Saturday, July 23, 2005

More on the War on Terror

Events in recent days reveal that the Islamist radicals or the Muslim Lunatic Fringe (MLF) seek not only to take down the infidel but all those who can best be described as nominal Muslims as well.

Attacks on Sharm-el-Sheik in Egypt are aimed not only at western tourists but nominal Muslims as well. Attacks in Iraq are aimed as much at Muslims who yearn for freedom and the temporal advantages of a free capitalistic society. Efforts to take down the Saudi kingdom continue and will do so as long as the leaders continue trade relationships with and cooperate with western powers. You may see more efforts to unseat the Pakistani president because of his government's cooperation with the United States in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We've already seen a change in leadership in Turkey with accompanying reduced cooperation. Radical Muslims will not be satisfied until the whole world is ruled by a Taliban-like rule that will move civilization back at least 500 years.

Western European leaders are finding themselves caught between a rock and a hard place as well. Lax immigration policies have permitted Arab immigration to reach the point where they must placate growing Muslim minorities. Spain's turnaround after the invasion of Iraq is a sign that a growing Muslim minority can weild sufficient power to change regimes. Great Britain is finding itself at a point where its culture is being challenged by that of Islam. Terrorist attacks in Britain are aimed as much at reminding Britons they can act as an attempt to force the government to cave on its support of the U.S. effort to terminate terrorism.

Let me make one thing abundantly clear. I do not hate Muslims. I do hate what Islam stands for and I despise the methods employed in its jihad. Muslims do, however, hate my country, and that means they hate me. They would kill me and every other Christian who refuses to submit, to pay, or convert.

The one thing they cannot change at this point, is the fact that Christianity is growing world-wide at a rate that surpasses the growth of Islam. Christianity is the fastest growing religion on the globe and it is growing among those nominally identified with Islam. This drives the radical Islamists to even greater atrocities.

The question is not which will win -- Christianity or Islam! That's already been decided. The question is, Will American Christians and the American people have the courage and the tenacity to stave off this determined enemy until the Lord returns or these radicals retreat into their spider holes and never come out?

Friday, July 22, 2005

War on Terror

A mullah speaking in London yesterday or today said, "I would like to see the flag of Islam flying over every nation in the world." (See "The Drudge Report" for the exact quote.)

Therein lies the real issue of the ambitions of Islamists around the world. Do not be misled by those who would have you believe Islam is a religion of peace. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Qu'ran plainly teaches that the infidels (that's you and me, brother) are to be put to death if they will not convert. Perhaps, and it is only perhaps, Jews and Christians might be spared if they were willing to pay dearly for the privilege of living and obeying the mullah's mandate never to evangelize or "proselytize."

Conversion via the sword has always been the modus operandi of Islam. It is called jihad and dates back to Mohammed himself. Poordisillusioned and hallucinoginic Mohammed sat in a cave until receiving messages from the "angel Gabriel." For years only his wife Khadijah and an uncle believed his rantings. Then a wealthy leader "saw the light" and with monied backing, Mohammed found the means to gather a crowd. Hoping to unite the Arabs under one religious banner, Mohammed began a series of conquests that assimilated North Africa, the Holy Land, Turkey, southeastern Europe and Southern Spain. Only Charles Martel stopped the Isalamists at the Battle of Tours.

Those followers of Mohammed who present a peaceful front are cut from the same bolt of cloth as those who claim Christianity but who deny biblical truth, fail to live the Christian life, and reject the idea that Christ really is Lord. Just as Christianity has its nominal believers, so Islam does as well. Those who proclaim Islam is a "religion of peace" reject the true message of Islam and are perfunctory name-only believers who go through the rituals but deny the real message of the religion.

Have you noticed how the media recently classes "fundamentalist Christians" with "radical Islamists?" That's true not only on the liberal national media, but Fox News as well. Those who really believe the Bible, who understand the only way one can be saved is through Christ, and who speak out against our nation's moral decay are personified as intolerant, unloving, and unwitting agents of dissension, division, and destruction. What the mass of "Christianity" and the mass of the adherents to the so-called "religion of peace" don't realize is that there really is a war to the death between these two religions: the true face of Islam and genuine Christianity!

It is a war waged between the forces of darkness (Islam) and the forces of light (Christianity). It is a war that will be waged on many fronts but we dare not slink back into the shadows and refuse to share the genuine Gospel at every opportunity. It must be shared at home where freedom of religion is interpreted as "believing what you want the way you want and never having those beliefs challenged."

I am uncertain if the bulk of the American people really have the stomach for doing what must be done. What we cannot accomplish with the Book we may have to stave off with the bullet. If so, it will be a long arduous battle. Just as we saw in Vietnam, the American people may find the demands of such battles too much. The cost of waging the war on terror will eventually eat into our comfort levels and many will begin calling for withdrawal. It's already beginning to happen! Those who do not understand this is a battle for freedom and survival are already beginning to whine and carp. Our current president has the moral courage to stand up for what is right (although I'm not sure he understands the nature of the war) but what of those who follow?

The Battle of Britain has just begun. It is only a matter of time until we see the battle renewed in our own cities. When the battle renews here, it won't be airplanes flying into skyscrapers, it may well be a nuclear device detonated in the heart of one of our major cities.

What do we do? Remain altert. Be aware that Jesus could break through the clouds at any moment. Whether he comes or we die, let us be prepared. Fortify your faith and be prepared to stand firm against an evil enemy that would impose its false god upon us or a government that gradually seeks to remove God from our national life and heritage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

On Being Disingenuous

It seems like all I ever write about these days is baptism. Ugh! I hate that, but it is exactly at this point where Satan is doing his work.

I've been doing something interesting over the past few weeks. The Christian Standard article on "Statements of Faith" a few weeks ago picqued my curiosity. I wondered what all of our mega-churches were stating on their web sites so I did a search and visited the web sites of nearly all the churches listed in the Christian Standard as a mega-church. I'm in the process of analyzing what I found and categorizing the results after which I'll post the results.

In the process, I discovered something quite interesting. Since the Standard published an issue featuring an interview with Gene Appel and Mike Breaux, many in the movement think Willow Creek Community Church is virtually a Christian Church or Church of Christ. The Standard article asked, "What's going on at Willow Creek?" Well, I can tell you this! At this point they are not making a transition from a typical evangelical mega-church to a congregation that identifies with the principles of the Restoration Movement!

Appel and Breaux talked about how they had not changed their views on baptism and related, in the article, that there had been 40 immersions. Why Willow had even built a baptismal pool in the building. Well, I can say without reservation that I'm genuinely happy about the 40 immersions they reported. That's wonderful!

But ... that is not the church's "official position." A look at Willow Creek's online Statement of Faith reveals some interesting facts. First, Willow does insist on believer's baptism. They see biblical baptism as resulting from individual choice. Thus, infants are not consider candidates for baptism. Second, those who come to Christ are free to choose the mode of baptism. They may elect to be immersed or sprinkled.

Appel and Breaux mayreport 40 immersions, but how many others opted for sprinkling? They certainly, and for obvious reasons, don't tell us that! As many candidates that Willow receives, wouldn't you expect there may be as many who choose sprinkling as immersion? Even if there is only one that is one too many. The original language leaves nothing to even hint that sprinkling is an acceptable mode for baptism. The very fact that Appel and Breaux encourage immersion is irrelevant. They are both in a position where, if they are to follow the church's stated official position, must sprinkle those who choose to be sprinkled. Even if they do not do so themselves, they are giving tacit approval by continuing to work and teach within the church's stated position.

Furthermore, being in the traditional evangelical mindset, Willow sees baptism as symbolic of an inner change God has already worked. Although some of our best known preachers promote the idea that "we don't know when God saves," such statements run counter to all we've stood for in the effort to restore biblical authority and New Testament Christianity. Alexander Campbell came to the conclusion that baptism was "for the remission of sins." Although he is not our authority, the Bible is, and this is clear biblical teaching! Campbell stated again and again that the reason he and others we so boldly attacked by the Baptists is that they stood for "baptism for the remission of sins." To say we can't say when salvation occurs flies in the face of Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:25-27, and Colossians 2:11, 12. Of course, even these references assume that "faith works" in that it results in salvation at the time of baptism, the point at which God promises to bestow the Holy Spirit, wash us clean, and regenerate us. It is a step away from biblical authority and into the realm of Calvinistic Baptists rather than upholding biblical authority. It is a step toward antinomianism rather than the erection of a creed to deny that the Bible says salvation is assured at Baptism.

Many of our church's look to Willow for methodology. How many will follow Willow and Saddleback into their erroneous theology?