Below is a lecture from Professor Keith Ward, the Gresham Professor of Divinity from 2004 and 2008. He argues that Jihad and the Christian doctrine of Just War are “virtually identical” (6:55-7:31).
Keith Ward gives a lot of food for thought. But here is where he, and other well meaning professing Christians, goes wrong,
“I do think that Muhammad was a genuine prophet. And I do think that the Quran is a genuinely inspired book, but clearly as a Christian I have to hang on to some Christian elements somwhere and say, ‘Well, actually the love of God is for me revealed in the person of Jesus.’ But like any Muslim I would say, ‘Let God decide between us. I have my way. You have yours. Let God decide.’ And that’s a quotation from the Quran.”
Professor Ward makes it sound like Islam and Christianity are favorite flavors of ice cream: I like chocolate (Christianity), and you like vanilla (Islam). Whose to say which flavor is better? Certainly not the Christian or the Muslim. We can only let God decide at a future time.
What Professor Ward does not seem to understand is that Christianity is true for everybody because the central events of Christianity are rooted in history. God’s love has been revealed in the cross of Jesus Christ, an event which Muslim deny.
“Jihad is a striving in the way of God. It’s a striving for justice, not oppression. It’s a striving for compassion, not cruelty. It’s a striving for benevolence, and not hatred.”
Professor Ward says that we call all join with Muslims in this definition of “jihad” “because we strive with all our persons and possessions in the way of God.” (50:13-50:18)
Again, Professor Ward misses the real difference which is Jesus’ call to cross bearing (Luke 9:23-26) versus the Muslim striving for jihad.
There is a sad irony. Professor Keith Ward claims to be representing a Christian position about the Muslim belief in jihad. And yet, Professor Ward does not seem to understand Christianity as he passed up a marvelous opportunity to highlight what the Prince of Peace has accomplished for our peace with God (Romans 5:1-10).