Mormons, A Muslim & Me

On November 20, 2015 by Bobby Blakey

Golden West Religions Panel“You can sit in the middle,” Elias told me as the event got started.

Here I was sitting on the outdoor stage at Golden West Community College student center. Two Mormons were on my left. Jamal, a Muslim, was on my right. The religious panel was about to begin.  All of us were going to introduce our faith.  Then we would answer questions from the audience.

3, 2, 1… Gospel!

As a pastor, I never really planned on being a part of events like this but now I consider it a real privilege. I had the honor of being invited by Elias, who is the president of the Alliance of Cultural Advancement club at Golden West. The goal of the event was to have a healthy discussion where we can talk about religious similarities and differences. After the religions were introduced and the questions were answered, here are two thoughts I came away with:

#1) I am thankful for freedom of speech & religion

If the goal of the event was to have a free and open discussion on religion, then it was a huge success. Elias and everyone at this club made me feel more welcome as a speaker than I have even at many Christian clubs. All of the speakers treated me with respect. The crowd genuinely seemed respectful of every religion no matter what was said. This was very interesting considering a couple of questions had to do with controversial topics like homosexuality being a sin. There were also questions regarding jihad and terrorism when it came to Islam. And yet, it really did feel like the panel was free to say whatever we believed. The audience even quieted down to listen. A very positive experience! This tone went right along with what we are commanded to do as Christians to always defend our faith with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).”

No place in academicsHowever, the positivity evaporated as I walked out to the parking lot. I received this picture from a student at Golden West who goes to our church and was in class while the panel was taking place:

In case you can’t read it, it is a response to an essay he wrote that says in very nice cursive: “I understand your excitement about your faith. Nevertheless I have told you twice that God and the Bible have no place in academic writing unless you are a theologian. Your structure is clear and direct, but issues of faith and belief do not belong in academic writing. Persist and it will negatively impact your grade.”

So much for free speech and open discussion of faith in an academic setting! This is the kind of persecution we as Christians are promised in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:12) and will see more of in America. Even if people are open to hearing what we have to say about Jesus, that does not mean they will accept it, in fact, many will not… Which leads me to my second thought:

2) I’m sticking with Jesus as the one way of salvation

As much as I agree with freedom of speech and religion… As much as I genuinely appreciated the club and how they set up that atmosphere for the event… I still strongly disagreed with things that were said. Although both religions compared themselves immediately to Christianity, some of the statements from the Mormons and my new Muslim friend Jamal were directly aimed at tearing down the truth of what the Bible says about Jesus.

Although Mormons and Muslims are different in what they believe, they still have one fundamental similarity: Both religions come from one prophet. The Mormons quoted Joseph Smith as their prophet. Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, which they referred to, and they still have a prophet giving them new revelation today. Muslims refer to the prophet Muhammad and what he wrote in the Quran. The fundamental similarity is both of these prophets were spoken to by an angel. It is the revelation from this angel that becomes the basis for the entire religion. But this type of new gospel, even from an angel, is something explicitly spoken against in the Bible:

Galatians 1

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith can claim to be prophets in line with Scripture but how come Scripture then warns against them here in Galatians 1?

The gospel of Jesus, as revealed to us in the Bible, is not written by one man. It comes from many different sources. When it comes to the specific life, death and resurrection of Jesus there are four gospel accounts. There are over 40 authors who wrote the 66 books that make up the entire Bible. No other religious book has this kind of diversity in where it is coming from. Yet, when you read it, it claims to be coming from one source of inspiration greater than these men: God! Only God could use so many different men writing over a time span of longer than a thousand years and still have the whole story come together as a cohesive whole!

I was surprised at how much Jamal talked specifically about Jesus. He spoke of Jesus in a very respectful way and yet made it very clear that Jesus was just a prophet. He said that God has no mediators and also there is no father or son. After the event I picked up a pamphlet from the Muslim table entitled: “Muslims Heart Jesus”

muslims heart jesusIn case you can’t download it, here is a key paragraph: “Some ambiguous verses of the Bible can be applied erroneously to show that Jesus is in some way divine. But if we look at the clear direct verses of the Bible, we see again and again that Jesus is being referred to as an extraordinary human being and nothing more. The Bible contains many verses in which Jesus speaks and behaves as if God is a separate being to himself. For example:”

I was very surprised to read how many Bible verses were quoted to prove that Jesus was not God, especially two from the Gospel of John, which we have been studying at our church:

Jesus said, “I am going to Father, because the Father is greater than me.” (John 14:28)

Jesus said, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17)

If is open to quoting what the Bible says from the gospel of John, we can definitely do that!  In this gospel Jesus claims to be much more than a prophet.  Even these verses show he claims to be a Son to the Father.   Out of all the verses I could quote there is one that gets right to the heart of the issue:

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Although I agree with open religious dialogue, there is no debate about the fact that Jesus claimed exclusive access to God in heaven. There is nothing “ambiguous” about his straightforwardness here.   Jesus said he is the one way.

And the truth is the other religions do too.

Although the Mormons do not claim that Joseph Smith was more than a man, they do think his prophecies are the one way.

Although the Muslims will not say that Muhammad is more than a man, they clearly think his teachings are the only way.

Well, Jesus claimed to be more than a man. This is why they rejected him and tested him and eventually killed him. Jesus not only claimed to be God, but he also boldly said that if you want to be with God when you die you have to come through him.

Let everyone say what they want. I’m sticking with Jesus.

He has the words of eternal life.

3 Responses to “Mormons, A Muslim & Me”

  • Jay Rubin

    Thank you for stepping up. This is another example of why it is so important that all of us are in the Word every day and in serious prayer throughout the day.

  • Jonah Morris

    I’m glad you came by Goldenwest! I just wish I didn’t have class, because I would’ve liked to be there. Anyways, loved the blog. Keep preaching the truth!

  • Allie Quick

    I appreciate the truth in this blog! Any claim that Jesus is not God completely distorts the Gospel and voids out salvation. In order for us to be clothed in righteousness and to have a relationship with God, Jesus Christ HAS to be God! As I look forward to the day that I will see Jesus Christ face to face, my heart aches for the souls that are believing false teaching. Reading through that pamphlet compels me to pray for God to draw more souls to the TRUTH! Thanks for posting this!

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