Skip to main content

Reaching Islam

Islam is Christianity's greatest rival. This is true historically as well as in our own time. For the Reformers, Islam posed a greater threat to the church than did Roman Catholicism. Luther thought of both the Pope and the Turk as antichrist. Calvin maintained that Muhammad was one of the two horns of antichrist. By Calvin's time Islam had been a force to reckon with for almost a thousand years, and had wreaked havoc on the church. Calvin wrote that ...the sect of Mohammad was like a raging overflow, which in its violence tore away about half of the church.

In the 1645 Westminster Assembly's Directory for Public Worship ministers were instructed to lead their congregations in prayer for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of the antichristian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk (Islam).

Today's reformers do not seem aware that Islam has plans to tear away the other half of the church. I suspect that prayers for churches distressed by the oppressions and blasphemies of Islam are relatively rare on most Sunday mornings. Protestants continue to keep one eye suspiciously peeled toward Rome while the other eye that should be watching Mecca remains closed.

However, Calvin and the Reformers did not simply foresee the rise of Islam, they predicted its fall. There was no doubt in the mind of Calvin that Christianity would triumph over Islam. Even more significantly, Calvin believed that Muslims would be converted in great numbers. Through the undeserved goodness of God, Calvin wrote, the Assyrians and Egyptians shall be admitted to fellowship with the chosen People of God...Calvin based this belief from reading Isaiah 19:23-25. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance."

Indeed, Calvin saw the first fruits of God's goodness when Muslims were requesting baptism after making professions of faith.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Andy Stanley and the “NEW Hermeneutic”

The problem of faith and reason is longstanding in the history of theology. Augustine held that faith aids reason (credo ut intelligam) and that reason aids faith (intelligo un creadam). The church father is, however, inclined to stress the later over the former. It was with Thomas Aquinas, and his Summa Theologica, that the effort to reconcile faith and reason reached its apex. Rejecting the medieval doctrine of double truth, he placed natural reason prior to faith in effectively every area of the Christian life. The restrictions are the mysteries of the faith that reason cannot penetrate.
Thomas’ affirmation of the high role of native reason in Christian belief is linked to his stress on dialectical method in study, seminally set forth by Peter Abelard. The form of study is dependent largely on logic to argue both sides of a theological question. Christian belief is thus the proper result of process or synthesis. Faith then assents to the final proposition arrived at by reason.
Thom…

Pat Robertson is Warned!

Pat Robertson is taking it on the chin again. Seems each time he opines on why bad things happen to us, there is someone to call him on it.
Most recently, Dr. Richard Mouw has taken up the challenge in response to Robertson's recent statement on the Las Vegas shooting, in which at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
In a piece, titled, "You've Been Warned, PatRobertson!" Mouw, for whom I have deep respect, pens,

"It didn’t take long for some preachers to start telling us why God caused the horrible mass murder in Las Vegas to happen. Pat Robertson led the way, declaring that it was divine retribution for the widespread 'disrespect' for Donald Trump in America."
If Robertson had limited his rationale for the Vegas shooting to God punishing us for people dissing the President, I'd be smacking him on the chin myself. But he didn't.
Robertson's brief remarks f…

Fighting Abortion is Not the Fourth Sign of the Church

Some Christians are what I call, “single-issue.” I recall one family that left a church because everything did not revolve around Evangelism Explosion. But that's just one issue.
The issue I'm thinking about is abortion on demand. Some concerned Christians expect their pastor to thunder away almost each week on this topic, or at least mention it. He must make it is his central motif. He must protest outside the abortion clinic. If he doesn’t, he can say he’s against abortion all he likes, but it’s not enough.
Motivating the single-issue congregant is a deeper judgment. He thinks that the ultimate reason abortion on demand still happens is because pastors let it. Churches let it.
As one who has taken a virulent stand against abortion, both in the pulpit and with pen, I can say without qualification, “I hate it.”  Period. I pray the day that Roe is overturned. Nonetheless, as a former pastor, an as one who may return to the pulpit someday, here’s the bottom line.
We are called to …