The Clash of TWO Theologies! It’s very serious!
I just returned from a Prophecy Conference in Chino Hills, California. I attended this same conference last year at this time. This year’s conference (August 5 – 6) was an update on global trends and messages from a select group of strong leaders (Christians) who sense that the 2nd coming of Yeshua is nigh. I experienced a great diversity of speakers and messages at this conference. One message that everyone seemed focused upon was the clash of Islam (their Theology) with the Christian Theology. The consensus view was that there are no ready solutions to this clash as the doctrines/beliefs are so different and diverse. Islam desires to conquer our planet in the name of their God (Allah) and Christianity desires similar in the name of their God (Yeshua/Jesus).
The differences are very serious as beliefs create behavior! Beliefs are the core to all our behavior! The Quran and the Christian Bible are touted as ‘words’ from the Creator God (reveal by an angel from the Creator)!
Submission to Allah or the Creator…the word which means God the Most High in English! Words must be viewed from the lingua franca of the author!
We might add a host of other philosophies and theologies to this mix of beliefs but I will focus on the clash of Islam and Christianity in this missive. Islam is now a serious contender to Christianity for the hearts of most believers who desire a Higher Authority. Islam has some 1.6 billion followers and Christianity has some 2.2 billion followers. We have some 7 billion people on our planet as of 2016. Everyone has a worldview but Islam and Christianity make up some 55% of all people’s on planet earth. The other 45% is made up of various secular and transcendent belief systems. Let’s outline the core doctrines of the above TWO belief systems and then try to discern why these theologies are so different and challenging. Personally, I do not fully adhere to any of these beliefs (fully) but I do accept portions of each as reflections of reality as we live it!
Islam is based on the concept of ‘submission’ to the Most High Creator God (Allah in Arabic)! The Theology emerged after the death of Muhammad!
The Theology of Islam: This theology emerged after the death of their prophet, Muhammad in 632 A.D. The past 1400 years have hardened this theology into the following key doctrines:
- Their God: the ‘name’ or ‘word’ for their God is Allah. This is not really a separate ‘name’ as the ‘word’ Allah is really merely a word for the Creator God of our universe. In English we use the word Lord or God for the Creator. Islam uses the word Allah. So don’t get hung up on the word, Allah. Think of this ‘word’ as the Islamist word for God Almighty or the Most High God of our universe. Allah means God or Creator God! Arab Christians also use the word, Allah, when referencing the Most High God of our universe!
- The Gospel of Islam: the key doctrine for Islam is this concept called ‘submission’. Submit to God (Allah) as the first priority. Pray some five times per day to Allah and follow the Quran as the reference guide for your belief. Allah is Supreme and the ONLY God of our universe! His message was given to Muhammad (to give to everyone who believes in the historical God of Abraham)! Muhammad views himself as the final prophet!
- Whose word is final? The Quran (as given) and Muhammad’s revelations (the ‘words’ from the angel Gabriel)…considered a direct revelation from the Creator God. Muhammad recorded the ‘words’ and this is supposed to represent ‘words’ directly from the Creator God of our universe. This is the view of Islam. God is absolute and his ‘word’ is absolute and final in the view of most who believe in Islam!
- Who is Yeshua/Jesus to believers in Islam? Yeshua was a Jewish Rabbi who mostly spoke Aramaic and he received his Gospel from Allah (the Creator God, according to Islam). Yeshua was a prophet, similar to Muhammad and all the prior prophets mentioned within the Torah (such as Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, etc…plus Muhammad was the final prophet to mankind). The belief system is now being contested by various sects within Islam! ISIS is one of these sects. Shia and Sunni are also sects! There are others!
- What is this concept called Jihad? Jihad is viewed mostly as a struggle and a command to convert all people on planet earth to the reality of Islam’s core beliefs. Jihad is commanded of all serious followers of Islam…and their view is that beliefs must adhere to the messages written in the Quran (as rightly interpreted by the Imams who are committed to this religion). The word ‘Jihad’ is interpreted differently by the various sects within Islam. This is similar to the word ‘Gospel’ in the Christian religion. There are various interpretations!
- Judgement Day: Followers of Islam believe that the final battle on planet earth happens during a time period called Judgement Day. Many interpret this time period as NOW and we witness this with the sect called ISIS. So serious followers of Islam desire to impose their belief system upon the entire planet so that Allah rules over everyone ( administered via Sharia Law). A Caliphate is the final governmental system under this belief system!
- What is Sharia Law? Sharia Law consists of the laws and rules (political, religious, and social) given within the Quran for governing all souls who believe in Islam and desire to follow the commands of Muhammad. Governing is by a Caliphate and Imams who receive instruction from Allah and the Quran. The end result of all this is Islam for the entire world and Sharia Law for everyone on planet earth!
Paul’s Gospel of Salvation emerged AFTER the death of Yeshua (from 33 A.D. to 58 A.D.)! Paul promoted Yeshua as a God and this eventually led to the concept of the Trinity (after 325 A.D.)! Trinity consists of Yeshua, Father, Holy Spirit!
The Gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) was the Kingdom of (his) God…El, Eloah, Yahweh! Also called the Most High God! The prayer of Yeshua (called the Lord’s Prayer) revealed his Gospel prior to his death! After his death there emerged a different Gospel!
The Theology of Christianity: This theology is somewhat diverse but the core beliefs center around this person called Yeshua/Jesus. Yeshua is the Aramaic ‘name’ for this anointed person and the ‘name’ Jesus was derived from the Greek text and the English transliteration given in our New Testament. Christian theology is rather confusing as the doctrines emerged mostly AFTER the death of Yeshua (which happened around 31 A.D.). The doctrines have changed and evolved over the past 2000 years and many view the Gospel of Paul (the key missionary leader of Christianity) as the core message and Gospel (applicable to everyone). The Gospel is supposedly a direct command from Yeshua according to the leaders of this religion. This has led to the global proselytization of this message to all mankind! It continues today!
- What was the Gospel of Yeshua ‘PRIOR’ to his death? Bible scholars generally view the key Gospel of Yeshua as relating to this concept called The Kingdom of (his) God. Yeshua chose disciples and followers who tried to promote this Gospel of Yahweh/Elohim/El to the tribes of people called the Israelites. This twelve tribe group emerged from the Patriot Jacob (son of Isaac) and is generally viewed as the group to which Yeshua’s message was directed. Like Islam, Christianity today desires to promote their Gospel to everyone on our planet so that Yeshua’s Kingdom (of Yahweh) can emerge as the final government for our planet. Ultimately, the Most High God will rule this planet!
- What Gospel emerged ‘AFTER’ the death of this person called Yeshua? After the death of Yeshua, around 31 A.D., disciples started to form beliefs which reflected this person’s prior Gospel message. James, Peter, John, Andrew, etc. were those with the most convictions. Later, the tribe of Benjamin Jew called Paul (after his vision of the glorified Yeshua on the road to Damascus) emerged as the most prolific proselytizer for his gospel called the Gospel of Salvation. This Gospel eventually emerged as the primary gospel of Christianity and the Gospel of Yeshua (during Paul’s lifetime). The Gospel of Yeshua (The Kingdom of (his) God) was abandoned for this Gospel of Salvation. Paul’s gospel overwhelmed all other gospels and today most churches preach this Gospel of Salvation as the Gospel of Yeshua and Paul. It’s quite confusing!
- Who was the God of Yeshua during his lifetime? Yeshua, being Aramaic, called his God by Aramaic names. The Supreme God of his lingua franca was referenced as El or Eloah. In Hebrew this would be Elohim and/or Yahweh (the tribal God of those called Israelites during the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Yeshua did not view himself as God as many Christians claim (this is rather clear if the words in scripture mean what they say). Yeshua was circumcised (at age 8), formally dedicated to the God of Israel, and later baptized (by his cousin, John) which revealed that his God was other than himself. Those who claim Yeshua to be God have concocted this Trinity doctrine (which developed some 300 years AFTER his death). Yeshua never claimed to be God while he was on this planet. God, to Yeshua, was the Creator God, the Almighty God, the God of the Israelites who received their commands from the prophet Moses. Theologians created this false Trinity concept which then was adopted by most professing Christian teachers/pastors.
- What is the core conflict between Islam and Christianity? The core conflict is the question: Who is the real God of the Universe? Who speaks for this God (Yeshua or Muhammad)? How does one become a follower of each sect/religion? Who can ‘interpret’ the words of the respective Holy Books correctly? Who should rule over planet earth (a Caliphate or Yeshua at his second coming)? If Judgement Day is now, what does this mean for believers of each religion? Does Jihad or Gospel proselytization win new converts to the respective religions? Who is a false prophet, Muhammad or Yeshua? Why is a created being (Yeshua) not God?
- If God (whoever is the Most High King) is in control of all events is this theological ‘determinism’? Christianity is confused on this issue but Islam seems to assume theological determinism. Each religion assumes that their version of events will happen. The eschatological philosophy of each religion has many twists and turns. Each has many and various ‘interpretations’ which contradict the views of other ‘interpretations’. The subjective nature of these religions is obvious to me as the doctrines and theological views change from speaker to speaker (expert to expert). Christianity seems to view events as being determined and we are now living in what is called the Last Days. Islam seems to think that we also are living in the Last Days. There is now a growing trend towards conflict between these TWO religions and violence is part of this situation. Prepare for more conflict going forward which will affect politics, economics, and social relationships.
- Is violence the way to progress when theologies conflict? There is now a growing demand for dialogue between these two historical religions. Dialogue, however, is not happening fast enough IMO. What both these religions need to recognize is that violence can not settle the above differences between the TWO religions. ISIS has the view that violence is needed as their religion and their ‘interpretation’ is not being accepted. Christianity seems to hold ‘prophecy conferences’ and meetings but they do not directly seek dialogue. The challenge for everyone is to promote dialogue as spiritual ideas can not be settled via the sword.
- Is there a second coming of this person called Yeshua? Christianity assumes that a 2nd coming (from heaven) is going to happen soon. Yeshua is going to fly from his position at the throne of God and land on planet earth. Prior to this event, however, there will be a ‘rapture’ of all true believers. This event assumes that bodies will fly into the sky (overcoming gravity) and enjoy a meeting with the glorified Yeshua (in the sky). All this sounds more like fantasy than reality but the prophecy speakers at the event I attended seem convinced that this will happen (any day now). There will be a ‘rapture’ of true believers and then a tribulation for the remainder of mankind. This tribulation could last as long as seven (7) years and then the Kingdom of God will emerge as the new government for planet earth.
One interpretation of the End Times eschatology (also called Prophecy)!
Another interpretation of End Times eschatology! Note the similarities and the differences! The big question is: are we now in the End Times?
To conclude, I would suggest that the reader of this missive do some additional reading and study on all the above issues. Theology is subjective at the core and there are numerous ‘interpretations’ for what might happen. My sense is that we live in a spiritual universe (mentally) and a material universe (observationally). This means that the philosophy of Dualism is real and everyone might grow by learning and listening to various viewpoints and interpretations. Eschatology is subjective but it does have merit IMO. Enjoy this brief comparison of Islam and Christianity. I found the conference in Chino Hills worthwhile and some 500 attendee’s seemed to think likewise! I am: https://kingdomecon.wordpress.com.