No single man is more responsible for the distortion of Christian truth in our age than Charles Grandison Finney. His "new measures" created a framework for modern decision theology and Evangelical Revivalism.
October 8, 2006 Commentary:
"Christianity Confronts Islam (Part 2)"
We're talking about Christianity and Islam, and to do that we're continuing our discussion with Sam Solomon, one of the leading experts on Islam. Sam himself was a Muslim scholar. He was trained as a jurist in Islamic jurisprudence, otherwise known as Shari'ah Law, and he was - after conversion - forced to flee his country on pain of execution, he went to London, and has now come to us to be on the White Horse Inn. It is a real pleasure to have him on the program.
Mike: Sam, in Islam, how does a person make it to heaven and avoid hell?
Sam: Well, first of all, Mike, heaven and hell are Christian concepts in Christian/Judeo-Christian understandings. That's just biblical vocabulary. It does not carry in Islam. Islamic understanding...To them, heaven is a very foreign concept. It is a paradise, not "heaven," where they will have pleasure. In paradise, according to the Koran, there are rivers of alcohol, rivers of wine, rivers of milk -
Mike: -- making up for not having it on earth?
Sam: Yes, because on earth you need to be sober. You need to pray five times a day. But in the drink in paradise, may be not intoxicating...there will be rivers of alcohol, rivers of pure water, rivers of milk, rivers of honey, and they will be flowing. Every kind of meat a man can desire, freshly cooked, everything - fruit of every kind, and of course they will have virgins - absolutely beautiful virgins, and they will always remain virgins; they will always remain pure; and they are there to appease the faithful ones. And these are called hol, and they are specially created for the faithful ones. Added to that, the Koran says, perpetually fresh, young boys - not exceeding the age of 14 at maximum, are there for the enjoyment of the faithful ones. Allah apparently understands an alternative lifestyle. So that is as far as how to "make it," of course this is all Koranic. In fact, some people, even Muslims, would find it difficult to bear that. But a very famous author and famous preacher in Egypt - he was a graduate of Alazer, the very best and ancient Islamic seminary in the world - he wrote a book on the issue of homosexuality in particularly the boys in paradise. That book was banned by the Egyptian government. He went to the supreme Islamic court, and at the court all the scholars gathered together to examine this book, and they said everything described in that book, in terms of paradise, and how, and what way they will have their sexual relationships, it is all valid as far as they were concerned. This is the highest Islamic authority; it is indisputable, and that is the final word from them. So, there you go. As far as coming back to your question, how does one make it? Even if you repent - because it isn't covenant theology, because Allah doesn't make any covenant, he isn't going to change you. In fact, it is a Koranic verse, "Allah does not change, will not change the condition of a people until they change it themselves with their own souls." It is a self-effort. It has nothing to do with Allah; Allah doesn't change a man. He will not touch anybody. Allah hates those unbelievers; he's not the God of the Christian faith who will seek the lost.
Mike: So when Charles Finney, the great 19th century evangelist in America, preached his famous sermon, "Sinners Bound to Change their Own Hearts," and roundly challenged Calvinists for teaching that God had to convert people, once again there won't be very much Christian resistance to this side of Islam when we have to confront it, if we follow that cheery view of human nature.
Sam: Indeed, if you deny the work of the Holy Spirit, then you are going to deny that aspect of our faith and you will rely on [Christianity] as a self-help program. You see, that is denying the whole of biblical theology. It may sound that repentance and conversion are a simple issue, well why can't we overlook that and walk together in unity and worship - after all, we are all Christians? No, that is the core of the faith; that is the centrality on which all our faith is based. How? Who converts you? Faith is a gift of God, according to Ephesians. It is a gift of God; it is not of you. We were children of wrath, and therefore depravity of man cannot be ignored. The work of the Holy Spirit cannot be overlooked, must not be ignored, because otherwise there is no difference, then, between Islam and the Christian faith that people claim to have.
For the rest of this interview, tune in to this week's broadcast.