Controversies of Muslims Worshiping in Churches with Christians.
The internet (particularly posts from Christian social media friends) has been all abuzz about Franklin Graham speaking up about a Muslims being allowed to worship at the Washington National Cathedral. http://m.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/michael-w-chapman/rev-franklin-graham-muslim-prayer-service-national-cathedral-sad-see
While the Muslims are accommodated (such as being moved somewhere as they can’t pray in the presence of the Christian icons), a Christian standing up and proclaiming Jesus Christ is then removed. (Of course, this is naturally going to fuel all the Christian activists who have long been saying how the nation has turned against them).
This right after a similar story, in some cathedral in Europe somewhere; I believe Germany, and actually one of Luther’s churches, IIRC. There was a Muslim service, and some lady stood up and proclaimed Jesus, and was removed.
Only one commenter pointed out that this also condemns the Jews, who also do not believe Jesus was the Messiah, and that Muslims, Jews, and Christians ALL believe in the Old Testament – hence the category, “Abrahamic religion”.
So if consistent, it would condemn the Jews, but in practice, many Christians who are so against Islam (and call Allah “a different god”) would never say that about Judaism and YHWH; nor likely even protest a combined worship service with them.
That’s what bothers me about this fervor in this issue. It seems more POLITICAL than truly theological.
To the modern Zionism influenced Christianity, Judaism is always portrayed as on “our side” against the Muslims. But since the Christian doctrine is about Jesus; neither religion accepts Him as Son, and Savior, but if you really look at it, the Muslims actually do hold him as a man sent from God, even holding the title “messiah” (whatever that may actually mean to them). In Judaism, he is, at worst a false Messiah. I know most shy away from saying that, though the Lubavitchers, for one are quite clear on it.
The rest of Judaism seems to hold him, at best as a good Jewish teacher whom the Christians wrongly worship. But God to them is nearly identical to Allah. A single divine Personage who can have no “Son”. (And even sometimes commands the people to do some things Islam is often accused of, such as exterminating other tribes like the Canaanites! This is ignored at times like this in favor of “our God is love and nor barbaric like Allah”, but at other times, those accounts are used to prove the point of God’s “holiness” and also why He would send so many people to Hell.
But what most have not expounded properly, is that those OT exterminations were the full extent of the severity of the Law, and God’s final revelation is the Gospel of Grace, and most of what was seen on the OT is was not to be repeated after Christ).
The Christians will claim that Judaism is still the religion of the Bible before Christ, and so “their” scriptures teach the “true Christian Gospel”, but they just don’t recognize it. Islam, on the other hand, came afterward. But the same could be said of the “Christian cults” whom they also reject as worshiping “another god”, but use the same names Christians use, such as “God”, YHWH or Jehovah.
The whole “other god” charge of Allah specifically, comes from some myth that Allah was one of hundreds of gods that Muhammad simply chose, but the name (al ilah) actually is derived right from the Hebrew/Aramaic “El/Eloah/Elah”, and means, simply “THE God”. It was supposed to be the God of Abraham, and Arabs are of Shem (i.e. “semitic”) and Abraham as well.
The other “gods” people refer to were simply names of attributes of the one God (such as Rahman, “the Merciful”, which is even the same word in the biblical Hebrew) and not actually separate gods. It was the Arabs before Muhammad who made them into separate gods, much as Israelites did in the OT, and Kabbalah does with the 10 sefiroth.
So that should really be cleared up. One person in the comments of a similar article even pointed out that such thinking comes more from a Chick tract than anything else.
In any case, most people today, and especially in a “mainline” denomination church like that, do not see the finer theological distinctions that would declare the “God”s of the three separate religions as “different”. Many Evangelicals are still operating off of this “Christian America” concept that treats this nation like it were the Old Testament Nation of Israel itself; where everyone is contracted by birth to worship and obey the one God, but most people just don’t believe in that anymore. (For one thing, this had been horribly abused, both in Biblical Israel, as well as through Christian history. THAT’s why the “all-inclusive” revolt in recent generations to begin with!) Some evangelicals even see that movement itself as having slipped in doctrine in many ways.
It seems to be true that the Muslims would not return the favor, and I wonder why they would want to worship in a church with Christians then, especially if they can’t even see the Christian iconography while worshiping.