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Click here to purchase a printed copy of this bookChapter 1: The Challenge of Islam in the 21st Century

by Gleason Archer

W

e live in a world of unusual fervor. With the steady erosion of the theological convictions and moral standards which gave our country a special measure of spiritual direction and national self-confidence, we find ourselves in a malaise of confusion and bewilderment as we watch our young people sucked into the morass of impurity, senseless cruelty and degradation.

With the Supreme Court discouraging our public schools from recognizing or respecting the law of God and interpreting the First Amendment of our Constitution to mandate the separation of religion and state rather than church and state, our children have grown up with the delusion that man, not God, is the author of the moral law, and that he is competent to alter it to suit his own taste, except insofar as law enforcement agencies may interfere to curb one’s passions and lusts. The soil is now prepared for sowing the evil seed of man-invented cults and doctrines of demons, springing up as the noxious weeds of depravity, corruption and despair.

Into this scene comes a new population wave from the Near East consisting of Arabic-speaking peoples, most of whom are of the Muslim faith. They have come from Islamic lands which countenance no other faith but that of the Qur’an. There all religious defection is sure to be followed by ostracism and persecution, if not outright imprisonment as traitors to their country and as a disgrace to their family line.

A Permissive and Nominally Christian Society

But here in North America they find a completely permissive attitude towards religion. Everyone is free to choose whatever faith appeals to him, without any fear of penal consequences. They find themselves in the midst of a nominally Christian nation, where Jesus Christ is ostensibly honored as the God-man who dies on the cross to save sinners from the guilt and penalty of sin. They are told by Christians that His Holy Spirit is ready and willing to take over the control of the believer’s heart and life and make him a new creature.

Nevertheless, this amendment of life and character have no saving power for the converts to the Christian faith, but rather it is only on the ground of Christ’s bearing their penalty of death as their substitute that God Almighty can justly forgive their sin and accept them as His children for their eternal home in heaven.

Islamic Pre-conceptions of Christianity

Now the Arab immigrant finds all of those teachings quite preposterous. In the first place, he has been taught from childhood that the crucifixion was just a hoax; Jesus the son of Mary never died on the cross at all. Allah miraculously took Him up to heaven and substituted an anonymous look-alike to suffer on the cross in His place. Or else, according to the Pakistani Ahmadiyya teaching, Jesus may have been nailed to the cross, but he only swooned there and appeared to be dead when they took his body from the cross. He awoke from his coma later and worked his way out of his grave clothes and out of his tomb, and then appeared to his disciples as still alive. He later left Palestine and wandered over to India, where ultimately he died.

Perceived Hypocrisy

Next the Muslim newcomer observes that most Christians do not take very seriously the standards of godly conduct to which they theoretically subscribe. They do not behave like born-again believers with changed lives. The Arab observes with horror that violence and murder are commonplace in America, especially in our larger cities, and that sodomy and the right to slaughter babies before birth are actually protected by law. Alcohol, forbidden to the Muslim in this life, is promoted as perfectly legitimate and is freely commended on television and billboards throughout our country. Small wonder if he comes to the conclusion that Christianity is a religion for degenerates, and that it is to be rated as far inferior to the Islamic faith. The prospects of winning him to Christian faith are meager indeed.

A Confession of Inadequacy

To our shame we must confess that as a nation we have largely betrayed the cause of Christ and besmirched His glory before the heathen. The prevalence of fornication among our society makes a mockery of our professed adherence to Biblical morality. The widespread use of mind-destroying drugs and narcotics of every description seems to link Christianity with contemptible degeneracy rather than with deliverance from sin. Therefore, the Muslim newcomer concludes that there are no genuine values to be found in the Christian faith, and that those who adhere to it need to be confronted with the superior standards of the Qur’an.

A Call to Action

Any analytical study of the Islamic faith is meaningless without a personal commitment to godliness and excellence on the part of the believer. Muslims want to see Christ in the believer, not just hear about Christ from a lecture. In a very real sense, the believer is the only Bible a Muslim will ever read. Yes, one can be informed; Between Christ and Mohammed is an attempt to meet a need for information. But the tremendous challenge of Islam can only be met by an equally greater challenge to godliness, commitment, and truth in deed as well as in faith.

Our mind-set to Muslims must be that of the Apostle Paul:

To the weak I became weak in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some of them.[1]

Toward this end, we must learn what the Muslims believe, and we must be assured of what we believe, so that by reaching out we may share the salvation of Christ with the lost.


[1]First Corinthians 9:22.


Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Appendix

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