FAQ 5: Are You Teaching Chrislam?
We get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again. The wording may be different, but the concerns remain the same. Because of this, we are writing a number of blogs addressing some of our Frequently Asked Questions. See our previous posts, Is it Really Possible to Have Peace Between Christians and Muslims?, How Does Peacemaking Relate to Evangelism?, Why Should We Bother with Peacemaking? and Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace or a Sword?
Frequently Asked Question #5:
Are you compromising your faith? Are you teaching Chrislam?
Many of us who love Muslims or make peace with Muslims are often accused of compromising our faith. Some people even claim we are teaching “Chrislam,” a syncretistic blending of Christianity and Islam.
But NO, we are not teaching Chrislam. Rather, we are being both faithful evangelicals and fruitful peacemakers.
In the early days of Peace Catalyst (PCI) we co-authored Seven Resolutions Against Prejudice, Hatred and Discrimination. We affirmed publically with other Christians, Muslims, and Jews that, “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.”
No Chrislam here. Simply an effort to be faithful and loving.
We are Jesus-centered peacemakers who take Jesus seriously. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no person comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Jesus also taught that our eternal destiny depends on how we respond to him (John 3:16). So we believe Jesus’ exclusive truth claims.
Jesus also hung out with the 'wrong' crowd. He loved the marginalized and was even called the friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). Moreover, he commanded us to love our neighbors and our enemies (Matthew 22:9; Matthew 5:44). Thus Jesus also taught and modeled inclusive love aims.
The strong both-and nature of this radical Jesus unnerves many people. Many evangelicals zealously uphold the truth claims but do poorly in practicing the love aims. Many liberal Christians do the opposite. We confess it is sometimes hard to embrace both.
One reason we are accused of teaching Chrislam is that people see us living out Jesus’ inclusive love aims and assume we have denied his exclusive truth claims. But the fact is that true followers of Jesus must both declare truth and model love. To deny either truth or love is to deny Jesus.
Finally, the book Grace and Truth: Toward Christlike Relationships with Muslims is a core text for PCI. In this book we have 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 Zabūr) and the New Testament (which Muslims call the Injīl 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 entirely trustworthy, and the Bible which we read today is reliable. It has not been changed.
So no, we at Peace Catalyst do not teach or practice Chrislam; rather, a Jesus-centered faith that is both orthodox in theology and evangelical in conviction. A faith that is full of both grace and truth.