I love singing this song in evangelical settings and watching people’s faces as they wrestle with what it is saying. On one hand, I’m saying, “Jesus is the only way,” and everyone feels comfortable with that, but then I also include those telltale words of liberalism, “there’s more than one way,” and that makes everyone very nervous. The statement is true, however, and entirely biblical. I’m merely saying that there is only one way to God, and that is Jesus; but there are a myriad of ways to Jesus — probably as many ways as there are people who get there. And all we are saying in this stimulating discussion of Muslims and Christians is that one of those ways might just be by way of Islam. In other words, a person could start out as a Muslim and end up as a believing Christian. Whether they choose to outwardly convert to Christianity, or stay within the Muslim tradition, they are still believing Jesus is the son of God who died for their sins on the cross, which makes them a Christian in my book.
I know this is possible because there are many people who can give testimony to this, and we are going to have one of them on our next BlogTalkRadio show Tuesday night. Dr. Safi Kaskas, believes this so strongly that he has spent the last five years translating the Qur’an into simple English (think “The Message” version of the Bible), and also cross-referenced over 3,000 references to the Bible.* What he’s done is remarkable. He has made it possible to put in someone’s hand a version of the Qur’an that leads to the Jesus of the Bible. Now that’s a way to Jesus not too many people have thought of.
Certainly a lot of Christians haven’t thought of it because they are too busy bashing Muslims, proving them wrong and burning the Qur’an. What we are saying is that there is a better way to go about this. I’ve been saying this all along, so it should come as no surprise at least to our Catch community: Find common ground (see Declaration of a Marketplace Christian). Actually, if you listen to Dr. Larycia Hawkins, the former Wheaton professor who is no longer at Wheaton, she says this was all she was trying to accomplish in the Facebook post that cost her her job. Her statement about Muslims and Christians worshiping the same God was not a statement of theology; it was a statement of solidarity — an attempt to find common ground with Muslims.
And indeed, if there is truly only one God (and there is), then there is a sense that you could say that everyone who is seeking Him, is worshiping (looking for) the same God. As I stated before, Paul spoke this way when he brought the gospel to the people of Athens (Acts 17). He searched through their “objects of worship” and found an idol to an unknown God and proceeded to announce that what they were “worshiping in ignorance,” was actually the God of the Jews, who sent His son to earth to die for our sins and proved He was God by raising Him from the dead. So it can indeed be said, from Paul’s account, that the people of Athens and the new Christians were worshiping the same God. Paul probably would have lost his job at Wheaton, too.
Our job as Christians is not to prove everyone else wrong, but purely and simply to lead people to Christ. And one very important ingredient we’ve left out of this discussion so far is the Holy Spirit, the one Jesus said would guide us into all truth. Don’t you think that if anyone is truly seeking God in all humility with all their heart, that the Holy Spirit will somehow lead them to Christ? Do you really think God is going to say to to a person like that, “Sorry, you got the wrong god; I was really behind Door Number 3.”
We need to take a new message to the world. We’ve got to stop bashing and burning and start building.
* Dr. Kaskas will also show us that the proper reading of the Qur’an will not lead to the violent overthrow of all “infidels” adopted by Muslim extremists. Those who trace their killing to the Qur’an are grossly misinterpreting the text. How many Christian sects have there been in history — and are indeed here now — that have traced their beliefs to misinterpretations of the Bible? From the Crusades, to the Salem witch hunts, to the K.K.K., to Jonestown, this should come as no surprise.