Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Does Your Christianity have anything in Common with Islam?

OK, that is a provocative title and maybe a little overstated, but I recently saw a video clip that should be a little thought provoking to many Christians.  It was of a Islamic cleric holding a “service” in Australia in which he ended by calling on any unconverted to come and convert to Islam.  Already you begin to see something familiar.  Here come several people who have decided they want to be Muslims.  Interestingly enough most are women.  To me this is interesting since woman are little more than chattel in Islam as far as I can see.  I recently heard of one Muslim authority who said that Hell would be mostly filled with women!  But I digress. 
When all the converts were gathered down front the first thing he did is have them say a prayer of allegiance to Allah.  Of course, this has to be said in Arabic or it isn’t accepted which in turn means that none of the new converts really know what they are saying and it obviously doesn’t matter to Allah or anyone else whether they do or not.  Heartfelt obedience with understanding is not the kind of obedience they are looking for.  So they are converted by saying a prayer they don’t necessarily believe and everything is fine.
What is bothersome is that many “Christian” services end the same way.  People come forward to become Christians and are told to repeat the “sinners prayer” and then told they are saved and never let anyone convince them otherwise.  But, like the Muslim service, in many cases they don’t really understand what is going on and even worse many times really wouldn’t agree with the prayer if it was explained to them.  As a junior high student I experienced this first hand.  We were given a soul winning class and then taken out to a neighborhood and turned loose on the unsuspecting neighbors.  After spending maybe five minutes “explaining” the gospel to them we did our best to get them to “repeat after me this prayer”.  We needed not to worry too much if they really were convicted and convinced of the truth of the gospel because as long as you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord”, as long as you ask him to save you by repeating this prayer then that is all that matters.  So having gotten the proper response, I marked down in my Bible that another soul had been saved wanting to keep a record of my soul winning exploits and off to the next house we went.  Perhaps humorous but quite sad as well. 
I know many parents who have no real concern for the waywardness of their grown children because they cling to the fact that sometime as children, they walked an aisle, said a prayer and were baptized and so whether they really look like Christians or not, they have to be saved regardless of the lack of evidence. 
Look, it might be Okay for a Muslim to mindlessly go through some motions and be considered a Muslim but that doesn’t fly in Christianity.  Our God is too glorious for us to wave a passing salute of allegiance to him without giving him our hearts.  Those whom he saves he imparts new natures so that they no longer serve the same gods.  Muslims care more that you fear Allah and mindlessly go through your religious paces; the True God is concerned that you love him because of his grace.  If you think everything is Okay between you and God because at some point you said the sinners prayer and nothing really has changed since then, perhaps you have more in common with Islam than Christianity.
Whether one learned the altar call from another is not important.  The point is that Christianity is not just another religion that you can convert to if you want; it is the power of God to change lives through the gospel; it changes hearts; it isn’t just another set of rules to live by.

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