Salvation: Christian and Muslim Perspectives | John Ankerberg Show

Salvation: Christian and Muslim Perspectives

By: Dr. John Ankerberg
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(Transcribed from a series of programs produced by The John Ankerberg Show. Host: John Ankerberg. Guests: Dr. Gleason Archer, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Dr. Hussein Morsi, and Dr. Anis Shorrosh)
Ankerberg: As we have done in the other weeks, we are having each side present their position. This week our first speaker will be Dr. Anis Shorrosh representing Christianity.
Shorrosh: I praise the Lord Jesus Christ for saving me as an Arab Palestinian to teach me to love my enemies and forgive them; only Jesus can teach that. I would like also to announce to everybody who is listening that neither the Koran nor Muhammad can give you an assurance of your sins forgiven while here on earth. Neither the Koran nor Muhammad can give you assurance of eternal life while you are here on this earth that when you die you will have a place in heaven. The credentials of Jesus of Nazareth, the man from my hometown, are au­thentic and overwhelming. The prophets of old predicted His coming 300 times or more, pre­dictions He faithfully fulfilled from His birth, to His death, to His resurrection. Our heavenly Father confirmed his relationship to Him as His Son. His miraculous works affirmed His power. The Holy Spirit clarifies this truth to which the apostles and the New Testament testify power­fully.
Let me emphasize that God is in reality Jesus. Man-gods have been numerous throughout history, but this is the first and only time that the God-man, Jesus the Christ, came to earth. Let me ask a very serious question tonight. Why did Jesus Christ come if he were a mere prophet? The world did not need more prophets, priests, books or miracle workers. The God of heaven gives us the answer: “You will call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus Christ came to save you and me from eternal death in hell to eternal life in heaven. He came to save us from darkness and bring us to light; and from hate to love. He Himself promised, “I have come that you may have life and have it more abun­dantly” (John 10:10). Listen to His declaration, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The word “lost” is the same as “sinner” since God’s Word states “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” All of us become the object of His concern. Jesus came seeking us particularly when we learned that “the payment for sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
A secret is revealed when we hear John the Baptizer, when he evaluated Jesus with these words: “Behold, the Lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world.” Peter in Acts 4:12 declared, “Neither is there salvation in any other for there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.” You say, “How is that possible?” By substitution. He took our place. You see, the first Adam fought the battle and lost, thus all of us, you and I, are sinners. Jesus, the second Adam, fought and won so that we can become saints instead of sinners and free children of God. The tragedy of the cross becomes a triumph of the crucified. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we may experience the forgiveness of God made available to us through repentance and faith.
Why did the ancient Jews bring blood sacrifices to the temple? Why even the Koran en­courages sacrifices. Because “without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin” (He­brews 9:22). Yet, all the animal sacrifices were pointing to the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus the Lamb of God whose blood covers our sins and even removes them totally. “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Isn’t it fantastic? God demands good works as a result of salvation, not to obtain it. You don’t have to go to a holy city, Jerusalem, Mecca, Rome—they are too small to contain the majesty of God. Ceremonial cleansing can wash the stain, but never a heart full of sin. God is not impressed with your fasting and mine, your prayers and mine, these often promote self-righteousness rather than humility and holiness. God loves you and wants to save you by His grace through your faith in the Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Now, I give it to you in a nutshell:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5- 11).
Thank you and God bless you.
Ankerberg: All right. Thank you. Our next speaker will be Dr. Hussein Morsi presenting the case for “What is salvation in Islam?”
Morsi: Thank you, John. We, the Muslims, believe in one merciful God. Only one merciful God, the God of Adam, the God of Noah, of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. We also believe that this life is temporary; is a test, and that the true life, the real life, the eternal life is the one that comes after we die and are raised by our merciful Creator.
Therefore, we are particular, we are keen, as a matter of fact, we are very fussy to search for the true teachings that came from the true prophets that came from God. And we are also very keen to reject all man-made theological doctrines established by councils, theologians, priests and brokers for salvation. Islam rejects the dogma of original sin. From the Koran we learn that Adam and Eve sinned, but they repented. And God Almighty accepted the repen­tance in His mercy and in His grace. Islam also rejects the dogma of blood sacrifice which was partially based on the teachings of Paul, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrew 9). Islam declares that the forgiveness of sin cannot be obtained by the suffering and sacrifice of any other person, human or divine. It can only come by the grace of God. It can only come by the mercy of God. Islam also teaches that you cannot gain acceptance by giving God lip service, hanging a label on yourself, or suffering from the hallucinations of the cult of reassurance by declaring that you have gained your salvation in this life at a particular moment and based on a particular experience.
The Koran describes the same exact formula that was taught and practiced not only by Muhammad and Jesus, but by all the prophets. Work on your righteousness through faith— number one—faith in God. And then your deeds and your actions, if you have true faith in God, will be a reflection of this correct faith. As a Muslim, I am comforted and assured to read that Jesus practiced and believed in the same exact salvation. In the book of Matthew chapter 5 we are told that Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees and the scribes, you will never enter into the kingdom of God.” In the book of Matthew again, in chapter 19 we read a story, a young man comes to Jesus, “Good master, what thing shall I do to gain salvation for my soul?” First, Jesus corrects him, “Why do you call me good? There is only one that’s good and that’s God.” You want to gain salvation for your soul, you want to enter into the kingdom of God, two criteria again—faith in God and follow God’s com­mandments. He did not speak about the shedding of His blood.
As a Muslim I am further comforted and assured to read the same exact message on the lips of David advising his son Solomon in the Old Testament. In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 12, “now let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Have faith in God and follow God’s commandments for this is the whole entire duty of man.” Indeed, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen. This is the whole duty of man, to have faith in God and to follow God’s commandments, not only according to Muhammad, not only according to the Koran, but ac­cording to Jesus and according to the prophets in the Old Testament.
In the Koran we read the same message loud and clear in chapter 2, “For those who have faith in God,” faith again, faith in God, “and do righteous deeds, there will be no fear to come upon them, neither shall they grieve.” So, as a Muslim, as a true believer in God, and a true believer on all the prophets, including Jesus, may the peace, mercy and blessings of God be with them all, then I am assured that I am on the right track. Thank you.
Ankerberg: Thank you very much. Dr. Shorrosh, let me ask you a personal question. What convinced you, as a Palestinian Arab surrounded by Islam, to one day believe that Jesus was God and that He had actually died on a cross, risen from the dead? What made you believe that and place your faith in Him?
Shorrosh: Hopeless, homeless, fatherless as a result of the war in 1948. I was seeking an answer. And the Holy Spirit of God convicted me. This is His job. This is His work. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. And in the privacy of the room where I was staying, I knelt down and I asked God if He is real to show that to me. And if He really can help me, would He show me how? And He led me to open the Bible, my mother’s Bible, and I opened it and my eyes fell on the words “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteous­ness that all these things shall be revealed unto you.”
In contrast to what our friend was saying, righteousness is the righteousness of God. You see, our works are filthy rags. We cannot be saved by our works. If we could, there was no need for Jesus to come, no need for the cross, no need for sacrifice, no need for anything. You see, if we can do it. If a drowning man can save himself, there is no reason for him to cry out, “save me, save me.” So, I asked God to save me and through His Holy Spirit He came into my life and I was born again, born from above. My life was changed. And so changed that I could love and forgive. I learned a lesson of praying for my enemies and learning to love them. It was Jesus and Jesus alone who said “it has been said of old, love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say unto you, as God, I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” And God changed my life so I can love others and care for others, and as a result of that, I’m a changed person, not a perfect person. And I have the assurance of eternal life because He promised me.
As Jesus said with the words that are so ringing throughout the centuries, “For God so loved world that He sacrificed His only son that anyone believing in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, I found in Him eternal security, salvation cleansing from sin and a promise of living forever.
Ankerberg: Thank you. I would like to ask Jamal Badawi. How can Allah, who admits that man is sinful, or has broken his law, if he is just, and if he does have laws, which you say that he does, when a person breaks those laws, how can Allah let people off and still be just?
Badawi: See, the main issue really, and it’s a legitimate question—how God reconciles His mercy and justice because both of these are attributes that are accepted by Muslims and their Christian brethren. There is no difference in that. There is no difference, by the way, unlike many people say, that in Islam salvation is only by works or righteousness, not by grace. The prophet did not say that. The prophet said the opposite of that. Grace is above all. But righteousness, of course, is needed. Belief, also, and faith in God is needed as well. But the reconciliation in Muslim understanding is quite different. We believe he is the God, just and merciful, but according to our Writings, God says that “my mercy prevails over my wrath and my anger.” Number one. In another writing also God says that if you as son or daughter of Adam come to me with an earth full of sins, but you come to me sincere and associate none with me,
I will forgive you and it shall not mind. And Muslims see that as good reconciliation between justice and mercy. Number one. It is justice because God who created us created us with weakness, with inclination to sin, and He knows that. How could He expect us to be perfect? On the other hand, because God is merciful, He should be willing to forgive us if we repent to Him and really change our lives and get that new strength and new power to follow the path of God. And that’s why the Koran says whoever believes in God and has faith in God, God will guide his heart. So, to us, the reconciliation is very simple through repentance and sincere change in our attitude and behavior.
Ankerberg: All right, let me just throw one on the table, then. Jesus said, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then, he opened their minds so they could under­stand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written, the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.’” That’s Luke and that is Jesus.
Morsi: It says the Christian problem now is that you have two contradictory statements. In one passage, it tells us that Jesus taught about salvation through faith and following God’s commandments. The one that you are quoting tells us that Jesus taught through the shedding of His blood. Now, it is the function of the Christians to tell us which one is correct.
Ankerberg: Do you think that is a contradiction?
Morsi: Obviously, it is a contradiction.
Ankerberg: You have said that God perfectly protected and gave the Koran. God, you said, was also the author of the Bible. Now, if God is the author, as you say, of the Bible, and He could protect the Koran, why didn’t He correct and why didn’t He protect the Bible itself that He gave?
Badawi: The answer is right in the Koran. The Koran, when it says that the people of the book were given the opportunity and the duty to preserve the Bible, they could not fulfill it. But when it speaks about the Koran in Sura 15 it says we reveal the Koran, and we are going to take care of it because the other people who were given the responsibility failed. Number one. Number two: We cannot say even that God did not protect the Bible. As I said earlier, we Muslims believe that the Bible contained, in part, the word of God the parts that are consistent with the final revelation, the Koran. So ultimately, at the end of the game really, the word of God as revealed to all prophets has been protected through the Koran. God corrected the previous Scripture by the Koran.
Archer: This is a very interesting game of back and forth. We affirm that everything in the Koran that agrees with the Bible is trustworthy.
Badawi: Only we look at it the other way around.
Shorrosh: And the question is how one true God gives us two holy books that contradict each other.

Dr. John Ankerberg

Dr. John Ankerberg

Dr. John Ankerberg is founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America. His television and radio programs are broadcast into 106 million American homes and are available in more than 200 nations in 12 languages. Author, co-author, or contributor of 158 books and study guides in 20 languages, his writings have sold more than 3 million copies and reach millions of readers each year online.
Dr. John Ankerberg

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Shangreipam siroErwin Rommel Recent comment authors
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel

The Chart of Chirtianity Vs Islam has been prepared with thinking to dominate one way thought, Why you are not trying to understand Islam in Islamic way or in good way as per Muslims thinks. Why did he prepare as misguide chart while you have discussed with Islamic Scholars where he had given a satisfactory response. I think this is a bad habit to study any religious book with the thinking of I shall search the week point and observe all sentences in comparison or thinks only the wrong effect of the sentence and show only this things. As per… Read more »

Shangreipam siro
Shangreipam siro

Erwin…… Why dn you read the above articles properly….. Read it carefully and properly if you want to get save properly. Dr.Sharrosh was an islam,muslim.. Now a good believer in christianity What did he say??? “I was seeking for an answer. And the holy spirit of GOD convicted me” And why??? Because he want to get save properly. The holy spirit showed up Dr Sharrosh and led him to open up the Bible,her mothers Bible. And as he open what did he see? Seek ye first the kingdom of God an his righteousness. (Means to seek fo the true God)… Read more »


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