The majority of Christians who subscribe to this blog would most likely identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. The National Association of Evangelicals have four statements with which respondents must strongly agree in order to be categorized as an evangelical. These statements are:
- The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
- It is very important for me to personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
- Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
The criteria to be considered evangelical seems clear, however a 2014 Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Research Center surprisingly revealed that 52% of those surveyed identifying themselves as evangelicals believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. Expanding the criteria to all Christians 66% believe many religions can lead to eternal life.
This means statistically if you were to conduct a general survey of those self-identifying as Christians, two thirds of those surveyed would not have an understanding of Jesus’ words in John 14:6 where He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The Bible teaches that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that man can be reconciled to God and receive eternal life. Obviously many people who identify as Christians do not understand an essential doctrine of Christianity. If we want to objectively understand the basic teachings of Christianity, we must examine Christianity’s foundational text – the Bible.
Likewise in order to understand Islam, we must examine Islam’s foundational texts. Yesterday we discussed some sects and branches of Islam. It is clear that all Muslims do not believe exactly the same things, however all Muslims do base their beliefs on the Qur’an.
Muslims believe the Qur’an contains the actual words of Allah to Muhammad without any alterations or changes. Muhammad received the revelations over a period of 23 years. After he received a revelation he would recite it to his companions who also memorized it or wrote it down.
The Qur’an contains 114 suras or chapters, which are not in chronological order but roughly arranged from the longest to the shortest. The Qur’an says around 90 times that Muhammad is the perfect Muslim, so in order to properly practice Islam, a Muslim worships Allah as Muhammad worshipped Allah.
The Sunna is defined as “the body of Islamic custom and practice based on Muhammad’s words or deeds.” The Sunna is made up of the Sira (Muhammad’s biography) and the Hadith, a collection of stories and traditions of Muhammad’s life. It is actually the “Sunna” that governs a Muslim’s life more than the Qur’an since Muhammad is the perfect example for Muslims.
Throughout this series we will examine the foundational texts of Islam in order to objectively determine what Islam teaches.
Pray that both Christians and Muslims will read the foundational texts of their religions and seek to know the truth about their religious beliefs.