Are Jesus-Centered Peacemakers Teaching Chrislam?
by Rick Love
A recent blog accused me of being a proponent of “Chrislam,” the syncretistic blending of Christianity and Islam. This type of accusation is nothing new. In fact, those of us who love Muslims or make peace with Muslims are often accused of compromising our faith. This blog stated that I was at the forefront of compromise with Islamic Theology. Wow! Serious allegations. So I think I should respond.
I am not writing this response to my critics. I don’t think I can convince them. It seems they have already made up their minds. They have obviously NOT heard me speak or read my blogs and papers. They have made unsubstantiated accusations with no or little evidence from what I say or write.
I am writing this response for the number of evangelical Christians who are called to do peacemaking with Muslims. They know in their hearts that loving Muslims and making peace is the right thing to do. They also believe that Jesus is the way, and thus want to be “good news” people (which is the literal meaning of evangelical). I am writing this response because they may not have a clear understanding of how they can be both faithful evangelicals and fruitful peacemakers.
Jesus taught and modeled both exclusive truth claims and inclusive love aims. The strong “both-and” nature of this radical Jesus unnerves many people. The majority of evangelicals contend for Jesus’ exclusive truth claims but somehow miss or minimize Jesus’ inclusive love aims. True followers of Jesus must both declare truth and model love. To deny either truth or love is to deny Jesus (for more on both/and thinking see Rich Nathan’s excellent article).
As I affirmed publicly with other Christians, Muslims and Jews, “Our commitment to partnering for peace does not mean we dissolve our distinctive, historic beliefs into an imaginary ‘One World Religion.’ Rather, it means each community seeks to be authentically faithful to their historic beliefs and finds within those beliefs the resources to reach out to one another in love and respect.” This statement explicitly repudiates any form of Chrislam. What it does say is that I am seeking to be both faithful and loving.
In my book, Grace and Truth: Toward Christlike Relationships with Muslims, I outlined areas of theological agreement and disagreement with Muslims as follows: Most Muslims would agree with us on the following important beliefs:
- There is One Almighty God, who created the heavens and the earth.
- God has given us commands and laws and will judge us at the Last Day. Human beings are sinful and need God’s forgiveness and mercy.
- Jesus is God’s Messiah who was miraculously born of his virgin mother Mary. He is the Word of God. During his life on earth Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. Jesus is an infallible Prophet (Acts 3:22,23).
- The Torah, the Psalms (which Muslims call the Zabur) and the New Testament (which Muslims call the Injil, or Gospel), were (in their original manuscripts) the verbally inspired, inerrant word of God.
Most Muslims would disagree with Christians on the following important beliefs:
- The One God is revealed in Scripture to be triune.
- Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is with God and is God. He is rightly referred to as the Son of God (most Muslims understand this title in a literal, carnal sense).
- Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead. His death atones for our sin.
- The biblical manuscripts are sufficiently reliable, and the Bible which we read today is trustworthy.
A careful analysis of these areas of agreement and disagreement clearly indicate that I am not only orthodox in my theology but evangelical in my convictions. No Chrislam. No joining together of these two faiths.
I was also the lead author of another important document entitled, Why Do We Share the Good News About Jesus with All Peoples, Including Muslims? This document outlines both why and how we share our faith. It was signed by over 55 major evangelical leaders from 19 countries. If you read it, you will see that I emphatically affirm the good news.
As a Jesus-centered peacemaker I follow the one who made both exclusive truth claims and inclusive love aims. I propagate the truth of Christ. I do not propagate Chrislam, but I try to demonstrate Christ’s love.