Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Challenge of Islam: A Christian Perspective

Two days ago, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an opinion piece entitled The Challenge of Islam - A Christian Perspective.

I greatly respect Dr. Mohler and he always seems ready to confront the current issues of the day, regardless of whether they touch on politics or theology.

In this case, he introduces his thoughts with this statement:
President Barack Obama has put the issue of Islam front and center on the international stage. His visit to Turkey, and his very public statements to the Muslim world, have raised a host of questions at home and abroad.

Dr. Mohler goes on to explain in detail what these "host of questions" might be and I invite you to read his article and benefit from all his insights. If you'd like a quick summary, I think his concerns are best expressed in the following paragraphs:
I criticize President Obama, not for stating that America is not at war with Islam, but for failing to be honest in clarifying that we do face a great civilizational challenge in Islam. Islam is, in effect, the single most vital competitor to Western ideals of civilization on the world scene. The logic of Islam is to bring every square inch of this planet under submission to the rule of the Qur'an. Classical Islam divides the world into the "World of Islam" and the "World of War." In this latter world the struggle to bring the society under submission to the Qur'an is still ongoing.

And then finally his conclusion:
I can agree with President Obama that Islam has produced cultural wonders, but I have to see it more fundamentally as a belief system that is taking millions upon millions of persons spiritually captive - leaving them under the curse of sin and without hope of salvation.

For Christians, regardless of nationality, this is the great challenge that should be our urgent concern. Our concern is not mainly political, but theological and spiritual. And, all things considered, Islam almost surely represents the greatest challenge to Christian evangelism of our times.

Dr. Mohler's comments can certainly be termed counter cultural but they urgently need to be stated in our day. Jimmy Akin wrote a piece entitled The Catechism on Islam in This Rock in 2002 trying to clarify Catholic teaching on Islam, particularly in light of Vatican II documents. It's a good summary considering his focus on Vatican II.

A more classical expose on Islam can be found in an article written by Michael Forrest on scripturecatholic.com. In ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY: TWO RELIGIONS OF PEACE? the author issues a series of warnings about Islam, including the following:
Considering the violent beginnings and spread of Islam, one may hard pressed to discount the current violence as an "aberration" or perversion of Islam. A reasonable argument may be made of just the opposite, it would seem that those Muslims who support religious freedom and tolerance today are at odds with their own prophet, holy book and history. We all ought to pray that Muslims one day reject the violent essence and genesis of their faith and make it truly peaceful. Even more, we ought to pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, that they come to accept Christ, Who is true peace.

Forrest also tries to set the record straight on Islam's view of women and contrasts it with that of Christianity.
It is particularly disconcerting when the so-called “politically correct” among us, especially the feminists, praise Islam. If they find Christian society unfair to them, they ought to look a bit more closely at Islam:

Islam: "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient...As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart and beat them." (Women, 34)

Christianity: "As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her; so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies." (Ephesians 5:25-29).

As opposed to Islam, we must also remember that Catholicism celebrates a woman as the highest created creature, the Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I suggest reading Islam Revealed by Dr. Anis Shorrosh, The Life and Times of Muhammad by Sir John Glubb and Answering Islam by Geisler and Saleeb if you want to learn more.

This is obviously a very relevant point in relation to some of today's news headlines:

Women protesters against 'marital rape' law spat on and stoned in ...

Times Online "Women protesting in Kabul against a controversial new law were pelted with stones, jostled and spat on today as they held what is believed to be the first public demonstration calling for equal rights for women in recent Afghan history."

Afghan 'anti-rape' women attacked BBC News

Stone-throwing Afghan crowd swarms women's protest The Associated Press


In an editorial I wrote last year for our local newspaper, I stated:
We as a nation once declared and confessed Christianity to be religion's supreme path, a sure road to heaven through Christ, "…the way, the truth and the life." This same Christ warned, "No man comes to the Father except through me."

We once believed that foreign lands (including those of Islam) could sustain a peaceful, civilized culture and free and democratic process only by embracing a Saviour and Christian truth delivered through zealous missionary activity. Now, spiritually exhausted and corrupted, we and our Christian allies rarely mention missionaries yet expect the same outcome from military troops fighting a "war against terror" on Islamic soil. Far better to die for Christ and the Gospel in Kandahar or Baghdad than to die in a war designed to change no one's heart.

As Dr. Mohler said,
all things considered, Islam almost surely represents the greatest challenge to Christian evangelism of our times.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

C-FAM Needs Our Help

Just received the appeal below from Austin Ruse at C-Fam. I'm going to send them something, whatever I can afford. Please read the email and see what you can do to help.
________________________________

From: Austin Ruse
Date: Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 3:41 AM
Subject: Friday Fax needs your help; Obama Unleashes Abortion Attack at UN


BARACK OBAMA IS THE MOST PRO-ABORTION PRESIDENT IN US HISTORY…

…ALREADY HE IS HAVING A MAJOR IMPACT AT THE UN…

…PLEASE HELP THE FRIDAY FAX TO FIGHT BACK…


April 14, 2009

Dear Friday Fax Reader:

Barack Hussein Obama is the most pro-abortion president in US history. In only a few months he has:

  • Restored US funding for the UN Population Fund, the UN’s population control agency that helped set up and run the Chinese forced abortion program.
  • Overturned the US ban on funding International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Center for Reproductive Rights, aggressive pro-abortion and anti-family groups that are deeply involved in forcing abortion on unwilling people all over the world, especially in Latin America.
  • Obama’s negotiators at the UN have already made aggressive pro-abortion and anti-family statements at the UN including signing a French declaration that seeks to make homosexuals a specially protected class at the expense of religious freedom.

Obama’s administration is gearing up to make a frightening new global attack on the unborn child.

The Friday Fax staff was there just two weeks ago when the Obama administration made its UN debut by supporting language that has been used by UN agencies, UN committees, radical lawyer and judges to impose abortion on reluctant countries.

Friday Fax staff watched in horror as the previous pro-life positions of the US were overturned in an instant by radical feminists representing the new Obama administration.

The US will now join the UN bureaucracy, Canada and the European Union as the most aggressive promoters of abortion all over the world.

This new pro-abortion coalition will actively seek to impose abortion on all the countries of Latin America, Africa, the Far East and even on the few remaining pro-life countries in Europe.

What stands in their way?

A tiny few countries willing to risk everything to defend the unborn child.

Along with them stands a handful of groups and individuals from around the world who go to huge expense to attend UN meetings.

STANDING AT THE CENTER OF PRO-LIFE RESISTANCE AT THE UN IS THE FRIDAY FAX AND C-FAM!

The Friday Fax is the only weekly source of pro-life and pro-family news coming out of UN headquarters in New York City.

The Friday Fax now has a global subscriber list of 200,000 and a global readership of half a million.

The Friday Fax has created a global village of pro-life and pro-family activists who can be called upon at any time to put pressure on the UN or on governments who want to impose abortion on unwilling people.

FRIDAY FAX SUCCESSES

  • Just last fall, the Friday Fax gathered the names of 500,000 individuals from around the world to endorse our UN Petition for the Unborn Child and the Family. These 500,000 names were presented to select governments and to a UN press conference that was broadcast all over the UN building.
  • When the Holy See was under attack by radical pro-abortion groups the Friday Fax gather the endorsement of more than 4,000 groups from all over the world who were willing to stand with the Holy See. These included the largest Protestant and Muslim groups in the world.
  • The Friday Fax regularly breaks news stories at the UN and our work is picked up by friendly and even unfriendly media from all over the world.

I could go on and on and in the coming weeks of this fundraising campaign I will tell you stories about our readers:

…about the UN staff member in Afghanistan who reads the Friday Fax in his hut and sends us donations…

…about the UN staff member who reaches out to us because she feels under attack in the building for her beliefs…

…about the fact that the Friday Fax is read all over the UN system by our enemies who want to know what we are saying…

In the mean time I need your help. The Friday Fax is not free! Sure, you get it for free but it is very expensive to produce, especially now that we have gone to two stories per week.

The Friday Fax now costs $177,000 per year to produce. This includes salaries, rent, expenses, printing of the hardcopy edition, and exploding email expenses.

I need to raise $70,000 over the next six weeks to help partially defray some of these expenses.

Can you help? Can you help us fight back against UN radicals and their efforts to impose abortion on unwilling peoples all over the world?

I know these are tough economic times but it is precisely in times like these that our enemies make the most progress. While most folks are focusing on the economy, they use our inattention to advance abortion.

More than anything I seek your prayers. This is a battle of powers and principalities. But I also need your financial support.

Can you afford to make a sacrificial gift of $1000 to help the Friday Fax? How about $500? I understand these are big numbers so perhaps you can help out with $100 or even $50!

There are many ways to give to the Friday Fax. You can mail us check, donate by credit card using our totally secure server connected right to a bank or by wire transfer.

YOU MAY GIVE FROM ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!

Click HERE to donate or to get instructions on how to donate!

Do not hesitate. The enemy grows stronger every day. They are not waiting. They intend to do everything they can to impose abortion on the world and with Barack Obama in the White House, they have a very powerful new ally.

Please act now. Click HERE and give as much as you can.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse
President


PS In next week’s appeal I will tell you how the UN Population Fund intends to block pro-lifers from attending an important and dangerous new UN conference.

PSS Please help us fight back. Go HERE and give as much as you can.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Porpoise Driven Life and Pastor Rick Warren

According to an editorial by John Henry Westen in LifeSiteNews, Pastor Warren, Like Peter, Denies Christ (at least His teachings) During Holy Week.

I therefore dedicate this video moment to Pastor Warren.

Breakfast With Cherie


Image: Cherie Blair enjoyed an impromptu audience with Benedict XVI in 2006 [image source]




The Times of Malta last week published a television interview with Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which she once again flouted Church teaching on condoms and contraception.

Here’s a clip of the highlight of the interview. Go here for the full video.

video

Ms. Blair’s is a high profile history of dissent and collaboration with the culture of death. Yet many in the Catholic hierarchy, as far away as Rome, are quite comfy with her presence and offer her platforms with which to bewitch and poison the minds of listeners. Nevertheless, Cherie Blair is not the enemy.

What then can account for such scandal? In a word, modernism.

It’s the elephant in the closet. And it’s an elephant which, despite its enormous size, goes virtually unnoticed or ignored. A host of other secondary evils are blamed for the current sickness in the Body.

What is the solution for this pervasive evil which a hundred times daily pierces the heart of the serious minded, faithful Catholic? In my opinion, the only solution is a return to orthodoxy and tradition by means of a New Offensive.

Pope Benedict XVI is leading us in the New Offensive, I believe. And the spearhead of the New Offensive is the restoration of the ancient liturgy, the “Mass of the Ages,” to its rightful place in the life and practice of Mother Church.

Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

Cherie, do you know Latin?

____________________

UPDATE: Damian Thompson of Holy Smoke blog reports that Tony Blair, husband of Cherie Blair, has also been busy despoiling Catholic teaching:

Tony Blair has given an interview to the gay magazine Attitude in which he calls for Pope Benedict to rethink the Church's "entrenched" attitude on homosexuality. Well, the Pope would rather like Mr Blair to rethink his entrenched support for abortion, but he hasn't done so, has he?

More here in The Independent and on Christian Post.

Tony and Cherie Blair are two Catholics who are representative in their thinking of multiple millions of today's Catholics.

Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump ? I Cor. 5:6

[cross posted to St. John's Latin Mass Community blog]

Newt Gingrich on the Shame of Notre Dame



No doubt some readers will know that Newt Gingrich recently converted to the Catholic faith, the faith of his wife Callista. He does a very nice job in this interview on Fox News with Greta. It's certainly refreshing to hear such talk from a Catholic politician...who are otherwise notoriously famous for spewing poison and rebellion.

Incidentally, for another video of Newt and wife Callista, being interviewed once again (February past) by Greta Van Susteren, go here.

Father Z reported that in an interview this past Sunday with Chris Wallace, Newt discussed briefly the question of his standing on Holy Communion, in light of his former marriages.

Also, Wallace asked Gingrich if, since he had been married and divorced, he can receive Holy Communion. Gingrich responded that over the last 10 years they had done everything according to Church law that was necessary to be done and that, yes, he could receive Communion.

A warm welcome, Mr. Gingrich, to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Youth Survey: Teens Lose Faith in Droves



In an article entitled Youth Survey: Teens lose faith in droves, Macleans magazine reports on a survey by Reginald Bibby, University of Lethbridge sociologist.

According to new data from Project Teen Canada, more teens now identify as Muslim than Anglican, United Church of Canada and Baptist combined. As a group, the percentage who adhere to so-called “other faiths”—including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism—has grown fivefold since Project Teen began its surveys in 1984, while the percentage of teens who identify as Roman Catholic has declined by one third, and the percentage who identify as Protestant is down by almost two-thirds.

There is some very sobering data in this report, most of which points to the fact that many teens—from nominally Christian homes—are “rejecting religion entirely.”

For Canada’s Christian teens, meanwhile, the community is shrinking like never before. Since 1984, the percentage of teens who call themselves Christian has almost been cut in half while the number who call themselves atheist has grown to 16 per cent, up from just six per cent in the mid-1980s. Just as the boomers shifted toward agnosticism, teens are now going a step further and rejecting religion entirely. “Belief is learned, pretty much like the multiplication table,” Bibby writes. “So is non-belief.”

Bibby is concerned that since religion is a “source of stability” and “moral compass of sorts” this trend could begin to adversely affect our society’s ethics and behaviour.

I’ll come out and say this very clearly: In my opinion, all that’s keeping our civilization safe and manageable—as opposed to disintegrating into chaos and barbarism—is the Christian religion. But we’re fast approaching the tipping point and since the heartbeat of the Christian religion is the Catholic faith, unless there is a sweeping move of repentance and revival within the Catholic Church we’ll likely all be plunged into a worldwide cataclysm of the magnitude warned of by Our Lady of Fatima. How right it appears she was!

Again, in my opinion, the spearhead of any such revival is the Mass of the Ages, accompanied by a strict and faithful adherence to the Tradition of Mother Church and to the message of the Virgin of Fatima.

[cross posted to St. John's Latin Mass Community blog]


Christ Is Risen! Alleluia



BELLINI, Giovanni: Resurrection of Christ 1475-79
[image source]