Millions of Christians around the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this week. This one event sets apart the Christian faith—for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is like no event in human history.
“I do not fear Islamic Jihadists nearly as much as I fear the Christian church in the West departing from biblical orthodoxy.”
That was how I opened a speech I made recently to the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tennessee. What gives that fear such certainty is the knowledge of a historical fact—namely, throughout history, Islam grew when Christianity was weakened through its departure from biblical authority.
There is no doubt that Islam grew out of a corpse of a church that was beset with heresy and apostasy. Immediately prior to the rise of Islam, viruses of false gospels had marred Christianity beyond recognition.
Christianity dominated regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. But despite that strength, the founder of Islam was confused and frustrated when he listened to some Christian leaders casting doubt on the divinity of Christ—the very heart of Christianity.
The falsehoods facing the church then are not unlike the ones the church in the West faces today. Then, they were known as: “Arianism,” “Nestorianism,” “Sabellianism,” “Ebionism.” Today, they go by names such as: “universalism,” “heterodoxy,” “emergent church,” “insider movement,” “hyper grace,” “Chrislam.”
When you take the heart out, you end up with a dead body with the name “Christian” written on its forehead. That’s what Mohammed found. And that’s what Mohammed believed to be true Christianity.
Mohammed got information from false Christians, and that led to apparent contradictions in Muslim writings—whether in the Qur’an or Sunnah. Those contradictions are the source for war within Islam today, with each faction quoting from contradicting texts.
The North African church was once powerful and influential. It produced great men such as Saint Augustine. Yet, the church fell into the clutches of false teachers as early as the 5th century.
One of those falsehoods is known as the Montanist movement. Among the significant falsehoods that the Montanists taught was the belief that the canon of Scripture was not closed. The Bible could still be amended.
In the 7th century, the Arab/Muslim armies stormed their way toward the pristine coastal Mediterranean towns of North Africa, which bulged with tens of thousands of churches. The conquest was over in a very short time. Having lost their biblical moorings, those churches wondered if God was not bringing a new revelation.
They were so opened-minded that they were like chickens letting the foxes into the hen house. It was only a matter of time before those tens of thousands of churches turned into mosques.
For those in church leadership today who say that biblical orthodoxy doesn’t matter, let me offer a warning. Islamists today are intent on finishing the work of Muslim conquest.
Modern Islamists, such as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, recognize that the first and second jihads (from the 7th and 14th centuries) failed to completely subjugate Europe. They now plan for that to be accomplished through the third jihad, which began in the 1970s. That subjugation will be achieved through Muslim population migration and increases, and through the control of trillions of Arab/Islamic dollars that are invested in European capitals.
Looking at the numbers, those Islamists have good reason for optimism. In France and Germany, there are now 5 million Muslims, respectively. In the UK during the last decade, the Muslim population increased 10 times faster than the rest of the population.
Sheikh Qaradawi’s strategy is well on its way to being accomplished.
So how should the West respond?
There is only one answer. The church of Jesus Christ in the West must wake up and shake itself from its long stupor.
Having done that, the church will take Jesus’ commission to heart. Instead of accommodating the pressures of culture, it can once again spread the gospel to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.Tweet
Your recent summit to “Counter Violent Extremism” was flawed from the start—beginning with its name. Extremism is indeed a threat (especially a threat to Christians), but that is not what we face when confronting ISIS. On that issue, I’m afraid you’re confused.
First let’s look at the definition of extremists: namely, people who advocate or resort to measures beyond norms to enforce their views.
To look at textbook examples of extremism, one doesn’t need to look abroad. Let’s enumerate some acts of extremism inflicted by the US government:
- Removing the Bible by force from schools after it had been studied in classrooms for hundreds of years.
- Likewise, driving prayer out of schools after it had been practiced for a similar time period.
- Dragging parents and students to court for either praying or studying the Bible in school.
- Destroying small businesses and persecuting their proprietors, whether a baker or photographer, for simply abiding by their religious beliefs.
- Losing government or corporate jobs for simply expressing one’s biblical belief.
- Threatening or removing military chaplains if they dare to exercise their faithful duty and call on the name of their Lord in public (again something that was practiced for hundreds of years).
- Demanding that people participate in training, corporate and otherwise, that they find ungodly, and punishing them if they refuse to do so.
That’s to say nothing about the humiliation inflicted on patriotic people of deep faith when a national leader describes them as bitterly clinging to their “guns or religion.”
Need I go further, Mr. President?
Those are classic cases of extremism. On the contrary, however, the activities perpetuated by ISIS are, in fact, not extremism (as being described by the US administration). ISIS is simply following the tenants of their religion.
Most reform-minded Muslims actually feel insulted when ISIS is not described as they truly are: Islamic fundamentalists. When ISIS uses the sword, they are following the fundamentals of their faith.
I wish everyone would read the Qur’an. Then they would know that reform-minded Muslims, like President el-Sisi of Egypt, speak the truth when they state that such commands to violence are in the Qur’an. They refuse to deny that their religion has a problem with the sword and bloodshed. Admitting the truth is the first step to recovery, and as el-Sisi has done, he challenges the imams to seek new interpretations of the Qur’an that are appropriate for modern times.
As a Christian, I love the Muslim people. I am commanded to love and not to hate, and I only hate the evil that is committed.
Let me repeat, as a Christian, I love the Muslim people, and I long for both Muslim fundamentalists and moderates to come to the one true God—the Messiah who died on the cross to save all sinners who turn to Him.
Thousands of Muslims are coming to know Christ as the Savior of the world and as their personal Savior. My ardent desire is that Muslims of all stripes would follow in the footsteps of those courageous new believers. To know God is the desperate need of every heart, even of those who do not recognize it or verbalize it.
But I also fully support those Muslims who want to change the interpretation of their religion, to bring it to the twenty first century.
Mr. President, for the sake of everything that is holy, and for the sake of Muslims who stand against the violence of their religion, let us not confuse fundamentalism for extremism.
Dear President Obama, Please know that I am one of those who pray for you on a regular basis. The Scriptures command me to pray for those in leadership.