Originally posted at Modern March
This post was prompted by a poor “tweet” and the even poorer statement by Ray Bakke that led to it.
Redeemer City to City, a church planting resource that I admire and respect, held the Movement Day 2010 Conference in New York City, the headlining speakers being Timothy Keller and Bill Hybels. Naturally, I was interested. I was at work at the time, so my following of the conference was via the Twitter hashtag #mday2010 on my phone. Things were going smoothly until this came across the #mday2010 feed:
Now, I’m not one for trying to be the social networking police, but this flat out scared me. Surprisingly, the only person who seemed to be extremely bothered by this statement besides myself was Tim Brister, who replied once or twice (or more). If anyone was following the #mday2010 feed and saw this, I pray that they did not believe it or take it seriously.
This statement was wrong on two basic counts:
1. The Koran does not affirm the deity of Christ. Simply put, there is no Gospel where Jesus is not God in the flesh, the Messiah and fulfillment of all prophecy, Scripture, and revelation. If Jesus was merely a prophet, as the Koran teaches, then there is no forgiveness of sins, no redemption, no resurrection, and no eternity with the Father (Gospel 101). If Jesus was just another apocalyptic prophet who preached and died, then our faith is meaningless (1 Cor. 15:14). Some maintain that the Koran indeed teaches the Gospel as Christians understand it (and as I’ve said here), though this is impossible foundationally if we are to worship Muhammad’s “revelations” and if Jesus is not the only begotten Son of the Father.
2. Christianity is entirely exclusive. Yes, God plays favorites. This statement sounds eerily like inclusivistic-meets-syncretistic thought. In the context of Bakke’s statement, he was basically saying that we should know the Koran well enough to relate to our Muslim neighbors in evangelistic efforts. With this knowledge, we should be able to pull the Gospel out of it. I do not know Bakke well enough to know if he is, in fact, an inclusivist at all; but I do know that this statement leans this way. The problem with this idea is that the Koran is not in any way an inerrant, inspired revelation of God. Therefore, anything in it is false on spiritual matters. There are no nuggets of truth in it and you cannot use its content to feel your way to Heaven to help anyone else find it. The only way the Koran is useful to evangelism is when it is described as patently false. The Bible is the chosen revelation of God to mankind. Period.
I am sure we can find many, many problems with this statement beyond these, but my hope is to foundationally debunk the belief that there is any way to find the Gospel outside of Scripture’s revelation of Jesus Christ.
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