Are there Messianic Muslims?
We continue to watch new ways for “evangelization” being implemented by those who feel that we have for the most part been unsuccessful. Evangelism and evangelization are two very different meanings. Evangelism is when the gospel is explained with the intent of having one repent and receive Christ as the Lord and savior; and being born again. Evangelization is using the intention of the gospel or portions of it to move someone closer to what a Christian believes without repentance and conversion through the new spiritual birth. The difference is like night and day, heaven or hell.
Christianizing people is having them adopt a new morality or ethics without the new birth that comes by the Spirit of God through the hearing of the gospel. General Booth of the Salvation Army once said, “The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, Heaven without Hell.” It has arrived, welcome to the modern preaching of the gospel.
Take the example written in a new Charisma article, “Ministers Use the Quran as 'Ultimate Tool' to Evangelize Muslims” (January 4, 2005 edition Church & Ministry).
Where “some Christians have taken the controversial approach of using Islam's holy book to bring Muslims to Jesus. They say by communicating the gospel in a manner Islamists can understand, many receive Christ. Their converts are called “Messianic Muslims,” partly because they are encouraged not to abandon some Islamic traditions.
“I use their own book of precepts to validate the authenticity of Christ,” Patricia Bailey, who has ministered in many Arabic nations, told “Charisma” magazine in the January issue, out now. The full report on evangelists using the Quran as a tool to preach Jesus can be found in the magazine.
“If Muslims embrace the Quran as their holy book, then it is the ultimate tool to reach them and at least to provoke them to question what is written in their own book of the law,” she added. “The Quran makes references to the Bible. The Bible never refers to the Quran for truth or authenticity.”
The founder of Georgia-based Master's Touch Ministries, Bailey said more than 4,000 Muslims have been converted via one-on-one ministry, her TV appearances, and leadership-training centers and conferences in countries such as Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan and Turkey.
Bailey is not alone in her provocative way of reaching Muslims. John Taimoor is an itinerant preacher and founder of Crossbearers, a California-based ministry that presents Christianity within an Islamic context. Born and raised a Muslim in an area near Pakistan and southern Afghanistan, Taimoor seeks to establish new communities of Messianic Muslims throughout the Middle East.
A Messianic Muslim is an Islamist who has accepted Jesus but refuses to be referred to as a Christian and chooses to stay within the Arab community.”
What’s wrong with this way to reach-out to a Muslim? Should we be simplistic enough to say, since Christ is preached lets rejoice. Before you do, we need to consider a number of important points.[ I have already covered this type of activity in another article that addressed what was adopted by some “missionary organizations” like YWAM and others. [article] There is no such thing as a Messianic Muslim; it is a misnomer. Only a Jew can be Messianic because their Messiah is of the same religion and is a fulfillment of Judaism and all that the Jewish prophets spoke of. A Muslim does not find his roots in Judaism though they lay claim to the same prophets. The fact is, they deny everything that Judaism was given through Moses and are against the people of God, Israel. Islam represents itself as the true ancient monotheistic religion that began with the earliest humans in the garden were Muslim. The Jews and Christians have in common the same God, the same Old Testament as the Bible, but the Messiah is not a Muslim, therefore a Muslim cannot be messianic.
The use of the Quran for witnessing can be a costly mistake. While we can use the Quran to say there is only one God we must explain from the Bible who this one God is. We cannot make the mistake to empower the Muslim in his own belief system of works and other erroneous doctrines from the Quranic belief system. Though Jesus is mentioned many more times then the their own prophet Mohammed, he (Jesus) is still only a prophet. Until a Muslim gets a revelation that coincides with the Scripture (not dreams but by faith through the Word) they cannot know who Jesus is nor receive the any of the benefits of what Jesus gives; ie. forgiveness of sins, fellowship with god and believers and spiritual understanding.
Not using the Bible as the supreme authority can make things very confusing. Most Muslims do not esteem the Bible we have today and almost unanimously call it corrupted, they read the Bible through the Qu'ran’s interpretation, much like a Mormon reads it through the book of Mormon. So it diminished in its meaning. In its place there own prophet and book become the mediator to the truth. It can only be understood through the reading of their book-- therefore it cannot be understood in truth. For it takes the Holy Spirit (which a Muslim believes is the angel Gabriel) to interpret what the Holy Spirit inspired to be written in the Bible for one to be accurate. So one must abandon their whole religion to not only follow Jesus but to relearn of him from a Jewish frame of reference.
In the Quran (2:253; 3:45-49; 4:158, 171; 5:49; 19:33; 89:22) Jesus is called the Messiah; born of a virgin. He was called a Word from God and a Spirit from God, he is among the righteous ones. He is believed to do miracles. All these attributes give us a picture of a Christ who was more than one in the line of the prophets, and would be superior to all of them. But a Muslim has a very different interpretation of these same words. I have been told the Messianic Muslim does not change t his view of Jesus.
The Muslim must change his position on what Messiah means. “The Messiah son of Mary was only a Messenger; many Messengers have passed away before him…” (Surah 5:73-78). They accept him as a title “Messiah” but not as the Bible teaches whom Messiah is. This is why they use the gospel of Barnabas because Jesus stated in it, “I am not the Messiah” (sec. 42,48).
In the Qur’an, Sura 5:72: “They are surely infidels who blaspheme and say: ‘God is Christ, the Messiah, the son of Mary.’ Surah 5:73-78: “Those certainly are disbelievers who say: Allah is none but the Messiah son of Mary: whereas he Messiah himself taught: Children of Israel, worship Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord.” Sura 43:59 states, “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom Allah favored and made an example to the Israelites. They are unbelievers who say God is Messiah, Mary’s son.”
They claim to believe all the prophets of the Bible, but what is written are denials of all what the prophets said about the Messiah and Jesus. Sura 4.171: “O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Mariam is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Mariam and a spirit from Him.” They believe the Quran calls Jesus the Messiah and the sole purpose of the Messiah's Mission was to spread Allah's Word.
“The Christians say: the Messiah is Allah's son; these are but their verbal assertions, whereby they imitate the sayings of those who disbelieved before them. Allah ruin them, how they are turned away from the truth.” (Surah 9:30-35)
Most Muslims already believe Jesus was the Messiah but like the cults they pour a very different meaning into it. Every event recorded in the Bible is different though the names and places may be mentioned. So how can one use a book that is so diametrically opposed to the Scriptures given through the apostles of Jesus Christ?
Messianic Muslims do not believe Jesus is the Son of God.In Sura 10:68-70: “God hath begotten a son!” - Glory be to Him! He is self- sufficient! His are all things in the heavens and on earth! No warrant have ye for this! say ye about God what ye know not? Say: “Those who invent a lie against God will never prosper.”
To this the Bible says in 1 John 5:20-21: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” For this reason al that the Quran has to say on Jesus and his history must not be carried over or blended with Christian beliefs.
When the angels said, “Maryam, your Lord gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, ‘Isa, son of Maryam of high esteem in this world and the hereafter.” Notice it denies the angel Gabriel calling him the Son of God (Mt.1:23; Luke 1:32).
To be a Muslim does not just mean submission; it means submission to a certain God – Allah. To keep some of the Islamic traditions is not repentance but a compromise for an affect. If they do not call on the Jesus who is Lord as God then they are not saved no matter how many Christian morals or ethics they adopt. In our evangelism we are to present Christ as Lord-- Yahweh, God in the flesh. Allah cannot be prayed to as God because the God of the Bible has revealed Himself to us in His Son, and we go to him through His Son. God is both the Father and the Son and the Muslims deny this (1 Jn. 5:12; 2 Jn.9).
I'm all for Muslims coming to the correct knowledge and spiritual birth that the gospel offers them. But we must be careful not to present Messiah as Allah's son. For the Allah of Islam has no son in the Quran therefore the Quran cannot be used to explain Jesus (Isa).“Messianic Muslims” who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior are the products of the strategy, which is being tried in several countries, according to Youth With a Mission (YWAM), one of the organizations involved. That “YWAM is also adopting the approach in India, where a team is working with a Hindu holy man.” (Foundation, May/June 2000, p. 39) [see article where this is quoted.]
They are being converted, but to what? They are making a whole new group that is synthesizing Christianity with Islam. Again this method is not a genuine gospel presentation but is seeker friendly approach to apologetics and evangelization. What are these Messianic Muslims being converted to? Christianity can only be explained in the context of Judaism, which are its true roots, it cannot be explained through the Quran or Islamic tradition or culture.
The most important point that needs to be considered. The Quran states inSurah 4:157-162 “Allah has sealed them up because of their disbelief…and their saying: “We did kill the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary"… whereas they slew him not, nor did they compass his death upon the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified to death.”
Nothing of Islam cannot be co-mingled with Christianity that would make a person think they will still obtain eternal life. If Muslims reject Jesus as the Son of God (the Messiah) and deny His atoning sacrifice; then they deny the who of Christianity, and the way to God. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). That way was by the sinless Son of God through His death on the cross.