A lengthy letter was drafted by Muslim scholars entitled ‘A Common Word between Us and You’ and sent to the Pope and many other world religious leaders. The letter attempts to find common ground between Islam and both Christianity and Judaism. In the summary statement of their letter they state:
“Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.”
The context of the title of the Muslim letter is found in Koran 3:64.
“Say: O people of the Scripture! Come to a common word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him…”
Within their lengthy letter the phrases ‘and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him’ and ‘He hath no associate’ are found 15 times. In essence they recognize Jesus as a Messenger of God, but deny His deity. Their letter states:
“Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, not in the same way Christians do (but Christians themselves anyway have never all agreed with each other on Jesus Christ’s nature), but in the following way: ‘…the Messiah Jesus son of Mary is a Messenger of God…’” Koran 4:171
Their letter implies that Christians themselves are divided on the nature of Christ, i.e. whether He is basically a Messenger of God, or in fact deity as the Son of God, or as Jesus Himself states, “I and My Father are one.”
Mary was indeed the mother of Jesus but the Bible clearly states that He is much more than a messenger, i.e. He ‘will be called the Son of the Highest.’
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God…to a virgin…whose name was Mary…the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive…and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’”
The issue of Jesus’ deity was a point of contention between Jewish leaders and Jesus during Jesus’ time on earth also but was settled abruptly.
“But He (Jesus) said to them (the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes)… ‘Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.’ Then they all said, ‘Are You then the Son of God?’ So He said to them, ‘You rightly say that I am.’” Luke 22:66-70
Then after Jesus’ resurrection the eleven disciples saw Jesus and He spoke to them saying:
“…All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18
So before we examine further the letter from Islam entitled ‘A Common Word between Us and You’ we need to keep in mind that Islam not only denies the deity of Christ, but they also deny that Christ was crucified and resurrected. Such Biblical facts, however, are at the very center of Christianity.
Their letter further quotes from their Koran:
“Say (O Muslims): We believe in God and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them…” Koran 2:136-137
The Bible makes numerous references to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but not Ishmael.
“Moreover He (God) said, ‘I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’” Exodus 3:6
The New Testament confirms that the descendants of Isaac have little in common with the descendants of Ishmael. Recall that Ishmael was the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Arabia and the ancestor of Muhammad while Isaac was the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus.
“For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman (Ishmael) was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman (Isaac) through promise…Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise…what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.’” Galatians 4:22-31
Therefore, while Muslims state ‘The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians’ and while Muslims recognize Jesus as a messenger of God, but not as deity, perhaps Christians should settle the issue by reviewing the Bible and simply ask:
“What would Jesus do?”