April 23, 2010 – Pentagon dis-invites Franklin Graham from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service.
The US Army has withdrawn an invitation to an evangelist to take part in a Pentagon prayer service, amid concern over his remarks condemning the Islamic faith.
The Council on American Islamic Relations is celebrating this as a victory.
- How should the church react to this?
- Does this mean anything to the body of Christ?
- Is this another step away from God for the Unites States or merely an indicator of where we already are?
Is it important to note that the agenda of the United States government and military are many times very different from that of heaven. The U.S. military and the government do not want to offend the Muslim nations or communities. We are at war in the Middle East. We have Muslim soldiers in our military. We are occupying two Muslim countries, trying to implant democracy while attempting to deter Muslim insurgents. They have to be at peace with the Muslim community or the effort they are putting forth have no hope of succeeding.
It has truly been a very long time since these United States were truly “One Nation Under God.” There is a nominal belief in the God of the Bible in this nation, but a seemingly widespread choice to ignore or disbelieve that what He said is true. American Christians cannot expect the American government to establish this Kingdom of God on this earth. Only the church establishes the kingdom of God on this earth. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and there is only one church on the planet.
“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
Our faith is not determined or dictated by the legislation of this nation or any other. The Christian is governed by the God of heaven and the Bible. I do not expect the government of this nation of fortify my faith in Christ (it would be nice); all we ask for is the opportunity to believe, preach and practice Christianity in an unrestricted manner (our constitution provides this same guarantee to Muslims and Buddhists). The U.S. government is not the protector of Christian freedom, biblical standards or anything else that we in the church would like to see implemented. It is the mission of the church to bring people to Christ, to disciple them in the things of God, to influence politics, education and culture through our lives, our prayers, our art, our preaching and our votes. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Christianity and America have a long and glorious history. The realities of the past are not the realities of the present. The church of Jesus Christ must proclaim the truth even when the politics of the present would rather we didn’t. The guarantee of America is that Congress cannot pass a law making our faith illegal.
Regardless of your politics or opinion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the question of how to deal with the differences between Islam, the Quran, Muslims, Christianity, the Bible and Christians remains a matter of Scripture. If you are a Christian; the answer must be found in the Bible. From the verses that I read, the Bible expresses God’s strong desire that all people on the planet come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
As with reaching any group of people who believe something that contradicts the truth of the Bible we as Christians must establish a dialogue and relationship with Muslim people that is based on the love of Jesus Christ. Even though Muslims deny the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; God loves them. The blood of Christ was shed for Muslims (even if they don’t accept it or believe it). Muslims fall into the same category you and I did prior to being born again. We are sinners, separated from God, who need salvation through Jesus Christ
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8)
“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13)
We cannot categorize Muslims any differently as believers in Christ than any other person or people group who have yet to accept and believe the gospel. Muslims are our mission field. They will be converted as the truth is proclaimed in love and the power of God is demonstrated. It is extremely important to recognize that we as Christians should be converting Muslims to Christ, not turning them into Americans. It is also extremely important that your life lived before Muslims be the salt and light of Matthew 5. A Spirit-filled believer walking in the truth of the word, the fruit of the Spirit and the power of the Spirit should be a living testimony to Jesus Christ. We should be making people thirsty for what we have.
The secular press is demonizing Franklin Graham for his comments concerning Islam. Just like anyone offering sound bites instead of full context things are easily read into what people have said, but here are the comments that they are criticizing him for:
“I don’t agree with the teachings of Islam and I find it to be a very violent religion.”
“I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”
“When you look at Islam, I love the people of Islam, but the religion, I do not agree with the religion at all, “
“When you look at what the religion does to women and women alone, it is just horrid. So I speak out for women, I speak out for people who live under Islam who are enslaved under Islam and want them to know that they can be free.”
These type of comments are not going to make Mr. Graham the most popular person in Washington, D.C., Iran, Iraq or Saudi Arabia.
Ecumenical movements, Islamic lobbyist and secular humanists do not like it when we as Christians proclaim Jesus Christ as the only true God and way to salvation. It always riles them up and they work very hard to get our voices silenced everywhere they can.
Christians cannot agree with Islam as a valid set of doctrine or beliefs if they believe the Bible. You cannot be saved through faith in Allah or by obeying the teaching of the Quran. The bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to receive salvation. No other religion, prophet or teachings that disagree with or are opposed to the teaching of Jesus Christ can offer man salvation.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Islam is an issue that Christians cannot whitewash or side-step. There are almost 1 billion people on the planet who believe and practice its doctrines. It is the greatest threat to the kingdom of God and to democracy on the face of the planet. Yep, I said it. The Quran and Bible are not compatible with one another. They proclaim two different ways of salvation, they speak of two different Jesus and they speak of God in two very different ways. The Quran claims to be the final revelation of Allah. The bible in the Old and New Testaments claim to be the only inspired revelation of God. One of them must be wrong.
Is Islam evil?
Anything that teaches that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and the Savior of the world is evil and this is one of Islam’s teachings. It is the same level of evil as the science professor teaching evolution as fact in the high school or university. It is the same level of evil as the atheist who denies the existence of God. It is the same level of evil as those who believe salvation can be earned. It is the same level of evil as any doctrine that denies the truth of the Bible.
“Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed. Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:8-10)
- It’s not popular to say that Islam and Christianity do not worship the same God.
- It’s not popular to say that Muslims must accept Jesus Christ and be born again if they wish to go to heaven.
- It has never been popular to say there is only one way.
The greatest challenge of the modern era is to proclaim the truth in love. We must strike the delicate balance of holding to the pure doctrine of Christ and displaying love to the Muslim people.
Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) is always the challenge.
Truth is offensive to the person whose life is in opposition to the truth; regardless of whether that person is Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or just plain old lost. Proclaim the truth of the Gospel and live the truth of the Gospel. This is and will always be God’s way to reach the lost.