Ted Haggard Part 3
To Advance Policies For Evangelicals On Islam
by Sandy Simpson, 5/10/03
We warned the Church about the effect that the International Coalition of Apostles will have on Christendom recently in two articles:
Open Letter to the National Association of Evangelicals - Re: The Election of Ted Haggard as President of the NAE by Sandy Simpson & Mike Oppenheimer, ACT & Let Us Reason Ministries, 3/27/03
An Answer To Ted Haggard - Response To Ted Haggard's Email Rebuttal To Our Open Letter To The NAE by Sandy Simpson & Mike Oppenheimer, ACT & Let Us Reason Ministries, 4/23/03
We believe that the seriousness of doctrinal issues being introduced by the International Coalition Of Apostles (ICA) through Ted Haggard to the NAE and his assertions with regard to his involvement in the ICA present a threat to the integrity of the truths of the written Word of God and to the Gospel message.
Our second article was only out a few days before our claims had been proven accurate. Ted Haggard immediately went into "interfaith" mode, using his new position as the president of the NAE to promote the Dominionist agenda of the ICA and the New Apostolic Reformation with regard to evangelism. First, let's go back. Let me remind you what we said about Haggard in both documents:
Ted Haggard claims that to evangelize the Muslims "the primary goal is not to win new Christian converts but to "serve the Islamic people."
The Rev. Ted Haggard, pastor of the 8,700-member New Life Church along with Fred Markert, executive director of Youth With a Mission, are going to reach the Muslims without the gospel, but by showing their good works. Haggard said "the primary goal is not to win new Christian converts but to "serve the Islamic people. We believe it is the role of Christians to befriend people in the Islamic community to ensure their peace and safety." Haggard said he wants people to "become aware of the Islamic community and locate their needs. That includes leaving them alone if that's what they want. Markert said the goal is to give people a choice of religions, not force Christianity on them. He said missionaries would provide blankets, food and other short-term relief as well as help with long-term projects such as installing clean water systems." (Quotes from The Gazette -Pastors issue call for missionaries to Islam 9/29/01, http://ww2.moriel.org:8004/notice/where_were_you.htm)
This brings into question whether Ted Haggard really understands biblical evangelism. Can an organization that has upheld true evangelical methods embrace these new unbiblical ideas? This letter illustrates our great concern over these new concepts influencing the Church. Our primary goal should always be to preach the gospel and disciple all nations. Certainly we must be available to help people in many ways. But our goal as evangelicals is to win people to Christ that they might be saved from hell. Salvation must always take precedence over every other goal. Is not a person's eternal destiny the highest priority?
Ted Haggard email: I believe that it is fundamental to the presentation of the Gospel that we serve all people, whether they are Christian or not. Thus, if they are converted, that is wonderful and certainly our aim. However, even if they are not converted, we still hold their best interests at heart. The article referred to here was written when the Islamic community in Colorado Springs was scared because of hateful comments from Christians after 9/11, and I was assuring them that we would protect their kids in school and their ability to shop, go to restaurants, etc., even if they didn't become Christians. I wanted them to know that because they live in a community with a large number of evangelical Christians, they can feel safe.
It is a worthy goal to be concerned about the safety of the citizenry, though that is primarily the job of government officials. But how can you "hold their best interests at heart" if you don't witness to them? Our job as believers is to preach the gospel, so that some might possibly be saved some from hell. It may not be well received, but when was it ever well received by any religion?
We need to be very careful about what we say as Christians. Evangelicals have evangelism as their primary goal. Social action is second on the list--very important, but still second. Fred Markert, in agreeing with Haggard, revealed the agenda of YWAM and other NAR organizations, which have become increasingly social and interfaith instead of evangelical. The reason we brought this up was to show that Ted Haggard has demonstrated clearly that he does not really understand classic evangelicalism.
This point stands.
Now this position is being brought forward as the position of the NAE by Ted Haggard. Notice that Haggard is no longer simply billed as the pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, but as the president of the NAE. This shows that the ICA is serious about using the positions they gain for political power over Christian detractors, in the churches and in the world. Here is what Charisma News Service had to say about the current "interfaith dialog" being sought by Haggard in league with the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD):
Pledging to heal rifts with Muslims that threaten missionary work overseas, a leading evangelical group has condemned remarks disparaging Islam by some high-profile Christian leaders.
In a meeting convened Wednesday with the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), a Washington, D.C.-based conservative Christian group that often critiques mainline Protestantism, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) said that the derisive comments endangered Christians working in the Muslim world, strained already tense interfaith relations and fed the perception in the Middle East and beyond that the war on terrorism is a Christian crusade against Islam, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
"We must temper our speech," Ted Haggard, pastor of 9,000-strong New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and president of the NAE, which represents more than 43,000 congregations, told 40 leaders. "There has to be a way to do good works without raising alarms."
One NAE leader told "The New York Times" that Wednesday's comments were a "loving rebuke" to colleagues. Last year, evangelist Franklin Graham, Jerry Vines, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson all criticized Islam or Muhammad.
Haggard suggested holding a meeting with Falwell, Robertson and the others. "We've got to have an attitude of how can we serve, how can we help," said Clive Calver, president of World Relief, NAE's relief and development agency, the AP reported. "Saying Islam is evil isn't going to help any of us."
At the meeting, IRD issued "Guidelines for Christian-Muslim Dialogue" for churches and ministries that seek to interact with Muslims. (Evangelical Group's 'Rebuke' for Anti-Muslim Remarks News Brief, Charisma News Service, May 09, 2003 edition)
Let's recall what Franklin Graham said about Islam, even in his softened comments on Islam in Charisma. Ted Haggard says Graham and others must "temper (their) speech)" on the subject of Islam.
Evangelist Franklin Graham has softened his criticism of Islam after coming under fire for calling the religion evil. In a column in "The Wall Street Journal" this week, Graham said he did not believe that Muslims were evil people because of their faith, "but I decry the evil done in the name of Islam," reported the Associated Press (AP).
The president of Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse and head of his father's Billy Graham Evangelistic Association sparked a storm of protest last month when he called Islam "wicked and violent." His comments were disavowed by the White House, which has repeatedly stressed that Islam is a peaceful religion.
Writing in the "Journal" to give a "more complete picture" of his views, which had been "greatly misunderstood," Graham said that evil had been done in the name of other religions, including Christianity. But, he added, "the persecution or elimination of non-Muslims has been a cornerstone of Islamic conquests and rule for centuries."
The Quran provided "ample evidence that Islam encourages violence in order to win converts and to reach the ultimate goal of an Islamic world," he added. Ibraham Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Graham's column was "obviously an attempt to deflect criticism," reported the AP. (Evangelist Softens Criticism Of Islam, News Brief, Charisma News Service, December 05, 2001 edition)
So who is right here? People like Franklin Graham who denounce Islam as a religion that promotes violence, or the White House, Ted Haggard and other liberals who claim Islam is peaceful and we must not make comments like these?
Interestingly, in the same issue of Charisma News Service that featured the edict of Ted Haggard, there was this story:
SAN'A, Yemen (May 10, 2003 3:26 p.m. EDT) - A Yemeni court sentenced a suspected al-Qaida militant to death Saturday for killing three U.S. missionaries, according to his lawyer. Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, 30, was sentenced in the Dec. 30 shooting deaths of Kathleen A. Gariety of Wauwatosa, Wis., Martha C. Myers of Montgomery, Ala., and William E. Koehn of Kan., according to Kamel's lawyer, Mahrous Oqba. Donald W. Caswell, of Levelland, Texas, was wounded in the attack. The verdict was handed down in Jibla, 125 miles south of the Yemeni capital of San'a, where the killings took place at the Southern Baptist-run hospital. Kamel pleaded not guilty to the killings and his lawyer told The Associated Press that he will appeal the verdict, saying it violated Islamic law. Court officials were not immediately available for comment. Kamel, who was arrested the day of the shooting, told an April 20 court hearing that he coordinated the attack with Ali al-Jarallah, another suspected Muslim extremist accused of gunning down a Yemeni politician two days before the Jibla hospital attack. Kamel has said he had planned his attack for 18 months, and often consulted with al-Jarallah. He even scouted his target, visiting the remote hospital often. Yemeni security officials say they believe both Kamel and al-Jarallah belonged to a terrorist cell linked to al-Qaida. Kamel told the court he killed the missionaries "out of a religious duty ... and in revenge from those who converted Muslims from their religion and made them unbelievers." Kamel said he had learned that women were visiting the hospital to get sterilized. "This is a violation of Islam," he said at the hearing. Jibla residents have said the Americans never discussed religion. Yemeni law prohibits non-Muslims from proselytizing in this overwhelmingly Muslim country. Abdel Karim Hassan, the hospital's director, welcomed the death sentence, but said it didn't go far enough. "He deserves even worse," Hassan told The AP. On the day of the shooting, Kamel said he walked into the hospital with a semiautomatic rifle hidden under his clothes and opened fire on a staff meeting involving the Americans, firing two shots at each target. Security officials said audiotapes with the voice of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden were found at Kamel's house. Police also said they believed a cell Kamel belonged to was plotting attacks against at least eight targets, including foreigners and Yemeni politicians. The Saudi-born bin Laden has family ties to Yemen and is believed to have strong support here. In October 2000, an explosive-laden boat rammed into the USS Cole destroyer in the southern Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors. The attack was blamed on al-Qaida, and ten key suspects escaped a prison April 11 and remain at large. After the attack, funding problems forced the Virginia-based International Missions Board to transfer control of the Jibla hospital to a local charity. The hospital's chief is now a Yemeni Health Ministry official, and many foreign doctors, including Americans, still work there. (by AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press, Charisma News Service, May 09, 2003 edition)
Are Muslims to use violence and kill infidels for a number of reasons? Let's look at the facts from the Quran and other Islamic scriptures:
Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward, (Quran [004.095])
Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him. (Hadith [9:57])
O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him,- lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleaseth. And Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things. (Quran [005.054])
Whoever seeks other than Islam as his religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he will be with the losers ... Slay the idolators [non-Muslims] wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the last Day … Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! (Sura [9:5,29,41])
Or think ye that ye shall be abandoned, as though Allah did not know those among you who strive with might and main, and take none for friends and protectors except Allah, His Messenger, and the (community of) Believers? But Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. (Quran [009.016])
I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. (Al Bukhari [4:196])
O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! (Quran [060.001])
(Regarding Unbelievers) Seize them and slay them wherever you find them: and in any case take no friends or helpers from their ranks. (Sura [4:89])
When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers May attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies. (Quran [004.101])
O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you. (Sura [9.123])
Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them). Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. (Quran [008.059-060])
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits, for Allah does not love transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out: For tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; But fight them not at the sacred Mosque unless they first fight you there; But if they fight you, Slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. (Sura (2:190-292])
Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not. (Sura [2:216])
Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled. (Sura (9:29-33])
For many more quotes on the Islamic call to conquer and kill anyone who does not believe in Allah, go to this article:
It is abundantly clear that Franklin Graham and others who hold his views are correct and truthful. Those who claim Islam is a "peaceful religion" are ill-informed or deliberately disingenuous politicians, not evangelicals. Evangelicals don't hide the truth to make peace or converts. Evangelicals speak the truth in love in order to win some as converts to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our source of Truth is from the Bible, a document written since the creation of the universe. The Islam source of "truth" is from a document written from the words of a false prophet 400 years after Jesus Christ died and rose again. Christians have a very divergent worldview from Muslims. Why should we be ashamed of that worldview? The Bible says if we are ashamed, Jesus will be ashamed of us.
Now let's look at the elaborate plans Ted Haggard and others have to change the way we talk about Christianity with Muslims
Evangelical leaders met Wednesday morning to consult on Christian approaches to interfaith dialogue with Muslims. The consultation, cosponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), was designed to examine Christian public rhetoric about Islam, to suggest constructive ways to speak about Islam and about their own Christian faith, and to encourage responsible interactions between Evangelicals and Muslims, especially in local communities across the country.
Presentations were made by Ted Haggard, President of NAE; Diane Knippers, President of the IRD; Michael Cromartie, Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House; Alan Wisdom, Vice President of the IRD; and Clive Calver, President of World Relief.
Clive Calver of World Relief had similarly tough criticisms for some evangelical responses to Islam. He noted an evangelical tendency toward using “trite phraseology” that often insults Islam, and which does not further the cause of evangelism.
He was critical of Franklin Graham’s now infamous comment about Islam being a “wicked and evil religion.” Such comments were “inappropriate” and inaccurate.
“We [evangelicals] are not supposed to be bitter people,” Calver explained. But he noted that many responses to Islam by evangelicals had indeed been so. “This is very simple. We disagree with Islam. We are allowed to. But how we disagree is important.” Evangelicals need to learn to “disagree without being disagreeable.”
“Globalization will force us to engage,” said Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of
Evangelicals. “We must temper our speech.”
Haggard expressed belief that the globalizing effect of technology will make attempts by totalitarian states to limit or control outside influences on their citizens impossible. “We have a responsibility to help people be better off,” Haggard explained, and such help will inevitably create opportunities for evangelism. When people ask why we are there to help, he said, “freedom should exist to answer.”
His comments responded to controversies over evangelical relief and development organizations preparing to enter war-torn Iraq. Some have expressed concerns that “proselytizing” Christians will just inflame religious tensions. Despite this, the evangelicals in the room were committed to dialogue and witness to Muslims, and several commented that they would “not be ashamed of the Gospel.” (Evangelical Leaders Meet to Discuss Christian-Muslim Relations, Erik Nelson, Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), May 8, 2003)
Oh no! You mean evangelicals might actually preach the Gospel in Iraq? What does Ted Haggard think that Christian Iraqis have been trying to do for years, and being persecuted for it? Now he wants evangelicals to go in there and, instead of supporting the Christians, support the agendas and religion of Islam. This is typical for Third Wavers posing as evangelicals. They never get it. They don't understand that once you establish the fact that you are not going to address the differences between Islam and Christianity, you will have laid a groundwork you cannot overcome later. There is no time that is an opportune and easy time to talk about Jesus Christ in an Islamic setting, unless you are calling Jesus a good man or a prophet. To witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, in fact is God Himself, and that He is the only way to heaven will get you killed in a hurry in Islamic countries. That same fact got the Christians of the first century church killed in Rome and all across the Roman Empire. Why are we now exempt from having to make that difficult stand? In Ted Haggard's world, "globalization" is forcing us to stop telling the truth about Islam and Christianity!
Want more details? Here is the new NAE "evangelical" agenda from people like Ted Haggard and the IRD:
Within the Church, Christian-Muslim relations have been largely the concern of a small group of specialists. All that changed on September 11, 2001. Who are Muslims? What do they believe? What are the differences among Muslims? Can Christians and Muslims live together peacefully in the same society? These and other questions have fueled an outpouring of interest in education and encounters between Christians and Muslims.
A particular danger is over-simplification about Islam and Muslims –-either positive or negative-–that thwarts true dialogue, true education, and genuine Christian mission.
Who has over-simplified anything? Franklin Graham and others were simply quoting the Quran. Is the Quran an over-simplification of Islam?
The Institute on Religion and Democracy offers the following guidelines to individuals, churches, and Christian organizations, particularly in the West, that aspire to interact with Muslims. Suggestions, feedback, and reports regarding efforts at dialogue are welcome.
In Christian-Muslim dialogue, it is appropriate and necessary to:
1. Seek to understand Islam and Muslim peoples. Most U.S. churchgoers know little about Islam. If our churches are to show Christ’s love effectively to our Muslim neighbors (near and far), we must clear away misconceptions and gain accurate insights into Muslim beliefs and practices.
Who has misconceptions? Certainly not those who quote what the Quran says about Jihad and other violence against anyone not an Islamic convert. So is the Quran accurate or not? If so, why is it such a terrible thing to quote what the Quran says? Are we afraid of Islamic people quoting from the Bible? Can we or can't we defend what the Bible says? If so, then why can't Muslims defend their Quran? If the Quran is not accurate, what is the authoritative source of Islamic belief? If it is not written, is it not subjective and therefore useless for dialog?
2. Open ourselves to talk with all varieties and stations of Muslims. Of course, we recognize that some Muslims will decline the invitation to dialogue. But we must let them make that choice, rather than screening our potential interlocutors for their presumed compatibility with our own perspectives.
I believe this is a strawman argument. Who has been "screening" Islamic people to talk about Islam? Are they talking about the media? This could be true. But one big problem you run into in talking to any true Muslim is that they are allowed by their "scriptures" to lie in order to make peace. They can lie while engaged in Jihad against "infidels". On that basis, how can we trust anything said by any Muslim?
"I do no consider it lying: A man who makes peace between other men, a man who speaks in battle, a man speaking to his wife, or a wife speaking to her husband " (Hadeeth of the Prophet of Allah)
If we are to make peace with the Muslims, as Haggard and his associates suggest, how can we be sure that we are getting the truth from them on their beliefs? I can tell you how. By reading their "scriptures". This is clearly what Graham and others have been doing and what Haggard and his friends are choosing to ignore. If adherents of a religion are allowed to lie to make peace with their enemies in order to fool them, then how can there ever be a true dialog of any kind? Somebody has to stop lying at some point! Wouldn't it be better to preach the Gospel to Muslims, pointing out that liars are in danger of hell fire?
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Any true believer in Jesus Christ today recognized he is a sinner, a liar, and in danger of hell. Are we or are we not concerned for the souls of Islamic people who are just as dead in their sins as we were? When will this issue of lying be brought up? After we make friendships based on lies?
3. Give testimony to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is our duty to do so. Ultimately, Christ himself is the greatest blessing that we could offer to our Muslim interlocutors. The 2002 Oxford Consultation on the Future of Anglicanism noted helpfully: “Saint Paul uses dialogue and Saint Luke uses dialogomai to describe evangelism. It may involve arguing, explaining, proving, proclaiming and persuading (Acts 17:1-4, 17)” (see www.wycliffe.ox.ac.uk for the consultation reports). It is our hope that numbers of Muslims would be persuaded by the testimony of Christians whom they encounter.
How can we persuade Muslims of the virtues of Christianity unless we start and end by telling the truth?
4. Make sure that the Christians entering into dialogue with Muslims have a firm grasp of an orthodox faith in the mainstream of the Christian tradition. Since their faith may be challenged and stretched in the dialogue, the Christian participants must know where the heart of that faith lies and where its boundaries are. Churches do no favor to the Muslims by sending out Christian “representatives” whose own faith is uncertain, confused, self-contradictory, and unable to distinguish between confessional essentials and their own idiosyncratic views.
This is coming from people like Ted Haggard who is obviously very confused about the Christian faith. See our papers mentioned above for details. He has made himself a "representative" of Christianity to the Muslims, and yet does not stand up for the core doctrines of the Faith himself amongst other Christians. Perhaps Haggard has found a kindred spirit among the Muslims in view of his answers to us about his involvement in the ICA.
5. Endeavor to have the Christian side of the dialogue represent not just the U.S. churches, but also the global Christian community. It would be preferable to have persons in attendance who could address Islam from an African or Asian Christian perspective—particularly Christians who have lived as a minority group within predominantly Muslim nations. If the presence of such persons is not possible, some means must be found to keep their perspectives in mind. What cannot be permitted is a situation that reduces Christian-Muslim dialogue to another “North-South” confrontation, as if Christianity were equivalent to the “North” and Islam to the “South.” In fact, we know that a growing proportion of the world’s Christians live in the “South,” and millions of Muslims are living in “North.” For this same reason, the Muslim side of any global dialogue ought to include not only Muslims from predominantly Islamic developing nations, but also Muslims who live as minorities in non-Muslim nations.
First of all, Muslims are not being left out of any "dialog". But the differences between Islam and Christianity are not going to be solved by "consensus", Praxis, Diaprax or the Hegelian Dialectic that these neo-evangelicals love to employ these days. We ARE in a "North-South" conflict, and it is a conflict over the very souls of men! Christians are not politicians. We don't concern ourselves with "global dialog" and "world opinion". Our worldview is based on the Bible, and we are firmly convinced that Jesus is the only name under heaven by which men may be saved. We are not going to negotiate that away so we can be "friendly" with anyone. True believers will continue to tell the truth, no matter if it brings hatred from the world, persecution or even death.
Matthew 24:9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
Thanks to these "Johnny-come-latelys" of Christendom and their new ideas, they are trampling on the graves of the martyrs who have brought the gospel to many Muslims and died in the process. Not only that, they are not helping those alive today who are living in persecution because of their stand for the Truth of the Gospel against the lies of false religions.
6. Affirm some points of theology and morality that Islam and Christianity have in common. These illustrate the “natural law” or “common grace” that is revealed to all, as Paul argues in Romans 1-2. This affirmation is particularly strategic, as secularists in western societies often mischaracterize natural law principles as narrowly Christian doctrines that do not belong in the public square.
First, what commonality can we have with a religion that allows it's people to lie to gain converts? One can only assume they are talking about the fact that Christianity and Islam both worship one God. But is Allah the same as YHWH? It is perfectly clear that Allah is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus Christ is not Allah's son, according to the Quran. So how then can we have a dialog that amounts to anything? We have almost nothing in common, except some similar moral codes, as well as some very dissimilar ones. But even those codes are tainted by their definition of Allah who is an angry, vengeful false god.
Second, what is this "common grace" they are speaking of in Romans 1 & 2? There is no such thing. There is only one grace that saves from hell, and that is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ's death on the cross accepted by faith. The Muslims are under the judgment of God as long as they worship the false god Allah.
7. Address the deep differences between Islam and Christianity. Most basically, these relate to the person of Jesus Christ, who is at the center of our Christian faith. Muslims do not believe that he was God incarnate, that he truly and willingly died on the cross, that his death was the one atonement for all human sin, and that he was truly raised from the dead for our eternal life. In addressing these differences, Christians show themselves wiser and more winsome when they place their emphasis on positive affirmations of their own Christian faith. Negative judgments about Islamic beliefs and practices—although these are sometimes necessary and are often implicit in the affirmations—should not be the principal theme of the Christian participants in the dialogue.
This is a good example of Praxis. First the thesis is laid that we should find common ground based on common grace. Then the antithesis is laid that we also need to stand up for what we believe. Then the Praxis is applied so that we can all come to the conclusions of people like Ted Haggard in saying "Negative judgments about Islamic beliefs and practices—although these are sometimes necessary and are often implicit in the affirmations—should not be the principal theme of the Christian participants in the dialogue." So we are led to the conclusion that we cannot address the negative aspects of Islam in order to witness to Muslims. But if Muslims are not shown that their belief is wrong and Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, not just a prophet, then how does that profit anyone? When we witness we don't just get all emotional about what we believe so that others will catch our emotion. We also deal with facts. The Third Wave method of evangelism slips through on this point. Reinhard Bonnke just jumps up and down, yelling for people to join him in his jumping and shout "Hallelujah" and the Holy Spirit will enter their bodies. But since Bonnke has not dealt with the facts and appealed to the reason of Muslims, how can they be saved? Benny Hinn and others slay people "in the spirit" purporting to change their lives. But true believers are to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and love Him with all our strength, body, mind and spirit. We don't Gnostically get rid of the mind in order to believe, as Third Wavers often teach and demonstrate. We have to deal with the issues and "demolish arguments" just as Paul did.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Paul spent his time arguing for the truth in the marketplaces and around the pagan temples of his time. He made no bones about his stand for Christ. He didn't sit down and have a "global dialog" with those who worshipped Artemis. He preached the gospel, pointing out that they were worshipping false gods.
Acts 19:26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all.
You cannot witness for Christ by only giving the positive. You also have to explain the negative, the judgment of God.
8. Work together with some Muslims on certain public issues in which we and they may have similar concerns (for instance, free exercise of religion in the United States, opposition to abortion, and promotion of refugee resettlement). We do so for the same reason that Christians are prepared to work with Jews, Mormons, and even atheists where we share common convictions about what justice requires.
How incredibly naive! Do Muslims work for free exercise of religion in their countries? Why should they expect freedom of religion in the US when they don't afford it to Christians in the places they control? What kind of meaningful dialog can we have on this subject except to give up territory to a false religion and false god?
9. Find ways in which our churches might practically show the love of Christ by being of service to our Muslim neighbors, here in the U.S. and internationally. We need to ask our Muslim interlocutors about the needs in their communities.
Service is a good example. What is being ignored here is all the work that missions have already done in this area. These people act like they are the first ones to have this idea.
10. Discuss concepts of democracy, human rights, and religious freedom, as promulgated in international covenants to which most Muslim nations have subscribed. U.S. Christians should discuss how we find these concepts in accord with our Christian faith, how western societies developed these concepts historically, and the benefits that they have brought our societies. We should encourage our Muslim interlocutors to consider these concepts in the context of Islam, its history, and their own personal experiences.'
Again, this has been done for decades. What good has it done? Very little. Islamic people believe that their religion is the true religion and the only one that will bring peace to the world. They don't even like democracy, and have legitimate concerns over the evils it has promoted worldwide, regardless of the good aspects. Why should Christians be talking about our republican democratic ideas when our first duty is to talk about Jesus Christ and His kingdom? Leave legislation to politicians. We have another job to do.
11. Allow the open expression of concerns, fears, and grievances regarding the other party in the dialogue. A dialogue cannot advance very far unless it addresses the problems that each side perceives in the other. U.S. Christians must expect to hear Muslim complaints about the medieval crusades, modern western imperialism, and contemporary American society. It is fair to acknowledge that some of those complaints have validity. But it is neither historically accurate nor helpful for the Christians to accept the notion that the West is to be blamed for most of the ills in the Muslim world. Muslims must take primary responsibility for their own societies, as the historian Bernard Lewis argues.
I'm sure we will be hearing these complaints as long as Christians feel they have to confess the sins of the past that they are not accountable for. It does no good to do "reconciliation walks" because (1) those atrocities are centuries in the past (2) Protestant evangelicals had nothing to do with the crusades in the first place (3) when we confess these past sins we are thereby taking responsibility for them in the eyes of the world, thus associating ourselves with actions we had nothing to do with. We can acknowledge complaints but we don't have to give credence to them.
12. Intercede for fellow Christians (and other religious minorities) who suffer persecution or restriction in predominantly Muslim nations. Particular concerns relate to bans on religious proselytism or conversion, state attempts to restrict or control religious activities, attempts to subject Christians to Islamic sharia, and other legal and political structures that treat Christians as second-class dhimmi. Christians should appeal to their Muslim interlocutors on the basis of reciprocity. Christians in Muslim nations ought to enjoy the same freedoms that Muslims do in the West. And as Christians commit themselves to safeguard the liberties of Muslims in America, so we must challenge Muslims to ensure religious freedom for Christians and other minorities in Muslim nations.
Now we are expecting a diplomatic solution to our ability to witness instead of doing it regardless of the consequences. Did the early church do this? Did they whine to the Roman authorities that they needed to be accorded "freedom of religion"? People like Ted Haggard and James Dobson on MSNBC the other night have clearly become politicians. They are more concerned about playing the role of politicians in trying to legislate morality than they are in teaching the basis for morality from the Word. They want to be able to use the crutch of freedom of religion to do evangelism. Where were these people in the 1800's when much of the world was still unevangelized and there was no freedom of religion except in Christian countries? I guess they would have gone to the chiefs and heads of nations and worked out a "freedom of religion" clause before they preached the Gospel. The reason this was not done is because, when you negotiate terms for freedom of religion, you also negotiate away the ability to make exclusivist claims. People have been dying for their faith for decades among the Muslims. The results have been slim but profound. Those who are Christians today, especially those living in Islamic cultures, are true believers, firmly convinced of their faith and ready to be persecuted for it. The type of converts Haggard is seeking to make would be those who no longer have to make a bold stand for their faith, can say they are "Messianic Muslims" and continue to pray five times a day bowing toward Mecca and reading the Quran.
In Christian-Muslim dialogue, it is inappropriate and damaging to:
1. Attempt to meld Christianity and Islam, pretending that they have the same basic teachings and that the differences between the two are merely trivial points of theology.
2. Aim to establish inter-faith organizations that embody a new “macro-ecumenism,” joining Christians and Muslims in a unity analogous to the unity of the Body of Christ. If Christians do participate in inter-faith organizations, these should be merely forums for dialogue and channels of limited cooperation – not bodies that pretend to a false unity where none exists.
But this is exactly what Haggard and his Third Wave associates are promoting. See these stories:
3. Try to formulate and celebrate common acts of worship. As Christians who worship God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as instructed by our Lord Jesus, we find any worship that omits those names and concepts of God (offensive to Muslims) to be impoverished rather than enriched. We do not wish to strip our worship down to the point that Muslims would find it acceptable, nor do we require Muslims to reduce their worship to a point that would be acceptable to Christians. It is better to worship alongside Muslims, with them practicing what they consider to be proper worship while we Christians observe, and vice versa, rather than trying to have a common worship.
This is the rhetoric of politicians, not evangelicals. "Impoverished rather than enriched"? Dead rather than alive would be more to the point.
4. Expect that all blame for Christian-Muslim conflicts can be assigned to parties in the dialogue. The conflicts are too complicated and longstanding, and the dialogue too incomplete, for this assumption to hold. As Paul Marshall observes, “The Muslims who actually participate in dialogue are not usually the ones engaged in murder, kidnapping, or the rape of Christian women” (Their Blood Cries Out, p. 220). Likewise, an Eastern Orthodox or African Christian may not feel personally culpable for the crusades or Western European imperialism. Of course, Christians may express regret for abuses that other Christians have committed against Muslims, as God convicts us of those abuses. But we must not demand apologies from our Muslim interlocutors as the price for dialogue, nor must they require apologies from the Christian participants in the dialogue. We must not imagine that the differences between Islam and Christianity can be reduced to particular clashes.
How does Paul Marshall know that those seeking dialog are not involved in these types of things? Hasn't it been proven that some funding for terrorism comes from the Mosques of those who pretend to be peaceful?
Isn't this a problem that has be be dealt with in order to have any meaningful dialog about peace?
5. Speak of the world as if it were neatly divided into spheres of influence, Muslim and Christian (and other), with no overlap or movement between the spheres. As noted above, there are millions of Christians in predominantly Muslim nations, and vice versa. In a free society Christians can convert to Islam, and vice versa. We cannot accept the notion that there is an “Islamic world” in which western Christians have no right to “meddle.” And, of course, Muslims have every right to be interested and involved in what goes on in western nations.
If you can't accept this fact, then you are living in denial.
6. Talk only to elite Muslim scholars and religious officials who present a “textbook version” of Islam. It may be even more important to know the “popular Islam” as it is practiced on the street. We may learn more, and have a more fruitful conversation, by going to the local Muslim grocer than by going to the imam at the mosque.
Do we learn more from a Christian grocer than from a Christian theologian? Only if that grocer has a deep understanding of the Bible. You can have a "fruitful" (pun intended) conversation with your grocer, but his understanding of his religion is probably not nearly as accurate or detailed as someone who has studied the Bible for many years. Would you go ask advice on what cut of meat to buy from a theologian? Then why ask for the meaning of the Islamic religion from a grocer?
7. Play political games inside the Muslim community, elevating leaders that we Christians favor and ignoring those that we dislike. It is not our place as Christians to determine who is and who is not an authentic leader in the Muslim community. We should simply talk and cooperate with all who will talk and cooperate. Naturally, some Muslims will be more willing to talk and cooperate than others. It is likely that our Muslim interlocutors will be more “moderate,” more tolerant, more interested in democracy, human rights, and good relations with the West. And it is undeniable that we would prefer to have such persons exercise more influence within the Muslim community, for the sake of the values just named. But our ability to boost them inside their own religious community is, and should be, quite limited.
This is a strawman argument as far as I know. No one is determining who is an authentic leader of Islam. It doesn't matter in any case. What they believe is written in their Quran. We have absolutely no ability to "boost" anyone to any position of authority in Islam, and why would they even suggest such a scenario.
8. Assume that dialogue, in itself, is the solution to the theological and political issues between Christians and Muslims. Dialogue may clarify the real issues and remove some imagined issues. It may enable Christians and Muslims to work together more readily on matters where cooperation is possible. Mutual ignorance is a problem between Christians and Muslims; however, it is not the deepest problem. As Paul Marshall remarks, “The [extreme Islamist] people engaged in persecution are neither stupid nor uneducated…. We will not understand persecution if we think it is a mere misunderstanding to be resolved through more education and chatty conferences” (Their Blood Cries Out, p. 220). (Guidelines for Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Alan Wisdom, May 7, 2003, The Institute on Religion and Democracy)
This is another example of New Apostolic praxis. It is stated that we should have dialog, but dialog only clarifies the issues. But then again, we don't really want to tell the truth about the issues, so we are only left with "schmoozing", eating together, patting each other on the backs, saying nice things to one another, and compromising away our core values. Paul Marshall actually has this one right. More conferences will not help. So why bring this issue up at all. Because the ICA wants to empower itself to speak on behalf of evangelicals. Because Ted Haggard wants to assert his authority in the NAE as quickly as possible, sending a message to everyone else in the evangelical world that the rules and message have changed. Because consensus is viewed as more important than truth.
When those who treat the truth as a means to an end get together, we always see interfaith compromise instead of the carrying out of the Great Commission. Evangelical goals have not changed, though some Third Wave evangelical pretenders like Ted Haggard and the ICA are well on their way to trying to introducing a "new paradigm" into evangelical circles. The goal of true evangelicals is to win people to the Lord Jesus Christ. This goal can only be accomplished by the Truth spoken and lived truthfully.
We can expect to see a lot more of this kind of leadership while a Latter Rain "apostle" is at the helm of the NAE.