Donald Trump has become synonymous with sensation. One of his first executive actions was to stop immigrants and visitors from 7 Muslim nations. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen. People from these countries barred from entering the United States. Soon protests erupted all over the social media, in the streets and at the airports.
Politicians were angry, ‘we don’t do religious tests’ that’s against our Constitution.
When Obama was the President, ISIS was persecuting Christians right and left in Iraq and Syria. Yet, it was almost impossible for Christians to immigrate to the United States. Obama favored Muslim refugees to Christian refugees. Nobody protested before Obama’s White House.
Trump said Christians are beheaded and persecuted and we should give preference to Christian refugees, and those comments did not go well with the media and many people.
The main problem in our world is not Islamophobia, it is Christophobia. Christians are the most persecuted religious group on the planet, it is not Muslims.
Understandably this executive order created a lot of commotion in America and around the world. Some people even pondered questions like, Is this a conflict between Christians and Muslims?Is this a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West?
It is very easy to have your emotions take over you, and you may never get an opportunity to explore the truth in all the milieu breaking around us.
Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 15,
“But speaking truth in love”
These are the words of Apostle Paul, a frail Jewish man who converted the Western Civilization to Christianity. He says, A Christian should speak truth in love. Sometimes we speak
truth with hate in our hearts, that is not right. Other times to be politically correct, we subvert truth just to be nice.
Both are wrong. We should speak the truth in love. So, first let us talk some truth about Islam. I want to talk some facts, and I request you to listen carefully till the end of my talk because possibility for misunderstanding me is very high.
There are certain central doctrines in Islam that every human being must understand, not just Muslims or Christians.
1.First let us see why Islam creates tension between cultures? When Muhammad started his religion, he commanded all his followers that they must follow Allah in everything they do. Education, Occupation, Marriage, Family, Divorce, Politics: they should be determined by Sharia, the Arabic for Islamic law.
How should Muslims treat Non-Muslims? Sharia tells us. Sharia code is enforced in many Muslim majority countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, United Arab Emirates,Iran, Iraq, Pakistan etc. For example, in Pakistan there is death penalty for saying anything insulting of Muhammad. Anything perceived as insulting to Muhammad could put your life in danger
For example, you are Muslim who became an atheist, or you are a Christian or Hindu who said funny things about Muhammad, that could result in imprisonment and death penalty.
You are a Muslim and you converted to Christian faith, you could be imprisoned and face death penalty. These Islamic laws are not products of terrorists or fanatics. They have been in practice since the birth of Islam. So, a society based on Sharia law cannot provide freedom of conscience, or freedom of religion or freedom of speech to its civilians. That is why you cannot preach Christianity in most Muslim majority nations.
The State takes the responsibility of implementing Sharia law. So, there is no separation of Church and State. There is no separation of Mosque and State in Muslim nations.
Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. That’s where we got separation of Church and State.
Muhammad went in a radically different way, Muhammad was both the head of the state and head of the mosque. He was like Catholic Pope in that respect. Pope was the head of the state of Vatican and head of the Catholic Church.
When one person becomes the head of the state and head of the church, you won’t have freedom of religion. Remember what happened when Henry VIII, the king of England declared himself the head of the anglican church? Soon boats were leaving England carrying people to North America who wanted to be left alone in matters of faith.
When one person becomes your King and Priest, People in such a society cannot really have freedom of speech or freedom of religion. That is a very important concept to understand
Muhammad was both head of the state and head of the mosque. He fought wars and occupied large swaths of land in and around what is now known as Saudi Arabia. After Muhammad his successors are called Caliphs. Caliphs were the leaders of the Muslim community. Like Muhammad Caliphs were heads of the state, heads of the mosque and rulers of the Muslim community.
All Caliphs fought wars in the spread of Islam. Every religion starts with an utopia. In Christianity the utopia is Christians should preach the gospel and make converts out of non-Christians, Jesus will come back and rule this world as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will sit in Jerusalem and rule the world. That is Christian utopia.
But in Islam, the Caliphs were given the mission of bringing the whole world under the subjection of Allah. That is why Islam was fighting for land in all three continents within a few decades after its inception. Jesus did not send the military to subjugate the land around him. Buddha did not send the military to subjugate the land around him. But Muhammad fought many wars and sent his military to subjugate the land around him. Caliphs were fighting wars throughout Islamic history. Why? because Islamic utopia is to bring the whole world under the subjection of Allah to be ruled according to Islamic Sharia.
Muhammad died in AD 632. After his death Rashidun Caliphs ruled Muslim community. They were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali. They ruled from 632 to 661. Then Umayyad Caliphate came into existence. They ruled from Damascus, Syria. Their years were 661 to 750. After Umayyad Caliphate, Abbasid Caliphate came into existence. They ruled from Baghdad. Their years were 750 to 1258. After Abbasids, Ottoman Caliphate came to rule over the Muslim lands. They ruled from 1299 to 1924. In 1922, Ottoman Empire came to an end and in 1924 their Caliphate was abolished. So, the rule of the Muslim communityunder one Caliph that started after Muhammad’s death in 632 only ended recently, in 1924. Only for the last hundred years the global Muslim community does not have a caliph. You should know that fact to understand what drives ISIS and its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In June 2014, al-Baghdadi announced the creation of the caliphate from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul. Look at his name.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Abu Bakr: that’s the first Muslim caliph who ruled from 632 to 634.
al-Baghdadi: that was the capital of Abbasid Caliphate.
By his name it seems probably he is daydreaming of ruling the world Muslim community as Abu Bakr from Baghdad.
No wonder he wants to conquer Iraq first. Not just ISIS, the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda and many other Islamic organizations would love to see Caliphate rejuvenated in 21st century. That’s important to understand. They are not abusing Islam, or perverting Islam or hijacking Islam, they took the concept of Caliphate, the very central doctrine of Islam and make it a reality in our modern world. They want to spread Islam around the world just like every Caliph did from 632 to 1924.
By the time of Muhammad’s death, Islam occupied the whole Mediterranean basin. Ummayuds occupied all North Africa. Their armies moved from Tangier into Spain through Gibraltar. In 711, Spain was conquered city after city. In 713, Islamic military general Tariq was appointed governor of Iberia. Then the Muslim armies invaded France. The famous Battle of Tours was fought in the year 732. The Frankish leader Charles Martel stopped the invading Muslim armies near the city of Tours in France.
Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne fought in that war. We can say they saved the Western Civilization from invading Muslim armies.
That’s in 732. Three hundred years before Crusades. Our politically correct college professors teach us that Christians invaded peaceful Muslims during Crusades. But remember, 300 years
before Crusades started Muslim armies were attacking Christian kingdoms in Spain and France. The ‘reconquest of Iberian peninsula took another 800 years.
In 750 Abbasids overthrew Umayyads. They founded Baghdad in 762. Just like Umayyads Abbasids were also attacking infidels around them. The Battle of Talas in September 751. Tang Dynasty was ruling China in the East when Abbasid caliphate was ruling over much of the Middle East. The armies of Tang Dynasty fought against Abbasid Caliphate in the Battle of Talas and lost to arabs. That victory opened the doors to Islam’s advance into central Asia, Southeast Asia and Indian subcontinent.
In the year 902, Muslim armies conquered Byzantine Sicily.
In 1095: Pope Urban II calls for First Crusade; At that time the Middle East was under the control of Seljuk Sultanate who destroyed Byzantine empire in Asia. Crusades rocked the Middle Ages and the Crusaders established 4 kingdoms, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Antioch and Edessa. Seljuk Sultanate occupied current day Turkey, that was the largest Christian nation in the world at that time.
In 1258: Mamluk Sultanateb was established in Egypt. They were Abbasid Caliphs who ruled from Cairo. Mamluk Sultanate ended with the conquest of Egypt in 1517. So, Turkey and Egypt two largest Christian nations in the world at that time were converted into Islam.
Constantinople was not spared In 1453:
Mehmed II conquered Constantinople Hagia Sophia, the largest church in the world at that time was converted into a mosque. Ottoman Empire now occupied large swaths of Europe. Around the same time Indian subcontinent was conquered. Sultans of Delhi and later Mughal Empire took over India. And until 1857 when the British took over, India was under the rule of Mughal Empire.
In 1571 Battle of Lepanto was fought between European naval forces and Ottomans. That was the largest naval battle in Western history.
In 1683: Ottoman Empire attacked Vienna. They invaded Austrian Habsburgs. Vienna survived, the Western Europe would have been different today had they lost that battle.
By 1699: Ottoman Empire was on engulfing Poland and Austria. Ottoman Empire crushed small
By 1818, Ottomans suppressed Saudi rebellion
By 1821, they conquered Sudan in Africa.
Their power continued even into first world war.
They did not stop the persecution of Christians.
Over 1 million Armenian Christians were killed during First World War. Even to this day, the world ignores to call this a genocide.
You might wonder, why all this history? Knowing those details is important to understand current events. That doctrine of Caliphate is central to Islam and radical groups in our time want to implement it around the world. ISIS is a Sunni organization they are attacking Shiites because they think Shiites left the true Islam for a false Islam. They are attacking Christians because they think Christians are worshiping a prophet, who is Jesus, instead of Allah.
That’s where we got our refugee crisis. Who will take refugees? Sunni countries don’t want to take Shiite refugees, Shiite countries don’t want to take Sunni refugees, but they insist America must take both Sunnis and Shiites.
How should America respond? How should Christians respond? How should President Trump respond?
As United States President, he has constitutional authority to protect his nation; he has authority to determine which aliens he can allow and which aliens he cannot allow. Let us also see the
Christian part: Donald Trump claims to be a Christian.
We should ask, how should a Christian respond? I think the best model for Christian behavior was presented by Jesus Christ himself. Think about Jesus’ most famous story: The Good Samaritan: A lawyer came to Jesus and asked him, ‘what should I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus asked him, ‘What is written in the Law?’ The lawyer said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself”
Then the lawyer asked him,‘who is my neighbor? That’s when Jesus told him the story of Good Samaritan. Someone was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along the way he was attacked by thieves. They have beaten him, took away his belongings and left him half dead in his wounds. He was crying in pain for help. A priest went by this man, but did not stop to help him.
A levite went by this man, but did not stop to help him.
Finally a Samaritan came by, saw this man, moved with compassion he bandaged his wounds gave him something to drink and took him to an inn and paid for his treatment.
You see Jesus told this story in response to the question, Who is my neighbor? Your neighbor is the stranger you never met before, you never saw before. Through this story, Lord Jesus told us that we should help all human beings no matter where they are from what religion they follow what race they belong to. Recently I was looking at a great artwork by Italian artist Francesco Bassano who lived between 1549 to 1592. It shows the Good Samaritan helping the wounded man, You can see the Good Samaritan covering the wounds of the beaten man with bandage and oil. You can also see his sword. Travelers those days would carry a sword for defensive purposes. The Good Samaritan was helping a stranger while carrying his sword. That would be a good message for President Trump.
While defending the United States he can still reach out to the people in need. Christianity is a message of self-sacrifice that God sacrificed His Son for our sins. God has son? It does not mean God gave birth to a Son. In the divine trinity there are three persons; He is one God in three persons.
Triune God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That is divine trinity. God the Son came to this world to save us from our sins.
John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
If everyone lived like Jesus, there would not be a single terrorist in this world.
The terrorists rejected the Cross of Christ. They want to establish Allah’s kingdom through force. They want to impose sharia through coercion.
Richard Niebuhr once said, “We want a ‘God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross”
We want a God without wrath men without sin Kingdom without judgment and Christ without cross.
Those words summarize Islamic faith. It talks about fall of Adam and Eve, but it is not a big deal. Allah could forgive them. Islam talks about Jesus but a Jesus without a cross.
Recently I was flying to Dubai. A Muslim young lady sat beside me. We were talking Christianity and Islam. At one point she told me, ‘You know, there is Jesus both in Bible and Quran, there are many similarities between Islam and Christianity’. I told her, ‘Yes, both Quran and Bible talk about Jesus, but it is not the same Jesus’
Quran says Jesus was born through a virgin he lived a holy life and he did miracles.
Interestingly, quran does not give these three attributes to Muhammad.
JESUS in QURAN
-Surah 23:50, says that Jesus was sent as a sign to humanity.
-Surah 2:87 says that Jesus was strengthened by the Holy Spirit
-Surah 19:30 says that Jesus was sent as a prophet
-Surah 3:45 says Jesus was born through virgin Mary.
We agree with those things. Tragically, Quran sounds more conservative about Jesus than even many liberal clergy we have today.
-What is troubling about Quran is what it rejects about Jesus. It rejects the divinity of Christ.
It reject the cross of Christ.
For example, Surah 4 rejects the divine nature of Christ and His Cross.
The divinity of Lord Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross are the fundamental truths of Christian faith. There is no Christian gospel without those two core doctrines.
Yet Quran and Islam categorically deny these doctrines.
So remember that: Quranic Christology is incompatible with Biblical Christology because Quran refutes the divinity and substitutionary death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Recently in Scotland so called Christian leaders invited a Muslim to read quran in the cathedral. This church St.Mary’s Cathedral is located in Glasgow. Revered Kelvin Holdsworth invited a Muslim speaker at the feast of Epiphany. And she read from Surah 19 in Quran which claims that Jesus is not the Son of God and he should not be worshipped. Ironically this is happening at the feast of Epiphany the festival that celebrates the incarnation of God in Christ. Basically, she is rebuking these Christian leaders for believing in the deity of Christ.
I am not disappointed at her, she has a spine for standing what is in Quran. The Christian leaders have no spine to stand for what is in the Bible. They sacrificed the truth for the sake of unity.
Can you imagine a Christian leader being invited to a mosque during Ramadan when he could preach the divinity and death of Lord Jesus Christ?
That would never happen folks. Muslims knew their quran and they stand for it, we are not seeing that kind of commitment to gospel truth among many a Christian clergy.
The points of tension between Christianity and Islam arise from their doctrinal differences.
According to Islam, Christians are guilty of blasphemy: we made God out of a prophet, who was merely a human being.
But we should remember that Bible declares the divine nature of Lord Jesus Christ in unmistakable terms. The gospel of John starts with the words, Divinity of Lord Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1)
In Hebrews chapter 1, we read that
Jesus Christ is the brightness of God’s glory, express image of divine person, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who purged our sins and who sat down on the right hand of His Father.
In John 8:58 Jesus declared his eternal existence. He said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto God, Before Abraham was,I am’
In John 10:30, Jesus said “I and the Father are One”
In John 12:45 he said, “And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me”
In Matthew 16:16, Simon Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”
In Romans 1, Apostle Paul wrote, “Jesus Christ our Lord declared to be the Son of God with power …by the resurrection from the dead”
Unlike Muhammad or Buddha or Confucius Jesus claimed to be God and through His resurrection from the dead he gave us compelling evidence for His deity.
Colossians 1:15 says, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.
In Colossians 2:9, ‘For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’
1 TImothy 3:16 says, ‘And without controversy, Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
The Old Testament prophets predicted that the Son would be called the Mighty God.
In Isaiah 9:6, it says
For unto us a child is born,unto us a
son is given: and the
government shall be upon
his shoulder: and his name
shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
A child is born and one of his names is Mighty God. Those are just a few of the many Bible verses that declare the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Unlike Muhammad Jesus was born through a virgin
Unlike Muhammad Jesus performed miracles
Unlike Muhammad Jesus rose again from the dead.
So, the divinity of Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross form the bedrock of
Christian faith. These truths should not be forsaken for sake of unity.
In Corinthians chapter 1, verse 23, Apostle Paul wrote, “We preach Christ crucified”
Apostle Paul says,
Not the Christ, the social reformer
Not the Christ,the spiritual teacher
Not the Christ, the miracle performer
Not the Christ, who was just a prophet
But the Christ, who was crucified for our sins and rose again from the dead.
Donald Trump says, we should fight fire with fire. But he should remember violence breeds more violence. Bloodshed leads to more blood shed. He should preach the gospel of Christ that changes the hearts and minds of people.
The Cross of Christ is the place where God wants to forgive our sins, renew our hearts and minds, give us a new life and hope. As the President he should defend and secure the United States and as a Christian he should preach the gospel.
May that conviction also guide us in our own interactions with the lost people.