The men of Hillside have been in a comparative study of the difference between Christianity and Islam for several months. It has really stimulated the discussion, illuminated the differences, and raised a lot of questions.
Last Tuesday night our Disciples Men were invited to the Islamic Society of Wichita. The mosque is located up on 34th Street North. We were able to tour their building and school, sit in on a worship service (5th prayer of the day), watch two videos about the history, and ask questions.
It was obvious that several of our men went with questions about al-Qaeda and ISIS and wanted to know the society’s feelings on these groups. The general feeling was that the issue wasn’t Islamic, it was about terrorism. It is so difficult for some people to be able to make the distinction. Religious groups (including Christianity) are always being hijacked for some terroristic act.
It was interesting to watch the videos and to listen to the question and answers. It was interesting to hear history recounted from the side of Ishmael rather than Isaac. Many of the slight changes in the Old Testament stories, you and I would probably debate. All sounded well and somewhat pallatable to Christians, until we come to Jesus. It is at this point our roads radically change directions.
I can’t be satisfied with Jesus just being a prophet. Prophets can’t forgive sin. Prophets can’t grant salvation. Prophets can’t get me into Heaven. God can. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1NIV)
It is this one fact that separates us from all others. We believe in Christ. This Jesus we worship is God! I think Paul said it best, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:8 NIV)