The Christian Response to Radical Islam

fistAs radical Islam continues to hold an international spotlight, my social media feed is awash with rage, hatred, fear, and threatening posts.  Understandably, people see the murderous clips or read the disheartening speeches and feel the need to do something.  How can one not react?  How can one not feel the hurt?  Terrible things are being done by very evil hearts.  This should be upsetting to everyone.  So, I shouldn’t be surprised to read a threatening Tweet or Facebook post.  What is a surprise, however, is when I read it from someone who also claims to be Christian.

If you are reading this blog but do not consider yourself a Christian (a follower of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth), then what I have to say is not for you.  Please understand that you are still quite welcome to continue reading, and I hope that you do.  However, the standard by which I will soon make an appeal is not applicable in your case.  In other words, if you do not adhere to the rules set forth by Jesus, then no one can accuse you of not adhering to the rules set forth by Jesus!  On the other hand, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, then to the best of your ability you should be following Jesus.  One would think that that should go without saying. However, I really want to be absolutely clear about what I’m saying – so I’m saying it.

So, what is the Christian response to radical Islam? First, we can conclude that it should not be one of fear. In Matt 10:28, Jesus encouraged His followers not to fear those “who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”  In other words, the very worst that an AK-47 wielding terrorist can do is kill you.  However, he has no power beyond that. He certainly cannot thwart the purposes of God.  Furthermore, God is not pacing the halls of heaven while wringing his hands, trying to figure out what to do now.  God is very much at peace. Therefore, we can be at peace.

Another poor response to radical Islam would be hatred.  Jesus said that if an enemy hated us we were to respond by loving them and if they persecuted us we were to pray for them (Matt 5:44).  Over and again the teachings of Jesus support the notion that we are to be kind to our enemies.  The Apostle Paul showed us the flip side of the same coin when he warned that Christians are not to take vengeance on our enemies (Rom. 12:19).  Vengeance is God’s prerogative, not ours.  Yes, I believe the Islamic doctrine is an enemy to Christ. However, our very clear command from Jesus is to pray for Muslims everywhere that they be freed from that ideology to follow Jesus.  Hating these people will not make them followers of Jesus.

Now, one might argue that our anger is justified because radical Muslims are attacking innocent men, women, and children and we must react to protect them. This I will not dispute.  However, it is doubtful that a few Facebook rants tapped out on a phone while sitting on a bus in Toledo is going to reshape the Middle Eastern landscape for any lasting good.  On the other hand, if you find yourself in a position to actually serve or protect the innocent, then this is something to which you should attend.  However, most of us are not in a position to immediately help them.  Therefore, praying for the victims would be a far greater use of our energies than ranting against their captors.

In addition to prayer I believe that we should also consider donating our funds to support missionary work in the Middle East.  On Feb. 19, 2015, Cole Richards gave an interview on VOM Radio.  He is the leader of Voice of the Martyrs International Work.  He explained that the recent carnage created by radical Islam has created many moderate Muslims to question their faith.  As a result, many of these Muslims are converting to Christianity.  In other words, God is exploiting the evil deeds of these people to waken the hearts of many men and women.  You aren’t going to hear that information on the evening news. Matt Lauer isn’t going to interview Muslims who became Christians while you sip your morning coffee. Still, God is at work; His people are at work.

Let me point out that what I’ve said so far is only for Christians. Governments have a different calling.  In Romans 13, Paul said that governments have been put into position to “execute wrath on him who practices evil.”  They have been given “the sword” by which to do this.  So, while governments should be doing what they are in place to do, Christians should also be doing what we have been placed here to do – commit ourselves to the growth of the Kingdom. In my opinion, the two do not share the same calling before God.

So, let’s lay aside our hatred and fear. Let’s pray for the persecuted people who are in the path of these radicals.  Let’s pray for the Muslim that God will pierce through the darkness of his religion to show him the light of Christ.  And, let’s donate available resources to help missionaries who work with them.

The following two links are organizations who work among Muslims.  Consider making a donation to one or both.  Your donation can help spread the Gospel in a land very much in need of light.

What are you waiting for? Do something constructive with the way you feel.

Heaven’s Family National Missionary Fund

The Voice of the Martyrs Muslim World

Peace,

dane

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, Christian blogger, jail chaplain, amateur filmmaker, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us.


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