Those of us raised as Christians will have some idea of the core values to which we believe. The Godhead is paramount: One God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is the same critical introduction to each of our articles.
Mary was a virgin but gave birth to Jesus when the Holy Spirit came upon her. Jesus God the Son yet fully human lived without sin, was crucified and died on the Cross for our sin and was raised again the third day to life and this, the assurance of Salvation is for anyone who believes in Him.
The central focus of Christianity is love, repentance, forgiveness and compassion with a world view taught by Jesus and expounded in the New Testament that ultimately there will be a divine reckoning for those who reject this astonishing measure of Grace - the Cross.
The religion of Islam is based not only on the five pillars but also on six fundamental beliefs, sometimes called the six pillars of faith.
However, the majority of Muslims have spiritual beliefs that affect everyday life but may not be endorsed by the Quran. This "folk Islam" follows the original belief systems of scattered tribal people around the world, to which Islam has become attached.
Its root is animism with a religious cover. While the fundamental beliefs are based on the Quran, they may have different expressions in different cultures.
1. Allah – God. The doctrine of the oneness of God emphasizes that God has no sons, he is not born and does not give birth – in other words God is not a father and has no sons. The only unforgivable sin in Islam is to say that God is a father and that he has a son. This is a great stumbling block to Muslims even considering Christian faith.
This is a foundational denial of the Fatherhood and the Sonship of God.
Christians believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit lived in an eternal fellowship that was so glorious with perfect love, joy, peace, light, glory etc that God decided to multiply that fellowship by creating man. This doctrine of the Trinity is rejected by Muslims.
The people of the Book (Jews and Christians) believe in one God who is creator, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, compassionate, judge of all men and revealer of the message to all the prophets. The Quran teaches emphatically that Allah does not love sinners whereas the God of the Jews and the Christians loves mankind, even sinners, and reaches out to love and rescue them.
2. Angels. Angels are beings created from light and jinn are beings created from smokeless fire. Muslims must believe in angels and be their friends.
The jinn are somewhere between humans and angels. They are intensely jealous of humans and constantly seek to injure them. No one knows their exact number except Allah. He created them to worship him.
Jinn feature in the Quran with a whole chapter, Surah Al-Jinn (72) dedicated to them. Magic charms and incantations are used to protect against them.
Read Acts Chapter 19, verses 11 – 20, to see the power of God against spiritual forces.
3. The Books. These are the Quran of Muhammad, the law of Moses called Torah, the Gospel of Jesus called Injeel, the psalms of David called Zaboor (and the testament of Abraham which is a book of the Jews probably written in the C2 AD and its included in the Torah). Thus the Quran is intricately linked with all the other Scriptures.
Muslims therefore, according to the Quran, must believe fully in the Law, the Psalms, the Gospels and the Quran.
4. The Messengers. These are the apostles and the prophets, of which Muhammad is the last. The main prophets are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Joseph, Aaron, Jesus and Moses.
Muhammad's authority comes because he is the last of the prophets with the final message.
5. The Day of Resurrection and the End Times Every Muslim must believe that the world will come to an end, everybody will be judged and end up in heaven or hell. Muslims live with the fear of going to hell and facing its tortures, or anticipating all the joys their soul desires in an eternity of bliss in Paradise.
6. Predestination. Everything is known by Allah, planned, willed and decided by Allah. Ultimately Muslims can do nothing for their salvation as everything is dependent on the will of Allah. "Insha Allah" (meaning God willing) is a term often used to say that this is Allah's will and leads to a fatalistic world view (often used as an excuse or a polite no, usually without theological meaning). There is no confidence of salvation – even Muhammad himself did not know what his fate would be.
Christians, however, have the assurance of salvation, as it says in Romans Chapter 10, verses 9 and 10: If you confess with your mouth that "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Again we see clear differences in theology, world view and core understanding between a need to fulfil (by the Muslim) and an understanding that Salvation can never be on something anyone of us has done (Christian). For the follower of Jesus, Salvation is a free gift and as such it bring s with it a peace that passeth understanding and a place to rest in its assurance.
Today the fourth
NEXT - Jihad and Salvation – Thursday 18 February
Response by followers of Jesus – Monday 22 February
Dhimmitude, Sharia Law, Persecution – Wednesday 24 February
Aira Chilcott B.Sc (Hons), M. Contemp Sci, Cert IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Cert IV in Training and Evaluation, Grad Dip Ed., began her working life at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, investigating characteristics of cancer cells. Turning to teaching in the Christian school system provided opportunities to learn theology, more science, mission trips and explore the outdoors through bushwalking and other exploits. Now retired, Aira is a panelist for Young Writers and volunteers at a nature park. Aira is married to Bill and they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html