Betrayal & the Gospel

peter-denies-jesus

My Story

I was a pastor in a small rural town in South Dakota. I started as the Associate Pastor back in May of 2014.  In February of 2016 the founding pastor and former lead pastor accepted the call to serve in a new ministry context in Washington.  He’s a godly man and dear brother.  In the short two years of working together, he along with the elders felt convinced that I should be the first lead candidate to present to the church family for the lead pastor position.

A few months later I was voted in unanimously by the church congregation.  Tears were shed.  Many came to assure me of their support and confidence that God would guide us through this huge and historic transition for our church.

The last Sunday in May, we bid farewell to our Lead Pastor and the church installed me as their new pastor. That was the last Sunday several families attended our church.  Not a word. No meetings. Just silence.

By the end of the month roughly 7 families left. Some reached out to me and sought to leave in a gracious manner. Most only spoke by their absence. Phone calls were made. E-mails were sent. Doors were knocked on. No response was given.

By the end of the 2016 year nearly half our congregation and attendance had left. Some looked me in the eye and told me they were going nowhere and that they were committed and loved the church only to leave a few weeks later with out explanation. Others left and passed on false reports about me.

All of this takes a heavy toll on a person.

It’s easy to become skeptical. To believe the worst in people.  Or even fall into a panic over the smallest disappointments from loved ones as you assume they too may be abandoning you. You want to trust, but you are afraid.  You want to be vulnerable again, but it seems impossible.

The Gospel

What does the Gospel have to say to the betrayed, abandoned, and disappointed?

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. -Matthew 26:35

and just a few hours later…

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. -Matthew 26:69-74

Luke 22:21 records immediately following Peter’s third denial of Jesus; Jesus being present responded thus:

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”

Peter disappointed Jesus, hurt Jesus, abandoned, and betrayed Jesus.  Jesus when he was most vulnerable was betrayed by his closest friends that He had been through thick and thin with.  Jesus knows what it is like. He knows our every pain and sympathizes with us and prays on our behalf.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I speak from deep experience and pain, that in times of abandonment and betrayal, I need a LOT of mercy and grace.  It more than qualifies as a “time of need.” The Gospel reminds us that we have a Savior and Great High Priest who not only knows exactly what it is like for us but also is powerful to intercede for us and give us the grace and mercy needed.

Pain can tend to isolate us. We think because no one knows our pain, we are alone.  So we begin to close ourselves off from those around us.  Besides, they might just hurt us more.  And we can’t afford anymore scars on our soul. The Gospel reminds us that we are not alone.  Jesus knows our pain.  More than that, God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). By union with Jesus Christ; we not only have fellowship in our pain with Jesus, the Father, and Holy Spirit, but also with the body of Christ (the church).

Our identity is not found in our experiences whether they be pain or joys.  Our identity is found in who Jesus Christ is, what He has done for us, and what He calls us to.

Response

What do we do with all the broken relationships? In short, we love and forgive.  I know that sounds impossible. That’s because it is.  We can’t love those who have hurt us in the most profound and deep ways.  But I know a man who did.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”  -John 21:15-19

Jesus forgave Peter.  Jesus Loved Peter.  Jesus invited Peter once again to follow Him.  And Peter went on to be an Apostle of the Church. Jesus being a man in every way like us forgave, loved, and made Himself open to being betrayed again. Find healing in this.

It would be easy to see all the pain I have experienced and see myself as a victim. But unlike Jesus, I am not an innocent victim to a horrible environment. The sins that I have done against God and others far outweigh any wrongs against me. The chasm is not me and God against the world. Rather it’s the world against God. My sins put me in this mess. Unlike me, Jesus was entirely innocent and pure. Yet, He left His beautiful Paradise and crossed the chasm to bring me to God the Father.

This is a powerful truth! But that isn’t all! Because Jesus’ sacrifice makes peace with God the Father; not only am​ I redeemed but also all the sins done against me are too.  For though, my guilt put me in this fallen place, it is not as though every wrong done against me is God getting even or even punishing me. Rather, my Abba Father is so Loving, Good, and Sovereign that He can use people with sinful motives and actions against me to bring about good for me! This honestly is a truth that I have yet to fathom. The abused and redeemed Joseph knew of this powerful truth:

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. -Genesis 50:19‭-‬20 (ESV)

Peter isn’t the only one who has betrayed Jesus. I have betrayed Jesus. Countless times sadly. And every time you sin, you betray Him too.  And yet the promise of forgiveness to the repentant sinner is held out to us.  Let us be humbled in this truth.  And let us find grace and mercy at the throne of grace to love as He has loved us!

Fatherhood and Sonship: The Best Fellowship & the Enemy (part 1)

Joyful Orthodoxy

father-and-son1

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -Jesus Christ  (John 10:10)

What would you say if I told you that you are welcomed into the best fellowship that exist?!  Deep down we all want to be: known, understood, loved, and to know another without shame, fear, or pretentions. To have such a rich relationship that is free, innocent, intimate, joy-filled, and full of life is what we all want.  That’s why we all hope to fall in love.  It’s also why many chase after it and quickly become discontent only to so seek a new relationship where maybe this time he/she will be the “one.” The wise preacher says it like this, “…He has put eternity in man’s heart…”

The single most important relationship you or I can ever have is with the Father. The Father made…

View original post 1,569 more words

How the Belief in Unknowable Truth Results in Centralized Power

true-false-both-700x466

INTRODUCTION

Because we are discussing the results not only of an individual belief in unknowable truth; but also when a society holds to this shared belief and the effects it has socially, we must look at both briefly.  I hope to provide a brief explanation of why some believe in unknowable truth.  Next, I seek to flesh out the practical out play of this belief on a corporate level because of the inherit presuppositions of that worldview.  The result being, I believe, centralized power.  I will seek to demonstrate how such a presupposition is ironically not only self-refuting in corporate practice of its fundamental presupposition but also intrinsically hypocritical in its goal.

UNKOWABLE TRUTH FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

When an individual buys into the philosophy and religion of Secularism of the Existentialism/ Postmodern [1] stream truth gets relegated to the individual.  Truth may or may not exist but knowing whether we have it is impossible.  To provide an example, imagine there is truly an apple in a room filled with observers.  The observers all encounter the same reality but each individual interprets that same experience through their own lens of beliefs, presuppositions, and reasoning faculties.  The result is, you can and may have as many distinct interpretations of that same reality as there are observers in the room.  Whose interpretation is superior, right, or more right?  This type of Postmodernity is presuppositionally trapped in a world of endless human faulty interpretation resulting in a spiral of never truly knowing if she has truly interpreted Truth correctly (I believe the Apostle Paul warned of this kind of teaching to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:7).   Such a perspective or teaching believes that knowing that we know truth is impossibleWe may hold to the right one but we will never know that we do. The only thing an individual can know is there interpretation of reality which may or may not be true.  Truth by nature is authoritative.  And when we believe the only truth we can know is our own interpretation.  We inherently are presupposing we (our interpretation) are a law unto ourselves.  The latin for this is autonomous (auto- self and nomous- law). This results is a pragmatic approach to life.  What works for me is bestThat last sentence now becomes the basis for morality.  And it will have profound implications for society.  This belief system is really nothing new.  It is just ancient paganism dressed in new clothing.  We see God’s interpretation on a similar society in Judges 21:25 which states, “In those days there was no king (read: authority outside the individual) in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Note: Though the records of that time is filled to the brim with sins of all kinds and rebellion against the covenant they had made with God, the narrator states that from the perspective of the individual they were doing what was “right” sadly the basis for their “right” was “his own eyes.”

UNKNOWABLE TRUTH FOR SOCIETY

So what happens socially when a society holds to the presupposition that the only truth I can know is the interpretation I have of reality?  Two possible options are available.

The first is absolute Anarchy.  This is a possible result of a society believing in unknowable truth.  However, it isn’t really appealing to the majority.  For one reason, we are social people.  And so we desire community.  But societies are based on holding to a similar shared value.  Secondly, we know that Anarchy doesn’t really in the end suite us best anyways.  To be pragmatic, it really isn’t sustainable.

So how can an individual live in society while still holding to the premise that the only truth I can know is my interpretation?  Easy, you build a society in which the field is completely and entirely level.  My interpretation is just as valid as yours.  The society builds itself upon the presupposition, “the only truth we know is that we don’t know the truth.”  Those who claim to know public truth, or true Truth as Francis Schaeffer called it are not allowed.  They too must submit to the creed of “all truth claims are equally verifiable.”  In this society the individual’s moral, “what works for me is best” on a social level becomes, “what works for us is best.”

This begs a lot of questions, including how is the society defining or interpreting “works” and “best.”  But because of the shared beliefs this is left up to the majority.  In other words, we have a pure democracy form of government.[2]  That is, a government ruled entirely or solely by the people.  The people are a law unto themselves.  There is no practical higher authority.  A pure democracy believes that the people decide what reality and truth is.  The only thing the individual is accountable to on a social level is the people.

What is incredibly lacking in this government, people, and worldview as a whole is the existence of God.  But then again, in such a worldview, God has no place in social realm.  He is relegated to the individual’s private preferences and beliefs.  And he (if they choose to call such a being that) is only shared by those who also voluntarily choosing to believe that such a being exist in their world.  But note carefully, this god does not truly exist in any realm other than the one created by the person’s interpreted reality. In other words, this god is a god created in man’s image. The result being that this god is powerless over the individual and is subject to the individual.

Such a society, which does not believe in an authoritative God who is LORD over them, cannot allow for such a being to dictate right and wrong.  For it will be argued, “Which God?” or “Whose Interpretation of that God?” etc.  Instead, society builds laws (ethics or morality) upon the shared premise or creed, “what works for us is best.”  In such a society socialism is the most plausible model to “work best” equally for all.  But such a model requires quite a large administration to regulate and implement everything.  Therefore, there will inevitably be a large government. The resources will have to be pooled and then distributed equally.  Thus giving supposed equality to each person. In order to keep the appearance of authority/power in the hands of the people, the government officials will have to be voted in by the majority of people.  The people and their government can choose to make whatever laws they want and then undermine those laws whenever they (the people) choose with no accountability.  For there is no authority above the people in such a worldview.  The power will thus be centralized to the government.

CONCLUSION

Ironically, the beginning premise moral “what works for me is best” presupposed originally by the individuals within the society can no longer be shared logically corporately.  For, when we define truth limited to the individual’s interpretation and then allow for the majority to exercise another law outside the individual we undermine the first.  The majority may be pleased as was the case in Nazi Germany with even morally killing those who are a threat to such a society.  But it is done at the expense at undermining the minority and the individuals who make up that minority.  In other words, a pure democracy quickly becomes a mob where the goal is no longer to discern the truth and submit to it but rather to create for society some arbitrary Utopia defined by the mob. Another irony is that, often times socialism today is touted as the best system for the weak and minority groups.  But at best it is really left up to the majority’s perception of the minority’s needs and desires.  And at worst, a wonderful structure in which to silence and cripple minorities into conforming to the mob’s perceived reality and morality.  In the end, we see how such a worldview is not only self-refuting, it simply doesn’t work.  Therefore, in the end we can know that such a presupposition is a false interpretation that no society should build itself upon.  For as our LORD and Savior taught, we want to build our house upon the rock.  How much more so ought we to build society upon the Rock.

[1] A philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

[2] I use the term pure democracy to distinguish between republics and other governments  which may have a democratic voting structure.

Islam In Its Own Words

quran

PREFACE

Because of personal circumstances I have had the privilege to personally know several Muslims and become very close to them.  I actually housed one and consider her like a daughter to me and she considers me like a father to her.   She is a very sweet young lady and so is her family.  I have also met many other Muslims and become quite close to them.  All the Muslims that I personally know quite frankly are very kind likable people.  In fact publishing this is quite hard because I do not mean to characterize them and their personal lifestyle with the following quotes provided from the Muslim tradition found in the Qur’an and Hadith (roughly speaking a highly respected collection of historical and commentary notes surrounding the time of the writing of the Qur’an).

In my personal experience, the Muslims I know don’t know their holy book any better than many American “Christians” know the Bible (Yes, that is to be a rebuke to self-proclaimed Christians who don’t read the whole Bible).  And so I say this at the preface to provide instruction for how one should engage in profitable dialogue with a Muslim.  My goal in this post is to educate.

At the forefront, I believe Mohammad was not a prophet of God but rather far from it.  His personal life is not what God would consider a moral life nor are his teaching in the Qur’an that he attributes to God.  He is wrong on many accounts concerning historical events, the Christians’ belief in the Trinity, and so on.  Rather he was a very influential and powerful general and had tremendous success in conquest.

Below is simply a list of quotes with a few comments of clarification on certain points that I have found very disturbing.  Quotes that are not only disturbing for me but I believe would be to many Muslims if they knew their religion approved such things.  I share this in hopes that Muslim people would question whether they really want to follow this man or rather reconsider what they really believe.  My hope and prayer is that many will read this and begin to study and read the teachings of Jesus Christ and come to see Him as the one and only Savior of the World.

The Quran on affirming that the first 5 books of the Bible, Psalms, and the Gospels are all the words of Allah.

Sahih International

All food was lawful to the Children of Israel except what Israel had made unlawful to himself before the Torah was revealed. Say, [O Muhammad], “So bring the Torah and recite it, if you should be truthful.”  Sura 3:94

Sahih International

And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible); and We gave him the Gospel (the first 4 books of the NT in the Bible), in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.  Sura 5:47

Sahih International

And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient.

Sura 5:48

Sahih International

And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Sura 6:91-92

Sahih International

So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters. Sura 10:94

Sahih International

And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad], except men to whom We revealed [the message], so ask the people of the message if you do not know.  Sura 21:94

Sahih International

And certainly were messengers denied before you, but they were patient over [the effects of] denial, and they were harmed until Our victory came to them. And none can alter the words of Allah . And there has certainly come to you some information about the [previous] messengers.  Sura 6:34

Sahih International

For them are good tidings in the worldly life and in the Hereafter.  No change is there in the words of Allah . That is what is the great attainment.  Sura 10:64

Sahih International

And recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no changer of His words, and never will you find in other than Him a refuge.  Sura 18:27

My comment on this is, if you are a Muslim have you read the Bible which your own prophet claims to be from your God.  And if you are a Christian, you should see that Islam has nothing to offer for misunderstands much concerning the Scriptures.  Thus Islam is a self-refuting religion.

The violent Text in the Quran that seem to encourage violence and war.

Quran (3:151)- “We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.”

Quran (9:4-5)- “Excepted are those with whom you made a treaty among the polytheists and then they have not been deficient toward you in anything or supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until their term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].

And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

Quran (4:74-77; 89, 95)-  “So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward.  And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”  Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah , and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Taghut. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.  Have you not seen those who were told, “Restrain your hands [from fighting] and establish prayer and give zakah”? But then when fighting was ordained for them, at once a party of them feared men as they fear Allah or with [even] greater fear. They said, “Our Lord, why have You decreed upon us fighting? If only You had postponed [it for] us for a short time.” Say, The enjoyment of this world is little, and the Hereafter is better for he who fears Allah . And injustice will not be done to you, [even] as much as a thread [inside a date seed].”

“They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.”

“Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] – other than the disabled – and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward”

Quran (9:20,29) –  “The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah . And it is those who are the attainers [of success].”

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

Quran (9:38-39, 123) – “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.”

O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous.”

Quran (17:16) –  “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” 

Quran (18:65-81)“And they found a servant from among Our servants to whom we had given mercy from us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge.

Moses said to him, “May I follow you on [the condition] that you teach me from what you have been taught of sound judgement?”  He said, “Indeed, with me you will never be able to have patience.  And how can you have patience for what you do not encompass in knowledge?”  [Moses] said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order.”  He said, “Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything until I make to you about it mention.”  So they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, al-Khidh r tore it open. [Moses] said, “Have you torn it open to drown its people? You have certainly done a grave thing.”  [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not say that with me you would never be able to have patience?”  [Moses] said, “Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not cover me in my matter with difficulty.”  So they set out, until when they met a boy, al-Khidh r killed him. [Moses] said, “Have you killed a pure soul for other than [having killed] a soul? You have certainly done a deplorable thing.  [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not tell you that with me you would never be able to have patience.  [Moses] said, “If I should ask you about anything after this, then do not keep me as a companion. You have obtained from me an excuse.”  So they set out, until when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. And they found therein a wall about to collapse, so al-Khidh r restored it. [Moses] said, “If you wished, you could have taken for it a payment.”  [Al-Khidh r] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.  As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized every [good] ship by force.  And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief.  So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy.”

Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the truth from their lord. Thus does Allah set forth form men their lessons by similitude. Therefore when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners,”  

“But if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.”

Quran (48:17, 29) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom”

My personal comments on this passage:

 Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’  If so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted from Jihad?  This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.

“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves”

My personal comments on this passage:

In other words, the Quran teaches Muslims to treat other Muslims with mercy and kindness but not so with those who are not Muslims.  They are to be treated harshly or painfully.

Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way”

Quran(61:9): “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.”

Quotes from the Hadith I truly do not know what to do with.

Bukhari (52:177) – Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say.  “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

Bukhari (52:256) – The Prophet… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” In this command, Muhammad establishes that it is permissible to kill non-combatants in the process of killing a perceived enemy.

Muslim (1:30) – “The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

Muslim (20:4696) – “the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: ‘One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite.'”

Muslim (19:4321-4323) – Three separate hadith in which Muhammad shrugs over the news that innocent children were killed in a raid by his men against unbelievers. His response: “They are of them (meaning the enemy).”

Muslim (19:4294) – “When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him… He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war… When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.

Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.” Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam. Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill. An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.

Tabari 9:69 “Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us” The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992: – “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.

Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Quran have played a key role in very real massacre and genocide. This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for five centuries beginning around 1000 AD with Mahmud of Ghazni’s bloody conquest. Both he and the later Tamerlane slaughtered an untold number merely for defending their temples from destruction. Buddhism was very nearly wiped off the Indian subcontinent. Judaism and Christianity met the same fate (albeit more slowly) in areas conquered by Muslim armies, including the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including today’s Turkey. Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of a proud Persian people is despised by Muslims and barely survives in modern Iran.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, openly sanctions offensive Jihad: “In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for the enemy and invade him. This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other [countries] in order to spread the word of Islam and to remove obstacles standing in its way.” Elsewhere, he notes: “Islam has the right to take the initiative…this is God’s religion and it is for the whole world. It has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions … it attacks institutions and traditions to release human beings from their poisonous influences, which distort human nature and curtail human freedom. Those who say that Islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the ‘homeland of Islam’ diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life.”

The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives.

Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (Sura 4:24) “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” (Abu Dawud 2150, also Muslim 3433)

There are several other episodes in which Muhammad is offered the clear opportunity to disavow raping women – yet he instead offers advice on how to proceed. In one case, his men were reluctant to devalue their new slaves for later resale by getting them pregnant. Muhammad was asked about coitus interruptus in particular:

“O Allah’s Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?” The Prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.” (Bukhari 34:432)

As indicated, the prophet of Islam did not mind his men raping the women, provided they ejaculated within the bodies of their victims.

“We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter (Sahih Muslim 3371)

In fact, female slaves were traded like any other simple commodity by Muhammad and his band of devoted followers:

“Then the apostle sent Sa-d b. Zayd al-Ansari, brother of Abdu’l-Ashal with some of the captive women of Banu Qurayza to Najd and he sold them for horses and weapons.” (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham/Hisham 693)

“…and then we attacked from all sides and reached their watering-place where a battle was fought. Some of the enemies were killed and some were taken prisoners. I saw a group of persons that consisted of women and children [escaping in the distance]. I was afraid lest they should reach the mountain before me, so I shot an arrow between them and the mountain. When they saw the arrow, they stopped. So I brought them, driving them along” (Sahin Muslim 4345)

The same hadith goes on to recount that Muhammad personally demanded one of the captured women for his own use:

I drove them along until I brought them to Abu Bakr who bestowed that girl upon me as a prize. So we arrived in Medina. I had not yet disrobed her when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) met me in the street and said: “Give me that girl.” (Sahih Muslim 4345)

The prophet of Islam and his companions used war to collect women for personal sexual use and for trading. Unless she was arbitrarily declared as someone’s wife, the woman became a sex slave. In no case was her fate tied to anything that she had personally done, nor was she given a choice about her future.

CLOSING REMARKS

This ends the list of quotes from the Qur’an and Hadith.  It is possible if not likely that this post will incite some to slander, anger, or other responses to be dealt out on me personally.  I would like to just ask this one question, “Is it right to be angry with someone for merely bringing attention to what a religious system teaches by quoting from their own valued sources.”  I am not spinning Islam into something it is not.  Nor am I condemning wholesale every Muslim as a terrorist.  I am merely pointing to the source and asking others to see it also so that we all can be informed what Muhammad and his religion taught.  Islam was founded by Mohammad and the Qur’an so it is certainly pertinent what they say.  Then let the people decide whether they want to follow it.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!

The Myth of Secularism: Hidden Agendas, Equality, & Cowards

Why Christians have become largely silent in our culture.

Joyful Orthodoxy

When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,

but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.

-Proverbs 28:12

INTRODUCTION

Which of these two statements do you think describes our nation best?

  • A nation lead by the righteous
  • A nation ruled by the wicked

Well before we answer the question I think we need to ask an even more foundational question.  What is righteousness?  It seems today that opinions concerning morality of good and evil are as diverse as there are persons.  And this has led to a profound problem for our nation.  How do we decide upon laws that don’t favor one political point of view above others or create a bias towards a particular religion over other religions?

This kind of thinking has greatly crippled our nation as a whole.  Justice is intrinsically tied to truth.  However, our nation has not been a nation bent on knowing the…

View original post 1,600 more words

The True Marks of a Mature Christian

Joyful Orthodoxy

maturity

INTRODUCTION

A number of years ago I had a grown of woman literal do what the woman above in the photo is doing.  I was directing traffic and I had to enforce the law.  This was her response.  The caption really nails doesn’t it?

However, when it comes to spiritual matters, maturity is far more crucial to have isn’t it?  So can I ask you, are you a mature Christian?  How do you perceive yourself in your progress in the Christian walk?  When you are examining the life of others to discern whether they are a mature Christian that you could look up to, how do you decide whether they are someone who ought to disciple you?  Is maturity likened to one’s forwardness about their faith?  Is it determined by how willing they are to serve in a church?  Is it discerned by their level of zeal or fervor for responsibility?

View original post 1,297 more words

10 Reasons to Street Preach

image

1. You access people who will likely never go into a church. Whether you are a hip church or not, or have a good reputation in the community or not, there are likely many people, in the community your church is located in, that will never set foot into your church. This is a very real solution to rather insisting on having them come to you on your turf for you to go to them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news (gospel).” (Romans 10:15; as quoted in Is. 52:7)

2. Provides for the church, gospel, and Jesus Christ to have a real public presence. It seems today you can pretty much find everything on the streets today minus the Gospel. You can sadly find: drugs, sex, violence, etc. but you would be hard-pressed to find any gospel witness there. This is a sad reality when you consider that Jesus’ Lordship was never to be contained within the four walls of a church facility. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Jesus).” (Matthew 28:18)

3. Provides teaching opportunities for the family. I recently took the gospel to the streets. In the process, both my 5 (boy) and 3 (girl) year old were filled with curiosity and questions concerning what exactly I was doing and hoping to accomplish. When I explained to them I could tell my eldest was filled a new profound respect and admiration for his “brave” dad. And my daughter learned more about  what kind of man she wants to marry. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk with them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut. 6:7)

4. It is consistent with the practice of the historical and early church. Many today think that the early church did street preaching and only because it was the common practice to run around the streets and teach religion. This is an exaggeration and too broad a stroke to understand the ancient world of Rome. The reality is that it was a strange thing for common people not sent by a known and recognized ruler to preach and teach a new religion. Also, street preaching was not unique to the early church. Street preaching has been the practice in the midst of every known revival in church history from the reformation, great awakening, etc. “Go (or, as you are going) therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

5. It is sanctifying for those who participate. Every opportunity I have to truly speak the gospel out of my mouth to an unbeliever is a tremendously powerful event to my faith and always an encouragement to the heart. If you haven’t tried it, it is hard to understand this, I’m sure. But whenever I tell someone the gospel it seems more shocking. The fact that I believe there was a Jewish man who was and is truly God and that He was born of a virgin Mary, never sinned once and yet died for sins according to the Scriptures. That this crucified Jesus actually rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and took His seat upon His heavenly throne. And lastly, that this Jesus is bodily and visibly coming back from heaven to earth to raise His blood bought people with incorruptible sinless bodies and to judge everyone who rejects this message in an eternal lake of fire, is truly a remarkable truth that somehow loses its awe factor when stifled to remain only in the church and if your lucky the home. “I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 6)

6. Protects the church from spiritual decline. When evangelism on the streets is neglected it either gets dropped altogether or replaces the worship time intended for the assembly of God’s people. In either case the church is in a spiritual decline. You either neglect a clear charge from our Savior and are therefore in sin or you end up unchurching the church in hopes of appealing to a lost crowd. It is a known fact that across all denominations doctrine and catechizing is on a decline within the body of believers. What do all denominations share in common, a neglected street preaching ministry.

7. Provides real life experiences to affirm Scriptures that seem distant to American Christianity. When Paul tells Timothy that “all who desire a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) many have a hard time understanding how that may be true in their life. When Jesus tells His disciples that the world will hate them for His name sake and that his followers will suffer for the gospel, many struggle with whether this is only true in other countries. You know, those entrenched Muslim ones. But the qualifications of “all” and “the world” remove those barriers used to excuse the apparent non-existent suffering of many in American Christians. Secondly, it reveals the true animosity that is present between the seed of woman and the seed of the serpent. (Genesis 3:15)

8. Provides clarity to where our confidence is. When “foolish” (1 Cor. 1:17-18) means are employed it exposes all the things we have been putting our trust in. Do we believe that “Salvation belongs to the LORD”(Jonah 2:9) or that salvation belongs to programs, great music, facilities, engaging speakers, etc.? “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in His steadfast love.” (Psalm 33:16-18; see also 147:10-11)

9. Gives opportunity for training and equipping aspiring elders. There are few training grounds more effective in my mind for equipping future elders than evangelism in the streets. Our churches in America are starving for brave, strong, courageous, men leading. Our culture has largely feminized manhood and that has transferred over into the office of the pastorate. It is a shame. Where are the; Luthers, Zwinglis, Calvins, Athanasius, Whitefields, Wesleys who are willing to do what God’s word says and not needing man’s praise to move forward in obedience? Having men meet confrontation in the face with boldness is a great training camp for refining future elders to lead Christ’ church into holiness. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

10. Church growth. Believe it or not but people get saved. I have met people in my life who have told me that they were saved through someone preaching the gospel in the streets. In an age where most churches experience church growth in numbers largely through the transfer of already existent sheep leaving one local church for another, when are people who were previously not going to church getting saved? This is real church growth isn’t it? When people who were formerly not part of the Church are now saved and have therefore joined a local church. I ask you, where are the people who don’t go to church at? That’s right, they are out and about on the streets. So where should we go with the gospel? Does it not make plain and simple sense that in order to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all creation we should be proclaiming His gospel in and outside the church? “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold, I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice so there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

May God grant and raise up a hundred fold more men to proclaim His great message through His church for every generation!

Blessings,

Stephen Willcox