Tag Archives: Islam

Reverse missionaries

u-turn.jpgTypical evangelism for any religion involves someone going out at some degree of expense and risk to share what one believes to be true.  It is a pretty simple and logical concept: If you think you know the true path to forgiveness, joy, peace and eternal life and you care about others, then of course you’ll want to share the Good News.

However, some people hold the view that all religions are equally valid paths to God.  As I was reflecting on the discussions on the Jesus is still the only way thread, I was reminded that people who hold that view should have a completely different model of evangelism.  Wouldn’t it be most loving for them to send “reverse missionaries” to encourage everyone to follow their local religions?  After all, consider the persecuted people around the world who could avoid pain, suffering, economic loss, prison and even death if they just held beliefs more palatable to their culture.

For example, you’d want to send people to Christians in India to explain to them that Hinduism is just as good and that they should leave Christianity to maximize their comfort and happiness.  If you follow any organizations like Voice of the Martyrs you are probably familiar with how much Christians suffer for their faith in many parts of the world.  Why suffer like that if other religions are just as good? 

And loving universalists (those who believe everyone is going to Heaven, regardless of what they believe) should go to China to encourage people to be atheists.

What a tragedy that hundreds of thousands or even millions of Christians died unnecessarily for their faith over the centuries.  They should have just recanted, right?

What I’ve found is that religious pluralists and universalists do no such thing. They typically think their “home religion” is correct (why else would they belong to those denominations?) but are afraid to offend someone or risk rejection for sharing their view, or perhaps are unwilling to work to learn their beliefs well enough to defend them.

Of course, since I hold the view that Jesus is the one way to salvation then it is on my heart to share that with people.

What about the Crusades?! And the Inquisition?! Etc.?!

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Many critics try to use issues such as the Crusades, the Inquisition or just run of the mill hypocrisy as trump cards against Christianity.  But you shouldn’t judge an ideology based on the actions of those who violate its tenets. 

If people did the opposite of what the Bible teaches then at worst they were not Christians and at best they were, at least temporarily, bad ambassadors for Christ.  Those issues are serious, of course, but they have zero impact on whether the Bible is true and whether Jesus is the the only way to forgiveness of your sins, reconciliation with God and to eternal life. 

The same goes for other religions and worldviews: We need to understand what they really teach to judge them properly. 

When people try to dismiss Christianity by saying, “What about the Crusades?!,” this is my first reaction: I make it a habit not to apologize for things that 1) happened 1,000 years ago and 2) I didn’t do.  I’m just funny that way.

Another possible response is to say that you’ll take responsibility for the thousands of people killed by “Christians” provided that the atheists take responsibility for the one-hundred million plus killed by Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung, Hitler and others.  (It is probably best just to think that and not say it, as it probably won’t take the conversation in the direction you want to go). 

Also, if someone wants to claim that Christianity isn’t true because of bad things done in Jesus’ name, then they would need to concede that the vast number of good things done in his name would be evidence for Christianity. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean we should gloss over bad things done in Jesus’ name.  Those are serious issues and an embarrassment to Christianity.  We can respond to them and use them to express Biblical truths.

Was the Inquisition wrong?  Of course!  It is completely un-Biblical to think you can or should force someone to believe something.  When the rich young ruler walked away sadly after being told he must give up everything to follow Jesus (Matthew 19), Jesus didn’t run and tackle him.  He didn’t even offer to take half.   The text says that Jesus loved the young man, but He didn’t force him to believe.

Mainline Christian denominations have caved on important Biblical concepts regarding sexuality – easy divorce, promiscuity, abortion and various perversions.  They abandoned essentials of the faith such as the deity, exclusivity and sufficiency of Christ as well.  They have grossly misinterpreted the Bible, but that doesn’t mean Christianity isn’t true.  It means people have drifted from or abandoned Biblical teachings.  Ideally, people wouldn’t judge Christianity based on what those people do and say. 

Some “Christians” abused scriptures to justify slavery (maybe they were really Christians, and maybe not . . . that was between them and God).  But what critics typically forget is that Christians who properly interpreted scriptures, such as heroes like William Wilberforce, were the ones who helped end that type of slavery.

Yes, self-proclaimed Christians have done many bad things.  But what is the answer – that Christianity is false?  Of course not.  The answer is more Christianity, or more specifically, more authentic Christianity. 

Biblical illiteracy is part of the problem.  The more people know about what the Bible really says, the more quickly they can stop heretical movements.   

Are bad actions done in the name of Christ a problem for Christianity even if the perpetrators may not have been true Christians and the acts were un-Biblical?  In a moral sense, no.  Again, you don’t judge an ideology based on the actions of those who violate its tenets. 

But in a practical sense it is a problem for Christianity, because these issues can be a stumbling block for non-believers.  We need to be sensitive to those who were wounded by Christians (real and fake) and be prepared to explain the truth in love. 

Also see Christianity’s Real Record for a more thorough analysis.

Is your enemy’s enemy your friend?

 sword.jpgYes, there are peace loving Muslims.  I know many of them personally.  This isn’t about them, it is about the Left’s irrational ignorance of the dangers of non-peace loving Muslims. 

There is a saying that your enemy’s enemy is your friend, meaning that if a third party hates your enemy then presumably you are on the same side or at least have some important things in common.

Yet it seems the Left has taken this idea to absurd heights.  They disdain Christianity and Islam is their pet religion.   The Democrats had a Muslim Imam lead them in prayer at their winter meeting.  This guy is a real hate monger and I have yet to hear any Democrats denounce him. 

These folks don’t realize that mainline Islam hates them more than it hates conservatives and that practices in Muslim countries on nearly every issue make “extreme conservatives” look like Hillary on one of her more liberal days.  Consider the standard political and social positions in Muslim countries:

  • Pro-capital punishment (and I mean pro-capital punishment, with none of those inefficient appeals, concerns for cruel and unusual punishment, etc.)
  • Anti-abortion.  If you try opening a Planned Parenthood in Saudi Arabia the government would perform a 137th trimester abortion on you.  Yet Liberals think pro-lifers are anti-women (even though most of the pro-lifers I know are women . . . go figure) just for wanting women to be informed of medical risks before having abortions. 
  • Anti-gay  – While most orthodox Christians I know take a live-and-let-live approach to homosexuals (i.e., be friendly to all, but push back when it is getting crammed down our throats via public school indoctrination and government recognition of same-sex unions), Islam has a different approach: Kill them.  Now.
  • Muslims are the poster children for misogyny and chauvinism, yet the Left thinks Christians are holding women back?!  The Jimmy Carter-types of the Christian theological left have the audacity to criticize the Apostle Paul as being anti-women yet they are strangely silent on Islam.   
  • Heavy duty violence, torture, mayhem, etc. seems out of place with the pacifist leanings of the Left.  I think they actually believe that if Osama had nukes on 9/11 that he wouldn’t have used them.
  • The Left worships tolerance (albeit their backwards form of the word) and Islam is by far the least tolerant world religion. 
  • How about “separation of church and state?”  (I’m still trying to find that in the Constitution . . . it must be in there somewhere).  I laugh out loud over those claiming that Bush is trying to institute a theocracy. (He is?  Really?  Then he’s doing a horrible job of it.)  But meditate on Sharia law for a while and the fact that “separation of church and state” is a foreign concept in Muslim nations. 
  • How about free speech?  Consider what has happened in Europe.  Remember the cartoon episode, Theo Van Gogh and Ayann Hirsi Ali, among others. 
  • Public demonstrations are just a little different in Muslim countries.  Think you’d get away with spray-painting the capitol building in Iran?  Go ahead and try.  I’ll wait here.

Here’s some friendly advice for Liberals who loathe Christianity and therefore think Islam must be OK: Wake up.  They are just using you. 

The cartoon here says it well.