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"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
The REVEILLE EQUIPPER Third Quarter 2006, Vol. 10 No. 3
- Feature: Think and Pray for Terrorists
- News Analysis: Rosie Equates Radical Christians and Muslims
- News Analysis: Pope's Comments Inflame Muslims
- News: Air Force Chapel Conducts Missions
- Profile: Opinion Survey of British Muslims
- Resource: Muslim Messiah Looks Like Antichrist
- Resource: Curriculum Links End Times to Missions
- Resource: DVD Links Muslim and Nazi-Like Antisemitism
- Opportunity: Consultation on GWOT and Muslim Ministry
by John Marion, Director, Truth for Muslims (www.TruthForMuslims.com)
Shadowy Zealots are investing great resources into planning and executing acts of violence on a mass scale. Their intentions to manipulate public policy through the resulting fear and confusion is called terrorism.
How Should ChristiansFirst. . .
Think and Pray
Terrorism is a great evil. It springs from spiritual darkness which has its roots in sinful human nature, and Muslim terrorists find safe haven among many who are following Islam.
Islam denies that Jesus is God or was crucified and is risen. The Bible calls this denial of the person and work of Jesus Christ the "spirit of the antichrist" (1John 4:1-3). Although Islam is not the only ideology denying the person and work of Christ, in order to assess spiritual realities for effective prayer we must understand that it is diametrically opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Second. . .
Muslim terrorists are trapped in this "antichrist" system. Muslims are those who follow the example and teachings of Mohammed, the founder of Islam. Muslim terrorists justify their acts of terror with specific examples from Mohammad's life and teaching. They are victims of the very fear and confusion which they themselves spread.
Third. . .
The state as the institution ordained by God to "bear the sword" for the purpose of justice (Romans 13:4), has a divine responsibility to stop terrorists with violence. Christians should be involved in the government, but when they participate in war and law enforcement in pursuit of justice they do so as agents of the government and not of the church.
- Fourth. . .
The church does not "bear the sword." It speaks prophetically and without violence as a conscience to hold the government accountable to its God given responsibility. And it intercedes as Jesus taught (Matthew 6:10) that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Therefore. . .
The actions of the military and law enforcement do not represent the fullness of response which God expects of his people and the church. In other words, if the body of Christ responds to Muslim terrorism by only participating in the actions of the government, then it fails in its responsibility at this crucial time.
So what can Christians do?
How can the Church respond?
What is the role of the body of Christ?
Every Christian can Pray.
Some can do more, but everyone can pray. Here are some ways that Christians can pray about Islamic terrorism and pray for Muslim terrorists.
- One. . .
Since the government has the responsibility to bear the sword, Christians should pray that God would grant success in pursuing justice by tracking down and catching terrorists. Such pursuit is physically and spiritually dangerous, so Christians can pray for those risking their lives and those working hard behind the scenes to promote justice against evil doers.
- Two. . .
Since Islamic terrorism is designed to cause fear and confusion, Christians should pray that God will counter with gifts of courage and wisdom.
- Three. . .
Since Muslim terrorists are trapped in spiritual darkness, Christians should pray that God will open their hearts and minds to truth and light. How many are praying for Osama bin Laden and other Muslim terrorists? The New Testament tells about a terrorist named Saul of Tarsus who was dramatically changed when he met Jesus Christ. I personally know a number of former Muslims who fought for the Islamic cause. They, and many others in our generation, are now our brothers and sisters in Christ!
Finally. . .
prayer is not the role of the government. It is up to us as the body of Christ to pray about terrorism and for the Muslim terrorists.
The complete brochure from which this article is taken, "Islamic Terrorism and Muslim Terrorists: A Prayer Guide for Christians," is on line at www.TruthForMuslims.com. Permission is granted to duplicate this brochure without changes.
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News and Analysis:When defending her position on "The View" that Americans have no business combating Islamofacist ideology in Afghanistan and Iraq, Rosie O'Donnell drew applause with her remark, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam."
Christians Can Take Consolation in Rosie's Comparison
"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam."
To activists for gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and late term abortion, Christians who embrace the Bible's literal language and vote their convictions actually are more threatening than Muslims who oppress women, behead captives, threaten Israel, and conduct genocide in Darfur. Proximity trumps intensity. The burglar coming through your window creates more anxiety than the serial killer across town. This principle of perspective – in which near objects appear larger than distant ones – explains why hatred for Bush, an Evangelical Christian, exceeds loathing for terrorists so that indiscretions at Abu Graib receive more outrage than beheadings of captives.
Activist Christians who are deeply disturbed by Rosie's assertion, audience applause, and ABC complicity can console themselves with widespread opposition to this war. The day that gay and abortion activists and their sympathizers in the press and entertainment industry wholeheartedly support global war on terrorists will be dark for Christians who presently constitute an equal threat.
What will they want done to radical Christians when radical Muslims become fair game?
Western progressives perceive two enemies – one within and one without. By denying the dangers of radical Islam they can fixate on defeating Evangelical Christianity. Creating sympathy for the enemy outside helps them focus on the one inside.
Part of helping Americans respond to the threat of radical Islam involves exposing this kind of distortion present in our own culture war.
Rosie has said out loud what many people think. Her perspective coincides with a general lack of enthusiasm for confronting the genocidal version of Islam. Rosie wants so badly to believe that fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims are the same that she must treat them the same regardless of evidence and circumstances. Treating Muslims and Christians differently implies that fundamental differences exist between fundamentalists. I hate to imagine what it might take for Rosie to embrace war against radical Islam without simultaneously embracing war against radical Christians?
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News and Analysis:
by John Piper, used with permission
© Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email: mail@desiringGod.org. Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.
Pope Inflames World's Muslims
And How Should Christians Respond?
Those were the words of Sheikh Abubakar Hassan Malin to a gathering of Muslims in Mogadishu on Friday, September 15, 2006."Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim."
On Saturday, Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five Christian churches in the West Bank and Gaza.
On Sunday, September 17, in London, outside Westminster Cathedral, Anjem Choudary addressed a demonstration and said that those who insulted Islam "should be subject to capital punishment."
These were among the reactions to a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg University, in Germany on Tuesday, September 12.
Perhaps connected to the speech was the murder on Sunday in Mogadishu of sixty-six-year-old Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian Catholic nun serving as a nurse in a children's hospital.
In the speech, the pope was addressing the foundation of the secular university. The subject was faith and reason. He was arguing that the foundation of the university, and the spread of truth and faith, lay in the rationality of God.
He asked, "Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?"
He answers, "I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek, in the best sense of the word, and the biblical understanding of faith in God."
In other words, the pope is arguing that the university, and all people, have an obligation to act in accordance with reason, because reason is rooted in God.
At this point, he brought in a discussion of the difference between Islam and Christianity on the relationship between God and reason.
Christianity, he argues, sees reason as rooted in God. But, citing a noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, he says that "Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that [in Islam] God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry."
This, he implies, disconnects God and reason and opens Islam to a use of violence in spreading their faith that is not governed by reason. He cites Sura 2:256 from the Qur'an, where Mohammed says that there is no compulsion in religion. Then he draws attention to the later developments in the Qur'an by quoting the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus in 1391 in Ankara (today's capital of Turkey).
The emperor apparently said that Mohammed taught that one could "spread by the sword the faith he preached." Then the pope said, "The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable.
Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. . . . God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. . . . To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death. . ."
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature.
These references to the role of reason in Islam, and the apparent endorsement of violence (in parts of the Qur'an) as a way of spreading Islamic faith, have outraged Muslims and sparked violence and calls for violence.
Subsequently, the pope said, "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought."
How should Christians respond to this situation?
I will suggest ten responses that flow from the Bible.
One. . .
Admit that the Christian church has often been too entangled with civil governments, with the result that violence has been endorsed by the church as a way of accomplishing religious, and not just civil, goals. The Crusades, for example, stand as a monument to collective Christian blindness to the teaching of Jesus. We should make every effort today to avoid political alignments between the Christian church and any civil government or political party. (See my article, "Tolerance, Truth-Telling, Violence, and Law" in the Resource Library at www.desiringgod.org.)
Two. . .
Make clear that the use of God-sanctioned violence between Israel and the nations in the Old Testament is no longer God's will for his people. The coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as a suffering servant, rather than a warlord, and his gathering of a people from all nations rather than only one, are two of the many reasons why the Christian church today should not—and almost universally does not—endorse or use violence to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Three. . .
Admit that there are many Muslims today who do not approve of violence in the spread of Islam. Admittedly, to many of us in the West, their number seems small and their voice seems muted by the reputation of the more violent strains of Islam. We do not know how large that segment of Islam is.
Four. . .
Point out how Islam, in its most sacred writings and authoritative teachings, belittles Jesus Christ, not just occasionally in the news, but constantly by its dominant claims. Islam denies that Jesus Christ was and is God, a central truth of the New Testament and the Christian church (John 1:1-3; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8). Dominant streams of Islam deny that Jesus died on the cross and therefore deny that the claim that his death atones for sin and propitiates the wrath of God is true (1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Romans 3:21-26; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). Therefore, defenders of Islam daily defame Jesus Christ and insult the glory of his gospel.
Five. . .
Point out that, in response to this constant defamation of Jesus Christ, there are no public threats or demands for apologies. This is not because we do not love Jesus above all things, or because we have no zeal for the glory of his name. It is because he told us to expect this (Matthew 10:25; John 15:20) and then modeled for us how to react: "When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:23).
Six. . .
Do good to those who hate you — and, of course, those of other faiths who don't hate you (Luke 6:27). This is not because Christians do not believe in vengeance. We simply believe that it is not ours to give. And this age is not the time to give it. This is an age of mercy and patience and forgiveness toward those who malign the King of the universe. He will have his Day of Wrath. But we are too sinful to be entrusted with that righteous judgment. Rather, we should obey the words of the New Testament: "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it iswritten, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head'" (Romans 12:19-20).
Seven. . .
Seek to win others to saving faith in Jesus by persuading with words, not imposing with force. This was the way the gospel spread among many religions in the early centuries of the Christian church. The earliest teachers said, "Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others" (2 Corinthians 5:11). When the New Testament speaks of the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17) or "the weapons of our warfare" (2 Corinthians 10:4), it clearly means the word of God and power of spiritual persuasion.
Eight. . .
Always be ready to die, but never to kill, for the sake of commending Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for sinners and rose again as the Lord of the universe. Jesus promises to triumph through our accepting suffering, not our causing suffering. He died to save all who will believe—from every nation and religion. He calls us to follow him on this Calvary Road. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24). This is not the death of a suicide-murderer. This is the death of one who loves his enemies and, as he dies, prays, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34), and, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:60).
Nine. . .
Pray for the salvation of all those who belittle Jesus Christ. Pray that they would put their faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins so that if anyone — from any nation or any religion — would embrace him as Lord and Savior and Treasure of their lives, they would be saved from the guilt of sin and the wrath of God. They would have eternal life and joy. This is the way the great apostle Paul prayed: "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved" (Romans 10:1).
Ten. . .
No matter the cost, continue to exalt and commend Jesus Christ as the great and only Savior that he is. Say with the apostle Paul, "It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." The day will come when every knee will bow to Jesus as Lord and as God (Philippians 2:10-11). Until that day comes, affirm with Paul: "I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).
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Air Force Chapel Conducts Real World Missions
On June 4, 2005 a group of 24 from Keesler Air Force Base set out on a journey that would impact their lives forever.
The team of various Air Force personnel included a chaplain, two pilots, a doctor, two orthodontists, an air traffic controller, a videographer, friends and family members.
This mission was like no other. They weren't going to Iraq or Afghanistan to fight a war on terror. Instead they were going to Hondurus to help build a technical training facility for an orphanage and share their very lives with a group of people they had never met.
Most military chapels don't have missions programs, but in 2003 Chaplain Harvel challenged his congregation to go beyond themselves to be a blessing to others around the world.
Since then the Keesler chapel community has sent over 125 people on mission trips to Honduras, the Philippines, the Navajo nation, and the inner city of New Orleans. This was the chapel's second mission to Honduras.
Before the trip Bryan remarked. "I met everybody here through a Perspectives class we took on global missions. And it just so happened that this trip was coming up right after the Perspectives class ended. I have a heart for missions so I'm excited in that regard, but also just for the opportunity to work in an orphanage and to help children down there and to be part of the work that's going on in Honduras."
The chaplain said, "Here in Honduras they're asking for our prayers and they're asking for our partnership. They want to partner with us so that we can work together for the kingdom. They consider us in America to be wealthy beyond imagination. And they are so thankful that we come here and we invest ourselves in their kingdom work among their own indigenous people in their own villages. And it just boggles their mind that we would even do this."
Afterwards Gary reported, "We had wonderful opportunities to connect with the Honduran people. The daily rains ensured that there was time for us to develop friendships with the orphan children and the Honduran construction workers. In the evenings we were able to reach out to children and adults all around the area. Often we were invited to share our testimonies and one of our team members was even invited to preach at two different church services. The Honduran people certainly welcomed us and were very eager to listen to us talk about Jesus and share stories about America and our lives.
Aaron said, "This mission has really been an eye-opening experience. It's made me realize that I do care about other people quite a bit. It's going to shape the way that I minister to people back home. It's going to give me a new heart for ministry. It's going to make me take advantage of the opportunities that God provides."
Gary concluded, "We thought that we were going to go to Honduras to give the people of Honduras something. And we did. We made significant progress towards completing the technical training school at the orphanage. But in reality it was we who were changed the most. We are the ones who received so very much through our time spent with the beautiful people of Honduras."
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Opinion Survey of British Muslims
from "The Spread of Home Grown Terror" National Review Online, 11 Aug 06
survey conducted by NOP Research
Opinion Statement Agreement 9/11 was a conspiracy by American and Israeli governments. 45% The 7/7 London bombings were justified because of support for the USA. 25% Britian is my country. 25% Britain should be under Sharia law. 30% Britain should become a fundamentalist Islamic state. 28% The publishers of the Mohammed cartoons should be punished. 68% British people who insult Islam should be punished. 68% Speech that offends religious groups shold not be protected. 62% SUMMARY: Percent found to be "hardcore Islamists" 9% Percent found to be "staunch defenders of Islam" 29%
What's remarkable in this survey of British Muslims is . . .
- not the one in four who justify the bus bombings in London
- but the three in four who do not;
- not the two in three who want to censor free expression
- but the one in three who do not;
- not the one in three longing to be under Muslim law;
- but the two in three who are not.
The daunting challenge for Osama bin-Laden and his Taleban lies in converting the third of British Muslims supporting free expression and the two-thirds not supporting Sharia law.
Are terrorist tactics of fear and intimidation combined with the British and American global response attracting British Muslims to the fundamentalist cause? Time and changes in these statistic will eventually tell.
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Resource Review:While Bible prophecy encourages Christians to endure hardship as they eagerly await Jesus' second coming, Qur'anic apocalyptic literature reinforces a triumphalistic perspective that encourages militancy. The text below, which is transcribed from a streaming video posted at www.HarunYahya.com, reveals disturbing correlations between the awaited Mahdi and expected Antichrist. The video is based on a book by Harun Yahya titled, The End Times and the Mahdi.
Muslim Descriptions of Their Mesiah Match Antichrist
The end times: according to Islam, this concept represents a time near to doomsday when Qur'anic morality will come to prevail over all the world.
The prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) has described it in considerable detail in his Haddiths, that is his sayings. After the prophet a number of great Islamic scholars have given further accounts of the subject. All of these reveal that the end times will contain a number of consecutive events.
In the first stage of the end times, the world will become degenerate because of a number of philosophical systems that deny God. Mankind will move away from the purpose behind its creation, leading to a terrible spiritual emptiness and moral collapse.
In the wake of great disasters, wars and suffering, mankind will seek the answer to just one question. Where does salvation lie?
At that very moment of despair, God will charge a spiritual entity to call mankind out of the chaos and on to the true path, the Mahdi. The word means, "he who leads people to the truth."
According to the prophet's sayings, the Mahdi will first wage a struggle in the Islamic world, and return those Muslims who have broken away from the essence of Islam back to true belief and morality.
He will have three basic tasks at this point. The overthrow of philosophical systems that deny God and support atheism, putting an end to practices that are not part of the religion but are portrayed as being so, and the revealing and implementation of true Islamic morality based on the Qur'an – starting with his own nation and moving on to strengthen the entire Islamic world in political and social terms, establishing peace, well being, and security, and resolving social problems.
The progression in the end times was described in some detail by the prophet Muhammad in the Haddiths one thousand four hundred years ago and in the works of various Islamic scholars. In addition, in our time, the portents of the end times are actually coming about one after the other. . . . This succession of all the events described hundreds of years ago in just the way that they were described foretells the coming of the Mahdi in no uncertain terms.
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Bible Study Curriculum Predicts Missionary Future
Vision For the Nations Biblical * Historical * Cultural * Strategic Perspective on Global Evangelization A Multi-Media Bible Study Curriculum Available from William Carey Library, 1-866-732-6657
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DVD Links Radical Muslims with Nazi-Like Antisemitism
Using their own words and their own television broadcasts, this feature length DVD documents the gravest threat to Western civilization since Adolf Hitler. Remarkable similarities in tactics (indoctrinating the youth) and agenda (exterminate the Jews) demonstrate how the spirit which animated the Nazis remains alive and well. Even the cartoons and conspiracy theories are unchanged. Just like so many ignored and appeased Hitler's rise to power, popular opinion is ignoring and appeasing radical Islam. Moderate Muslims are as powerless against Islamofacism as moderate Germans were against Nazism. Every soul in America needs to process the contents of this documentary.
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Naaman Initiative Consultation Fall 2006Hear How Muslims Are Coming to Christ
And How the GWOT Is Affecting Ministry to Muslims
White Sulphur Springs OCF Retreat Center, 30 November 2006
Special Guest: Samer
Once a promising youth in the Iraq's Baath party, Samer has insider experience on multiple continents of the religious and political conflicts in and around Islam.
As an Islamic Ministries Specialist with Avant Ministries, Samer advises NGOs and officers at the Army's Command and General Staff College on terrorism and Muslim culture with the unique perspective of a Muslim background believer.
Meetings begin at 0900 and end at 1600 on Thursday, 30 November 2006. Register not later than 17 November 2006 by contacting Operation Reveille.
The Reveille Equipper
Volume 10, Number 3 - Third Quarter 2006
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