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California: evangelical Christian backlash against outreach to Muslims

California: evangelical Christian backlash against outreach to Muslims

An outreach effort to Muslims initiated by Saddleback Church in Lake Forest has sparked a national uproar among evangelical Christians, with some accusing the Rev. Rick Warren, Saddleback’s pastor, of betraying core Christian principles and Warren responding that his beliefs and intentions have been misrepresented.

Since an Orange County Registerarticle published Feb. 26 detailed the outreach effort, evangelicals across the country have taken to blogs, social media and Christian news outlets to debate whether and how Christians should forge relationships with people of other faiths. Longtime critics of Warren have published lengthy online accusations that the influential pastor, who delivered the invocation at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, has gone too far in seeking theological common ground with Muslims.

Chris Rosebrough, a religious studies graduate of Concordia University in Irvine who hosts an online Christian radio talk show in Indianapolis, said that response to Saddleback’s outreach “has created a national, even an international uproar…. Looking at the Christian blogosphere, this is the number one viral story.”

The most controversial part of the outreach effort appears to be a document outlining areas of shared belief between Christianity and Islam co-authored by Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles. The document, titled “King’s Way“, was unveiled at a December dinner at Saddleback attended by 300 Christians and Muslims, including Holladay.

A copy of the document was given to the Register on condition that it not be published in its entirety. The document states that Christians and Muslims “believe in one God” and that members of both faiths agree “there is only one God, the one and only divine being.” The document cites side-by-side quotations from the Bible and the Quran to illustrate its statements.

Critics, including Rosebrough and many of the more than 400 people who commented on the online edition of the Register article, say that any suggestion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God amounts to abandonment of orthodox Christianity.

Orange County Register, 10 March 2012

Here are just a few of the more than 400 comments that can be found under the original Register report:

“Allah is an Arab moon god…one of many…thus the crescent. There is no equivalence.”

“The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, The God of Israel, YHWH, is NOT the same god as the god of Islam. The god of Islam is, according to the Q’uran unknowable and vengeful, while the God of the Bible is a personal, intimate and loving God! ”

“Mr Warren, feel free to build that bridge, and when they turn on you, don’t come crying to any of us for help. The Muslim community has one goal, that is the eradication of Jews, Christians, and Catholics. ”

“…the idea that christianity (or any other respectable faith) can ‘reach out’ to muslims to bridge ‘misunderstandings’ is a total joke. That sounds just like Neville Chamberlain saying ‘I have returned from Germany with peace in our time.’ Let’s be honest and frank: Islam is evil. It is the same as Nazi fascism in terms of its disruptive and destructive collective conduct. What other religion (currently) blows-up innocent people on an almost daily basis, is the most economically non-productive society on Earth, keeps woman suppressed (uneducated, beaten, subservient), and openly threatens (not just Iran) to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the Earth’?”

“What part of the fact that muslims hate us because we are not muslims is so hard to understand? There is no bargaining or dealing with them, Islam wants everyone to be muslim, or dead if they aren’t converted .. yes it’s that simple.”

“Islam began with the ranting of a ruthless Arab bandit leader, who robbed caravans and led his band of robbers to annihilate defenseless cities. He also robbed and burned many Byzantine churches, killing thousands of Christians in his campaign, and also destroying Jewish settlements. His so-called ‘visions’were the basis for the Islamic holy book called the Koran. The religion of Islam permeates the entire Arabic world, which believes their Mahdi will come very soon and kill everyone in the world who is not a Muslim. Our own president has given this sadistic religion credibility by holding Muslim affairs in the White House. Now deluded so-called pastors across our nation and promoting unification, under the delusion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. This is a dangerous apostasy that must be exposed and challenged.”

“Have you ever READ the Qu’ran? Do you understand that Islam is not even a religion? It is a Totalitarian Political system with ONE goal -Sharia law world wide. They either take over a country by changing the laws to be Sharia compliant, or they slaughter the people. THIS is who you say serve the same God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? NO. Their god is a false god. They are serving satan and they don’t even know it. But YOU, Mr. Warren, you should know better!”

“Our problem here in America is that, as much as we want to embrace everyone of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures, and have attempted to put laws in place to preserve that, we are fearful of a religion whose tenets avowedly declare the end of all who do not believe as they do. It’s really hard for us to ‘put our arms around that’ and figure out a way to embrace those who adhere to a faith that, honestly, in its most sacred writings and in the example of their most esteemed prophet—practiced, taught, and required CONVERSION THROUGH FORCE—even unto death, and that the highest reward is for the killing of others who do not believe. Just as we Americans would, generally, have a problem with dealing with avowed Nazis—or any group bent on the genocide of others or the violent overthrow of our government, so we have a problem with those espousing the doctrines, teachings, and precepts presented in the Koran.”

“Imagine all those fool misisonaries who wasted their time sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Muslims. Now Rick Warren says we don’t need to evangelize at all! The god of Muhammed Atta flying into the World Trade Center is apparently Christians’ God, too! Who knew?”

“If (and perhaps when, not if) war breaks out in the Middle East as the islamic countries calling for the destruction of Israel make good on their threats, it will be interesting to see which side the muslims involved in these ‘interfaith’ activities align themselves with. It would also be interesting to know if, as part of this ‘document’ co-authored by Abraham Meulenberg and JIHAD (really?) Turk, that both organizations denounce hamas and hezbollah and their terrorist actions.”

“So Rick Warren calls Muslims his ‘brother’ and says Christians and Muslims worship the same God does he? Well, I guess Rick forgot to read 2 Corinthians 6: 14-17. Witnessing is one thing; telling them we have the same God is quite another matter. This is FALSE TEACHING! This is a hellish thing to do and shows he has no concept of Christainity whatsoever! We as Christians are to get Muslims to repent and be saved, and NOT tell them we worship the same God!”

“At a time when the Body of Christ has a Christian brother with a death sentence in Iran for denying Allah is God, refusing to bow the knee to a false God, Allah, Rick Warren wants to claim we worship the same God. That is Anti-Christ to the core. IS THERE SALVATION IN BELIEVING IN THE MUSLIM GOD, ALLAH, MR WARREN?”

“Islam clearly teaches Jesus Christ did not die on the cross, no Resurrection from the dead. A lie from hell itself.”

“REMEMBer the devil is describe in the scriptures as a deceiver, ‘And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light’. 2nd Corinthians 11:14. Oh! How happy was he on those 911 pictures from the devasted twin towers that his followers had destroyed. But his time is almost over, and he knows that.”

And there are hundreds more like this.

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43 Comments »

  1. If this man reached out to Jewish people no one would say anything. Even though Jews don’t believe in Jesus. We Muslims believe in Jesus, so we are actually close to the Christians.

  2. Muslims believe in God too!!! Hello????? Don’t fall for scare tactics!!!!

  3. Read the bible….in the end we will all be one….Love all….no exceptions…..why are people so fearful when they claim they know the lord???? Obama ….2112 YES WE CAN !!!!!! God Bless….

  4. If we, as Christians could just lose the judgement.

  5. These comments are infuriating! I’m so sick of hearing that Muslims want to eradicate Christians. It’s JUST NOT TRUE. Next year, I’ll be pursuing my Master’s in Divinity, a dream I am able to live out somewhat due to the support of my Muslim husband!

  6. I thought a core Christian principle and value was TOLERANCE?

  7. Chris Rosebrough (a religious studies graduate) says that any suggestion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God amounts to abandonment of orthodox Christianity. Two Questions Sir: What exactly did you learn from your so called studies and what classifies as orthodox Christianity? It’s one thing to be ignorant but spreading it is the true injustice to society

  8. Jesus would have reached out. Remember the Good Samaritan.

  9. what part of Love they neighbor JULIUS do YOU not understand…as to me as a Pleasant Pagan I have NO problem with my Muslim friends believing what they do…not one is a TERRORIST.

  10. These people have no hope of getting into heaven. Muslims and Christians are brother religions. The Bible also says to pass judgement on no one.

  11. @Amad, that’s the hypocrisy we’re talking about. Ask them if Jews (who reject Jesus) and Christians worship the same God and Mr Rosebrough would probably respond with an enthusiastic yes. But, we can’t even be Muslims without the acceptance of Jesus (pbuh).. Something isn’t right here folks (sarcastically speaking)

  12. So Jerry, I guess posting in caps is supposed to really make me get the message? What part of love thy neighbor do I not understand huh? You’re not just a Pagan but you’re a Pleasant Pagan? As one who submits to the will of Allah (a Muslim) I wouldn’t know about terrorism either..

  13. unfortunately american evangelical christians understand their religion less than they understand other religions.

  14. Those people have no clue what they are ranting on about and if they claim to being a Christian, they have no chance of getting into heaven with all the hate that they are spreading around the internet, to their children or anywhere else they see fit to spread hate. And to the one that says
    “What other religion (currently) blows-up innocent people on an almost daily basis, is the most economically non-productive society on Earth, keeps woman suppressed (uneducated, beaten, subservient), and openly threatens (not just Iran) to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the Earth’?” I have a huge news flash for you.. AMERICANS CLAIMING TO BE CHRISTIANS.. Thats who..Wake up People like those above make me feel ashamed of being an American but thankfully not all of us are so shallow and closed minded fools that stay brainwashed by gov’t and media.. We can actually use our brains to seek and find the truth on our own..

  15. I am pasting the comment from the site after the article …..People really do need to do some research on their own and maybe actually learn something. Those comments are nasty and Im ashamed of all of them..Here is the comment I like. :p Those people have no clue what they are ranting on about and if they claim to being a Christian, they have no chance of getting into heaven with all the hate that they are spreading around the internet, to their children or anywhere else they see fit to spread hate. And to the one that says
    “What other religion (currently) blows-up innocent people on an almost daily basis, is the most economically non-productive society on Earth, keeps woman suppressed (uneducated, beaten, subservient), and openly threatens (not just Iran) to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the Earth’?” I have a huge news flash for you.. AMERICANS CLAIMING TO BE CHRISTIANS.. Thats who..Wake up People like those above make me feel ashamed of being an American but thankfully not all of us are so shallow and closed minded fools that stay brainwashed by gov’t and media.. We can actually use our brains to seek and find the truth on our own..

  16. This article makes me SICK SICK SICK!!!!If some1 actually reads the Quran, the Bible and the Torah the similarities are indeed striking.No., it does not mean we are all suffering from the same delusion…….It means that it’s the same God. Whatever you say, we believe in Allah and Muhammad(S.A.W) and Jesus(A.S) and Moses(A.S) and David(A.S) and Abraham(A.S) and others…

  17. We can not allow the most ignorant to have the loudest voices. People of faith, people of conscience, people of compassion, people of peace, people of reconciliation — these are the people that must speak up and be heard.

  18. Evangelical’s will save anyone that has a few bucks…lolol

  19. it is quite obvious that these people have no concept of Jesus’s teachings! Jesus did not advocate hate nor judgement of others. Whenever I read comments like this, two quotes come to mind: Judge not lest ye be judged; Let thee without sin castthe first stone”. I have noticed that those who profess the loudest about being Christian and those who show the least Christianity to others.

  20. well done mr warren

  21. Thank you so very much for being a True Christain according to the teachings of Jesus!!!!!

  22. well said CINDY ^^

  23. Hats off to Cindy Adams!!

  24. As a Christian I know that God is not a Christian.

  25. I am a Christian and I am ashamed of other Christians acting like this. Jesus never acted like this in either the Bible or the Quran. Yes, I have studied the Quran. I am not going to judge the people acting the way they are that say they are Christian like Cindy ahs against them. I understand her rage, but her anger is no different than those acting that way. The Bible records Jesus saying this in Luke 6:37 “”Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” The Lord will do that when the time for them is right. I will pray that they will learn what compassion truly is.

  26. ironic article
    http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2010/08/of-motes-beams-and-holy-wars.html
    Murray’s contention that no American should be forced to subsidize Sharia in any form is incontestably correct, as is his objection to the utterly unconstitutional federal takeover of AIG. However, it’s difficult to see how he has standing to sue, given that he volunteered his services to establish Sharia law in Iraq and Afghanistan — a fact proudly detailed in his lawsuit.

  27. and
    http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2010/09/blowback-provocation-and-perpetual-war.html
    The four accused in the plot — James Cromitie, Onta Williams, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen — were approached by veteran federal agent provocateur Shahed Hussein, a career criminal with convictions in both the U.S. and his native Pakistan. Hussein was paid a huge sum by the federal government to act as a terrorism “facilitator” — a term that was actually used by assistant U.S. Attorney in his opening statement at the ongoing trial of the “Newburgh 4.”

    “His con was so obvious that the real Muslims there would have nothing to do with him, but he was able to attract Cromitie (and later the other three) with offers of money and friendship.”

    It’s reasonable to suspect that the devotion expressed by Cromitie and his friends had at least something to do with the material blandishments offered by Hussein, such as at least $25,000 apiece (and as much as $250,000 to one of them) if they cooperated in his plot to plant a bomb at a synagogue and fire Stinger missiles at military planes.

  28. And I guess this Chris Rosebrough did not get the memo from the great scholar and Rabbi Maimonides about Muslims being monotheists “in attributing Oneness
    to God—they have no mistake at all”, or the discussion from halakah that for a Mosque to become a Synagogue it does not require the ritual cleansing that would be required of converting a place of idolotry into a Synagogue “”their [the Muslims] prayer is to the One God with no blemish, there is no prohibition to pray there,”, which effectivly means we worship the same God.

  29. Jews, Muslims and Christians all share the same father Abraham – we all believe in the same G-d – we just use the name originating with the original language of early believers. Jesus, blessed be, He taught His followers to love one another – even one’s enemies. Contemporary Evangelical Christians apparently have forgotten that and many other teachings of Jesus, Blessed be He.

  30. As opposed to the rest of the crap they say.

  31. “Imagine all those fool missionaries who wasted their time sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Muslims”

    What a disgusting sentence. I am a Christian, and we are given the great commission which states we are to spread the teachings of the bible to everyone. We are also commanded to Judge not lest we be Judged. The person responsible for this sentence is judging a group of people as not being worthy of being told about Christ and the salvation he offers. The man is poorly grounded in his faith and needs some counseling so that he does not allow his prejudice to overcome his responsibilities as a Christian.

  32. Go for it Rev. Rick Warren ’cause Jesus and our Father God have your back.The only one who judges us all is God.Those hypocrates self righteous you can’t judges no one ’cause you don’t have the authority except GOD ….

  33. It’s amazing how some people call other traitors, while failing to recognise their own betrayal of their country, religion, etc, they claim to be “patriots” when in fact they are the real traitors.

  34. IDIOT. Don’t they know that ALLAH simply means THE GOD in Arabic? Maybe they should see that ALLAH is also used in the Arabic CHRISTIAN BIBLE.

    By the way, in the language of JESUS (Aramaic)- The Deity is called ALAHA.

    NOT a coincidence.

  35. Not the most tactful choice of pictures for an article about Christian-Moslem dialogue. I was most struck in the article by the person who said Moslems want to wipe out “Jews, Christians, and Catholics.”

  36. Following Jesus is, I have found, one of the best ways to get accused of betraying Christian principles. Given the choice, I will continue to follow Jesus Christ.

  37. What! I thought evangelical Christians would be the most understanding bcuz they are suppose to be the most devout Christians. Clearly there is something wrong with this guy’s history class.

  38. Unknown and vengeful?

    We start out reading every prayer and chapter of the Quran by saying
    “In the name of God, most Gracious and Most Merciful.”

    In the Quran Allah says “I am what my servants think of me.” if you wanna believe he’s vengeful, you will suffer his wrath. Good luck. ..

  39. Every believer in Christ, who is truly born gain, is a soul winner. Every Christian is call to be an evangelist. Jesus gave us a commission to go to all nations and preach the gospel. Only the preaching of the gospel can determine the end of the world. Jesus said “this gospel most be preached to nations, then the end shall come” Matthew 24:14. Muslim are lost souls, they are lost without Christ forever. Nobody can see God or enter heaven without Jesus Christ, John 14:6. Nobody has the power to stop outreach to Muslims because Christ Jesus died for all Muslims; Christ Jesus is for all different faith. John 3:16.

  40. The method to arrest or stop the jihadist or terrorist is to evangelist them, because anyone who is in Christ is a new creature. 1 Corinthians 5:17. Only Jesus can bring a total transformation in a man. The Muslims communities in USA need Jesus, so the need to be evangelise. Jesus is the Lord of all.

  41. first of all I would like to commend the outreach program.. I agree that the only solution to Islam is to evangelize them. you cannot evangelize somebody if you make them your adversary. it would be difficult for sure especially since their doctrine requires them to be our adversary. what these so called evangelicals forget is that duh, with Christ all things are possible. of course in a worldly train of thought we meet aggression with aggression that is a form of fear. fear is a lack of faith.. or maybe we should just isolate ourselves from them because if we get near to them they will turn on . rmore fear, more worldly thinking.. I have read of Muslims who convert to Christianity.. it seems one of the main selling point to these conversions is salvation by grace rather than salvation by works. when you get such a beautiful explanation of love presented in the gospel of Jesus Christ it becomes easier for them to identify hate.. as Christians we are compelled to speak the gospel to every one. we cannot do that if we isolate ourselves from them. if we follow the example of Christ we would die for someone who would kill us. so do we as the article suggests she used to protect Christianity, or do we follow Christ. there are so many holes in the points made in this article that a book written about it. oh wait a minute it already have its called the Bible . the situation with Islam is definitely a tough nut to crack but the short answer is that we approach it with love and guidance from the Holy Spirit. is this long dangerous of course it is. but I would submit that an even bigger danger is the ideology presented in this article.

  42. oops David Clement again I should have proof read this before I submitted it there are two major typos here she used should say shoes and this long should read.. Islam. please fix it if you can before posting. if this wasn’t such a serious issue it would be funny

  43. Oh crud I did it again not shoes shoes. I wouldn’t blame you if you trashed the whole thing.

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