Douglas Groothuis

Defending Christian Faith, November 30, 2004




part 1



I.          The Demand for Discernment in Crisis


A.        Islam and the West:  conquest, retreat, frustration


B.        Islam and Christian truth:  1400 years of controversy, little evangelistic success, present challenge


C.        Islam and terrorism


1.         Fact:  the vast majority of terrorists are Muslim and commit atrocities in the name of Allah


2.         What significance does this have?


II.        Truth in Postmodern Times


A.        Christian truth and other religions (John 3:16 – 18; 1 Corinthians 8:4 – 6)


1.         Revealed, not created/constructed (2 Timothy 3:14 – 17; Hebrews 4:12)


2.         Objective, not merely subjective (Romans 3:4)


3.         Universal, not parochial (Acts 4:12)


4.         Absolute, not relative (John 14:1 – 6)


5.         Antithetical, either/or, not synthetic (Matthew 12:30)


B.        Defending Christian truth (1 Peter 3:15 – 17; Jude 3)


1.         Know the truth of God (John 17:17; Acts 17:11)


2.         Be fair in assessing and analyzing others—golden rule (Matthew 7:12)


C.        Unlike Postmodernists, Muslims believe in objective truth and universal revelation


·         See Irving Hexham, “Evangelical Illusions: Postmodern Christianity and he Growth of Muslim Communities in Europe and North America,” in John Stackhouse, ed. No Other Gods Before Me? (Baker, 2001), 137 – 160


III.       The Religion of Islam


A.        Islam in America and the world:  1.2 billion globally—souls and in our cities


B.        Origins of Islam in Arabia


1.         Mohammed (ca. 570 – 623)


2.         The Koran (or Qur’an); recitation from Allah to Mohammed through the angel Gabriel; secondarily, the Haddith (traditions concerning Mohammed)


C.        Brief history of Islam


1.         Early expansion and present day situation:  the word and the sword


2.         Major Schools of Islam:  Sunnis (majority) and Shiites (minority)


D.        Six key doctrines of Islam (Koran, Surah 2:177)


1.         Ultimate reality:  Allah, “the God” (unitarian monotheism)


·         “The 99 names of Allah”


2.         Angels: good and evil


3.         Prophets and the Last Prophet (Mohammed)


4.         The Holy Books:  Torah (Taurat), Psalms (Zabur), Gospel (Injil) and Koran (the ultimate and final authority)


5.         Last judgment:  paradise and hell based on works and mercy of Allah (Koran, Surahs 36:54; 53:38), not by faith in Jesus Christ


6.         Divine decrees, predestination


E.         Practices of Islam:  The Five Pillars


1.         Confession of Allah and Prophet Mohammed.  Shahada


2.         Five daily prayers, facing Mecca.  Salat


3.         Almsgiving:  2.5% to an Islamic charity.  Zakat


4.         Yearly (lunar calendar) month-long fast during daylight.  Ramadan


5.         One pilgrimage to Mecca.  Hajj