December 18, 2017

“What if this was what Muslims thought of Christians?”

To say the least, it has been an interesting week for the West and its relationship with Islam.

Friend of iMonk Michael Bell sent this to us the other day. It was written by a friend with a ministry to Muslims in North America.

The Islamic holy days of Ramadan ended Friday, and here is a timely reminder of how we can show Christ’s love to our Muslim neighbors and how that might make a difference. The author’s name has been withheld because of the sensitive nature of their ministry.

“Can I walk with you?” she asked.

This afghan lady had taken a gift basket last Christmas, but never warmed to the gospel.
She never returned our calls.
Never wanted to visit.
Seemed like a dead end.
What could she want now?

As we strolled to school she unexpectedly poured out her heart.
Her family struggles.
Her confusion.
Her pain.

At the end of the stroll she turned and said “Thank you. I knew you would pray for me”

What if this was what Muslims thought of Christians.
What if they didn’t think of Quran burnings or troops invading.
What if this was the message we sent to the Muslim world:

That we are praying for them.
That we love them.
That Jesus loves them and will answer them if they cry out to him to save them.

Today, we are experiencing the climax in a crescendo of religious furor.
The end of Ramadan.
Threats of Quran burnings.
Mosque building plans.
Eid celebrations.

But will the church pray today?
Will you pray for them tomorrow?
Join with us and cry out to God for this lady who believes that we are people of prayer?

Wherever you are.
Whatever you are doing.
Take time to pray.

Reprinted with permission The Jesus Network – www.jesusnetwork.ca

Comments

  1. I’m glad you brought this up. It has been a difficult week, as you’ve suggested, for Christian-Muslim relations.

    On a related matter:
    The week before, peace was being discussed as direct talks opened between Israel and the Palestinians. I had asked the question on a medical professional’s forum (social concerns section) if people thought peace in the middle east was possible. It is interesting (though not surprising) that the vast majority thought not.

    Several chimed in as “Christians” that peace was not possible and more and more wars will come between the west and the near east. Of course they are speaking out of the eschatological side of their brains (far removed from the rational part and very, very far removed from the compassion and love part).

    When it comes to relations between Christians and Muslims (or Arabs, both Muslim and Christian) Jimmy Carter is my kind of Christian. He believes in peace not in spite of his Christianity, but because of it. The same is true for loving the Arabs. I expect myself to love them . . . because I’m a Christian. True love is not saying it, but living it. That means listening to their personal stories, praying for them as Michael Bell illustrated. Seeing them as people created in God’s image now just some sub-human pawns in a great Hal Lindsay chest board..

    I will hush before I say more (I was a missionary in the Muslim world in a previous life).

    • Few things frustrate me as much as the American Christian response to Israel.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope that the current peace talks will actually lead to peace. Israel has no intention of compromising and never has.

      • When I lived in the Middle East, a Lebanese missionary (to Muslims) told me that the number one barrier that Muslims have to even listening to the gospel, is that American Christians fully support injustices towards Arabs. Therefore, the gospel made no sense to them. I think he was right.

        I do believe that peace is possible. I also lean in the post-mil direction (not dogmatically though so I certainly respect those who don’t), so I think the Church can bring redemption to just about any part of this world.

      • And If they compromised, they would be giving land away that was given to them in a covenant by God.

        I don’t know which way you meant that comment about Israel’s intentions, Marie. I can’t tell if we agree or disagree.

        God’s blessings…

        • I think the concept that Israel must be a nation once again and they are entitled to all the land of the original covenant is a relatively new thinking within Church history. I may be wrong, but if you go back and explore the pre-19th century thinking of people such as Edwards, Calvin, Luther and then continue backwards you would see a very different perspective on Israel.

          However, the bottom point is (in my humble opinion) when any theological position held intellectually, bears fruit with injustice, cruelty, hate and violence . . . one has to start to question that theological position. It is back to the notion of how can we claim to love a God whom we don’t see, while hating and abusing the people, whom he created, whom we do see.

          I feel no less compassion for the Jewish people and the injustices which they have endured.

          • The land covenant with Israel doesn’t change.

            “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'”

            This verse is found in Exodus.

            The key word in the verse is “forever.”

          • A few questions arise Chris.

            1.God kept kicking them out of the land for not following him.
            2. His son was rejected. (Wouldn’t this be an example of #1 above? Does this impact the inheritance?)
            3. A bit of a side note: The Hebrew language does not have a really well defined concept of forever.

          • Dear Michael,

            Your first two points relevance would depend upon the meaning of “forever.”

            On #3. Your point is well taken, and I would expect an interesting Hebrew concept, since this world is passing away.

            Not being a Hebrew scholar, my guess would be that it would mean until this world as we know it passes away.

            Maybe a Hebrew scholar will weigh in on the subject.

        • FollowerOfHim says:

          I’d blogged about this elsewhere (waaaaayyy too extensively) recently, so it’s on the tip of my frontal lobe. A few basic points I emphasized include the following:

          1) Paul said in Galatians that “all who believe are descendents of Abraham”. Taken literally alongside a non-spiritualized understanding of the promise of the land, it SHOULD then follow that goys like me should get a slice of the Jordan Valley too, since, as a Christian, I’m a now descendent of Abraham too. This thought has occurred to no Christian Zionist in the history of the world.

          2) Who is a Jew? Christian Zionism seems to say that Jews who convert to Christianity are still Jews. Your local rabbi thinks otherwise. Similarly, it is possible to convert to Judaism, even Orthodox Judaism. Is the promise of the land also to these converts? Christian Zionists don’t consider either phenomenon seriously because their understanding of Judaism is divorced from any post-Biblical aspect of that faith apart from the Holocaust.

          3) Jesus’ last words in Acts were in answer to a question about the temporal kingdom of Israel. He blew them away by telling them instead to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. Christianity got its start precisely by transcending this literal promise of the land, and I’m here to say so now.

          4) Christian Zionism ignores the indigenous Christianity of the Holy Land. It just doesn’t occur to them to think about it. The Land is more important than the Gospel.

          5) Ancillary point: Christian Zionists never talk about investing actual money in the red-hot, cutting-edge Israeli economy. I have no explanation for this fact. It’s actually quite bizarre. It appears that Israel is just supposed to be a permanent American charity case, poor-$200-billion-GDP-things.

          I don’t want to give the impression I think that Christian Zionists are bad people; their “anti-anti-Semitism” is well worth celebrating. The emphasis on the land, however, has nothing to do with the Gospel and, when taken too far, can too often constitute another Gospel. Pax.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope that the current peace talks will actually lead to peace. Israel has no intention of compromising and never has.

        It’s become a blood feud between two Semitic tribes, and there’s only one way those end.

        An inheritance blood feud. For a literally Cosmic-level estate. Who are the true heirs of God’s promises to Abraham? Islam through Ishmael by Hagar or Israel through Isaac by Sarah?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Few things frustrate me as much as the American Christian response to Israel.

        You mean what the original Internet Monk called “Grinning Apocalyptism”?

  2. “At the end of the stroll she turned and said “Thank you. I knew you would pray for me.”

    This is the goal: to show them the love of Jesus and to pray for their salvation.

    “What if they didn’t think of Quran burnings or troops invading.”

    I wish the author had left out “troops invading.”

    I was against the “invasion” into Iraq originally.

    I now have mixed feelings of that “invasion.”

    I’ve seen pictures of Iraqis with purple fingers.

    I believe that, if I had been an Iraqi, I would have been very relieved to have Saddam’s regime disappear.

    Maybe there’s a Muslim in Iraq somewhere thinking, “I knew you would fight and die for me.”

    Do the Muslims know that Bibles, the Holy Book of Christians, were burned by the American military on their behalf last year in Afghanistan? Do they know about the reaction of the few Christians who knew about the Bible burning? Do they know how those Christians reacted with bewilderment but understanding?

    I think the main point is correct, prayer is the answer.

    The verdict is still out, in my mind now, on the “invasion.” The author’s words are less effective with the inclusion of what I’m guessing means the Iraqi War.

    • Do you have a link to anything written about the bible burning in Afghanistan? I would love to read about that.

        • Chris, this is a completely different situation than the Koran burning pastor. One is the U.S. military preventing their soldiers from proselytizing (VERY good strategy if we have any interest at all in combating terrorism) and the other is a spitefull pastor trying to piss off some Muslims to “prove” that they’re violent. Completely different motives, completely different situation.

          • Dear Marie,

            I completely agree with you. The circumstances are different.

            My point is:

            In both cases, books that were Holy to different people were burned.

            Bibles were burned and there was no publicity.

            No matter what the circumstances, if the holy book of Muslims is burned, the world media shows up in droves.

            I find that to be inequitable.

            Another thought…

            I could only hope that the Muslim world would react to Bible burnings the way Christians in America reacted to the plans of the pastor in Florida.

            God’s blessings…

          • If the Army or anyone else expected the media to show up in masse and castigate the Army for burning Bibles, they have no idea how publicity or media relations works.

            Where are all the Christians protesting the Bible-burning? It seems to me that some Christians are happy to see Scripture burned, because then it gives them an excuse to defend burning the Koran.

        • “Flag burning” is practically a codeword for unpatriotic desecration of the flag. Yet

          US Flag Code. TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > Sec. 8(k). It states:

          “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”

          If Bibles are to be destroyed, burning or burying are 2 ways to do so reverently that will prevent the book from being desecrated by contact with household garbage, etc. A Jewish poster explained once that she would not write the word God even on-line lest it be printed out and contaminated in some way.

          http://www.wikihow.com/Properly-Dispose-of-a-Bible

  3. Prodigal Daughter says:

    Beautiful. Shalom. Thank you for posting.

  4. This was eloquent in its simplicity. There are many voices in Islam. If we can somehow listen beyond the loudest and most violent, we can perhaps hear those small voices crying out for love and the meaning in life that only Jesus supplies. As believers, we need a turning point away from brooding over the religious fault line, realizing that the billions of dollars expended to combat Islamic terrorism pale in comparison to what God can do to change hearts. Instead of issuing our own counter-Fatwas, we would do much better on our knees in prayer.

  5. This sounds great….no more unnecessary invasions of sovereign nations….but……

    To put the burden of the war on terror on the backs of Christians shows an ignorance of politics and foreign policy and plain old lazy thinking on the issue.

    • Are you saying that arguing against invasions of sovereign nations shows ignorance of foreign policy and lazy thinking or that it’s not the Christians’ fault that we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan?

      If it’s the first, I have to disagree. The worst thing we can do to combat terrorism is invade another foreign country. It’s like free recruiting for terrorists.

      If it’s the second, I still partially disagree. Unfortunately some of the most vocal war-hungry people that I know are Christians. And I even study international security. I will never forget the day we invaded Iraq in 2003, I was a youth leader then and the youth pastor said in front of the entire youth group that night “we’re going to war! Let’s go kill some Iraqis!” and led the entire room in a cheer. It was horrifying, depressing, and is still one of my worst memories of church (and I have some bad memories). I’d say Christians in this country share A LOT of the blame for America’s invasions.

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Maria,

        I agree with many of your points above (especially about the reprehensible nature of the youth group leader’s cheering comments), but what do you mean, when you write that “Christians in this country share A LOT of the blame for America’s invasions”? Do you believe that the Bush administration invaded Iraq largely because of what “Christians in this country” supposedly think?

      • Marie, what I’m saying is that it’s stupid to blame all Christians or even the majority of Christians for the fight in Iraq. I wish that one line above was nuanced a little more.

        We aren’t there because of Christians, we’re there because of a bad blueprint for how the world should look, courtesy of warhawks like Cheney and Kristol.

        Some of those in favor of the war were Christians, some of those against it were Christians.

        But to blame all/most Christians or Christianity itself with the Iraq war is the kind of broad brush thinking that would be condemned on this very blog if it were suggested that all muslims are responsible for 9/11……

  6. Prodigal Daughter says:

    Dale,

    That’s a whole other conversation that entails deconstructing the American national religion also known as “Nationalianity” or “Americanilism”, which is basically a bastardized version of Christianity. Pardon my French.

  7. Chris Moellering says:

    Ultimately, I agree. We should pray for the lost, not matter which quagmire they are lost in.

    Do I give a flip about Muslim sensitivity and how we are perceived? Not really. I spent a year in Iraq being beat over the head about how we came across to the Iraqis and being sensitive. Guess what, some of them (not all of them) still lobbed rockets into the compound I was living on and tried to kill us indiscriminately. Some of them still emplaced IEDs on roadsides that killed some of my fellow Soldiers.

    Maybe I’m jaded by my experience. I pray for peace. I prayed for peace in Iraq. I prayed for the insurgents who tried to kill me.

    But they–lots and lots, not all, Muslims hate us. They are taught to. The west is seen as evil and decadent. (Can’t totally argue.)

    Some leader of a group of 50 people in Florida made national news because he wanted to burn some books. We’re all scared that someone might get hurt.

    Guess what, they are going to continue to try to hurt people until they’re dead or we’re dead. The last 1400 years of history testify to that pretty well.

    I’m sure I’m stepping on toes and rattling cages. I’m just tired of burying fellow Soldiers who are doing their best to “be nice” and rebuild these third-world dumps but keep getting killed doing it.

    • I appreciate the article written here.

      During an adult Sunday School class at a Southern Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida, I won’t give more detail than that, I heard the Sunday School teacher refer to the people of Iraq as Ragheads. I was stunned. I didn’t go back to that church.

      Where did the love of Christ go? When did our CHRIST-ianity get confused/overlaid/replaced with Nationalism?

      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

      If a foreign power set up a camp in this part of America, I guarantee you that force would be resisted by the folks of Madison County, Florida.

      The Military War Machine does not care what the issues are or who the people are that die, “ours or theirs”. They just want to keep the money rolling in. (Hope that wasn’t too far off thread.)

      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    • “I’m just tired of burying fellow Soldiers who are doing their best to “be nice” and rebuild these third-world dumps but keep getting killed doing it.”

      I think many Iraqis are tired of burying their family members who:

      1) happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time
      2) were trying to defend their country from foreign invaders
      3) were mistaken as an insurgent simply because they were a military-aged male

      I understand your frustration, you lived through extremely difficult circumstances that no human should have to live through. Can you not also understand theirs?

    • Chris,
      I drank that same Kool-Aid forty years ago when I served in Vietnam. When i returned home, I could have written your comment, with just a change in location.

      Now all these years later and all of these American wars later (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Haiti, Panama, Granada, Bosnia, and on and on) I have come to realize why people in other countries hate us, and I believe religion has little to do with it. America is no longer a “Christian Country”, we are a capitalists country on an everlasting war economy.

      It took a long time and a lot of searching in church and in the Bible for me to admit I was on the wrong side of Christ when I served in the Marines. Today I feel good about praying for the Vietnamese people, and the people in all the countries we have attacked…no matter what religion they may belong to.

      • You must be young, dude. A “war economy” is what we had during WWII, when there was rationing and mandatory recycling. When the DOD is 5% of the budget, that ain’t no war economy.
        As for “why they hate us”, Al Qaeda’s spiritual father, Sayyid Qutb, spent 2 years in the US right after WWII, and left hating us. Before all the wars you mention. Had EVERYTHING to do with religion.
        I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who fled the Communists on rickety boats or via Cambodian swamps would agree that the Vietnam war was evil. Or maybe not.

        • Defense spending is somewhere between 20% and 36% of the budget, more if you take out trust funds like social security. The US spends HALF of the world’s total military spending. If that’s not a war economy, I’m not sure what is. Our economy is driven by war and defense spending, with a lot of that being corporate welfare funneled to large corporations.

    • Chris Moellering says:

      Let me clarify my post, because I think some are reading into things that I did not intend.

      I’m tired, not because I see our current conflicts as pointless. I have some questions about why we are in Iraq. But that’s a topic for another thread.

      I’m tired because no one (or not very many) want to address the elephant in the room. If Muslims follow the Koran, they are obligated to try to take over the world, by force, for Allah. I’ve read the book. I’ve talked with Muslims and while some say, “no, that’s not true.” When I read them the verse of the sword they try to hem and haw and I throw the ball in their court and ask where the verse is contradicted in the Koran. No takers thus far.

      Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, these are all religious wars with a common theme–Islam.

      I know it isn’t popular to say it. Until we get serious about facing this reality and how to deal with it, it will continue.

      That’s what I’m tired of–fighting a war that everyone else wants to pretend is about something else.

      Why can’t we just be honest?

      • Chris,

        I have read enough of your posts to see that we line up in many areas. This is another example.

        Confronting a Muslim with their own scripture is a good way to help them see the error of their religion. To the Muslim who has independence of thought, it opens the door to share the truths of the Gospel

        Most Muslims are like most Christians. They don’t know what their scriptures teach. A huge percentage of American Christians think they are going to heaven because they are good.

        God’s blessings…

  8. Good post. As someone who was raised by missionary parents in a Muslim country, has studied this and has many friends still living and ministering in Muslim lands, I agree. Prayer combined with incarnational witness and love are, I believe, the most powerful tools in bringing Muslims to Christ. Politicization, nationalism, fear, hate and war all tend to work against these.

    The reality on the ground in Muslim lands is that most Muslims equate Christianity with Western culture and national interests to varying degrees. That creates some real challenges for Christians, particularly American evangelicalism that has not worked to separate itself from America’s political and national agenda.

    As for Muslim extremest hatred of Christians, people need to realize that while it has become more politicized and more publicized and more organized in recent years, it is certainly not new, and it is a minority position among Muslims. Growing up, I knew two missionaries who were martyred by people with such hatred. In one case I was in the search party that found the person’s dead body. That’s something you don’t forget. The American embassy, less than 40 miles from where we lived, was burned completely by an angry mob. The staff survived by shutting themselves in the fireproof vault. In recent years, the school I attended was attacked by a number of radicals with automatic weapons.

    None of this has changed my conviction that prayer combined with incarnational witness and love are the keys to bringing both peace and the knowledge of Jesus to Muslims. In spite of horrific events and isolated hatred, we lived in peace there with our Muslim neighbors the vast majority of the time. We are called to be salt and light, even, perhaps especially, in the dark places. Peace.

    • Thank you

    • Wow! What a testimony of the love of God. To be able to love having come of that darkness. Praise God!

    • Hey John,

      Based on your comment, you probably went to school with my cousins.

      • MCS ’74-’80

        If I don’t know them, I probably have friends who do. Please e-mail me if you are willing. I’d be interested in following the connection.

    • Janet Clancy says:

      “…prayer combined with incarnational witness and love are the keys to bringing both peace and the knowledge of Jesus to Muslims.”

      Bro. John,
      I want to let you know that I will be using your quote (above) in my FaceBook & Twitter updates.
      Your post is eloquent and exemplifies the heart of Christ. He once said “I am not willing that any should perish.” Imagine how different this world would be if all of His followers had the same “battle cry.”

      Thank you for sharing your heart.

  9. Beautiful story. I’ve gotta plug my mom’s book as it relates so well to this topic. It is called “Woman to Woman. Sharing Jesus with a Muslim Friend” by Joy Loewen. You can check it out on amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Sharing-Jesus-Muslim-Friend/dp/0800794834 and her website is really a wonderful resource for those seeking to love muslims and show them God’s love. Her blog can be found at http://joyloewen.blogspot.com/

    Having spent 10 years in Pakistan as a child and then having parents in ministry to muslims when we moved back to North America, I have seen how imperitive it is to love them and be the aroma of Christ.

  10. yes, we should reach out to individual muslims, even though we may convert them, they are marked for death. Is their death on our hands? I think not. Islam and Sharia law are incompatible with our Constitution, so what shall we do? These questions have no easy answers. Someone with more smarts than I needs to answer.

  11. Elizabeth Bunting says:

    I think only one on one relationships will change anything. The lady who was speaking to our friend, was sharing all of her concerns and problems and then said she knew he would pray for her, was displaying how vital one on one relationships are.

    Inviting people to church will not necessarily do it for us. We have to relate to those people whom the Lord brings into our lives. Telling them to go to church will not do it.

    Friendship and fellowship are the two things that will help to break down the “wall of partition” and make the Muslim people know that we are people like themselves who have many concerns and problems and then we can show them that Jesus loves them and has died for them.

    Just my thoughts,

    Elizabeth Bunting

    • Christopher Lake says:

      Elizabeth,

      Thank you. This is the Christian witness that will help to open the hearts and minds of Muslims to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      We Christians *must* see Muslims as fellow human beings, made in God’s image and for that reason, possessing the same dignity, as human beings, that we all have. Radical Muslims may not understand that all human life is worthy of respect, but most of the Muslims whom most of us will come into contact with, on an everyday basis, do understand that fact– and we need to share Christ with them, when God opens that door.

  12. I live in a small town with some Somalian Muslim immigrants. It is interesting to sit in the cafe or laundromat and learn who they are. I never expected to meet these people when we moved here. I don’t have a clue of what is “the right way” to talk to a Muslim, so I just talk to them and listen.

  13. I recently saw a preview for a video series on Islam produced by an evangelical group. In that preview, one of the presenters states that the gospel is a weapon against Islam. I was shocked.

  14. Christopher Lake says:

    Recently, I heard about one of the first “modern-day” Muslim radicals (“modern-day” as opposed to hundreds of years ago). He was originally more moderate, but he became radicalized by traveling to America in the 1940s, and seeing that, even then, many American Christians seemed more “American” (in a kind of “happy consumerist” sense) than Christian. It shocked and dismayed him.

    I know very well that many Muslims will never be impressed by Christianity, in any way, shape, or form, because they are convinced that it is a heresy (ironically, Islam is a sort of “heresy” born from aspects of Judaism and Christianity). However, I do have to wonder, if more American Christians, including myself, sought seriously, to live radically sacrificial, caring, holy lives (knowing that we will always fall very short at our best), would at least some Muslims might see Christianity, and Christians, differently?

    Muslims in other countries continually hear that America is, largely, a nation of professing Christians, yet they see the incredible decadence in American culture, and I’m sure they must wonder, “Is this the fruit of Christianity?”

    The Catholic Christian apologist, Peter Kreeft, has just released a book, for which he may receive a good amount of flak. The title is “Between Allah and Jesus: What Christians Can Learn from Muslims.” In it, he compares a devout American Muslim, a fictional character, based on someone he personally knows, with many other fictional, but similarly archetypal, characters. The Muslim states that if he believed, as Catholics claim to believe, that Jesus is really, truly Present in the Eucharist, he (the Muslim) would be literally unable to get up from the floor, from a position of worship, while in that Presence.

    The best witness that Christians can show to non-radical Muslims is that our faith makes a serious difference in our lives. If it does,then they will see our love for God, and because of that love, we will reach out in love to them, as we have opportunities.

    • Christopher Lake says:

      Sorry for the typos– it’s early. 🙂

    • Dear Chris,

      Like James Glaser above, you have hit on, I think, a key point.

      I, like James, think the USA can no longer be considered a Christian nation for just for the reasons you’ve listed and others.

      imagine the impact on Muslims if they experienced Christianity in America the way you’ve described.

      Sadly, it’s not happening.

    • Cedric Klein says:

      They saw ten medical missionaries from a Christian organization that had been serving in Afghanistan since the 1960s. They murdered them.

      I’m about ready to say let’s take Christ’s other command seriously- shake the dust from our feet & leave them to what they want. Sometimes the Body of Christ is called to lighten the load of the world, sometimes it’s called to do an Atlas Shrugged.

      Now, does Kreeft believe that to be a good witness to Muslims, a Catholic must be in perpetual adoration of the Host? Of course not. And that Muslim is being disingenous- by his logic, he could never arise from protration before the Qur’an. Both Catholic Christianity & Islam say that God calls you to adore Him & God also calls you to get up & go to work.

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Cedric,

        Kreeft’s devout Muslim in the book would never think of murdering a Christian medical missionary, as the character is not a Muslim radical. I ask this respectfully– how many Muslims do you know in everyday life? I don’t know if you live in America or not, but I’m an American, and I don’t think that huge numbers of American Muslims are like the radicals who want to kill us. At my last job, I worked with Muslims every day, and we discussed our faiths respectfully. I never had any sense that any of them wanted to harm me.

        If I were to do what you are recommending, and shake the dust from my feet and not deal with Muslims at all, I might be possibly removing from them the one physical witness to Christ that they have in their lives. How can that be what God wants us to do? Is there a chance that you are seeing radical Muslims on television and allowing their violence to harden your heart to the Muslims around you every day?

        As for the Muslims who *do* want to kill us, I have known American missionaries who risk their lives to go to Islamic countries where they could be killed for sharing the Gospel. Of course, we are not all called to such a life, but God does call some Christians to it.

        • Christopher Lake says:

          Cedric,

          I forgot to address another point in your comment. Regarding Kreeft’s fictional Muslim’s point about Catholics, worship, and the Eucharist, to make a comparison to Muslims and the Koran is not really a fair analogy. Muslims highly revere the Koran, but they do not consider it to be *God Himself*. Catholics do consider Christ Himself, the second person of the Trinity, to be really Present in the Eucharist.

          The Muslim’s point is not Catholics should literally never cease from Eucharistic adoration. We all have to live our lives and fulfill our daily responsibilities. The Muslim character is simply saying that if *he* believed as Catholics claim to believe about the Eucharist, he would have an attitude of stunned, almost physically immobilizing, awe about it that he, apparently, doesn’t discern from his contact with Catholics. (I’m a Catholic, by the way, and I was very convicted by this part in the book.)

        • Cedric Klein says:

          I am afraid that I have know very few Muslims. And the ones who are here, I recognize, are for the most part here to get away from the craziness over there. And I do also recognize that some missionaries are called to risk their lives & perhaps actually die for their service & faith. We do need to be good neighbors & witnesses to Muslims here and abroad. In no way do I support the Qur’an burners and I really don’t care that much about the Two-Blocks-from-Ground-Zero Islamic-Cultural-Center (I do think it’s in poor taste but I’m not gonna get worked up about it). We on the Right cannot allow ourselves to think the radicals are the COMPLETE true face of Islam nor should those on the Left allow themselves to think the peaceful Muslims are the COMPLETE true face of Islam.
          Islam from the very foundation was a warrior religion. Christianity took three centuries to get so corrupted.

    • I noticed it when it was released earlier this year. What struck me about the book was Kreeft’s seeming desire to enlist Muslims somehow as allies in his crusade against the secular Western culture, on the one hand, and what he sees as milquetoast Christianity on the other. In other words, I think Kreeft prefers devout Muslims (provided they are not of the box-cutter wielding sort) to liberal Western Christians or secular Westerners, and kind of sees a pragmatic cooperation possible between mainstream Muslims and Catholic Christians over and against liberal/accommodationist Christianity *and* the deeply secularized West. It’s a perspective that the Vatican has taken as well, at times, with respect to taking a common position with Islamic countries when critiquing certain UN pronouncements and so on, yet it is an odd stance indeed.

  15. With every passing week of muslim terrorism, I grow more apathetic to whether or not Muslims are offended. They seem to look for opportunities to be offended, scream when they see intolerance, and are themselves the most intolerant. It’s a real challenge to find the love of Christ for them. Pray for me.

    • cyborgninja says:

      Will pray for ya. But I have to say, don’t group them into one monolithic box like you’re doing now.

      I grew up with Muslims — lots of them (where I lived has equal populations of Muslims and Christians). The ones I know are not looking for opportunities to be offended. There are some who are, and they do cause terror, but the majority regards them as backwards and brainwashed. So I doubt you’re talking about all Muslims, because goodness knows, the same can be said of Christians.

    • This is sarcasm right?

      I am a Christian, but I could easily replace the word “muslim” in your comment with “christians” and it would ring no less true.

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Jason Boyett (of Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse fame) related in his blog over the weekend about an attempted copycat Koran-burning in his home town of Amarillo. Went like this:

    1) Koran-burner already had a reputation as a loud crazy. He announced he was going to burn the Koran in a certain public park at 3 PM on 9/11.

    2) Guy shows up with Koran and barbecue grill at announced place & time. Gets greeted by about 200 protestors, with cops trying to keep things from getting any crazier.

    3) Protestors crowd around the guy’s grill so he can’t get to it.

    4) Somebody steals the guy’s lighter.

    Then…

    5) In a daring rescue mission, a kid on a skateboard swoops in, snatches the Koran right out of the guy’s hand, makes his getaway, and delivers the Koran to local Muslim Center rep on outskirts of crowd.

    6) Guy ends up standing there with no grill, no lighter, no Koran, just a bottle of lighter fluid. He gives up and goes home.

    • …Only in America.

      • …and no surprise that it was Texas.

        • Iguess it is totaly appropriate to slam everyone in Texas. Funny how nthe P.C. Christian mind works.

          • Christopher Lake says:

            Vern,

            It is not “P.C.” to wish for a Christian not to burn the Koran. Burning the Koran is not an act of standing up for Christ. It is an act of idiocy.

            I’m all for wishing that people would not do idiotic things– especially idiotic things that would put the lives of both Christian missionaries and members of the American military in danger, even more than they already are. Burning the Koran would accomplish both of those lamentable ends.

          • Funny how your mind works. How is it you assume I’m slamming instead of complimenting?

          • Burning the Koran is foolish, it accomplishes nothing.Sticking up for sharia law and islam does the same. Under sharia law Christians would be second class citizens and you wouldn’t have the liberty to pontificate on this site. Sharia law and the U.S. Constitution are incompatible, if you don’t know that you are a useful idiot.

          • Christopher Lake says:

            Vern,

            Who has even come close to “sticking up for Sharia law” on this site? As far as “sticking up for Islam,” I haven’t really seen anyone do that either per se.

            Muslims are human beings, made in the image of God, a good many of them *do not* want to kill or oppress us, and yes, I do think that at least some Christians could learn from some Muslims. That does *not* mean that I see Islam as a way to salvation though. I haven’t seen anyone else here imply that it is. I firmly believe that Christians in the West should be reaching out to Muslims in the West, so that they can come to know Christ. He is the only way of salvation.

            In exactly what way are people here “sticking up for Islam and Sharia law”? If you’re going to make those kinds of serious statements, you need to back them up with evidence.

          • Vern,

            I echo Christopher’s statements.

            And speaking of echoes; You are hollerin’ into the canyon and the only voice you’re going to hear back is yours.

    • MOD Note: Sorry I missed this inappropriate comment earlier. It has been deleted.

    • Christopher Lake says:

      That is brilliant and hilarious. I love it! 🙂

      • Christopher Lake says:

        I meant the first comment, about the guy who wanted to burn the Koran but was foiled by the kid on the skateboard. 🙂

  17. The conversation noted is interesting. When I first read it, I assumed that the scene depicted happened within a Muslim country. My first thought was, “the entire scene is probably not possible.” Men (assuming the Christian in this case is a man–bald assumption, but certainly possible) are not allowed to talk to women alone in these countries. At least it is very dangerous for the women as well as the men to do so.

    Second, if the Christian was found to agree to be praying for the woman, it could be considered proselytizing, which would be a capital offense and this “nice” man would probably be killed, officially or unofficially.

    Third, if the woman responded and did convert, she would be pretty much shunned by her family and both the Christian and the woman would be subject again to death, unofficially and sometimes officially.

    The same can happen in Israel as well, as Messianic Jews and converts to Christianity are subject to unofficial arson of their buildings and mob violence, though most of the time without “official” sanction but a lot of “official” looking the other way. And such things are beginning to happen here and in Canada. Honor killings are becoming issues in both, though more in Canada than the US right now. it is a brutal culture.

    So this tactic is only useful and effective in a backdrop of a country with at least some Christian influence. It may be of limited usefulness in the more Muslim controlled lands. I don’t have a good alternative, but it helps perhaps to recognize the difference.

    Personally, I am tempted to agree with Cedric Klein and shake the (mental) dust from my feet from both Israel and the surrounding nations and leave them to their own devices. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have really heard the Gospel yet because of the baggage American Christians have brought with it (like unwavering support for Zionism); so I don’t have that luxury. At least not yet.

    • I’m an American that has spent quite a bit of time in some Muslim countries, and conversations like this not only can, but DO happen. And while persecution may at times come as a result of it, that is something promised to all believers anyway (2 Tim. 3:12). We can’t let the fear of what may or may not happen keep us from obeying Jesus’ command to share Him with the world.

      Unfortunately, I’ve heard way too many Christians use that verse (Matt. 10:14) as an excuse not to be obedient to Christ’s call because they were offended by the actions of the radical Muslims. I would like to point out that this exclusion only concerned a town (and other verses allow for distancing ourselves from individual people), NOT an entire nation or people group or culture. There may be times when the Lord may tell us to move on from a person or specific ministry site, but the point that EVERY tribe, tongue, and nation needs to have representatives before the Throne is all throughout Scripture. Just because the gospel has been misunderstood because of previous baggage does not excuse us from our responsibility.