Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Challenge of Islam

My husband is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and it has been interesting to note a trend in that city over the years: a sharp increase in the acceptance of Islam.  I have joked with him that it must be in the water, for it is apparent even to an occasional visitor such as myself that more and more men are converting.  It is not uncommon to drive down the street and see women covered from head to toe in Muslim burqas.

In large part, I believe the attraction to Islam is the same basis upon which we see a rise of legalism within the Church.  The only option left to one who rejects our sole hope of salvation in Jesus Christ is law.  If a man rejects the righteousness of God, then he must by nature resort to self-righteousness (Romans 10:2-4; Philippians 3:9).  Instead of being made righteous by the blood of Jesus, I become righteous based on what I do (or don't do); I go to temple/church on a specific day, I don't eat certain meats, I wear certain clothes, I observe particular holy days...  As long as we resist being made clean on the inside, we will always run to the actions of a whited sepulcher as justification of our own 'goodness' (Matthew 23:25-28).  This is something which every Christian should take note, for we too must be sure that we don't fall into this snare.  Unless Christ in us is our hope of glory, then our glory is our shame (Colossians 1:27; Philippians 3:19).

Yet, I also think the rise in Islam has to do with God's unfolding end time judgments.  The types of persecutions which will be coming against the church are commensurate with what is called for in Sharia Islamic law and what some refer to as "radical Islam".  One only needs to look around the world to see a foreshadowing of this.  Having an American President who is sympathetic towards Muslim interests (and who is perhaps more aligned with Islam than many think) only serves to further these gains.

Please note that I am not speaking about the Muslim people.  Like us all, they are in need of repentance through Jesus Christ for salvation unto redemption.  I am speaking about the religious institution, the deceptions upon which it is based, and how it will be used in the last days.  Neither is this about maligning the virtues of Islam.  There is no virtue in Islam.  There is no virtue in Baha'i.  There is no virtue in Buddhism.  There is no virtue in Hinduism.  There is no virtue in anything that does not originate from the Father, the only One & True God...and we must not pretend that there are.
virtue: moral excellence; goodness; righteousness. 
The following is a message from Min. Pawson on what he calls "The Challenge of Islam" and the particular threat Islam posts to Christianity.  Additional info may be found at: Are Allah & Yahweh the Same?

An Erosion of Truth
  • An increase in the spread of false religion worldwide is attributable to an increase in various "isms":
    • Materialism: Living for the physical world & possessions as part of a money-oriented society.
    • Hedonism:  The pursuit of pleasure, comfort, & health as the highest good in life.
    • Secularism: Departure from religion in the public life and its relegation to a private hobby.
    • Rationalism: Truth is discovered by man's own reasoning.  If it cannot be proven scientifically, then it is not true.
    • Romanticism: Truth is still discovered by humans only, but through the emotions or heart rather than their mind and intellect.
    • Relativism: Truth is not discovered through the mind or heart, but subjectively through personal preference.  There is no absolute truth or error.  What is true for you may not be what is true for me.
    • Pluralism: Believes that we are all seeking the same ultimate end and that all religions are valid searches for truth.  It makes a virtue out of different religions and tact & tolerance are the supreme attitudes (upon which political correctness is based).
    • Syncretism: The coming together of all religions for a common purpose (world peace, the environment, social justice, etc.).  Religion is not for God, but is primarily for human purposes, so that man may discover common values & attitudes.
  • As a result of all of these "isms", the Church has been hemorrhaging for years, creating a gigantic spiritual vacuum in the world.
  • Man is a worshiper by nature and will become like the one to which he devotes himself as seen in the realms of sport, entertainment, etc.
  • There is an increase in paganism.  One example of this is the Harry Potter books/movies which are not imagination, but taken directly from modern witchcraft instruction.
  • Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and will soon overtake Christianity as the major world religion. 
  • The lack of peace in the Middle East is not political, but religious.  It is a war between 2 religions and 2 gods.
The Attraction of Islam
  • To outsiders, Islam may look more attractive than the "Churchianity" often presented as Christianity.
    • Islam seems simple to believe.  It is monotheistic; its scriptures have only one professed holy book (the Qur'an); and there are only 2 central doctrines (the Shahada): There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.
    • The only thing you have to do to become a Muslim is recite the creed in the presence of witnesses.  Once a Muslim, you just have to say the creed, pray five times a day, give 2.5% of our income to the poor, practice fasting, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once.  
    • There is also a strict moral code in Islam while in true Christianity one is led by the Spirit and not by law/rules, which can seem more complicated.  By contrast "Churchianity" shows the world a Christian church steeped in confusion with contradicting beliefs, doctrines, and practices.
    • Islam is a recent religion, created 600 years after Christianity.  It is also asserted that being a newer religion makes it an improved one.
    • Islam is regarded as a man's religion, while Christianity is perceived as a religion for wives and children.Yet when God counted Israel He counted the men over 20 who were able to fight for the Lord.  The perversion of Christianity has made it a feminine religion, but true Christianity is patriarchal as reflected in the Scriptures.
    • Islam can appear more impressive in the reverence it demands from participants.
  • A consumer society will not ask, "Which religion is the truth?", but "What religion suits me?"
The Dark Side of Islam
  • Some say that Sharia law would make society a more disciplined and safer place, but there is a dark side to Islam that must be considered as well.
    • True Islam emerges in Islamic countries where it is the established religion.
    • Islam may be the easiest religion to get into, but it is also the hardest to get out of.  You incur a death penalty to leave Islam after having accepted it.
    • Islam is a totalitarian religion, demanding the whole life of the individual, the family, the community, the nation, and the world.  There is no distinction between religion and society.  This is why the goal of Islam is not individual converts, but to be the ruling entity of the whole world.
    • It is an imperial religion.  The goal of Islam is the world submitted to Allah, whether by persuasion or force.
    • It is a territorial religion, seeking to bring all territories once submitted to Allah back to Allah.  Such is why no peace treaty in the Middle East will work for Islam cannot allow Israel to retain any parts of the land outside of Muslim control.  The principle of "Hudna" allows Muslims to enter into [temporary] treaties/truces with the infidel as a deceptive tactic when they are not in a position to fight.  However, the goal is always to disregard the treaty and fight to win when strong enough.  There are peace-loving Muslims, but Islam is not a peace-loving religion; it is a war-mongering religion.
    • It is a militant religion, as seen in jihad (often referred to as the 6th pillar of Islam). Jihad is a struggle with the enemies of Islam, including the infidels who are non-Muslims according to the Qur'an. This is the basis for the Muslim saying, "First the Saturday people, and then the Sunday people."  When Muslims speak of peace, such peace is only accomplished by bringing all into subjection to Allah.  
    • It is an intolerant religion.  There is no room for other beliefs.  Christians may be allowed to practice their religion in Muslim countries (as a second-class citizen called a Dhimmi), but they cannot propagate it.  Muslims are even forbidden in the Qur'an from being friends with Jews or Christians.
The Origins of Islam
  • What is the source of Islam and where did it come from?  There are only 3 options: Divine inspiration, Human imagination, or Satanic imitation.  These are the only possible sources for all religions in the world.  
    • Islam teaches that it is from divine inspiration as the angel Gabriel who spoke to Mary about being impregnated with Jesus is the same who dictated the Qur'an to Muhammad as God's final revelation.  There is no objective evidence to substantiate these claims.  
    • There is evidence that Islam could have come from human imagination, being the product of the mind of Muhammad.  Muhammad was from the Quraish tribe in Mecca who worshiped many gods.  This tribe also made devotions to a black, cubed stone called the Kaaba, which held 360 idols.  Moving away from a polytheistic view, Muhammad retained devotion to the Kaaba, but scaled back the 360 gods to one god: the moon god Allah.  The Kaaba remains the center of Islam's Meccan pilgrimage worship for Muslims today.

      Allah is not a new name, but was historically the name of the moon god.  There was also a sun god, which was feminine, who is said to have had 3 daughters with Allah.  In writing the Qur'an at one point, Muhammad begins to worship the 3 daughters of that union, then later claimed to be misled by Satan in those verses; which are commonly referred to as the "Satanic Verses".

      The presence of contradictions and perversions in the Qur'an make it possible that Islam was the result of human invention, but Muhammad would have to have been a genius to do it all.
    • The most likely explanation for the development of Islam is Satanic imitation.  When Muhammad first received these angelic visitations/revelations, he himself believed they were demonic in nature.  It is his wife who convinced him otherwise.  The tell-tale sign of Satan is that he does not tell outright lies, but mixes truth with error in order to deceive.
  • It is important to identify the enemy before you engage.  Christians are not fighting Muslims or Islam, but principalities and powers.  The Muslims are victims which need to be set free and are worthy of our compassion as any one who is deceived.
  • Christians are engaged in spiritual and not physical warfare.
  • You may expect a decidedly demonic reaction from more extreme Muslims when touching on these things.
The Christian Response to Islam
  • Christians will suffer due to Islam, but this should not be considered strange.  Jesus said to expect it.
  • The real concern of the Church should be that we are focused on saving the lost.  We can do this by keeping in mind three things: Reality, Relationship, and Righteousness.
    • Reality - The Gospel is a message of reality and truth.  This is all about a battle for truth, a battle for the mind.  Real truth is true for everybody, whether they believe it or not; it is fact not faith.  The word "love" is not in the Qur'an because Allah is not love, only Yahweh is.  This also explains the significance of the Trinity.  Love requires relationship; no one individual can be "love" on their own.  Neither is God a Father in Islam for the Qur'an states that God has no Son.  Both Allah & Yahweh cannot be real, both cannot exist.
    • Relationship - Only Christianity can offer a personal, intimate relationship with the God of Heaven.  God Himself is a relationship, and being made in His image, we are made for relationship.  God wants a relationship with us.  The barrier between God and man which prevents this relationship is sin. The Bible is the answer to God's dilemma of how to deal with a rebellious child, with justice or with mercy?  Yet God shows Himself to be absolutely just and absolutely merciful with man.  Islam provides no assurance of whether Allah will be just or merciful with them, only those who die in jihad are promised mercy.  Christianity is the only religion which offers man God's forgiveness of sin.
    • Righteousness - Islam teaches that on the day of judgment, your good deeds will be weighed against the bad deeds.  The result tells whether you are going to Paradise or Hell. Even some Christians think that you just have to do better than you do worse and you will get to Heaven.  This is far from the truth for the standard of righteousness is far higher.  God requires 100% righteousness.  We will be judged not only on our deeds, but on our thoughts and feelings.  These are not God's ideals, but His standards.  To be acceptable to God, we need to be good as God is good, holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect, and righteous as He is righteous.  There is only one way we can achieve the righteousness of God, and that is in Jesus Christ.  You cannot earn it by self effort, self-discipline, or self-improvement...  The righteousness of God is both imputed and imparted to us through Christ; you must be justified as well as sanctified.

5 comments:

  1. When I was 18 I almost married a Muslim. If it had not been for the Lord using my adopted mother and sister to pursue me and pray for me it's no telling where I would be!!! Praise Yahweh!!!!! I would've been lost forever. Now I'm married to the right man who lives and loves Yahweh and I'm so happy that Yahweh never gave up on me even in my rebellion and desperation for love and to be married. I believe so many women would leave God and His truth for the lie in exchange of love which is a false love birthed from a lie. If it wasn't for Yahweh I would have made the biggest mistake of my life. May Yah continue to bless you and your ministry as you speak the truth in love. Be blessed in the Lord.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for sharing your testimony here. God is certainly worthy to be praised for delivering us from every snare and I thank Him for bringing about your deliverance in that situation!

      Your comments reminded me of an incident when I was younger, unmarried, and didn't know the Lord. I worked in a store at a mall and one day the security guard from next door came over to speak with me. He introduced himself, so I also introduced myself and stuck out my arm to shake his hand.

      He looked down at my hand and then said to me, "I'm sorry, but I cannot shake your hand." I was immediately offended, taking his comments as some sort of slight. Then he said, "I am a Muslim and am not permitted to touch a woman unless she is my wife."

      Now, my point in sharing this is not to validate his comments as true of Islam or not. My point is this: In my flesh, that comment immediately made me feel special. It felt like he was being protective of me, giving me honor & respect. I found that quality attractive! What I didn't understand is that what he was relaying to me was bondage.

      This is the problem with a mind that is not governed by the Spirit of Christ. It perceives that which is evil as good, that which engenders bondage as being liberty (Gal. 5:1; II Pet. 2:19). The Muslim may say that he is honoring the woman by treating her like property, covering her from head to toe, and relegating her to second class status, but the reality is that he is just putting her in shackles. Women need to understand that this is not "love"; it is not a sign of respect.

      The example of a Godly relationship between a husband and wife is Jesus' relationship with His Bride. Jesus doesn't put His Bride into captivity, rather He frees her from being a captive and gives her liberty. Jesus wants others to take notice of His Bride and He sets her as an example to the world because He knows that she has discretion. He knows she is keenly aware of being a reflection of His glory and will do nothing to usurp that. He knows that she walks in and carries His Spirit (and authority), even when they are apart; therefore He can trust her.

      The law - including the Islamic law - cannot make anyone righteous. It cannot change that dirty, lust-filled, fallen nature. No amount of ritual practice, repetitive prayer, or feast day observance is going to change the sin nature. That is why we must be born again. If I am consumed by the lusts of the fallen nature, then of course I have to come down hard with an iron fist (law) against anything which might draw out that lust (i.e., having women wear burqas, women having no rights...).

      I would that women understood what true love is, as personified by our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ who died for us. THAT is the mark of a true husband, in that he lays down his life for his wife (Eph. 5:25-30).

      I don't mean to go on and on. I just feel that many women are misled in this area, perceiving these things as some mark of honor. May we all desire to be truly free - on the inside - and not just walk in a show of righteousness while carrying around dead men's bones. This can only happen in Christ.

      God Bless!

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  2. You cannot earn it by self effort, self-discipline, or self-improvement... The righteousness of God is both imputed and imparted to us through Christ; you must be justified as well as sanctified.


    I know this is basic information to you, but could you please do a segment on this statement. How does the bible explain justified and sanctified? If you have an audio to go along with this it would be much appriciated.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      By no means is this basic info for me. That which is posted on this blog reflects much of what I am learning myself as God brings me more into His truths, as He does for us all in His Body. We are all prayerfully growing to know Him more. :-)

      Please click here and take a look at the videos at the bottom of the article. The first sermon is from Min. David Pawson as he talks about the difference between the difference between justification and sanctification. The subsequent videos are from Pastor Zac Ponnen on how to live as Jesus lived.

      I hope those help!

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