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Seven thoughts about what happened in Woolwich

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The family of Lee Rigby thought he was safe.   He wasn’t on the front line, but home on leave in England’s capital.  It turns out that his killers were raised in Romford and Harold Hill, both places I know well.

But how should Christians respond to such a vicious attack, how should Londoners act today and tomorrow, and what is Christ’s response to this.

I don’t have all the answers, and even in a blog post I don’t have the space to even share all my thoughts, but I want to give a framework that might help people respond in a Christian way.

Firstly, it is not wrong to feel strong  emotions.  Clearly the true grief in this situation is with the family of the bereaved, but as people who recognise the streets and the scenery of the attack it is ok to feel anguish,  angry, fear and grief.  God is compassion and compassion expresses itself in emotions.  Someone might feel they hope the murderers are hacked to pieces, that’s a form of compassion for the bereaved.  Calling those who are angry and emotional unChristian is not helpful.   Let the emotions surface and deal with them as they arise.  That doesn’t mean getting  emotional in any situation  is acceptable or that any action can be justified by emotion, but that emotions are just part of any human response and they need to be acknowledged, admitted and allowed. 

Secondly, this should not be seen as a racial event.  London is a melting pot of ethnicity and has been for years.  The EDF and other groups will seek to use this issue to stereotype and blame “aliens” and immigrants.  The two young men were British born, with a Nigerian heritage.   They went to primary school and secondary school in Havering.  This transcends their culture.  This is not an ethnically charged incident.   It wasn’t done in the name of race.  We should at this time be doing everything in our power to strengthen community links and build a truly international church in the capital where every tribe and tongue meets together. 

Thirdly, the answer to the question was it terrorism.  After a lot of consideration, I have to conclude that it was terrorist behaviour.  Knife crime among people in that age bracket is horrendous and evil, but this something else.   Not just due to the viciousness and premeditated nature of the act, but that it was filmed and designed for people to see it.   It was planned to cause terror which is why I consider it was a terrorist act.   It seems likely that we will find out that these young  men were not linked to any terrorist groups, but acting independently.  That is truly chilling.   No one turned them, they just became offended at western culture and society to the point they decided to not just threaten it but desecrate it.   This was a terror attack and the best way to be the head and not the tail is to not give in to terror.   I have bought a Help for heroes tshirt because I want to honour the people who gave their life or health for this nation and to show I am not scared of anyone.  For a Christian, we need to remember God is with us always.

Fourthly, don’t respond in anger.  Feeling  anger is one thing, responding in anger is another thing.  Calm down.   Consider.   Pray.  The best response to a vicious foe is to refuse to be distracted.   Keep being a disciple.  Keep healing  the sick,  keeping living the faith, keep walking in love and freedom and miracles.

Fifthly, let’s not abandon our armed forces.  Some people may have other views on the legitimacy of war in the middle east, but it is a fact that soldiers are out there.  Pray for them.  Believe God for their best.  Speak Psalm 91 over them.   If soldiers are attacked in peacetime on our shores, we need to remember who we are and speak life and peace to them.   We need to be faith filled not feat filled. 

Sixthly, the young men who did this are not unique.   They grew up in our schools, they hung around with our children, they went to our parties, we watched them grow up.  There are other people, other young men – although they may be black,  Asian or white –  it is more than probable they will be men.  Keep your eyes peeled for people who are disaffected, disassociated and disillusioned.   Offer them company, encouragement, help.   Ask and consider what your church is doing for young people and see if you can’t get involved.   If you have noticed someone and they concern you, God allowed you to notice…  Reach out to them! Show them love, show them grace.

Finally, the solution to every problem I our nation, in our city is not prayer and fasting, is not politics, is not any of that.   Paul said I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1.16).   The power of God to save London is only found in the gospel.  We need not to change the structures so much as change people’s hearts one person at a time by telling them the good news.  Islam and Christian religion look very similar.  Serve God, do this to get into heaven.  We need to distance ourselves from religious Christianity and come back to the good news of a God who became sin with our sin so we could enjoy righteousness, peace and joy.  His righteousness. His peace.  HIS JOY.  Because of what He has done, not because what we have done.  That is the message that changes and melts hard hearts.   That is the message th at turned the Jewish terrorist Saul into the proclaimer of God’s grace, Paul.  That is the message that will change the hearts of the disaffected, the angry and the frustrated today.

Mission Turkey (by Matt Smith)

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Mission Turkey:

Why The Church Needs To Evangelize Turkey

Islam and Geography

No one can ignore the threat Islam poses to our world today especially the Christian missionary.  It is interesting to note as well that the many unreached people for Christ are under the Islamic curtain.  According to Olson Islam is:

…the most widespread of the world’s religions and is found significantly on two continents and expanding into others.  It is the largest of the world’s religions (other than Christianity) with over a billion adherents.  It is unique among non-Christian religions in that it not only claims to be the only true religion, but it has followed up that claim by a sense of world mission that the other religions lack.[1]

This means that if we as the church Universal are able to focus on any area with zeal and organization it ought to be a Muslim area.  Olson follows the above statement with the argument that Islam cannot be addressed as a geographical phenomenon but a global one.[2] This means that there is no geographical area to focus on but instead a sense of world mission to Muslims.  While this is important to be committed to it does not preclude the fact that ideas have their source.  Mormons are influenced and encouraged everywhere but predominately in Salt Lake City Utah.  If I were intent on really making a difference in the Mormon world I would want to win Salt Lake City to Christ and let newly converted Mormons lead Mormons to Christ.  In the same vein, win Muslims to Christ and set them free to reach their own people and we will see a third of the world evangelized.  This is simplistic logic at best but in attempting to pinpoint any area of need in missions it seems important to address the places where people are in numbers.  In this case Islam is the center of the unevangelized.   It is the job of any sending agency to ascertain where that center is.  It is the contention of this paper that Turkey is the best spot to focus on in terms of Muslim outreach that can literally impact the globe.

There are essentially three schools of thought when it comes to reaching Muslims for Christ.  One idea is to race against the sword of Islam to reach areas that have not been reached or affected by this group. The second school of thought is to ignore and avoid Muslims in giving the Gospel thinking that they are just too hard.  These two ideas seem to be the modus operandi of the church for the last bunch of years.  The third idea is to engage Islam at the source and see converts from the heart of the system that could then affect change from the inside out.  Paul took this approach in that he went to the cities and not simply villages to ply his evangelistic mission.  The idea was that the people from the cities would spread and consequently spread the Gospel with them.  This is precisely what happened and what can still happen today.  Paul also challenged the major religious systems of the day at the highest forums possible going directly to the source.  Though he was in chains he went to the very seat of power in the Roman Empire and gave the gospel.  Today in thinking about evangelizing Muslims Paul’s approach seems best.  Where then should we focus?

There is an interesting book recently released by a secular geopolitical historian named George Friedman.  In his fascinating book called The Next Hundred Years, he lays out from a purely geopolitical, secular perspective where he believes the seat of Islamic power will reside.  The point of his book is not focused on this subject but instead is focused on the subject of examining history according to geographical realities and broad global trends and patterns to examine and lay out a possible scenario of the next hundred years.  Friedman has from a purely secular perspective laid out the geopolitical realities, a sort of forest rather than trees outlook, of the movement that is Islam.  He makes the case that Iran and Iraq are merely spasms that are the result of the fall of the communist Soviet Union.[3] His basic argument is that the Soviet Empire held the warring Middle East in check and inadvertently created a sort of stalemate in this area.  What we are seeing today, according to Friedman is the result of unintended consequences.  His point is not that it is unimportant but in terms of geographical history it is inconsequential.  The real threat from Islam he believes will come from an Islamic superpower.  He examines three possible areas for this super power to rise up.  According to Friedman:

Indonesia, the largest Muslim state in the world, is in no position to assert itself.  Pakistan is the second largest Muslim state.  It is also a nuclear power.  But it is so internally divided that it is difficult to see how it could evolve into a major power or, geographically, how it could spread its power, bracketed by Afghanistan to the west, China and Russia to the north, and India to the east.  After Indonesia and Pakistan there are three other major Muslims nation-states.  The largest is Egypt with 80 million people, Turkey is second with 71 million people, and Iran is third with 65 million.[4]

He rejected Egypt as a potential superpower based on it recent failure to become leader of the Islamic world under Gamal Abdel Nasser who consequently antagonized key players like the Saudis.[5] Given its insularity, isolation and poor economy it is hard to see Egypt as a major player on the world stage.  Iran is summarily rejected based on bad geography, being surrounded by opposing forces and by a general bad reputation by the United States.  In short if one were playing the game of Risk, Iran is in a bad spot to be a power in the long term.

Turkey is a different story altogether.  Having the seventeenth largest economy in the world with a GDP of about 660 billion it is a force to be reckoned with.  Turkey is not only a major world economy but also the largest in the region giving it the ability to grow without threat on the borders.[6] Again using the Risk analogy it can move in many different directions and can remain off the radar of the United States because it poses no threat to us.  It does not, like Iran, have to devote resources to protect and defend against the United States and so it can grow and reemerge in its old role, as the dominant force in the region.[7]

There is one more factor making Turkey a viable candidate for the global super Islamic power and that is its history.  According to Wikepedia.com:

The Ottoman Empire or Ottoman State (Ottoman Turkish: دولتْ علیّه عثمانیّه Devlet-i ʿAliyye-i ʿOs̠māniyye,[3] Modern Turkish: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu or Osmanlı Devleti), also known by its contemporaries as the Turkish Empire or Turkey (see the other names of the Ottoman State), was an empire that lasted from 1302 to November 1, 1922[4] (as an imperial monarchy) or July 24, 1923[5] (de jure, as a state.) It was succeeded by the Republic of Turkey,[6] which was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923

At the height of its power (16th–17th century), it spanned three continents, controlling much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire contained 29 provinces and numerous vassal states; some of which were later absorbed into the empire, while others gained various types of autonomy during the course of centuries. The empire also temporarily gained authority over distant overseas lands through declarations of allegiance to the Ottoman Sultan and Caliph, such as the declaration by the Sultan of Aceh in 1565; or through the temporary acquisitions of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, such as Lanzarote (1585).[7]

The empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. With Constantinople (Istanbul) as its capital city,[8][9] and vast control of lands around the eastern Mediterranean during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (ruled 1520 to 1566), the Ottoman Empire was, in many respects, an Islamic successor to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.[8]

Friedman says that today Turkey is an internally complex society, containing a secular regime protected by a military charged with keeping peace as the culture moves towards Islam.[9] It is precisely this fact that causes the United States to taut Turkey as the model of Islamic democracy a dubious term that ignores the real threat that is Islam.  Ultimately however the subject is not the government of Turkey but its future center of Islamic power.

The Future Radical Ottoman Empire

As we see today, even though Turkey is run by a secular government granting “religious freedom,” the reality is quickly changing.  Turkey is becoming daily more radical and is less and less the model of tolerance our government promotes.  Turkey is beginning to radicalize and is perfectly poised to spread radical Islam to the whole world.   One blogger commented on the radicalization of the government of Turkey with these words:

The Turkish military has announced joint military maneuvers with Syria. That means a NATO ally is working more closely–and to some extent revealing military equipment and tactics–to a country that sponsors Hamas, Hizballah and the Iraqi insurgents killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq; orders terrorist attacks in Lebanon to assassinate political and military figures there; wages war on Israel, and just got caught building a covert nuclear weapons’ building installation in conjunction with North Korea and Iran… Turkey’s regime has moved toward Iran, ignoring international sanctions, in no small part due to energy needs. Yet the improvements of relations go well beyond that. The latest step in rapprochement with the Iran-led alliance is the announcement that Turkey and Syria, Iran’s ally, will stage joint military exercises for the first time, April 27-29….     While Turkey is a NATO member, Syria is an Iranian bloc member and a sponsor of terrorism in its own right. This is one more step in the erosion of any serious effort to build an alignment against the growing power of the Iran-Syria alliance and should be treated seriously. Unfortunately, Western enthusiasm about Turkey as the perfect example of a Muslim-majority state being a democracy and illusions about Syrian moderation will prevent this from happening.[10]

This is significant on a geopolitical scale but it is the regular person on the street commentary that paints a clearer picture.  Daniel Blake, from Christian Today had this to write:

The three Christians who were martyred in Turkey last week were horribly tortured for three hours prior to being killed, Christian Today has learned, as details continue to emerge.

According to the Washington-DC based human rights group International Christian Concern, the three were put through a horrific ordeal which included multiple stabbings before finally being killed.

An ICC statement tells: “As difficult and sorrowful as it is to learn more, we believe that we must expose the truly hellish nature of this attack for what it is.”

On Easter Sunday, five of the killers had been to a service that one of the victims, Pastor Necati, had arranged in the city of Malatya. The men were known to the believers as “seekers”.

These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of “faithful believers” in Islam, ICC has learned.

“Tarikat membership is highly respected; it’s like a fraternity membership,” ICC has stated. “In fact, it is said that no one can get into public office without membership in a tarikat.”

On the day of the killing, the young Muslim men had arranged to meet the Christians at 10 am to learn more about the Bible.

“They had gathered guns, breadknives, ropes and towels – they knew there would be a lot of blood – ready for their act,” ICC said.[11]

The violence that is seen today in Turkey mirrors perfectly the Koran which begins by calling for tolerance of the Christians and Jews but ends with the cutting off of their heads.  Literally by the end of Mohammed’s life it was said of him that he met no person that he did not either kill or convert.  Further even in the United States what most people are not aware of is the threat moderate Islam poses.  There is really no such thing as moderate Islam because the doctrine of abrogation, a doctrine stating that later suras are to override and supercede earlier ones, means that the peaceful loving sections are abrogated with the calls to “kill the infidel.”  This is an obvious fact for any religious Muslim and leaves the Muslim either believing in a violent religion of war or a bipolar religion making no sense.  This fact was brought out during a Fox News interview with the Son of Hamas, a man recently converted to Christianity who is speaking out against Islam and Hamas.  Further, in the ecumenical stage that is being set here in the United States and Europe many have no idea that the Muslim spokespersons can lie with a clear conscience to the infidels giving them incentive to promote the peacefulness of Islam which is simply not real.  When Islam is followed the people that have religious freedom will see themselves under attack.  Take the following shocking example:

In a bizarre show of Turkish nationalism, a young Muslim here took a Christian Turk at knife point, draped his head with the national flag and threatened to slit the throat of the “missionary dog” in broad daylight earlier this week.  Yasin Karasu, 24, held Ýsmail Aydýn, 35, hostage for less than half an hour on Monday (Aug. 3) in a busy district on the Asian side of Istanbul in front of passersby and police who promptly came to the scene.  “This is Turkey, and you can’t hand out gospels,” he yelled, according to the daily newspaper Haberturk. “These godless ones without the true book are doing missionary work.”  About 99 percent of Turkey’s population is at least nominally Muslim, and in the popular mindset the religion is strongly connected with being Turkish.  Karasu threatened to slit Aydin’s throat if anyone came near him and commanded those watching to give him a Turkish flag. Within minutes, Aydin told Compass, bystanders produced two flags. Karasu, who has known Aydin for a year, wrapped the larger of the two flags around Aydin’s head, making it difficult for him to breathe in heat that reached the low 30s Celsius (90s F) this week.  “Do you see this missionary dog?” he yelled at the crowd. “He is handing out gospels and he is breaking up the country!”  Karasu placed the smaller flag in Aydin’s hand and commanded him to wave it.  “Both flags came at the same time,” Aydin told Compass. “The big one he put very tightly over my head, and in the heat I couldn’t breathe.”  The whole time Karasu held a large knife to Aydin’s throat.  “You missionary dogs, do you see this flag?” he said, commanding Aydin to wave the flag. “This is a holy flag washed in the blood of our fathers.”  Aydin said he told Karasu, “Yasin, in any case this flag is mine as well! I’m a Turk too, but I’m a Christian.”  Karasu insisted that Aydin was not a Turk because he had betrayed the Turkish flag and country by his evangelism, according to Aydin.  Aydin said he told Karasu, “No, Yasin, I’m a Turk and I’m waving this flag with love. This is my flag. I’m a Turk.” He said Karasu replied, “No, you can’t be – you are breaking up the country, and I won’t allow it.”  Police managed to convince Karasu to put down the knife and release Aydin, telling him that if he killed the convert Turkey would be ridiculed around the world, and that as a last resort they were authorized to shoot to kill him.[12]

It is clear that Turkey is central in its power and radical in its movement.  With 98 percent of the country being Muslim it seems clear that this is an area of great evangelical need.

Missions in Turkey Today

In light of these stories is difficult to ascertain the realistic mission work going on in Turkey today.  For example, when the story of the young Muslim from Hamas previously mentioned came public with his story there were assurances passed around in the Southern Baptist circles that “we have stuff going on in turkey right now shhh.”   This is all well and good but it leaves one with the real problem of not knowing what impact if any that is being felt there from the missions work.  One evangelical spokesman in turkey had this to say:

“Actually, the state might be secular, but it’s not making that distinction in its activities,” said Isa Karatas, spokesman for Turkey’s perhaps 80 evangelical Protestant churches.  Until religious minorities succeeded in changing the law, Turkey required Christians and Jews to study Islam in the religion classes that are compulsory in Turkish schools from the fourth grade. The state has confiscated hundreds of church properties, only recently returning portions under pressure from the European Union, which Turkey is trying to join.  With perhaps 100,000 Christians in a population of 70 million, Turkey officially tolerates and protects faiths other than Islam. Unlike Afghanistan, which last month threatened to execute a Christian convert, the country has no laws barring Muslims from leaving the faith or against attempts to lure them away.  Yet Turkish police charged 293 people with “missionary activity” from 1998 to 2001, a state minister told parliament recently. People who place calls to Christian groups operating inside Turkey are warned against uttering the word “missionary” on an open phone line.[13]

Olson brings light to the fact that the problem faced in these areas is whether to try to reach Muslims through the dead Armenian, Coptic, or Syrian churches or whether to start over.[14] Today with many missionaries going into the region as “tentmakers” there is word of indigenous churches starting but again this is hard to quantify.  Regardless of the specific numbers it is clear that this is an area not being impacted for Christ.

What Can Be Done?

The irony of the whole contention of this paper is that one of the very places Paul began, Ephesus, is where this paper believes we ought to begin again. Ephesus which is located near the Aegean Sea in modern day Turkey, was one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor and home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Today, the ruins of Ephesus are a major tourist attraction, especially for travelers on Mediterranean cruises.[15] According to the Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary:

Paul first visited Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19). He also spent between two and three years of his third journey in Ephesus (Acts 19:8–10; 20:31). He left the city during a riot caused by silver craftsmen who felt their religion and trade were being threatened (Acts 19:24–28; 20:1). Paul later visited with the Ephesian elders at Miletus on his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:17–38).

The city ranked with Alexandria and Antioch of Syria as one of the most important cities of the eastern Mediterranean Roman world. It was a port city located on the Cayster River, three miles from the Aegean. It was an important city commercially as the starting place of a great overland trade route to the east.

Ephesus was the worship center of the Greek goddess Artemis (Diana in Latin). The temple of Artemis was 340 feet long, 160 feet wide, and richly decorated with 100 columns more than 55 feet high. The city was the guardian of the sacred image of Artemis, which was believed to have fallen from heaven (Acts 19:35).[16]

When Paul began making converts in numbers he saw them burning their books of magic in the streets an act literally turning Ephesus upside down (Acts 19).  This paper is not arguing specifically for Ephesus as the exact spot but the idea that Paul went to the center of power in Turkey and spread the Gospel from there to the rest of the world.  This is the same technique he used in reaching the world from Rome and today it remains the best way of reaching the many unevangelized Muslims.  Begin the center of influence and spread the furthest the fastest.  Interesting Paul describes the conflict in this area for the Gospel and in Revelation we see Paul praise this church for standing doctrinally strong in the midst of serious cultural pressure to depart.  Where is the Ephesian church today?  This paper believes it remains to be planted!

What is the solution?  Planting churches through Muslim converts who are equipped prayed for and encouraged.  One of the best ways to spread the Gospel in Turkey is through mass media like television and radio.  Currently Muslims in areas like Turkey are accepting Christ in large numbers secretly.  The problem is that Islam is a way of life and these secret believers are afraid to come out about their faith.  According to Mosab Hassan Yousef the son of one of the founders of Hamas Islam is crumbling from the inside out.  He claims that Islam has no ability to argue for its own merit but by the sword.  The regular Joe Muslim cannot even read the Koran.  For starters it is written in Old Arabic a language not spoken today and so many in the Islamic faith get their belief much the same way that those in the middle ages received theirs, priests told them what to believe.  For the past fourteen hundred years Islam was able to hold its believers captive by keeping out any influence from the outside but today almost any modern Muslim can turn on their computer and get just about any information they want.  At this point the lack of coherence in Islam is being exposed for what it is and the perception of strength is just that.  In fact, according to Yousef, a personal friend, Islam is being torn apart from the inside out by its own inconsistencies.  The polarizing of the Islamic community is a reaction to this and must be seen in some ways as the death throes of a false religion, he claims.  If a Muslim comes out about their faith they could face persecution of many types and this is truly a scary prospect.  It is imperative however that Muslims stand up about their new faith and face what comes.  At this point those having the ability to support Muslims through their lives and witness ought to be willing to stand with them.  To begin Muslims here in the United States ought to be encouraged to tell their families of their new faith in Jesus and they must be accepted publicly and without fear by local churches wherever they are found.  The church cannot hide it must be public in its stand and light.  This paper is radically calling for the possible persecution of many but it is the very way Martin Luther King sought to change things here in the United States.

In many respects this whole issue needs to be on the minds and hearts of Christians from America because it is from here that so many of the world’s missionaries are sent.  If the common American Christian is not really aware of the real need for prayer and financial assistance needed they cannot be expected to mobilize.  It is then the job of Pastors and sending agencies to be bold in their cry for Muslim outreach.  Turkey is ripe for the harvest are we willing to go?

Understanding Six Worldviews that Rule the World (David Noebel)

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Understanding Six Worldviews that Rule the World*

By Dr. David Noebel

President, Summit Ministries

Back in the early 1990s, Dr. James Dobson and Gary Bauer sought to identify what they saw happening to Christian young people in the United States. Their conclusion was that “nothing short of a great Civil War of Values rages today throughout North America. Two sides with vastly differing and incompatible worldviews are locked in a bitter conflict that permeates every level of society.”[i] The war, as Dobson and Bauer put it, is a struggle “for the hearts and minds of people. It is a war over ideas.”[ii]

On one side is the Christian worldview, the foundation of Western civilization. On the other side are five worldviews: Islam, Secular Humanism, Marxism, Cosmic Humanism, and Postmodernism. While these worldviews don’t agree in every detail, they unanimously concur on one point-their opposition to biblical Christianity.

As in any war, there are casualties, and anti-Christian ideas are taking their toll. Recent surveys indicate that up to 59 percent of “born again” college students drop out of that category by their senior year.[iii] According to George Barna’s research, nine out of ten “born again” adults do not have a biblical worldview.  To effectively engage this battle of ideas, Christians must have an understanding of the times and “know what [they] ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

What is a Worldview?

Everyone bases his or her decisions and actions on a worldview. We may not be able to articulate our worldview, and our worldview may be inconsistent, but we all have one. So the question is; what is a worldview?

A worldview is “an interpretive framework”[iv]-much like a pair of glasses-through which you view everything. It refers to any set of ideas, beliefs, or values that provide a framework or map to help you understand God, the world, and your relationship to God and the world. Specifically, a worldview contains a particular perspective regarding at least each of the following ten disciplines: theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history.[v]

This article summarizes the six worldviews that currently exert the most influence over the whole world. Other worldviews exist, but they wield much less influence. For example, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, or Shintoism may profoundly influence some Eastern countries, but hardly sway the entire world. The major ideas and belief systems controlling the world, and especially the West, are contained in the following six worldviews.

The Christian Worldview

Many people, including many Christians, do not realize that the Bible addresses all ten disciplines of a worldview. Christianity is the embodiment of Christ’s claim that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). When we say, “This is the Christian way,” we mean this is the way Christ would have us approach life and the world. It is no small matter to think and act as Christ instructs.

America has been described as a Christian nation. However, America-along with the rest of Western Civilization-has turned away from its intellectual, cultural and religious heritage. Almost thirty years ago, Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer noted America’s drift toward secularism as a failure of Christians “to see that all of this [cultural and social breakdown] has come about due to a shift in world view-that is, through a fundamental change in the overall way people think and view the world and life as a whole.”[vi]

The study of worldviews in general, and the Christian worldview in particular, is a wake-up call for everyone. A country seeking to promote human rights (including the right to be born), liberty, and the common good must adhere to the only worldview that can account for our existence and dignity. We contend that human dignity comes from the fact that human beings are created in the image of God, a uniquely biblical perspective. Abandoning this perspective has dire consequences, considering the rise in abortions, homosexual practices, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and the move toward human cloning.

The Islamic Worldview

It is estimated there are 1.3 billion followers of Islam.[vii] In recent years, the Islamic worldview has been growing exponentially in numbers, power, and influence, and, therefore, is worthy of our study. As one article headlined, “The future belongs to Islam,”[viii] providing added incentive to understand its beliefs and goals.

Writing in The Sword of the Prophet, commentator and international political consultant, Serge Trifkovic, explains that “Islam is not a ‘mere’ religion; it is a complete way of life, an all-embracing social, political and legal system that breeds a worldview peculiar to itself.”[ix]

Christianity and Islam have some teachings in common, including belief in a personal God, creation of the material universe, angels, immortality of the soul, heaven, hell, and judgment of sin. Likewise, Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet (one of many), his virgin birth, physical ascension, second coming, miracles, and messiahship.[x]

The major differences between Christianity and Islam is Islam’s rejection of the biblical Trinitarian God and the death of Jesus for the sins of the world. Muslims likewise reject Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead and his claim to be the Son of God.

Another major difference between the founder of Christianity and the founder of Islam is that the Bible describes Jesus as living a sinless life while the traditions of Islam depict Muhammad having many flaws. “Muhammad’s practice and constant encouragement of bloodshed,” writes Trifkovic, “are unique in the history of religions. Murder, pillage, rape, and more murder are in the Koran and in the Traditions.”[xi] Furthermore, Muhammad’s life “seems to have impressed his followers with a profound belief in the value of bloodshed as opening the gates of Paradise.”[xii] Thus, the history of Islam from 622 A.D. to the present has been a history of violence, submission, and war toward infidels (non-Muslims).

For many Muslims, one of Mohammad’s most important legacies is to see the world as a conflict between the Land of Peace (Dar al-Islam) and the Land of War (Dar al-Harb). On the other hand, there are a number of Muslims, particularly those living in Western democracies, who do not believe the Koran’s violent passages regarding killing infidels and Islam’s violent history should be applied literally today.[xiii] Yet, in either case, Islam is a worldview with which Christians must contend.

The Secular Humanist Worldview

Secular Humanism refers primarily to the ideas and beliefs outlined in the Humanist Manifestoes of 1933, 1973, and 2000. Secular Humanism is the dominant worldview on the majority of colleges and universities throughout all Western nations. It has also made gains in many Christian colleges and universities, especially in the areas of biology, sociology, law, politics, and history.

Secular Humanists recognize the classroom as a powerful incubator for indoctrinating students into their worldview. Operating under the educational buzzword “liberalism,” a Secular Humanist agenda controls the curriculum in America’s public schools thanks to the National Education Association, the National Academy of Sciences, and a host of foundations, including the Ford Foundation.

Christians considering a college education must be well versed in the Secular Humanistic worldview or risk losing their own Christian perspective by default. In her book Walking Away From the Faith, Ruth Tucker, a professor at Calvin Seminary, makes it clear that Christian students are walking away from their faith because of Secular Humanist teaching.

The ideas of Humanism have gained prominent influence throughout modern society. B.F. Skinner, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich Fromm, all former “Humanists of the Year,” have powerfully affected the discipline of psychology. Scientists such as the late Carl Sagan, another “Humanist of the Year,” preached his Humanism on a widely heralded television and high school curriculum series. More recently, the outspoken atheist and Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins has gained much attention through a number of popular books on evolution and, of course, his 2006 best-seller, The God Delusion. Clearly, Humanists are willing to support their worldview-often more faithfully than Christians. For these and other reasons, we must give the Secular Humanist worldview close attention.

The Marxist Worldview

Marxism is a militantly atheistic, materialistic worldview. It has developed a perspective regarding each of the ten disciplines-usually in great detail. Based on the writings of Karl Marx in the late 1800s, Marxism has taken on some new looks in recent years-including debasing culture as a form of revolutionary activity.[xiv] The latest Communist Manifesto, titled Empire, was published in 2000 by Harvard University Press. Marx’s presence continues to be felt around the world.

Marxism predominates on many American university campuses. Recruited as college students in the 1950s and ’60s, many Marxist “radicals” earned PhDs and are now the tenured faculty on many campuses. “With a few notable exceptions,” says former Yale professor Roger Kimball, “our most prestigious liberal arts colleges and universities have installed the entire radical menu at the center of their humanities curriculum at both the undergraduate and the graduate level.”[xv] U. S. News and World Report published a lengthy article in 2003 entitled “Where Marxism Lives Today,” which states, “Marxism is so entrenched in courses ranging from literature to anthropology… that today’s students are virtually bathed in Marx’s ideas.”[xvi]

The “radical menu” Kimball referred to includes a large serving of economic determinism. According to Karl Marx, the key problem with capitalism is that it breeds exploitation. Therefore, capitalism must be replaced with a more humane economic system, one that abolishes free markets (private property and the free and peaceful exchange of goods and services) and replaces it with a government-controlled economy.

Marx’s economic ideas and political policy go hand in hand. A Marxist style communism controls a large number of nations around the world, and traveling under the name of “social democracy,” a Marxist inspired political philosophy has engulfed Western European nations. Further, many South American countries have also taken a Marxist turn in recent years, and many think that the current administration and congress of the United States is quickly taking America down the same socialist road.[xvii]

In addition, some Christian groups have attempted to combine their Christianity with Marx’s ideas of social equality. Because of the prevalence and subversive nature of Marxism, Christians must be aware of the goals of Marxist-thinking professors, politicians, and theologians.

The Cosmic Humanist Worldview

The Cosmic Humanist worldview consists of two interrelated spiritual movements. One is known as the New Age Movement (NAM), and the other is neo-paganism, which includes occult practices, Native American spiritism, and Wicca.

The New Age Movement mixes ancient Eastern religions (especially Hinduism and Zen Buddhism) with a touch of other religious traditions, adds a smattering of scientific jargon, and imports the newly baked concoction into mainstream America. “The New Age,” explains researcher Johanna Michaelsen, “is the ultimate eclectic religion of self: Whatever you decide is right for you is what’s right, as long as you don’t get narrow-minded and exclusive about it.”[xviii]

The assumption that truth resides within each individual, however, becomes the cornerstone for a worldview. Granting oneself the power to discern all truth is a facet of theology, and this theology has ramifications that many members of the New Age movement have already discovered. Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy (a book referred to as “The New Age watershed classic”), says the movement ushers in a “new mind-the ascendance of a startling worldview.”[xix]

This worldview is summed up by Jonathan Adolph: “In its broadest sense, New Age thinking can be characterized as a form of utopianism, the desire to create a better society, a ‘New Age’ in which humanity lives in harmony with itself, nature, and the cosmos.”[xx]

While New Age believers make no serious distinctions between religions, considering that all are ultimately the same, John P. Newport explains that “neopagans generally believe that they are practicing an ancient folk religion, whether as a survival or a revival. Thus, being focused on the pagan religions of the past, they are not particularly interested in a New Age of the future.”[xxi]

Through best-selling books and popular television shows and movies,[xxii] the Cosmic Humanist worldview is gaining converts in the West and around the world. Malachi Martin lists dozens of organizations that are either New Age or sympathetic to Cosmic Humanist views. Clearly, Cosmic Humanism, a transplant from the East, is a growing presence throughout the Western hemisphere.

the Postmodern Worldview

Forced to face the inhumanity, destruction, and horror brought about by the Third Reich and the Soviet Gulag during the first half of the 20th century, a substantial group of Enlightenment humanists and neo-Marxists abandoned their worldview to create one they believed more fitting with reality, resulting in the Postmodern turn. By the 1980’s, Postmodern professors were making significant inroads in humanities and social science departments around the world.

Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland notes that Postmodernism refers to a philosophical approach primarily in the area of epistemology, or what counts as knowledge or truth. Broadly speaking, Moreland says “Postmodernism represents a form of cultural relativism about such things as truth, reality, reason, values, linguistic meaning, the ‘self’ and other notions.”[xxiii]

Though Postmodernism comes in many forms, there are three unifying values: (1) a commitment to relativism; (2) an opposition to metanarratives, or totalizing explanations of reality that are true for all people of all cultures; and (3) the idea of culturally created realities. Each of these commitments are designed to deny that there is a worldview or belief system that can be considered absolute Truth.

Postmodernism’s most effective methodological tool, one used extensively in university modern language departments, is known as Deconstruction, which means (1) that words do not represent reality, and (2) that concepts expressed in sentences in any language are arbitrary.

Some Postmodernists go so far as to deconstruct humanity itself. Thus, along with the death of God, truth, and reason, humanity is also obliterated. Paul Kugler notes the ironic twist: “Today, it is the speaking subject who declared God dead one hundred years ago whose very existence is now being called into question.”[xxiv]

To complicate matters even further, we must acknowledge that there even exists a variety of Postmodernism called “Christian Postmodernism.”[xxv] Such is the essence of mainstream Postmodernism-a worldview that claims there are no worldviews. This “anti-worldview” worldview is one that certainly demands the attention of thoughtful Christians.

Conclusion

We cannot overstate the significance of these five anti-Christian worldviews. The basis for much of what is taught in the public classroom today comes from Secular, Marxist, Cosmic Humanist, and Postmodern thinking and takes on a variety of labels: liberalism, multiculturalism, political correctness, deconstructionism, or self-esteem education. Or, as is often the case, the labels are dropped and courses are taught from anti-Christian assumptions without students being told which worldview is being expressed. Neutrality in education is a myth.

The first chapter of the Book of Daniel explains how Daniel and his friends prepared themselves to survive and flourish amid the clash of worldviews of their day. We believe that Christian young people equipped with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Christian worldview and its rivals can become “Daniels” who will not stand on the sidelines, but will participate in the great collision of worldviews in the twenty-first century.

Society will flourish in the light of truth only when the emphasis shifts back to a Christian perspective. This dramatic shift in emphasis can be brought about through the leadership of thousands of informed, confident Christian students who think deeply and broadly from a well-honed biblical worldview and emerge as leaders in education, business, science, and government.

Our desire to bring about this shift in emphasis is the fundamental reason Summit Ministries produces curricula and resources for Christian schools and homeschool families (primary, middle, and secondary), presents in-service worldview training for teachers across the U.S. and around the world, and provides worldview conferences for students and adults. Information is available at http://www.summit.org.

About the Author:

Dr. David A. Noebel is founder and president of Summit Ministries and edits and writes Summit’s monthly publication, The Journal. Dr. Noebel has been a college professor, college president, and candidate for the U.S. Congress. Dr. Noebel has a B.A. from Hope College in Holland, a M.A. from the University of Tulsa, and was a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin. He is an Author, Editor, Public Speaker, and Ordained Minister. Dr. Noebel is recognized as an expert on worldview analysis and the decline of morality and spirituality in Western Civilization. His most popular works include Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Worldviews, which sold over 500,000 copies, and Clergy in the Classroom: the Religion of Secular Humanism (co-authored with Kevin Bywater and J.F. Baldwin). He and his wife Alice live in Manitou Springs, CO and have two children and five grandchildren.

*This article is taken from the introductory chapter of David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times, 2nd Ed., (Summit Press: Manitou Springs, CO, 2006). Understanding the Times is a landmark text that provides a comprehensive comparison of the six worldviews discussed in this article and can be purchased at www.summit.org. Portions of the original text has been edited and re-written by Chuck Edwards for the purposes of this article.

ENDNOTES:


[i] James C. Dobson and Gary L. Bauer, Children at Risk: The Battle For the Hearts and Minds of Our Kids (Dallas, TX: Word, 1990), 19.

[ii] Ibid., 19–20.

[iii] Taken from the “College Student Survey.” Cooperative Institutional Research Program, U.C.L.A. Online article: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/css_po.html.

[iv] Norman L. Geisler and William D. Watkins, Worlds Apart (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989), 11.

[v] Other areas could be included in a definition of worldview, such as the arts, yet these ten disciplines contain the primary areas, acting as a web of interacting ideas, which contribute to a total world and life view.

[vi] Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1981), 17.

[vii] http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001468.html.

[viii] “The Future Belongs to Islam,” by Mark Steyn, October 20, 2006, accessed 5/4/2009, http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20061023_134898_134898.

[ix] Serge Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet (Boston, MA: Regina Orthodox, 2002), 55.

[x] Ibid., 369.

[xi] Op cit., p. 51.

[xii] Ibn Warraq1 (Ed.), The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, New York, 2000, p. 349, quoted in Trafkovic, p. 51.

[xiii] See the American Islamic Forum for Democracy at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.

[xiv] Paul Edward Gottfried, The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2005); David Horowitz, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2004); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); Rolf Wiggershaus, The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance (Cambridge, NY: MIT, 1998); Raymond Aron, The Opium of the Intellectuals (third printing; New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2003).

[xv] Roger Kimball, Tenured Radicals (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1990), xiii.

[xvi] U. S. News and World Report, Special Collection Edition, September 2, 2003, p. 86.

[xvii] See the online article, “The Socialization of America,” by David Noebel, accessed 5/4/2009, http://www.summit.org/blogs/pd/2009/03/the_socialization_of_america.php

[xviii] Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs to the Slaughter (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1989), 11.

[xix] Marilyn Ferguson, The Austrian Conspiracy (Los Angeles, CA: J.P. Tarcher, 1980), 23.

[xx] Adolph, 11.

[xxi] John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1998) p. 214.

[xxii] Books by best-selling authors include The Celestine Prophecy and Conversations with God, while Cosmic Humanist themes are explicit in TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost, as well as through films such as Pocahontas, Mulan, and Star Wars (directed toward children), and Sixth Sense, Gladiator, Dances with Wolves, and Hidalgo, (for adult viewing), just to name a few in each category.

[xxiii] See J.P. Moreland’s website for his article “Postmodernism and the Christian Life.” Also, J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, The Philosophical Foundation of a Christian Worldview.

[xxiv] Walter Truett Anderson, The Future of the Self: Exploring the PostIdentity Society (New York, NY: Tarcher/Putnam, 1997), 32.

[xxv] See D.A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996); Myron B. Penner, ed., Christianity and the Postmodern Turn (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005); and D.A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005).
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What You Need to Know About Islam and the Bible (John Hagee)

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What You Need to Know About Islam and the Bible

Friday, 21 August 2009 11:23 AM EDT John Hagee
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There comes a time in a nation’s historyand there comes a time in the churchwhen spiritual fog and religious deception must be removed by a clear, unbiased, passionate pursuit of truth. America and the church are now in a spiritual fog over the issue of Islam.

But Islam and Christianity are not “sister faiths,” and a side-by-side examination of the texts of the Bible and the Quran will quickly identify some of the differences related to Islam’s teachings about Christ and the truths of our own Bible about the Son of God.

Islam instructs its followers to kill their enemies, but Christianity in-structs its followers to love their enemies.

The Quran says to “fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them” (Surah 9:5). But our Holy Bible tells Christ’s followers to: “Love your ene-mies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44, KJV).

Islam denies Christianity’s core truth-the death and resurrection of Jesus.

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;but they did not kill him, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they did not kill him. Surah 4:157

Islam says that Jesus did not die on the cross. The Bible says that Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead.

Islam also denies the deity of Jesus Christ.

The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the Son of Allah. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! Surah 9:30

Not only does the Quran deny Christ’s deity-but also, as we see in the verse from the Quran above, it puts a curse on all who confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Islam brings Jesus Christ lower than Muhammad, making him no more than a messenger:

Christ the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah makes His Signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! Surah 5:75

Since there are such marked differences in these areas between Islam and Christianity, we must be prepared to test the “truth” of each. History has re-vealed to us that the Islamic Bible, the Quran, is a collection of the revela-tions Muhammad said he was given by an angel, or from a voice coming down from heaven, or sometimes as a message from a dream. Christians are commanded to “try the spirits” to see if they are from God:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Anti-christ, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3

Every person who calls himself a prophet must be tested by Scripture. (See 1 Corinthians 14:29.)

Every revelation and every prophecy must be judged by the Word of God. If it is not scripturalif it denies Jesus Christ as the Son of God-it is the spirit of the Antichrist.

By applying these tests to the teachings of Muhammad, we will quickly discover that this prophet doesn’t pass the test. From Genesis to Revelation, every page of the Bible testifies of the deity of Jesus Christ. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

He is Alive!

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In the end of the Resurrection season, I just want to say very clearly: JESUS IS ALIVE.

We as Christians are not looking to the teachings of a dead and buried philosopher like the Muslims and Buddhists – we have a relationship with God who became a human, was crucified for our sins, and who rose again on the third day and who is STILL ALIVE TODAY.

Jesus is still the same as He ever was: the sick are still being healed, lives are still being transformed, marriages are still being restored.

Jesus is alive and you, through the Holy Spirit, can have a relationship with Him. In fact, according to John 16.13, you can have a better relationship with Jesus than you could ever have had while He was on earth in the flesh. You, through fellowship with the Holy Spirit, can have more joy, more peace, work more miracles and have more fun than if you were one of the twelve.

You can believe that and receive that or you can doubt and do without.

Selah!

Blessings,
Ben

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