EAR Article at Anglican Ink

James Gibson wrote a helpful article on the East Africa Revival Network here. He interviews Dr. David Cashin, an advisor to the Network. Cashin says:

The reality is that there is a major turning of Muslims to Christ. It’s still very gradual. We saw some inklings of it in the 70’s, and with each passing decade, it’s expanded.”

Cashin credits Bishop Bilindabagabo for understanding a reality within Islam with which most Westerners are unfamiliar. “Increasingly, you have groups within Islam which are trying to force their version of Islam on everybody else,” he said. “What has happened over the past few years is that 30,000 Muslims have blown themselves up, and 90 per cent of them have done so in the presence of fellow Muslims. What is driving this is, if you have a kingdom of God that is established on earth by means of human hands through the agency of coercive violence, you’re going to have a mess.”

Radical Islam, where it has won out, has invariably created failed states, Cashin said. This has resulted in a backlash, particularly among youth who are beginning to question Islam as never before.

“That is why Christian missions need to focus on the Muslim world,” Cashin said. “We think of them as the ones that are most closed to the Gospel. I believe the opposite is true. They are the people most open to the Gospel right now. This is a time of harvest. Satan’s strategy is to get Christians to ignore Islam or, worse yet, to hate Islam. That is the only way to stop the Muslims from coming to Christ.”

Stop the Spread of Islam in Africa

You can donate to the East Africa Revival Network here. A bit of background:

The East Africa Revival Network is an initiative to prevent the people of East Africa from falling behind an Islamic Curtain. And we need your help.

After World War II an Iron Curtain of Atheistic Communism fell over the peoples of Europe. Churches were closed, Christian leaders were imprisoned, practicing Christians were persecuted in innumerable ways and there could be no open proclamation of the Gospel. Two generations of young Europeans were effectively ‘lost’ to the Kingdom of God.

Islam is growing fast in Africa. Already more than 50% of the inhabitants of Africa are Muslim. It has been stated and echoed again and again by Muslim leaders that Africa will become the first “Islamic Continent”. They are very serious about this. The Iranians, Libyans, the Saudis,and many other members of the 57 nation Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) are pouring many millions of dollars into African nations to build mosques, Islamic schools, clinics and to support a literal army of Islamic teachers and preachers. East Africa (Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the Eastern Congo) is a priority target for Islamic takeover because of it’s poverty and the ancient roots of Arab businessmen here Tanzania is alreaddy more than 30% Muslim, the tipping point for domination is about 40%.

At a Jerusalem Conference of church leaders Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo was approached by two Tanzanian leaders who said, “You there in Eastern Rwanda still have revival. The churches in the path of the Islamic takeover in Tanzania are weak, worldly, or fractured. Can’t you come over and help us before the Muslims takeover? Otherwise Christians wll become a persecuted minority.”

Bishop Alexis had experienced cruel ethnic persecution in Rwanda and had been forced to be a refugee from his own country three times. He heard their cry and prayed. Then he invited these two Tanzanian leaders to the East Africa Revival Convention held in his Gahini Diocese each year and by faith announced God had raised up 18 laymen who were experience and committed evangelists to send to Tanzania to work with the churches there that are directly confronted by the Islamic Invasion. Out of this was born the Vision for an inter-denominational, international ministry of partners that would enlarge and accelerate the Mission to confront the Islamic Challenge with a revival of an evangelistic, missionary, church planting spirit.

The Non-Neutral State as Theologian

We are told by our secularist masters that government is to remain free of religion. It should take no position on religious matters. But as Greg Bahnsen said:

The alternative to God’s law is not no law at all, but human law; governments which do not guard the majesty of God and His righteous law have no alternative and choice but to uphold the majesty of their own human authority … If no higher law is adhered to, then the law of man is absolute; there is no logical barrier to stop such a state from becoming totalitarian. When the state’s will is substituted for God’s will, then the only real crimes become crimes against the state (as in Imperial Rome, present day Russia, and much of the United States), for example, treason, defection, and so forth.

And so it is that our government has no problem ruling on the finer points of religion when it threatens our order. One think tank that has done the government’s thinking for it for decades is the RAND Corporation. In a report from RAND titled “Deradicalizing Islamist Extremists“, published in 2010 we find advocacy for one form of Islamic theology against other forms. For example:

Nevertheless, precisely because Islamist ideology plays such a central role in these groups, it is necessary to change militant Islamists’ beliefs as well as their behavior. Moreover, while it may be difficult to alter the worldview of Islamist radicals, there is an opportunity to use mainstream Islamic theology to undermine radical Islamist ideology.

Let me say here that the government is right to oppose Islam, but what is it opposing it with? Simply put: secularism. There is no real concern for any truth claims, all such claims are assumed to be so many baubles for the unenlightened masses. The goal is to get these Muslims to embrace an ideology that is effectively neutral towards truth claims. You can believe in Jesus or Allah, it doesn’t matter, so long as your beliefs make absolutely no claims on politics or the State. Once they start doing that, the State will not tolerate them, and thus the State makes a theological claim of its own. Witness:

Because ideology is such an important driver of violent Islamism, most of the existing deradicalization programs in Muslim countries include an ideological component in the form of a theological dialogue. These prison-based programs enlist imams, Islamic scholars, and some- times even former radicals to discuss Islamic theology in an effort to convince militants that their interpretation of Islam is wrong. Since the discussions “are based on a common reference to Islam and Islamic law as the ultimate source of truth and legitimacy,” they are more compelling than other approaches and, at times, effective in moderating the prisoner’s beliefs.


A credible interlocutor who was knowledgeable about both Islamic theology and democratic ideals was used to conduct the ideological intervention, which consisted of challenging the political and social underpinnings of the radical narrative as well as its theological foundation.

In these cases, once a trigger emerged, the leaders of the radical organization began a period of internal deliberation. When presented by credible interlocutors—usually accomplished Islamic scholars, or ex-militants—mainstream Islamic theology served to push the mili- tant leaders to disengage and deradicalize by raising questions about their ideology. Mainstream Islamic teachings pulled the leaders toward moderation by offering them a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of God, as well as a way to justify the strategic and ideological shift to their followers. Because Islamic jurisprudence prohibits many types of jihad, the militant leaders could present the organization’s moderation as a correction of past beliefs that were the result of a misreading of Islamic theology.

Because counter-radicalization and deradicalization programs are embedded in a war of ideas, the counterideological component of these programs is extremely important. Most Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian programs employ a form of theological dialogue in which main- stream scholars and sometimes even former radicals engage extremists in discussions of Islamic theology in an effort to convince the militants that their interpretation of Islam is wrong.

As I said, the claims of Islam are evil and should be resisted, but they cannot logically be fought by a secular state claiming neutrality as the highest value of all. They can and should be combatted by a renewed Christendom, one which combats the rule of Allah with the rule of the Son of God, now reigning at his Father’s right hand. In the end, Christians need to realize that America is not fighting for truth, but for neutrality as the highest god. We can be wise enough to let it conduct this battle as a necessary precursor for the spread of the Gospel, but we cannot think that this equates with the Great Commission. And if we embrace the RAND way of thinking about religion, we will see this same logic turned on us – keep your religion in your head and you will be fine, but if it makes claims on the State, woe betide you!

The East Africa Revival Network

Rwanda is sending missionaries into Tanzania to combat the spread of Islam there. The East Africa Revival Network was created to facilitate this missionary effort. The background story is:

Islam is growing fast in Africa. Already more than 50% of the inhabitants of Africa are Muslim. It has been stated and echoed again and again by Muslim leaders that Africa will become the first “Islamic Continent”. They are very serious about this. The Iranians, Libyans, the Saudis,and many other members of the 57 nation Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) are pouring many millions of dollars into African nations to build mosques, Islamic schools, clinics and to support a literal army of Islamic teachers and preachers. East Africa (Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the Eastern Congo) is a priority target for Islamic takeover because of it’s poverty and the ancient roots of Arab businessmen here Tanzania is alreaddy more than 30% Muslim, the tipping point for domination is about 40%.

At a Jerusalem Conference of church leaders Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo was approached by two Tanzanian leaders who said, “You there in Eastern Rwanda still have revival. The churches in the path of the Islamic takeover in Tanzania are weak, worldly, or fractured. Can’t you come over and help us before the Muslims takeover? Otherwise Christians wll become a persecuted minority.”

Bishop Alexis had experienced cruel ethnic persecution in Rwanda and had been forced to be a refugee from his own country three times. He heard their cry and prayed. Then he invited these two Tanzanian leaders to the East Africa Revival Convention held in his Gahini Diocese each year and by faith announced God had raised up 18 laymen who were experience and committed evangelists to send to Tanzania to work with the churches there that are directly confronted by the Islamic Invasion. Out of this was born the Vision for an inter-denominational, international ministry of partners that would enlarge and accelerate the Mission to confront the Islamic Challenge with a revival of an evangelistic, missionary, church planting spirit.

Consider supporting this important effort in prayer and with money.

TLS Review of Islamic Books

Reviewing several recent books on Islam for the TLS, Jonathan Benthall shows the irony in an Islamic scholar who advocated no compulsion in religion and was jailed by Iran for his exegesis!

The reformist Iranian scholar Mohsen Kadivar, in an article contributed to The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking politics and modernity, edited by Mehran Kamrava (2006), asserts that “most available interpretations of Islam do not welcome the freedom of religion and belief”, before going on to argue that a more correct interpretation of Scripture and valid traditions accepts the principle of “no compulsion in religion” (see 2:256 in the Qur’an). But Kadivar has been punished by eighteen months in an Iranian prison for his exegesis of Scripture, and many other reformists, in Iran and elsewhere, have suffered worse.

He notes an event of interest to me mentioned in Scott Atran’s book Talking to the Enemy, where:

…the actions, during the massacres in Rwanda, of the many Muslims who saved thousands of non-Muslims, both Tutsi and Hutu, when churches, governments and secular NGOs turned away.

He also mentions that the RAND corporation sought to intervene in the theology of Islam in 2004:

Some other analysts are worried that Western-inspired initiatives, such as that embarked on briefly by the RAND Corporation in 2004, to intervene in the theology of another religion may have unintended consequences, one of which is that progressive ulama are exposed to allegations that they are tools of Western intelligence services.

I had never heard of this, but I tracked down some RAND reports and hope to look into it a bit more. How fascinating that our ‘secular’ government has no problem ruling on what religious tenets are actually acceptable to the State. The left has no problem deploying theology when it suits them.

 

The Donme

Zinovy Zinik writes of traveling to Turkey to:

retrace the steps of the self-proclaimed Messiah Shabbatai Zvi, A Turkish Jew from Izmir, who, having created in 1666 an atmosphere of apocalyptic hysteria across the entire Jewish world, suddenly, after a prolonged audience with the Sultan, converted to Islam. Shocked and amazed by his conversion, thousands of adherents saw in it some mysterious and arcane act of self-sacrifice, and followed his example. Thus was created a fascinating sect of Jewish Muslims whose descendants may still be found in modern Turkey. […]

They are still known in Turkey under the pejorative name Donme, which means both converts and turncoats. The Jews accused them of apostasy, while some nationalist Turks suspected them of being Jews in disguise, those who hide the yarmulke under the fez. No wonder they eventually embraced the European Enlightenment and created a network of the best secular schools in Turkey.

Averroes on Types of Believers

Averroes described three types of believers. He is of course speaking of Muslims, but I wonder if the description wouldn’t apply to Christians as well? David Knowles summarizes the views of Averroes as follows:

He himself distinguished three classes of believers. There is the ordinary, uncultured man, who is only capable of, and is satisfied by, authoritative and emotional arguments: for him there is the bare and literal word of revelation. Next, there is the moderately educated man, the dialectician and theologian, who is satisfied with probable or persuasive arguments. Finally, there is the rare and highly intelligent man, the philosopher, who needs absolute demonstration.

 

Averroes on Aristotle

Islam fell completely under the sway of Aristotelian and neo-Platonic thought. Listen to the incredible praise that Averroes had for Aristotle:

I consider that that man (Aristotle) was a rule and exemplar which nature devised to show the final perfection of man…the teaching of Aristotle is the supreme truth, because his mind was the final expression of the human mind. Wherefore it has been well said that he was created and given to us by divine providence that we might know all there is to be known. Let us praise God, who set this man apart from all others in perfection, and made him approach very near to the highest dignity humanity can attain.

The More Things Change…

I am reading The Decline and Fall of the British Empire and I came across this passage on Egypt during British rule:

On 9 March 1919 he [Said Zaghlul] and three associates were arrested for sedition and deported to Malta. This provoked an explosion of wrath. Protests and demonstrations rocked Cairo. Chanting “Free Egypt” and “Death to the English,” students poured through the gates of el-Azhar, the radiant mosque revered as the most ancient seat of learning in the Muslim world. For the first time women engaged in political action, casting off their veils and waving banners as they marched through the streets. Crowds attacked Europeans, burned houses, smashed trains and looted shops…

Hideous instances of murder and mutilation occurred, often carried out by terrorists who were promised paradise in return for martyrdom. When a British police officer was shot in front of the Abdin Palace men and boys danced in his blood, shouting “Allah, Allah,” and women urinated on his corpse.

Links

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MG12Ak03.html

http://www.amazon.com/Decline-Fall-British-Empire/dp/0224062220