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Standing for the Gospel
In Defense of the Faith
Friday, November 28, 2014
Alf Cengia

About three years ago I spent some time following a discussion among Christians on a popular faith-based Forum. Many who participated were Catholics. In one thread, someone asked the question as to whether Muslims and Christians worshipped the same God.

Aside from a handful of dissenters, the forum unanimously championed the conclusion that the Qur'an and the Bible spoke of the same God. The Catholic Catechism appears to strongly affirm that conclusion of Muslims:

"The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; 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." ~ C841

The nonconformists were accordingly chastised for their intolerance, lack of compassion, prejudice, quarrelsomeness and the passing of judgment on others. One pro-same-God respondent noted that we all wanted to be right and that we all liked to think we knew better. She thought that doing so was a conceited notion. Of course, she also thought she was right and that she knew better, as the rest of her sermon attested.

Interestingly, the Catechism also has this to say about the Jews:

"...The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ...for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable." ~ C839 (Emphases mine)

In light of this, it's hard to not come away with the conclusion that faith in Christ and His work on the Cross is not considered an ultimate prerequisite for salvation for these two groups.

Leaving aside the accusations of conceit, prejudice and intolerance - what does the Bible say?

It should be patently obvious to all professing, bible-believing Christian that Jesus came to this earth to provide salvation to those who put their trust in Him (John 3:16; 1 Cor 1:18, 15:2). The Gospel of John uses words related to "believe" 98 times, and each time the focus of that belief is Jesus Christ.

In contrast to that, the god of the Qur'an denies that Allah has a son, and denies the necessity of the Cross. It therefore makes no sense to say that Muslims believe in the same God as Christians do because they share Abraham's faith (C841). Abraham was faithful to what he had been shown. Had Christ been revealed to Abraham, he would have placed his faith in Christ as well.

Given this understanding, what can be said of those who have been shown the way to Christ and still reject Him?

The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 NIV

Pope Francis has been accused of diluting the Gospel message by the likes of Tim Challies and Christopher Cone (and others). Apologists object that he has been misrepresented. The Catholic Church's Catechism suggests that the criticism is on target.

Note that despite apologist objections, the pope often makes ambiguous statements on salvation, and social issues. Cardinal George has vocalized his own frustration:

"He sends out so many signals it gets a bit jumbled at times. I'm sure he's not confused, himself. It's confusing for a lot of people, including myself at times. For someone who appreciates clarity I would like to get a few things clear so I can cooperate."

This article isn't intended to be directed exclusively at the pope or Catholicism. Yet Pope Francis is the most prominent example of the direction many main stream churches have headed. So-called social justice, gay and diversity issues, and "interfaith" overtures to Islam are consistently trumping the message of the Gospel.

Modern Christian leaders appear to have a lackadaisical attitude toward personal sin and the need for salvation.

We've had at least two recent examples of non-Catholic, yet professing Christian denominations, inviting Muslim prayers in their places of worship. One was - most ironically - at the Lutheran Memorial Church of the Reformation in the city of Speyer, Germany. The other was at the Episcopalian Washington National Cathedral.

In both of these cases the services were disrupted by a woman protesting what should never have occurred in a place dedicated to Christian worship. As one article put it:

"The service held inside the Episcopal Church was meant to promote interfaith prayer and improve global relations between Muslims and Christians, according to church and Muslim group organizers."

Only Christ can bring peace to this world - not "interfaith prayer" or "interfaith dialogue." We've already seen that this Allah rejects Christ. The only faith based "dialogue" Christians should engage in is to demonstrate the need for Christ.

Most of the Apostles died in the process of bringing pagans to Christ. Jesus said He came to bring a sword (Matt 10:34-36). He told His disciples that, as the world hated Him, it would also hate them (John 15:18). The Great commission was never intended to be an exercise in Public Relations.

The Apostle Paul warned that after his departure, savage wolves would come in and not spare the flock (Acts 28:29). He admonished Timothy:

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2Ti 4:1-4

In his 1945 book Therefore Stand Wilbur M. Smith noted the state of the church then. Some Christian leaders of his day were accepting the concept of Evolution and doubting Christ's divinity. Many had forsaken preaching only Christ and had become glorified social workers. What would Smith say now?

Paul had a warning for those who perverted the Gospel:

As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Gal 1:9

Let's all stand for the Truth, even if it offends.

About Alf Cengia

Last article: Free-Thinking Dragons


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