The Judeo-Islamic handshake

Posted by T on November 08, 2006
Islam, Judaica, Man's Religions

The Islamic question is on everyone’s heart and mind these days. There are two ways this question is posed in our circles:

  1. What should be the Christian relation to Islam?
  2. What should be the Judeo-Christian relation to Islam?

These are by no means the same question.

However, I want to propose a different question for us to consider, namely: What should be the Christian relation to Judeo-Islam? This post simply describes two lines of evidence for why that may prove to be the real question.

First consideration

There is an interesting Jewish website called JewsOnFirst which provides a sustained critique of the Christian Right. Unfortunately, much of it is right on target, even if the reasoning to get there is not quite correct.

It is interesting to hear the discussion about Christian Dispensationalist/Zionist John Hagee. Even though Hagee is bending over backwards to honor Jews, and has renounced his right or duty to evangelize them, these liberal Jews are still nervous and won’t meet with him.

If you click on the audio link embedded in this article, then you can listen to them.

The moderator expresses shock at how the Christians’ attitude dehumanizes Palestinians!

And of course he is right about that.

While the Christian Right led by the neo-cons is screaming “Islamo-fascism,” thinking this is a way to placate and win Jewish support, Jews are quietly building bridges to the Muslims. The long-range strategy will be to isolate and demonize Christians as the real “extremists,” against which Muslims and Jews must shake hands and ally themselves.

To be fair, they also talk about opening up discussion with Presbyterians. They mean the mainstream, unbelieving Presbyterians, not us. All unbelievers can unite (Psalm 2), even “Christian” unbelievers.

Second consideration

Fifteen years ago or so I attended a three-way debate between Dr. Greg Bahnsen, an Islamist, and a Judaic. This debate can be ordered here. However, what the audio won’t indicate is what I saw.

The speakers rotated around every 10 minutes or so. For the first couple rounds, the two non-Christians were giving the usual “we all believe in God, we just think our tradition has things worth preserving” type of shpiel. It soon became clear that Dr. Bahnsen was not taking that approach. He was explaining that everyone without the God of Christianity is lost– intellectually, morally, eternally. As always, he was kind and gentle in tone, but nuclear in his message. Gradually, a sick look overcame the visages of the Jew and Mohammedan. Next time up, the Jew with barely concealed loathing said to Bahnsen, “just keep your hands off our children.” Then he stalked back to his chair, sat down, and with histrionic exaggeration, to make sure no one missed the point, reached over and shook the Mohammedan’s hand with a great flourish.

(I hope it goes without saying that Bahnsen had said nothing about anyone’s children.)

Dr. Bahnsen spoke next, and when he finished, he walked gingerly over to the other two, to see if they were also going to offer a handshake. They did not.

Thus, the Judeo-Islamic handshake.


When faced with the uncompromised claim of unique truth presented by Christianity, the apparent hatred between Jew and Muslim cools to a small sibling rivalry.

The dispensational Christian right, along with their many non-dispensational fellow-travelers, do not know what is about to hit them. Their unfair favoritism toward the Jew and unfair hatred of the Muslim is going to come back and hit them in the head in a very embarrassing way.

13 Comments to The Judeo-Islamic handshake

  • Very interesting. I have heard the debate and when I heard the Jewish scholar say “just keep your hands off our children” I thought for sure that he was speaking to the Muslim. I will have to go back and listen again. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Only the Christian Faith is truly absolute in its Apostolic purity as taught in Holy Scripture. This is why all the “friends” of Christians can and often do become open enemies when this exclusivity rears its “ugly head.” Ultimately, everyone shares one tbing in common- Christians say that no one can be saved apart from Jesus Christ through faith.

    The only disagreement I have with TJH in his blog is his labelling ‘unfair’ the attitude toward Islam by Christianity.

    Perhaps Evang/Disp attitude is imbalanced as compared to Evang/Disp attitudes toward Judaics, but it is not unfair in its assessment of Islam. It is unfair in a proper conception of foreign policy toward Israel and Islamic states and in the contrast of respect domestically given to Jews and not to Muslims.

    Islam is, at its essence, the worship of its own false piety enraged to bloodshedding against those who offer more overt profanations of YHWH and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

    Judaism and Islam are the most bitter enemies of Christianity historically, particularly if you identify Judaics with Totalitarian Communism in Europe, as seems historically justifiable.

    Ecumenism and US foreign policy must be informed by this reality. They have not been for a long time and the world is in danger because of it.

  • Alcuin– though the expression “hate the sin not the sinner” is false in certain contexts, here I think it has an application. I wd hazard the guess that the vast majority of Muslims are so in name only– they have “submitted” as the name implies, but at a more basic level are hospitable and thinking “live and let live.” There are ample opportunities for us to build bridges for evangelism; but for realpolitik in any case.

  • This is an interesting topic, but I think we need a definition of the term “Christian”, particularly in regard to hypenations like “Judeo-Christian”. I would submit to you that there is no such thing as a Cristian Right or Christian Left, but there are groups and institutions, many of which contain folks who are in the body of Christ, who drag His name into their secular convictions or political agendas. Consider Judah in the last days before the Babylonian captivity: What righteous Jew, if given the chance, would have ever voted for a king as bad as Coniah, who the LORD judged along with his progeny? Our soverign God, however, was welcome to His own counsels, and used Jeconiah to glorify Himself, bring Judah into judgement, and give us the wonder of two separate geneaologies in the gospels. The LORD chose Jeconiah for the throne. Believers have to be careful when they want to mix the Lord up in their own political or social leanings. Our relationship with any of the unsaved should reflect our love for them, and our sympathy with them for the problems and tragedies that beset them… whether in Palestinian concentration camps, German concentration camps or Guantanimo. Until the Lord returns, the Kingdoms of this world belong to someone else other than the Lord jesus Christ, unfortunately. We need to keep that in mind. I am a citizen of this country and, as such, I vote. I have strong opinions. I know that there is not a single candidate, party, or philosophy that will ever be guaranteed to be sanctioned unreservedly by my Lord, so I will not drag His name into my preferences.

  • hi t,
    this is my late reply. As we spoke before over coffee or with pipes and wine, i do not see Hagee as a main line dispy. I mean, he usually does not rank up there with macA or Swindoll or jerimiah, or stanley; he is more off beat, sort of like robertson or van impee, so maybe the Jew take is that they may realize he is not so main line so they will not pay the respect he is seeking. That noted, I would like to say that these things are not new to me at least, in my past dispy experience i remember missionaries having trouble in Israel and the like, i think it has only been in the past umm 10 or so years that the Jews have figured that “if they (dispy and the like) want to send us money or support us politically then let them do our hard work and keep them at arm’s length” (or maybe pole’s) depending on who you are dealing with. I also remember in bible college the girl from the middle east saying “oh yes we have stones for the temple and such.” The most recent events where the cloning of the red heffer and finding some articles from the temple for worship. I agree that as you state that the jew and muslim will unite to drive off the christian then work on each other is amazing. Also when one or the other reeks havoc over there the daily paper theologs go crazy.
    any way sorry over due reply, but sent as promised.

    steve h.

  • My favorite line from the audio link given above (starting at 39″34):

    When [a Jewish fund-raiser] comes to Tyler to collect money he spends more time with the East Texas Biblical Prophecy Forum people than with us, because (a) he gets more money from them, and (b) they are more supportive of Israel vocally than we would be; and so I said to him, “Don’t you have a problem?” He said, “look, you go where the money is.” And the money for the support of Israel happens to be with the Hagees and with the people here in Tyler and those kind of people. And so, from a fund-raising perspective, very practically that’s clearly where the federations are going to draw their money.

    It’s refreshing to see the ultimate god of Money appealed to so ingenuously.

  • Excellent insight. Orthodox have long known that Jews and Turks are on the same side- the side of Satan. [John 8:44] That is why, with every post I write, I conclude with the Chuch’s ancient cry, “Dear Lord deliver us from the Pagan, the Turk and the Jew. Amen.” I do so, becuase it both defines the boundaries of Christendom, and puts ‘beyond the pale’ those for whom Christ did NOT die.
    Europe once knew this, so did Christendom. And then forgot it. Restoration of Christendom… an idea whose time has come- again.

  • I just listened to a lecture by Bahnsen in which he references a debate with a Jew and a Moslem. He reported that one of his two opponents told the other to keep his hands of his children. Then, Bahnsen said, he told both of them to keep their hands off the children because they belong to Jehovah his (Bahnsen’s) God.
    This is a striking similarity, yet very different. Explanation?

  • I can’t find it. If anyone can supply a link to an mp3 of the lecture referenced by mkm, please post it.

  • I’ve heard that panel discussion before, but am unable to locate the mp3. Here’s an article that references the discussion:

    I don’t remember anything special about it. I remember him telling them to keep their hands off the other’s children, but I don’t think he said, “because the belong to Jehovah.” I’ll keep searching for the file.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *