Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why Churches remain ignorant of Islam…

Bill Warner, the publisher of Political, recently wrote a piece called “The Silence of the Pulpits.”  Read it.  It explains why Islam has our leaders mesmerized – why ignorance of the truth of Islam is so pervasive in our society, government, schools, and churches.

In working with a local pastor to give a presentation to a local group on the subject of “Why 95% of our churches are oblivious to the Islamic threat”, I brainstormed a number of reasons for this suicidal situation.  Here are most of the reasons.  You may be able to think of others.  In some respects the reasons depend on the denomination and the part of the country the church is located in.

Here they are – why 95% of the churches either support or are silent on Islam:

    • Fear of losing 501 c (3) status:  Most churches don’t want to instigate complaining parishioners to initiate an IRS investigation.  In fact, churches can do much, much more than they do with regard to “perceived” politics, and not violate their tax status at all.
    • Perception of what is “political” and “off limits”:   Churches have given up way to much of their religious responsibilities and moral high ground to the alleged “no go zone” of politics.  They have forgetten that just about every aspect of politics deals directly or indirectly with some aspect of morality and Christian principles.  Jesus certainly did not avoid “politics.”  In fact, that is what got him killed.  Ahaa.  Do we have thousands of pastors fearful of death?  Hardly.  They are zillions of miles from that possibility.
    • Fear of offending parishioners:  This is a significant reason for silence, especially in churches whose highest value is vested in the “church growth movement.”  Numbers are everything.  Orthodox Christian doctrine is offensive to a lot of people, especially in the face of our perverted culture.  Remain silent about the truth.  Do not judge.  Do not offend.
    • Liberal theology:  Homosexuality, gay marriage, out of wedlock cohabitation, drug induced behaviors are all generally mainstream today.  Most mainline churches not only tolerate but promote that culture.  They have turned centuries of Biblical interpretation on its head to capitulate to the demands of the culture.  Part of this is the cult of “nice” where we are called “bigot” if we do not tolerate every other religion, behavior, and morality; if we don’t turn the other cheek; if we judge; if we struggle to consider devil worshippers or Islamists “brothers”, if we try to defend our faith, or if we deny that Allah is the same as God the Father.
    • Fear of loss of revenue:  This is a motivator in the cult of “nice” and of not offending with the truth.
    • Denominational hierarchical mandates:  Most mainline denominations have a national church hierarchy:  Bishops in Catholic and Episcopal Churches, Synods, Presbyteries, etc. in other churches.   These entities  embrace top down liturgies and topical boundaries for the local churches in their denominations.  The larger the organization, the more authoritarian and the more liberal they seem to become.  They seem incapable of adapting to the changing needs of the culture or in transgressing their ecumenical priorities.
    • Ecumenicalism:  Denominations try to find commonality with other denomination.  They try to reverse centuries of church splits.  While well meaning, they often carry their wishful thinking to extremes.  Mainline denominations have ecumenical policies and outreach to Muslims, not to convert them, but to “coexist” and find common ground.  The “A Common Word Between You and Us” movement is an example of the ignorant gullibility of Christian denominations.  The truth conflicts with these efforts.
    • Ignorance of Islam:  All of the above keep the churches neutralized from ever initiating an understanding of the truth of Islam.  The denominational leaders, the priests, the pastors, the church leaders, and the parishioners remain ignorant of the truth of Islam.  So how can churches adjust and react?  They don’t.  They ignore.
    • Ultra narrow view of the mission of the Church:  Many churches believe their only purpose on earth is conversion of people to Christ.  Every other teaching of scripture such as Christian growth, discipleship, morality, and being salt and light in the culture is off limits – simply ignored.
    • Lack of faith/belief in their own religion:  Liberalism in Christianity and Judaism has brought about indifference and lack of faith.  Lacking faith, any ideology becomes as worthy of respect as any other.  That is how Islam can become “respected.”  It doesn’t matter that it is also intolerant, supremacist, fascist, and militant.  Hey, its just another religion.  We need to respect it.
    • Prosperity and self-indulgence:  We are a fat and happy culture.  We lack for nothing.  We are immersed in our movies, music, technology, sports, cruises, and entertainment.  If our jobs don’t provide, government provides.  Where is the need for God?  Or the church?  Churches have become an extension of our feel good, lack for nothing culture.  If too much “God” or “Jesus” is inserted into church, the folks become uneasy and may be turned off, because, really, there is no need for such things.  Interest in spiritual or religious matters is toward the very bottom of our priority lists. Concern with any distinctions between Islam and Christianity is also right there near the bottom of the list.

These are not merely the reasons why churches ignore the threat of Islam.  They are also the reasons why churches ignore the teaching and preaching of Christianity. 

Can you add additional reasons to this list?   And how about the solutions.  Can the list of possible solutions be a lot longer than the list of reasons for our failures?

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