Christianity and Islam: compatible or contradictory?

The email’s subject line was written in all caps and ended with with a dozen question marks and exclamation points. Obviously, the sender was quite emotional about the question at hand. As I read her email, I could understand why.

Apparently, at a national gathering of the Protestant denomination of which her church was a member, prayers were made to Allah. An Imam was present to open the annual meeting of this group, offering up petitions to the god of the Quran.
Politically correct gestures such as this – carried out by misguided leaders who are responsible to proclaim and defend the Christian faith – are deeply disturbing. Thirty years of studying the theologies and histories of Christianity and Islam have left me thoroughly convinced that the two are irreconcilably different. Consider a few of the reasons:

  1. Jesus’ claims about salvation were confirmed by an unparalleled degree of proof: Christ physically rose from death, thus confirming who He was and what He taught. Mohammed’s teachings were not accompanied by any supernatural confirmation, and, in fact, the Muslim prophet himself said he did no miracles.
  1. The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity clearly presents a God different than that of Islam. In fact, Muslims accuse Christians of the shirkor “the assigning of partners to God,” which they see as blasphemous. Yet Christians agree there is only one God, not three (Deuteronomy 6:3; Isaiah 43:10-11).
  1. Compelling data affirms the trustworthiness of the Bible. Muslims have a level of respect for the Bible, although they believe that what the New Testament says about Jesus is not trustworthy. I often point out to Muslims that the New Testament is accurate and can be trusted – no Imam can point out what the alleged “changes” are or when they were supposedly introduced into the text. The Bible’s infamous “corruptions” simply are not there.
  1. Unique to Christianity is the reality of Jesus’ incarnation. Regarding this topic, many Muslims struggle with the English wording of John 3:16. Whether a version reads that Jesus is God’s “only begotten Son,” or “One and only Son,” always point out that John 3:16 does not imply that God had physical relations with Mary. The original language asserts that Jesus is, literally, “of the same nature” or “essence” as the Father.
  1. The Prophet of Christianity is unique in that Jesus was a loving and sinless Savior (in Suras 40:55 and 48:1-2, the Quran teaches that Mohammed was a sinner). Because He possessed both full divinity yet sinless humanity, Jesus was qualified to die sacrificially and capable of rising by His own power.
  1. Christians have an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus. One Imam with whom I debated emphatically said, “Allah is unknowable.” Muslims view God as being pure will: Allah is not bound to keep his word or act in accord with his nature. I asked the Imam if Allah could send a good Muslim to hell and infidels to heaven. “Of course,” said the Imam, “if he wills it so.” Christian believers have great joy in knowing that they are secure in Christ (John 10:28-29).

News that leaders of a Protestant denomination would bow and pray to the God of Islam should cause any Christ-follower to weep before the Lord. Why? Listed above are only a few of the reasons. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently asserted that Islam is “fundamentally incompatible with the modern world.” I agree, although I personally know the controversy that results when that observation is made. What is without argument, however, is that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Christian truth.