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 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, our 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.