More on the Mosque

Two quick pointers about the New York mosque discussion.

First, Sarah Cunningham has very well reasoned response here. I encourage our readers to check it out.

She makes several excellent points, including this one: let’s give some time for the facts to become clear.

Having said that, I don’t know if her post adequately addresses the Muslim value of taqiya, or deception, considered a virtue as a battle tactic. If indeed the supporters of this building project subscribe to taqiya, should they be taken at their word when they say they only want to show respect and build peaceful relationships?

Second, some have now introduced an interesting dimension to this debate: Muslims in opposition. American Values President, Gary Bauer, writes about Neda Bolourchi, who

… lost her mother in the 9/11 attacks. She wrote a very moving editorial in the Washington Post last week describing the mosque as “a symbol of victory for militant Muslims around the world.”

And about Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah, both of whom

… are board members of the Muslim Canadian Congress. They recently wrote in the Ottawa Citizen, “we Muslims know the idea behind the Ground Zero mosque is meant to be a deliberate provocation to thumb our noses at the infidel.”

More opposition from Muslim moderates here.

- Gary Brumbelow

  
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2 Responses to More on the Mosque

  1. Dennis Warren says:

    Gary,

    I appreciate the link to the post by Sara Cunningham. There are a lot of good comments to be found there as well.

    I especially like what Carl Medearis said. After going to his website and learning of his background, I think I understand more about why his comments are so impressive (to me at least).

    -Dennis

  2. Nate says:

    The reaction to a proposed mosque near the location where the murderous attacks on the WTC took place has touched on a much broader issue. It would certainly be more appropriate and sensitive if the mosque was not in the immediate Ground Zero area, but wherever it ends up, committed Christians need to show up at that mosque (and other mosques) on a regular basis to love the Muslims there with the love of Christ, be in prayer for their salvation through faith in Jesus, and look for opportunities to lovingly share the Gospel in manner that they can understand. People who think that could never happen do not understand the power of prayer, the Holy Spirit, and love in action.

    A lot of thoughts cross my mind but I’m trying to look at all this from a Biblical/eternal perspective. I’ll try to make three points:
    1. The Bible shows that God is bringing people from all languages, tribes, and nations to faith in Jesus (Revelation 7:9). I believe God is bringing Muslims to America so that they can live among Christians here who will share the Gospel in words and actions with them.
    2. I believe American Christians have neglected to take the Gospel to Muslims overseas, and have generally responded to the influx of Muslims in America with either apathy, or fear and anger, rather than recognizing this as a move of God to bring Muslims to faith in Jesus.
    3. I believe that it is the responsibility and privilege of Christians to obey Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations, and that if we share the love of Jesus in our words and actions, and the Good News of eternal salvation through faith in Jesus, many Muslims will come to faith in Jesus.

    Beyond the Lower Manhattan issue, I wonder how an average American Christian would feel about a mosque being built in their neighborhood. Would they oppose it? Or would they seek God for what He was doing in their midst and how they could best love and serve these people in Jesus’ name. The title of this blog is “Disciple Nations Alliance”. I believe that it bases that idea on the whole of Scripture but I suppose it takes its title specifically from Matthew 28:19 where Jesus tells His disciples to “make disciples of all nations”. Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission proposed a theory wherein God has been bringing people from every language, tribe, and nation to Himself throughout the course of history primarily by using His people, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily. For instance, Dr. Winter points out that a significant number of Romans had become Christians by the 4th Century AD and in fact Emperor Constantine declared the Roman Empire to be Christian. However, they neglected to take the Good News of Jesus to the people groups around them, and as a result Dr. Winter suggests God allowed the “barbarian” Goths, Vandals, Visigoths, and others to invade Rome. Undoubtedly the Christians in Rome were negatively affected by this in the short term, but a higher purpose was at work—the invaders were now living among the Romans, some of whom were committed Christians, and this eventually resulted in a movement of Christianity among these invading people groups.

    Jesus made clear in Matthew 5:12-14 that His followers are to be like “salt and light”, both common things that have an influence on everyday life. This salt and light influence was to take place as Christians demonstrate love for God, love for neighbor, love for fellow Believers, even love for enemies (Matthew 5:44). Dr. Winter proposed the idea that when committed Christians are truly living out their faith among non-Christians, whether they chose to be there or not, the “salt and light” impact will take place. He points out numerous times throughout history when God’s people were voluntarily or involuntarily brought into contact with people groups who had not heard the Gospel, with the result being formerly unreached people choosing to follow Jesus. Romans 10:14 states, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”

    I write this as an American who desires to follow and obey Jesus. I absolutely believe that God’s purposes will be fulfilled, and I believe that one way or another God will bring His people into contact with people groups who have not heard the Gospel. I believe that is happening now in America with the influx of Muslim immigrants. Sadly, it seems the overall reaction from the Christian community has been either apathy or fear and anger rather than an embracing of these immigrants with the love of Christ. Yes, I understand very well that some Muslims have attacked this country; yes, personal friends of mine were killed and it was devastating to me; yes, I understand that a significant number of Muslims worldwide want to destroy America, but as a follower of Jesus I am not given an option to hate, I am commanded to love Muslims, and pray for Muslims, and reach out with good works and with the Good News of Jesus Christ, and by God’s grace I have been trying to do so. I can’t read Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-25 and think I have a right to receive God’s great forgiveness and yet not extend that forgiveness to others.

    In response to the concept of “taqiya”, “taqiya” is best addressed by “agape” (God’s selfless love) and the Gospel, just as is the case for all of us and our personal “taqiya” towards God. The answer to these issues is that hearts need to be changed, and God can do this. We need to be wise, rogue mosques cannot be allowed to exist as places to plot harm to others. I support giving Law enforcement agencies all the authority they need to monitor these kinds of things. However, none of that changes the fact that for those of us who are Christians, we are commanded to love others, including Muslims—even the militants who are our enemies. If you refuse to do that then you probably should stop calling yourself a Christian because you are refusing to obey a direct command from Jesus. Seeing the hearts of Muslims change might seem impossible, just as it would be impossible for our hearts to change without God—but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). I pray that we American Christians will understand our place in God’s flow of history and welcome the Muslims God is bringing here by loving and serving them into an understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.

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