Attacking Islam

June 11, 2007

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.