Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Friends,

I came across this interesting article at Foxnews.com: Church of England: Government Favors Islam. I followed an external link to the Timesonline where the headline in my post title is derived from: Church Attacks Labour for Betraying Christians.

I’ll disregard the foxnews story since it is little more than a summary and skip directly ahead to the Timesonline story which is more detailed. The story centers around a 180 page report commissioned for the Church of England. In the report the Church of England has, evidently, “accuses the Government of discriminating against the Christian Churches in favour of other faiths, including Islam.”

There’s a lot more to this report than that, and while I’d love to comment on it all I will limit myself to a couple of remarks.

First, should anyone be surprised? I mean seriously. We go through this all the time. Kathy Griffen makes vulgar comments about Jesus and the church gets upset. Dana Jacobson from ESPN makes vulgar comments about Jesus and the church gets upset. When are Christians going to figure out: The world does not care about the church! Why do Christians not understand that we are expendable? We are beside the point. Irrelevant. The story reports:

The authors find evidence of deep-seated hostility to the Church in particular, excluding it from important areas of policy and research – despite Mr Blair being one of the most devout prime ministers of the past century. They portray a Government committed to research into Muslim communities but barely interested in Christian involvement in Britain’s civic and charitable life.

Duh! Why should the church be surprised? Why should they be upset? Why do they think this is a terribly bad thing? Here’s what Jesus said. First, Matthew 24:

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

Second, John 15:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

I’m not saying the church should go around courting the hatred of people in order to feel better about themselves. I am saying that it should come as not surprise when the world does hate us.

Secondly, I would say this: Why is the Church of England so eager to work with the government? This is a serious, serious misjudgment on the part of the church. Says the story:

They set out recommendations designed to put the Church back at the heart of social and welfare provision, for funds to research the role of “theology” and “spirituality” as motivations in charity organisations and for the archbishops of Canterbury and York to set up a “Anglican Philanthropy Fund” to cash in on a new generation of potential donors.

A related story has this headline: Ignored and Spurned, the Church has lost its Faith–in Government. The question is, why did they have their faith in government to begin with? I’m not being naive about this, but rather making the clear point that NT Wright has made over and over again: If Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not. The government does not serve the interests of the church, but the people. (On a side note, this is why I believe that so-called ‘faith based initiatives’ in the USA are profoundly egregious in nature and should be done away with or at least spurned entirely by the Church.)

I wonder if that last sentence means anything: “…for the archbishops of Canterbury and York to set up a ‘Anglican Philanthropy Fund” to cash in on a new generation of potential donors.” Here I see what may be the heart of the problem: Cashing in. Please tell me when the church became about cashing in? I know these are the words of the reporter, but please. If there’s even the slightest hint of the church wanting to ‘cash in’ then of course there is something seriously wrong–with the church.

It sounds to me, and I could be wrong, like the church is not so much interested in investing the government with Christianity, that is Christians being salt and light in a hostile environment, as much as it is interested in the government investing the church with a menu of social-services type activities. It sounds to me like the Church of England is just a wee bit jealous that they are being neglected.

It’s easy to sit back an criticise from afar. I don’t happen to be British and I don’t happen to be a member of the Church of England. Nevertheless, I see difficulties here in this line of thinking by the church. And please do not misunderstand me: I am not saying the church should have nothing to do with the operation of government. Nevertheless, I think this happens individually and vocationally not institutionally and cooperatively. The Church must maintain its distinction as a culture of itself, a counter-culture if you will. I see danger when there are two lords in the church and it makes no difference if it is Jesus and a megalomaniac preacher, or Jesus and Caesar. Wright is right: There is only room for one in the church.

jerry

ps–Isn’t it rather obvious why the government would be so eager to court Islam and disregard the Church? When the church feels neglected, it commissions reports. When Muslims get upset…well. Frankly, the governments of this world fear the wrong religion.  Usually, we acquiesce to that which we fear the most.

Friends,

I just want you to know that I have arrived! After 13 months of blogging here at wordpress my moment is finally here: I have been linked at Wikipedia! That’s right, Wikipedia! I wrote this post about an Iranian film that is a sort of ‘response’ to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and it was linked at Wiki. In honor of this special occasion, I have a few people and things I’d like to thank. This is a special day for me and my family and I don’t want it to pass by without recognizing the people who have gotten me this far. (Any offers to write books can be sent to my email which I’m sure you can find somewhere on my blog.)

I’d like to thank my mom, my dad, my wife and sons, my dogs, my cat, all those who through the years have put up with my sarcasm and mood-swings, attempts to learn guitar, and preaching. The church I serve which tolerates my use of blogging conversations as sermon illustrations on Sundays. And, of course, Nader Talebzadeh for making such a ridiculous piece of film. I’d also like to thank my mother in law for buying our family a PS3 for Christmas this past year. Our PS2 was on the blink and wouldn’t play my Resident Evil (from the PS1) games any longer. Thanks to Sony for producing such an amazing machine as the PS3 which is backward compatible all the way to the days of Atari and Colecovision.

I’d like to thank the members of my band Mustard Seed for their undying patience while I took a 30 day hiatus from the band (we should be on Behind the Music soon). The break gave me time to think and blog. I’d like to thank BlackBerry for producing the amazing BlackBerry Pearl 8130 which enables me to check my blog’s hit count several hundred times a day. And I should also thank Verizon for packaging such an amazing price for all the features I enjoy: Unlimited texting, Internet access, free calls to other Verizon customers; and my son’s texting habit (that alone is worth the price).

At this point, you probably think I am merely rambling on, but I have a few more ‘thank-yous’ to mumble. I’d like to thank the Internet. If the internet didn’t exist I wouldn’t have all the stress I have in my life that comes from the pure pleasure of blogging and justifying to my wife and sons the time I waste doing it (not to mention the sex with my wife that I give up so that I can blog 🙂 ). I’d like to than Al Gore for inventing the Internet and for bringing to our attention the plight of the polar ice caps. I’d like to thank Global Warming for giving me the opportunity to blog. I’d like to thank all the Darwinists and Atheists who make me laugh. I’d like to thank Barak Obama for continuing to quote Scripture during his circus campaign for presidency as it gives me a lot to critique these critiques becomes eye-candy for all the word voyeurs around the world who care what an insignificant nobody like myself has to say about something so significant as a presidential election. I’d like to thank the 150-200 people who visit here every day and pump up my ego a little more. Imagine, several billion people in the world and I get a thrill when 200 of them happen to visit my blog each day. What a loser!

I’d like to thanks the House of Representatives of the United States and the Senate of the United States for continuing to do nothing about the price of gasoline in this country. It has given me much more time to stay at home and blog about things like Iranian Hollywood’s production of blasphemous films about Jesus (can you imagine the outrage and the bombings that would take place around the world if someone produced such a film about Muhammed?) I’d also like to thank them for not renewing President Bush’s tax cuts and yet still managing to pass a budget worth several trillion American Dollars. (That was smart!) That will give me even more time to sit at home and blog since I won’t have any money to spend. (Hey congress, you want to boost the economy? Do something about the price of fuel for our vehicles!)

I’d like to thank all my friends out there in the blogosphere who have intentionally or inadvertently linked to my blog either to criticize a post or in their blogroll. I am truly humbled and honored that you think so highly or lowly of me as the case may be. Truly, blogging has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life and I graduated magna cum laud from college, have three sons, a hot wife, and a well-paying job. Is this really what it has come to? Is this really my life?

I’d like to thank WordPress. I used to have a blog at blogspot, but moved here a little over a year ago. For the first 5 months, I probably didn’t have 300 hits. Then, in the sixth month this blog went off. (Of course, it was about then that I learned what a ‘tag’ was!) I owe it to a tight marketing campaign by wordpress–they got my blog out there–google, mama, dogpile, etc. I should also thank technorati, Digg!, and Del.ic.ious (whose widgets I never did learn how to use.) (Also Slide.com and myspace.com.) I love the wordpress interface, the layouts, the widgets, feeds, and stats page. I appreciate that I have so much free space to write and post pictures and link to important stories. I love that I can do this for free and not get paid. Thank you wordpress. I’m sure somehow or other you are making a buck. I’m glad I can help.

Finally, I’d like to thank you, the intrepid reader of all things blogged. You have an amazing ability to sift through the muck and develop a solid opinion of life based upon what you read at unchecked, non-refereed, non-peer reviewed essays, articles, and editorials. You sort through the blogs and separate the real from the fake, the ham from the spam, the worthy from the unworthy. You make blogs successful or consign them to the rubbish bin (or compost heap–a little ‘green’ lingo there). You blessed web-surfer, internet troll, drive-by comment poster–you are the ones who keep this business alive and well. You feed our addiction and we are addicted to the rush (Daryl, I miss you and love you man!) you provide when you raise our hit count! You are the ones who make blogging the joy that it is even if your voyeurism adds significantly to our stress levels (Gotta post! Gotta post! Need new material! Gotta post! Need fresh stuff!). All of us who blog thank all of you who read. We’re glad the American Education system has done so much for you. We’re glad that words on computer monitor screens are more vital to your life and worldview than a good hardcover book from the library. God Bless You, blog readers.

Oh, and to the person who linked me at Wikipedia…*sniff*…thank you. Now I can die.

your blogging friend for at least today,

jerry aka dangoldfinch

Friends,

I came across this story at the Christian Post concerning the nation of Jordan and the expulsion of Christians. The article says:

The Muslim-majority country of Jordan acknowledged Wednesday that it expelled foreign Christians for illegal preaching under what it claims was the guise of charity work.

The announcement is the first official acknowledgment that the government has clamped down on several foreign Christian preachers. Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Christians had come to Jordan under the “pretext of charitable and voluntary activities, but they had violated the law by undertaking preaching activities and were expelled,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

Under Jordanian law, conversion from Islam to Christianity is not allowed in Muslim conservative Jordan and foreign missionary groups are banned from seeking converts, according to Agence France-Presse. But the government must sanction preaching and any religious activity, whether Christian or Muslim

In January, the Christian persecution watchdog group Compass Direct News reported that at least 27 expatriate Christian families and individuals were refused residence permits last year. The foreign Christians include Americans, Europeans, South Koreans, Egyptians, Sudanese and Iraqis.

This isn’t the entire story which you should read for context, but it does help us understand a little of what is going on in foreign nations with regard to those who practice Christian faith: It is tough. We hear of such stories all the time. You rarely hear of Muslims being expelled from a nation, you never hear of an atheist being expelled from a country, and so the story goes. But by goodness if you are a Christian, you are ripe for the picking.

I contrast this with another story I read at the Christian Post about a certain ‘prosperity gospel preacher’ named Mac Hammond who has evidently ordered the sale of the private business jet belonging to the ‘ministry.’ Says the article:

Church spokesman the Rev. Brian Sullivan says Living Word has also cut its hour long Sunday morning television broadcast to 30 minutes to save money.

He says the church has fallen $40,000 to $70,000 short of its weekly budget in recent weeks, and the church is adjusting its budget accordingly.

Sullivan said the church’s problems could be a combination of the recession and the recent bad publicity about churches preaching prosperity gospel, which holds that God wants his followers to flourish financially.

Well, I have to be honest with you, I was going to have some sympathy for someone tonight and now I am confused. I just don’t know where my sympathy should be or who I should suffer with. On the one hand, there are some brothers and sisters in Christ who are homeless and being persecuted for preaching the Gospel and for ‘breaking the law’ and on the other hand there is a brother in Christ who has to sell his luxurious travelling coach because his budget is $40-$70k short.  This is really difficult. If you happen to have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the reply section. Until then, I am simply going to withhold all sympathy, all empathy, and all apathy.

jerry

Friends,

It has always been a popular thing to make movies about Jesus. Mel Gibson made one and so have many others. Now it turns out that Muslims are getting in on the action. This link connects to an interview with an Iranian man who made a film about Jesus ‘from a Muslim point of view’:

A new movie in Iran depicts the life of Jesus from an Islamic perspective. “The Messiah,” which some consider as Iran’s answer to Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” won an award at Rome’s Religion Today Film Festival for generating interfaith dialogue.

The movie will be adapted into a television series to be shown on Iranian TV later this year.

Filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh spoke to ABC’s Lara Setrakian in Tehran.

There is so much wrong with this man’s understanding of Jesus and Christianity that I hardly know where to begin so I will restrict myself to a few observations:

The gist of what his movie is about is this: virtually everything, according to him, is left the same. The glaring exception is the crucifixion of Jesus. He said:

NT: We are talking about the same beautiful man, the same beautiful prophet, the same divine person sent from heaven. In the Koran, it emphasizes maybe three main points: about the birth, about the fact that he was not the son of God, and then, that he was not crucified. The rest is [the same] Jesus … the sermons, and the miracles, and the political situation.

NT: The virgin birth was the same. The difference in the Koran, God says Jesus was saved. Instead of having him hung and crucified, the person who betrayed Jesus was crucified. This is how the Koran sees it, through the Gospel of Barnabas.

LS: So, you gave the alternate ending.

NT: Yes, two endings. I thought, the Christians, when they see it, it’ll be important for them. [In the Koran] God says, emphatically, he was not crucified. Somebody was crucified in his stead. In the Gospel of Barnabas, there are explications of this. The majority of [Muslims] say the one who betrayed Jesus [was crucified]. 

This is exactly why the Koran is not the Word of God in any sense whatsoever. The crucifixion is not only Biblical, Theological, and Necessary, but it is historical. 

If this is what he put in his film, then he did not make a movie about Jesus of Nazareth. If this is his film, then he is not making a film that is worth anything. If this is what he put in his film, then it has nothing to do with Christians, Christianity, the church of Jesus Christ, Christ of the Scripture, Jesus the Son of God. It is another piece of Satanic propaganda (see below) intended to accomplish no meaningful purpose in this world. It matters little what the Koran says about Jesus because what matters is what the Christian Scriptures say about Jesus and they declare emphatically that Jesus was crucified. History declares that Jesus was crucified. It matters nill if the Koran or the Muslim respect Jesus and Mary. Jesus didn’t come to earth for mere respect. I don’t know why Christians would want to see a movie that has effectively removed any possibility of salvation because that is the state of the Christian if Christ has not been crucified. If Jesus has not been crucified then he has not been resurrected. If Jesus has not been resurrected from the dead, then Christians are without hope. We may as well party it up if Christ has not been Resurrected from the dead. (See the Scripture quote from Corinthians below.)

He goes on to answer a question concerning the sort of feedback he has received from Christians:

NT: Many thought this film is a good step for serious inter-religious dialogue. Many of them liked it — seeing the Koran-based ending. And I was very happy that the practicing Christians were very happy with the film. I have never found one case among practicing Christians who are offended [by the movie].

Well, since he has not ‘found one case among practicing Christians who are offended’ let me be the first! I will gladly be the first to announce without reservation that this film is blasphemous! There is no Koran based ending to the Gospel. The Gospel and the Koran stand in complete opposition to one another. There is only the Gospel ending to the Gospel. What the Koran does not understand is that our sin must be dealt with and if it has not been dealt with, and is not dealt with in the death of Christ then we, and all of humanity from the beginning until the end, are simply obligated to be 100% obedient to the law. (And no one is nor can anyone be.) In other words, if we are not justified by the death of Christ then we are without hope in the world. Law cannot be a substitute for grace. I am offended because in creating a Christ in his own image, this man is attempting to rob the world of the only hope it has to be lifted out of this abomination of sin we call happiness.

So if there is no death of Christ as this man is purporting in his film, then exactly how will we be saved from our sins? There can be no dialogue. I’m not so much offended or outraged as much as I am saddened. I’m not shivering with anger as much as I am shuddering with fear at the consequences for humanity if Christ was not crucified. I am saddened because this sort of teaching takes away all hope of eternal life, all hope of rescue from sin, all hope of resurrection, all hope of escaping the penalty of sin–death. There can be no alternate ending to the story of Jesus. The only ending is an empty tomb that he Resurrected from after he was crucified.

Now, there are two stories in Matthew’s Gospel that at first appearance may not have anything in common. Here they are. The first is from Matthew 4 where Jesus is being tempted by Satan. The second is Jesus’ first announcement of his impending crucifixion and Peter’s response.

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9″All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”

11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:8-11)

Next, Matthew 16:

21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:21-28)

What these stories have in common is this: both the Devil and Peter were attempting to persuade Jesus to avoid the cross! Even back then the idea was to create a cross-less Jesus! Muslims preach the same thing: A Cross-less Jesus. The filmmaker says, in response to a question about the Mel Gibson film:

NT: We were almost finished filming when Mel Gibson started shooting. I saw the film, and it’s the first time the Gospel of John has ever been depicted. It was nice. But it was the wrong story. In my film, I respect that common belief with all the good intentions the Christians have … according to what Islam says. Yet, Jesus, at the night of the last supper, ascends to heaven [without being crucified]. A beautiful man, a beautiful prophet. Why should he be bloodied that way?

Well, the reason is simple: To save humanity from sin, its guilt and its power. That’s why he was bloodied ‘that way.’ If Jesus ascended to heaven without being crucified then we are hopeless. It is not the wrong story: It’s the only story! It’s the only hope we have! Oh Lord have mercy! Here’s what the apostle wrote:

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

. . .

12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:1-7, 12-28)

There is so much wrong with what that man (the Iranian filmmaker) is saying that it boggles the mind. But I’m not raising a voice of protest. No, I’m raising a cry of mercy. I’m crying out to the Lord for the poor souls who will see this film an accept it as truth. There is only one Gospel and there can be no other versions of it warned the apostle. Those who publish alternative Gospels are, according to the apostle, anathema; condemned.

Only the death of Jesus Messiah provides sufficient atonement for the sins of this world’s inhabitants. If Jesus has not been crucified, he is not the Messiah. And if He is not the Messiah, the Son of God, then we are without hope–that is, the entire world from the beginning until the end. What a sad, sad story this is. I pray this film will be a failure. I pray it will be rejected. I pray it will be destroyed before it is ever shown to anyone. I pray for the Muslims who think that their system of works righteousness is superior to the free gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria!

PS–The article mentions something called ‘The Gospel of Barnabas.’ For more information in this ‘Gospel’ (and why it is not a Gospel) click here. The article concludes:

The Gospel of Barnabas is not an authentic Gospel of Jesus. The author does not understand the language, history or geography of the 1st century A.D., and there is no ancient evidence for the book. The internal evidence of the book suggests it was written in the 14th century and there are Muslim scholars who agree with this dating. The book is a rewrite of the Biblical Gospel most likely by a Muslim who wanted to portray Jesus as a Muslim who taught Islam and predicted the coming of Muhammad. This type of rewriting has been done elsewhere by Muslims in the Gospel According to Islam. This type of behaviour is disgraceful, and it is disgraceful for Muslims to continue to publish, promote and distribute this false Scripture.

Friends,

This story was reported on January 5, 2008 by the Christian Post: Vatican Announces ‘Historic’ Catholic-Muslim Meeting for Spring. I will quote the relevant part of the article:

In the Muslim letter, the 138 scholars focused on the commonality between Islam and Christianity – love for God and love for one’s neighbor. They also highlighted that Christians and Muslims make up about 55 percent of the world population and therefore reconciliation between the two faiths is a must in order to maintain world peace.

Much has been made of this letter. I read the letter that was sent from Christians to Muslims. It was a deplorable letter and beyond reproach. Recently, the signers of this letter were rebuked–and I think rightfully so.

The paragraph above highlights what I believe to be the main problem with this entire situation. Christians are somehow being deluded into thinking that there can be peace with Islam. Islam is not even at peace within itself so how can anyone possibly think there can be some sort of ‘reconciliation’ between it and other faiths?

First of all, I want to say this: There is nothing in common between Islam and Christianity. Nothing. The ‘love for God’ for starters is not a common thread because Islam rejects the saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and Jesus made it quite abundantly clear that NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him (see John 6:44, 65; John 8:20; John 14:6). Muslims and Christians do not ‘share’ a ‘love for God’ because Muslims, for all the esteem they heap upon Jesus, reject his efficacious sacrifice for sin. (I have elsewhere rejected the teaching that Christians and Muslim worship the same God for the same reason.)

Second, what does ‘love for neighbors’ have to do with anything? I know atheists who love their neighbors so does this mean that somehow, now, by some strange magic, I have something religiously in common with the atheist? Does this mean now there should be a reconciliation between the two of us, that we are both on equal tracks to godliness? No. It does not. It means that we have a shred of common sense, but it does not mean that we are religiously equal at any level. The church, while inhabiting the world, is also ‘called out’ of the world. That is, we are somehow ontologically separated from the world even while living in it. We are not ‘better’ than the world, but somehow we are strangers, aliens, sojourners (1 Peter 1) who do not quite fit into this place.

Third, note what it says the Muslim letter said, I’ll repeat it for emphasis:

They also highlighted that Christians and Muslims make up about 55 percent of the world population and therefore reconciliation between the two faiths is a must in order to maintain world peace.

I am the only one who sees in this ‘hightlight’ a threat? There must be ‘reconciliation…in order to maintain world peace’?? Really? We can have world peace if Muslims will stop blowing themselves up in crowded malls and stop flying airplanes into buildings and stop sponsoring terrorism around the globe, stop killing Jews, Christians, one another, and anyone else they don’t care for. And peace will also be maintained when Christians stop compromising Faith in Jesus Christ by trying to reconcile with Atheists and Muslims and the American Culture as the last two posts have shown. This is a test for Christians and so far, Christians are failing miserably.

Besides, what reconciliation can take place between Faith in Jesus Christ and a religion–however ‘moderate’ some may be–that advocates conversion by the sword in their book and death to all infidels (i.e., Christians and Jews)? That Christians and Muslims make up 55% of the world’s population is a meaningless statistic, because while anyone can be Muslim anywhere they want, people cannot be Christians anywhere they want. I defy this notion that Muslims want peace with anyone, let alone with Christians. They want control over every nation on the planet. And I defy this idea that we can sit down at a table and talk about ‘what we have in common’ because we have nothing in common and that mere table talks will achieve anything. Table talks are a way of trying a new tactic to achieve the same goal: Death to all infidels.

This is another attempt by the Muslim community to wrangle more control. It is another attempt by the Muslim community–however ‘moderate’ some may be (I defy the notion that a Muslim, who follows the Qu’ran faithfully can be anything remotely close to moderate)–to get another foothold. Christians are being duped. And Benedict is an idiot for even supposing this is a good idea just as those ‘evangelicals’ who signed a letter to Muslims are idiots for supposing it was a good idea. (I’m sorry. Use of the word ‘idiot’ is strong and unbecoming. Perhaps I should follow my own advice and be more gracious and use a word like ‘dense’.) Does anyone see the devil at work here besides me?

Are the 138 Muslim scholars who signed the letter suggesting that if Islam and Christianity do not reconcile that there will be no peace in the World? (Who holds that power in their hands: Christians? Muslims? Are Christians blowing themselves up in pizza parlors and road-side cafes? Are Christians sending bomb laden children onto busses at midday after prayer? Who holds the power for such peace?) That’s what I hear. And if that is what they are saying, it’s quite a hefty statement. I suppose it is too much for them to simply go on with their lives, work hard at converting people through preaching, say their prayers, and get up each day and go to legitimate jobs where they work hard at providing for their families and allowing Christians to do the same. That would bring some peace to the world. If more Mulsims would stand up and denounce and condemn those radicals of their faith that would be a place to start. Physician, heal thyself!

My criticism, however, is not really of the Muslim community. They are smart. They know what they are doing. Rather it is the Christian community that concerns me. Christians must divest themselves of this silly notion that there is going to be anything remotely close to peace in this world simply because we have ‘reconciled’ with others–what reconciliation can there be? There is only One legitimate way for there to be peace and that is through Jesus Christ and His Cross Work. Apart from the Cross, there will be no peace in this world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

I know, we are told to–if possible, and as far as it depends upon us–live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). I don’t see how compromise is going to solve anything: And it will not be the Muslims who compromise to make this world peaceful.

Soli Deo Gloria!

jerry

Friends,

In my ongoing public service blog posts, I am continuing to bring you timely updates on the religion of Islam. I fully realize you cannot define an entire religion by a few nut-jobs, but by and large these stories are representative of something much more insidious than appears on the surface of Islam. I wonder how long the peaceful Muslims will continue to stand by while their religion is defined by pure evil.

First, in a story that is making international headlines: Pakistan’s Bhutto Killed in [Homicide] Bomb Attack.

Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18. On the same day, she narrowly escaped injury when her homecoming parade in Karachi was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than 140 people.

Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto’s return to the country with suicide bombings.

Mindless. Senseless. Murder.

Second, there’s nothing like living in a land where freedom of the press is rampant. How about, say, Malaysia where Christians are reportedly being banned from using the word ‘Allah.’

“We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” Malaysia’s Deputy Internal Security Minister, Johari Baharum, told the DNAIndia publication.

He said “only Muslims can use the word ‘Allah.'”

Now words are owned? Is this guy for real? Christian Post is reporting that some Christians are mounting a challenge to this, but I don’t know why. The Christian God is not named Allah, and should not be referred to by the name Allah. ‘Allah’ is not the name of the Christian God. And Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. The Christian God is named Jesus Christ:

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.”(Philippians 2:10-11, NIV)

He is our King!

jerry

Friends,

Here is part two in my series on Grace. This sermon is from Luke 6:27-36. Thanks for stopping by. jerry

A Short Series of Sermons on God’s Grace
Luke’s Gospel
Luke 6:27-36
Grace as Undeserved Love

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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I like to read to you the story from Christian Post concerning the recent shooting that took place in a Colorado Church and mission training complex. I’m going to just read it as it is without comment and allow you to think about it while I read.

Members at New Life Church are not quick to question God’s authority, said one young worshiper. So when a gunman dawns on the church campus and causes the death of two teenage sisters before being shot down by a church security guard, the church isn’t angry or in despair and asking God “why?”

God didn’t do this. That was Satan attacking,” Savannah Miller, 14, of New Life told The Los Angeles Times. Rather than questioning God, New Life members are turning to God during this tragic time. Moreover, they’re celebrating the miracle of that fateful day.

“God protected so many people here that day,” said Miller. On Sunday afternoon, 24-year-old Matthew Murray shot and killed Stephanie Works, 18, and sister Rachel, 16, at the parking lot of New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Twelve hours earlier, the gunman killed Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Philip Crouse, 24, at Youth With a Mission training center in Arvada Police in Colorado Springs believe the gunman intended to gun down many more victims at the megachurch before he was shot down by Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security guard, just as he entered the church building. He was carrying an assault rifle, two handguns and as many as 1,000 rounds of ammunition. An autopsy confirmed that the gunman died of a self-inflicted wound.

New Life members called it a miracle that hundreds of lives were saved that day. The shooting took place just a year after church founder and then senior pastor the Rev. Ted Haggard was fired. A male prostitute had alleged Haggard paid him for sex and methamphetamine. Haggard confessed to “sexual immorality.”

While attendance at the church has declined since the scandal, the prominent megachurch had set itself on a new course of recovery with new senior pastor Brady Boyd and 10,000 members. And then this happened.

“The devil has been really trying to break down our church,” said Tanner Vanbebber, 15, of New Life to The LA Times. “But I think we’re going to come up even stronger.” “This is building our faith,” said Chris Gordon, 16. “We must be doing something right in this church if Satan doesn’t like it.”

“The question, ‘Why did God let this happen?’ is a stupid one,” said Hayden Trobee, 15. “One of the cool things about New Life is, we’re not quick to question God’s authority.” On Wednesday, the church was packed with families and teens who said they had laid down their anger, fear and questions, to focus on worship.

Survivors at Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Arvada are also moving past the tragedy and placing trust in God. “Lord, we don’t know why two of our dear friends died in this hallway. But although we don’t understand why, we trust you,” prayed Peter Warren, director of the Denver chapter of Youth With a Mission.

Just days after the shooting, students and leaders at the missionary training center shouted a message to the gunman: “I forgive you, Matthew!”

“The enemy has been defeated and death couldn’t hold You down. We’re gonna lift our voice in victory, we’re gonna make Your praises loud,” the students sang on Tuesday. They rededicated the dorm building, where the shooting took place, to God.

Speaking for the first time since the shooting, Charlie Blanch, 22, who was shot in the leg at the center, said on Wednesday, “In the midst of this, I know that God is good. And He’s helped my legs heal. I wholeheartedly forgive Matthew Murray, and my prayers go out to his family,” according to Rocky Mountain News.

The families of the two YWAM victims have also offered Murray and his family forgiveness.

__________________

Now, I would like to make four observations about the grace that you and I should be interested in showing towards others. It is a difficult thing to do this though because I think sometimes that sermonizing such an important issue as grace sort of ruins what grace actually is. In other words, I don’t want to reduce the scope of grace to a mere 3 or 4 points here and there. What I want to do for grace is not reduce it in your life but expand it. I want grace to be an all-encompassing lifestyle, an over-arching set of lenses, an expanse as wide as the sky, as deep as the ocean, and as never-ending as space.

I don’t want to restrict grace in your life, but rather I hope to set it free. I hope to unleash the shackles that have bound you to a life of laws that told you you can only show grace in certain situations or that you can only be gracious at certain times or that being gracious in all situations is illusory. I want grace to be the principle that governs your relations with all people in your life: friends, enemies, children, relatives, and yourself. What I am hoping to do with grace in these sermons is teach you that you have been saved by grace and that, as such, you continue to be saved by grace each day. When God saved you by his grace he did not change the rules after and expect you to live by law from that point forward. If you have been saved by grace, he expects you to live by grace too. When grace is your very life you don’t need and won’t need my silly bullet-points concerning grace. When grace is your life it will always be your first, second, last, and only option. It is terribly liberating to live in such a way.

This is what I hope to do with grace in these sermons. Now, on to the four points.

____________________

1. Demonstrate Grace in the way you respond to mistreatment by others (vs 27-30)

Jesus said: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”

These words of Jesus are dominated by action words, imperative commands. Love. Do good. Bless. Pray. Turn. Do not stop. Give. Do not demand. Our lives demonstrate to others a reaction. Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t react.” No, he is quite content that we do react. He is concerned mostly with the nature of our reaction.

And here’s the thing: Our response is the polar opposite of the manner in which every other person on the planet responds to crisis. David Faust writing in the Lookout asks ‘In a dog eat dog world filled with pain and justice why would anyone make the unnatural choice to forgive?’ There’s only one answer: the grace that we have received in our own life. There simply is no other response for the person who has been saved by grace.

I have a sneaking suspicion that if more churches understood this, if more Christians lived it, there would be a lot less friction, a lot less discord, a lot less sin in the church. If we lived by the grace that we have been saved by our world would simply be a different place to live in every day.

Here’s another important thing to remember concerning this demonstration of grace. In order for us to be the type of people who love those who hate us, or bless those who curse us, or pray for those who mistreat us, or who give to those steal from us, or turn the other cheek to those who slap us once, we have to be close enough to them, involved enough in their lives, living in their sphere of contact. In other words, we have to put ourselves in a position to be taken advantage of, a place where we can be hit, a place to be robbed. In other words, we need to be involved in the lives of those who might do such things.

But when we are, Jesus says, our response will be different and it will make a difference.

2. Demonstrate Grace in the way you would have grace shown to you (v. 31)

Jesus said: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” We call this the Golden Rule. But you would think that most people in the world really truly expect to be treated poorly considering the way they treat others. Darrell Bock wrote: “The idea of simple service and unconditional love are not in vogue. When Jesus calls us to love our enemies, I have a hard time seeing that love in the way we communicate with those who possess different values from our own.”

Look, we wanted to be treated well. There’s not a musician on the planet who has not written a song with the words, “We all want to be loved.” But if we really want to be loved why are so typically unwilling to love? Why is it so difficult for us to demonstrate to others, concretely, that we want to be loved by the way we treat them? Do we ever really stop to consider what we are telling others about ourselves by the way we treat them?

Why do you suppose it is so hard for us to do the one thing that the Holy God found so simple? Yet we happen to think that for some reason we hate sin more than God who forgives sin. I said last week that forgiveness is in fact God’s prerogative. Now I add to that: It is God’s prerogative to deal with sin and God, as demonstrated by Jesus Christ, chooses to forgive. Do we think we are more offended by sin as to hold grudges against those who sin against us? Or do you think we should be forgiving as God has forgiven?

We live in a world that is most devoid of grace. This is so true that when grace makes an appearance it is usually front page news or accompanied by a book release. We should have such an expectation of grace in our lives that the expectation should be fully demonstrated in our own actions. The vaccum of hate and grudges in this world needs to be filled with a generous grace. The world needs just now a generous helping of grace. If there is anything we can afford to give away it is grace, mercy, love.

Demonstrate grace to the world in accord with the grace you expect from the world.

3. Demonstrate Grace in a way that is contrary to the world’s expectations (v. 32-36)

Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

The point is simple, isn’t it? Do something out of the ordinary. Do something that will make the world shake its collective head in disbelief. Here’s the thing, and I have said this before, love is the difficult choice; it is the difficult response; it is the difficult action we demonstrate. Furthermore, it is easy to love those who will reciprocate; it is much harder to love those who are ignored and brushed off as mere irritants.

But we see those imperatives again, don’t we? Love. Do Good. Lend. Love. There’s something about love in these verses that is irritating. There’s something about this love that Jesus expects us to demonstrate to others who are far less deserving than some we can think of in our lives. I think that what is irritating is that Jesus expects us to love without expectation of reward in this world. He says we live and love with only the expectation of being rewarded by God—perhaps not even in this world.

What sort of God is this who is even kind to the ungrateful and the wicked? And are we to be imitators of this God? Are we to demonstrate to others that this is the sort of God we serve? Would it please God if we showed kindness to the wretched and wicked and vile and contemptible and sinners and haters and enemies? Darrell Bock wrote, “The world is used to dealing with people either on the basis of power, utility, or equal exchange.”

Jesus says we should do different from what the world expects. Let’s respond not only contrary to the world’s expectations, but also contrary to the world’s standards, and contrary to the world’s experience. And let’s demonstrate it towards the ones in this world that the world typically overlooks and rejects.

Love does not discriminate even if we happen to differentiate. Love knows no bounds and no limits.

4. Demonstrate Grace in Accordance with the Grace shown to you (v. 36)

Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” In the very next chapter, we see an event in the life of Jesus that illustrates this perfectly.

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

I think it is simple enough to say, concerning the grace you are willing to demonstrate towards others, this: How much grace has been shown you? And lest we answer too quickly let us bear in mind that the standard of grace we demonstrate is God’s grace to us. Howard Marshall wrote, “The mercy of God supplies both a pattern for his children to follow and a standard of comparison for them to attain.” So when God Himself is the standard of comparison and the pattern for us to follow, I have to ask: Should there be anyone outside the scope of our grace?

Or I might ask: How much grace have you been shown? What are the depths of your transgressions that God has forgiven and forgotten as far as the east is from the west? I don’t need to spill profound theology or philosophical thoughts on this matter. All I have to do is ask you to examine yourself: What has God forgiven you?

I need not even preach the sermon except to say: Considering how much mercy God has shown you, how much he has demonstrated to you, how much are you willing to show others, your enemies, your friends, your children, your neighbors? But God demonstrates his mercy in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for our sins. Do you wait for others to repent before you forgive or is your forgiveness proactive and preemptive?

How much have you been forgiven?

____________________

Conclusion

David Crowder Band has a new CD out called Remedy. I don’t think there are finer musicians on the planet right now than David Crowder Band so when they release a CD I listen carefully to their lyrics. Crowder sings on this CD that the world is a difficult place to live in just now. Crowder says that we, you and me, should be the Remedy to this broken world. He sings on the last song Surely We Can Change:

And the problem is this, we were bought with a kiss
But the cheek still turned, even when it wasn’t hit.

And I don’t know what to do with a love like that
And I don’t know how to be a love like that.

When all the love in the world is right here among us
And hatred too.
And so we must choose what our hands will do.

Where there is pain, let us bring grace
Where there is suffering, bring serenity
For those afraid, Let us be brave
Where there is misery, let us bring them relief
And surely we can change, surely we can change
Oh surely we can change,
Something.

If we are going to be this gracious, then we are the ones who must change. If we are to be the Remedy then we are going to have to change the way we think about our salvation, our hope, and how that salvation and hope are lived out in this world concretely. We are going to have to alter the way we think, the way we live, the way we respond and react to the world.

The amazing thing about grace, I heard in another song this week, is that we are free to give it away.

The amazing thing about grace is that we have been empowered to demonstrate grace to the world around us. That we don’t need to be stingy with grace. We are free to be as grace-full as we want, as we can, as God has been.

The amazing thing about grace is that we should be eager to give it away, anxious to demonstrate it every chance we can. It should be first nature to us. We should not even need to be asked to forgive. It should be obvious.

Let me leave you with a thought. Six years ago on September 11, 2001, radical Islamic terrorists hijacked four airplanes. Two were flown into buildings in New York. One was flown into the Pentegon in Virginia. And a fourth was re-hijacked by the passengers and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The response of the United States was nothing short of terrifying. I remember rejoicing quickly and often at the retribution meted out against Mulsims in Afghanistan and later Iraq. After my initial shock and horror and sorrow at what befell us in the US I became angry and applauded the calls to arms.

Muslims do not know about grace. All they know is law and obedience.

I wonder how this world would be different if, instead of bombs and arms and war, the United States had responded to Muslim nations with grace. What if President, instead of going on television and announcing that our response would be swift against those who were against us, had gone on television and announced that the terrorists were forgiven?

What if, even to this day, the Christian response to Islamic terrorism was grace and forgiveness instead of hatred and violence?

The point is this: How big is grace? How much grace is too much grace? How can we be the Remedy in this world when our response to violence, hatred, and cheek slapping is nothing more than reciprocated violence, hatred and cheek slapping? I wonder if we need to change our thinking on this? The world, obviously, does not deserve our love. The world hates us. That is precisely why we must demonstrate it, because we did not deserve it either and yet that is the very thing God demonstrated to us.

Surely, we can change. Surely, we must.

Soli Deo Gloria!

A Primer on Islam, pt 7

Friends,

In my ongoing public service posts, I am reporting on the profoundly peaceful nature of the Islamic religion. In the previous six reports I have linked and commented on several different aspects of the Islamic faith that send shudders up and down the spine.

It was reported earlier this week that a 57-year old Canadian Muslim killed his 16 year old daughter by strangulation because she wouldn’t wear (or wasn’t wearing) a ‘traditional hijab’ which is a head scarf of some sort. ABC News reported

A 57-year-old Canadian man suspected of strangling his teenage daughter for not wearing her traditional Muslim head wear will appear in court later today for a bail hearing.

And,

Some Muslims are asking people to reserve judgment and not sensationalize the issue, which may not have played a major role in the death.

“Keep in mind it may have been an issue, one of many,” said Homa Arjoman, of Campaign Against Sharia Court in Canada. “If people are going to make this an issue about hijab it is potentially a stretch.” Shariah is Islamic law.

Yes, we should reserve judgment because any rational human being can see that there are a plethora of reasons a father can give to justify the murder of a 16-year old girl who is his daughter. I agree. Let’s not make this about the hijab. Let’s make this about Islam. Let’s make this about a 57 year old man murdering is 16-year old daughter for, say, baking the cookies too long or for looking him in the eyes too long or for listening to Madonna or, well, you name the reason. Any reason will do.

Is there any reason on the planet to justify the murder of a 16 year old girl? Yes, I agree that we should withhold judgement for now. For now, let us weep that a religious system exists that potentially justifies the murder of a 16 year old girl.  Well, at least if she died like this she won’t have to suffer the indignity later of strapping a vest of bombs around her waist and blowing up a pizza parlor full of Jews or Christians or Atheists.

jerry

(I say ‘if’ because the man has not been convicted of any crime yet. Could be the story is a hoax. Could be that he didn’t confess. Could be he didn’t do it.)

Friends,

Here are some news bits that I found interesting this morning.

First, talk about Giant Bugs! The AP is reporting that scientists have uncovered one really big bug fossil:

The discovery in 390-million-year-old rocks suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were far larger in the past than previously thought, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol paleontologist and one of the study’s three authors.

I don’t know about that mysterious 390-million year old rock, but the story is certainly an interesting one and the discovery even more so. I’d hate to find it in my house.

Second, Jerry Springer–the Opera is coming under fire in the UK. Here’s a glimpse:

Two judges were told the show was “an offensive, spiteful, systematic mockery and wilful denigration of Christian belief” that no one would have dreamed of making about the prophet Mohammed and Islam.

Stephen Green, the national director of the evangelical group Christian Voice, is attempting to prosecute the producer of the award-winning musical, which has been shown in theatres around the country, and the BBC, which broadcast it in 2005.

I applaud their concern for the Name of Jesus, but what do they expect? Verdict: A Waste of Time. Look what the world did to Jesus. Should we all of the sudden expect the world to start acting with some care or concern or reverence?

Third, it appears the Pope is purging–music. Says the article:

The Pope has recently replaced the director of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Archbishop Piero Marini, with a man closer to his heart, Mgr Guido Marini. It is now thought he may replace the head of the Sistine Chapel choir, Giuseppe Liberto.

The International Church Music Review recently criticised the choir, saying: “The singers wanted to overshout each other, they were frequently out of tune, the sound uneven, the conducting without any artistic power, the organ and organ playing like in a second-rank country parish church.”

I can think of some other things the pope ought to purge from the Vatican, but that’s another post.

Fourth, evidently, times are troubled in the Netherlands:

“The Netherlands is too complex to sum up in one cliche,” she said. “A typical Dutch person doesn’t exist.”

Her comments have tapped into an unsettled feeling among many Dutch who fear traditional values have been eroded in a country roiled by a rise in Muslim extremism. It’s a view espoused by Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has turned her back on her Islamic roots.

What do they really expect? How long before a ‘typical American person’ doesn’t exist either? What do people really think Islam is about, or is doing? Isn’t world domination precisely their goal?

Fifth, Michael Newdow is bored again and his tireless efforts on behalf of the .01% of atheists in the American population continues. What a hero he is! What a warrior! What a patriot!

California atheist activist Michael Newdow is renewing his fight to remove reference to God from the Pledge of Allegiance, this time with a suit filed on behalf of an anonymous New Hampshire couple against a school district.

The couple, an agnostic and atheist with three children, say in their complaint that they “generally, deny that God exists” and contend their constitutional rights are violated when school authorities require their children to “participate in making the purely religious, monotheistic claim that the United States is ‘one nation under God.'”

You know, the funny thing about this is this: No child is forced to say the pledge of allegiance. I work in a public school and I have never once seen a teacher walking around with a weapon in hand threatening students who refuse to say the Pledge with detention or death. Here’s an option for Newdow: Home-school! (As if the teaching of Darwinism isn’t the establishment of a religion!) This guy needs to get a job.

Thanks for stopping by,

jerry

Friends,

I realize that by now this might be old news, but I cannot help that the news media continues to report it–as if it’s new news. Here’s the latest: Saudi Punishes Gang Rape Victim with 200 Lashes. So:

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia’s Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”

Saudi Arabia enforces a strict Islamic doctrine known as Wahhabism and forbids unrelated men and women from associating with each other, bans women from driving and forces them to cover head-to-toe in public.

It is strange that we live in times where such barbarism is tolerated by the world. I wonder what sort public outcry we would hear if such things were taking place in America? I think that some of our more outspoken feminists in the United States would be appalled at such a travesty of justice and would be crying out, “Shame!” on the Saudi’s.

In my ongoing public service series of posts, I am hoping to educate the uneducated on some of the more salient aspects of the religion of Islam. I assure you that when I come across a story involving grace, mercy and true justice from and Islamic nation I will publish that as well. Maybe the news outlets that I frequent will help in this effort and publish some such stories.

jerry

Friends,

In a stunning announcement, a member of the Iranian government has declared that homosexuals deserve torture and the death penalty reported Foxnews.com piggybacking on a story from The Times. Says the report:

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learned.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

In my ongoing series of public awareness posts, I am trying to spread the peace of Islam to readers who are otherwise ignorant of the aims of this peaceful religion. The article goes on to report:

The latest row involves a woman hanged this June in the town of Gorgan after becoming pregnant by her brother. He was absolved after expressing his remorse. Britain said that this demonstrated the unequal treatment of men and women in law and breached Iran’s pledge to restrict the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

It goes on further to say:

Minutes taken by an official describe a meeting between British and Iranian MPs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a peace body, in May. When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching. He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted,” the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”

I hope that this ongoing series proves helpful to the public about the nature of Islam and Sharia Law practitioners.

jerry

See also: Iran Hangs Two Young Homosexuals

Sodomy Laws (warning, this site includes pictures of graphic violence)

And lastly,

jerry

A Primer on Islam, pt 4

Friends,

In my ongoing series of public service blog posts, I am hoping to educate the uneducated masses on the basic tenants of Islam. I realize this is a risky proposition and I assure you that I do not take this responsibility lightly. Nor, I assure you, is this meant as a mockery of Islam. I am certain that not all Muslims interpret the Qu’ran in the manner that the so-called radical extremists have (a term, ironically, that some liberals and atheists in America use to identify Christians.) However, in this world, one cannot be so sure who is on what side of the Islamic fence.

Raymond Ibrahim has posted a very lengthy essay at FrontPage Magazine comparing the book by Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf and The Al Qaeda Reader. Ibrahim writes:

But to the pressing question: how is The Al Qaeda Reader similar to Mein Kampf? A single sentence from the introduction of the 1999 edition of Mein Kampf, published by Mariner Books, goes a long way in answering this question: “He [Hitler] had made his ultimate goals clear in Mein Kampf as early as 1926: rearmament, the abolition of democracy, territorial expansion, eugenics, the ‘elimination’ of the ‘Jewish threat’” (Mein Kampf, xv).

The Al Qaeda Reader dwells on, if not obsesses over, four of these same five “ultimate goals” of Hitler—everything but eugenics, which is a temporal byproduct of 19thcentury pseudo-scientific racial theories. But al-Qaeda’s writings certainly dwell on dealing with the “Jewish threat,” overthrowing the “pagan religion” of democracy, both territorial re-conquests (from Palestine to Andalusia) and territorial expansion (to the whole world), as well as rearmament. Even more telling, the “fascistic” tone of Mein Kampf—ridicule and contempt for modernity and peace, praise for heroism and martyrdom, condemnation of promiscuity and lax mores—saturates The Al Qaeda Reader. Indeed, that there are many similarities is best represented by the fact that the German words “mein kampf” translate to “jihad-i”—or, “my jihad”—in Arabic.

Ibrahim demonstrates the parallels between these two books on thematic issues such as: The Jew, Democracy, Expansionism, and much more. It is a lengthy essay, but I think it will go a long way towards the education of those who do not fully understand the aims and ends of Islam. Ibrahim concludes:

In the final analysis, the theological aspects of The Al Qaeda Reader make it a much more disturbing read than something like Mein Kampf. That the ideologies presented in Mein Kampf are ultimately traced back to a man, whereas many of the ideologies of The Al Qaeda Reader are traced back to Muhammad and Allah—becoming theology—is a great matter. Man-made ideologies can always be discredited and allotted to the dustbins of history. Ideologies grounded in theologies, however, are not so easily dismantled, for they are grounded in the Immutable and simply must apply—yesterday, today, and tomorrow—regardless of all outward evidence to the contrary. To reject them is to reject the commandments of God and fall into a state of infidelity.

Disturbing indeed.

jerry

Friends,

Here is more in our ongoing series to uncover the truth about Islam and to educate the masses of the uninformed. Many say they won’t comment on Islam because they ‘don’t know enough about it’ to ‘make a fair judgment.’ I’m presenting this as a public service so that the uniformed with be informed.

In part 3 of this series:

The following is an interview with Egyptian Mufti Ali Gum’a, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on September 13, 2007.

In this interview, the honorable Mufti teaches us about when it is right to execute an adulterer–female (I think he also includes a slight provision for the male also but there must be 4 witnesses against him). Read: How and Why an Adultress Should be Killed.

If you are the sporting type, click Here for the video version at MEMRITV. In part,

Ali Gum’a: “The kind of distinction you made creates the impression that there is a bias against women. There is no bias against women. Adultery is a sin for both men and women.”

Interviewer: “My question was whether you are in favor of killing them.”

Ali Gum’a: “I support killing them, but killing them if certain conditions are met. These conditions should not be neglected. These conditions show us what this killing means, and how it takes place. In over 1,000 years, we have not carried out the killing of an adulterer. In Egypt, we have not carried out the killing of an adulterer, and therefore…”

Interviewer: “What are the conditions?’

Ali Gum’a: “There must be four witnesses to testify against the adulterer. They must testify that they saw them having sex.”

Interviewer: “In other words, that is impossible.’

This is all very enlightening. Allow me, by way of comparison, to illustrate this story by quoting a story from the Christian Scriptures:

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11″No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

But as I have pointed out, it is Christians we must beware of in this world. I hope this ongoing series of public service educational blog posts benefits those of you who may have been thinking of converting to Islam.

jerry

Friends,

In my ongoing series, A Muslim Education, I hope to demonstrate some of the more potent aspects of the Peace of Islam. We all know that not all Muslims behave this way, although they doall read the same book (Qu’ran) which might lead some, like my friend Jeff, to conclude that all Muslims will eventually turn out the same way (that trick might only work for Christians though who read the Bible.)

Anyhow, in this installment of A Muslim Education or A Primer on Islam, we turn to the well advanced nation of Iran where,

An Iranian judge has concluded a woman who was attacked and beaten and had her sewing shop equipment destroyed by vandals has no legal recourse because she was guilty of “evangelism,” according to a new report from Voice of the Martyrs, a worldwide ministry to the Persecuted Church.

The story, Judge Rules Beating Victim Guilty of Evangelism, also reports

The woman, whose name was not revealed, was running a tailoring business, and had volunteered to teach three young ladies how to sew. As part of the conversations that arose, her testimony about Christianity came up, and in response to a number of questions, she started teaching them about Christianity, Voice of the Martyrs said.

Well, there you have it. The religion of Islam encourages free thinking! And finally,

Within fundamentalist Islam, the penalty of someone who turns from Islam is death. That is why they had the right to kill her if they wanted to. Obviously, their daughter was not staying with that seamstress, but the parents did not believe this,” VOM said.

But I think what we need to do is watch out for all the dangerous Christians who are running around the United States beating up all the atheists who refuse to convert, and raining down lawsuits on all the Darwinists who force our children to turn from Biblical Faith to hedonistic, anarchistic Darwinism.

I present this as a public service in order that you, the reading public, may be well informed about the nature of the Peace of Islam. I am thankful to World Net Daily and Voice of the Martyrs for bringing these stories to our attention.

jerry

PS–

For example, Christians are not allowed to print literature, including Sunday bulletins, and converts from Islam to Christianity are labeled apostate and subject to the death penalty. Christian pastors are under constant surveillance, and many are forced to sign documents saying they will not allow Muslims to be in their worship services.

A Muslim Education

Friends,

I was writing back and forth with my friend Jeff at atheocracy when mentioned to him that he never criticizes Muslims because he doesn’t know anything about them. I suspect there is another reason why Jeff only criticizes Christians, but I won’t speculate out loud. In the meantime, I would like to help my friend Jeff and any others for that matter who know too little about Islam to adequately criticize it when they take so much time out of their lives to criticize Christianity.

Today’s educational segment will be this: How a young Muslim man should beat his wife. That’s right! Free of charge! Says the article:

He’s Saudi author and cleric, “Dr.” Muhammad Al-‘Arifi, who in a remarkable segment broadcast on Saudi and Kuwaiti television in September, counseled young Muslim men on how to treat their wives.

Says the ‘cleric’:

“Woman, it has gone too far. I can’t bear it anymore,” he tells the men to tell their wives. “If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly.

“He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand… He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child — slapping them right and left.

“Unfortunately, many husbands beat their wives only when they get mad, and when they start beating, it as if they are punching a wall – they beat with their hands, right and left, and sometimes use their feet. Brother, it is a human being you are beating. This is forbidden. He must not do this.”

Can you imagine what would happen in the United States of America if Billy Graham advocated such things? Also, you can click here to watch the video: MEMRITV. I am grateful to foxnews.com for posting this educational story. And I am happy to do my part to help continue educating people on the peace that is Islam.

jerry