Question: I recently read "A Common Word Between Us and You," signed by 138 Muslim scholars, clerics, and intellectuals from all over the world. They claim common ground shared by Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The statement was well received by scholars at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. Moved by the "Muslim hand of conviviality and cooperation extended to Christians worldwide," they extended their "own Christian hand in return, so that we may live in peace and justice, loving God and neighbors."
Yale's scholars claim that Christians sinned against Muslims in the Crusades, and still do so by our "excesses in the war on terror." They say that if we could achieve religious peace with Muslims, world peace would likely follow.
The "common ground" between us is supposedly "love of God and neighbor." Muslims say their God is "The Infinitely Good and All-Merciful." Yale scholars agree that the Bible tells us "God is love" in 1 John:4:8. The "open letter" quotes Muhammad: "None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself." The Yale Center compares this to 1 John:4:8 and 20.
The Yale scholars also state that when "freedom to worship God according to one's conscience is curtailed, God is dishonored...and neither God nor neighbor is loved." Haven't you been a bit rough on those trying to establish peaceful cooperation between Christians and Muslims? Romans:12:18 tells us, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Many Muslims want peace. Can't we accept the olive branch they offer? Many Christian leaders have signed this agreement.
Response: Common ground...olive branch...religious peace? Islam says Allah is the only true God. Sixteen times the Qur'an says Allah is not a father and has no son. But the very foundation of Christianity is that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son...the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world..." (Jn:3:16; 1 Jn:4:14, etc., etc.) The Qur'an says Christ is not the Son of God, did not die for our sins on the cross-someone died in His place, so He did not rise from the dead, and anyone who believes in the Trinity goes to hell. What common ground is there with those who reject every Christian distinctive?
Muhammad teaches love for neighbor? His career included murders of hundreds of innocent people (all "neighbors" by Christ's definition) during scores of unprovoked attacks upon villages and caravans involving robbery and murder. This horror has been multiplied thousands of times by sincere Muslims following the Qur'an and Muhammad's example, slaughtering and torturing untold millions from France to China for 1,300 years.
This unequaled mayhem and murder is still justified by Muslim historians and clerics as true "Islam, Allah be praised!" When the twin towers came down, hundreds of thousands of Muslims around the world danced in the streets shouting, "Allahu Akbar!" [Allah is the greatest!]. The same cry rang in the streets during the Muslim riots in Paris, the Muslim riots over the Danish cartoons, and when two Israelis made a wrong turn into Ramallah and were literally torn apart by a frenzied mob, etc. Mobs, during binge after binge of destruction of property and innocent lives, always scream praise to Allah. And Allah is the "common ground" for peace?!
Christians mistreated Muslims in the Crusades? The crusaders were not Christians but Roman Catholics to whom (to match Islam's promise of paradise for Muslims dying in jihad) Pope Urban II promised escape from purgatory to heaven for dying in the fight to recover the "Holy Land" (not for Israel but for the Church!). They disobeyed Christ in fighting for an earthly kingdom and killed every Jew they encountered. Christ and Christianity cannot be blamed for what these deceived pawns of Rome did!
Muslims had attacked and captured North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, et al., 400 years earlier and had been torturing, enslaving, and slaughtering innocent and peaceful civilians for centuries before the crusaders finally struck back. Yale can't be ignorant of history! These "scholars" are suppressing the truth to promote a lie!
Excesses in the war on terror? At least the British and Americans follow the rules of warfare and punish their own troops if they misbehave. Compare that with vehicles loaded with explosives detonated in markets, suicide bombers in mosques, every devilishly clever deception possible to kill and maim, torturing and beheading prisoners-and we are guilty of excesses?! Anyone who thinks we are in Afghanistan and Iraq for anything other than "as much as possible" to find some means of living peacefully with these morally blind monsters is wrong.
Freedom to worship God according to the dictates of one's conscience?! Yale scholars and evangelical signatories suggest we are preventing this? We give Muslims full religious freedom in the West. We let them build mosques by the thousands, though in many they hide terrorists and plot our destruction. How do Muslims respond? Everywhere they gain control, all non-Islamic religions are suppressed and often prohibited, Christians are killed and churches destroyed by the thousands from Nigeria to Indonesia to Pakistan. In Saudi Arabia you can't carry a Bible on the street, cannot build a non-Muslim place of worship, or even worship the God of the Bible in the privacy of your home. You must be a Muslim to be a citizen! There is no freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, of worship. Any Muslim who converts to any other religion is beheaded in public.Where is the extended olive branch?!
Islam's Allah is "The Infinitely Good and All-Merciful"? Tell that to the many millions enslaved, tortured, and slaughtered in his name! Muslims killed more just in India than Hitler killed in all of East and West Europe and North Africa! Muhammad claimed, "Allah has commanded me to fight against all people until all people confess there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." Terrorists today are not "extremists" but true Muslims, obedient to Allah and following Muhammad's example. "Peace" is for those who submit to Allah! Some olive branch!
I am shocked by the leaders who joined Muslims in signing this document, which betrays Christ and the gospel for a phony promise of "peace" from the enemies of God and Israel! Sadly, here are some of them: Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, George Verwer, Robert Schuller, John Stott, Brian D. McClaren, David Neff, Richard Mouw, Richard Cizik, David Yonggi Cho, et al.