Muslims Speak openly of Jesus

Last night we hosted a gathering of about 30 of our friends from the Denver area.  We wanted them to meet Safi and Eman, our dear friends from Lebanon who live and work in Saudi Arabia. They are Muslims who are following Jesus.

There were several poignant moments in the evening.  With tear-filled eyes, Safi asked for forgiveness from us for the Muslims who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and for Al Qaeda in general.

One of my local Denver businessman friends asked Safi why there are any terrorists at all who are Muslim?  As the conversation started to turn toward politics, Safi kept asking that we stay focused on Jesus ­ but my American businessman wanted to know ­ why shouldn’t we (America) be free to attack the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And surely Jesus doesn’t want us to sit back and do nothing ­ we should defend ourselves.  Safi kept coming back to Jesus’ command to “Love (even) our enemies.”  And Paul’s invocation to “do good to our enemies.”

I’ve asked this before ­ but what do you think is the answer politically? Is there a viable way to “love our enemies” as a state? Can/should America (or any nation) try to “love” an enemy? And if so, how?

Most of us would agree that we, as followers of Jesus, try to love our enemies personally. But when the question turns political or inter-national, we’re not so sure.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Comments

  1. Dmark says:

    Christians should not take part in wars, Jesus would not allow Peter to defend Him, He said all who take up the sword will die by the sword. And Paul said are weapons are not carnal, but spiritual, as in prayer. Do not be conformed to the world, and you won’t have to worry about the world’s actions. Safi, you shouldn’t have to apologize for “the Muslims who perpetrated the 9/11 and for Al Qaeda in general”. All thinking people know the government story is ridiculous.

    Daniel Mark

  2. bkwilless says:

    How impossible for me to discern in my “OWN” wisdom. Will God then defend the nation of America if we sit by and allow ourselves to be martyred. (Jesus was not a passivist he was a non-violent activist). I think yes God would do such a miracle if we as a nation wanted to put our trust in him fully but the prerequisite isn’t just fully putting our trust in him it would also be hearing from him. In OT history God guided and directed their actions and tactics. If I were in just such a position to lead the people it would be prayer and fasting to hear from the Lord for every step. In the same way Jesus never acted in “his” own wisdom. He continually said that he does what he sees and hears the father doing (visions, dreams, and words of knowledge and wisdom). Even Paul never did anything without “Revelation” even going to Jerusalem in Acts 15 (I use to think was Pauls wisdom) was by revelation (Galatians 2:2 I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. NLV). If we as a people and churches and universal church sought what God had to say and believed we could hear it………just imagine…

  3. menetekel says:

    Ditto Daniel. She certainly doesn’t need to apologize. Just today we learn more of the Able Danger scandal and sheer panic that is ensuing within the seats of high power as they try to cover up the obvious.

    The history of Wahhabism will demonstrate that the sect was a creation of the West, and certainly Al Qaeda is something we need apologize for – not her. The fact that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda was a billion dollar creation of our own foreign interventionist policies should be a red flag to the legitimacy of anything we are led to believe and support regarding US middle east policy.

    But its an emotional issue more than anything unfortunately. So if there is time, I ask people if they have heard of the Hegelian Dialect and what they know of it and how they might think it plays into the issues that fill the airwaves and trickle down to water cooler talk and personal politics.

    With the 9-11 issue I try to give out copies of the DVD Press for Truth – produced by widows of 9-11 victims. I’ve found this film to have the greatest effect.

    But even if the Islamic terror meme was without contention, I think Ron Paul really got to the heart of the issue with this speech he made in the House a couple years back:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqAF-Alc7CM

  4. Deborah says:

    (1)Safi doesn’t need to apologize for 9-11 any more than I need to apologize for slavery. (2)The Bible leaves some things open to interpretation. What about self-defense? Is there a place for a Marshal Dillon (Gunsmoke) or a Callahan (Death Wish) for Christian believers and missionaries? God fought for Israel through David, but that shepherd boy didn’t stand unarmed before Goliath.

  5. ricksharp7 says:

    My first thought is that I agree with those who say that Safi did not need to apologize for the 9/11 attacks. However, it would appear that he/she did so in an attempt to show love, and to further reconciliation. This is in the same spirit that we might apologize to a homosexual or a member of another religion that had been treated with contempt by those who call themselves Christians. Even though we did not perpetrate the wrongdoing, our heart grieves that the other person was hurt by someone who would say they are a follower of Christ.

    In regards to a government employing the teachings of Christ as policy, it would be interesting to see how that would play out. However, I don’t think you will really see that here in America any time soon. Since we have a democratic republic, our government is supposed to follow the will of the people. In reality, our government usually does what will get the individual members re-elected. In either case, though, it does not seem likely that the will of the majority of people in America is to love our enemies, or turn the other cheek. Any representative that voted for legislation along those lines, or who failed to vote for retribution for an attack, would likely be committing political suicide.

    So I don’t believe that there is a political answer. There first needs to be a massive change in the hearts of Americans, even Christians, before our government would be able to really implement Christ’s teachings into foreign policy.

    I am currently reading a book by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. In it, he suggest another course. He says that rather than trying to change the government, the Church in America can bypass the government and engage the world directly. We already do to some degree through aid organizations and direct missionary outreach. But he argues that if we were serious about dealing with the issues of poverty and injustice around the world, serious enough to sacrificially forego some of our own luxuries, then we would accomplish two things: 1) It would make it much harder for terrorist organizations to recruit people to attack what would be an incredibly generous nation, and 2) It would draw people here at home and around the world to take a closer look at Jesus.

    I’m not sure that this would be enough to end foreign threats to our country, but it would surely move us in the right direction. And you can never go wrong following Christ’s teaching and example. We don’t need to wait for our government to do the right thing. We can take action even now as individuals and churches and engage the world.

  6. FOUCHER says:

    YES. This is deep stuff. I wish more people were asking this question.

    I completely agree with Rick’s line of thinking. If this is something we really want, then why wait for the government. Let our actions eventually change government, instead of trying to get the government to change its action in order to change a nation. I think of the mustard seed. It is tiny, and when it grows…it still isnt as big as the great “cedar”. When we act as mustard seeds and reach out to the hearts of the unwanted and unloved, then I think that will change cultures and nations. I feel like I spend most of my life waiting to follow someone…and maybe I need to be the one to start leading. What if there is a nation out there who is waiting to follow. People who did not realize their potential. And I believe there will be incredible verbal abuse in America to anyone who goes for it. Lets be honest: if a man or women runs for a political position and is pro life and anti war…what chance does that person have? pro life tends to be republican and anti war tends to be democratic. My allegiance is to God. There is a tough road ahead for sure.

  7. I love the title of this blog. “Muslims speak openly of Jesus.” If you speak openly of Him, you apparently believe in His existence and are following His teachings. It has been my experience that the average Muslim follows the teachings of Christ about as well as most Christians – except that they fast and pray a lot more.

    The talk of God expecting war out of the Israelites seems to miss the point of the Old Testament completely – especially within the refined light shed in summary by Jesus Christ.

    Jeremiah 6:27 sets the stage for Bible reading as we experience the wisdom of God: “I have made you a tester of metals and my people the ore, that you may observe and test their ways. Verse 16 states: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

    The way of the world has always been that a people group consider themselves God’s favorite and end up bringing about their own “pride’s” destruction as God continues to refine our worship towards loving our fellowman. War takes place as an act of vengeance and fear. Both of these virtues are condemned Biblically – Perfect Love (Faith?) casts out Fear.

    As believers, we are told over and over not to question who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Therefore, our world and life view must avoid the concepts of “saved and unsaved” – a contentious doctrine of entrapment generally followed by religious scribes, lawyers, leaders, and theologians.

    Can we as a state follow humanitarian morale and esteem sanctity of life issues as they affect the poor and needy, killing of other human beings whether in the womb or out? If we the people stand up for such actions, the answer is – Absolutely!

    Jesus Christ did more than set an example, He provided eternal salvation in God’s redemtion act and plan for all of Creation. It’s up to us to bring about peace on earth as we ask where the good way is, and walk in it.

    Since America and Western forces have directly or indirectly attributed to the loss of life of millions of Muslims since 911 while America is concerned about less than 20,000 deaths, the appropriate response to Safi’s apology should have been falling to the floor weeping in humility as our terrorism layed upon their homeland far outways any attrocities the average Muslim has caused the USA.

  8. Jared Holsing says:

    We need to carefully distinguish between three VERY different issues: 1) war as a means of bringing, establishing or spreading the Kingdom of God; 2) war as a means of global domination and the thirst for power demonstrated by kings and empires; 3) war as a short-term and surgical means of justice.

    Jesus clearly forbids the first application of war. That is crystal clear. His Kingdom is birthed in hearts and any external means can never achieve a change of heart.
    Secondly, the entire narrative of Scripture illustrates the tragedy of the second (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Rome).

    However, there are sufficient hints in Scripture that minimal, targeted and restrained application of the third, as a means of justice, may be legitimate. I do not see anything in Scripture that speaks against this third application. All of the typical verses that are quoted by pacifists are given within the context of “establishing the Kingdom of God.” Romans 13 is probably the most relevant treatment of the topic in Scripture where the use of the sword as a means of punishing the wrongdoer is explicitly sanctioned. (I am comfortable saying the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan qualify.)

    Obviously this is some sort of a just war view. Where I think the just war position is deeply lacking is that it treats only the question of when to go to war, but ignores the long list of Biblical commands and lifestyles that ought to characterize our daily lives before, during and after war. (Warmongers can sit impatiently awaiting the “green light” to go and play war. Even when the theoretical criteria have been met, this is still not “just” or good. Abuse of prisoners of war is another example of not “loving” your enemies.)

    I think that the way we live as agents of new creation in the midst of the kingdoms of this world is to:
    –personally love our enemies (e.g. post-9/11 invite every Muslim we know over to our homes for dinner–perfect love drives out fear),
    –undertake the sort of sacrificial actions Richard Stears is promoting (see Rick’s comments above),
    –advocate for a reduction of the application of military action to be as precise, minimal and last resort as possible,
    –when we have intervened in a country we ought to quickly move to restore anything we have destroyed and promote the welfare of that country and its people.
    In other words, “Do unto others…”

    I think love encompasses the type of love exercised by the surgeon who has to amputate a limb. There are “violent” actions that at times are part of the bigger picture of love. Surgeons know when to amputate and when to pursue other courses of action.

    This view of the responsible role of human beings has nothing to do with thirst for power or trying to spread the Kingdom of God. It has everything to do with exercising our responsibility as vice-regents of God on earth. Likewise, that role is not humanism, but being wise and mature beings.

    1. In reading Carl Medearis and Ted Dekker’s book “Tea With Hezbollah” it becomes quite clear the justifications for war and the condemnations and good feelings toward one another across the sea are virtually mirror images. It is difficult not to realize that we are all being tested as to how we will relate to our fellowman.

      I was fully behind the war in Iraq and the vengeance relating to attrocities committed against the world at large during the Bush era. However, when I witnessed the pride and the deception causing the failure to attempt to communicate in peace with terrorists and leading to similar attrocities being performed with my own tax dollars – plus the bigotry building up within these United States of America – often in the very name of my religion, I was forced to read the Bible again in the light of God’s love for man and His unwillingness that any should perish.

      Although we attempt to justify war, we do not sanctify ourselves in any way close to being able to participate in it. As Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for the sins of all man, any blood we shed in His name is innocent blood and faces His refining fires in our hearts in discipline.

      The amputation of a limb by a surgeon is an act by a human being to save a life. Killing another human being in any way, shape, or form is the destruction by man of man and faces the judgment of an almighty God who alone is righteous. If he wants them dead, it will happen without our use of weapons.

      The discipline for terrorism – whether committed by a Muslim or a Christian should be carried through on the basis of international law and ultimately faces the consequences of God. Failure to communicate His love with one another – being angry – also faces consequences both here on earth, and on our judgment day.

      I cannot imagine Jesus Christ killing anyone. As He IS King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we absolutely can run nations according to His standards. Are not all our nations and rulers governed by the ultimate ideological influences of the masses? Doesn’t the Bible say we will eventually all fall in line with His way of Love?

      1. As a side note, I am amazed that some of the same Christians I speak to who are justifying the killing of millions of Muslims according to the same Old Testament the Muslims also have no qualms in killing illegal aliens attempting to cross our southern border into our promised land. Although I might understand this from those who do not claim the label of Christian, I am stunned when I hear it from those who cherish the label.

        I am presently reading Jeremiah. Did you know the entymology for the verb baal is to own, rule, possess? As a parent of a soldier, and a prayer warrior for other parents of soldiers, I cannot help but feel we are sacrificing our children in honor of our pride as we serve our images as God’s chosen people.