Do you remember the movie Beetlejuice? In this comedy horror fantasy film from the 1980s, Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton, is an obnoxious, devious “bio-exorcist” from the underworld who tries to scare away any new inhabitants of the home he’s haunting. Now please don’t get the idea that, just because I mention this story that I believe in ghosts or such nonsense – I’m just making a point here and using a well-known funny to help me make it. Many of you may well remember the way Beetlejuice appeared in the movie to the summoning of his name three times: “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!” And that memory is what I’m counting on!
What happened in the movie if someone said his name only once? Nothing. What about twice? The same nothing. It only happened when someone said his name three times, whether they meant to call on him or not – he appeared!
Can we attain salvation through the same fantastical manner? Is Jesus just an apparition Who appears when we call His Name? Truth is, we should be in constant prayer with Him, but I need you to work with me on this to make the point. No, Jesus is not some “genie in the bottle” awaiting our calling and ready to be summoned at our whim. He’s God, and He’s listening for you right now but you don’t need a script or a memorized recitation to get His attention. He loves you so much that He’s always watching everything you do and He knows you’re going to call on His Name before you even know you’re going to. Wow! What a God!
Back to the point: I’ve often thought of the movie Beetlejuice when teaching about the conversion practices of Islam. There are two ways to become a Muslim (please don’t try this at home – I’m a professional): you can be born to Muslim parents (more on this later) or you can recite a specific phrase, just like they did in the movie when calling on Beetlejuice, to get the job done.
WARNING: As you read the following, do NOT pronounce the words in your head. Read through and get the meaning of this post but do NOT form the pronunciation of the words or utter the words aloud as you may inadvertently become a Muslim by doing so!
Nah, I’m just kidding about the inadvertently becoming a Muslim part! I was just trying to get your attention. Now that I have it, are you ready to see what one has to say in order to become a Muslim? Here are the words:
“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”
It really is that easy with Islam! There is no heart, no meaning, no emotions or feelings, but just reciting an absurd, crude line such as this to show one’s allegiance to the demonic spiritual power behind Islam and the pedophile prophet that championed it some 1,400 years ago. No one should ever believe in either Beetlejuice or some made up idea of reciting a pre-written line in order to pledge allegiance to anything…especially to God (of the Bible). These are mere words void of meaning if you read them for a Bible Study lesson like the one you’re reading now. If you are His, He will protect you. But, if you repeat these words because you WANT to become Muslim and worship a false god, God (of the Bible) will certainly allow you to do so and you will be lost forever. Do you see the difference? Reading the words to learn about false religions and heresies is vastly different from reciting the words with meaning from the heart along with the desire to serve another god.
And that’s the whole point of this post, indeed. With every post we make we try to clearly show the difference between God of the Bible and the god of Islam. Islam gives you a sentence to memorize and repeat (I’ve even heard it said that you have to repeat this sentence three times – perhaps Muhammad had insight to the Beetlejuice movie) but you cannot accept God (of the Bible) through a no-hearted or even a half-hearted attempt of a “repeat after me” speech void of a true heart that desires to love and serve Him. Memorized or “repeat after me” words are meaningless in this venue – acceptance of salvation needs to come from the heart!
“But”, you say, “I don’t always know what to say at the altar.” Good point and I would counter with “Do you think I always know what to say?” Who does? But as Christians, serving the God of the Bible, we don’t have to know what to say all the time. In fact, Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will even help us pray when we can’t seem to find the right words, and this includes during that critical moment of accepting the gift of justification:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
So, if you don’t know the right words to say but your heart is repentant and your desire is to know, love, and serve Him, the Spirit will aid you through your own version of the “sinner’s prayer”. There is no need for man’s input…
In the mixed up world of Islam, the way you become a Muslim is to say that phrase out loud (or some form of that phrase – the true translation from Arabic to English varies). Even if what I wrote isn’t a perfect translation, it isn’t important because it’s a mouth full of nonsense anyway because it is only going through the motions without the support of heartfelt honesty. Why would God, of the Bible, set up an emotionless experience? He wouldn’t, and this is just one more sign that the two are not the same.
So, recall that I said that you can also become a Muslim by being born to a Muslim Mom and Dad. Yep, Islam is an inherited religion! How about that? You don’t even have to do anything if you are simply born into such a family. Like Steve Martin said “That takes the pressure off!” Then again, let’s examine this and see if this point itself proves any difference between the God of the Bible and the god of Islam.
Being born into a Christian home is not automatic inclusion in the Body of Christ. God (of the Bible) is the only True God and has told us through His Word that the way to get to Him is through His Son, Jesus Christ. One has to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior by confessing their sins, repenting, and asking Him into their hearts with their mouth. So, Christianity and Islam do have in common the need to profess with the mouth, but one profession is a memorized group of words void of any conviction (Islam) while the other is a “left-up-to-you-to-say-what-you-need-to-say” concentration of passion at the altar as you realize you are a sinner in need of redemption and forgiveness and as you cry out to Jesus and strive to begin a life with Him as Savior and yourself as a servant of the Most High God! Whew! That was a long sentence, but can you spot the difference?
In many churches around the world, and especially here in the United States, you’ll find similar “repeat after me” phrases being touted to the lost as an acceptable entryway to Christianity just like you read of in Islam. Pastors will give an invitation and will instruct members of their congregation to stand around the altar waiting for those to come down the aisle that will accept Jesus and, as the blubbering, scared sinner approaches, the altar-worker will take them in arms and say “repeat after me” and then lead them through what is known as “the sinner’s prayer” (it gets even worse if the sinner doesn’t want to speak and the altar worker will just say “I’ll say the words and if that’s what you want to say you just nod in agreement”). The problem there is that it is not from the heart! It’s not coming from the one who needs to do the repenting! And it’s being played as not only okay but as perfectly normal in the church today, and then soon afterward they all break for a ham sandwich lunch. The new “Christian” is left at the altar without instruction, direction, or help, and with an uneasy feeling about what just happened because all they did was nod in approval as the whole congregation kept “every head bowed and every eye closed” so as not to create any moment of embarrassment for those walking down the aisles! What have we created in the church today? Why is getting saved a moment of embarrassment?
Did anything really get accomplished? Well, yes, I guess so. The guys all think that the newcomer is saved and “Rapture ready!”, but has there truly been a conversion? Has there truly been a converted heart and the creation of new creature (see 2nd Corinthians 5:17)? That answer, only the guy who walked the aisle can provide, but couldn’t we all make such a moment more personal and purposeful? You see, the point is, there is nothing ordinary or mundane about the acceptance of Jesus’ accomplishment on the cross, and nothing about the “salvation” experience should entail a memorized or “repeat after me” line that magically applies salvation to the repeater. Man has introduced this into the church, not God. And Islam explicitly proclaims it as “THE WAY” to become a Muslim! What ignorance, proving that this aspect of Islam (or any other for that matter) could not have come from the God of the Bible.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I don’t see anything in John 3:16 about believing in Him *AND* reciting from rote memorization. If you simply approach the altar and say “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner”, it will be done! Nowhere in the Bible do you see a person being given salvation after the speaking of a rote memorized speech…it is their heart that speaks to Jesus and it is His honor to afford them the spiritual rest and peace that only He can provide.
There is no salvation in a memorized bramble of words. There is no salvation in Islam, period, much less in an American church where the only god being worshipped is the one that denomination made up. This inclusion of a repeated “line” for salvation is one area in which both the mosque and the church have come to agree, and neither of them is supportive of the Real, the Only, the True God (of the Bible).
The TRUTH of God (of the Bible) can only be found within the Bible with ALL other parts of “religion” thrown to the side and destroyed. Do you love your family enough to tell them this? Do you love your Mother, Father, and your own household enough to buck the trend down at the local church and open the Scripture for yourself and your loved ones? Do you love those around you enough to KNOW that the God of the Bible is not the same as the god of Islam? You must know, with all your heart, that…
Jesus is NOT in the Quran!