2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
The Lord has led me this past few months to a young man in western Africa. Because of the globalization of social media, I’ve been able to develop a friendship with a devout muslim. I’ve been able to grow relationships with believers in Pakistan, central Africa, and Gambia. Our world continues to become increasingly smaller the more we can connect with each other via a quick text, message, or facetime. I often think to myself how the Apostle Paul would have loved such a venue. The ability to develop relationships and share the hope of Jesus Christ on such a global level would have surely been the passion of a man who tirelessly gave himself to evangelizing the world.
The more I connect with other cultures and belief systems, the more I become aware of the devil’s schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:9-11 “For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.“
You see, I really didn’t have a good knowledge of Islam before I began getting to know my Gambian friend. I’ve read some history of Islam, briefly looked at excerpts from the Qur’an, and had read a couple books on it’s history, but I now know, there was a much deeper illusion than I had anticipated.
To help me see this faith that is continuing to grow globally, I began reading Nabeel Qureshi’s “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” book. The book examines the life of a Pakistani man, raised muslim by very devout parents who then moved him and his family to the east coast of the United States. Nabeel’s relationship with a devout christian in college led him to seek answers to his friend David’s conclusions…which led him to the realization that Jesus was indeed who He claimed to be, the Messiah.
I’ve always wondered why so many people believed the report of this one man named Muhammed who claimed to have received an encounter with Gabriel and then was given the “rest of the story”, leading to the Qur’an. How could one illiterate peasant, influenced by christian missionaries have persuaded so many people that his unwitnessed claim to truth was so valid?
The reports are troubling.
According to lumen learning: Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.
Now, most people have heard of the Quran, but most westernized christians have not heard of the Hadiths. The basic definition of a hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran.
There are 6 major Hadiths in Islamic culture but the two most famous ones are the ones by Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari (810–870) and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (817–875), both of which have the same title al-Sahih.
I’ve learned by my experiences with my Gambian friend that you cannot discuss Islam unless you discuss the Hadiths. They are pivotal in a muslims faith and constitute a major portion of their belief system.
Why is understanding the muslim faith so important?
The more I examine this culture that is so foreign to me, the more I see its parallel to christianity.
As I have relayed my experiences with Christ to my muslim friend, an interesting pattern began to unfold. With each example of God’s intervention in people’s lives, my friend would relate a similar example he had heard in Islam. I would share the attributes of God’s grace and love, then he would share similar attributes of Allah. I would dig deeper into future events that have been revealed in the Bible and he would relate similar prophetic events that have relayed in the Quran.
With each passing day, I began to see a pattern, it was a pattern I’ve witnessed before and the similarity was a revelation—it was the mimicking of Truth.
In my encounters with Mormons, Jehovah’s witnesses, Wiccans, New Ager’s, and Buddhist’s, I’ve witnessed similar patterns while talking with them.
* Satan used a twisted form of God’s words to deceived Eve. The same way he misapplied scripture in testing Jesus in the wilderness, is the same way he has lured countless millions into believing the lies of false religion today.
I’ve realized that to weave your way through the intricate web of deceit, you must place the magnifying glass of Truth over the spectrum of illusion and counter it with God’s Word.
You see, there are many devout followers in each spectrum of false religion. The shear numbers of followers can be a deceptive maneuver to make a follower think the whole world has realized their way as being true. Community of like faith is another major hurdle for a person to move beyond, family, friends, or even jobs may be lost if they choose to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and reject their culture of belief.
Following Christ has never been an easy endeavor.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”
The path to Jesus is one that requires everything, it is not a decision that should be taken lightly.
I have learned something in my evangelism endeavors—attempting to try and lead someone into a “sinner’s prayer” without them fully counting the cost of that decision is simply foolish. I have met so many christians ready to tout the victory of leading people to Christ because they spoke a prayer then later meeting those people and witnessing the lack of the filling of the Spirit in those converts lives.
What is it that defines a true Believer?
Romans 8:9 “You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
The Spirit of the living God imparts Truth. If someone is not filled with the Spirit, they are not saved….period. We tell people if they just repeat after us the words referred to as the “sinners prayer”, which seemingly appears as an almost magical incantation and if they say it sincerely they are saved. I have heard it way too many times and watched the aftermath of false converts to be an accomplice to this tactic anymore. If someone I was sharing the gospel with needs help because they just don’t know what prayer looks like, then I teach them it is simply a conversation with God and show them Jesus’ pattern of prayer in Luke 11 or Matthew 6. When the sinner’s heart is pricked with the guilt of sin, and repentance follows, there is a dramatic shift in their paradigm. Once the Spirit of God fills the heart of someone who was walking in darkness, the change is dramatic. A person cannot remain the same once the indwelling Spirit of God fills their hearts.
John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
The ways that false religions mimic God’s truth shows that the enemy really has nothing original.
The last thing we want to do is help the confusion by leading people into a false representation of Salvation.
Look at every faith that is not true Christianity and you find a process of works. People are forced into programs of proof to make themselves acceptable before God. While some may ask why this is so significant, a quick look shows how any salvation by works negates the work of Jesus on the cross.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Islam incorporates the Torah and the Injil (New Testament), into their doctrine, not because they adhere to the Moral Law nor do they recognize Jesus as God or the Trinity, they attempt to encapsulate Truth into a deceptive bubble then mimic a parallel reality toward a false god (Allah). The LDS reduce Jesus to one of many god’s in a lineage of essentially, good mormons. J.W.’s attribute the incarnate Christ to Michael the archangel in disguise. The charades have no end, including Judaism that denies Jesus as the Messiah and keeps Him at the level of a wise teacher.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
Works are always found out.
Whether they are discovered in this life or revealed in the afterlife, one way or another, works are all laid bare before the King.
How can we know now?
There is a quick easy way to see falsity:
- Do they deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
- Do they claim any salvation other than by grace alone?
- Do they adhere solely to God’s Word?
- Do they worship any other god’s other than Yahweh?
Other key attributes, such as whether someone is filled with the Spirit requires discernment and are approached with caution. To claim the absence of the Spirit is to bring judgement upon an unbeliever, who subsequently has already been judged by God. If someone confesses Jesus and yet shows no evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, we judge righteously by the Word of God, this is a means of exhortation and not rebuke.
To counter falsity is to adhere to Truth. We respond to accusation, misrepresentation, or attack by the Word of Truth.
Know God’s Word and you will be ready for the fight.