Two mainstream positions on Muslims exist today in American society.
1. “Look, some Muslims killed some people in (_______). Ack, there’s a Koran on the U.S. border! They’ll be taking over here any day! Let’s deport all Muslims here, send some bombs and drones overseas, and teach those barbarians a lesson! Put ’em back in the Stone Age where they belong!”
2. “Islam is a religion of peace, so Muslims who are violent are not truly Muslim, since they are not following Islam. And anyway, the violent ones are a tiny minority. Muslims are actually the definition of Dear Hearts and Gentle People. Plus Muslim scholars and theologians have contribued greatly to science and culture.”
Both of these positions view Muslims, and Islam itself, through a self-centered lens. That is: how do Muslims, or Islam, affect me? “Muslims want to kill me, so I better kill ’em first!” versus, “Muslims don’t want to kill me, so I don’t mind Muslims and think they’re great!”
Due to the self-centeredness underlying both positions, neither one is a position that a Christian should hold. A Christian is not supposed to form positions about an idea or about people based solely on how that idea or those people directly affect his own self in this physical life on earth.
Secondly, Christians should not hold these positions because both imply that once a Muslim, always a Muslim. The first implies that Muslims are permanently Muslims and that they must be conquered militarily because they are violent. The second implies that Muslims are permanently Muslims and it’s fine because they are not violent.
Being Muslim is not, and should not, be unchangeable. I have met persons who were once Muslim and whom Jesus Christ saved from the lies of Islam. (I do not mention their names because of security reasons.) I have read books by persons who were once Muslim and whom Jesus Christ saved from the lies of Islam: e.g., Bilquis Sheikh of Pakistan, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross of the U.S., and Mosab Hassan Youssef of Palestine.
Yet there is a grain of truth in each of these positions. For there are Muslims who are violent and who kill others. And there are Muslims who are gentle and who do not kill others. And the first position is not wrong to seek action against Islam—but killing Muslims will not vanquish Islam. And the second one is not wrong to seek peace with Muslims—but peace cannot last without Christ, and Islam denies Him.
That is the primary problem with Islam.
Whether Islam teaches that Muslims are justified in oppressing or killing non-Muslims is a secondary problem. I haven’t learned Arabic and haven’t read all the Koran through. However, from the testimonies and the documentation of those I have met who were saved from Islam, I believe that there are Islamic doctrines, in the Koran and other Islamic texts, that justify making non-Muslims second-class citizens or even putting non-Muslims to death. But it is not my goal to prove why it is accurate to believe this. First, if you have convinced yourself otherwise, I am not going to bother wasting my time trying to change our mind. And how would changing your mind on this aspect of Islam save a soul? Second, whatever the Koran, or the hadith, of any Muslim imam or source says, there will always be Muslims who do things differently from other Muslims. Third, there are Muslims who cannot read or write, so they can’t read the Koran or any Muslim work.
I object to Christians focused on preserving an earthly kingdom and wanting to go to war with any place they think could threaten the earthly kingdom they idolize. Warfare increases risks to the lives of Christians abroad; much of the persecution of Christians around the world increased due to the foreign policy of the U.S.
I also object to Christians focused on defending a pacifist Islam. When their fellow brothers in Christ are persecuted or killed, they intellectually stick their fingers in their ears and cry out: “The Koran [or such-and-such Islamic text] forbids that!” or “Look at all the peaceful Muslims who never harmed a flea!”
Whether the Islamic text forbids violence, and whether there are peaceful Muslims, does not change the fact that a Christian was killed or persecuted. (Some of them cling so much to their belief in Islamic pacifism that merely mentioning past or present persecution of Christians will cause them to accuse you of being “Islamophobic.” For example, “A Muslim court in Sudan sentenced Meriam Ibrahim to death for being a Christian. Praise the Lord that she’s free now!” Response: “You Islamophobe!”)
The primary problem with Islam lies in its teachings about Christ.
- And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Sura 4:157
- They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah—Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. Sura 5:72
- They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. Sura 5:73
- The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah”; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded? Sura 9:30
Thus, Islam teaches that God is not Triune. Islam teaches that Jesus is not the only begotten Son of God. Islam teaches that Jesus told Israel to worship Allah. Islam teaches that if you believe in the Trinity you will be in “the Fire.” Islam teaches that if you do not desist from saying God is Triune, a painful punishment will afflict you.
1 John 2:21-22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 22 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1 John 4:1-3: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Mohammed was a false prophet, and had the spirit of antichrist. Islam lies about the identity and teachings of Jesus, and while claiming to show the way to paradise through lies about Jesus actually shows one of the many paths to hell. Islam is one religion out of many religions that lie about Jesus and lead souls to hell.
Therefore, no matter what the Koran, or the Hadith, or any Muslim imam or Musli person, might teach about violence or warfare, Islam is not and cannot be a religion of peace due to its lies about God and Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Jesus is the One Who brings true, abiding peace, peace that does not depend on earthly external circumstances. When Jesus saves someone from his sin, he gains lasting peace in his heart and soul, for he knows, assuredly, that Christ’s blood has washed away his sin and cleansed him; that Jesus will work in his life and help him to lay aside sinful habits and customs and thoughts, thus becoming holier and holier; that whenever death comes, death is something to anticipate, not something to fear, because it is the home-going to Heaven, to live for ever with Jesus and the Father. Islam denies Jesus and denies the source of peace.
Bilquis Sheikh of Pakistan was a Muslim for decades. She sought peace and assurance, but found none in Islam. In chapter two of her testimony, I Dared to Call Him Father, she remembers:
The next morning I picked up the Koran again, hoping to find in the curling script the assurance I needed so desperately. But the assurance never came. I found only directives for how to live and warnings against other beliefs. There were verses about the prophet Jesus whose message, the Koran said, was falsified by early Christians. Though Jesus was born of a virgin, he was not God’s son. So say not “Three,” warned the Koran [Sura 4:171] against the Christian concept of the Trinity. Refrain, better is it for you. God is only One God. [...]
The comfort I had sought in memories proved only to bring achings. Softly in the distance I could hear the muzzein’s sunset prayer call; its haunting strains only deepened the loneliness within me. “Where? Oh Allah,” I whispered to the prayer rhythms, “where is the comfort You promise?”
Satan—whom Jesus identified as the father of lies—delights whenever people believe the lies that he has fathered. No doubt he is pleased to see many American Christians focus more and more on whether or not Muslims want to kill them and less and less on preaching Jesus to Muslims.
This brings us to an essential point which Daveed Gartenstein-Ross raises in his memoir, My Year Inside Radical Islam:
I found that Islam and Christianity had two very different accounts of what became of Jesus. Christianity holds that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Islam holds that Jesus was never crucified...I once thought of this as an area where the two faiths’ different account made no practical difference. But as I learned more about Christianity, my mind changed. There may, in fact, be no two events more important to Christianity than the crucifixion and the resurrection. It was Jesus’ sacrifice that allowed the forgiveness of sins. And Jesus’ resurrection—His ability to conquer hell and come back from the dead—shows that we too can return from death. It was understanding the importance of these events to Christianity that made them my topic of study tonight. As I had so often done lately, I tried to tease out one principle at a time.
Before Jesus’ disciples saw Him rise from the dead, they were scattered, demoralized, and frightened. With His resurrection, their faith was reinvigorated. The disciples believed that they saw Jesus alive again, saw Him resurrected. The disciples preached this and were persecuted for it. Some of them were put to death by swearing by the resurrection.
I wondered whether their account could be believed. I turned and opened the Qur’an that sat in another corner of my desk. Verse 4:157 addressed the crucifixion: “That they said [in boast], ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’;—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts.” Which one was right? What principle could distinguish between the two accounts?
I thought of the persecution that Jesus’ disciples suffered because of their belief in the crucifixion and resurrection. They didn’t die for a set of ideals—it was for a set of facts. Do people die for a set of facts that they know to be false?
I felt that I was onto something. Slowly, with each layer that I pulled back, I felt my ideas about God shifting.
Can it be any clearer? The disciples were willing to sacrifice their life on earth for the truth of Christ and His crucifixion and resurrection. They were willing to die for this. That they were willing to die for the truth of the Christian faith testifies beyond their graves and changes the destination of lost souls today. Would to God that more Christians in America would be willing to die for Christ and His truth!
In contrast, the Christian who fails to trust in God, and focuses on life and pleasures and a kingdom on earth, will fret and fuss about threats to that life, those pleasures, that kingdom—thereby placing a lower priority to eternal life and redemption for others, placing a lower priority on obedience to God’s word and will. This is the kind of baby Christian who might call for pre-emptive war (that is, killing people “before they can kill us”), or who might make the sacrilegious, if not blasphemous, claim that “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
It is the Christian’s duty to trust fully in God, and to submit to Him, even if God plans for his earthly life to end in violence. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian were willing to travel to a different continent to witness to a savage tribe, and to lose their earthly lives—and they lost their earthly lives. But that these five young men were willing to die amazed those savage tribesmen. It turned their world upside down. And they began coming to Jesus. In fact, Nate Saint’s son was baptized by two of the men who had murdered his father.
A Christian who focuses on all the “moderate Muslims,” as they are labelled, and defends the Koran (or Islam, or both), is not redeeming the time God allots him on earth in defending such false ideas. Defending Islam is defending the spirit of antichrist. Moreover, the “nice, kind Muslims” are as lost as any Stalin in existence, no matter what religious affiliation. Christians should remember that all of man’s righteousness is as filthy rags. What humans might consider the “goodness” or “gentleness” of the moderate Muslims will not bring those Muslims one bit closer to salvation or Heaven.
It is a Christian’s duty to defend the identity of the true, triune God, and defend His Word, more than a Chrisitan should defend any other person or any other book.
The Christian action to take against Islam is abiding in the Bible and seeking opportunities to witness to Muslims and share with them the Truth learned in His Word.
This is hard. It is hard to share Truth with someone deceived by a lie, any lie, whatever its magnitude, especially if he has been ingrained in the lie for years. It is hard because it reminds us, over and over again, that we cannot make anyone become a Christian. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.
We should—and can—act with kindness towards our spiritual enemies; pray for their redemption from sin; speak of Jesus and share God’s Word with them; but we cannot make them repent and believe. It is often frustrating and saddening, especially if they continue, over and over, to cling to the path of lies that they have chosen. But praying for the lost, and sharing the truth with them, are the only actions that will have lasting results.
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Bombing or killing Muslims, on the other hand, will anger more Muslims and give them more motivation to be violent and seek revenge. It is like chopping at a plant without uprooting it, and the seeds of the plant fall to the earth only to reproduce more plants of the same kind.
Letting the “nice, kind Muslims” continue unquestioned or uninterrupted in their Islamic faith because they’re so nice and kind lets them continue on the Islamic path to hell. Bombing them is unloving, but doing nothing to share the Gospel is unloving, because it lets them destroy themselves.
Muslims are the ultimate victims of Islam. As such, we should pray for them and pray that God will use us as He sees fit to bring them to Him.