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Showing posts from 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.

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 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

The Children of ISIS

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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 16All 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.

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 …

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.

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 …

PDF of Twenty-three Years by Ali Dashti

Twenty-three Years, by Iranian thinker Ali Dashti, is one of my favorite lives of Muhammad. Written by an Iranian Muslim who had a critical and questioning mind, I am happy to share this link to a PDF of the book which I have found online:

Twenty-three Years, by Ali Dashti

The Dutch give up on multiculturalism

I can't say I'm really surprised about this. But the reality is that it is too little too late, I suspect. 

Immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language and no exceptions to obedience to Dutch law will be allowed for followers of sharia.  In addition, the government will stop subsidizing Muslims and making special criteria for their employment...and will ban the burqa...

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/08/netherlands_abandoning_multiculturalism.html#ixzz3hu1FUU6D

Newbigin: "The secular society is a myth..."

Hear the words of this great prophet!

The secular society is a myth, and it has the power of a myth to blind people to realities. A powerful myth, such as this, has in it the power about which I was speaking in the chapter on “principalities and powers.” Christian affirmation in this context requires the unmasking of the powers. It calls for a new kind of enlightenment, namely the opening up of the underlying assumptions of a secular society, the asking of the unasked questions, the probing of unrecognized presuppositions.
Newbigin, Lesslie (1989-10-30). The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (p. 220). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

Newbigin on the myth of secular modernity

I read this book many years ago when I was new to Christian mission. I am rereading it and it is as refreshing and powerful as it was all those years ago.

Here is a great quote:

I am suggesting both that the belief in a secular society is an unproven belief accepted uncritically to justify a social institution, and also that the belief is mistaken. Put very briefly, the belief is that modern society is on a steady and irreversible course toward increasing secularization, and that this is to be welcomed since it enables us to put the wars of religion behind us and to create a society in which the conflicting truth-claims of the religions do not tear society to pieces.
Newbigin, Lesslie (1989). The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (p. 211). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

Great Quotes from Francis Schaeffer

Schaefer really influenced me a great deal as a young Christian in college. I read all of his collected works (five volumes!)

Here are some great quotes of his:

Christianity, the Church and ResponsibilityChristianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched. Tell me what the world is saying today, and I’ll tell you what the church will be saying in seven years. Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life. Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.
Culture & HistoryWhen all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, ‘not many men are in the room’ – that is although world views have many variations, there are not many basic world-views or basic presuppositions. Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, an evidence that we are made in the image of God. Rome did not fall because of external forces su…

A Political Refugee From the Global Village : Hitler was a Mahomet who failed? Discuss.

Really fascinating quotes here from Carl Jung on the 'religion of Hitler'. Check it out and share your opinions:



A Political Refugee From the Global Village : Hitler was a Mahomet who failed? Discuss.

Pray for Yemen

People who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I have a great interest in seeing the Gospel reach the people of Yemen. This is a country that has no indigenous Christian population, outside of a couple hundred converts from Islam. And their safety is often precarious of course.

And now, Yemen is undergoing a civil war, there are attacks from Saudi Arabia (and I'm not saying those are either good or bad, just tragic), and the country is cut off from the rest of the world. A small snippet of good news is that a five day halt to violence from KSA was announced so humanitarian aid can enter the country.

Pray for:

Yemenis to hear and believe in the Gospel
Indigenous churches to grow in each city and village
For the safety and boldness of indigenous Christians
For the civil war to end
For a lasting peace that comes from God, and not from killing

The Triune Human Soul

I very much liked this quote:
The human mind is triune in its being ordered to the transcendental splendor of the good, the true and the beautiful which resides in the Mind of God. Since the metaphysical is best expressed in terms of metaphor, we can say that the head can be seen as the seat of the True (reason), the heart can be seen as the seat of the Good (love or virtue) and the loins can be seen as the seat of the Beautiful (creation, pro-creation and sub-creation). The head, as the seat of the true, is the home of consciousness which seeks clarity; the heart, as the seat of the good, is the home of conscience, which seeks charity; and the loins, as the seat of beauty, is the home of creativity, which seeks chastity.From HERE.

Pray for Ali Khamenei: Terminally Ill with Cancer

This just in from Iran 30:

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is suffering from prostate cancer, which has reportedly spread to the rest of his body. Khamenei underwent surgery for his condition last September, and doctors estimate that the 75 year old has perhaps two years left to live.

And then the prayer points, which are very important:


Pray for Khamenei’s salvationHis familyA successor that rules with justice and righteousnessLord God Almighty, you know and love Ali Khamenei, and you have a wonderful and marvelous plan to glorify yourself and bring life to many through him, if only he will not harden himself to your love and grace. Even now, send your Holy Spirit to move in his heart, draw him to you, to your love and mercy, and above all to your Son our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Click here for more: http://www.iran30.org/influential-institutions/khamenei-terminally-ill-with-cancer/

David Wood: The recipe for Jihad

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I recently ran across this video on Youtube and thought it was very good. Enjoy.

The Archbishop of Canterbury on Youth joining the Islamic State

Kudos to Archbishop of Century Justin Welby for grasping an important point and having the balls to say it out loud.

Going off to join the Islamic State (aka ISIS, aka ISIL) makes sense. I mean, it makes sense from the point of view that Christianity in Europe is pretty tame and lame and really offers no adventure for young men. And secularism? Ditto. You can play games, keep around, get stoned or loaded, you might even be able to be successful and make money (not likely these days).

But what if you are a young man who wants an adventure? Who wants respect and adventure and a great challenge in life?

As a Christian I would say become a missionary. God knows this has been a challenging and adventurous vocation for the last decade or so.

But the Churches in the UK don't do that sort of thing. Here are some key morsels from the article:
Young people are turning to Jihad because mainstream religion is not "exciting" enough, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The Mos…

Mark Steyn on the reprimitivization of the post WWII world

Mark Steyn is a provocative author and there is a great deal of panache in his style.

He recently wrote a post titled Living History which argues that the world after World War II is becoming more primitive and savage, not more enlightened and free. I find this thesis compelling.

Throughout the article he is debunking (and ridiculing) this Tweet from one Max Fisher:
People who think Christian sectarian militias are the solution to Iraq's problems could stand to read a history of the Lebanese civil war. Here are a few sections that caught my interest:

A lot of things have gotten worse. If Beirut is no longer the Paris of the east, Paris is looking a lot like the Beirut of the west - with regular, violent, murderous sectarian attacks accepted as a feature of daily life. In such a world, we could all "stand to read" a little more history. But in Nigeria, when you're in the middle of history class, Boko Haram kick the door down, seize you and your fellow schoolgirls and s…

Son of Hamas: "ISIS is Islam"

With the Islamic State and others in the news so much, there has been a lot of thinking and talking and reflecting about to what extent the IS actually is (or is not).
President Obama recently came out with his standard, "Every religion has extremists" and "IS are not Muslims, they are terrorists" and so on.
I want to be clear that I am not saying that I necessarily agree with the following statement. It is provocative. I do think it is worth discussing though, because so many of the Christian converts from Islam that I know believe that this is accurate, and also, no one in the lame-stream media will even discuss this position.
So here is what the Son of Hamas has just posted:
When you recognize that ISIS is Islam, you free yourself from the naiveté of world leaders who tell you that ISIS is an anomaly of Islam, leaders that, I am sorry to say, include US President Barack Obama, who told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently that, “There is an element growing out of Muslim…

Atallah Hanna, the only Orthodox Palestinian Bishop

A colleague referred me to this interesting interview with Bishop Atallah Hanna. All the bishops of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the Holy Land are Greeks (weird, I know), with the exception of this single man. While almost all the indigenous Christians within the patriarchate are Arabs (or Palestinians), and most of the clergy are Arabs too, there is only one Arab bishop.

Here is part of one of his answers:

I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights. I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships. The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.…

"For the Sake of the Name: a letter to new missionaries in the Arab world" by Abu Daoud

I am pleased to share with you that I have recently published this article in St Francis Magazine (Vol 11:1).

I had the privilege of being part of the training and mobilization of this couple, and shortly before they moved to the Arab world, I wrote this letter to them. I thought it was worthwhile enough to share with a wider audience.

Here are a couple of the points of advice I offer:

learn from the ancient churchesremember that you are Americans and don't try to hide itapply yourself to language acquisition above alllearn the history of the people and the country
And others. But read the article which contains a lot of other good stuff.

Read it all. Download the PDF from St Francis or check it out on Academia.edu.
But before I get to that, let me share with you my favorite Bible verse about missionaries, and I commend this to you: “For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles [that is, non-Christians]. Therefore we ought to support such men, so t…

A quarter of French youth support the Islamic State

So much for the idea of the IS being thugs and very few Muslims supporting them.

The official response to such domestic hostility towards European society and culture is to say, ‘Let’s not talk about it’. This is because officialdom fears that an open discussion of the cultural threat facing European society would only strengthen support for both radical Islamists and right-wing nationalists. That’s the main reason there was so little discussion of the implications of an ICM poll that showed 16 per cent of French citizens had a positive assessment of IS – among 18- to 24-year-olds, this rose to 27 per cent. The poll also revealed that seven per cent of British and German citizens supported IS. From Spiked Online.

A prayer for Salman, the new king of Saudi Arabia

TIME has a nice (if brief) article about the new monarch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, especially when it comes to freedom of religion. And just to think that British gold in the hands of the Christian man, Lawrence of Arabia, was so instrumental in building its independence!

But let us hope and pray for a new day for Arabia.

Lord, in your mercy we ask of you:

Peace and justice in Saudi Arabia
Freedom for all people there to worship and live according to their conscience
Wisdom for the Salman, the new king
To confound the plans of the wicked, and deliver the righteous
Strength and power for your holy Church

And we thank you:

For a great increase in the number of people leaving Muhammad for Jesus in KSA
That even in this closed kingdom you have ambassadors from your greater and eternal Kingdom
For the faithful witness of martyrs who loved Christ more than life itself

Amen.

Please do share this far and wide, and use this prayer…

UCLA and the end of Western Civilization

No comment:For instance, Heather MacDonald notes that in 2011 the University of California at Los Angeles instituted a major change in requirements for an English degree,  replacing three requirements in the foundations of English literature with a mandate for all English majors to take a total of three courses in four areas: “Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing.” Instead of UCLA English majors being required to read Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare, then, they are required to be exposed (via the course catalogue) to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.” These radical changes were caused by a revolt by the junior faculty.From HERE.

TS Eliot on the First Crusade

I love what Eliot says about the (first) Jerusalem Crusade:

"In spite of all the dishonour,
the broken standards, the broken lives,
The broken faith in one place or another,
There was something left that was more than the tales
Of old men on winter evenings."

From his Choruses from 'the Rock'

No, Europe's Muslims will not integrate into a secular society

When I talk about Europe's Islamic future, I often get the rejoinder, "Everyone is becoming more secular and European, whether Christians or Muslims." Not really. Here is Dr Eric Kauffman of the University of London responding to that claim:
Other sceptics claim that Muslims will increasingly integrate and leave Europe’s culture largely unchanged, but this is difficult to prove. Here intermarriage is arguably the best barometer of assimilation. Leo Lucassen and Charlotte Laarman of the University of Leiden have researched this area, focusing on Muslim populations in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Britain and France. They concluded that roughly 6 per cent of foreign-born Muslims married outside the faith, rising to 10-11 per cent by the second generation. Much of the increase can be attributed, however, to the somewhat exceptional integration of French Algerians. Overall, the level of Muslims marrying out remains low. In Germany, for instance, just 7.2 per cent of Muslim men a…

Why doesn't the American Church spend $ on non-Christians?

This is a great question, isn't it? I found these great figures at the site of Global Frontier Missions:

Basically, the world can be divided into three parts based on how people respond to two questions: Do you have access to a Christian witness?Are you a Christian? People that respond “yes” to both questions are considered “World C”. These people are spread out in countries like the United States, Spain, England, Poland, Kenya, Romania, and all throughout Latin America. They have had significant access to the gospel and many people living in these areas would at least claim to be “Christian” even though they may be very nominal or cultural followers of Christ. About 10% of the world’s population is estimated to be true believers while another 23% are at least considered adherents to the Christian faith. People that respond “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second question are considered “World B”. These people are spread throughout countries like India, Thailand, Japan, …

Hadith on the inferiority of women in Islam

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said:   The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out to the musalla (prayer place) on the day of Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr.   He passed by the women and said, ‘O women! Give charity, for I have seen that you form the majority of the people of Hell.’ They asked, ‘Why is that, O Messenger of Allah?’  He replied, ‘You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religious commitment than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.’   The women asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is deficient in our intelligence and religious commitment?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of two women equal to the testimony of one man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Is it not true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This i…