I noticed some of the websites/blogs I read regularly were complaining about this banner that has been hung in Nazareth:
I have not the slightest complaint about Muslims hanging this banner. This is Surah 112, Al-Ikhlaas, “the Purity.” It is as close as you can get to a creedal statement in the Qur’an. I have referenced it often on this blog and in my YouTube videos. As such, if I were a Muslim, I would want Christians to know what the Qur’an says about Isa (Jesus), and hanging a sign with that text on it would be just as valid as my hanging a sign outside an Islamic event with a text such as the Carmen Christi (Phil. 2:5-11) or John 1:1 and 18, or something like this.
I would, however, like to point out a few rather obvious things. First, the hanging of the banner once again reminds us of the fundamental nature of Islamic theology: at its core it is defined by its opposition to the central assertions of Christianity. Though Islam has promoted its own mythology about how all the prophets were Muslims and Jesus and the apostles were Muslims, etc., the fact is Islam comes six hundred years after Christianity, and as such, had to fight to define itself as the “newcomer.” Its scriptures give witness to this battle. Notice, for example, Surah 5:116-117:
And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wo uldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, ‘worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.
The essence of Islam as a denial of Christian belief cannot be ignored. Which leads us to my second observation.
In the large portion of the world’s nations Christians would not be granted the freedom to hang a sign similar to this one. Surely in no Muslim nation would they be allowed to, and in many Western nations today, a riot could quite possibly break out if it happened. Some places in France, or in England, would be very inhospitable places were a Christian to engage in such an act. Yet, if a Muslim chose to show up, say, outside one of our events with a sign bearing Al-Ikhlaas, how would we respond? We’d go witness to him! We would want him to know the Gospel, and we would make sure he realized that the sign he was carrying shows that his prophet contradicted himself! We would proclaim the biblical truth of the relationship of the Father and the Son, and make sure he realized what we really believed. But no true Christian would ever threaten the man, would never wish ill upon the man. We would pray for him and for his salvation.
So at this Christmas season, pray that the Gospel would go forth with great power into the hearts and minds of the Muslim people. Oh Lord of the harvest, save these precious people! Reveal the glory of Christ to them, and bring them to yourself!