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« It Was Only a Matter of Time . . . | Main | Who Said That? »

One More Time--Islam Is No Religion of Peace

mecca during haj.jpgLets cut to the chase.  Your next door Muslim neighbor is probably a meek and kindly person.  So are the Muslims I encounter here in Orange County.

But when a noted Islamic academic in the UK contends that it is perfectly just to die for what you believe--even if you do so with a bomb with nails and ball-bearings strapped to your chest in a marketplace full of innocent civilians--then should be clear to all, Islam is a religion of conquest and violence. 

So, suicide bombing is a legitimate method of engaging in Jihad?  That's the view of Dr. Azzamm Tamimi, who reminded his audience of 8000 that they were not European Muslims, but Muslims who happen to live in Europe.  No such thing as Muslims being assimilated by local culture.  Click here: Firebrand Islamic academic: 'dying for your beliefs is just' | the Daily Mail.

Such brutality is thick in Islam's history and its current practice.  If Islam is truly a religion of peace and Jihad is only the personal struggle of the faithful Muslim--as we keep hearing--why don't peaceful Muslims denounce the rabid comments of such men as Dr. Tamimi?  Their silence is deafening and telling.

Tamimi is right about one thing.  The war on terror is a war on radical Islam.  It is a war (on a national level) that we had better be prepared to fight and win.  It is war which will last a generation or more.  If not, what will the consequences be?  Oceans don't protect us from such a threat.

As for the churches of the Reformation, we had all better be learning about Islam, as well as ways to effectively preach the gospel to and engage in apologetic dialogue with our Muslim neighbors.  Who would have ever thought that foreign missions meant sharing the gospel with your Muslim neighbor in your own hometown?  The Mosque down the street from Christ Reformed has more people in attendance on Fridays than we do on Sundays. 

The irony is that twenty years ago this threat was not even on the radar.  Who would have thought that American evangelicalism would become so doctrinally wimpy as to be helpless against Islamic growth and ideology?  Seeker-centered worship and vapid felt-need oriented preaching are quickly exposed for what they are in the face of a threat like Islamic expansion.  Islam is growing and expanding in most communities in the United States, probably yours.  And what are you doing about it?

There is much work to do.  It starts with trusting in the power of God to convert the most fanatical Muslim through the means of the preached gospel.  But surely it doesn't end there.

References (1)

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Reader Comments (35)

Dr. Riddlebarger,

Could Dr. Samples' lectures on Islam during the upcoming academy be recorded on a digital camera and posted on your blog either via YouTube or .mp4 format? I think that would be a big help to those of us who live too far away.

Islamic growth and ideology seems straightforward to me: jihad - convert the infidels, kill the ones who won't convert. The Muslims I've met are meek and kindly, but everyone look up this word: taqiyya.
August 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
I'll second that request for posting of some recordings of those lectures online.
August 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDave
I am glad that Pro.Samples is teaching on Islam. They just finished I islamic Center just down the street from where I live. They are building there centers to look like the Mosac in the eastern countries. A little scarey I must say. I do not know the proper way to approach Muslims.
August 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commentertiminator
there is no question that this last point is absolutely spot on. i could not emphasize that enough, other than to repeat something i have said before: american evangelicalism, and all who are influenced by it, simply cannot sustain our sober realities, our real lives. this includes nothing less than our contemporaneous social and political troubles.

but, that said, i am wary about the preceding comments. i am wary of a narcissitic demonizing of another faith. to be sure, our christian orthodoxy is radically intolerant of any other faith. some may read that has a seed for christian "conquest and violence." but that would be a slipshod interpretation.

we set the bar low when we demonize the other guy. we should be able to allow for as noble an interpretation as possible of something like islam, because even at that it will be obliterated by the Gospel.

inasmuch as islam is certainly a religion of man it can be said that it eventually can become one of "conquest and violence." but setting it up this way is a bit straw-manish and not in the best of the christian tradition, i think. let it play itself out as nobly as possible--it will still come to nothing, don't worry. but this sad fact needs no help from us since truth is on our side.

what am i doing about it? answer: i think we need to be careful and not give in to some of our leftover evangelical zealism which dictates that every problem under the sun is every believer's (or Church's) problem to fix.

2. another answer: as pathetic as it is feeling right now and overwhelming, seeing what i can do about a solid, confessionally reformed church plant that is faithful to a historical worship that is liturgical, creedal, and sacramental. that is the answer to every problem.

August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterzrim
Howdie folks,

you may find this interesting and an encouragement and gives us hope in the midst of what is going on all around us:

Missionaries to Islam

Do you know about this website that keeps one up to date about events in the Muslim/Islamic world:

Jihad Watch

Why Jihad Watch?
"Because the West is facing a concerted effort by Islamic jihadists, the motives and goals of whom are largely ignored by the Western media, to destroy the West and bring it forcibly into the Islamic world -- and to commit violence to that end even while their overall goal remains out of reach. That effort goes under the general rubric of jihad."

I hope you do not mind me posting the links.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDouglas
My wife works in a university town and therefore they have many foreign students. Many from the asian and middle eastern countries.
So one night at the hair salon as I'm waiting for her , she has engaged this young man in conversation about the bible , Jesus and why the churches in this area seem so weak.
My wife told him that I was the one to ask ,and so I engaged this young man in conversation about the deity of Christ, the cross ,the reliability of the new testament and so on. At which point I asked if he was a muslim. He told me not a practicing one and is open to new ways of thinking. But in the converstion ,in terms of the questions I asked him , he made it clear ,that although Muslims in the west are "peaceful" to a large extent, they at the core will not condemn per se, a suicide bomber because they are still above an infidel even if misguided but more importantly he felt ,that if Islam gains a foothold and grows to influence it cannot deny its roots of violence and it will flex its muscles.
He said that most of the "christians" that he has met seemed wimpy in terms of thier beliefs and practice and I was quite different . Plus one reason he thought that attracts many african-canadians and american men to Islam is that it is very manly when compared to alot of the christian churches that seem very feminine,to which I told him I agree but I told him to focus not on the problems in this area but on the person of Christ, the cross and the resurrection and that as sinners we must repent and trust Christ. It was a facinating conversation.
There can be no doubt that as we face this century , we need godly men who will boldly and passionately, giving no quarter,declare the gospel of Christ.This will be the elixir that will stop the tide of Islam and bring glory to God . But I'm no fool , it will not be easy and one day we in the west we may face persecution we have not faced in a long time .Will we be ready ? Not if the purpose driven and emergent foolishness continue to fester inside God's church. Its time for a return to the reformation and the doctrines that changed and rescued the gospel from Rome.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterReg Schofield
I'll just throw this out there:

Even though Islam is a false and violent religion, let me suggest that the world looks very different depending on whether you wield the power (like the US and Israel do) or whether you're on the receiving end of the club.

Maybe it's true that NOTHING save the annihilation of all infidels will appease these people, but it's more likely true that the these Muslim acts of violence we see on the news aren't simply happening for no reason (and they're certainly not happening beause they "hate freedom and democracy").

No, this doesn't justify violence, but that doesn't mean there's no explanation for it.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Joseph Stellman
good points, jjs.

my point...well, i had a few. but i think we should be able to say that this sort of issue is complicated and not easily solved. and i don't think fanning fires of fear help much.

islam is certainly false. that is a slam dunk. violent? maybe. there are certainly violent muslims, just as we have our violent christians. is it inherently violent? could be. but i think we should be wary of merely accepting that sort of proposition because it is false. it always helps those who believe something to be false to also be other negative things. my main point still stands: the categories are truth versus falsehood, not how well we can slander.

August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterzrim

You should probably take a trip over to , like the poster above suggested.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
Zrim and Pastor Stellman:

While we can find a whole host of reasons as to why Islamic radicals see violence as the only means of effecting change in the Middle East (and these reasons are far more complex than current US foreign policy and Israel's way of dealing with the Palestinian question--don't kid yourselves), please don't make the mistake of assuming that if only we could figure out what these perceived injustices are and then stop them, Islam would stop spreading and that the violence preached by the radicals would end.

Islam is resurgent. Islamic ideology is resurgent. Just take a look at the works of the ayatollah Khomeini (on the Shia side) and the works of the Muslim brotherhood (on the Sunni side). Islamic end-times books sell millions of copies throughout the Muslim world--exhorting the faithful to extend the Jihad into the four corners of the earth.

Islam was resurgent before 9-1-1. Most of my Muslim neighbors moved to Orange County well before the war in Iraq began. The Mosque down the street from Christ Reformed was under construction for a number of years (before the current war), although it was completed just three years ago.

And because Islam is resurgent (for a number of reasons), Islamic expansion will continue throughout virtually every community in the United States, regardless of what happens with the war in the Middle East.

This is not about slandering them (Zrim), it is about waking up to a very serious ideological threat and challenge, which, if push comes to shove, will allow for violence under a host of political circumstances (including the unwillingness of people, especially Christians, to convert to Islam). This is Islamic ideology! This is Jihad.

It is important to realize that Islamic academics have no trouble justifying violence as a means of responding to any perceived injustice to Muslims. Notice too that the same academic cited above reminded his Muslim audience that they were not Europeans who are Muslim, but that their allegiance belongs solely to Islam, not to the countries where they live. That is as frightening as the justification of violence.

Don't for a moment think that if we remove the current reasons for Islamic violence, this problem will go away. Islam will continue to spread, and if need be, Muslim clerics and academics will find other grounds (excuses) for violence. This is the history and character of Islam.
August 24, 2006 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
I think some are missing the point. Granted in the past christians have done acts that we cannot be proud of or happy about but we must always look at those committed in ancient history and see them in thier context.
However in modern times as we have moved into a free and open society christians have condemned acts of violence as a way to punish or harm others .They are repugnant and against the gospel of Christ.
Now granted , perhaps foreign policy does not help in some ways but the young man I spoke with said that if he openly expressed his doubts concerning the Koran and was looking into the christian bible, in most area's in the middle east he would be under a threat of harm.Plus having talked to many missinaries from Mayalasia ,it was very stressful trying to bring the gospel without the ever present possibility of some form of intimidation.
Paul said clearly to the Galatians that if any one comes bearing another gospel let them be accursed and in essense any message other than the gospel of the Christ is if you will an anti-religion , against Christ.
For sure in the west,we can debate muslims within our midst and for a large part they are peaceful citizens but they have to a degree become moderate and would not be accepted in many parts of the middle east.
Plus all I think Dr.Riddlebarger was trying to make is where are the voices crying out everyday concerning the suicide bombers killing innocents. But see if they are conspiring with the west then they are as a dog , according to the young man I talked to.What should be happening in every Mosque around the world is a cry to peace and the lunatic fringe to be punished for thier acts of violence .But for that I will not hold my breath
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterReg Schofield
One last thing that I forgot to mention. When he was young , the young man was taught that all christians and jews were not to be trusted and that they were not worth anything. This was in one of the schools he attended. Now if my memory serves me right(sarcasm intended), I was taught that to hate others was wrong because they held another belief system but I was to love my eneimies and to pray for them.
Islam by nature is a religion of the sword , let no one be fooled.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterReg Schofield
it isn't my intent at all to debate or take issue with any sort of specific political ideologies concerning this contemporary issue. and isn't my intent to take an apathetic regard to any of it. my point simply is that it is a very complex set of problems. while stellman made a very valid point about which end of the club one is on, i also agree that it is probably realistic to face the fact that we have crossed a poin tof no return in many ways.

and all i am simply saying is that it is worth the effort to examine the image potentially painted by some comments of wild eyed jihadist maniacs about to come 'round the corner and eat my first born. we should be aware of chicken little like takes on our world. is there not a valid tension between being soberly aware of our world and its realities (i.e. it's a real threat and we ought not behave and think naively) and "the only way to show how serious we are is to find only violence in their ideology"?

and i am not so naive as to believe that there isn't a very real threat "out there." but i would also hope that we don't think ourselves beyond slandering. i can agree that there is potentially something resident within islam that is violent.

no, i don't think the point was missed. i think i am hearing it just fine. all i am suggesting is that wed on't do any favors by *flirting* with hysteria and caricatures.


August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterzrim
Pastor Riddlebarger,

You said that Islam is expanding globally, and raised the question "what are you doing about it?" You suggested trusting God and the preached gospel as a first step, but that the answer doesn't end there.

I often ask myself, what would Charles Martel do when faced by a Muslim resurgence? (I'm joking, partially ;))

Since that can't be the right question to ask, my question is, what should we do????
The answers I've come up with are:
1. Just accept it and be willing to suffer for your faith - the Bible said this would happen.
2. Pray for our leaders and country to snap out of this PC madness.

I think, aside from you and a few other modern day reformers, the church is devoid of leadership, and not many people in the church are addressing the problem. We're also seeing a waning will of Western governments to impose good order and discipline, especially on the new favored minority - the Muslims. Also, history doesn't seem to suggest that Muslims and Christians can live together when the Muslims take power - the Muslims, through Sharia law and dhimmitude, gradually wipe out the Christians from their society. I think historical facts about Islam and its expansion should factor into our decision making process as well. I think the sack of Constantinople in 1553 as well as examples set by the modern day Taliban and Iran should paint an accurate picture of what Islamic expansion looks like - anything else is wishful thinking.

August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
i may be inviting more fire my way but what about this:

what it may come down to is a matter of interpretation. that is to say, islam may very well be, objectively speaking, a violent and conquering religion at heart. i really don't know. so those that we might call moderates are really reading islam incorrectly.

what we are rightly afraid of is those that read islam correctly. is that what i hear here?

if so, that still doesn't dismiss the fact that there may very well be those that read it incorrectly (i.e. moderates).

so what we would want to see are those that misread it and become part of the "washed out" version of islam, the mainliners that fuse islam into a basic religion that is basically indistinguishable from any other religion of man--basically like our american evangelical or mainliner.

August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterzrim
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes..."

Our gracious Lord is calling out a peaple for Himself, even from among Muslims, though we often don't hear of it.

Consider the work of Makram Morgos, a dear Arab brother in Sudan. I have known Markram for five years, so I know these things first hand. He has faced death many times for his faith, but God is keeping him alive. One of the places Makram ministers in Kobar, a maximum security prison in Khartoum, Sudan. The conditions in the prison were so terrible (riots, brutality, etc) that the head of the prison in despair - allowed Makram and his team to go in and to preach the gospel. Many of the prisoners were hard core fundamentalist types -- those we would usually consider "hard to reach", but God has called many to faith through the faithful preaching of the gospel, and the conditions in the prison have become much different now even with Bible studies and worship services regularly conducted - even led by converts from Isalm. This work is going on now (begun in 2003)

One of the prisoners - a criminal convicted of murder - asked as his final request to see his family, and he shared the gospel with them and they also trusted Christ. The next day when he was brought to the gallows, he was calm and assured of his destiny. He died in faith. His family carried his body away singing a hymn, confident that he was with Christ, who saves sinners -- even the worst.

It is good to keep these things in mind; that the Holy Spirit truly IS calling men to faith through the preachng of the gospel-- even muslims; something to keep in mind when our polemic tone runs high.

I worked as a missionary among muslims for many years in North Africa, and could go on and on telling stories of how God is calling the most unlikley candidates to faith, but let this story from Makram suffice. Please pray for him and his dear wife Amal as they labor faithfully in Sudan.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Velis
Pastor Riddlebarger,

Thanks for your response. Trust me, I entertain no delusions of creating a peaceful Islam through political diplomacy. No argument there.

However, I find it interesting that "terror" is inevitably defined (by the powerful) as "those horrible acts that OTHERS do to US."

Would you consider Israel's indiscriminate killing of innocent Lebanese civilians with cluster bombs an act of terror?

(And that's not my assessment; Human Rights Watch, Amnesty Inetrnational, and the UN have expressed serious concern over the "war crimes" that Israel has committed over the last month.)

My only point here is that there are no good guys in all this.

Blessings brother,

August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Joseph Stellman

Thanks for the post!

Pastor Stellman,

The UN, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International all practice an Orwellian moral equivalancy that makes me cringe. I'll look for them to make accurate assessments of war crimes when pigs fly.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwalt

That's quite a broad brush you're painting with there (especially since these organizations have had some pretty harsh things to say about Hezbollah as well).

Is there anyone who criticizes America that you WOULD be willing to listen to?

Here's a definition of "terror" that I'd like your opinion on: "The calculated use of violence, or threat of violence, for religious, political, or ideological purposes." That's from the United States Army.
August 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Joseph Stellman
Pastor Stellman:

Agreed, we are all fallen and there are no good guys, not the US, not Israel. And yes, the horror of war leads to civilian deaths and other great tragedies. War is always a terrible thing and last resort.

The point here is that the US and Israel investigate when such things happen, and punish and/or reprimand those who are responsible. Muslim groups (such as Hezbollah) have no such conscience.

In fact, the very last group of people on earth I would trust to define terror and "war crimes" are the groups you just mentioned. These groups are about as unobjective (and anti-US, and even anti-semitic) as they come. If we don't get to define "terror," these ideologically left-wing groups certainly don't get to either.

Remember, this all started with Hezbollah crossing the border of a sovereign nation, Israel, (whose existence Hezbollah seeks to end) for the express purpose of kidnapping two soldiers and in the process, killed six others.

Furthermore, when did Israel ever drop "cluster bombs" on innocent civilians as an "act of terror"? Almost all of the initial reports of Israeli "terror" bombing come from Hezbollah orchestrated news coverage and upon futher investingation have largely vanished in the light of cold hard facts.

But I did see a number of Katusha rocket blasts in Israeli neighborhoods where the entire area was riddled with holes from nails and ball-bearings placed in the warhead. These are inaccurate weapons aimed directly at civilian targets for the express purpose of causing panic and disrupting commerce (and that is the definition of terrorism). And how many thousand of these did Hezbollah launch? And where have the UN, AI, and HRW, been in these cases?

Gazillions of our tax dollars go to purchase "smart weaponry" precisely because the US (and Israel) are very concerned about preventing civilian (or non-combatant) causalties. Iron "dumb bombs" are a lot cheaper and would certainly cut the defense budget. But if I could designate my tax dollars for a particular use, it would be to purchase a 2000 lb J-DAM, like the one that sent Al-Zawakari to his eternal reward.

When Hezbollah telephones all the homes in an area and warns them of an impending attack (as Israel) did, then you might have a point.

Look, I don't like the theological justification on the part of evangelicals who uncritically support Israel any more than you do. I have a real concern that American foreign policy is driven by fundamentalist eschatology.

But there is no moral equivalence whatsoever between the actions of Hezbollah and the right of Israel to self-defense against a brutal (and Islamic) attacker, funded and supplied by two Islamic nations (Iran and Syria) who seek Israel's ultimate destruction and who continually disregard the dictates of the UN.
August 24, 2006 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger

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