A Fundamental Error of Islam

Essay Five

When visiting a local Sunni mosque, I was given a booklet entitled A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam. The anonymous author states:

Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus.

The author backed up his contention with a quote from the Qur’an:

…They said: “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)…Qur’an 4:157

A fundamental error of Islam is this denying of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ while saying another man who looked like Jesus was actually placed on the cross. This is essentially a form of Gnosticism called Docetism.

Gnostics existed prior to the Christian era and were able to incorporate varying religious thought into their system. The Gnostics viewed matter as evil and mind or thought as good. The Christian incarnation, that is, God become flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, ran counter to their core doctrine. Therefore, they developed the idea that Jesus did not actually die on a cross, rather someone who looked like Jesus did. This belief system is called Docetism, based on the Greek dokeo, meaning “to seem like.”

The basic principle of Docetism was refuted by the Apostle John in 1 John 4:2-3:

“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

Also, 2 John 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Ignatius of Antioch (AD 98–117), Irenaeus (115–190), and Hippolatus (170-235) wrote against the Gnostic error in the early part of the second century.

Docetism was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Many sects and cults over the centuries have taken a Gnostic stance and thus substitute their own teaching as the means of salvation. This is precisely what Islam has done.

And Islam must do so. If salvation is based solely on Christ’s death on the cross, where our sin was atoned for, then Islam has nothing to offer but is in fact a conduit for false salvation.

Islam is agonizingly focused on attaining eternity in paradise, or heaven, which is really the same thing. Heaven is fellowship with a holy God, and is made possible only through the cleansing blood of Jesus shed on the cross.

Islam and Christianity are polar opposites. Both cannot be right at the same time. This reality must be squarely faced.

The purest, most religious Muslim or the filthiest, most hypocritical Christian. Which would I prefer to be?

Which am I? I am the latter, and due to the utter holiness of the Triune God, I remain the filthy, hypocritical Christian until that day I stand before the Judgment of God on the Last Day and hear my Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your rest.”

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