Thursday, September 11, 2014

Playing the Devil’s Advocate for a Moment!

{Jesus continued,} “I have said these things to you so that you won't lose your faith. You will be thrown out of synagogues. Certainly, the time is coming when people who murder you will think that they are serving God.” [John 16:1-2 (God’s Word)]

They are referred to as “extremists” and “terrorists” with the references intended to separate them from the main body of those who practice the religion of Islam. In recent times the group known as ISIS has been labeled in such terms. They have killed quite a large number of non-Muslims and this includes Christians. They have beheaded individuals, and recorded these “executions” on video. Outrage has been continually expressed and world leaders scramble to put together a plan and muster military groups to combat what is perceived to be a threat to the peace and well-being of people in many different places in this troubled world.

But stop and think this through as well as doing some reading in the holy book of Islam known as the Quran. These persons so vilified and threatened by leaders such as the present resident of the White House in Washington DC are actually among the most dedicated Muslims you will find anywhere in the world! They are simply attempting to purge the world of infidels (a term used frequently in the Quran) and to usher in an age in which Islam dominates and controls the entire world! The laws as outlined in the Quran which are regarded as extremely harsh by non-Muslims will be the standard for all living persons. And of course, all living persons will either have converted and become Muslim or will be put to death as infidels. Infidels have no legitimate right to existence in a purified Muslim world! One command given in the Quran is that Muslims are not to take Christians or Jews for friends. The reason is simple – Christians and Jews are among the infidel crowd and they are a corrupting influence.

But there is a problem among Muslims just as there is a problem among Christians. There are Muslims who are willing to compromise their faith and do not have the degree of dedication that the ISIS bunch has. A Muslim “scholar” presented his interpretation of the statement about taking Christians and Jews for friends – he would be regarded as a “liberal” – actually a traitor to the faith! Just as in Christianity we are plagued with “scholars,” teachers, church leaders, and pastors who do not believe the Bible is actually truthful in what it says! This is seen especially in denials that Jesus Christ is God revealed in human form, and performed many miracles during His ministry here on earth. The worst is the denial that He is exclusively the only way of salvation and reconciliation to God! Further that He did not really come back from the dead 3 days later following His crucifixion!

A Christian truly dedicated to his/her Lord takes the position that Jesus is indeed the only way of forgiveness and salvation. Such a Christian becomes involved in efforts to see the world converted to Jesus Christ and envisions a world in the future as being ruled by Jesus Christ and His resurrected saints.

So also the dedicated Muslim sees a future world in which Islam is in control and all infidels have been eliminated or have been converted and are devoted now to serving Allah!

The means by which the “mission” is carried out stands in sharp contrast – as much difference as there is between the brightest day and the darkest night. Dedicated Muslims are given sanction to use violence to advance the cause. Christians, however, in following the New Testament are motivated by love and are never to resort to violence – if a person rejects the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that is their choice and nothing by way of retaliation is to be done to them. True, the history of Christianity is not without blemish – some horrible things were done in times past in the name of Christianity, but it cannot be supported by an honest and open-minded interpretation of the New Testament which stresses that love is one of the fruits of a loyal Christian!

Here in the United States in recent decades there has been the growing problem of compromise regarding various religious expressions. For a number, when it comes to religion, it is a bit like a popular buffet experience. You simply look at the table and select which “faith” appeals to you and that will be just fine. All religious “faiths” are on a level playing field and all have a legitimate claim to addressing issues such as life, human relationships, responsibility, accountability, final judgment (if such a thing exists), death and life beyond!

When it comes to Christianity and Islam, these two are totally incompatible if you take each of their holy books seriously. But if you take the view which a growing number are taking then you reject the radical parts and adopt the common approach of “in order to get along, then go along!”

If you want to see an example of true dedication then look at Muslims that make up a group known as ISIS! And here and there you may find a Christian also dedicated who says, “There is no way to Heaven except through Jesus Christ and in order to be a Christian with hope, you have to repent of your sins, forsake them, and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of your life! And if a Muslim expects to get to Heaven, he/she will have to do the same thing!”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [Acts 4:8-12 (King JamesVersion)]

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