The Moslem World
VOL. I. APRIL, 1911. No. 2.
MUCH has been written truly, if not always wisely, on the intolerance of the Moslem faith and the fanaticism of many of its votaries, but there is a sense in which Christianity is as intolerant as Islam; and although this intolerance may not and cannot take the form of Moslem intolerance toward Christianity, it is based on more vital issues, and is, therefore, of such a character that it can never be satisfied with compromise or concessions. It demands unconditional surrender.
In his recent book, "Crusaders of the Twentieth Century," Mr. Rice points out in a single sentence why it is that the gulf between Moslem theology and Christian theology can never be bridged. He writes: "There is not one cardinal fact concerning the life, person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ which is not either denied, perverted, misrepresented, or at least ignored in Mohammedan theology," and his entire chapter following this statement, and covering nearly a hundred pages, sets forth these per- versions, denials and misrepresentations.
Islam is, in a sense, the only anti-Christian religion. Other creeds and philosophies are non-Christian or frankly un-Christian. This world-wide faith joins issue with everything that is vital in the Christian religion, and stands or falls by its attitude toward the Christ. In this respect all schools of Moslem thought are practically the same. They differ in ritual and tradition; in interpretations, broad or narrow ; in going back to the old Koran or in advocating the new Islam; but whether Wahabis or followers of Seyyid Ameer Mi, their position as regards the Atonement, the Incarnation and the Deity of Christ is practically the same.
We assert as strongly as do all Moslems that there is only one God, but because there is only one God there can be only one Gospel, and the words 0f Dr. James Denney ("The Death of Christ," page 110) are very significant in this connection, especially as any reference to Islam was far front his mind: " If God has really done something in Christ on which the salvation of the world depends, and if He has made it known, then it is a Christian duty to be intolerant of everything which ignores, denies, or explains it away. The man who perverts it is the worst enemy of God and men ; and it is not bad temper or narrow-mindedness in St. Paul which explains this vehement language, it is the jealousy of God which has kindled in a soul redeemed by the death of Christ a corresponding jealousy for the Saviour."
The only Christianity that has a missionary message for the Moslem world is this vital Christianity. It is the only Christianity that can meet the deepest need of our Moslem brethren. Our love for them is only increased by our intolerance of their rejection of the Christ; we cannot bear it, it pains us; and the day is coming when many will confess Him in the words of a Moslem convert to a Bible-woman who was visiting her: " I see now that the very centre of your religion is Christ, and I want to love and serve Hint."
The main question even as regards the new Islam is not how much nearer they have come to Christian ethics and Christian civilisation in their attempts to reform the old system, but it is the old question, " What think ye of the Christ ? "
The Muslim World Journal was founded by Dr. Samuel M. Zwemer, a veteran missionary to the Muslim World.