Chrislam is a modern-day attempt to blend the teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam. Historically, Chrislam began under a Nigerian leader named Tela Tella in the 1970s. It recognizes both the Bible and Qur’an as holy books and reads from both sources during its gatherings. Likewise, both Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated as equal. God and Allah are considered the same god.
While the number of Chrislam adherents in Nigeria is few, the concepts of Chrislam have spread worldwide in recent years. Many have claimed that the interfaith movements that incorporate both Christian and Muslim teaching in the West are Chrislam, while some Eastern movements have used elements of both religions in blended, syncretistic movements. Some also wrongly confuse Chrislam with Christian-Islam dialogue since the website chrislam.org uses the term in this way in Lebanon. However, dialogue is a different matter than blending Christianity and Islam into one religion.
Both biblical Christianity and traditional Islam reject modern attempts of Chrislam. The Bible teaches there is one God (Genesis 1:1) and that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Islam rejects the idea of Jesus as divine, rejects the Christian view of God as Triune, and rejects the Christian belief in salvation by faith alone. These two religions logically contradict one another in numerous ways. The only way in which these two belief systems can be blended into one is to choose only those beliefs that fit one’s preconceived notions or to reinterpret both the Bible and Qur’an to fit a particular agenda.
Chrislam came into particular spotlight in 2009 following megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s address at the ISNA 2009 gathering (a major Muslim national event). Accusations were made that Warren had preached a message of Chrislam, that both religions were one. Warren soon responded with a clear rejection of these Chrislam accusations and a reaffirmation of orthodox Christianity. However, the events surrounding this controversy led to much attention regarding the definition of Chrislam and its spread throughout America.
Some have begun calling interfaith gatherings in the U.S. that involve combined worship services with Muslim and Christian elements Chrislam. Theologically, this label is accurate, though these participants are not connected with the movement in Nigeria and would likely reject the label.
Ultimately, however, Christians must be aware that the blending of Islamic worship elements with Christian worship is to be rejected (Jude 3). Instead, Muslims need a clear example of Christians who stand firm in their faith, present the biblical view of Jesus Christ, and live the teachings of the Bible. Only then will the biblical gospel message be clear to Muslims who seek salvation.
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