UNDERSTANDING ISLAM TODAY

UNDERSTANDING  ISLAM TODAY

PREAMBLE


The purpose of this essay is to show why there is no possible political solution to the struggle with Islamic terrorism, and why missionary outreach is the only effective strategy.

I ISLAM IS NOT EXCLUSIVELY A PEACEFUL RELIGION

You cannot have lived during the last decade and not be aware of the frequently stated dictum that Muslims are basically peaceful and only a portion of them have “distorted” their religion into a terrorist manifesto. Sadly, this is a misunderstanding that perfectly fits the conservative Christian mode of thinking. In conservative Christian circles the fundamentalists are usually the good guys because they adhere fervently to the Bible. The Liberals do not. In Islam we have a complete reversal of this. The fundamentalists are the bad guys because they actually believe what the Koran (Quran) says about destroying the non-compliant.  The liberals are the good guys because they do NOT follow the literal Koran. As Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review, (1/16/2016)  In truth, however, the challenge Islam poses for moderation is not its tradition; it is Islamic doctrine.


This highlights what is wrong with Western academic analysis of Islam and the view of most Biblical Christians and our political leaders. The Quran has many references to killing unbelievers. A few are: Slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out ... if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. 2:191 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom. 5:33 It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. 8:67 Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. 9:5.


A good apologist for Islam would of course say that the Old Testament has many similar commands from Jahweh for Israel to exterminate their enemies. The huge difference is that the Bible is a progressive revelation and within its covers it demonstrates a significant development of doctrine which culminates in love to our enemies. We call this “progressive” revelation because God gradually adapts it to the developing maturation of the human intellect and spirit.

II ISLAM IS NOT JUST A RELIGION

You frequently hear the sage advice that we have freedom of religion and we must not single out a particular religion for criticism or persecution. Apart from the fact that that is a privilege guaranteed to citizens of the United States and not to the whole world, the problem with bringing that up is that Islam is what Christians call a theocracy. Some historical examples of quasi-theocracies in history include Tibet, Geneva during the Protestant Reformation, the Papal reign in various periods and even now in Vatican city, and the Mormons in Utah Territory in earlier years. None of these, however, can hold a candle to the current position of militant Islam. So, while our political leaders preach religious tolerance we are battling something totally different which is a theocracy.

Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity (such as Allah) is the source from which all authority derives. As is the case under the oft mentioned Sharia Law The Oxford English Dictionary has this definition: A form of government in which a deity is recognized as the king or immediate ruler, and his laws are taken as the statute-book of the kingdom, these laws being usually administered by a priestly order as his ministers and agents; hence (loosely) a system of government by a sacerdotal order, claiming a divine commission; also, a state so governed.


In Old Testament times Israel was a theocracy, but that drastically changed with the advent of Jesus Christ and the preaching of His gospel to every nation and tongue. Jesus, Himself rejected the exclusive nature of Old Testament religion in John 4:2i-24. “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”


Christianity was largely responsible for the prohibition of a church controlled government which is exactly what the establishment of religion clause, or the first amendment, in our constitution is talking about. It is not separating the state from religion but from a theocracy. The clause guarantees the free exercise of religion as well as prohibiting the establishment of  state church. Is this compatible with Sharia?? Absolutely not, and for this reason no one who accepts this aspect of the Islamic faith can ever pledge allegiance to the U.S. constitution.


Christianity has not totally abandoned the idea of a committed religious state, and a small minority of Christians have argued for a Christian amendment to our constitution which would not establish a church but would establish a state where the Christian faith is officially recognized as true. This is far removed from the effort to violently overthrow of government in favor of Sharia law.

III ISLAM IS NOT CONSISTENT

In its militant form Islam is not compatible with either the Christian faith or the constitution of the United States. Furthermore, as result of the above stated facts we cannot conclude that a peaceful coexistence with a militant form of Islam is possible. One must grant that there are many contradictory statements in the Quran which are not resolved. It is certainly possible to be a peaceful follower of the Islamic faith because you simply choose the passages where the author Muhammed praises Jews and Christians and recommends coexistence. Others choose different passages and choose to kill in the name of Allah. The challenge is that even moderate or peaceful Muslims have difficulty in dissuading the militant because the militant can point to many passages that support their views.

The Assyrian International News Agency is a Christian agency which represents persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Recently an European atheist wrote a letter to the editor as follows, I have been studying Islam, for a while now, and I come to the conclusion, that a peaceful coexistence with a self declared Muslim, is impossible. Not because of western or even Christian intolerance, but by the very nature of Islam itself. I also find it a misnomer, to call it a religion, as it has no comparison, with any of the "real" religions. To me as an atheist, it is just a sect, that has chosen intolerance as its main feature. He adds, I have spoken with some of the catholic priests, over here, and asked them, why nothing about your struggle is said in church. I have asked them, why on a regular basis, they keep preaching about coexisting with our Muslim "brethren", while your struggle is what it is. Will it surprise you, that no answer was forthcoming?


As Christians we cannot settle the disputes of Islam, but one scholar writes in mohammadenism.org. Near the end of his life, Muhammad commanded his followers to fight and subdue non-Muslims. By doing this, he abrogated the early toleration verses that were preached in beginning of his ministry in Mecca. At the end of his life, he left his followers with the instructions to make the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) pay a special tax (Jizya) and feel subdued. So, there is a important difference between Christianity and Islam. Christianity teaches its followers to live in peace with all men, while Islam teaches its followers to fight and subdue non-Muslims and to have them submit to Shari'a law. The Prophet wrote, Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. Sura At-Tawba 9:29. To sum it up Islam is inconsistent, not just another religion, and it is not fundamentally peaceful.

ISLAM MUST BE EVANGELIZED

When I was in College in the 1950’s i became a follower of what was then called the North Africa Mission. I believe it operates today under a different name, but at the time it was primarily a ministry to Muslims and was considered the most challenging of missions. I have dear friends from College and seminary who served their entire lives in this mission. Today there are many other approaches. I have friends in Christ who are very apprehensive about ministries to Islam in the USA because of the dangers Islam poses to our people. However, if danger thwarted missions there would be virtually no outreach to un-evangelized peoples. We must follow the great commission (every nation and every language). We not only have this command from our Lord, but modern day leaders admit that the real battle is ideological.

I have vigorously supported two Islamic missions. One is out of Atlanta Georgia and is known as “Leading the Way” (LTW) ministries. Led by Michael Youssef. it uses radio, television, and an assortment of technologies to bring the gospel to the middle east and Muslims.

The other is close to my heart, CWW, because I helped organize and have supported it through many years. it is approved by my denomination, and is  based on a unique approach to Muslim evangelism which is called Meetings for Better Understanding (MBU). When an Islamic Mosque is open to having an ‘MBU' with the teams of CWW the plan is to speak on a given topic such as ' Who is Christ' in the Bible and the Quran. So, in turn, the Muslim speaker will speak from the Quran and the Bible believing Christian speaker will do the same from the Bible for 30-45 minutes for each speaker. Then, the two speakers will answer the questions of  the people who attended the meeting. Then, both communities  will have a time for refreshments . Then, one on one Gospel conversations take place. It is anticipated that Muslims and Biblical Christians will exchange names, addresses, and phone numbers to meet through out the week to build bridges which lead them to more of ' Better Understanding.' of  the Gospel and the Quran.     CWW people believe strongly that God the Holy Spirit  will work in the hearts and minds of the people who heard His word  to believe in the One who made Himself known. And as a matter of fact, the Lord has done it with many of our Muslim friends.

Because the Word of God is living and powerful. If militant Islam is a theocratic movement, then challenging the ideology is an absolute necessity, and the Gospel does that.