David Reagan - The Challenge of Islam
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. We have a very special treat in store for you over the next few weeks. We are going to present excerpts from the presentations that were made at our 2011 Bible Conference, the theme of which was Christianity Under Attack. We had 5 guest speakers in addition to myself. Those speakers and their topics were: Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries who spoke on "The Challenge of Islam." Frank Wright, President of the National Religious Broadcasters, who spoke on The Challenge of Government. James Walker of Watchman Fellowship who spoke on "The Challenge of Apostasy." John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research. His topic was The Challenge of Evolution. And Ron Rhodes, the Founder and Director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures. He spoke on The Challenge of Humanism. I personally wrapped up the conference with a presentation entitled The Promise of Victory. And now, here is Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries speaking on The Challenge of Islam.
Kerby Anderson: What I want to try to do is challenge you to think about this issue of Islam because it is one of the great challenges of the 21st Century. Wouldn't you agree? And I am going to do my best to if you've not really studied this too much give you enough basic information, so that you at the end have at least a basic understand of what Islam is all about, and what the challenge is and how to respond to it. But I also recognize that some of you have actually studied this and have some background. And I will try to drop in at least enough information so that even if you are an expert in this maybe you will learn a few things that are going to be really I think relevant.
Now as I do this let me also mention that you probably noticed by now that I talk a little faster than Dr. Reagan. Some people have actually measured me at 180 words a minute with gusts over 250. So you know that can sometime come very quickly. So at the end let me just say I am going to send you to a website in case you want to actually have this information and use it for yourself. Perhaps you would like to steal some of this, sanctified of course, but steal some of this and use this in your Sunday School class. I will make it available to you and also mention some of the books and resources that we are going to cover.
Well we are going to try in a short amount of time to give you a little bit of an overview on this subject of Islam. But to do that let's back up a few years and to talk about a book that I think really sets in context why it is important for us to understand this issue. Samuel Huntington wrote a book back in the late 1980's early 1990's. First he wrote an article that appeared in Foreign Affairs, later it came into be a book called The Clash of Civilization. He was a professor at Harvard University. I have shared a podium with him before. And he at the time when the Berlin Wall was falling; at the time when there was no longer an actual Soviet Union was actually saying that many people were making false predictions.
If you remember some of you are old enough to remember back then there were people writing books on the end of history. You know that all the conflict is going to go away. There is no longer a Soviet Union so this conflict between the West and Communism will end. It didn't quite work out, but he actually predicted that in the 21st Century he believed that there would be a clash of three major civilizations. The first is what he called Western Universalism; and that is the west, what we would describe as the west and western culture. Rule of law, Constitutional Government, one person one vote. All the kinds of things that we take for granted in the West. The Second he referred to as Chinese assertion. Don't want to forget more than a billion Chinese. And so I won't really spend too much time talking about those first two.
But the third civilization that he talked about is what he called Muslim Militancy. Now by that he didn't mean that all Muslims were militant. He didn't mean that all Muslim countries were militant. But he did predict that really one of the great challenges we would face in the 21st Century would be a clash between the West and Islam. Was he right? Yes he was. And I know that at a prophecy conference there are some that have said that maybe after the Battle of Gog and Magog, Ezekiel 38 and 39 maybe that destroys radical Islam, and maybe that is the case, and maybe it's not. But the bottom line is that is in the future and for now we have to face the threat of radical Islam.
By that I don't mean that all Muslims are radical. I don't mean that all Muslims are terrorists. That is not true. But it is pretty much true that all terrorists are Muslims. And so we have to understand that. But at the same time I also want to help you understand that many of the Muslims you come into contact with, the ones I run into when I go onto a college campus, they are here perhaps not with any kind of radical intent, although I suspect some are. But many just simply want to come and enjoy the America experience but they are worshipping a false god. And how do we witness to them. So I want to at two different tracks try to talk about how do we talk to our Muslim friends and neighbors and coworkers. But then also spend a little bit of time talking about this very significant threat.
Dr. Reagan: For those of you who may have tuned in late, you are watching a presentation by Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries entitled The Challenge of Islam. Kerby proceeded to present a sweeping overview of the history of Islam, its establishment and its development. And in the process he outlined the five pillars of the religion, namely, 1) Confession of Allah as god and Mohammed as his messenger. 2) Praying five times a day. 3) Giving to the poor. 4) Fasting during the month of Ramadan. 5) A pilgrimage to Mecca, if possible. Mr. Anderson next explained the difference between the Sunnis and Shiites, the two major divisions within Islam, two groups who are constantly in conflict with each other. And then, he focused in on an analysis of the differences between Islam and Christianity. And that is where we are going to pick up with his presentation.
Kerby Anderson: I think it would be worthwhile if you had sometime for everybody in this room, maybe I will give it as a homework assignment, though I am not grading it. To suggest that somewhere along the line it would be good for you to at least read one chapter of the Koran. Now you don't have to go out and buy a Koran like I have. You can go online and get it. Or you can go to a library and read it right there. And I was going to suggest that if you only read one chapter, just to understand a little bit about Islam I would suggest you read chapter 9, Surah 9. And the reason for that is is that first of all it was one of the last chapters written, and there is this belief in Islam called abrogation that later revelation can abrogate or change previous revelation. So you might as well read the end of the book, and I am sure that some of you have read mystery novels where you read the last chapter before you read the first. But you might as well read the last and it would give you an idea. But also I think it would help you understand the idea of Jihad. You would run into in the first 35 verse four different claims for Jihad.
Let's take one, this is known as the verse of the sword, Surah 9:5 it says, "Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them and seize them and beleaguer them and lie and wait for them in every stratagem." This comes from one of the more respected English translations of the Koran. I have looked at many and all of them say something very much like that. Does that give you little bit of an idea? Now again if you look at this and say, "This is binding on me today, and I need to follow this." Can you see the concern that you have? Now many Muslims are like a number of Christians. You know I have run into people who say, "I am a Christian, because hey I was born in America and I haven't killed anybody, so I must be a Christian. You know I go to church once a year, sometimes twice if I really feel motivated." And they don't really know their Bible. You know a lot of Muslims I have run into in this country don't know their Koran either. Or they contextualize it and say well that applied to Mohammad's day but it doesn't apply to today. But if you take a literal interpretation of that verse, does that concern you?
I am not just loading the gun; let me give you another one. Surah 9:29, "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His prophet, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and find themselves subdued." Okay lots of things going on here. First of all it talks about the people of the book. Who are the people of the book? Jews and Christians, okay. Now it also says that interestingly enough the people of the book they might not be treated like infidels but they have to be treated like second class citizens. They have to feel themselves subdued.
Is it not surprising that even yesterday on Point of View we spent some time talking about persecution of Christians around the world. And that at least 2/3 of our examples came from what? Muslim countries. And they have to pay the jizya or like a poll tax. And historically that was something they were required to do and you look at the history of Islam and how Muslims when they took over an area the way they treated Christians, and churches and things of that nature you have that idea. But ultimately it gives you a little bit of an idea of the battle, the fighting against anyone who is not a Muslim. Now again one of the miss you hear is, "Well okay, the Koran has some verses about violence. It has some verses about Jihad." Yeah well about 100 of them, so it is not just a few, but okay there are about 100 verses or parts of different Surahs that do so.
But you know what your Bible has some of those too don't they. Okay how do we respond to that? Well let's just take one example. In 1 Samuel 15 we see that here Samuel tells Saul to go and to attack Amalek. Now who was Amalek? Well you can go back and look at Moses and when the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness they were actually attacked by who? Amalek, and the Amalekites, or Malekites depending on how you pronounce it. And it was really the first terrorist organization we kind of run into. And eventually there is a battle that takes place. And if you remember the battle as Moses hand is raised what happens? The Israelites begin to actually prevail. But eventually he gets tired of holding up his hand and as his hand drops than the Amalekites begin to prevail. So they try to hold his hand up but they never really finished the battle. And here now Israel is strong enough and he says, "Saul finish them off."
Now what I think is intriguing is that in the next verse it goes on and says, "But save the Kenites because they have been good to you." Now that particular group almost in the Jordanian area today, but they have been good to you so we will save them; so no collateral damage. So here you have a direct and specific command to take out the Amalekites but it is so direct and specific they are not to even affect any other groups around there. It was given in the Old Testament in and Old Testament theocracy and again it was a specific command against this group. Let's go back and look at what we just mentioned a minute ago with the Koran. That is a universally binding command for all individuals at all times. Osama Bin Laden before he was deep sixed, actually in his Fatwa's quoted from this verse. Zarqawi quotes from these verses and others justify in their jihad based upon that.
Can you think of any Christian leader today saying, "Go out and kill the Amalekites?" First of all there aren't any, but second of all it's not even used. And so it is very different because in the Old Testament it is a direct and specific command given in the theocracy for a specific group of individuals. Now when you go and compare the New Testament to the Koran you see something even more intriguing because what does the New Testament teach? Turn the other cheek, love your neighbors. In other words the more literal my interpretation of the New Testament, the more likely I am to be what? Peace loving. But the more literal I interpret the Koran the more likely I am to be a Jihadist. Do you see the difference?
Another answer. One last one real quickly Surah 47, "When you meet unbelievers smite their necks, and then when you have made wide slaughter among them tie fast the bonds then set them free. Either by grace or ransom 'til the war lays down its loads. And those who are slain in the way of god, he will not send their works astray, he will guide them and dispose their minds alright and he will admit them to paradise that he has made known to them." Again an argument for jihad, but those who are slain in this holy jihad what happens? They go to what? Paradise; seventy virgins supposedly. Boy are a lot of people who have engaged his martyrs in for a great surprise aren't they? But more importantly we see that this again has become a very compelling argument used for the martyr's brigade and others. And it illustrates again the tremendous threat that we face just militarily.
Well let's if we can for just a minute talk about how to deal with the Muslim ideas, and what are the difference between Islam and Christianity, and how you can witness to maybe your Muslim friends, and neighbors and co-workers. The first is I think it is important that you might want to point out the differences between the Bible and the Koran because there is kind of a fundamental principle that you learn if you ever take a class in philosophy it is the law of non-contradiction. If "A" is true the opposite of "A" cannot be true at the same time and the same way. If the Bible says one thing and the Koran says something completely different from it they both can't be true. Does that make sense? They both could be false, but they both cannot be true.
And that I think is very helpful because Muslims very early on after Mohammed began to realize that some of the things he taught were actually contradictory to the Koran. So early on they came up with the idea that the Bible had been corrupted by Jews and Christians. And of course the problem with that for those of us that do apologetics is where? I mean there is no evidence of that. As a matter of fact there are places where Mohammad actually endorses the Bible and the Bible he endorses in the 6th and 7th Century is pretty much the same Bible exactly we have in the 1st Century so where does that actually take place? But I think it is more important to recognize that again just from an apologetics point of view; defending the Christian faith, that the Bible is confirmed by history and archaeology.
Archaeology the archaeologist spade and the historical tools can show that the Bible is true. By contrast history can show that the Koran is false. For example one of the classics one is, is that the Koran teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross. Well there's a pretty easy difference isn't there? I mean it teaches that actually Jesus did not die on the cross but an imposter died on the cross. Jesus eventually died but He is going to return again, they believe in the return of Christ but they believe that He is going to come and destroy all churches, all crosses, all pigs. And eventually die and be buried and eventually be buried next to Mohammad. Well that is a little different than the Bible isn't it? So you can see right off the bat there are differences. They both can't be true. One of them by definition has to be false.
Another one the Samaritans tricked the Israelites at the exodus. That is kind of a problem in terms of just basic interpretation. Alexander the Great was a Muslim who worshipped Allah and you can go and on with all sorts of different ones that I think illustrate again; that one of the points that I love to use with a Muslim student sometimes is to say, "Do you not understand that your Koran and our Bible disagree?" They both can't be true. Let's now see what history and archaeology say about the truthfulness of the Bible. What does it say about your Koran?" Now I wouldn't say that overseas, you can get killed doing that. But over here student are sometimes are much more open to it.
But I think another way to look at this is to look at the nature and character of God. Have you ever heard anybody say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Have you heard sitting Presidents say that? Let's talk about that for just a minute. You know first of all Islam denies the Trinity. Anybody here teach a Sunday School class or Pastor? If you do I want to suggest to you that I think one of the greatest doctrines under attack in the 21st Century will be the doctrine of the Trinity. Right? Because first of all the second largest religion in the world rejects the trinity. You ever been at your home and hear a knock at the door and you see as you look out there two young men in white shirts with bicycles. You know what I am talking about here?
That is one of the fastest growing religious groups in America. Do they deny the Trinity? And in a sense because they say all sorts of people can be gods. Ever had another knock on the door and you look out and you see some people holding Watchtower material, do they deny the Trinity; one of the most aggressive evangelistic groups. Have I made my point? I think it is absolutely essential that every Christian in America and around the world in the 21st Century know how to defend the doctrine of the Trinity. But here right off the bat you can see that we disagree because Allah is supposed to be alone. God in Islam is not to have a partner. And the worship that anybody else but Allah is known as shirk or idolatry so right off the bat Muslims would disagree that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Well let's look at the character of God. Allah is transcendent, he is distant, he is unknowable. Matter of fact he is unpredictable, he is capricious. Very different than the God of the Bible. God in Islam or Allah reveals his will but not himself. He reveals his will through his prophet Mohammad. He reveals his will through the angel Gabrielle. He reveals his will through the Koran. But you cannot know him personally. Is that the God of the Bible? Not exactly. Can we call God our Father? The Lord's Prayer, "Our Father who art in Heaven." Can we have a personal relationship with God? Yes we can. Are we talking about two different individuals here? I think that we are.
One of the things that I find so interesting is that in my book I document a study that was done and at that time it was done with about 700 former Muslims who had converted to Christianity. Now it is up to almost 900 former Muslims who have converted to Christianity. And they asked these former Muslims what caused you to leave Islam and become a Christian? Their number one reason: the love of God. Because if you are a Muslim you do not have a personal relationship with God. You do not feel the love of God. Matter of fact you fear Allah and you are not sure of your salvation. You are not sure that anything will actually merit salvation unless maybe you are killed as a martyr in a jihad or something like that. And so you have this hunger to know God but there is never a way that it is fulfilled.
So I would suggest to you that when you talk to your Muslim friends talk about the love of God. For a Muslim it seems a bit strange to talk about the love of God. That I can know God personally but they are in their heart often times desire that. And it is really one of the most effective witnessing tools today. Because they see Allah as master, not father. But we can call God what? Our Father. Looking just at the difference for a minute when you have people say, "Well Christian and Muslims worship the same God." Allah in the Koran is a Unitarian monotheism you know in the Bible Yahweh Trinitarian monotheism. A master-slave relationship, where in Christianity a father-son or father-daughter relationship. In the Koran Allah determines all. If you are ever with a Muslim they will say a phrase "Insha'Allah" when something happens, it means Allah wills. You fall down a flight of stairs Insha'Allah. I am blessed Insha'Allah. You know he determines everything but then ultimately he is the author of both good and evil. Where Christianity recognized that God is sovereign but He has given us free will and He is the author of good.
A couple more real quickly, how about the person and work of Jesus. Well here again I think something is very important because the Koran as I just pointed out denies that He is the Son of God. They deny the resurrection. And so as a result they say that Jesus will return to establish Islam universally. And so I think that it is important again to begin to help them understand who Jesus really is.
Many Muslims have said that they can actually find Jesus in the Koran. And some Christians have used the Koran to lead Muslims to the Lord. It is a controversial tactic and I am not suggesting we always want to do it. But it is interesting that if you just look at the Koran you learn a lot more about Jesus than most Muslims know. Because in the Koran it says Jesus was sinless, He was born of a virgin, He's a prophet, He's the Messiah. They just don't believe He's the Son of God. Well that gives you a lot to work with doesn't it? You know especially as a starting point. Because later on in the Koran Mohammad is actually told by Allah to confess his sins, so Mohammad is sinful, and Jesus is sinless.
This has been another tactic that has been very, very used by Christian missionaries in Muslim countries to say, "Would you not like to know more about this sinless prophet Jesus." And there is a place in the Koran where actually Muslims are encouraged to read the before books. What are the before books? Well those are the books about Moses, and the book about Jesus. They believe that Moses was a prophet, that Jesus was a prophet. And he actually encourages them to read the before books and they say, "Would you not like to know more about this sinless prophet named Jesus? Here is the Gospel of John." And it has been a very effective technique to begin to open the door for them to read the Bible.
What about sin and salvation? Well Muslims really deny the Fall, they say Adam and Eve fell but God forgave them. So they really don't believe in a sin nature the way we do. They in a sense believe that you can work out your own salvation. There is an image that is given in the Koran that is kind of like a fulcrum or a balance sheet you know, the good works and the bad works and the hope that my good works will out weight my bad works, and ultimately I will be saved. And so again this is an incredible evangelistic opportunity isn't it?
You know I gave that study just a minute ago that was done by a seminary were they looked at 700 former Muslims now it is 900 who've converted to Christianity. What was the number one reason they changed? The love of God. Do you know what the number two reason was? Assurance of their salvation because a Muslim never knows if he or she is going to be saved. But we can believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ and know that we have been saved. Agree? So again that is a very powerful technology, very powerful technique I should say and really when we come to the end we have to say the fundamental issue is salvation. The Bible states that it is impossible to be accepted by God on the basis of works. Only by God's grace can we be saved through faith; and really only if Jesus is divine can He provide a sacrifice sufficient for the sins of the world. One of the most significant verses is Ephesians 2:8-9. You witness to a Muslim friend it says, that we are saved by what? Grace, not by works. And that I think is a very powerful way to share the Gospel.
Again we have people saying that Christianity and Islam are basically the same, there as different as they can possibly be. Islam believes in an absolute one of God. Christianity believes in God in three persons. Islam believes that Jesus was a major prophet but not God. Christianity believes that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. Islam believes that He did not die on the cross or raise. Christianity teaches that he rose from the dead. Islam teaches that the Bible is corrupted. Christianity teaches that the Bible is the Word of God. Islam believes that humans are good by nature and that they can save themselves. Christianity believes that we are sinful by nature and we are saved by grace. They are about as different as night and day.
You have been watching Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries speaking about The Challenge of Islam. I think his presentation made it clear that Islam is a false religion that worships a false god and teaches a false plan of salvation namely, salvation through good works. Islam denies the Trinity. It denies the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. And it denies the grace of God. There is no doubt about it Islam is a religion that is totally incompatible with Christianity.