January Book of the Month: Jesus and Muhammad

It is my goal in 2013 to review one book at the end of each month that I am currently, or have just finished, reading.  The book I have chosen to highlight for January is Jesus and Muhammad: Profound Differences and Surprising Similarities by Mark A. Gabriel, PhD.

When I initially stumbled across Jesus and Muhammad I was both curious and skeptical. I was curious to see how Gabriel would handle discussing these two men who represent the world’s largest religions; and I was skeptical, wondering if he would portray them accurately and with fairness. As I read, my curiosity was more than satisfied and my skepticism was laid to rest. Gabriel has written in a fair, balanced, and honest way, paying specific attention to the lives and teaching of Jesus and Muhammad. Continue reading

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“Churches for Apologetics” Petition

Recently I wrote a blog post on the rise of the Nones, those who claim no religious affiliation, in American society. The number of youth and young adults who question the truth of Christianity is growing. Interestingly, as more young adults under the age of 30 claim no religious affiliation, their hunger for a life of meaning and significance has not diminished. What do they stand for? Many don’t know, and some are apathetic, not caring to find the answer. But for every person who is apathetic about what they believe and why, there are just as many who are searching for the answers to life’s hardest questions.

As a Christian, this leads me to ask fundamental questions. What do I do with this information? How should I respond personally, and how should local churches respond? How do we provide a questioning generation with the answers they need? How do we demonstrate that the good news of Jesus Christ answers our deepest emotional, intellectual, and practical needs,  giving our soul something to stand for? Continue reading

Religious Pluralism, Christian Particularity, and the Meaning of Acts 4:12

In Acts 4:12 it is said of Jesus that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”[1] How is one to interpret this in light of the religious diversity and plurality we see in our world today?

Understanding the salvation claims of Christianity in regard to other religions has always been a challenge. There are two main approaches to this issue I want to discuss in this post. The first approach is religious pluralism, which states that all religions bring a different yet equally valid way of salvation. Humans are transformed from self-centeredness to being centered in the ultimate Real.[2] The second approach sees Christianity as exclusive, or particular. Salvation is conferred only through faith in Jesus Christ.[3] These two views have been in strong opposition to each other, particularly in our current diverse and pluralistic culture. Continue reading