at a recent conference at Southeastern Bible College. The speakers outlined the different beliefs about Jesus and his divinity. For Muslims, Jesus was merely a prophet, not an actual son of God. Raed Awad, imam of the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center, spoke for their side:
Islam teaches that Allah, or God, did not have children, he said.
“He begets not, nor is he begotten,” Awad said. Worshipping Jesus would be a violation of monotheism, that there is only one God, he said. “The creator is the one who is worthy of worship, not the creatures,” Awad said.
“This is a small misunderstanding of the Trinity,” replied Steve Cowan, associate professor of philosophy and apologetics at Southeastern Bible College. “There is one and only one God. The difference is between trinitarianism and unitarianism. We’re all monotheists.”
Christians believe that God has “multiple personalities”: God the creator, Jesus the son and the Holy Spirit, Cowan said.
Dare I say, that explains everything?
Other differences came up, like the evangelical idea that faith in Jesus is all one needs for salvation vs the Muslim idea that good works plus faith are necessary.
Good works matter, Awad said. “The ultimate justice of God is to reward people accordingly,” he said. “Some people will be at a higher place in paradise.”
Salvation by faith does not mean that once someone accepts Jesus, he can continue to live sinfully, Cowan said. “Christians do not believe a person can be saved and then behave any way he wants to,” he said. “He will be a repentant person. When he sins, the Holy Spirit reveals that to him and he repents. A person who lives in unrepentant sin, that person’s not saved and will go to hell.”
This dialogue probably would have been more fascinating than the recent debate in town was.