challenges in the Christian community, I experienced love there, a love that was alive. The believers showed me and my wife kindness and love. So I praise God for these people.

But I understand the pain of Muslims. I understand what they fear. When they hear the Good News, they want to have Isa al Masih, but because they have been told that it is only Christians who think about him, they reject him. But now we are not repeating the same mistake.

Talk a little about the theology of your movement.

We do not use systematic theology, even though I studied [it] in Bible college and understand how and when Christians developed different Christologies, for example. I know church history, and I know the creeds and when they started. The early church fathers faced external and internal challenges; they wrote the creeds to solve their own challenges, in their own contexts. So if [the] church fathers solved their own problems by finding answers in the Word of God, then the people who are working among the Muslims have to identify their own problems and even call councils to discuss the challenges and apologetic [issues] in these contexts.

How do you go about sharing the gospel in your context?

It is important to start [by asking], What is the purpose of preaching the gospel? We find our thinking in Acts 14:15, where Paul says, “We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.” So bringing the Good News to people is turning them back to their Creator God. Of course, we must do this in Isa, in Jesus, but we have to start just as Paul did, with the Creator God.

This is general revelation. If we destroy general revelation, there is no more special revelation. As far as I know, Paul directly addressed non-Jewish religions twice, and both times, he started with general revelation but ended up with Jesus, the ultimate revelation of God, as the one appointed by God the Creator to save people. The Book of Acts tells us that. But to believers, in the Epistles, he taught them that Jesus is divine. No one can say Jesus is Lord without the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).

Muslims believe there is a Creator of heaven and earth, and his name is Allah. If you tell a Muslim about the Creator of heaven and earth, but say that the Creator is not Allah, the Muslim will be very confused. What you are telling him is not good news.

We need a Muslim-focused church-planting strategy, a church that uses the terms and forms from their Muslim community, not something from other religious communities.

If you believe that even Muslims have received general revelation, then you have to start there. If you don’t believe this, you don’t believe your own [evangelical] theology. But if you come to them with good news, [to] restore their relationship with the Creator God, then you have to receive the name they have for him, Allah. If we say that the one they know as Allah is not God, we are not [speaking] against the religion of Islam, or Muhammad or Qur’an, but against the doctrine of general revelation. The missionary must first receive the name of the Creator God from the people, and then they have heavenly authority to give the people the name of the Savior, Isa al Masih.

How is this different from simply believing in the Muslim prophet Isa, as in the Qur’an?

Muslims believe that Isa is a prophet and messenger of Allah, but that he is superseded by Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. According to Islam, salvation is based on the teaching of Muhammad. But you still have something to start with in Islam. You start with their limited Christology and Christ’s role in the kingdom of God, mainly his role in the Day of Judgment. Muslims start to think from Islamic Christology, but they end up with Isa [as the one] who overcame the power of death. They progressively understand him, from prophet and messenger to Savior and then to Lord. But this takes time and the Holy Spirit, as it also did for Peter.

But while they are slowly coming to understand who Jesus is, why don’t you also slowly bring them into the Christian church?

It is possible for Muslim-background believers to join the existing church. But the evangelical church in my country represents a mixture of two religious forms, the Coptic Church and traditional religion.

If I say to Muslims, “Come to this church with me,” I am inviting them to a very strange thing. Also, this is saying to them that they do not deserve a church that connects with their community. This is why we need a Muslim-focused church-planting strategy, because it will produce a church that uses the terms and forms from their Muslim community, not something from other religious communities.

Many Christians in the West would agree that Muslim-focused evangelistic strategy is needed. But many of them also feel that a Muslim-focused church is going too far.

Why is it too far? All people have a church-planting strategy that fits their religious context. Why is there a [problem] when we come to Islam? So we ask, “Do Muslims deserve a church that fits their cultural context?” We are not trying to bring them into the already [existing] evangelical church. They should have a church that reflects their culture. Then we can say that we have an indigenous church, one that grows from the soil of the Muslim community. To “hook” one person into the evangelical church is possible. But the question is how we can fish with a net.

When you are talking to one person you [are also] talking to his community. He represents the whole community. What we say to one will go back to all the rest. So we want to reach a whole community and bring community transformation. The content of church is from heaven, but the form of the church should be from the ground, the culture. The church should reflect Muslim culture, not Muslim theology.

How do the people in your movement view Muhammad? Is there confusion?

First, we cannot rule out syncretism at the beginning of a new believer’s life. The purpose of discipleship is to separate their old beliefs from their new beliefs. So when they put their faith in Jesus, they may have at the same time Muhammad in their heart. But when they start to pray in the name of Isa for their own need, they experience joy, assurance, and peace. And when they pray in the name of Jesus and find people healed and demons cast out, they completely stop thinking about Muhammad. It is a process of the Holy Spirit.

[We should] categorize people in how they relate to Jesus: Where are these people, and where is Jesus in their life? We should ask, “Does this person accept Isa as Lord of their life?”

But what about Muhammad?

Before [they believe in Isa], Muslims acknowledge Muhammad as the final prophet of God. Then we tell them about Isa al Masih. They already know that Isa al Masih was a prophet that raised people from the dead. They know that Isa al Masih did miracles and that he will come as the sign of the Day of Judgment.

Even though they know all this, they are not intentionally thinking about Isa; they are thinking about Muhammad. But when we tell them the gospel, they begin to think about Isa intentionally as the one who will save them from the Day of Judgment, from Satan, from antichrist, from death.

At that point, they mix Muhammad with Isa al Masih. Before, Isa was not the issue. Muhammad was the issue. But when they hear about Isa, they start to bring Isa up to the level of Muhammad. Before, Muhammad was the one who controlled their life.But when they hear the Good News of the kingdom of God, they start to think about Isa. Now syncretism has started; before there was no syncretism. If missionaries don’t ever want problems with syncretism, then just leave them with Muhammad [grins].

But syncretism did not start with us. It started even in Paul’s time. That was the reason Paul wrote the Epistle to the Galatians. It is not [an] issue because we are Muslims; syncretism starts because people normally start with their own religious background. When people start to think about Isa intentionally, the Holy Spirit has room to lead them into all truth, even if they first mix Isa and Muhammad. The Holy Spirit through time will glorify Isa al Masih in their lives.

So after the new birth, the Holy Spirit begins to open their minds to understand more fully the Messiah.

Yes, of course. Before they believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will convict them about sin, righteousness, and judgment. As soon as they give their will to Jesus, they will receive the Holy Spirit and be born again and become a child of God. Then the Holy Spirit starts to live in them. Because the Holy Spirit lives in them, he will lead them to all [the] truth of Jesus. Then the Holy Spirit will give them revelation, and they will say that Jesus is Lord.

The [rest of the community] have started to think now, and they say, “Lial lial rasul Isa“—”These are the people of the messenger Isa.” They’ll say, “Who are these people? These people are not Christians. These people are not Muslims. Who are they? Let’s go and hear what they are thinking.” We explain as much as possible from the Bible. People ask us, “Who is Isa for you?” Our answer is, “He is the Word of Allah.” Then we quote from the Qur’an, but explain what the “Word of Allah” means from a biblical perspective.

If the Muslim community thinks the new believers “are not Christians and are not Muslims,” what do the new believers themselves think? What is their self-identity?

When they first come to believe in Isa, of course they still think [of themselves] as Muslims. What else could they think? We are not telling them they are now Christians.

But when they understand the gospel more clearly, they don’t want to have an Islamic religious identity. Yet they also do not want to let go of their cultural identity as Muslims, which naturally includes forms from their previous way of life and worship.

Where is Jesus in the life of the people in your movement, the People of the Gospel?

When people want to know our faith articles, we can tell them. But when it comes to individual people, we cannot say so easily, because they are not all on the same level. We find some people who say Jesus is God, some who understand that Jesus is the Savior. Others say he is the Word of Allah, without explanation, as they are struggling to understand what that means. Sometimes they understand Isa, other times they don’t. So we have to instruct them.

We have to teach them from the things that they already know. For example, some people may not [understand] if I tell them that Jesus died on their behalf. Islam has a different theology of sin; they don’t accept that Jesus died on their behalf. It is true that he died on their behalf, but it is not the only benefit [of Christ’s death].

When he died on the cross, he defeated death and the one who owned the power of death, Satan. And because God raised Jesus from the dead, he was appointed by God as a judge on the Day of Judgment, and the Savior from the Day of Judgment. The Cross is the answer for every [issue] in life. It is the solution regarding our relation to God, Satan, sin, death, and so on.

It is the evangelist’s responsibility to choose which benefit of the Cross is the answer for the spiritual needs a Muslim feels. Then gradually the Holy Spirit will explain the benefit of the Cross as it relates to their sin.

Muslims are afraid of evil spirits; they are afraid of the Day of Judgment. They are afraid of the Devil. I have a message from the kingdom of God that addresses all of these spiritual needs. So we are using the Muslim way of thinking about Isa, even if it is incomplete. If Muslims understand even one of these, they will call to Isa, and the Holy Spirit can lead them to understand more benefits of the Cross.

There are lots of opportunities in Islam; there are also lots of challenges. But the opportunities are bigger than the challenges. We must remember that it is not we who are bringing God to the Muslim people. He was already here.

———-/

Clarification from the interviewer, 1.23.13

Abu Jaz asked to clarify something that some people seemed to misunderstand from his interview:

“The ‘people of the Gospel’ are not Muslims theologically. They are not worshiping Jesus in the Mosque. They have no right to practice worship in the mosque in our legal and theological context. The ‘people of the Gospel’ are an assembly which has their own identity. They are cultural insiders, but theological outsiders. When we use Muslim religious terminology such as the wordsAllah,IsaAl Messiah,and others it makes us insiders. However, we give biblical meaning to words; such as ‘Allahso loved the world that he gave his one and only son’ (John 3:16) or ‘Isa Al Messiahis Lord’ (1 Cor. 1:12), and ‘Isadied for our sin according to the scripture’ (1 Cor. 15:3). This makes us outsiders because we are not interpreting these words any more as Muslims define them. Old names [with] new biblical meanings.”


40 thoughts on “Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque

  1. { Can people from other religious traditions genuinely follow Jesus without becoming “Christians”? }

    No, because righteousness comes from God and is by faith Christ.

    Righteousness does not come from ones careful observation of the law. On the contrary, the one who chooses lawful observation in stead of Faith in Christ, must accomplish every single thing that is written in the book of the law, in order to be considered righteous(without sin).But the scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, ergo , thwarting the idea that one can be justified by law.Is there even one man on this earth that follows the law rather than the faith, who can truthfully acknowledge that he has never sinned?

  2. EYES says:
    March 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm
    { Can people from other religious traditions genuinely follow Jesus without becoming “Christians”? }

    No, because righteousness comes from God and is by faith Christ.

    Righteousness does not come from ones careful observation of the law. On the contrary, the one who chooses lawful observation in stead of Faith in Christ, must accomplish every single thing that is written in the book of the law, in order to be considered righteous(without sin).But the scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, ergo , thwarting the idea that one can be justified by law.Is there even one man on this earth that follows the law rather than the faith, who can truthfully acknowledge that he has never sinned?

    […] Recommended Article FROM EYES.

    @ https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/worshiping-jesus-in-the-mosque/ […]

  3. No, because righteousness comes from God and is by faith Christ.

    and tell us why you have to be a Christian to accept that?

  4. { No, because righteousness comes from God and is by faith Christ. }
    { and tell us why you have to be a Christian to accept that? }

    Because righteousness comes from God and is by faith Christ.

  5. “healings”, “demons cast out”, “multiplying macaroni”

    You better go after this Abu guy Greg. Can you really trust anything he says?

  6. To “believe” in Jesus means submission to His authority as revealed in scripture. All other religions/paths and notions of Jesus other than the Bible are false. The Muslim Isa is not the Jesus of scripture, the same way the Mormon Jesus or JW Jesus not the true Jesus. If you worship anything else but the Jesus revealed in scripture you do not know God or rather are not known by God.

  7. It seems to me that it is not at all necessary to be a Christian to workshop Jesus.

  8. Jason, rather than simply stating what you think is fact, you could tell us why it is not possible outside of Christianity to submit to Jesus as revealed in the bible.

  9. I remember reading that Jesus described himself as the way, nowhere did he say the bible is the way, or Christianity is the way. You are so locked into what you believe about the world that you deny others the very thing you desire for yourself…relationship with God through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Strange that is.

  10. The Bible declares itself to be the word of God. There is only 3 ways God reveals Himself – Creation, Conscience and Scripture (The Bible). You cannot know Christ outside of God’s word for He is not revealed anywhere else. How do I know this – God word is authoritative – it is self evidencing.

    To know things of Christ outside of what is revealed in Scripture is false – all “ways” outside of the Christ as revealed in Scripture are false… how do I know – again, The Bible reveals this truth.

    There is no higher authority to which I can resort.

  11. Lastly.. to submit to Jesus means you embrace the scriptures. To submit to Jesus Christ means you follow Him ( aka a Christian) and you forsake all other “ways”.

  12. Lastly.. to submit to Jesus means you embrace the scriptures. To submit to Jesus Christ means you follow Him ( aka a Christian) and you forsake all other “ways”.

    That’s just not true Jason. The woman at the well was a Samaritan who did not accept anything of what Jesus knew as the bible except the first 5 books…Jesus never told her she had to accept his version…in fact he made it clear that what Jews thought and what samaritans thought was ultimately going to be shown to be pointless.

    In anycase…even if what yiu say is true, why do you have to be a Christian to accept that?

  13. We are all growing in our understanding of what the will of God is for our lives. There are people who have repented, believed in Jesus, and are following the teaching of Jesus as much as they know. How that is lived out and worked out practically will be different according to the culture. There may be times when a Christian feels that they are walking as Jesus wants them to, only to realize 5 years later that they weren’t. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that.

    It’s very easy to become a Christian, or become more committed to Christ outwardly in Australia. Most of you have no idea what it’s like in other countries. Many of the questions raised in this post are too difficult for arm-chair analysts sitting in Australia.

    In the same way, Bones should study and ask more questions before he just does some googling and starts uttering phrases.

    So many times, western Christians have done so much damage by saying and doing things overseas armed with enough knowledge to be dangerous.

    I’d be going back to the wycliffe people and asking whether saying allau akhbar is a good idea or not. And please check before you teach your primary school students. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time even when you think it’s okay based on your limited study can get people killed and set back the work of Christ years in an area.

  14. I have heard of many Muslims converting after having had visions of Jesus. It seems God is moving in this way in some predominantly Islamic nations.

    Can you be a follower of Christ and not a Christian? It depends on how you view the term. It was first applied to followers of Christ in the Book of Acts. What were they called before the new epithet? Believers? Followers of Jesus? I think the mere understanding of the term meaning ‘little Christ’ tells us that any follower of Christ is a Christian. Whether they use the term is neither here nor there. Their faith is the important issue.

    But there is another thing to consider. Do the followers of Isa al Masih consider Jesus to be the Son of God? Like water baptism for a Hindu convert, this would seem to me to be the main point at which a Muslim convert would have to make a serious decision.

  15. Greg,
    I remember reading that Jesus described himself as the way, nowhere did he say the bible is the way, or Christianity is the way.

    Yes, but you need to compete the saying.

    John 14
    5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
    7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
    8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
    9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
    10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
    11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
    12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
    13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    To a Muslim this would be blasphemy. Allah has no son, they wold have to say. Jesus calling Himself the Son of God is utterly against everything Allah stands for.

    So, yes, he is the Way. But who is the Way an to whom? The Son is the Way to the Father.

    There is no other Way to the Father but through the Son.

    Hard one for Muslims!

    Context!

  16. “It depends on how you view the term”

    Exactly. How are you wanting to define the word “Christian”?

    And the woman at the well illustrates what I’m saying. Yes, in the conversation recorded in the Bible, Jesus didn’t tell her the four spiritual laws and ask for her name and address for the future church services etc etc.

    But, according to tradition she later was known as St Photini.

    A Muslim who is truly born again and following Jesus will at one time want to fellowship with Christians – and will want to be baptized etc.

    That doesn’t always happen on the one day. And nobody needs to condemn anyone for not being and doing all that the other expects of them.

  17. The second sticking point would be the deity of Christ. To Muslims Allah is the one god. There can be no other god. Therefore the Word made flesh could not be God.

    I have had both these discussions with Muslims who have pushed Jesus as Messiah and as a Prophet, but they will never confess Him as Son of God, nor as God.

    To them, John 1:1 has been doctored, or ‘polluted’ as they say, because the Word could not be God. There is no way around this. They will adamantly defend their position that Jesus is not the Word made flesh and therefore is not God.

    This means their Isa could not be the Jesus of the Bible.

    Matthew 24
    4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
    5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

    So it is not a matter of whether they confess to being called Christians, but to whether the Jesus they confess is the Jesus of the Word, who is both God and Son.

  18. @Greg

    “and tell us why you have to be a Christian to accept that?”

    Ae you being deliberately clueless, or are you really that dumb? You don’t have to be a Christian to accept it, you become a Christian AFTER you accept it.

    This whole article is strange. Firstly, the title – An interview with a Muslim follower of Isa. You cannot be a Muslim Christian. That’s like saying someone is a Hindu Buddhist, or a Satanist Christian. They are two entirely separate religions. You cannot be a Muslim Christian. You can be a former Muslim, or a Muslim convert, but you cannot be a Muslim Christian. Islam is a religion, not a race.

    Secondly, nowhere in the entire article does it state that the follower is actually born again. Nowhere does it talk about this man’s relationship with God. In fact, it appears that the followers entire experience of Jesus is simply to follow the laws and precepts to the letter, just like he would have done as a Muslim. He’s just replaced the name Allah with Isa (or Jesus).

    And thirdly, the article is about a supposed follower of Jesus living among Muslims. Hardly a revolutionary occurrence. Many thousands of followers of Christ live in Muslim nations. The problem is of course that if you attempt to practice your faith, or proclaim it publicly in these Muslim countries, the results are more than likely that those followers of Christ will be killed or cruelly oppressed.

    Another interesting thing to note, as DoC has already pointed out, this man mentions a miracle as his impetus for following Isa, that of macaroni miraculously appearing. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but hasn’t Greg ridiculed quite vigorously these types of miracles? Seems that Greg is willing to accept some miracles if it supports his own myopic and incorrect views, but will jump at any opportunity to heap scorn and ridicule on any miracle that we on the other side of the debate mention. Double standards much? Still, as I stated elsewhere, hypocrisy is the standard modes operandi of the left.

  19. The woman at the well, incidentally, was not a Christian. There were no Christians at this stage. She was not saved. Jesus was not yet crucified nor raised, so she could not have been saved at this point.

    Perhaps later, when Jesus was resurrected, she received Christ as Lord and Saviour, and then she may well have been called a Christian by others, but at the point of the gospel reference, she was not born again.

  20. Of course Steve, I was just pointing out that you can’t use the woman at the well as a complete story about how a person responds to Christ and lives thereafter.

    this discussion really brings back to me how easy it is to be a Christian in the west. (I know you all think it’s hard, and that being called an idiot or a bible basher hurts, but it’s completely different.)

  21. What bothers me is the way Greg and Bones spend so much time attacking churches and ministers over every little thing, but seem to have so much glee at the thought of saying “allah akhbar” and building mosques, and rejoicing at a Muslim who becomes a Christian but wants to be referred to as a Muslim but who claims to heal the sick, cast out demons, and see macaroni multiplied and gets a free pass for it. No chasing up people for affidavits, photos, doctor’s certificates, or great concern for the psychological well-being of those who “supposedly” had demons cast out.

    Just seems like some people here hate Christians.

  22. Bones,
    for allah so loved the world….

    Interesting, but if you complete the scripture you hit a rather significant point, don’t you Bones, which why you stopped short.

    What happened when your allah loved the whole world? What did he do, Bones? And why would no Muslim ever agree with it?

  23. @DoC

    “No chasing up people for affidavits, photos, doctor’s certificates, or great concern for the psychological well-being of those who “supposedly” had demons cast out.”

    Yep. Now, let’s see them throw up a whole bunch of diversions to escape the hard questions. Seems Greg and Bones make up their theology as they go along.

  24. Great, Bones the evangelist. Maybe you can share that verse (the whole verse about Allah and his beloved son) with the Muslims when you help build their mosque.

    Go Bones! Preach it man!

  25. I don’t say anywhere that I believe the miracle story folks…I don’t…my interest in the article is purely over the idea of being born again and still being an ‘insider’ Muslim.

    Steve I understand where you get the idea the woman at the well wasn’t born again, however (and this will come as somewhat a surprise) I disagree with you!

    Jesus told nicodemus that he must be born again…he didn’t say anything about having to wait until after Jesus died to be able to do this.

  26. Ok, point taken Greg. You seem to be trying to very civil.

    “”Steve I understand where you get the idea the woman at the well wasn’t born again, however (and this will come as somewhat a surprise) I disagree with you! Jesus told nicodemus that he must be born again…he didn’t say anything about having to wait until after Jesus died to be able to do this.”

    Now that’s a great discussion point.

  27. How could anyone have been born again before Christ was raised? Not possible. He was the first born from the dead.

  28. Jesus told Nicodemus, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

    He was speaking of His cross, that when He was crucified, lifted up, people who believed in Him would receive eternal life. This was a mystery to Nicodemus, but after the death and resurrection of Jesus he would have understood what Jesus was saying.

    John 12
    32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
    33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

    Luke 24
    45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
    46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
    47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    So, yes, there were many who believed when Jesus walked the earth, but they could not be saved until after the resurrection.

    Their faith, if it remained, would be enough to save them, and they would be born again, but they could not have been born again until after Jesus was raised, glorified, and the Father had sent the Holy Spirit.

  29. Paul adds to this, “He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

    And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight– if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

    Salvation comes by the preaching of the gospel, faith comes by hearing, and the gospel is that of the cross and resurrection of Christ.

  30. Greg,
    After only reading through half of these comments,
    Did anyone ‘EVEN’ read through your entire initial post?

    Maybe your next Post should sound something like this:

    { What is the difference between Christianity and non Christianity (full stop) }

    OR,

    { Is Julia Gillard stuck down in a Rudt? }

  31. { Salvation comes by the preaching of the gospel, faith comes by hearing, and the gospel is that of the cross and resurrection of Christ. }

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    New International Version (NIV)
    8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

    As you can see from the above scripture that salvation comes by faith. Righteousness does not come from proclaiming the truth, it comes only from believing in the truth that is proclaimed. People often hear the truth yet do not accept it. Although, it is, indeed a righteous act to proclaim the truth.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Luke 8
    New International Version (NIV)
    The Parable of the Sower

    4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

    When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

    9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

    “‘though seeing, they may not see;
    though hearing, they may not understand.’[a]
    11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

  32. If all we needed to do was to preach the gospel in order for people to be saved, then everyone would be saved.
    But,,, it takes one to accept it!

  33. Greg’s post is a reasonable topic – it’s a real issue and very much debated within missionary circles.

    And his question about Nicodemus is a good one too. Why should Nicodemus have understood?

    Along those lines is, what was the good news of the Kingdom that Jesus and the disciples preached.

    Some people never think about it.

    Anyway, off topic, but I have no problem with the topic Greg raised.
    And he’s been pretty meek and gentle on this thread!

    Which is kind of disconcerting….

    l

  34. @Bones

    “The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding is practicing two religions she says are compatible at the most basic level, but many religious scholars insist the two are mutually exclusive.”

    She’s obviously got no idea what Chrisianity is.

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