Saturday, March 27, 2010

John the Baptist Analogy

John the Baptist is to Christians what Jesus is to Muslims.

The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’” John 1:29-30

And remember Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah to you confirming the Law before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad (Mohammed).” As Saff 61:6

Imagine if someone approached you with a new faith message and told you he is a follower of John the Baptist. What would you think?

8 comments:

Abdul Asad عبد الأسد said...

Warrick,

I've thought about this too. I tell people that essentially what we are inviting Muslims to in Christianity sounds like a Jew inviting us to Judaism. We would politely refuse, perhaps with a condescending smirk - is this not exactly what Muslims do to us often? Perhaps this is why we should not be inviting our Muslim friends to what they deem as yesterday's religion, but instead we should invite them into a relationship with the ever-living Savior, who is himself outside of religion, time, and space - and yet entered into all of these things so that we might know the Father.

Warrick Farah said...

I was trying to leave "religion" out of the analogy completely.

The first thing I think of is, "Man, this guy doesn't understand who Jesus is..." And I think that's what Muslims think of me: "Man, this guy doesn't understand who Mohammed is..."

I'm just trying to get us to think of a Muslim considering following Jesus from an Islamic perspective.

What would complicate the matter for me is if a "Christian follower of John the Baptist" approached me with a new faith message... what would I think then?

Abdul Asad عبد الأسد said...

Ah, now I get what you are saying. You are stretching me, and I like it! I never thought of that before.

Tim Herald said...

Warrick,

I think I understand where you are coming from here. If we were to look at the two systems (e.g. Christianity and Islam) side-by-side, this is a valid comparison. Yet if we are to look at the claims of John the Baptist, Jesus and Muhammad, I am not so sure the comparison is as strong. Had John the Baptist been called the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the Son of Man, the Image of the invisible God, etc, then it would make more sense. But he did not.

Of course, many Muslims ascribe all kinds of acts and attributes to Muhammad that he never claimed for himself. In fact, I think most Muslims with which I have visited would do well to examine Muhammad's claims about himself as they were far less ambitious than the claims I hear on a regular basis.

Peace.

Warrick Farah said...

Tim,

Are you still looking at the analogy from our perspective? I agree with what you said- but it is not the Islamic perspective. Jesus as the "Word of God" for Muslims does not mean what WE take it to mean from John 1:1.

For Muslims, Jesus was a failure. His followers perverted his message of Islam and worshipped him. The Qur'an pictures Jesus as a second-tier prophet pointing to Mohammed.

Basically, Jesus is as relevant to Muslims as John the Baptist is to me. He served to point to something more ultimate.

In cross-cultural communication, we always need to be thinking about what they're hearing from us and what it means to them. This analogy helps me empathize with Muslims when I initally begin sharing Jesus. I think it helps me be more sensitive and shrewd as I exalt the Messiah in all his glory.

Does that make sense?

Tim Herald said...

Warrick,

Apologies for the poor communication. I agree that is how the system of Islam sees Jesus... thus this is how most Muslims see him. And, yes, I would interpret the Qur'an quite differently than a Muslim who has been influenced by Islamic teachings. So I do agree that this is how most Muslims see Jesus and it is only by exposure to his followers and life that this will change.

Peace.

Warrick Farah said...

Amen! Thanks Tim.

Sorry guys, it sounds like my initial post was not that clear. I was trying to be as brief as possible.

佩璇佩璇 said...

Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume. ....................................................