Catholics and Protestants agree on a lot of things but at the same time we disagree on a lot of things. One is the interpretation of Matthew 16:18. The KJV reads:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Has anyone ever wondered as to what the Islamic interpretation is regarding this verse? Muslims believe that Jesus is a Prophet so they have to believe in what he says, including this verse.
To Muslim readers of this blog I ask: Are you a member of the Church spoken of in this verse? This is a Church founded by a Prophet. Wouldn’t you want to be a part of this organization.
Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church and 2,000 years later He stands vindicated. There is no classical Islamic literature where Muhammad, his followers, or the early Muslims believed that they were part of the Church that their Prophet Jesus founded. This includes the Quran, the Hadith, the Sira literature, or the early commentaries. This seems odd because Christ promised that this Church would not be prevailed against.
When we look at history, this puts Muslims in a dilemma. It is true that the Church didn’t have much presence in Arabia. According to early Islamic literature, there were orthodox Christians in Najran but that seems like the only large community in Arabia. According to the classical account, Muhammad dies in 632 AD and the Arab invasions commence a year later. Damascus was conquered in 634 AD and Jerusalem, only a couple of years later.
At the time Jerusalem was conquered, Patriarch Sophronius was the leader of that Church. He was very good friends with the Pope. This would have been a great opportunity to inquire about the Church that Christ founded. They could have learned the teachings from the man whom they claimed to be a Prophet and follow his Church. This doesn’t make much sense if you ask me.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no early Islamic literature that states that the Muslims were part of the Church that Christ founded. If this is the case, if one claims to follow the Messiah, one needs to follow the Church that he founded and that still exists to this day according to His promise.
There is no need for the Muslims to be separated from the Church that the Messiah founded any longer. If they truly follow the Messiah, His Church is waiting to accept them as members.
If you’re a Muslim who is interested in being a part of the Church founded by the Messiah, feel free to ask me any questions.
However, I would start by reading the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. This is my recommendation.