Friday, February 22, 2013

The Cross and the Shadow of the Crescent

The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent: An Informed Response to Islam's War with Christianity  -     
        By: Erwin W. Lutzer
    The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent is Dr. Erwin Lutzer's newest book, and perhaps one of his most important. Dr. Lutzer has searched Scripture, mined history, and watched current events unfold for the last decades. He combined these areas of expertise to write this book. This book is a panoramic view of politics, world history, Church history, and missionary work as they relate to the Islamic agenda.

    We need this book in our time. As Americans we need this book. America is the focus of much attention by the part of Islam that desires to dominate. And America has been sleeping, drifting off to the lullaby of Political Correctness and Tolerance.
    When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred, few of us knew what "Jihad" was, or why they were attacking.  Now, most Americans know a little about terrorism. And that is good, but not enough. Islam's agenda includes terrorism, but only as one of twelve major steps to world domination.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has proclaimed blatantly that Muslims "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands.."

    Muslim protestors have said "We will use the Freedoms of the Constitution to destroy the Constitution." 

    One Muslim leader said "I have no doubt in my mind, Muslims sooner or later will be the moral leadership of America..either we do it now or we do it after a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country."
We need this book both as members of a nation where freedom was hard won and valued and as a Church where freedom in Christ is proclaimed, because this is even more important to us as Christians. We are called to reach out to all people in false religions with the saving Gospel of Christ. How do we reach Muslims with the Gospel? How do we speak truth to Muslims in kindness and still oppose Islam's agenda?
The Muslims in this religion are people like us. How do we reach them *as* people?
Dr. Lutzer's pastoral heart shines in this book as he answers this question. "Only love can overcome suspicion and hatred. If you ask former Muslims who converted to Christianity what won their hearts, they often repeat the words of Jesus: 'Love your enemies.' This is so antithetical to Islam that when Muslims encounter Christians who love them, they have no defense." 
The eternal question that we ask when addressing Mormons and Jewish people and everyone else must be asked here... How do we speak the Truth in Love?
We must not change the Gospel to avoid offense, but we must not speak harshly and give offense either. And if we leave either Love or Truth behind, we sin. We also fall into one of two errors.
Dr. Lutzer calls these errors the "EXPOSE THE WORST (AND PREACH NO GOSPEL)" error and the "THOU SHALT NOT OFFEND" error. Due to pro-Islamic bias in our government education system and media, very few people take the "EXPOSE" error. The "NO OFFENSE" error is far more popular.
     The false doctrine of "Chris-lam" is one of the fruits of this error.
     A very important portion of this book is dedicated to addressing "Chris-lam," a merger of Islam and Christianity. (To readers of Narnia, this reminds us of the false religion created to control the people by merging the false "Tash" and the true Aslan, creating "Tashlan.") The idea is deadly. Churches within the US have fallen into it however, with Qurans in the pews and guest Imams speaking to a Biblically illiterate membership. It has been predicted that very Liberal Protestants and Muslims will coalesce as they promote Chris-lam.

One of the pivotal passages in this book is found here "We should not see a dichotomy between a realistic view of our challenges and continuing to be a loving witness to those around us. We must learn from our Christian brothers and sisters in Muslim-dominated countries, who have learned to do both." 
As Christians and as Americans we need to understand Islam's theology. What drives Islamists to do what they do, what consumes them?
We need to understand what Islamic words mean- and what the words mean when Islamists are using them. ("Jihad" is now defined as a struggle against personal sin, according to some modern Muslims. According to many Imams however, Jihad is a Holy War for Allah.)

We need to understand what the Quran teaches about Christians and Jews, about Jesus, about the Cross. Why do Muslims destroy the symbol of the Cross and build a mosque when they conquer?
Does the Quran teach War against the Infidel? Is it a book of violence that fuels hatred, or a book of peace and love? How can loving and raging verses be quoted from the same book?
We need to understand why Islamists attack Christians the way they do and how we as a Church respond. We need to be moved in prayer and action for our Christian brethren in Muslim nations. And we need to stop fearing and or hating the Muslims around us and begin ministering to them in practical, Gospel focused ways. That is what Jesus commended us to do. Let us do it, for His Glory. Muslims are no further from the Cross than we were.

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