Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                          November 22, 2015                                                                                                                            NO. 36



Islam is not compatible with Christianity in its very nature, the reason for its existence. The religion of Islam has been earthly, sensual and violent since its beginning ca.621 AD by Muhammad who had earlier claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel (Qur’am - Surah 96:1-5). In the Arab countries, from where he lived, first in Medina, then in Mecca, he established himself as a religious, political and military leader and began converting tribes and cities to the religion he started, by using the threat of war and conquest. During this time he assassinated several Arab leaders who opposed him.

Since the beginning of Islam, Muhammad’s followers have followed his path of using force to convert people to Islam. This has been their history. They invade a country, and as they gain a majority, the people in the country are given a choice, submit (convert) to Islam or suffer the consequences, which in many cases means death. This concept is borne out by the name “Islam,” which means “submission” to the will of Allah. A “Muslim” is “one who submits.” Islam’s goal is to physically bring the whole world into submission to their religion of Islam and their god, Allah. They seek to control every aspect of a person’s life. This is stated clearly in a book, Why I am not a Muslim, written by Ibn Warraq. He writes, “There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. There is no difference between Islam and Islam fundamentalism: at most there is a difference in degree, but not of kind…Islam fundamentalism has global aspirations: the submission of the entire world to the all-embracing Shari’a, Islamic Law, a Fascist system of dictates designed to control every single act of all individuals.” (I don’t have the page number, t.t.).

Muslims try to defend their concept of a physical kingdom established by warfare and conquest by saying Jesus was no different from Muhammad, pointing to a statement Jesus made in Matt. 10:34. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Then they refer to the Medieval Crusades of the Dark Ages, ca.1000-1200 AD, and the later holy(?) wars between Protestants and Catholics during the Reformation period ca.1500-1600 AD. They then say, “See, Jesus’ followers used the sword in their conquests.”

In Matt.10:34 Jesus is not calling for a military Jihad (holy war). When one honestly reads the context, one sees that the sword in the passage is used in a figurative way to describe how Jesus’ teaching would divide families. Some would receive it while other would reject it. In fact, the one time a disciple tried to defend Jesus with a sword, Jesus rebuked him and told him to put the sword away Matt. 26:52.  What Jesus did teach was that when His followers were mistreated they were to turn the other cheek, not take up a sword Matt. 5:38-39. A few verses later He says they were to love their enemies, do good to them and pray for them, not hate and seek to retaliate against them 5:43-47. They were to let God take care of the vengeance in His time Rom. 12:18-19; Heb. 10:30.

While it cannot be denied that the Crusades and the Protestant/Catholic wars were fought in the name of Christ, they were fought without His authority or blessings. Read Matt. 7:21-23 you will see what Jesus thinks of those who do things in His name that He has not authorized. It is “lawlessness” (a work of iniquity). What the Crusaders and Reformers did by physical war and bloodshed was in direct opposition to what Jesus taught. It was acting without law (lawlessness) Jesus NEVER endorsed the use of physical weapons and warfare in spreading His kingdom.

Jesus rejected the use of carnal weapons to advance His cause, because the nature of His kingdom was not physical, but spiritual. As Jesus stood before Pilate He revealed the nature of His kingdom. “My kingdom is not of this world, If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now My kingdom is not from here” Jn.18:36. His disciples knew the battle was spiritual “For we do no wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” Eph. 6:12. So the weapons used would not be carnal. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God …” 2 Cor.10:4. Their defensive armor was spiritual and their offensive weapon was “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Eph. 6:17.

The word of God was the only thing that could penetrate the heart of man as we see it doing on Pentecost Acts 2:36-37. Physical threats may cause a person to outwardly change his words or actions, but it cannot change the inner man of the heart. A physical weapon may touch, wound and even kill a person physically, but it cannot change what an individual really thinks. Only the word of God can do that Heb. 4:12. That is why Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell” Matt. 10:28.

So, following Jesus’ orders to carry the gospel to the whole world Mk. 16:15; Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:6-8, using only the word of God, they went out and turned the world upside down Acts 17:6. In ca. 30-35 years they had carried the gospel into the whole world Col. 1:5-6, 23. Think of that, they did it without using physical threats and force, nor maiming or beheading anyone. (To be continued.) 

—Tommy Thornhill

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Years ago I was talking to some fellows who asserted the Bible is full of errors. When I asked them for an example, they cited the four accounts of the inscription on Jesus’ cross. John’s account says it read, “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19). The others give slight variations, yet no two are identical (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38). Is that a contradiction?

Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Warning: shoplifters will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law”? If you asked multiple people who saw that sign what it said, you might get several technically different answers. One might cite it word-for-word, others might abbreviate it to varying extents, another might just paraphrase it.  Would you conclude that none had actually seen the sign or knew what it said? Of course not. Then why treat the gospel writers that way?

The gospel writers are too often in a no-win situation with critics: if they say exactly the same thing they are accused of collusion, and if they differ they are charged with contradiction.

—Frank Himmel

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