Are Muslims and Christians “Brothers”?
We know that millions of Americans and people from around the world tenaciously follow the life of “Pope Francis.” The recent trip to Africa in which Francis visited three African countries attracted the attention of vast numbers of people. In fact, it would seem that wherever Francis goes, whatever he says, and whatever he recommends, is the substance of much interest and comment.
Many people assume that Francis is a Christian—perhaps the epitome of what a Catholic should be. They admire his apparently loosening of rigid Catholic teachings, his willingness to reach out to those whom traditional Catholicism would have considered living in sin, and his desire to make an impact on a divided world. Polls indicate that most Catholics approve of the more liberal stance of Francis and they seem to like his winsome personality.
A recent article entitled, “Pope Francis: ‘Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters’,” highlights the view that Francis has of Muslims and presumably other religions that differ from Catholcism (bbc.com/news/ world-africa- 34960971). Continuing the ecumenical stance that has been popular in Catholicism since the Vatican II Council, Francis opens his arms to even non-Christians.
The report says: Pope Francis has told worshippers in a mosque in the Central African Republic that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.” He was speaking to Muslims who had sought shelter in the capital Bangui after nearly three years of violence between Christians and Muslims.
Is it true that “Christians” and “Muslims” are “brothers and sisters”? If he means that they are both created by God in His image, that is one thing, but he seems to suggest that they are related in a spiritual way!
Liberal Protestants have also claimed that we are all “brothers” of one another. Is this true? Jesus answers this by saying that there are two “families” on earth—with two different “fathers.” He said to certain Jewish religious leaders, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44). One who is not a child of God by faith actually belongs to Satan and is a “child” of the devil! As much as one may not like our Lord’s statement, it is the truth and we must accept it. When we love our enemies and do good, we are “sons of the Most High” (Luke 6:35). To those who do love their enemies, Jesus said that they are “sons of your father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:45).
John the apostle makes it abundantly clear when he wrote: “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). If we believe God’s Word, we can see that there are two classes of people on earth—the children of God and the children of the devil. Christ also pointed out that “many” are on the broad way that leads to destruction, while “few” are on the narrow way that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). Thus, the “children of God” are few, but the “children of the devil” are many.
We should also observe that Scripture tells us how a person becomes a child of God. When speaking to Nicodemus, the devout Jewish leader, the Lord declared, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). He went on to explain, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God “(v. 5; cf. vv. 6-7). The only way that one can become a child of God the Father is to be born into His family and become an heir of His kingdom (cf. John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1-2).
We must conclude that Muslims and Christians cannot be “brothers” in a spiritual sense. Yes, in a physical sense as offspring of God and His creation (Genesis 1:26-27; Acts 17:26-28), both Muslims and Christians have God as their mutual Creator. But since Muslims haven’t been born again spiritually, they are not part of God’s family, thus they are not children of God nor brothers and sisters with God’s children.
We need to make one clarifying point here. Most (nearly all) professing “Christians” are not children of God either, thus they are not “brothers” and “sisters” in God’s family. For the reasons above, we must point out that “Pope Francis” is wrong, dreadfully wrong, if he holds to the idea that Muslims are “brothers” and saved people in a spiritual sense. Further, we would encourage him to examine his own religious sect (Catholicism) in order to discover whether its members are actually children of God themselves.
We encourage you to read many of the articles on the True Discipleship website for further information on how one may become a child of God through regeneration, forgiveness, and salvation. There is no other way.