“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).- 1 Timothy 4:1
In our study of the General Epistles this year, one of the themes that has come up again and again is our need to be prepared to defend the faith and be ready for the onslaught of false teachers. False teachers were the special concern of 2 Peter, and as we will see over the course of the next few months, they are also very important to the Johannine letters and Jude.
False teaching comes in many forms; some of it is isolated and not well-organized, while some of it is found conceptualized in highly organized religions, traditions, and world-views. In our world today, perhaps the greatest single threat of false teaching is represented by the religion of Islam. Even though it is not often thought of as such, some consider Islam to be a Christian heresy because of the importance it attaches to Jesus and the self-conscious way in which it has opposed the church throughout the centuries. Whether or not it is really a Christian heresy, it is a false religion, and many of the doctrines attacked by Islam are also attacked by other systems of false teaching. Therefore, we do well to become grounded in these doctrines so that we might be ready to defend them from the assaults of Islam and other forms of unbelief. In order to help us do this, we will spend the next two weeks comparing the doctrines of Islam with the doctrines of Christianity with the help of The Cross and the Crescent, a teaching series featuring Dr. R.C. Sproul and former Muslim Abdul Saleeb.
We will conclude today by noting that Islam’s attack on Christianity comes on four main fronts. We will look at each of these in more detail over the course of the next few weeks of studies.
The View of God: The personal relationship we have with God as Father and the doctrine of the Trinity are both anathema to Islam.
The View of Man: Total depravity and the fact that salvation is by grace alone are both denied by Muslims.
The View of Christ: Islam does not recognize the deity of Christ or the substitutionary atonement.
The View of the Bible: Muslims question the authenticity of the Bible, saying that Christians have corrupted the Word of God.
The attacks of Islam on the orthodox Christian view of God, man, Christ, and the Bible are not necessarily unique to this world religion. Though the specific attacks may vary, these are the points at which all non-believers level assaults on Christianity. We must know what we believe in order that we may defend it. In preparation for our study of basic doctrine over the next two weeks, spend some time reviewing the Apostles’ Creed and the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Passages for Further Study
1 Tim. 6:2b–5
1 Peter 3:15–16