When Pope Francis stated in his Evangelii Gaudium (paragraphs 252 and 253) that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” he received a backlash from ex-Muslims. They responded with a letter to the Pope signed by 3700 former Muslims requesting that the Pope speak out more harshly against Islam.
Since these petitioners are former Muslims, surely they should understand the faith of their fathers better than we who are Christians, right? Which is why Christian pulpits around the world frequently invite ex-Muslims to explain all that’s wrong with their rejected religion and prove the superiority of Christianity.
However, a recent Christian Today article argues that ex-Muslims may not be the best candidates to explain Islam to us. I want to recommend this article here:
WHY EX-MUSLIMS MAY NOT BE THE BEST GUIDES TO ISLAM
Who would you want to stand up in the mosque to explain Christianity—someone who left the Christian faith to convert to Islam and has nothing good to say about Christianity, or someone for whom Christianity seems to have made a tremendous impact on their life—say, Mother Teresa, Ravi Zacharias, or even you? The fact that someone chose to reject Christianity doesn’t prove it’s oppressive or impotent; the fact that someone left Islam doesn’t prove it’s demonic or evil.
I firmly believe that Christianity has something to offer Muslims—namely, a much fuller and exalted role for Jesus than most Muslims have experienced yet. We Christians experience Jesus as a prophet and teacher, but also as our healer, deliverer, forgiver, savior, and purest expression of God’s love. We never need to put down another religion to make Jesus seem higher—he’s already “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). When we want to explain what God is like, we can point to Jesus.
Treating our Muslim friends with honor is how Jesus would treat them. So well done, Pope Francis! And it’s more likely to earn us the right to point our Muslim friends to the glory of Jesus.
3 thoughts on “Should Pope Francis be more Critical of Islam?”
Yes, very well said! I never thought about it that way! There was a speaker in Los Angeles this weekend who has spent 20 years asking Muslims who later followed Jesus what was it that helped them turn to follow Him? I missed his speaking engagement but am fascinated by his study. I plan on reading about his ministry and will get back to everyone! Should be a place to learn from them as well!
It’s encouraging to see a major Christian publication state what I have said in a different way to the many Islamophobes who quote ad nauseum all the other Islamophobes: “How much time have you taken to learn Islam from someone who is at least sympathetic toward the faith if not an ardent practitioner? You will never get an accurate picture of any given faith from those who are apologists for some other faith. You have to get it from the horse’s mouth to get any accuracy.”
Well said, Kirby!