Interfaith Dialogue with Muslims—is it Biblical?

James F. Gauss, Ph.D.

Imagine, you are asked to become a member of your church’s community outreach ministry. However, there are two concessions you must agree to: Never share your faith or the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you must acknowledge that your Christian faith is no better than another faith, such as Hinduism, Islam, et al.

Would you be interested in participating? Would you be denying your faith if you did so? Most importantly, would you be denying Jesus Christ and His salvation work in your life?

The goals of “interfaith dialogue” are really not dialogue at all, especially when it comes to interfacing with Muslims in one’s community. The goals are to be “sensitive;” to consider the other’s “feelings;” to build “friendships;” and, of course, to do “good works.” Through all this it is hoped that the love of Christ will be demonstrated with understanding and compassion. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this. As Christ followers, we are all called to be loving and caring toward our neighbors, the stranger and even our enemies, but interfaithers, when it comes to “bridging” relationships with Muslims, often make erroneous assumptions.

First, they assume that Muslims worship and pray to the same God as Christians and Jews. This is categorically false. Allah is not the God of the Bible, but a pagan god of satanic origin. While interfaithers will strongly recoil at such a statement, the statement is factually true. Just ask any former Muslim who has turned to Jesus Christ for eternal salvation (or read my highly researched and detailed compendium, Understanding Islam in the Light of Christianity).

Second, those that seek interfaith dialogue incorrectly believe that Islam is an Abrahamic faith. This is also false. In my book there is a long detailed explanation on why Islam is not an Abrahamic faith, but for now, I will just say that while Arabic Muslims can legitimately claim to be descendants of Abraham, through Ishmael, Muslims as a group cannot. The reality, according to the Bible, is that Arabs descended from Ishmael 2700 years before the birth of Islam. In addition, an estimated 80 percent of Muslims in the world are non-Arabs. In Genesis 22, God denies that Ishmael is Abraham’s son, referring to Isaac as Abraham’s “only son” three times.

Third, interfaith dialoguers maintain that Islamic teaching offers similar views on family, loving one’s neighbor, etc. That is also misleading and largely false, especially when it comes to love of neighbor. Islamic teaching is clear and firm and commands Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as “friends.” The only acceptable way for a Muslim to befriend an unbeliever is to deceive the one befriended in order to achieve a higher, likely nefarious purpose. This is difficult for those in the West and especially in America where older generations have been taught that a man’s word is his bond. We like to believe that everyone says what they mean and stands by what they say as a badge of honor. It is not so with most Muslims, nor in Islamic teaching—and, yes, I know it is becoming sadly too true among Americans, many of whom “truth” no longer holds the weight of honor.

Fourth, the interfaithers refer to Muslims as “brothers and sisters,” which is also erroneous. The designation of “brothers and sisters” according to Christian teaching is reserved for Christ followers and not for an association of a Christian with a non-believer. There is no spiritual relationship between Christians and Muslims or between Christians and non-believers. On the other side, Muslims do not believe that a Muslim can enter into any meaningful relationship with a non-believer or infidel. Any such friendship perceived by a Christian is both false and against true Islam tenets of faith.

Fifth, interfaithers believe that we (Christians, Jews, Muslims and everyone) are “children of God” and therefore have a lot in common.

While my emotions want to proclaim the same, the truth is that according to the Bible that is not true. The term, “children of God,” is not used until the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were most often referred to as the “children of Israel.”

The Apostles John and Paul were the ones to use the term in the New Testament. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12).

Later, John wrote, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-2). According to John, only those who call upon Jesus as Lord and Savior are the children of God. Although that may seem harsh, if we truly believe in the unadulterated Word of God, then we must accept this as true. A few verses later, John wrote, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Again, Muslims do not worship the God of the Bible, nor the same God as Christians and Jews. While they are a part of God’s creation, as we all are, they are not “children of God” (that is, the One True God, whom they neither recognize, nor serve).

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome, had this to say: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17). Only those who are heirs to God’s promised covenant through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the shed blood of Christ are the legitimate “children of God.”

“That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed” (Romans 9:8). Not my words or proclamation, but the Spirit of God through the Apostles John and Paul.

Despite those among the interfaith who want to see Muslims as children of God, Muslims, themselves do not believe they are children of God because Islam teaches that Allah has no children, nor does he want any. Allah does not want such a personal, loving relationship. That is what Muslims fleeing Islam love about the Christian God—the true God.

Again, there is nothing wrong with reaching out with the love of Christ to those in need or to non-believers. That is part of Christ’s teaching and the calling of every Christian, but it is not the Great Commission for the Disciples of Christ.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). Although Jesus is concerned about the physical and emotional wellbeing of people, His greatest concern and calling for His followers is to call people to the Kingdom of God and everlasting salvation through His death and resurrection. Interfaith dialogue does not accomplish that, nor is it the goal.

As an example of the goals of Interfaith Dialogue, one should consider the bylaws or mission statement of your local group. In one community, the goals, in part, were stated as such: “Dialogue should enhance our sensitivity to the feelings of all professing religious people in their relationship with God.” Two misconceptions here: First, Christians are not called to be sensitive “to the feelings” of others when sharing the truth of the Gospel. Yes, we can be understanding and compassionate, but we are not to hold back on sharing the Gospel for fear of offending someone’s sensibilities. If that were the case, the Gospel would never reach anyone. Second, the erroneous assumption that all faiths have a “relationship with God.” Muslims, as well as many other faiths, do not believe in or have a relationship with Jehovah God. If you approach a Muslim on that foundation you are committing heresy, leading an unbeliever astray and will fail.

In order to participate in the aforementioned interfaith group you must agree to two things:

1. You may not “proselytize any other participant.” In other words, you may not share your faith in Christ or what He means to you. Essentially, you must deny your faith and calling as a Christian.

2. “. . . no group possesses total and absolute knowledge regarding the nature and works of God and human involvement with the Divine.” Really! Did not Jesus Himself say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If one does not believe that, then one is not a Christian. As Christians we must undeniably believe the Bible is God’s final uncompromising and infallible Word to His creation—not the Qur’an or any other man contrived text.

End Note. Fellow Americans, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are in a battle for the very survival of constitutional America and the Church in America. The future of us, our children, grandchildren and all that come after is at stake. This is not a war against Muslims, but against the evil, oppressive ideology that holds them in bondage. Everyone needs to know the truth to turn the tide of Islamic indoctrination. I am trying to do my part but could use your help. I am trying to raise funds to print and distribute the truth about Islam and get it to politicians, educators, community leaders, church and seminary leaders and Muslims as well. If you can help, visit our campaign site here, for more details. Your prayers are also appreciated and please spread the word. Thank you and God bless you.

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