Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why the Morocco Declaration on Christianity is not as good as it sounds

The folks at Christianity Today are falling all over themselves explaining how great the recent Morocco Declaration on Christian rights is. This should give you an idea:

In particular, the declaration references the charter’s “principles of constitutional contractual citizenship” and “freedom of movement, property ownership, mutual solidarity and defense, as well as principles of justice and equality before the law,” in regards to Muslims and non-Muslims.

I'm just not convinced. The declaration needs to explicitly claim that Christians who at one time in the past were Muslims are also included and should be afforded the same legal rights as folks born in Christian families.

And plus, Morocco doesn't even have an indigenous Christian population, aside from a couple hundred converts from Islam, and those have mostly been hounded and persecuted until they left the country.

I hope I'm worn to be so cynical about this, but we saw this back in the time of the Ottoman Empire with the hat-i humayun. At that time (1850's) Protestant missionaries were overjoyed because they thought these lofty statements about rights meant that Muslims could legally convert to Christianity. But nope. 

So...very nice words. But in the end, dust in the wind. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see that this is much more than a pretty piece of PR fluff which will enable the sheeple of Europe and North America to keep repeating to themselves 'religion of peace, religion of peace...' while their neighbors continue to be killed and their daughters raped.

Monday, January 04, 2016

In the UK: Permitting rape preferred over being charged with Islamophobia

Update from the UK:

  • At least 1,400 children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013 in the town of Rotherham, mostly by Muslim gangs, but police and municipal officials failed to tackle the problem because they feared being branded "racist" or "Islamophobic."

    Read more at Gatestone Inst. HERE.

Friday, December 11, 2015

More Pressure on Iraqi Christians

Here is the latest sad news from Iraq, where the rights of Christians are far worse than they were under Saddam Hussein.
The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq renewed his opposition this week to an article in the nation’s new national laws requiring minority-faith children to become Muslims if one parent converts to Islam.  
Describing the new law as both unconstitutional and “unacceptable,” Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako has called on President Fouad Masoum to send Article 26.2 of the National Charter back to Parliament to be amended.
Read it all HERE.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Were the Paris attacks really Islam?

Here is my reflection Paris:

We're used to this by now. Muslims kill scores of people, and explain that they have done this because they are Muslims, because the Qur'an commands them to do so, and their authorities issue detailed legal arguments explaining why said acts were legitimate acts of struggle (in Arabic the word is jihad) against the unbelievers. 

And then we get the response. 

But Muslims could never kill fellow Muslims! 

No one mentions that according to Islamic State and Al Qaeda and friends any 'Muslim' who collaborates with the unbelievers is not actually a Muslim anymore. And we get citations from the Qur'an, like "Whosoever kills a man...it is as if he killed the whole of mankind..." (Qur'an 5:32).

But then others note that the entire verse reads, "whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men..." 

In other words, if someone is spreading mischief, like criticizing the Prophet or his successor (which is what the word caliph means in Arabic), then well, it is ok to slay him. So where is the truth? Let me propose an analogy to the Christian faith.

Read the rest of this article by yours truly HERE.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Origin of the Islamic State

Here are two (rather academic) lectures on the genesis and origin and nature of the Islamic State, aka ISIS, aka ISIL, aka Daesh (good grief). The last of which is especially stupid for Americans to use because in Arabic it simply stands for Dawl Islamiyya fi Iraq war Sham, which is Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Duh.

But take the time to watch both lectures. Note that you need to click on Del 2 at the bottom of the screen, not Del 1. Not sure why Del 1 is even there...but it is.

In any case, watch and learn: http://play.ht.lu.se/media/c29c7ddd

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Muhammad's Intercession is Useless

Some time ago I posted a hadith about Muhammad being an intercessor on the Day of Judgment.

But here is another hadith wherein he clearly says that such intercession is useless:
When Allah revealed the Verse: "Warn your nearest kinsmen," Allah's Apostle got up and said, 
"O people of Quraish (or said similar words)! Buy (i.e. save) yourselves (from the Hellfire) as I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Bani Abd Manaf! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment, O Safiya, the Aunt of Allah's Apostle! I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment; O Fatima bint Muhammad! Ask me anything from my wealth, but I cannot save you from Allah's Punishment."
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, Number 16
All in all the topic of the intercession of the Prophet is ambiguous and very unclear. Did Muslims impose on Muhammad sayings about him being a savior later in order to exalt him above Jesus? This strikes me as likely.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Worry about conversions to Christianity spreading

This article is about a member of the royal Kuwaiti family who recently converted to Christianity. There are some questions as to his identity, but the story has spread.

What caught my attention though was at the end of the article:
After Heidar Moslehi, the Iranian intelligence minister, asked Muslim seminaries to become proactive in stopping the spread of Christianity, a high-ranking cleric declared that Evangelical Christianity is the most horrifying intelligence and security organisation in the world. This statement seems to have appeared on press agencies close to the Revolutionary Guard. In a conference on “New Age cults” held in Varamin, a district south of Teheran, Akhond Mohsen Alizadeh declared: “We should not allow these cults to question Islamic jurisprudence under the cover of mysticism.” He went on to add: “They tell the youth that God is wrathful and horrible in Islam but is love in Christianity. Also, Christian preachers answer the questions and doubts of youth in their own interest and try to attract them.” Nevertheless a whole series of signs seem to indicate that non-traditional Christianity – there are Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Iran as well as a large Armenian community – is spreading. The regime’s press recently spoke of them with concern and the number of cases of repression and condemnation following conversions is growing.
I think these two paragraphs communicate to us two things: 1) the authorities don't understand evangelicalism at all, and 2) they are worried.

In any case, let's pray that we would continue to see these conversions. And let's also pray for the traditional churches that they would be more active in welcoming in converts from Islam.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bp John Harrower on context and Bible

I really liked this quote from the outgoing Anglican Bishop of Tasmania:
I often say to people when they say 'Christians should be reading the Bible', 'well, Christians should be reading the newspaper.'
HT to VirtueOnline for this tidbit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

RIP, Anglican Communion

It looks like the Anglican Communion is over. But maybe it is too early to call...so let us wait.

Right now the Anglican Communion (theoretically) is not a confederation, but a true communion of national/regional churches. Over the years I have ministered with and been ministered to, among others, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, The Episcopal Church of the USA, The Episcopal Church of Scotland, the Church of England, and others. These are the regional churches, we call them provinces. The head of each province is called a primate. There are 37 or so of these provinces around the world (and they cover most of the globe), and these form the Communion.

Previously, a priest of one province was a priest of all the other ones. In other words, they shared their sacraments and holy orders, which is important.

But now it looks like the titular and historic head of the Communion, the archbishop of Canterbury, will call for this communion to became a mere confederation or something like that. Who knows...It is sad news for me because this communion is the only truly global communion of the Protestant tradition.

Anyway, if you are interested, read more here:

Archbishop calls for Primate Gathering