Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The greatest challenge to "peace on earth" and the greatest enemy of the Prince of Peace is, undoubtedly, radical Islam.
I just finished reading Islamic Imperialism: A History by Efraim Karsh, who is a professor of history at King's College, London. Karsh says that, "Whereas Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, Muhammad used God's name to build an earthly kingdom" (p. 7). Then he proceeds to show how it has always been the dream of Muslims to conquer the world, by force if necessary. Karsh consistently shows this stream of what he calls "Islamic Imperialism," or the desire to conquer the world for Islam, from the time of Muhammad and the early caliphates who conquered much of Africa and southern Europe, all the way to Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. He shows that this understanding of jihad is not an isolated extreme view, but is very mainstream through Muslim culture.
Karsh says, "If, today, America is reviled in the Muslim world, it is not because of its specific policies but because, as the preeminent world power, it blocks the final realization of the age-old dream of regaining the lost glory of the caliphate" (p. 239). In other words, there is nothing we can do to make radicalized Muslims love us or make peace with us. They will only be satisfied with our complete submission to Islam.
A frightening but important book that teaches a difficult lesson that all Christians and Westerners need to understand.
However, I should point out that not all Muslims are radicalized. My father was pastor of a Baptist church in Israel for several years, and their experience was that more Arabs are open to accepting Christ than Jews! There are actually more Baptist churches in Israel that are Arab congregations, than Messianic Jewish churches.
So we should not give up on radical Muslims. Rather, it should be a call to fervent prayer for the conversion of Muslims to Christ. This may seem impossible to us, but Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
Saul of Tarsus was a Jew who was radicalized in his opposition to Christianity. But when he finally came to Christ, he became the greatest missionary of the early church. Let us pray that God will do a similar work among the Muslim world.