It’s about Israel… It’s not about Christology, which Muslims may have an easy time accepting. It’s not about rhetoric; call God “Allah” if that’s your language; call yourself a “Messianic Muslim” if that’s how you see it.
Preaching the gospel to Muslims is about whether the truth of Christ has penetrated the Muslim heart to the point where they allow Israel to live somewhere—in some form or another, one way or another, in peace and mutual freedom.
Even Sunnis want Israel to have no home, to pack their bags and go back to whatever suitcase they were living out of in 1948. Their idea is comparable to the Americans who wanted to send slaves back to Africa. “Peaceful” Muslims start-out talking about “brothers” and “all the children of Abraham”, but they end by including Ishmael and Esau, while excluding Jacob. Overcoming this heart-issue, to love one’s neighbor, to forgive any offense from the past just as Christ forgave us, and to be thy brother’s keeper—this is the litmus test of whether a Muslim has converted to Christ.
Unfortunately, Western Churchianity critics make no distinction between the two gospel messages to Muslims. There is the “Messianic Muslim” evangelism message, along with the distinct “most Muslims go to heaven” message. These two very different messages get lumped into the same venomous, name-calling category labeled “Chrislam”.
These critics in the Western Church don’t attempt to educate Christians on the difference between the watered-down gospel Muslim message vs the “Messianic Muslim” concept of a former Muslim who finally accepts the deity, incarnation, and sacrificial work of Jesus Christ. Instead, these Church leaders merely slam other opinions, with little or no face-to-face discussion, bringing discord and anger based in ignorance under the guise of “protection”, as is pathetically typical of Western Churchianity’s Denominationalism. The term “Chrislam” only stirs hate and doesn’t instruct or help anyone. Shame on every Christian teacher who has used it as if it means anything else.
But, far worse than this, there is little or no report, neither from any of the evangelists to Muslims—of either of the two Muslim outreach gospels—nor from any of the “Chrislam” critics in the West nor from the “Chrislam” supporters—little or no comment from anyone about the importance of Israel. The question of whether a Muslim can be a Christian is not a theological question. There are Messianic Jews, there can be Messianic Muslims who know that “all truth is God’s truth” as Thomas Aquinas taught us, who keep the good and learn the best from Jesus Christ.
No, the question of whether evangelism to Muslims is effective is whether it can fulfill the promise of the last verse of the Old Testament. The spirit of Elijah turns the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the hearts of the sons to the fathers. The evangelist who can convince the children of Ishmael and Esau to love the children of Jacob, based on the work of Jesus Christ—he is a true messenger of Jesus.
Unfortunately for the world, and to continue the snowballing discredit of Western Churchianity, no one in the “Chrislam” debate has brought up Israel as the defining question. Therein lies the deeper heart issue of the American Church: Of course Denominationalism and slap-back, knee-jerk retorts indicate hatred. But moreover, there is Israel.
American Christians will go to war for peace in Israel, but do they think to go to the gospel of the Prince of Peace? With superstitious terms like “Chrislam” floating around, apparently not. This indicates passive Antisemitism from American Christians. Where’s the true love for Israel in the American Church? It’s hard to forget about those you truly love, especially when it matters most. And with Israel’s blood relatives, it matters most.
It’s difficult to pluck the speck when you haven’t plucked the log first. America’s Church has tolerated the scandal of disunity for centuries, which is centuries too long. Reconciling Ishmael and Esau to Jacob isn’t on the agenda of American Denominationalism.
If we want peace in Israel, we need peace in America first. Christians need to pluck the log, then we can convince Muslims to love their brothers. Peacemakers do a much greater miracle in Christ by bringing parted brothers together than even Moses’ miracle to deliver Israel by parting the Red Sea.