10 November 2006

The Prophet and The Messiah

I don't know how to review this book, The Prophet and the Messiah, by Chawkat Moucarry, which is I have not reviewed it before now. The book was written by an Arab Christian who has made a career teaching Muslims and Christians about each other. That such a job is both vitally important and woefully neglected is undeniable. The book was written to reach people the author cannot reach himself.

It is certainly a good book and absolutely worth a read by any Christian, any Christian at all whether he or she engages with Muslims or not. There are too many myths, too much shouting, too much demonizing and burying of truth in our society. Shouting pundits and crying televangelists do nothing to bridge the yawning gap between our faiths and in fact simply make it wider. We American Christians foment hatred and false truths about Muslims just as surely as Middle Eastern Muslims do so about us.

The book is valuable especially to Christians working in evangelism. Moucarry does not begin his discussion by claiming Islam is wrong and its practitioners evil, as so many evangelists do. It's hard to minister to a people you think to be demons, doubly so when you don't understand where the people are coming from. Muslims are justifiably proud of their faith, and any attempt to evangelize to them that starts with "you're wrong and here's why" will cause offense and close ears and minds and hearts, and is a waste for both parties.

Moucarry starts by discussing the differences between Islam and Christianity; this discussion is clearly geared toward a Christian audience and seeks to put to rest the myths Christians tend to hear about Islam. He then goes on to discuss the myths Muslims are taught about Christianity, at some length, and where they come from and why they are myths and, to some degree, how Christians can explain these things to Muslims without offending them. He then goes into specific doctrines of Islam that Christians can question validly, and why similar doctrines of Christianity are defensible against questioning by Muslims. Finally he treats the question of the truth of Islam, of whether there is genuine revelation in the faith and what we might learn from it.

It can be a difficult book to read, especially in the early going when Moucarry cites Islamic false claims about Christianity in one chapter and only in the next chapter gets around to laying out the truth. Reading with an open mind is absolutely vital, and a Bible is a necessary resource. But difficult though it may be, the book is a worthy read and I recommend it highly.


Lucky Bob said...

I was wondering if you were going to review this one. It sounds like I may have to put this on my list. Well not that i have an actual list other than one I carry in my head. Dang you and your reviewing books that make me want to read them.

Smitty said...

Because of course you don't do the same to me...