Sometime in the 1800s, Mark Twain said that, “a lie can travel halfway around the world, while the truth is putting its boots on.” This could not be a more apt observation for the technologically saturated, social networking, 21st Century world.Through emails, viral campaigns, Twitter and Facebook, rumours can spread like wildfire, with facts ultimately remaining unverified on blogs posted by self-appointed ‘experts’ - that stick around in the cyber-sphere (internet) for years to come.JOY! witnessed this recently when a flurry of emails arrived in our inbox claiming that Rick Warren (Christian author and pastor of Saddleback Church in America) is spearheading a new movement - Chrislam - which blurs the beliefs of Christianity and Islam, thereby seeking to find common ground between believers of the two (diametrically opposed) religions. This same email refers to several blog sites (online mini-websites that allow the creator to post their own opinions and musings unchecked) that ‘reported’ on a Chrislam campaign initiated by several Protestant churches in America on 26 June 2011 to place Qurans alongside Bibles and preach on unity between Muslims and Christians made possible through Chrislam.
Understandably, if this campaign did in fact take place, and Rick Warren is indeed promoting Chrislam, the Body of Christ has cause for concern and reason to speak out against false teaching and misguided pastors. Readers requested that JOY! comment on the story and investigate the claims - which we did immediately.
Sadly (and unsurprisingly), the sensationalist emails were loaded with false reports (that stemmed from confused sources), and the bloggers who commented on the Chrislam campaign never verified their facts. Thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of Christians around the world jumped on the bandwagon, proclaiming Rick Warren to be an agent of the devil and called for a boycott of the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church (MDPC) - who supposedly initiated the Chrislam campaign.
At the heart of the controversy, was Jack Van Impe, who accused Rick Warren and Robert Schuller of being false teachers promoting Chrislam in America. TBN pulled the particular broadcast in which Van Impe made these claims, resulting in Van Impe Ministries leaving TBN and beginning a viral campaign defaming the leaders.
Both Rick Warren and MDPC issued statements to set the record straight (see www.joymag.co.za for details), but unfortunately many of the bloggers chose to ignore their statements and even now, continue to propagate Van Impe’s claims - leaving many Christians confused.
Chrislam: facts,figures & fiction
Chrislam is a relatively new religion founded in 1970 in Nigeria. The religion mixes Christian and Muslim beliefs, as its founder claims that both have the same origins and core doctrine. It has on record 1 500 followers who study both the Bible and the Quran. In the 1980s, another Nigerian ‘prophet’ established his own version of Chrislam and today, Nigeria has two different movements within the religion.
• From various news reports, it appears that Chrislam is gaining a following in America and several other Christian countries that have experienced an influx of Muslim inhabitants
• Rick Warren, a 4th generation pastor, is not associated with Chrislam in anyway. He has been linked to Chrislam because of his evangelistic strategy. In certain sermons, Warren has stated that “one cannot win your enemies to Christ; only your friends, thus we must build bridges of friendship and love to those who believe differently - so Jesus can walk across that bridge into their hearts.”
• Critics of Warren have taken his advice to “seek common ground with Muslims” as an endorsement of Chrislam.
by Jackie Georgiou
to further read this article, see http://www.joymag.co.za/article.php?id=321