June 11, 2007

Attacking Islam

Ethics Daily has an article today about comments made by Chuck Colson during the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference. Although the purpose of the time is supposed to be to encourage preachers, Colson instead decided to launch an attack on Islam. Unfortunately, this will probably bring another round of bad media for Baptists.

Here are a few of Colson's remarks:

Islam is a theocracy, which means that it is a church state.

We believe that the gospel advances by love, and Islam believes that it advances by conquest.

Islam is a vicious evil.

Christians will give their lives and die for what they believe, and all through the years they have done so, but Islamists are very different.

We will die for what we believe. They will kill for what they believe.
There are a couple of problems with Colson's comments. First, Christians have been guilty of the same problems that he uses to attack all of Islam (think Crusades, Inquisition, and Massachusetts Bay Colony). If the deeds of Muslims mean that Islam is wrong, then the same must be true for Christianity.

The second problem is that such hateful rhetoric often does more harm than good. A few years ago, comments by Jerry Vines at the same meeting caused problems that promoted numerous missionaries in Islamic nations to urge Vines and others to tone down the rhetoric because it was hurting missions efforts (I deal with the remark by Vines in greater detail in my book, For God's Sake, Shut Up!: Lessons for Christians on How to Speak Effectively and When to Remain Silent ). Even if one is right, it is not always right to say it.

I believe that Christianity is the true faith, but let us make that case by focusing on the positives of our faith rather than the negatives of the faith of others.

4 comments:

  1. jdantzlerw9:53 PM

    I totally agree with your comments about Colson's speech. I was there last night and his turn at the mike was definately the low part of the evening. As you said the time was supposed to be being used to encourage the ministers in attendance and instead it angered me. Even more discouraging were the applause and affirmations that Colson's words received. And all this after Dr. Vines, whom you also mentioned, told us that we have to do everything we can to let go of our prejudices. Which also, by the way, received an affirmative response.

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  2. I also agree with you. Colson might benefit from re-reading Matthew 7 (as would we all).

    Personally, I don't believe in the idea of "one true religion". Faith in God and adherence to His word is more important to me than the particular dogmas of any certain religion. For all I know, the Muslims might be right about a few things, and we Christians might be wrong about a few. I seriously doubt either side is right about EVERYTHING.

    In any event, I believe that one day all will be revealed. On that day I won't be surprised if there are Muslims in Heaven.

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  3. jdantzlerw11:23 PM

    Stan,
    Belief in the Word of God necessitates a disbelief in the saving nature of Islam. For Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one reaches the Father accept through me." Though Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet they deny both his divinity and his atoning sacrifice on the cross.

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  4. Thanks for the comments! And especially thanks jdantzlerw for your first-hand account. I remember when Vines made his remark at the 2002 meeting. I was in shock and looked around only to see that most people seemed to be affirming of his remark. I hope more Christians will understand the serious consequences of this type of rhetoric.

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