What IS dialogue?
According to Dictionary.com, as a noun, it is “an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.” And as a verb: “to discuss areas of disagreement frankly in order to resolve them.” (Emphasis mine)
So, one should expect that real “Interfaith Dialogue” would be an exchange of ideas—discussed frankly— regarding different faiths, with the end goal being amicable resolution. Right? Not so much when it comes to the interfaith dialogue movement which is an invention of the Muslim Brotherhood for the purposes of “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers.” (from An Explanatory Memorandum—the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan and playbook for destroying America).
Let’s be clear about that last sentence. When it says “the hands of the believers,” it’s referring to the Brotherhood and Islamic Movement participants. When it says “by their hands,” it’s talking about “those non-Muslim clerics (ministers, priests, and rabbis) who help facilitate the mission of ‘eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within’.” (from Bridge-Building to Nowhere by Stephen Coughlin) This movement at its roots is nefarious, even if many who are caught up in it are well-meaning dupes being used as a means to a destructive end. Again, this movement is meant to build one-way bridges for only non-Muslims to cross.
We’ve warned that there is no real dialogue (in its true sense—see definition above) that takes place; and that the exclusivity of Christ is either denied or placed on the back burner for the sake of unity. Recently, I experienced these things first hand and wish that many of you could have as well.
I attended the Interfaith—so called—“Dialogue” event put on by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute, which is part of Grand Valley State University. This event was promoted as an Interfaith DIALOGUE surrounding Mustafa Akyol’s latest book, The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims. After the author spoke about his book, a Christian pastor and a Jewish teacher were supposed to give their response.
Mr. Akyol was stuck in an airport and unable to attend so a friend of his reported on the book after discussing how Muslims are being attacked here and abroad. I don’t have room here to give all of his talking points, but he did glowingly tell how Muslims, Jews, and Christians would all learn about the Muslim faith, their own faith, and themselves, by reading of The Islamic Jesus. This book would describe clearly how the three religions are similarly compatible.
In the midst of the Jewish man’s response someone connected with Mr. Akyol through Facebook Live and the author gave another recap of his book. After that, the pastor was asked to give his response. Due to space, I will limit myself to two points regarding this.
First, the pastor gave a rave review of The Islamic Jesus; but did voice that, as Christians, we could not deny the deity of Jesus. He took much time discussing both the concept of the Trinity and the concept of Jesus being fully God and fully man. He admitted that this was our greatest challenge and our greatest strength. He described them as mysteries and stated that it is a good thing that we don’t understand God. He stated that the divinity of Jesus was the central component and the sticky point with Muslims and Jews. That was the point that we can’t bend on.
However, nothing was said about the exclusivity of Christ; not one thing about Jesus being the Way, the Truth, or the Life; not a word about NO ONE comes to the Father BUT BY JESUS! Yes, Jesus is divine; but He is also the ONLY way. Experientially knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ (the Messiah), whom He has sent—THAT is life eternal (John 17:3).
Mr. Akyol had to catch his flight at this point so he could not respond to the pastor. However, the moderator did proclaim that the Trinity is not a concept that is vital to the Christian faith and shared this story: “One of my colleagues once asked me what is essential for Christians to believe." I answered, “Like Christ bore our sins, or something like that’.” Directly after giving us his answer he then said, “Now I think I would probably take that back.” Really? How can someone claim to represent the Christian faith in these dialogues and not consider that “Christ bore our sins” as an essential belief? What makes one a Christian other than that very fact?
Secondly, it would appear that this pastor may have accepted things at face value from Mr. Akyol’s book instead of searching for the truth of the matter. He spoke of how Islam holds Jesus in such high regard, as though he were the same Jesus of the Bible. He specifically mentioned being amazed that there is an Islamic second coming of Jesus, among other things. Did this Christian pastor look into what the second coming of the Islamic Jesus means? He comes to break the cross, kill the pigs (Jews), and abolish the tax non-Muslims pay for protection (jizyah). These things point to the destruction of Christianity. Either Mr. Akyol is purposely being deceptive or he just didn’t think to give the whole story. Either way, this pastor proves the point made by Stephen Coughlin in Bridge-Building to Nowhere, that the Muslim Brotherhood“bases its expectation of success on a reasoned estimation that its interfaith ‘partners’ either don’t know” or don’t care enough to find out the whole story or full meaning when dealing with Islamic definitions or stories.
Imagine going to one of these events expecting to actually have some dialogue only to have it shut down once someone actually started to really dialogue—speaking frankly about differing ideas regarding these faiths. That’s exactly what happened. The gentleman sitting in front of me raised his hand and started to make a few comments. As soon as he quoted from the Qur’an, made exclusivity statements about the Muslim faith, and said “Islam denies the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus,” the moderator shut down the dialogue. Although the event was scheduled to go until 9 PM and it was only 8:33 PM, he said that they were going to wrap things up.
Research and real dialogue is vitally important if we are to better understand and live alongside one another despite our differences; but don’t expect to find real dialogue at a Kaufman Interfaith Institute interfaith dialogue event.
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