Contending for the Faith: Introduction to Islam (1)

A valuable contribution from our brother who has faced the taunts and arguments of the followers of Islam.

An important, very clear, and initial statement is that Islam as a structured religious system is totally and thoroughly anti-Christian. Christianity has no common ground with a religion that proclaims the deity, the sonship, and the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ to be blasphemies. It has been said that of all religions, Islam is the most dangerous to the truth of the gospel. The apostle Paul reminds us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). The doctrines of Islam can only be described as “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Over more than fourteen centuries, Islam has established itself as a religious, cultural, and political civilization keeping hundreds of millions in bondage.

The aggressiveness of Islam is further fueled by the political positions of Christendom, the Devil’s travesty of true Christianity. Because Islam is political, the Moslem assumes that the believer in the Lord Jesus is to be identified with the political leaders of the western “Christian” world. It is vital that the Christian should totally disassociate himself from the statements and decisions of religious and political leaders in relation to Islam.

In the sight of God there are only two sorts of people: the saved and the unsaved. The unsaved include clean-living, Bible-reading, church-going individuals who still remain strangers to the gospel and to grace. Also among the unsaved are clean-living, Koran-reading Moslems who regularly attend the mosque and observe the requirements of their religion. This religion offers no assurance of eternal life. The most fervent, sincere Moslem can only hope to find a place in heaven but can never be sure. Both groups need to be born again. The unsaved, self-styled “Christian” cannot invoke the help of God against Islam for he is also an enemy of the gospel.

What follows is simply to help Christians understand Islam and the reason for the loyalty of any Moslem to a religion that holds vast multitudes in captivity. What is written is not intended to supply critical arguments but to aid in understanding a Moslem’s thinking and the intense pressure his religion exerts on him.

Salvation is the sovereign work of the Spirit of God, Who brings the unsaved to conviction of sin and faith in Christ. Those who come in contact with Moslems will discover that their concepts of God, society, and the individual are totally foreign to even nominal Christianity. There is the temptation to find common ground, to look for features in the Koran that might help in dialogue. The intense religiosity of the Moslem will come as a surprise. Their willingness to speak on spiritual matters is in contrast to those in the materialistic Western world. The practicing Moslem is articulate and aggressive. His stance is one of superiority to Christianity. He will marshal a battery of arguments to prove that the Christian gospel has been supplanted by the message of Islam. If you seek to “share your faith” with him, you will be disagreeably surprised that he is seeking to share his faith with you.

There is no common ground, any more than when Paul preached the gospel in the idolatrous cities of Ephesus or Corinth. When a Moslem is saved, it is because he has seen the bankruptcy of his religion and has discovered the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ. He can and must bring nothing over from his past, any more than the Thessalonians who “turned from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17).

Volumes have been written on how to witness to Moslems, what should and shouldn’t be said, how to win their confidence, and so on. Despite all this, the sparseness of Christian testimony in Moslem lands over the centuries confirms that we are confronted with a religion that ferociously extinguishes any flickering gospel light. Believers in these lands need our help and encouragement. We must not, however, allow ourselves the illusion that even the most Western-orientated Moslem country will some day accord native believers the liberty to meet and freely live their Christian faith. According to Islam, the world is divided in two: first of all, Dar-al-Islam, the lands of peace where the laws of Islam legislate and govern the lives of the population; second, the other lands, Dar-al-harb, the lands of war. The Moslem considers that lands conquered by Islam are eternally secured and can never be ceded to infidels. “The lands of war” must be brought into submission to Islam. Every means, whether violent or peaceful, aggressive or subversive, is legitimate to achieve Mohammed’s stated goal: submission of the world to the rule of Islam.

To ensure the realization of this aim, Mohammed decreed that any apostate should be killed. In other words, when an individual professes the Moslem faith, he can never retract. Moslem historians recount instances when, in Mecca, Jews and others converted to Islam. Subsequently, in a very short space of time, they renounced their Islamic faith. Mohammed was without mercy, for such were considered to be apostates. He ordered their execution. Contemporary Moslem theologians consider that apostasy is the greatest danger to Islam and invoke the early Caliphs who ordered the death of the apostate. In the most tolerant of Moslem lands, no individual is ever allowed to publicly renounce his Moslem faith, even to become an atheist.

Throughout history, some individuals have sincerely believed they were invested with a divine mission to establish or re-establish the “Truth” in the world. One of the first things they do is to identify and associate themselves with revered characters of antiquity, either Biblical or profane. This is necessary to ensure the authenticity of their “apostleship” with their adepts. But a messenger without a message is meaningless, thus these “prophets” materialize their dreams and their cogitations either by their writings or by sententious declarations. Almost invariably, their converts are as sincere as their masters around whom is cast an aura of infallibility. This in turn develops a refusal of any objective enquiry concerning the claims of the founder and the elimination of any critical analysis. This has been reproduced in Islam.