Differences Between Islam and Christianity

About this Episode

Differences between Islam and Christianity is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.

1 Peter 3:15 states “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Part of that defense is to know what other religions believe and teach.

Today we are going to work through an article written by gotquestions.com and discuss the differences between Christianity and Islam. While some similarities exist between Islam and Christianity (they are both monotheistic religions, for example), their differences are clear-cut, significant, and irreconcilable.

Today we will survey four key areas:
1. The founders of the two religions
2. The contrasting views of God
3. The sacred literature, and
4. The means of salvation

We will see that Islam differs from Christianity in each of those four areas.

1. Founders of the Religions
Jesus was the founder of Christianity in Ad 30. Islam was founded by an Arab merchant named Muhammed around AD 622. Muhammed claimed to have received a revelation from an angel of God, and, although he initially feared his revelation had come from Satan, Muhammed later claimed to be the last and greatest of all of God’s prophets.

2. Views of God
Islam teaches that Allah, or God, is the sovereign Creator and Ruler of all that is. Muslims emphasize God’s absolute unity, which will admit to no division, and God’s will.

In fact, the will of God is more basic to who He is than His love or mercy. God could choose not to be merciful, and He can choose not to love; thus, Allah’s mercy and love are not intrinsic to His nature but are choices He makes. More important than loving God—or even knowing Him—is submitting to His will.

Similar to Islam, Christianity teaches that God is the sovereign Creator and Ruler of all that is—but that is about where the similarity ends.

Christians believe in one God who exists in three eternal, co-equal Persons (Father, Son, and Spirit) who share the same indivisible essence.

3. Sacred Literature
Islam holds that the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospels were given by God—with this caveat: Jews and Christians have corrupted God’s Word and therefore Bibles cannot be fully trusted.

Muslims believe that God’s final Word, the Qur’an, was miraculously given to Muhammed over a period of twenty-three years. The Qur’an, which is perfect and holy, is divided into 114 chapters called suras.

Biblical Christianity holds that the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are God’s inspired Word and the only authoritative rule of faith and practice. The Bible warns against adding to God’s Word (Revelation 22:18); Christians reject the Qur’an as an attempted addition to God’s Word and as a document that contradicts the Bible in many ways.

4. Means of Salvation
Islam teaches works-based salvation and in this way is similar to other man-made religions. A Muslim must keep the five pillars of Islam.

Islam teaches that the day of judgment will involve a person’s good and bad deeds being weighed in a balance—so the standard for judgment is one’s own actions (Surah 7:8-9; 21:47). The Qur’an forbids anyone from bearing another’s the burden of sin (Surah 17:15; 35:18) and pointedly denies the death of Jesus (or Isa) on the cross (Surah 3:55; 4:157–158). If you will be saved, you must save yourself.

Christianity teaches grace-based salvation. A person is saved by the grace (the undeserved blessing) of God, through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 10:9–10). The standard for judgment is absolute perfection—the righteousness of Christ. No one can measure up to perfection (Romans 3:23), but God in His grace and mercy has given His Son as the substitute for our sin: “When you were dead in your sins God made you alive with Christ.

Islam and Christianity, having different beliefs on essential doctrines such as God, Jesus, Scripture, and salvation, are irreconcilable.

Both religions cannot be true. We believe that Jesus Christ, as presented in the Bible, is the true Son of God and Savior of mankind. “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

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