The Parable of the Good Muslim

The Autumn 2017 Congregationalist included an article entitled The Parable of the Good Muslim. James Gregory, the pastor of Crediton Congregational Church, makes the interesting parallel between Islam today and the Samaritans of the first century. Islam teaches belief in one God and claims that Allah of the Qur’an and Jehovah of the Bible are one and the same. While rejecting Christ as God’s Son, it teaches that He was a prophet. It even acknowledges the inspiration of the Bible. Similarly, the Samaritans said they worshipped the same God as the Jews but they approached Him on their own mountain at Gerizim rather than through the temple at Jerusalem.

Gregory says ‘Jesus wanted his followers to know that mercy may come from unexpected places. So, he told them about a follower of a religion they feared, from a nation they distrusted, saving the life of one of their own’. I agree with him.

He goes on to write that Mohammad did not become a Christian, having just accepted that there was one God who spoke through the Old Testament prophets and through Christ, because ‘Roman Christians were oppressing his people- to join their religion would be an act of treason which would undermine his message’. So ‘instead he articulated a new version of monotheistic faith’. In reality, Mohammad was put off Christianity by Roman Catholic/Greek Orthodox idolatry and Mary worship. His ‘new articulation of monotheistic faith’ was still essentially a rejection of Christ, His person and sacrifice for sin.

The point of Jesus’ original parable is a response to the question ‘who is my neighbour?’. The answer is that a good neighbour may belong to another religion or race which you have hitherto distrusted or despised. For the first century Judean, this meant a Samaritan. To a white Christian in the UK, this might mean a Muslim from the Indian subcontinent. Jesus was not teaching, however, that all religious paths get to God or that any old expression of monotheism is as good as another.