Would Jesus’ teachings fall under the modern day usage of the term Islamophobic?
Let’s begin our examination of this by looking at how this term was recently used in a Senate confirmation hearing. On June 7, 2017, Senator Bernie Sanders accused Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee to be Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, of being “Islamophobic” and because of that unfit for office. He concluded his questioning with this remark, “This nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”
The cause of the Senator’s angst was an article Russell Vought wrote in defense of Wheaton College pertaining to their firing of a professor who claimed there was no difference between Allah and the God of the Bible. Here is what he wrote in a publication called Resurgent, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” Sanders considered Vought to be Islamophobic based on this statement.
Would Jesus agree with Russell Vought or with Senator Sanders? Let’s put it to the test.
What Did Jesus Claim about Himself?
Jesus asserted that He is the only path of salvation. In John 14:6 he says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus’ claim here is unmistakable. He stated that no one can be saved; no one can come to the Father apart from Him. Jesus clearly claimed to be the only path of salvation available to all men and women.
So far, Jesus would agree with Vought’s statement. Since Muslims reject Him, they cannot know God or receive eternal life. According to the Quran, Jesus is a great prophet, but certainly not God nor the way of salvation. Muslims place Muhammed above Jesus and worship Allah, an ancient moon god, rather than the true and living God, whom Jesus revealed at His coming. They have a long history of opposing both Jesus and His followers, to say the least.
Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and His resurrection forever verifies all His claims, including this one.
In John 10:30 Jesus also said this, “I and the Father are one.” The Jews who heard this immediately took up rocks to stone Him; they recognized His words as a claim to be God, one and the same with the Lord God of the Old Testament, the creator of all things. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and His resurrection forever verifies all His claims, including this one.
Russell Vought’s statement so far stands in agreement with Jesus. Muslims do not know the only true and living God since they reject Him in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is one with God the Father, one cannot reject Jesus and at the same time claim to know God. That’s simply impossible. You cannot reject God and at the same time claim to know God.
Are Those Who Reject Jesus Condemned?
The other part of Vought’s statement, the one that perhaps caused Senator Sanders the most trouble, was that Muslims who reject Jesus “stand condemned.” Would Jesus agree with this assertion?
Yes. Look at what Jesus said as recorded in John 3:17-18, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” Jesus here boldly asserts that those who do not believe in Him are already condemned by virtue of their rejection of Him.
Vought’s statements regarding Islam align perfectly with the teachings of Christ; those who reject the Savior are “condemned already” and we have already established that Muslims do indeed reject Him.
Does this make the teachings of Jesus Islamophobic? Perhaps in the modern day usage of the term but in reality, absolutely not!!
Jesus died a cruel death on the cross; He shed his very blood so that all people, including the followers of Islam, might have eternal life. Jesus gave His life so that all people could find life and salvation by believing in Him (see John 1:12).
In John 15:13 Jesus said this, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus does not fear or hate Muslims; he died so that they might find eternal life in Him. He loves Muslims so much that He shed His own blood for them.
Since 2001, millions of Muslims have turned to Jesus and become heirs of eternal life. Some estimate there may be as many as a million Christian converts in Iran alone. I recently read that Muslims in Indonesia are currently turning to Jesus in record numbers. The life and hope they could not find in Islam they now forever possess in Jesus. I rejoice that so many former Muslims are now brothers and sisters in Christ.
We all equally need a Savior; there is no distinction. We all need Jesus.
In essence, this is not a matter regarding any one religion or race or any other grouping of people. Everyone, without exception, needs the life that only Jesus offers. Apart from Him, no one can know God or find eternal life. We all equally need a Savior; there is no distinction. We all need Jesus.
I truly pray that Senator Sanders someday turns to Jesus and finds the joy, peace, and eternal life that can only be found through putting one’s faith in the Savior. The senator has every right to reject Vought’s nomination, but sadly his words reflect more of a rejection of Jesus than of the nominee.