Editorial by Voice of the Martyrs
VOM Editor’s note: This editorial was sent out with VOM’s monthly newsletter in December 2001. We have been asked to print it here as well. VOM has received many e-mails and letters in support of Dr. White’s column. We at VOM want to make it clear to our supporters and friends around the world that Willow Creek Church is not the main point of this editorial. Allowing Muslim leaders to speak “from the pulpit” in American church services without scriptural rebuttal, is the issue. VOM repudiates this practice. While VOM rejects Islam, we love Muslims and pray that they will come to a saving knowledge of a triune God: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
MUSLIMS IN OUR PULPITS
It was called the “Congress of the Cults.” Over 4,000 priests, pastors, and ministers from all denominations were assembled. They had elected Joseph Stalin as their honorary president. One after another went to the podium proclaiming that Christianity and communism were fundamentally the same. They could co-exist. They could “all get along.” A young Christian woman could bear it no longer. She looked at her husband, a Lutheran pastor, and said, “They are spitting on the face of Jesus. Go wash the shame off His face.” Her husband warned her, “If I speak against the communists, you will no longer have a husband.” The pastor’s wife, Sabina Wurmbrand, simply replied, “I do not wish to have a coward for a husband.”
So Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, a lone voice among the 4,000, went to the microphone. He was well known in Romania, and everyone believed he would go along with the assembly for the sake of “peace.” He didn’t. He spoke only of loyalty to Jesus Christ. He could not “co-exist” with any entity that opposed the Great Commission principle. For his simple protest, Richard paid dearly-as did countless Christians who refused to “bow down” to the ways of communism.
Today we face the same scenario. Jesus is being spit upon in American churches. Christians are selling their soul for a “peaceful co-existence” found in deceit. But who will come forward and wipe away the shame? I cannot take it any longer. How many of our brothers and sisters must be beaten, tortured, burned or decapitated, before we realize that Christians and Muslims DO NOT serve the same God?
We love the Muslims. Many of our co-workers put aside their own safety to reach them for Christ. We print special literature in their languages; we produce and broadcast special programs into the Middle East. We are willing to give our own lives to win the soul of a single Muslim. But we will never, never align ourselves with Islam and its militant teachings. To do so would destroy the very witness many of our brothers and sisters are dying for.
Across America pastors and Christian leaders are allowing representatives of the Islamic faith to freely speak in their pulpits. This happened at Willow Creek Community Church, the largest church in America, where a Muslim man named Faisal Hammouda was allowed to share the pulpit. During the interview with Pastor Bill Hybels, Hammouda claimed: “As a matter of fact, we, all of us, believe in Jesus. I believe in Jesus. I believe in Mohammed and all the prophets. So our mission here is to introduce people to God.” He also stated, “We believe in Jesus more than you do, in fact.”
But the Koran says, “O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word..” The Koran also claims that Jesus was never crucified. Muslims do not recognize the sovereignty of Jesus Christ or His sacrifice. They do not accept the way of the cross. So how could this be the same God? (Read I John 2:22-23)
Faisal went on to say, “Jihad means striving to improve oneself, striving to change conditions to better conditions, striving against evil.” Even the Chicago Tribune noted that laughter could be heard “rolling” through the audience as Hammouda discussed the “true” definition of a “jihad” saying, “It even could refer to a personal holy war to overcome, say, a desire to eat more candy.”
How foolish have we allowed ourselves to become? Three Sundays after Faisal Hammouda gave his “enlightening” presentation, 16 of your brothers and sisters were gunned down in a church in Pakistan. You may blame this on the war against terrorism, but you would be mistaken. If it was against America, why did the gunmen target their countrymen? If Faisal is right and Islam is “peace-loving,” why are our brothers and sisters in ALL Islamic-controlled countries facing severe persecution? Unfortunately, in his interview, Pastor Hybels left that question out. This may sound harsh; it isn’t. The treatment that the Body of Christ is facing in Islamic countries is harsh.
We feel truly sorry for Willow Creek. In an effort to “love,” they left out the truth. There is no love in deceit. We are in danger of loving the Muslims to hell. What will they say before Christ? Will they say, “But we all served the same God. We even spoke in Your churches. When did we persecute You?”
God forbid we trade salvation for “safety.” Could Christ have peacefully co-existed with the religious rulers of His time? Could the apostle Paul have “just gotten along” with the religious and political powers of his time and avoided martyrdom?
Jesus said that if they hated Him, they will hate us. Nevertheless, we are called to be a witness. We are not called to figure out a way to get people to accept us.
If you love the Muslims, tell them about the Jesus they so fervently persecute. If you love the Muslims, support those who are willing to lay down their life to be a witness among them (John 15:13). If you want to reach your congregation and help “bridge the gap,” invite Christians who have converted from Islam to speak to your congregation.
The simple fact is: Muslims do not “peacefully co-exist” with Christians. Faisal Hammouda did not speak for Islam. If he thought he did, he was deceived. Islamic teachings offer no tolerance for those who reject Mohammed for Christ. Read the Koran for yourself. Study Islamic history.
Learn the truth about what is happening right now in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Tajikistan and other countries where Islam has a foothold. Remember, less than one percent of the Muslim population in the world lives in America.
If you study Islamic history, you will learn that Mohammed traveled to Mecca and offered a peaceful doctrine. But it was not accepted. In fact, he was even persecuted. So he later traveled to Medina where his teachings took on a more hard-line militant form. Once he gained a following, he ruled by force. Now his teachings dominate in many nations. Islam struggles, fights,
and even kills for its faith. Once it gains power, its real face is revealed. “Accept Allah and his prophet Mohammed, or die.” This is happening right now in Indonesia, where the largest population of Muslims exists.
We challenge Pastor Hybels and other American pastors who believe Islam and Christianity can peacefully co-exist to visit the Maluku islands of Indonesia or the capital of Islam, Saudi Arabia, where no church is allowed. We ask you to speak with your brothers and sisters who secretly worship there. (We have.) We invite you to learn the truth, then decide if you will join with them in winning Muslims for Christ, or sell your soul for a shroud of peace.
The main issue at stake is the deity of Christ, not mutual understanding, dialog or feeling good about each other. Any question-and-answer session or dialog where Christ is not clearly presented as the only way (John 14:6) and as the complete Godhead in the flesh (such as Colossians 1:15-20 and 2:8-10, and 1 John 2:22-23) is blasphemy and a shameful attack on the cross. Christ described His way as narrow, not an “all faiths club.”
The issue is about access and power, not about negotiating away our Christianity. In Matthew 25:31-32, Jesus proclaimed this path and power as solely His. As a result, in Matthew 26:3-4, the chief priests and scribes consulted that they might kill Him.
Muslims wish to neutralize Jesus for the same reasons the chief priests and scribes did. Some Christian leaders may try to squirm out of this conflict to maintain a politically correct, man-pleasing church. Choose this day whom you will serve. If we begin to present a fuzzy God (such as, we all worship the same God), we are opening the doors of hell to our people, not the door of heaven.
We may be able to peacefully dialog with a Muslim man in America or in another Western culture. But this is a distorted reality. It is a partial truth at best. And when we present Islam as another truth, we spit on the face of Christ and those who serve His kingdom in Islamic countries.
We do not hate the Muslims. We hate deception. We do not advocate violence. We advocate love and truth. We desire peace but will not trade it for compromise. We will reach out to Muslims but will not deny the sovereignty of Christ and the cross as the only way to salvation. And we will not turn our back on our family members who are suffering and being killed under Islam for their faith and witness in Jesus Christ. Islam is the dominant force trying to eradicate Jesus Christ in their nations and neutralize Him worldwide as another “prophet.” We will not prostitute the gospel for a politically correct peace. Should any of us do otherwise?
If you find any news articles or sermons endorsing all faiths “serving the same God” in your community, please send this material to us as we take a stand together for Christ. This will help us as we try to gain a better understanding of the American church and how it is addressing Islam. If you or your pastor needs more information about Islam, please call our office. Thank you for standing with our persecuted family this Christmas season.
In Christ and for the martyrs,
Dr. Tom White
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Voice of the Martyrs.