The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Islam”

Roots of a British Awakening?

A guest post by Thomas S Kidd

My family and I just returned from two weeks in the U.K., and while we were there, several major British religion news events transpired. First, on a day we happened to be in Edinburgh, Church of Scotland delegates voted to allow gay ministers. Then, when we returned to London, came the appalling murder of a British solider by two Muslims, one of whom was arrested in Kenya in 2010 for seeking al-Qaeda training. Finally, a new study of U.K. census data indicated that within a decade, perhaps less than half of all people in Britain will identify even nominally as Christians.Michael-Adebolajo-1912414

These disparate developments suggest several religious patterns: first, prominent churches in the U.K. seem generally inclined to follow the lead of mainline denominations in the U.S. and Canada on issues related to gender and homosexuality. The Church of England has recently decided to ordain celibate homosexuals as bishops, and has issued a new plan to ordain women bishops within two years. These developments make inevitable more difficulties between the shrinking mainline churches in the west, and the burgeoning ones in the global south, which are generally more traditional on issues of sexuality.

Second, the U.K. (like much of Eurjeffertsschori_2_300(1)ope) has a pressing problem of how to handle its growing Muslim population, some fraction of which are jihadist sympathizers. (Anecdotally, I was struck by how ubiquitous the signs of Islam are in the U.K., from mosques to burqa-clad women.) While America’s Muslim population remains proportionately low, especially outside of large cities, in the U.K. a tenth of the under-25 population is now Muslim, and the self-identifying Christian population is stagnant and aging. If it were not for Christian immigrants to the U.K. from sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, Christianity would be in utter free-fall as a percentage of the British population.

Abandoned_ChapelThird, the legal establishment of the Church of England looks increasingly strange and antiquated, when you consider how Christianity (Anglican or otherwise) is losing even a nominal hold over much of the population. It is hard to imagine how the church will survive calls for its disestablishment (meaning withdrawal of state financial support and other trends toward stronger separation of church and state) unless a very different pattern emerges in the next generation. In a democratic country, it seems impossible to justify an established Christian church when so few actively practice Christianity, and when even nominal Christianity seems destined to command no more than a plurality of the population’s  adherence. Yet the British government – particularly the monarchy – is still closely identified with Christianity. They still pray “God save the queen” in Anglican liturgies.

Given all this, is there hope for Christian revival in Britain? Christians, of course, always believe there is hope for redemption and renewal, because of God’s power. The observable facts are not promising, but there are certainly pockets of flourishing Christianity in Britain. The Kingsway International Christian Centre, an African Pentecostal congregation which is London’s largest church, attracts as many as 12,000 attendees every Sunday, and there are many other growing immigrant-dominated congregations across the U.K. Evangelical renewal efforts within the Anglican Church include the Alpha Course, pioneered by Nicky Gumbel (see more on the Alpha Course in this Anxious Bench post by Philip Jenkins).

While my family was blessed to attend Evensong services at both St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the most vital church we visited was an evangelical Baptist congregation in Stirling, Scotland, which sits prominently in the city center. While nowhere near the scale of Kingsway, it is filled with young Scottish families. The worship is heartfelt, the preaching biblical and accessible, and community life and prayer support are vibrant. Those factors, enlivened by the Holy Spirit, would seem to be essential ingredients for revival in the U.K. and beyond.

@ThomasSKidd on Twitter

Thomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

[This article first appeared at The Anxious Bench. Read more from Dr. Kidd there.]

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US Government: the anti-Christian devourer with Jihadi teeth

OBLToday, I was reading a story about some Iranians who are in trouble and could even be executed in Iran because they converted to Christianity. I’m sure this threat is real and pray they will be delivered.

But I had to wonder. The story was laced with the typical anti-Iranian rhetoric of US condemnation. I started trying to remember when was the last time I had heard of people about to be executed in Saudi Arabia or any other US ally. Read more…

Tim Tebow Cancels Speech at First Baptist Church of Dallas

The New York Jets backup quarterback has cancelled his appearance at the Baptist mega-church in Dallas. The well-known Christian athlete tweeted a short time ago:

 “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance.

“He continued, “I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

The Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Robert Jeffress, has been an outspoken critic of Mitt Romney and suggested in the last campaign that he would prefer to see an orthodox Christian in the White House instead of a Mormon. He has also spoken out against homosexuality and Islam, which has made him a detested name in the politically-correct media.

Undoubtedly there is much that could be said about the star-driven ventures of the evangelical world, and I stand firmly behind critiquing it, however, Tebow’s bailing out of his commitment due to what is perceived to be a strategically wise move for the NFL superstar in unwise. My appreciation for Tebow is known and I can only hope that there are other motives involved, rather than simply avoiding the controversy of associating with a  pastor that has in actuality spoken publicly and truthfully about a host of issues over these last years.

Christians Hide Jews, Kill Muslims?



Bonhoeffer Steve Macias Israel Gaza

There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated — in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer



Hitler’s Ghettos and Concentration Camps

During the Second World War, German Nazis isolated Jews from the non-Jews, creating thousands of enclosed communities, subjecting Jews to the brutality of the SS and miserable prison-like conditions. These ghettos were a temporary provision until the Nazis decided how to be rid of the “terrorists” within their borders. Once dispersed throughout Germany, Jews were now forced out of their homes into designated areas, and Jews escaping sealed ghettos were shot. Germans carefully monitored what and who went in and out.

Ghetto Uprisings



As conditions in the ghettos worsened, more Jews were deported and sent to killing centers, while the imprisoned became increasingly resistant to the Nazis, to the point that in 1942 Jews began acting in armed rebellion. Using pistols and hand grenades, Jews in Warsaw made sporadic raids against Nazi forces. The Nazis quickly sought to quell such rebellions, reducing the ghetto to ruins and sending the remaining inmates to work camps and killing centers.



Media Teaches “Jews as Aggressors”



Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hitler established his own state media. The “Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment” was headed by Joseph Goebbels, and it taught that Germany had been subverted by the Jews. The Nazi regime story was that Jews were not only subhuman, but also dangerous enemies of the German Reich. Germany was presented as the defender of “Western” culture against the “Judeo-Bolshevik threat, and painted an apocalyptic picture of what would happen if the Soviets won the war. They consistently sought to connect “Jewry” to Soviet communism.



Hitler Abusing Religion



The fact that many Christians then in Germany were nominal cultural Christians who were indoctrinated into the Nazi worldview helps to “explain how the SS troops could perform monstrous acts of cruelty and yet return home for Christmas and attend church and still think of themselves as good Christians. They were not murderers, they were men who were building a race of supermen and helping the inferior people get on with their evolutionary journey” (Lutzer, 1995, p. 95).

Hitler and the Nazis abused the influence of Christianity, using Christian terms to attempt to justify their actions. They published mottos like, “ He who serves our Führer, Adolf Hitler, serves Germany, and he who serves Germany, serves God” (Germany 1918-1945 – by J. A. Cloake), allowing Hitler to attach his ideals to a very non-Christian agenda. Hitler’s SS brainwashed and intimidated pastors to support his goals, to realign their theological standards to fit the anti-Jew propaganda.

Christians Rescuing Jews

Those who escaped killing centers or ghettos hid in annexes, attics, cabinets, or any place where they could be concealed from the German Gestapo. Christians hid Jews as both an act of resistance to the Germans and as acts of charity towards their fellow man. While Christians risked death by hiding them, Jews were at least outwardly saved by following Christian rituals like attending church and learning the New Testament. This type of ministry led to conversions to Jesus Christ, as well. For instance, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jew who hid from the Nazis, was later baptized and then became a priest. The Christianity that had helped them survive the Nazis became the Christianity that saved some eternally.



As a Christian, Would You Hide Jews from Nazi Germany?

If your answer is yes, please consider how that relates to our current situation in the Middle East.

Gaza: Israel’s Concentration Camp

Just after the Second World War, non-Jews, both Muslim and Christian, were forced out of their homes or fled due to fear of terrorist attacks on their homes. Since 1948, they haven’t been allowed to return to their homes, subjected to an open-air ghetto/prison in the Gaza strip. Eighty percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are Palestinian refugees. For 60 years, Israel has denied the internationally recognized rights of Palestinian refugees because they are not Jews. Israel is an occupying force in Palestine. It exercises complete control of the West Bank and Gaza. They use brute force and bombs whenever the ghetto gets restless.

Gaza Uprisings


Enter Hamas. Much like the Jews who banded together to rebel against Nazi Germany, Hamas is a response to the bondage under Israel. As Israel encroaches deeper into the West Bank and Gaza, continuing to oppress Muslims in their foreign captivity, groups like Hamas become increasingly resistant to Israel. On November 8, 2012, an Israeli military incursion invading Gaza, killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. The men of the open-air prison rebelled, and the next few days were a back-and-forth retaliation between Israel and Gaza rebels. During this time, the Israeli government called a cabinet meeting, and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz urged the government to “cut off the head of the snake… take out the leadership of Hamas in Gaza.” He also called for cutting off water, food, electricity, and fuel shipments to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. 

Israel quickly sought to quell such rebellions, reducing the ghetto to ruins and sending forces in to bomb the area, killing rebels, civilians, women, and children, without discrimination.

I

 do not condone the terrorist actions of Hamas against innocent civilians, any more than I do on the part of Israel. Neither side is responding in appropriate ways, and both need the tertium quid (third solution): the Gospel and condemnation of all violence and oppression.

Media Teaches “Muslims as Aggressors”

Following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, its “right to self defense” has been promoted in all western media. Now “Islam is the threat to Israel,” and the Jewish terrorists who expelled the Muslims from their homes are portrayed as the victim as they continue a genocide against non-combatants and non-Jews. History has been re-written as we are to believe that Israel is the victim of blood-thirsty, “they hate us for our freedom” Muslim extremists. Like Germany, Israel is presented as the defender of “Western” culture against the “Islam-Jihadist” threat, and an apocalyptic picture is painted of what would happen if the Palestinians returned to their homes. Like German propaganda, the religious hate-fueled support for the continued war crimes is the official line, while Israel is given “victimhood” status.

Think about it: How can it be the Christian solution to uncritically support Israel if Democrats, Republicans, and Obama all agree to it?



Jewish State Abusing Religion

American Christians have been duped– they have attached some extra-Biblical spiritual significance to the Jewish state. We are told by false teachers like John Hagee that God blesses those that bless Israel and so we are to support Israel, no matter what. Back in 2010, I wrote, “Promises to Israel, to the seed of Abraham, to the true Jew are to those who are in Christ. Christians are the only people who will receive God’s covenant promises, by faith. The free pass evangelicals have given the modern Israelite is contrary to the clear and plain teachings of the Scripture. They teach that the Jewish people have a title to the land that transcends virtually any other consideration, including unbelief, rebellion, and hatred toward Christ and His church.”

Israel doesn’t care about protecting Western culture, nor do they want anything to do with Christianity. Israel is one of the least Christian nations in the Middle East for a reason: their Talmud teaches that Christ was sent to Hell along with His adulterous mother Mary and His followers, to all to be tortured in boiling excrement. The Jewish faith today is a religious hatred for Christianity. And they are hardly a beacon of western Christian culture – Israel’s Tel Aviv is “an international gay vacation destination,” one of the “Most Gay-Friendly Cities in the World,” and is famous for its annual “Pride Parade” and “Gay Beach.” Over 20,000 children are aborted in Israel each year, with the country’s lax abortion policies, and Israel has almost no active pro-life movement, which is not surprising at it is Christianity that is the foundation for the pro-life cause.

Yet Israel has allowed itself to attach to Christian Zionism, a modern revision of biblical eschatology, and thus has access the American taxpayer’s pocketbook. Dispensational pastors who want to usher in the “end times,” by helping Jews settle in their “homeland,” where they believe they will all be killed in the Battle of Armageddon, support Israel’s existence and realign their theological standards to fit anti-Muslim propaganda.

Christians Rescuing Muslims

As Dr. Ron Paul has said, “US foreign policy being so one-sided actually results in more loss of life and of security on both sides. Surely Israelis do not enjoy the threat of missiles from Gaza nor do the Palestinians enjoy their Israel-imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza. But as long as Israel can count on its destructive policies being underwritten by the US taxpayer it can continue to engage in reckless behavior. And as long as the Palestinians feel the one-sided US presence lined up against them they will continue to resort to more and more deadly and desperate measures.”

Those who have escaped Israel’s bombings or blockades over Gaza hide. But unlike the Jews in the Holocaust, there are no Christian homes to hide in. Christians in America support pagan Israel. The Muslims either fight or die.

How does this help Christianity in that region of the world?



As a Christian, Would You Hide Muslims in the Gaza Strip From Israel Today?

If your answer is yes, please consider that response in relation to the United States’ support for Israel’s war crimes. It’s easy to hide our conscience behind the propaganda like the many Christian Germans who went along with Hitler, only later to wish they could have stopped him. Let’s hide the Muslims, not because they’re special or better than Jews, but because it is our responsibility to “do justice to the afflicted and needy. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).

Instead of sending three billion dollars each year to Israel, how about three billion Bibles? Three million missionaries? Three Thousand Churches? This nation is dying and it is in worse condition than any Muslim country out there as long as they continue to believe they are God’s chosen people apart from Christ.

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