100 Answers in 100 Days

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Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And There Was No More Christmas

I seem to continually be receiving emails from friends about the “Islamization of the world”. Some are from concerned Christians, others are from concerned non-Christians, and others are from non-Christians who think that because I'm a Christian I should be concerned. And what sort of things do these emails say? They say that there is somewhat of a conspiracy that the Muslim religion intends to become the predominant religion in the world by settling in countries and major cities which are not predominately Muslim at the present time. And then, as they become a sizable majority, they will slowly gain more and more influence to thoroughly impose Islam upon that country. I’m always wary of how much truth there is to these sorts of emails, but recently my wife started work for the local school where my children attend, and she has told me that the school announced privately to staff that there probably won’t be any Christmas celebrations whatsoever this year. Furthermore the reason for this, so the story goes, is that we mustn’t offend the Muslim community by celebrating an overtly Christian occasion. So there certainly seems to be some truth to all this talk of “Islamization”, though I would also concede that it’s due to all this Islamization hype that the Muslim community are blamed for this when the truth may be otherwise. I don’t think there’s any big conspiracy; I’m fairly convinced that the Principal of that school is an Atheist and her agenda isn’t to keep Muslim’s happy but to take advantage of any excuse that takes religion out of the school’s culture.

I must admit that I’m not really in my comfort zone speaking on this... though I keep getting fed these emails, I’m not one to necessarily trust such sources. It is, however, plainly evident by looking at the world around us these days that Islam is on the rise. I am happier to call it “Islamic Revival” than “Islamization”, much like we would speak of a Christian Revival. From my perspective, the Church has been compromising itself for a long time now... many Churches are not right these days; failing to acknowledge the authority of Scripture, ordaining homosexuals, denying that Christ is the only way of salvation, and many other errors. And it is precisely the Biblical pattern that God would allow another religion like Islam to rise up, and to subject His Church even to persecution, just as God gave Israel over to their enemies as judgement for their faithlessness. Consider what it would do for the Church if it were persecuted, (not that we actually wish that upon ourselves)... To use a Biblical idiom, it would be “refined by fire”. Anyone not truly committed to Christ would soon abandon the Church. And even the banning of Christmas at my children’s school is a kind of persecution, but what effect will it have on local Churches? Will they care?

We should look at the rise of Islam from this perspective... the Church has struggled somewhat to go and preach the gospel to Muslims in their own lands, so God is bringing them to us. We should see their presence in our neighbourhoods as opportunities to reach them with the gospel. But what I see instead is fear and hatred towards them because of these emails that circulate. I’m not going to pretend that Christmas celebrations being cancelled at my children’s school isn’t a sad thing, but to react with hatred would be the opposite of Christian. How can we hate those who are without Christ? It should stir up our compassion. People say "Look at what he Devil is doing through Islam", but I would want to say look at what the Devil is doing through these emails that circulate, using them to provoke Christians to hatred. Let’s not forget who we are, and what our Lord taught us. Let’s examine ourselves and repent of any hatred we have toward the Muslim community.

and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Mark 6:34