Rick Warren, the Unholy

“A Common Word” A Christian Response that was not Christian

In the name of the Infinitely Good God whom we should love with all our Being

بسم الله الرؤوف بلا نهاية الذي ينبغي ان نحبّه من كل كياننا

In what was naively and desperately interpreted as an outreach to Christians, 138 Muslim scholars issued an open letter to in October of 2007 entitled A Common Word Between Us and You. Apparently, without reading or taking seriously the document itself, this open letter was answered by another open letter signed by over 300 Christian and church leaders including Rich Warren.

The propaganda mills of both the Christian and Muslim communities declared the goal of these letters to be world peace. The Christian communities perhaps with no appreciable understanding of Islam, seized the moment and  imagined both documents were seeking peace and harmony between the worlds of Christendom and Islam.  This peace and harmony was based on our “common ground.” This common ground is found in the two Great Commandments. (Love God and love your neighbor)

What the first open letter from the Muslim community actually says is:

In the Holy Qur’an, God Most High enjoins Muslims to issue the

following call to Christians and Jews—the People of the Scripture:

Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to A Common Word between us and you: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we

are they who have surrendered (unto Him).

(Aal ‘Imran,3:64)

This is a quote from Surat ‘Āli `Imrān (Family of Imran), Surah 3:64. A better translation is from Sahih International:

Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah .” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].”

Muslims do not believe Allah is a generic term for God. They believe Allah is “the god” in contrast to the gods of the polytheists and the god of Judaism or Christianity. In the Quran this verse is preceded by verse 61 “invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us].” And verse 65 and 66:

“ O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason? Here you are – those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows, while you know not.”

The phrase included in both translations “we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, not associate anything with Him.” Is a direct refutation ofthe concept of the Trinity. There are no partners or associates namely Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Muslims are not hiding their intentions since the verse is explained later:

Finally, as Muslims, and in obedience to the Holy Qur’an, we ask Christians to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions That we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God … (Aal ‘Imran, 3:64) Let this common ground be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us, for our common ground is that on which hangs” p 71

Muslims have always believed Christianity and Judaism to the corruption of a pure religion restored by Mohammed. The idea of Jesus being God and the Trinity was a corruption of this pure religion. The basis for all interfaith dialogue is the rejection of Jesus Christ as God. Not only is this the basis of the dialogue but the dialogue hangs on this understanding, implying the rejection of this denial of the deity of Christ would end discussion.

Anyone reading this document should understand that it is not a new initiative but a restatement of the 1400 year traditions of Islam. To paraphrase the purpose of this document “We will talk to you if you agree to our concept of God.”

The document issued by the “Christian” community was interpreted as a first step in the acknowledgement of the god of the Quran and the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. How do the Muslims arrive at that conclusion?

The response of the “Christian” community an open letter, A Common Word” Christian Response, begins with the subtitle featured in introduction.

In the name of the Infinitely Good God whom we should love with all our Being

بسم الله الرؤوف بلا نهاية الذي ينبغي ان نحبّه من كل كياننا

Both the Arabic and the English were cited in the response. The official translation of the Arabic is rather generic. A better translation of the Arabic is

“In the name of God without end most merciful (Raouf) we should love Him with all our being”

According to Abu Hurairah, a noted and well respected commentator on the Quran, “There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory would get into Paradise.” One of these ninety nine is Allah Raouf, which means God the most merciful. This is a personal name for the God of the Quran (ex. Surah 22:65) and would be interpreted rightfully by those acquainted with Arabic and the Quran as “All of us should love the god of the Quran, Allah Raouf, with all our being.”

Thanks to the less than literal translation by the “Christian” community this meaning is obscured for the English reader. However those who have a knowledge of English and are Christian should be disturbed about the reading of A Common Word” Christian Response.

“A Common Word Between Us and You” identifies some core common ground between Christianity and Islam which lies at the heart of our respective faiths”

Although the Torah, the Old and New Testaments and the Quran contain some common names like Adam, Abraham and Jesus, there is no relation or common ground between them.

Surah 4:157 Sahih International

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

That which forms the basis of the Christian faith:

1st Corinthians 15:3-4

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

The core of the gospel the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are denied. It is not enough just to say the name “Jesus”, if Jesus is defined as being totally different than Scripture portrays to be, then there is a different “Jesus” in the Quran. It is not enough to say “God” if there is different “God” in the Quran and the Scriptures then there is no common word or ground between Islam and Christianity. This is different from Judaism whose Torah is identical to the sacred Scriptures Christian’s call the Old Testament. Here is real common ground between Judaism and Christianity.

The open letter, A Common Word” Christian Response, often states the god of the Quran is the god of the Christians:

That this common ground consists in love of God and of neighbor

We applaud that “A Common Word Between Us and You” stresses so insistently the unique devotion to one God, indeed the love of God, as the primary duty of every believer. God alone rightly commands our ultimate allegiance.

We find it equally heartening that the God whom we should love above all things is described as being Love.

In the Muslim tradition, God, “the Lord of the worlds,” is “The Infinitely Good and All-Merciful.” And the New Testament states clearly that “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

“Let this common ground” – the dual common ground of love of God and of neighbor – “be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us,” your courageous letter urges.

work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.

For those pastors unfamiliar with English, the difference between “god” with a small g and “God” with a capital G is the difference between the proper name of the Biblical God and the generic name for god when it refers to a non-Biblical god. If letter referred to God as “god” the term “god” would refer to a common noun. This term “god” would refer to either the Quran god or the Christian god.

When “God” is used a proper noun it refers to a name which identifies a particular god. This is no different than saying “a man eats” verses “Jon is eating.” “Jon” a proper name refers to specific individual. The common noun “man” could refer to many different individuals and not Jon.

Each time the document A Common Word” Christian Response, refers to God in capital letters it is referring to a specific God. Since both Christians and Muslims have a love for “God” this is the same God. If the wording was Christians and Muslims have a love for “god.” The term “god” could refer to two different gods. This was not done and anyone familiar with the basic rules of English grammar would conclude the term “God” is the same “God” in the Quran and of Christian’s.

It is foundational in the Christian defense against Muslim theology, the god of the Quran is not the god of Scriptures. This is contrary to Muslim apologists who believe

Surah 3:64

O People of the Scripture! Come to A Common Word between us and you

The titles of the two open letters both proclaim “A Common Word.” How are the Muslims who received this letter, how are they to interpret the response of the “Christian” community? They interpret the letter as it is written, the first step in the Christian community abandoning the Christian god for the god of the Quran.

As a defense to those who protested Rick Warren signature in this document, he unequivocally states the god of the Christian community is different from the God of the Quran.

First, as I’ve already said, Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah.

Rick Warren on Muslims, Evangelism & Missions
with Brandon A. Cox & The Christian Post March 2, 2012|5:53 pm By Alex Murashko,

There are two problems with this denial. The Muslim community does not read the Christian Post. They are left with the impression that Rick Warren, agrees with them. The open letter becomes a lie. Then Rick Warren states the opposite argument to the Christian post; Jesus is God. If Rick Warren truly believes this he must renounce his signature in the open letter, A Common Word” Christian Response. It is now more than two years since he signed the letter and he has taken no such steps. In fact he is frequently asked to speak at Muslim events.

As an example examine his address at ISNA 2009. 2009 Islamic Society of North America conference. (transcript – Pastor Rick Warren’s address at ISNA 2009http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/cityofbrass/2009/07/transcript-pastor-rick-warre.html#) There is no mention of Jesus Christ as God. There is no presentation of the gospel, only a call for civility.

There is the problem of hypocrisy. By signing one document for Muslims and then stating the opposite concepts to Christians means he is flatterer; presenting himself as someone different to both groups. He carefully studies his audience delivering false messages to impress the hearer. He could be double-minded actually believing in conflicting concepts but I believe his is too clever for that.

With this evidence it is not unfair to label Rick Warren as the “unholy.” In pursuit of his ecumenical ideas he has abandoned the Christian message for the sake of unity. To be holy means to be separated apart from the world. Rick Warren does not want to be holy. He wants to be joined to the world. This is not an ad hominem attack, just calling someone names. This is a careful study of a man’s character and describing his behavior.

 

 

MABDA ・ English Monograph Series ・ No. 20
A Common Word Between Us and You
5-Year Anniversary Edition
ISBN: 978-9957-428-56-3
2012 The Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought
20 Sa’ed Bino Road, Dabuq
PO BOX 950361

Amman 11195, Jordan

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