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The mantra that "we all worship the same god" has been taken a step further by First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple by hosting a new play called "Christmas Mubarak," mixing Christian and Muslim stories of Jesus' birth.
Rather than Jesus being born as the incarnate Son of God, the baby actually speaks and announces he's a prophet. Similarly, Joseph is not depicted as Mary's fiance, but rather as a cousin and the play describes prophecies about Jesus' return, though Muslims do not believe, as Christians do, that Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead.
Though the play's directors say "Christmas Mubarak" is "a wonderful way for both Muslim and Christian to refresh their understanding of the story," this is nothing short of blasphemy. It perverts the story of Jesus' birth; it doesn't refresh it. No prophet could save people from their sins. Only the incarnate Son of God could do that. That any Christian church would participate in this play is disgraceful.
However this is not the first time a church has embraced what is often referred to as "Chrislam", the term used to suggest that Christianity and Islam share similar beliefs and as such are compatible. Those Christian churches that have so blurred the differences and distinctions between Christianity and Islam are on the rise and the next generation of youth seems to be ready to endorse such beliefs despite Christianity and Islam being diametrically opposed on the most important of issues - the identity of Jesus Christ.
True Christianity declares Jesus to be God incarnate. For Christians, the deity of Christ is a non-negotiable, for without His deity, Jesus death on the cross would not have been sufficient to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).
Islam adamantly rejects the deity of Christ. The Quran declares the idea that Jesus is God to be blasphemy (5:17). Belief in the deity of Christ is considered shirk (filth) to Muslims. Further, Islam denies the death of Christ on the cross (4:157-158).
The most crucial doctrine of the Christian faith is rejected in Islam. As a result, the two religions are absolutely not compatible, making Chrislam a concept both Christians and Muslims should reject.
Several years ago during the same Christmas season this deceptive belief raised it's ugly head when Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins became the center of controversy by announcing that she would be wearing a hijab during Advent to show religious solidarity with Muslims.
She further stated, "I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book," Hawkins wrote. "And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God."
However, Hawkins is hardly the first Christian leader to endorse Chrislam-type tendencies or to offer mixed messages:
We increasingly hear and read that Christianity and Islam "share" Jesus, that he belongs to both religions. This shift of thinking reflects the growing influence of Islam in our culture and even in the church. The latest mantra is that we are all "people of the book".
Islam regards itself, not as a subsequent faith to Judaism and Christianity, but as the primordial religion, the faith from which Judaism and Christianity are subsequent developments. In the Qur'an we read that Abraham was not a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a monotheist, a Muslim (Âl 'Imran 3:66). So it is Muslims, and not Christians or Jews, who are the true representatives of the faith of Abraham to the world today. (Al-Baqarah 2:135)
Such distorted thinking has been communicated by a number of Christian leaders over the years:
While housing the offices for "Christians and Muslims for Peace", Robert Schuller, former pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, began the movement toward softening the well-known words of Jesus in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Schuller told an Imam of the Muslim American Society that "if he came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him...."
Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, an Episcopal priest for over twenty years, dons her white collar of Episcopal priesthood on Sunday mornings, then ties on her black headscarf to pray with her Muslim group on Fridays, saying, "I am both Muslim and Christian". She sees compatibility in Islam and Christianity at the most basic level and has endorsed the Muslim teaching that all true Christians will accept Islam.
Some Christians and Jews are faithful and believe truly. (Âl 'Imran 3:113,114) Any such true believers will submit to Allah by accepting Muhammad as the prophet of Islam, i.e. they will become Muslims. (Âl 'Imran 3:198)
Brian McLaren, founding pastor of non-denominational Cedar Ridge Community Church in Baltimore, Washington, and a leading voice in the emergent church movement encouraged his congregation and other Christians through his blog to participate with Muslims in a Ramadan fast, which celebrates the month the Qur'an was supposedly sent down.
Another leader in the Emerging Church movement, Dr. Tony Campolo, says he is not convinced that Jesus lives only in Christians, reasoning that an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry and clothed the naked clearly has a personal relationship with Christ, only he doesn't know it.
A few years ago, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston joined with Christian communities in Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit to create a series of sermons designed to promote an ecumenical reconciliation between Christianity and Islam. Sunday School lessons on the same theme would center on the inspired teachings of the Prophet Mohammad, and Qur'ans and Bibles would be placed side by side in the church pews.
Ironically, a side by side comparison of the Bible and the Qur'an would show two faiths that are the exact opposite.
The Jesus of the Gospels is the basis upon which Christianity developed. By Islamizing Him, and making of Him a Muslim prophet Who preached the Qur'an, Islam destroys Christianity and takes over all its history. It does the same to Judaism.
Many Muslims like to point out that they do believe Jesus is coming back. However they don't often detail what he will do when he comes back according to their beliefs...
In the end times as described by Muhammad, Isa becomes a warrior who will return with his sword and lance. He will destroy the Christian religion and make Islam the only religion in all the world. Finally at the last judgment he will condemn Christians for believing in the crucifixion and the incarnation.
This final act of the Muslim Isa reflects Islam's apologetic strategy in relation to Christianity, which is to deny the Yeshua of history, so that nothing remains but Islam.
Rather than trying to pretend we believe the same things and create a system of belief that both fundamental Islam and Biblical Christianity reject, a frank and honest discussion about our differences would seem to make much more sense.
Part of the problem with our culture is that we use similar terminology but mean different things by those same words. Until we examine what is actually meant by what we say, confusion will abound.
This confusion is best summed up by Malik Gillani, the founder of the Christmas Mubarak play who in response to such criticism says, "I believe in the miraculous birth of Christ. We Muslims believe Jesus ascended to God; but that he was not crucified. But what is wrong with us not thinking he died for our sins?".
We highly recommend the site Answering Islam
for a honest and intelligent conversation on the key differences between the Bible and the Qur'an.