RSS

Tag Archives: Islam

This Week in Africa (07/11/2013)

- News relevant to Christians in Africa

Illegal Abortions Thrive in South Africa: Despite South Africa’s ‘progressive’ laws regarding abortion, many women are still having back street abortions.

Surprise: The African Church is Not very Charismatic: In light of John MacArthur’s recent conference ‘Strange Fire’, Christianity Today has done this piece demonstrating that despite what the West would be tempted to believe, Africa is not dominated by Charismatic and Pentecostal theology.

Africa: Harmful Practices Against Women and Girls Can Never Be Justified By Religion: Dealing with what I assume is a issue more in Northern Africa, this article by a UN expert speaks briefly to the issue of bridging women’s rights and religious freedom. It mentions the issue of forced marriage and conversion which I can only assume is the growth strategy of ‘the religion of peace’. Fascinating to consider in light of the fact the Calvin’s Geneva was also known as ‘Woman’s Paradise’ due to the fact that women were protected and looked after there.

Central Africa Republic: religious tinderbox: Once again the ‘religion of peace’ is the cause of suffering and fear in the Central Africa Republic. Persecuted and suffering people are getting restless though and there appears to be a growing desire for vengeance.

Sangoma burned to death in Khutsong: A sangoma suspected of working with a local gang was killed by vigilantes.

“Who can help trembling at those judgments of God by which He does in the hearts of even wicked men whatsoever He wills, at the same time rendering to them according to their deeds?”- Augustine

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Religion, This Week in Africa

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

SA Cricketer Converts to Islam… Really?

Fast bowler for the South African cricket team, Wayne Parnell converted from ’Christianity’ to Islam in January this year, although he has only gone public with this information on the 28th of July[i]. He claims this happened “…after a period of personal study and reflection and it is a faith that I have always been interested in[ii]”.

What is surprising to me is the media’s (and apparently Parnell’s) idea of what Christianity is. While I do not doubt that Parnell has had some experience, it is probably better described as a transferral than a conversion. Let me explain what I mean:

In one report it was written, “In October 2009 Parnell was dropped from the Warriors’ side after he partied until the early hours of the morning in a Port Elizabeth nightclub before a SuperSport series match against the Dolphins.[iii]” Is this the kind of report that can be made of a Christian? This seems to not have been a once off bad judgment, but a regular problem with the young man[iv]. However the Bible is replete with Scriptures that forbid drunkenness (Luke 12:45, Romans 13:13, 1 Cor 5:11; 6:10 to name a few), furthermore regarding partying anyone with a simple view of the Scripture would know that Christians do not behave like the world (Romans 12:2).

Now I do not know the man, however from the reports about him I find it hard to believe he was a Christian; a secularist perhaps, a cultural ‘Christian’, a nominal ‘Christian’ even, but a Bible-believing follower of Christ? I think not. Theologically we know it is impossible for a Christian to lose their faith, since God makes a Christian, and God keeps a Christian, but Parnell is merely another victim of watered down, weak Christianity.

A helpful question to ask is what can we learn from Parnell’s transference from serving the idol of self as  a secular South African to serving the idol of religious rigour as a Muslim?

1. Christians should learn not to put their evangelist faith in sportsmen and other celebrates. This is  a common scene in churches across our land, if we can get a ‘Christian’ celebrate in to speak, we think that perhaps more people will be saved, but that shows no faith in the message, it is the gospel that saves people (Romans 1:16). John Bunyan was a pauper with very little education, yet many were saved through his ministry, not because of the man, but because of the treasure of the gospel he proclaimed.

2. Churches should not be satisfied with mere professions of Christianity, the God given process of Church discipline should be practised, so that people are not left thinking they are Christians when they are not. It is high time for evangelical churches to think through the role of pastoring and what is meant by church discipline in Scripture (for more information on how to do church discipline properly, and related topics to church life, check out 9 Marks).

3. Muslims who celebrate this event as some kind of sign of the growth of Islam, and Christians who despair that another professor of Christianity has revealed his true colours should bear in mind the following. According to Islam, more people depart from Islam than will ever join Islam, thus making Islam actually the fastest shrinking religion in the world; consider this quote, “The Prophet Muhammad said, ‘No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.[v]’” Thus the majority of people in the world who ‘convert’ do so away from Islam. Secondly Christians must remember that the validity of our faith does not rest on the profile or number of people who are converted (Matthew 22:14; 1 Cor 1:26).

4. Another lesson that may be observed is how Islam (along with most other religions) destroys culture, whilst Christianity redeems it. If you have been following the story of Parnell you will know that he is considering changing his name to Waleed. Islam as it creates adherents to its religions forces them back to 16th century Arabic culture, be it in dress or even economics. Christianity on the other hand saves cultures, so that not every Christians is a westerner, or a Arab, but rather every tribe, tongue and nation will worship the Lamb Who was slain (if you would like to read an article on Christianity and how it is to influence culture click here).

5. The last lesson we learn from Parnell’s transference is that a heart without Christ will never be at rest until it finds Christ. The great king Solomon depicts that for us, like Parnell he to tried parties, drinking and pleasure but did not find meaning in it (Eccles2:1-3), Solomon also tried learning and searching through the philosophies of the world (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18; 2:12-16) but found it also to be empty. It is my prayer that Parnell would hear the gospel and see the hope that there is in Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins and peace with God that is available not through his own effort, but through the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

If you would like further good resources on Islam consider this site over here

 
Comments Off

Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Christianity, Current events, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Burning the Qur’an, Who Burnt it First?

Recently in Florida, USA a pastor Terry Jones attempted to hold an ‘international burn the Koran day’, this sparked worldwide outcry from Muslims and other religious groups. As I have been thinking about what happened I can’t pretend to know his motives. I do however think that if it was for the sake of the gospel or the cause of Christ that this individual was burning Qur’ans, then he is going about it the wrong way. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. It’s not the Qur’ans in people’s hands that are a problem it’s the Qur’ans in people’s hearts that should sadden Christians, and it is there that we should strike with the two-edged sword of Scripture. The Qur’an should be burnt historically and theologically, this is how to make the way straight for the Lord, if perchance He might grant repentance to some.

I think much of the erroneous arguments of Islam may have been avoided, and the Qur’an seen for what it really is more easily by modern Muslims if Qur’an burning always met with such resistance in history. What do I mean? Well there was a time when Muslims burnt Qur’ans as well. Allow me to explain…

Islam holds that the Qur’an was revealed from God to Muhammad orally through the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) over a period of approximately twenty-three years, beginning in 610 AD, when he was forty, and concluding in 632 AD, the year of his death.

The arrangement of the text followed no chronological sequence, the longest chapters are put first; the shortest last. Scholars still argue as to which Sura (Chapter) was given when, but there does seem to have been a development that followed events in the Prophet’s life. Muhammad recited the Qur’an to his followers as he received it and these revelations were committed to memory and recorded on “pieces of parchment or papyrus, flat stones, palm leaves, shoulder blades, ribs of animals, pieces of leather and wooden boards.” In short, any material that was to hand. The Qur’an did as such not exist as one book at the time of Mohammed’s death in 632AD.[i]

The Qur’an was then passed down via oral tradition, eventually being recorded by Abu Bakr into one volume, containing as much of what was believed to be the words originally spoken by Mohammed.

Skipping a little of the history (which would strengthen the point of my article), with a number of motivations (one no doubt being the unifying of the Islamic world), the third Caliph Uthman wanted to standardise the text. In order to strengthen his control on his Empire it was necessary to produce one text, without being seen to favour any one of the four versions in use by his subjects more that the others. Zayd’s text (which is that part I have skipped for the sake of brevity), conveniently located nearby and supposedly untouched for years provided the perfect solution. So in one simple move he was able not only to strengthen his own position, but also to cut the ground from under the feet of the other reciters (of the Qur’an) in areas where his rule had become unpopular.

Uthman ordered a committee of four to oversee a revision of Zayd’s text, and it was at this point that Zayd found a verse that he had omitted earlier (Zayed also disoverd two verses which were unknown earlier in the history of this book). Once the work was completed copies were made and sent out to the major cities of the Empire (probably to Kufa, Basra, and Damascus and possibly Mecca), accompanied by a reader. One copy remained in Medina. All variant copies were destroyed (by burning) and despite some opposition during the rest of Uthman’s reign it was accepted as the standard text[ii].

Hence we have the miracle of no variant texts of the Qur’an, and with that also no way to tell if anyone changed it. Unlike the Bible’s historical transmission the Qur’an was at one time in the hands of one man who burnt any and all other parts of copies of the Qur’an and declared his revised text as the actual real one. Did he change it? We will never know, since there are no manuscript traditions to verify or nullify the text as we have it.

If that burning of the Qur’an by Uthman had never happened, today Islam would not be as self-secure as it thinks itself to be with regards to its textual transmission. Long and short of it, I am against people burning Qur’ans, unless as converts to Christianity they wish to get rid of what they see as vestments of a false religion, like those magicians in Acts who came to see the truth that God is Holy, man is sinful by nature, Christ came and made a way for man to be reconciled to God by His body on the cross, and all who lay hold of Him by faith are at peace with God, and are thus caused to live in true submission to the living God


[i] William Montgomery Watt in The Cambridge History of Islam, p.32

Richard Bell, William Montgomery Watt, Introduction to the Qur’an, p.51

[ii] “CRCC: Center For Muslim-Jewish Engagement: Resources: Religious Texts”. Usc.edu. http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/061.sbt.html#006.061.510. Retrieved 2010-03-16

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 16, 2010 in Apologetics, Christianity, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A Response to Rising Islam- Pt 2 (Better Titled: What’s Wrong with the Church Today)

What is the problem with the church of this generation? I posed this question in my post responding to the rise of Islam. If you read that post, you will notice that Islam does not so much concern me. However, it did raise for me, the question, of the Church? Why are we not having as much of an impact as previous generations? Where are the dvtnSpurgeons, Whitefields, Luthers, Calvins, men like the apostles? Now granted, we are plagued by much heresy today, the emergent church is striking away at an entire generation, those who are a generation above are still bewildered by and getting up from the failure of the seeker-sensitive movement. Arminianism is rife, liberalism is still going. But this is no excuse, when God used men in the past, there were also many heresies and evils about.

For argument sake, let us consider, a doctrinally pure and sound church. Accurate to the letter. Why do they not experience such impact? Why do the preachers, who have all their theology worked out and their Greek Grammar down, not rock the country? Friends, I write this to myself as well. The problem is not theological (while if we let that slide, it will be a problem too, some kind of ‘holiness’ without the ground of good theology would be just as useless), the issue is holiness.

I heard a sermon recently, and these words struck me, it went something like this, “The power of the preaching of a man, will be directly proportional to the holiness of that man.” Think of it friends, Paul wrote to Timothy and said two things he should watch, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). To your teaching (KJV

has it ‘doctrine’) and to yourself. Is it any wonder that the qualifications for pastors in both passages where the qualifications are listed, starts with holiness and its practical manifestation? Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2 both start off with the qualification ‘above reproach’ or ‘blameless’, not doctrine or theology. Wiersbe explains, “This word literally means “nothing to take hold upon”; that is, there must be nothing in his life that Satan or the unsaved can take hold of to criticize or attack the church. No man living is sinless, but we must strive to be blameless, or “above reproach”[i]

In both of those passages Paul goes on in the same verse quoted to talk about the external manifestation of holiness. How a man runs his life, and rules his family, and controls himself. I could go on writing for hours, but I feel this is already getting to long. How long do we pray for? Or do we feel it is pointless and we can do without God’s power? How long do we read the Holy Scriptures for? Or are we wise enough and equipped in and of ourselves to deal with all life should throw our way? Do we cut off our hand, and pluck out our eye when they cause us to sin? Or do we whimper in the closet and scratch a bit at our hand, keep our eye lid closed for awhile? If we truly hated sin, we would destroy that means whereby we sin, we would go without, and in want, but by no means make provision for the flesh. How often do our thoughts wonder onto senseless and futile things? As if there were no treasures above, no glories to think in Christ, but ah, we cannot think of these things since we have not been in the Word to find the jewels.

The words also struck me, that you cannot be a clown, and a prophet. Now Spurgeon was a man who had quiet a sense of humour, he was even criticized for making too many jokes, but this is not what I mean. Al Matrin points, that it is the man who always wants to make people laugh, always wants to be a joker, how can someone then take you seriously, when you want to tell them of the fires of hell, and the depravity of their nature, and the glories of the only true God, and the pre-eminence of Christ?

lbrtyI am not here hoping to solve the problem, but merely make it known, if you wish to have an impact for the world around you, then you best not worship the same idols it does. Money, riches, wealth, reputation, class, stuff, security, safety etc. Oh that we would have a tenacious fight for holiness, then we will see the world take notice, then we would ‘…save ourselves and others’


[i]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. 1 Ti 3:1

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 7, 2009 in Christianity, Devotional, Doctrine

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A Christian Response to Rising Islam- Pt 1 (Alternative title: Forgotten Truths on Prayer)

Let me say by way of introduction, that I am not advocating the authenticity or the reliability of the above Youtube clip. If you read my previous posts you will know I am not a fan of shoddy scholarship or fringe academia. However, let’s assume hypothetically that what the clip suggests is legitimate, and in fact we all should know, even from a Aaaaah! It's too scary!conservative look at facts that Islam is a rising issue, and is growing rapidly- whether it an eschatological terror such as the clip suggests, I am not so sure (I have my reasons for not expecting much from Islam with regards to future world history, and no I am not post-mil… yet).

However this clip did lead me to ask some questions which had already been lurking in my heart. Question 1: what are we to do with regards to growing parts of the kingdom of darkness (i.e. Islam); Question 2: Why is the church not as effective as it has been at times historically, where are the preachers like Whitefield, Spurgeon, Owen, Edwards (to name a few), and of course the apostles, who really rocked the world for the cause of Christ?

Allow me to answer each in turn.

1)     Well, to the above clip, some might suggest that Christians need to have more children, now while I agree with the mandate to ‘go forth and multiply’ (I will not discuss that here, perhaps when I do multiplying of my own one day I’ll feel more inclined to defend this position), I don’t think this is the answer to the problem, firstly because there is no assurance that your children will be Christian (sorry federal headship friends), and secondly because we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).

My intention hear is not to discuss missions and evangelism (while I believe this is a major, if not the primary answer to the problem), this should be obvious to any Christian reading the New Testament  and any Christian who attends a Church where the biblical mandate to evangelize locally and globally is faithfully taught. I do feel however that as ‘modern’ Christians, we have shunned certain of the Psalms which are there to teach us to pray, more specifically the imprecatory (vengeance) psalmse obvious to any Christian reading the New Testament  . I was recently alerted to this when I read an article by James Adams on this topic.

Listen to this excerpt from that article:

‘The petition, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” often, overlooked as merely  introductory, is really pivotal. Here Christ teaches us to pray for the victory of His kingdom. Can we truly utter this prayer without perceiving that our request involves the complete overthrow of Satan’s kingdom and all his followers? Martin Luther, that great disciple of Christ in prayer, pointed out that when one prays, “Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” then he must put all the opposition to this in one pile and say: “Curses, maledictions and disgrace upon every other name and every other kingdom. May they be ruined and torn apart and may all their schemes and wisdom and plans run aground.”’

Notice Psalm 83 (Adams does this way better than I will here).  The psalm starts with a desperate cry for help (v1) then in v2-8 the enemy is identified. Then in the third part of the Psalm we see prayers of vengeance against the enemies of the Lord (v9-15). Finally, in v16-18 we are given the sacred purpose of all the prayers of justice: “Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O Lord. May they ever be ashamed and dismayed; may they perish in disgrace”.

I think part of the problem is that we have become so accustomed to having our prayers revolve around ourselves, selfishness is not the wayour feelings, our agenda, our trials (which have a rightful place); so that any prayer with God’s glory as the final end and major theme seems odd. But is this not what our prayers should revolve around, should we not pray, thy Kingdom come? Should we not pray ‘God save the Muslim world, and if its not your plan to save, then halt spread of error?’ Should we not pray this about Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses? I am not advocating some hyper-charismatic stronghold binding, neither is Adams.  What I am calling for is a return to the full teaching of prayer we have in Scripture. Men, pray against the pornography industries, women pray against those magazines which perpetuate a false self-image…. Get my drift?

Well, these are just my thoughts, again let me encourage you to read the article.  Stay tuned for my answer to the second question.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,569 other followers