Islamic Reversion

Leading evangelical expert on Islam, Adam Francisco, made a very interesting point about Islam (see here). According to historic Muslim belief, we are all, by nature, Muslim. This is based on a rather obscure claim of the Qur'an:
And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware (7:172).
To become a Muslim, therefore, is not to convert, but to revert to one's real nature. All are born Muslim, but are distracted and become infidels. Muslim evangelism is intended to reveal the true nature of all human beings.1


Christians, on the other hand, make a different claim. We claim not that all people are Christians, but that all human beings know God and are held accountable for that knowledge. In contrast to the Qur'an Paul describes human beings who are in a state of unbelief as being, by nature, children of wrath, dead in trespasses and sin (Eph 2:1-3), but who nevertheless know God in his invisible attributes, know the displeasure of God and yet, due to their sinful nature, suppress this truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18-23). 

A Muslim convert (or revert) is to act according to his Muslim nature. This requires submission to Allah and obedience to the law. Allah is a kind of pure impersonal will to which human nature is to conform lest it perish. The law is revealed in Mohammed (even in the "prophet's" actions) and is prescribed for all people through the imposition of Islamic government.

Christians, on the other hand, realize that their own sinful nature is entirely unsuited to submission or to obedience. They also realize the personal nature of God, his immanence as well as his transcendence. It is personal offence that is revealed in God's wrath not merely a steely will. They recognize that, in order to live well, to live in the favor of God, they will need a new nature. They also realize that their sin requires justice, a payment to be made. Most importantly, they realize that all that is required cannot in any way be achieved by any mere human being. That is why these words of Paul are so good to hear:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Interestingly, Christian theologian, Karl Barth, made a similar claim to the Muslim about human beings. He described humans as all, ontologically speaking, being in Christ, in union with God. Missions, for Barth, was revealing the true nature of humanity. I think Barth was wrong in this and it is this idea that, in part, leads to a universalism in his soteriology. 

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