CGCS: The Origin of Islam (Will Taylor)

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Every Wednesday morning at Between the Times, we highlight the work and writing of the folks at the Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) of Southeastern. Recently, Will Taylor, assistant program coordinator for Global Studies at the College, wrote about the origin of Islam. 

Here’s an excerpt:

For Muhammad and his followers, the Islamic system brought economic and governmental stability to the region. Claiming to have a word from God, the story of Muhammad was unifying and compelling for Arabs because the Qur’an was given in Arabic, thus giving Arabs a religious identity. Islamic culture subsumed the other smaller tribal cultures and clan identities. The Islamic narrative found in the Qur’an, and later in the Hadiths, functioned as a sociopolitical and religious tour de force that would eventually eclipse much of the region in a very short time.

Read the full post here.

J.D. Greear on Islam and the Religion of Works

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Every Thursday afternoon at Between the Times we highlight the writing of Southeastern alum, J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durahm, North Carolina. This week J.D. discusses Islam as the ultimate religion of works. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Love for God is genuine only when God is a means to nothing else but God. Righteous acts are righteous only when they are done out of a love for righteousness and not as a means to anything else.

 

The Qur’an, however, is not an adoring, worshipping love letter about God. It is a guide for what behavior will increase your chances of avoiding hell. Merit, threat, and reward form the entire foundation on which Islam is built. And this never addresses the root of man’s sin—our desire to substitute God with something else.

Read the whole post here.

New SEBTS Online Course on Islam

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Many if not most Christians need to understand Islam, both as a religion and a culture, in order to pursue faithful witness to Christ in the 21st century. Questions about Islam’s origins, iterations, practices, and its relation to Christianity must be considered in the effort to understand and witness. To support these efforts, Dr. Ant Greenham addresses such questions and more in Southeastern’s new online course on Islam, starting Fall 2014.

Fair warning to the students who take advantage of this opportunity: Dr. Greenham is firmly committed to theological truth. Because his primary allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ, the course on Islam is not exactly politically correct! But it is precisely what followers of Christ need.

Politically correct or not, Dr. Greenham is a more than able instructor. He served in the 1980s as a South African diplomat in Israel, where he first met Palestinian Muslims. A decade later, he opened the South African Embassy in Amman, Jordan. He and his family lived there for over four years and were warmly embraced by the Arab culture. He has also immersed himself in the world of Shi’ite Islam, when in 1999 he visited Iran for five weeks as a guest of the Iranian government.

Such experiences paved the way for research he and his wife did in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel in January 2003. They studied why Palestinian Muslims turn to Christ. (This topic later served as the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation.) Dr. Greenham found that Palestinians’ conversion factors are broadly applicable to other Muslims too. The work has been published under the title, Muslim Conversions to Christ. During his 2011–12 sabbatical, he and his wife returned to Jordan, where they worked for a mission organization and resumed contact with Muslim friends. He has also taught in the field of world religions for over seven years. Greenham draws on all these experiences and more in this brand new Islam course.

We hope you participate in this course. Through it you will gain a better understanding of Islam, its nature and practices, and the beauty of Muslims coming to faith in Christ. Above all, the course will help you serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission, wherever Muslims are found. Dr. Greenham looks forward to meeting you online, if not in person, in Fall 2014.