JIM WALLIS AND SOJOURNERS MAKING MUSLIM-CHRISTIANS

No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 
(1 Corinthians 10:20-21)

Islam Becomes Favorite Evangelical Fetish

As part of our online apologetics and discernment ministry Apprising Ministries notes for you a marked rise in interest concerning the world religion of Islam. You might remember the recent ridiculous story when the SBC’s Richard Land Says Mormonism Fourth Abrahamic Faith; well inherent within that false statement is the belief that Islam is the third one, which it is not.

The founder of Islam, Muhammad, was actually a false prophet who did not hear from the one true and living God of the Bible at all. My opening text makes it quite clear God Himself has told us that, though they may indeed be very sincere, the faithful Muslim is not serving God, they are serving demons; as it is written — All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! (Psalm 97:7) Does this mean I think that I’m somehow superior to those in the false religion of Islam? Nope; by the grace of God I am what I am (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10)—but for the grace and mercy of God, I would possibly have been a Muslim.

Does what I say concerning their false god Allah mean I hate those who follow Islam? Nope; because I want to know the truth about God, Jesus’ command — “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, compels me to be truthful to the Muslim. As was said elsewhere, to tell the truth is not unloving; you can get in a lot of trouble doing it, but it is not unloving. The problem we have in the visible church today are leaders who are little more than women in men’s pants desperately trying to find a way to avoid conflict while seeking approval of the world. Say what you will about me; however, should the Lord choose to sustain me, you’ll not find me among their number. I didn’t follow Christ’s call for me to enter His ministry as a popularity contest; fortunate for me, cuz I’m really not doing so well on that whole popularity thing right now. ;)

And yet, here’s Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven Leadership Network-type Bob Roberts, Jr tweeting to Pete Wilson, another pastor of the same semi-pelagian ilk:


(Online source)

Really; silly me, here I thought it was Jesus Who is the Prince of Peace—who knew, it was Bob Roberts, Jr. who’s going to usher in “world peace” with a “global faith.” Hmm, I’m not so sure that’s the mission Christ called His Church to; as I recall it’s the Antichrist’s team who should be working on that. A few years ago we had the following from Tony Campolo, who’s one of those Red Letter Christians along with other apostates like Living Spiritual Teacher and Emerging Church guru Brian McLaren, progressive theologian Tony Jones, the heretical “theologian in residence” at the gathering place of his equally heretical universalist pastor Doug Pagitt—who together comprise the unholy trinity of the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church. All of these men are long-time practitioners of critical thinking skills killing, and spirituallycorrupt, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism.

As I pointed out in Mysticism’s Gospel Of Goodness And Shane Claiborne, in one of his books Campolo would opine and then query:

a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other. I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experience? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?[1]

The answer is twofold: Yes, mystics do hear from the same god i.e. demons; but no, practicing Muslims cannot have a relationship with God because they are not in Christ. And yet, because guru Brian McLaren isn’t really interested in obeying what God has said in Scripture, there he was participating with demons:

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting for spiritual renewal and purification. It commemorates the month during which Muslims believe Mohammed received the Quran through divine revelation, and it calls Muslims to self-control, sacrificial generosity and solidarity with the poor, diligent reading of the Quran, and intensified prayer.

This year, I, along with a few Christian friends (and perhaps others currently unknown to us will want to join in) will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21.
(Online source)

All this is bad enough, but it’s been brought to my attention that last month another Red Letter Christian,  Jim Wallis and his Sojourners site, tried to take this sick love affair with Islam even further in Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim? The piece was written on August 10 by Aaron D. Taylor, who refers to himself as “Evangelist, Author, Christian Pacifist, Blogger, Emerging Voice”[2]; and at his Aarondtaylor.com website we also find out:

In 2006 Aaron was asked to participate in a feature length documentary examining the role of religion in the post 9/11 clash between the West and Islam. In the film, Aaron traveled to Pakistan to show the persecution of Pakistani Christians, and then traveled to London to debate a radical jihadist face to face in an old, abandoned warehouse. Aaron’s debut book, “Alone with a Jihadist” describes the profound impact of this experience and how it stirred in him a passion for Reformation…

Aaron believes that working for peace and social justice goes hand in hand with fulfilling Jesus’ command of making disciples of all nations. Aaron is one of the leading voices in American Christianity proclaiming that true power flows from the cross, not from Caesar`s throne. (Online source)

Unless One Is Born Again Of The Holy Spirit They Remain Dead In Their Sin

To give you a further idea concerning who we’re dealing with here, we’re also told that Taylor’s “knowledge of culture, history, and world affairs combined with a passion for Biblical integrity sets him apart from the crowd”; my, most impressive. Now, in order to fully understand what Taylor’s driving at in the Muslim post in question, we need to go to his August 23 piece Are Christians the Only Children of God? Taylor jumps the track as soon as his second paragraph:

Is it theologically sound to call someone who hasn’t confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior a child of God? If we take our cues from standard evangelical theology, the answer would be a resounding no! After all, according to standard evangelical theology, there are two types of people in the world: children of God and children of the devil. It takes a conversion experience to go from the latter to the former. After all, they argue, didn’t Jesus make it clear that disbelievers are “of their father, the devil” (John 8:44)? (Online source)

First of all, Taylor frames his question incorrectly. As a minister of the Gospel I’m interested in what the Bible says, not whether people think something is “theologically sound”; lots of people think lots of things are theologically sound. So, the Biblical answer to Taylor’s question is: No, someone who has not been regenerated remains a slave of sin (cf. Romans 6:16-20); while we are God’s offspring in the sense being His creations, the non-Christian is still by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:3). The Bible clearly tells us that all who receive Jesus who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12); simple logic tells you that if you need to become something, then you were not that thing before. Salvation is by God’s grave alone, through faith alone, in the finished work of Christ on the Cross alone.

We also know that faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17); and so, there is no salvation by osmosis because:

“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. (Romans 10:13-16)

This is what the Bible teaches and so this is the soteriology of what the late, great, defender of the faith Dr. Walter Martin often called the historic, orthodox, Christian faith; now, you’re welcome to believe something else, but you can’t call it Christianity. So even though Taylor, whom I’d not heard of previously, apparently “is one of the leading voices in American Christianity proclaiming that true power flows from the cross” he does say:

I admit that I don’t have all the answers when it comes to how to formulate a theology of evangelism that’s both morally defensible and biblically credible. (Online source)

You’re welcome Aaron, now you have a good solid background concerning a theology of evangelism based upon what God’s Word itself says; and even if your “passion for Biblical integrity sets [you] apart from the crowd,” you have no business in Jesus’ Name teaching otherwise. This brings us back to Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim? As it’s framed, it’s an odd question; no human being can simply “follow the Biblical Christ” without being born again — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian faith is a supernatural faith and this whole idea people somehow make a decision to live as “Christ-followers” is foolishness. As to Taylor’s question, if one is regenerated by God the Holy Spirit then He will lead them away from the pagan idolatry of the false religion of Islam.

Unfortunately it would appear to me that Taylor, just the same as Sojourners head Jim Wallis, also follows the new postmodern version of Progressive Christian theology—aka “big tent” Emergence Christianity—spewed by the sinfully ecumenial Emerging Church aka Emergent Church. Not only is universalism at its core but it puts orthopraxy, what one does, ahead of orthodoxy, which relates to what one believes. We get an inkling Taylor really hasn’t got a proper grasp on Biblical soteriology in his September 16 post Salvation Through Doctrine or Christ?, as well as in his earlier Muslim piece, when he says:

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the “Insider Movement” which is what missionary experts refer to as Muslims who love and follow Jesus while remaining within the cultural fold of Islam. (Online source)

Since it’s not the subject of this article, let me just point out that no one is saying “doctrine” saves in the first place; I just discussed the role of Christ in salvation. However, while one is not saved by doctrine, one who is saved will respond to proper doctrine when they are later taught. One quick example; I once started a Bible study with a man who told me he was a former Mormon who had gotten saved when he read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. That’s a rather odd testimony, but I’ve walked with Jesus long enough to know He often does things that are unusual; even so, these never contradict Scripture. As part of my assessing his spiritual condition I asked him to tell me Who Jesus is; as he did he gave me the Mormon doctrine that Jesus was the Savior and the first born spirit child of God the Father.

I told him that Jesus was an even greater Savior than that and asked him if he believed the Bible. He told me, “I sure do; I will believe whatever God says in His Word.” I had him open to John 1:1; I showed him that the Word mentioned there has the nature of God, the b part of that verse carries the meaning “what God was, the Word was” in the original Greek. I pointed him to verse 14 where the Word became flesh and then took him to verse 18 so he’d see the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. I asked him Who this Word being spoken of in these verses is; he answered, “Jesus.” I told him he was correct and then suggested we go back to John 1:1 and read it again putting Jesus in where we see the Word — In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.

Then I asked him again to tell me Who he believed that Jesus is; he paused, and then he looked at me and said, “Jesus is God; I don’t understand how that is, but since this is what the Bible says, then this is what I’m going to believe.” You see, this is the testimony of a Christian; so I said to him, “Welcome to the club my brother; I don’t fully understand it either, but somehow I know it’s true.” Long story short; it was fun to watch him grow in the faith as we’d diligently study the Bible together, and he would then go on to be a leader within the mission church I would later plant. So-called “Muslims who love and follow Jesus,” if they are born again, will respond to proper Biblical doctrine; part of which is my opening text, and rather than remain “within the cultural fold of Islam,” they will leave that participation with demons.

But the conversion of Muslims is not really what big tent progessive pseudo-Christianity is after; this is clear when Taylor shares:

I can remember before moving to Senegal as a missionary, a thought flashed through my mind, “I wonder if God might use me to initiate a movement of Muslims coming to biblical faith in Christ as part of a Reformation movement within Islam?” (Online source)

That’s precisely what’s wrong with a lot of “mission” work in the big tent way; there’s no such thing as “a biblical faith” that functions as part of “a Reformation movement within” a pagan religion. You need to understand that apart from faith in God through Jesus Christ all other religions, no matter how noble they may appear on a purely human level, are idolatry i.e. worship a false god that is, in reality, at least a demon. It seems that before apostatizing Taylor “opted for the traditional apologetics approach”; but this all changed when:

I read Carl Medearis’s excellent book Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. In his book, Carl shares stories of his interactions with Muslims who deeply love Jesus and strive to follow his teachings — yet remain committed Muslims. I nearly wept thinking about how things could have been different if I had trusted my original instincts. (Online source)

Seeking The Approval Of Other Men Rather Than That Of God Becomes A Trap

Now you know where Taylor went wrong; he fell in among those who have become lovers of self (cf. 2 Timothy 3:2); and as such, they turn the Greatest Commandment exactly backward by confusing it with its secondary phase. As I pointed out recently in Big Tent Christianity A Group Hug In The Emerging Church, when asked — “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31).  The Greek there for most important is prōtē, which carries the meaning “before all” as in the “first, greatest.” 

Look at verse 29 of the text — Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Can you see that; “The most important [Commandment],” says Jesus, is to “Love the Lord your God.” And then we get to verse 31 — “ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” We must come to understand that while there are no greater commandments than these, they are simply not equal to each other. Verse 31 again — The second is this”; meaning, quite obviously, that it is not the first, nor is it the greatest. You can see now that tied up in our very commission as the Body of Christ, His Church, is our Lord’s clear command in John 20:21 — “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”; and Jesus was always commited, above all, to the will of the Father.

So keeping in mind all of what I’ve been teaching you, we know the following from Taylor is in error, “I’ve heard that there are Muslim followers of Jesus who revere and strive to follow after the Jesus.” While he might hear of such a thing, I’ve already shown you that stiving to follow Jesus in the flesh is a modern day myth (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4). Sadly Taylor then completely derails when he muses:

And if they can, I’m wondering if Christians can find a place in their theology to make room for Muhammad as a pre-messianic figure, pointing people to faith in Jesus the Messiah (a term the Quran affirms, by the way), maybe not as authoritative as an Old Testament prophet, but perhaps on par with the status of local prophets in the New Testament?
(Online source)

Frankly, that’s just silly; 1) there’s no such thing as a lesser authoritative prophet, you either are one, or you aren’t; 2) Muhammad fails the test as a Biblical prophet when he calls us [to] go after other gods (cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-4) because the capricious, singular, Allah (cf. Surah 5:73) is most clearly not the loving and triune one true and living God of the Bible, and 3) the Quran specifically denies the Deity of Christ, which is what the word Messiah entails. Unfortunately Taylor’s break down below is broken:

Because most Muslims can’t bring themselves to say, “Jesus is God,” Christians write them off as heretics. The problem with this is that there’s nowhere in the New Testament that says, “Jesus is God”; so what we’re doing is insisting on non-biblical language as a litmus test for biblical faith. The doctrine may be true, and I believe it is, but should we really think of someone as outside the fold if they can’t bring themselves to say something that isn’t directly stated in the New Testament? (Online source)

Um, what Bible is Taylor reading; the John Shelby Spong translation, when he would try and tell us the New Testament doesn’t teach that “Jesus is God.” Since I just showed you that John 1:1 teaches Jesus is ontologically God; in other words, Jesus possesses the very essence—Deity—of God, I’ll refer the interested reader to The Mormon Church, The Deity Of Christ, And Philippians 2:5-6 for more on the divine nature of Christ in Scripture. Oddly enough Taylor even tries to use John 1:1 for his remaking of Muslims into Christians:

I wonder if a Muslim who respects the New Testament could find it in his or her theology to accept the statement, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-14). If a Muslim can accept this statement as the inspired Word of God, could we not call them brothers and sisters even if our understanding of what these verses mean may be slightly different? (Online source)

You see what happens when we appeal to how we feel about God and man as opposed to letting the Bible speak with final authority i.e. sola Scriptura; we end up off-roading into the jungle Wonderland of Humpty Dumpty language bending and shaping words like Gumby into whatever we want them to mean. Taylor does display some ignorance of proper theology when he really goes reaching:

If we look at the sermons of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts, we see neither a very high Christology, nor do we see the doctrine of penal substitution. (Online source)

Really; first of all, e.g. the penal substitution can be found in Isaiah 53, so both Peter and Paul were familiar with it as were other disciples, which is clear from the Bible study Jesus gave post-Resurrection in Luke’s Gospel (cf. Luke 24:44-48); and Luke was Paul’s traveling companion in addition to being the author of Acts. At this point Taylor is just making stuff up for Sojourners to grind their agenda of universalism and carefully avoid the conflict one will come into with people trapped within idolatrous pagan religions. Why was Paul run out of the synagogue in Acts 18; because he was telling the Jews all is well and now everybody’s in? In the following Taylor really begins to sound a lot like progressive process theologian Dr. Philip Clayton of the Transforming Theology network, who’s one of those whom the upgraded EC 2.0 is using to cobble together their universalism when he dreams:

if a Muslim can believe and practice the bare essentials of what biblical faith in Jesus requires and still be true to their own faith, then not only have we figured out a way to build a bridge of peace between the historic religions of Islam and Christianity, we’ve also figured out a way for Christians to be faithful to the command of Jesus to “Go and make disciples of all nations,” without using our faith as a battering ram to demonize people of another faith. (Online source)

Ooh, I can just see the standing ovation in the Zen center prayer room at Sojourners; yeah, this is the generous orthodoxy of Muslim-Christian “Christ-followers” co-creating with Jesus in bringing God’s dream for the world to pass; um, the trouble is, just like big tent progressive universalism, it’s a myth. Shame on Sojourners; if you actually loved the precious Muslims—for whom Christ died—then you’d be willing to follow Jesus outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured (Hebrews 13:13), and you’d be willing to tell them the truth:

let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Online source)

In closing this, for now, I leave you with the Jesus of Islam; if you have eyes that see, then you’ll see this imposter most certainly is not the glorious and majestic, great and mighty, generous and merciful, Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen (Romans 9:5):

I am the Jesus of the faith of Islam. I am merely one of the many prophets of Allah, and his last and greatest prophet—Muhammad—“Peace be upon him,” supersedes me as God’s last revelation. I am not the Son of God, nor am I part of any Trinity. Through the angel Gabriel, Allah revealed to my fellow prophet Muhammad in The Qu’ran that God is not a trinity and they do blaspheme who say that He is. I was nothing but a slave upon whom Allah showed favor.

Although I was sinless in this life I did not atone for anyone else’s sin because I am just one of those who are near to God. Like Allah’s earlier prophets of God, such as Moses, Abraham and Elijah, I was a man who did perform many miracles and taught about the ways of the unknowable Allah. And I was a Messiah but I did not die on the cross. Somehow I was able to fool my captors and then substitute Judas Iscariot for me on the cross; or, it could have been that Allah miraculously delivered me from the hands of the Romans and the Jews before I could be crucified.

Muslim scholars aren’t sure which—and after-all—it was a long time ago. Allah’s Word, the Qu’ran, says that I was taken bodily into Heaven without having died; but in a later chapter, it then says that I died and will be resurrected. Apparently it is the will of Allah to reveal some other time which of those things really happened.[3] 

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Endnotes:

[1] Tony Campolo, Speaking My Mind: The Radical Evangelical Prophet Tackles the Tough Issues Christians Are Afraid to Face [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004], 149,150, emphasis mine .

[2] http://twitter.com/aarondtaylor, accessed 9/24/10.

[3] From my WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE STAND UP?

See also:

QURAN ON CHRIST JESUS

CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM—THE SAME GOD?

DO CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS WORSHIP THE SAME GOD?

ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY: THE DEITY OF CHRIST

KEEPING YOU APPRISED OF: ISLAM

JIM WALLIS SAYS YOUR SALVATION ISN’T YOURS

SOJOURNERS OF JIM WALLIS TEACHES US LECTIO DIVINA