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7.22.2005    |    An Islamic Reformation?
If you google "Islamic Reformation", you will get a huge assortment of information, opinions, and outright fabrications.

Much of it is quite interesting, to say the least. Here, for example, via Front Page, I discoved "Walid Shoebat", a former PLO terrorist-turned Christian Zionist. Go figure.

There are many conflicting opinions, too much parsing of the Koran, too little application of Occam's Razor. My take on the subject is simple, perhaps overly so. But I think that the very use of the term, "Reformation," with the intended comparison to the Protestant Reformation, is not valid.

Some points:
  1. In Islam there is no separation of mosque and state; Islam appears to have never varied from this basic principle.

  2. In Christianity, Jesus himself tells us to "render unto Caesar" (Mt. 22:21); since the mid-17th century, one essential feature of true Protestants has been their intentional separation from the secular government (and one could even argue as to whether Geneva, Bern, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to take three examples, were ever truly theocracies).

  3. Islam requires that all submit to Islam, preferably by becoming Muslim, but if they do not, then accepting second-class status in an Islamic state, or, if they resist, "cutting of the neck." The dignity of the individual is less important than the unity of Islam. These are impossible to rank in Christianity

  4. Jesus has, properly, shown Christians that all men (and women) are equal in dignity and worthy of God's love. We Protestants may believe that God's judgment will fall on all, but that is up to God to execute-- not us.
  5. Muslims are told by their holy book to include armed force in spreading the faith; Christians who follow Jesus' example will love their enemies; the use of force to spread the Gospel would be an anathema to a true Christian.
Stated differently, the heart of the Protestant Reformation was the recovery of the original, and, in our view, authentic Christianity -- Christianity that is true to the Gospel of Jesus, not the gospel of churchmen. Those who bring up the Crusades*, the Inquisition, and all the other evil perpetrated or allowed by "Christians" must know this: those who did so were Christian in name only. Our Protestant Reformation changed many things, but it could not change the fact that all men are born in sin -- churchmen included. So we Christians acknowledge our sins, and at least attempt to correct our actions. Attempt. We're still trying to get it right, and, though we may fail, at least our theory is good. With Islam, the theory is not good.

We do share some things with Islam, one of which is our belief that our faith is the one true faith -- as they believe theirs to be. We both can't be right. Islam has, since its inception, attempted to prevail by the sword. Christianity, after it became a state religion, and until after the Reformation was well underway, pretty much did the same thing.

Christians, by and large, have become tolerant of false religions in our midst. This, too, is a hallmark of the Reformation, as it now includes the freedom of the individual's conscience to worship as he sees fit. In brief, we are already tolerant of Muslims in our midst; as Londoners should now realize, far too much, in my opinion.

Christians tolerate Muslims in the here and now; Muslims are, shall we say, somewhat less so inclined. If you dispute this, try preaching the Lord's Gospel on the streets of most any Muslim nation -- and be prepared to run for your very life. And it all traces back to their holy book, the Koran.

The only "reformation" that would work would be for Islam to abandon their scripture, or add some new passages that will truly allow peaceful coexistence and recognize that each of us is alike in human dignity -- regardless of our professed religion. However, so long as the Koran is viewed as the literal word of Allah, and therefore unchangeable, they will be a religion of war, and not of peace.

*No, I'm not among those who consider the Crusades to be an embarrassment. Just that there was quite a bit of vile, unchristian behavior during them, to say the least. Then there's that whole indulgences thing for going on a holy war; the whole thing reeks, even if it was simply a reaction to Muslim aggression.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.