My Response (to a letter) Regarding Islam
Kent Philpott's personal thoughts regarding Islam and Christianity
Thanks for your interest in this subject. Let me begin with telling you who I am.
I was born in Oregon, in 1942, and now live in California. I became a Christian at age 21. I am married with 5 children, 8 grandchildren. I was ordained in 1966, most of the time my denomination has been Baptist.
The first spiritual truth I knew was that I was a lost and hopeless sinner. This is while I was in the military, a medic. My life was ordinary, no crisis, but after hearing the message of Jesus and the cross, I saw He died in my place, taking my sin upon Himself. The second truth then I learned was that Jesus is the Savior, risen from the dead.
I have been a pastor ever since my ordination, actually before then, and have seen many hundreds become followers of Jesus over the course of my ministry. For Christians it is conversion, or the new birth, one and the same thing. We are not born Christian though we might be born into a culture heavily influenced by Christianity. But this can be problematic since we can mistakenly believe that we are Christian due to our birth.
Now, as to the issue of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism worshipping the same God--yes and no. Certainly Judaism and Christianity see the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the Creator God. Islam, however, worships Allah, and Allah was a local deity worshipped by people of a particular area, the area where Mohammed lived. It is claimed they are the same God, but I do not think so. Now, Judaism, in rejecting Jesus as Messiah and Savior, makes a mistake. To worship the Son of God, Jesus, is to worship God the Father. He who has the Son has the Father, but he who does not have the Son has not the Father. To love one is to love the other. The Scripture is plain on this point. Many Jewish people do trust in Jesus, however. And Muslims will also trust in Jesus--anyone may.
Many groups claim the God of the Bible as their God, groups like the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and so on. But they reject or deny what the Bible says about the Messiah in both the Old an New Testament. Are we Christians bound to accept the picture of Jesus that the Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, give us. They say Jesus is the archangel Michael, and not Emmanuel, God with us, like the prophet Isaiah said. Am I bound to accept this? Because groups like the Mormons say their prophet is the latest prophet superceding all others, am I bound to believe this? The Mormons say their Book of Mormon is the final truth and all that came before is good, but not the final revelation of God. Do I have to believe this?
Mohammed claimed to the be final prophet and the Qu'ran to be the final revelation. Am I bound to believe this? Lots of so-called prophets have come along with their new versions of truth--so what! They each dimmish or do a re-make on Jesus so they can insert into the place of the Lord Jesus Christ their own prophet, revelation, or holy book. No, we are wise to this in America; these prophets and angelic revelations--they are a dime a dozen.
I live in a free society, which has freedom of religion. My faith is personal and I don't care what anyone else thinks about it. I did not choose God anyway, He chose me. He called me and gave me faith in Jesus His only begotten Son. I am not a Christian because I was born one, or have to be, I did not even want to be--but when God, by His Holy Spirit, showed me that Jesus, the perfect lamb of God, had died in my place, had taken all my sin upon Himself, and through His resurrection gives me the gift of eternal life, well, that was enough for me. I did not figure anything out, I did no good religious work, no, God changed my heart, helped me repent, and gave me faith.
This is the Gospel. Please know that I wish all the people of the world would live in peace and harmony. I have no anger or resentment toward Muslim's. For what it is worth, I am also the manager of a baseball team, and I just appointed as my primary coach a Muslim man. And my lead-off hitter and second baseman is also a Muslim.
America is my country, though I do not think all we do is correct. I am a Christian first, then an American. We do stand for freedom and an open society--and these are great things. I hate war, as anyone would, and I hope that there would be no reason for a war on terrorism. But there is, and we can pray that it will end and we could all live in peace.