Christians and Muslims — What’s the Difference?

November 16, 2003

CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? by Ray Pritchard Last Tuesday night I spent an exciting hour with our Power Connection junior high ministry. They invited me for the annual “Stump Pastor Ray” question night. Because they gave me the questions in advance, I was better prepared than usual, but they still tricked me on a very easy question: “What’s the shortest verse in the Bible?” (Hint: It’s not “Jesus wept.” Another hint: It’s in the book of Job, and the “trick” answer only works in the NIV. For any other hints, ask a junior higher.) One student wanted to know the difference between Christianity and Islam. As Darin Weil (our junior high director) pointed out, a few years ago they would asked about the difference between evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Today they want to know about Islam. I think the question is vitally important and deserves a clear answer. Here’s what I said: The real difference between Christians and Muslims is Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary. Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet of God. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Muslims believe that Jesus should be honored. Christians believe that Jesus should be worshiped. Muslims believe that Jesus was a holy man. Christians believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Muslims do not believe that Jesus died for their sins. Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Muslims believe that Mohammed surpasses Jesus as a true prophet of God. Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. There are many other points of difference, but the central issue is Jesus, God’s Son, the Savior of the world, who died on the cross and rose from the dead, who bore our sins that we might be saved, and who is the Savior of all who believe in him. I do not think we should be unkind or disrespectful to Muslims or to the followers of other religions. They deserve kindness and fair treatment and the right to believe what they want. We can and should be good neighbors to everyone, including those whose beliefs are very different from our own. But that does not include watering down what we believe. It’s not right to say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. That’s like saying, “We’ve got God with Jesus, and you’ve got God without Jesus.” People who talk like that soon end up dropping Jesus altogether. Getting along with others doesn’t mean compromising our faith. This is the bottom line: Be kind to everyone, but never be ashamed of Jesus. He’s our Savior, and not only ours, but also the Savior of everyone who believes in him.

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