Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali's Reflections on the unique and universal claims of Christ

There is a burgeoning literature of Muslim views of Jesus. Nazir-Ali discussed the view of Jesus as presented by Rageeh Omar in his TV Series The Miracles of Jesus. Omar believed that Jesus’ miracles were presented as a sign of his divine authority and of God’s victory over evil. Omar claimed however that the Quran does not emphasize the miracles of Jesus because this could lead to him being seen as divine. Nazir-Ali asserted contrary to Omar that the Quran does affirm that Jesus’ miracles occurred by God’s leave. For the Quran Jesus is a prophet, apostle, the Word and spirit of God, and even mentions his death in 19.33 and 3.55. He hoped that Omar can address in a future series what he has learnt from Christian tradition about Jesus and what his Muslim background has taught him. To understand Jesus and his movement, we have to look at the Jewish people for information and inspiration. To the Jewish community Nazir-Ali asked how far the Jews can within the integrity of their own faith see the marks of the coming messianic age in the figure of Jesus. Hindus and Hinduism itself has been changed in surprising and important ways by the encounter with Jesus. The criticism of caste, the emancipation and education of women and the tendency to ethical monotheism took place under explicitly acknowledged Christian influence. But the key question in Hinduism has to do with the uniqueness of Jesus as the Word made flesh whose death enabled human beings to have open intimacy with the God who is the source of their being. Jesus presented himself as divine wisdom in the search of the excluded, disreputable and the lost. The female form of wisdom affects our understanding of women as in God’s image sharing in a common mission with men but distinctively. Redemption in Christ does away with false distinctions, oppression and subordination which result from the Fall and human sinfulness but not with a similarity in difference which is an aspect of God’s will for humanity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Theology

8 comments on “Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali's Reflections on the unique and universal claims of Christ

  1. drjoan says:

    Interesting in light of an interview in the Diocese of Olympia’s paper “The Episcopal Voice.”

    The Rev. Dr. Anne Holmes Redding is interviewed about her new found faith in Islam. This is a priest who was recently “let go” from the staff of St. Mark’s Cathedral. Perhaps there was a better reason than the fact that the Cathedral is short on money (although the dean has been given a pay raise to boost his salary and benefits over $200K!!)
    At any rate, Redding claims Islam is compatible with her (form of) Christianity. Sad. I know in this diocese her position will be looked at as informed and progressive.
    As I understand Islam, there could be no doubt that Allah is NOT Jesus thus Jesus is NOT God. I don’t think you can get any clearer than that.
    For me this might just be the deal-breaker–but I still am not sure where I could go!

  2. Timothy Fountain says:

    Thank God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) for Bp. Nazir-Ali and other Christians from Islamic, Hindu and other lands. These leaders can speak with knowledge and wisdom and help us all be better apologists if we will learn from them. The engagement of the other faiths brings us quickly to essential questions of who God is; what God has done, is doing and will do; and who we are and what we should do.

  3. TheBeat says:

    Islam and Christianity, although sharing a common history, are carriers of incompatible truth claims, not unlike 2 parrallel lines. Does Redding, like most practising muslims, read the Quran from a super literalist pre enlightenment perspective? Has she understood Islamic eschatology? Has she gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca? Her liberal background suggest a “no” to all these three questions.

    Her new found faith may not be the faith of mainstream Islam.

  4. carol says:

    Thank you DrJoan, I had heard about this and was looking for proof of what I heard before I shared it with friends. I no longer receive the Voice, when I left ECUSA the free subscription stopped and I was given a subscription price. It is funny though as I just received a request for $$$ from the Diocese of Olympia. I guess my name was never removed from ECUSA’s rosters as I requested when I left the church in October 2004.

    It is interesting to see that she worships at an Islamic center and an Episcopal church. I haven’t read the whole article yet as it is late. Does it also say she wants to be a Muslim and remain an Episcopal priest, which is what I first heard? Will dig into it tomorrow after I attend my Anglican church.

  5. azusa says:

    It’s obvious that Dr Redding was not an orthodox trinitarian Christian but a unitarian, so the transition to a liberal, unorthodox form of Islam was not difficult. It’s not like she apostasized.
    & she was a teacher/leader at the cathedral?
    Explains a lot.

  6. The_Elves says:

    Dr. Joan, thanks for the fantastic link. We’ve alerted Kendall to that story and are sure he’ll post it soon. That story from Seattle is very worthy of discussion, but we’d like to encourage readers to not lose sight of Bishop Nazir-Ali’s essay. Thanks. Hopefully that story from Seattle will be posted shortly.

  7. Deja Vu says:

    From the article on page 9 of the link:

    She was baptised by an African Methodist Episcopal minister but the only Sunday School she attended was Episcopal. She attended a Unitarian youth group in high school when the Episcopal group disbanded. She was influenced by a cooperative community near where she grew up that was comprised of mostly Quakers, Unitarians and Jews. Her father was a prominent civil rights lawyer …

    (Couldn’t just copy directly from the text, so there may be typos from my typing.)

  8. The_Elves says:

    All: Kendall has now posted the story from the diocese of Olympia above:
    So, any further comments HERE should respond to what Bp. Nazir-Ali has written. Thanks.