Calvinism and Islam

From HERE:

Dr. Samuel M. Zwemer, who in a very real sense can be referred to as "the apostle to the Mohammedan world," calls attention to the strange parallel between the Reformation in Europe under Calvin and that in Arabia under Mohammed. Says he: "Islam is indeed in many respects the Calvinism of the Orient. It, too, was a call to acknowledge the sovereignty of God's will. 'There is no god but God.' It, too, saw in nature and sought in revelation the majesty of God's presence and power, and manifestations of His glory, transcendent and omnipotent. 'God,' says Mohammed, 'there is no god but He, the living, the self-subsistent, slumber seizeth Him not, nor sleep—His throne embraceth the heavens and the earth and none can intercede with Him save by His permission. He alone is exalted and great' . . . . It is this vital theistic principle that explains the victory of Islam over the weak divided and idolatrous Christendom of the Orient in the sixth century. . . . The Message of Mohammed, when he first unfurled the green banner, 'There is no god but God; God is king, and you must and shall obey His will,' was one of the simplest accounts ever offered of the nature of God and His relation to man. . . . This was Islam, as it was offered at the sword's point to people who had lost the power of understanding any other argument."

Comments

Rob said…
-It is this vital theistic principle that explains the victory of Islam over the weak divided and idolatrous Christendom of the Orient in the sixth century-

I can only laugh at this ridiculous assertion.

-There is no god but God; God is king, and you must and shall obey His will,' was one of the simplest accounts ever offered of the nature of God and His relation to man-

And it was the least Christian and the least scriptural. Anyone who reads the prophets can see that God begged for our love rather than commanded it.

I have always felt that, should Islam ever become embedded in American society, many evangelicals will accept Islam. It has a cruel, unforgiving God and a Jesus that slaughters people when he returns. This sounds like something most evangelicals I know would like.
FrGregACCA said…
Interesting, especially the reference to an “idolatrous Christianity”. It is known, in fact, that Islam was somewhat responsible for the ikonoclasm which came to dominate the Byzantine Empire for a time, although, ironically, one of the ikonodules’ strongest champions, John of Damascus, was able to write freely because he lived outside the East Roman Empire, in Muslim-ruled territory.

It is clear that there are strong parallels between the Muslim view of the Q’uran and the Reformed understanding of the Bible. “God’s Word made book” ("book" as opposed to "flesh") is how one scholar puts it.

It has also been argued that the Reformation is partially rooted in the interactions between Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Spain during the time that the Moors ruled the Iberian Peninsula. In the end, however, as has been pointed out here and elsewhere, the God of the reformers, like that of the Fathers and the Scholastics, is rational, while for Islam, that is not necessarily the case. In line with Rob's final point, one wonders to what extent that rationality remains a characteristic of the God of much of contemporary American Evangelicalism.
Don said…
I was wondering when and if someone would make this connection...although I think that G.K. Chesterton made some assertions in that direction.

Islam's triumph over the Roman Empire in the east during the seventh century is of a piece with the triumph of the barbarians over the west during the fifth. The Late Empire was a heavy-handed institution that put onerous demands on its subjects. Many were glad to see anyone show up to take its place. The Britons in effect seceded from Rome, with disastrous results in the long run.

The nature of Evangelicalism in the U.S. is tied to its current mix of people groups. As that mix changes, it will be interesting to see how the Evangelical idea changes as well.

Fr. Greg: we've discussed John of Damascus on this and my own blog.
John Stringer said…
I like to doubt this view of Zwemer:

"is this vital theistic principle that explains the victory of Islam over the weak divided and idolatrous Christendom of the Orient in the sixth century"

What proof do we have that the Church at that time was idolatrous?

The 'victory' of Islam? It was a victory of Arab armies, not of Islam. It took centuries for Islam to became a majority in what is now called the Arab World. The process was very slow, in spit of the fact that the area was ruled by Muslims.
Boyd Murrah

said…
http://christocentry.blogspot.com/2010/05/central-tenet-of-calvinism.html

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