In contrast to Hinduism, Confucianism, or Shintoism, Islam is a religion that firmly and passionately affirms the unity of the Godhead. It denounces idolatry in the most categorical terms, accepts superficially at least the biblical concept of prophethood as well as pays explicit homage to a number of Old Testament prophets, and it manifestly springs from the same milieu (geographically and conceptually) as Judaism and Christianity. But alongside these affirmations it maintains a series of unequivocal denials—denials implicit in Hinduism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and the rest, but explicit in Judaism and Islam alone. Islam categorically denies the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity and divine sonship of Christ, the fact and significance of his atoning death, the finality of the Christian revelation, and the reliability of the Christian Scriptures.

There have indeed been some who have characterized Islam as a Christian heresy. It is difficult, however, to dismiss a faith, claiming four hundred million adherents and a wealth of theological thought, as mere heresy; and while it is true that Christian heresies are almost always recognized by some compromise regarding either the person or atoning work of Christ, the denials of Islam are so radical that they constitute not so much deviation as defiance. Face to face with Islam one seems to hear the words of the beloved disciple: “He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22), for this is precisely what Islam does.

BARRIERS AND BRIDGES

In one sense, therefore, the Christian theologian is much more at home in Islam than he is in the great pre-Christian religions. He is in a realm that he can readily, if only superficially, understand, and where ...

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