The headlines are full of the violent reprisals of the defenders of Muhammad.
David Mathis asks, “what, then, does it mean when Muhammad’s followers begrudge him the kinds of mockery Jesus embraced, and taught his followers to likewise embrace?“
In a briefly and timely article, which gleans from the wisdom of John Piper’s writings, Mathis reminds us of a deep — and beautiful — difference between Jesus and Muhammad: Jesus definitely intended to be mocked, humiliated — and killed.
Jesus is unique. And Christians believe there is a divine beauty in the mocking that he willingly subjects himself to by becoming man — because it’s a mocking and reviling and bruising and dying that is for us and for our salvation.
There is also significance to our (non-violent) response when our Savior is despised: “Jesus’s uniqueness and beauty is on display if his followers respond with grace when he is reviled.”
It seems to me there is public pressure to respect (and tolerate) just about everyone and everything. In recent headlines the Roman Catholic Pope was being challenged to declare some “respect” for Islam — a worldwide religion, but a false religion. In an online article, Dr Al Mohler discusses this.
Let me raise the question here for individual Christians: should we ‘respect’ Islam — or how should we properly respond to Muslims? Here is an excerpt from Dr Mohler that I find most helpful….
In this light, any belief system that pulls persons away from the Gospel of Christ, denies and subverts Christian truth, and blinds sinners from seeing Christ as the only hope of salvation is, by biblical definition, a way that leads to destruction. Islam, like every other rival to the Christian gospel, takes persons captive and is devoid of genuine hope for salvation.
Thus, evangelical Christians may respect the sincerity with which Muslims hold their beliefs, but we cannot respect the beliefs themselves. We can respect Muslim people for their contributions to human welfare, scholarship, and culture. We can respect the brilliance of Muslim scholarship in the medieval era and the wonders of Islamic art and architecture. But we cannot respect a belief system that denies the truth of the gospel, insists that Jesus was not God’s Son, and takes millions of souls captive.
I’m so thankful for Dr Al Mohler, and the clarity of his writing and thinking (and the abundance of it). If you do not check his online postings — especially to gain a biblical view of news and events — you should.