Sunday, September 11, 2011
9-11, Jihad, and The Christian
Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have declared that America is not at war with Islam. I agree to the extent that America did not seek a war with a religion; the wars that the U.S. is engaged in are considered wars to dismantle terrorist control over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, those Muslims the American military is fighting have declared war against the U.S. and also against the religion that broadly characterizes this country, Christianity. Islam is openly hostile toward the fundamental doctrine of the Christian God, namely that Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity. The Qu’ran states that Christians (and Jews and Pagans) are targets of war and subjugation until only Islam is observed*. Islam makes violent jihad an option for Muslims, either to destroy or convert their enemies to Islam under duress.
9-11 reminds us that as believers, apologetics matters. The tyranny of a religion that teaches a false god and a false worldview, which is enforced by directives to violence begs for Christians to combat its inhumanity in both word and deed. Christians must take a special interest in the teachings of Islam and how they readily promote bloodshed and hostility instead of God’s grace and freedom. Of course, most of the world’s Muslims do not live out those Qu’ranic directives to wage violent jihad, but it is not Muslims with whom we should dispute. It is the existence of the teachings that violent jihad is permissible and virtuous in Islam that I find so contrary to the Bible’s witness to objective moral values.
The solution to Islamic jihad against Christianity is for Christians to wage a holy war of our own, one that is also proscribed by the words of Jesus Christ. In opposition to the jihad we see today, Christ told His worshippers to spread the Gospel, the “Good News,” as messengers of the cross and the Resurrection. “Go, therefore” in Matthew 28 is more properly viewed “As you go, therefore,” signifying that the Gospel is spread not only through words but a life lived reflecting the goodness of God. Christ said to “…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:43-45). As Christians, our greatest apologetic for the truth of the Gospel is showing the intrinsic value in which Christ has placed on every human being, and that part of being human is respecting the role God has to play in another’s decisions, either to believe or to deny Jesus Christ. Holy war for us is fought on our knees in prayer and by proclaiming without shame the objective truth of God’s victory over sin and death in Jesus.
It is possible that God has ordained for every generation a stark reminder of the presence of evil in this world swimming in sin. The “day that will live in infamy,” for the WWII generation was December 7, 1941. For us today, that day is September 11, 2001. May the remembrance of the infamy of 9-11 drive us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).
*Source: Qu’ran, Suras 8:39, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29, 9:73, 9:123, 48:29, 66:9