ACNA'09: No Such thing as 'Moderate Islam', says Islam Expert
By Julian Dobbs
BEDFORD, TX: Many missiologists attest that Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America. The attraction of Islam to broad sections of our population is a stunning and challenging development. How are we to engage with this reality and reach North America with the transforming love of Christ?
The agenda of Islam in North America is clear and articulate. The so called ' moderate Islam' within America is no more moderate than the militant Islam of Saudi Arabia or Indonesia. Omar Ahmed, the founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), publicly stated that "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
Muslim leaders within ISNA - the Islamic Society of Nth America - the organization that a prominent American evangelical will address in Washington DC next month have a clear and publicly articulated agenda to implement Islamic Law. Don't be misled or misguided, the peace Islam offers is not the peace of sitting around the camp fire singing 'kumbaya'. Islam's peace is the implementation of Sharia Law and the global submission to Islamic ideology.
Across the United States and throughout Europe a resurgent Islam has successfully strategized to infiltrate the Church and win the loyalty and trust of large numbers of church-goers.
Attracted by the apparent order and simplicity of the Islamic faith and its ability to successfully manipulate governments and public policy, increasing numbers of former Christians are now to be found in American mosques on Friday declaring Islamic prayers from the same lips that once uttered the words of Christian hymns ancient and modern.
A Pew Foundation report discovered that 23% of Muslim Americans are converts to Islam. A staggering 67% of American converts claim they came to Islam from Protestant churches. Across Europe, Islam is the fastest growing religion and has influenced political and Church leaders whose support for the introduction of Islamic ideology into mainstream public life is now openly and unashamedly promoted.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 spawned a huge interest in Islam. In the almost eight years since then, Islam has become a frequent topic of debate and analysis in Western media, society and the Church. Yet this religion of Islam which is so rapidly growing in our nation has an agenda to influence every part of our society. Under Islamic sharia law, women are oppressed, sometimes beaten and abused. Converts to Christianity and other faith are severely persecuted. The right to religious freedom, including the right of individuals to change their religion, is (I imagine) taken for granted by most people in this assembly. However, in Islam, all schools of Islamic law agree that adult male apostates from Islam should suffer the death penalty.
One organization which is championing the plight of suffering Christians, an organization known to our Archbishop and many of our bishops is the Virginia based Barnabas Fund which is represented here in our inaugural assembly. On your tables you will find copies of their latest petition calling for the abolition of the Islamic apostasy law. Our inaugural assembly can help this process by speaking up for freedom of religion and belief and by encouraging others to do the same. The Archbishop has signed and I urge you to sign Barnabas Fund's petition to bring about change for those who choose to leave their Islamic faith, so that they are no longer subject to any penalty but are free to follow their new convictions without fear.
A lonely and yet courageous voice calling the Church to 'wake up' to a resurgent Islam is Archbishop Peter Akinola. Akinola says, "The Christian Church must wake up to its prophetic role and remind all that it has a message that will change the world."
Polite multi-faith conversations must never become a substitute for the proclamation of the historic Christian message which we in the American Church must assertively declare and defend.
For the Lord is at work
When Nafise from Turkey was 9 years old her father sold her to someone he was indebted to in order to pay off gambling debts. She worked as a domestic house servant, not seeing her family for over 10 years. Eventually she came to the US and joined Truro Church's International Programs and Services Ministry. She attended the Sunday night int'l service, over time, as Nafise's questions were answered she came to faith. When she was baptized she said: "I was once sold as a servant girl; now I am a daughter of the King." She now lives in Canada and is still so grateful to have a King for a heavenly Father.
Ibrahim Zandapour, an Iranian who used to work at the 7-11 around the corner from Truro used to get off night shift at 7 AM and hear the chapel bells as he walked to his apt. One morning after work, he slipped after getting out of the shower and hit his head. All of a sudden, a man in a bright robe was there to help him up and then disappeared. He went to speak to his Imam and the Imam told him he needed to go to Truro Church and ask for an Irania NT - he had had a visit from Jesus so he should find out about Him. So the next Sunday as he was walking home from 7-11 he walked into the back of the church and sat down. One of the associate rectors, vested in his white alb, greeted him with these words: "Would you like to have a copy of the New Testament?" He read it and came to faith and was a regular attender at Truro for many years.
The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes and that includes Muslims. In many ways are just like us. They are searching for God and looking for the answers to their questions and release from their fears and forgiveness from their sins. When Jesus said, "God so loved the world..." God's love was not meant to exclude a fifth of the world's population who are Muslim.
And we can give thanks that at this juncture in the history of the world, more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ than at any other time in history of the Christian Church.
Archbishop: regarding Islam, the resources of CANA's Canon Missioner are at your disposal and the disposal of the Anglican Church in North America. The challenge of a resurgent Islam in North America is too serious for us to ignore, we must engage, educate and faithfully proclaim the gospel to all the world, including the world of Islam.
---The Rev. Canon Julian M. Dobbs is Canon Missioner of CANA www.CanaConvocation.org
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