Jesus the Muslim (?)
We hear a great deal today about a “war,” “conflict,” or “clash” between Islam and Christianity. The topic is so prominent in the media that many people assume that there is something irreconcilable between these two approaches to God. It is not surprising, then, that so many Christians of good will have concluded that Islam and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible. Yet, if, by “Christianity,” we mean “that which Jesus Christ meant to convey to his hearers,” He believe that these people of good will are mistaken when they tell us that Islam is incompatible with Christianity.
What’s more, He believe we can now prove that the historically oldest Gospel verses reflecting the reported sayings of Jesus are entirely compatible with Islam.
A WAVE OF CONVERSIONS
If you are a Christian, the idea that Jesus practiced the same faith that today’s news broadcasts hold responsible for so many of the world’s problems may seem far-fetched to you. It seemed far-fetched to me when He first encountered it, before He consulted the Gospels closely. Yet you should know that many, many contemporary Christians have reached life-changing personal conclusions about the Gospel message and its relation to Islam.
“There is compelling anecdotal evidence of a surge in conversions to Islam since September 11, not just in Britain, but across Europe and America. One Dutch Islamic centre claims a tenfold increase, while the New Muslims Project, based in Leicester and run by a former Irish Roman Catholic housewife, reports a steady stream of new converts.” (London Times, January 7, 2002.)
MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORES US
The Western news media only rarely shares the stories of these individual converts to Islam with the world at large, but He strongly suspect that most of these people — if they are like me — found themselves, at the end of the day, concerned about the consequences of calling Jesus “Lord” without obeying his instructions … found themselves far more concerned about that, in fact, than about any media coverage of geopolitical issues.
This kind of concern causes people to change their lives.
THE CHALLENGE OF Q
Speaking personally, He changed my own life because He could not ignore the implications of the authentic, stand-alone Gospel passages that today’s most accomplished (non-Muslim!) scholars believe to be of the earliest date available.
These sayings, which form a reconstructed text known as Q, can all be found in the New Testament. They are almost certainly the closest we will ever be able to come to an authentic oral tradition reflecting the actual sayings of Jesus.