Why Islam Is Superior To Christendom

Posted on March 14, 2011

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Let me start off with some disclaimers. This article is speaking strictly about ideologies, and not people specifically. I will be speaking about Islamic ideology, and also about the system of Christendom. If you take personal offense regarding something that I have discussed here, please know that is not my intention. My intention is to bring some things to light that I feel is largely missing from our public discourse about these issues.

Here in the United States, there is much discussion about the nature of Islam. On occasion, I am requested to speak and hold workshops at Christian conferences regarding Islam. (I will be doing 2 this month) The two questions that are regularly asked by Christians are:

1. Is Islam truly violent?

2. What should the church’s response to Islam be?

The first question is an interesting question. I believe we need to make a distinction, however, between Islam as an ideology and Muslims when dealing with this question. Islam is an ideology, and Muslims are people who consider themselves as followers of this ideology. Much of my family are Muslims. I can tell you that they are wonderful people whom I love dearly. They are not violent at all, but are very kind and generous people.

With that said, let me answer the question. Islam is certainly a violent ideology. The violent political and social aspects of Islamic ideology are continually discussed in many Christian circles these days. I do not wish to add to the noise of this conversation. What I would like to discuss, however, is what I would consider to be the main spiritual issue that Christians seem to be largely ignorant of when thinking about Islam.

The Spiritual violence of Islamic ideology

My first memory of being assaulted with Islamic ideology occurred around the time I was six years old. The memory is still very vivid in my mind. My dad took my brother and I to a Mosque / Masjid in central Ohio early one Sunday morning. Although Friday is the Muslim equivalent of the Sabbath in which Muslims attend the Mosque to pray and hear a sermon, many Muslim communities in the U.S. hold events on Sunday mornings for cultural reasons.

On this particular Sunday, I remember entering the Mosque and instantly smelling fresh coffee. At one time, the Mosque had been a grand mansion. It had four floors, and an elegant staircase. It looked massive to the perspective of a six year-old. I remember seeing a line at the food table of men and women filling their plates with pastries. My brother and I were given styrofoam cups of punch and a plate full of doughnuts. We were excited as we were ushered upstairs to our classrooms with the other children.

I remember sitting around a large rectangular table stretching to sit up straight so I could see everything. (I was pretty small for my age) Our teacher that day was a middle aged balding man. He looked scholarly with his glasses draped around his nose. He instructed us to open our workbooks. That’s when the assault began. Although what was shared was only a few sentences, it did deep damage to me. The first and major pillar of Islam is a teaching called the ‘Tawhid’ which unpacks the Islamic teaching of the ‘oneness’ of God found in Sura 112 from Islam’s holy book called the Qur’an.

Basically speaking, this pillar of Islam teaches that there is one God, and that he does not have any ‘partners’, so to speak. This might sound harmless on the surface, but when this teaching is unpacked with other Islamic verses that explain further, it is truly devastating. The next words that came out of my teacher’s mouth left a deep void in my soul. I will never forget it. My teacher looked at all of us with serious intensity and said the following:

“God is not a Father & He has no Son.”

Those words pierced my soul. Even writing these words now brings back a deep internal pain that has affected me since that day. As a six year old, those words seemed violent, although I had no idea why. This teacher went on to explain, in words that a six year old could understand, that it was a serious sin to call any man the ‘Son of God’. To think of God as a Father who has a Son is to attribute human attributes to God. This, according to Islamic ideology, is the worst thing a person could do. When I went home from the mosque that day, something felt different. My heart felt empty as if someone had broken in and had stolen something.

Do you see how significant this is? God is, by very nature and character, a Father. God has always been a Father from Eternity past, before time even began. Why has God always been a Father? Because God has always had a Son! Likewise, the Son has always been the Son because He has always has a Father. The Son can only be a Son if He has a Father. Likewise, God the Father is not truly a Father unless he has a Son. The union & love between the Father & the Son is an eternal one (John 17:5, 24). The Father & the Son are eternal. They have no beginning, and will have no end.

According to the scriptures, humans have been created in the image of God. NOTHING good originates with us as created beings. God is the source and originator of all things. The concept of Father and Son originate in the character and nature of God. We as humans can only understand and demonstrate family because God Himself, in the trinity, exists as a family within Himself.

The understanding of God as a Father & God as a Son is a revolutionary understanding. One of the main focal points of Jesus’ ministry was to reveal the character and nature of God as a loving Father. This was a concept of God that was not fully understood previous to Jesus’ ministry. Jesus referred to His Father in a way that no Jew before Him would have dared. Jesus intimately referred to God as ‘Abba.’ This literally can be translated as ‘Daddy.’ This was blasphemous to the Jewish religious leaders of His day, and it is also blasphemous to Muslims to hear things like this as well.

Jesus came to bring us into the trinitarian family of God. It took the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and bring us into Himself. By being placed ‘in Christ’, we now know God the Father the same way Jesus knows Him, as Daddy!

That’s not the half of it however. The Father also has a mission. This mission is not new, although it was a mystery until Christ came on the scene. The Father’s mission is to reveal and advance His Son. According to the scriptures, God is summing up all things under the feet of Christ. This is what the Father was preparing to do since the beginning of time before Jesus’ birth on the earth, and this is what the Father has been doing since His resurrection. All of history and time revolve around the revelation of Jesus Christ. It truly is all about Him. All the work of God falls under the umbrella of declaring and advancing the Son of God.

As you may know, the Holy Spirit was given to supernaturally bring us ‘into Christ’. We, the people who have been brought into Christ (the church), are Christ’s literal body. The work of the Holy Spirit is to advance the Son of God on the earth through His body. Regardless of what you may have heard in your tradition, this is what the Holy Spirit is actually focused on accomplishing.

Two Spirits At Work

According to the scriptures, there are two spirits actively working in the world today. Like I mentioned above, there is the work of the Holy Spirit who is advancing & expressing Christ on the earth through His body. There is the work of another spirit however. According to scripture, this other spirit is actively working as well. The aim of this spirit is to oppose the work of the Holy Spirit. This spirit opposes the work of the Holy Spirit by resisting and denying the essence and person of Jesus Christ. This is the Spirit of anti-Christ. Consider this passage of scripture from 1 John 2:22:

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

The words that I heard that day when I was six years old in the Mosque were words that were inspired by the spirit of antichrist. There are many systems that exist in the world that promote this spirit. Islam is certainly one of them. Many Christians are clueless about this. While many are engaged in debate over the social and political aspects of Islam, there is no denial or debate about the fact that Islam denies the Father and the Son.

We all have a very deep seated need for a father. We were created by our creator with this desire for a father because ultimately only He can fulfill that deep need. We are brought into God’s internal family by us literally being placed ‘in Christ’. When we are brought into Christ Himself, this deep need for a Father is powerfully satisfied.

Since we get our identity from our family, being told that God is not our Father and that God has no Son is deeply and spiritually devastating to our souls. It is spiritually violent.

That brings us to our second question…how should the church respond to Islam? In order to answer this question, we need to understand this:

Islam Is Superior To Christendom

I can imagine that you are perplexed by this statement. Let me explain. The fullness of Christ is only found in one place. His fullness is found in and manifested by the church. Don’t take my word for it, read Ephesians 1:22-23. Christ fills all things through His church. The Spirit and manifestation of Christ triumphs over the spirit of the age which is the spirit of the antichrist.

I would like to draw a distinction, however, between what I call ‘christendom’ and the church. When scripture speaks of the church, it does not refer to a place where you attend once or twice a week to attend a meeting led by a selective group of people in which you passively watch people perform. You simply will NOT find that kind of description of the church in the scriptures.

The church of the New Testament is a community and priesthood of believers who are living by Christ’s indwelling life in deep community, who are actively (not passively) contributing Christ to the body through regular participatory meetings, and who operate under the direct headship of Christ as opposed to selective human headship. There is more that could be said about that, but I’ll leave it at that.

Most of what we see today is sectarianism. Most of what is called ‘church’ are simply institutions built around a popular leader(s), traditions, or a set of doctrinal tenants. This is what I am referring to when I say ‘Christendom.’ It is a far cry from the church described in the New Testament. This is not just my assessment, rather it is the assessment of many institutional church leaders today as well.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that God does not use people within these institutions, I am simply saying that Christ is not fully revealed unless His house is functioning together properly as the bride that she was designed to be. That is why it is vitally important to understand what the church actually is. The expression and manifestation of Jesus Christ is at stake.

If you go to the Muslim world, the system of ‘Christendom’ is powerless in the face of Islam. Most Christians within that system simply seek to survive and are riddled with fear. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but by and large, this is the unfortunate norm. I have been to the Muslim world, and I can tell you this is the case. Christ in not being fully expressed within that system and it is easy to see which spirit is in firm control. There is only one way the spirit of antichrist can and will retreat. When Jesus Christ is fully manifested through His body!

A few months ago I read a news report out of Iran that flat out stunned me! The supreme Ayatollah in Iran was publicly calling for the destruction of Iran’s thriving underground church. He went on to defend his actions. He said that Iran’s constitution allows for the existence and operation of the ‘recognized’ institutions. As a result, in his opinion no underground church movement needed to exist. He went on to list Catholic and Protestant mainline denominations that are legally allowed to exist in Iran. Iran’s government had no problem with them. They did have a problem with the underground church, however. They were called illegal, and were enemies of the state. He vowed to crush all the underground churches.

Isn’t it interesting to think about what is truly behind this violence? Why does the Iranian Islamic leadership not have a problem with ‘mainline’ institutional denominations, but want to violently crush the underground church? I can tell you why. Christ is being powerfully manifested and expressed through the organic church in Iran. Muslims in Iran are coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers. The antichrist spirit is losing ground and is angry.

Although there are believers within The institutional system of christendom, they are not able to fully function together with the body as prescribed by the New Testament. As a result, they are largely powerless. This is not only true in the Muslim world, this is also the case in Asia as well as here in the West.

My point is this…the church’s response should be to do what God is doing. God is only doing one thing; He is advancing the fullness and image of His Son through the building and advancing of His Son’s body, the church. This is not an individual calling, rather it is a corporate one that can only be expressed by a local community of believers.

The spirit of this age stands opposed to the revelation of Jesus Christ. As a result, our response should be none other than to put on display and manifest the fullness of Christ Himself through the building up of the body of Christ. Christ is the solution. Christ is reality. Christendom is simply a shadow of the reality of Christ.

Conclusion

While Islam may be superior to christendom, it is certainly NOT superior to the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is superior to all things. He is all, and is everything. He is our king. While you may be familiar with this, I thought it would be fitting to leave you with this 3 minute video presentation of Jesus Christ. Enjoy Him today, and may He be manifested throughout the earth! Please click here and watch…

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Posted in: Current Events