Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (10/10/2014)

Larry Who

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Each Friday I am praying and fasting for the nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world, as of 2014. This week I pray and fast for:

Saudi Arabia. 29.9 million people with 1.25 million Christians.

The open practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, and conversion to another faith is punishable by death. Most Christians are ex-pats from Asia or Africa. During 2013, several Christian migrant fellowships were raided by police, and tens of worshippers detained and deported. Muslim- background believers run the risk of honor killing if their faith is discovered. Yet a small but growing number of Muslims are coming to Christ and sharing their faith on the internet and satellite TV. (Open Doors Watch List.)

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and homeland for Islam. Most Saudis follow the strict form of Wahhabi Islam, which is known for its…

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God And His Mysterious Ways

A Christian Worldview of Fiction

Some people try to define God’s work, and therefore to define God—sort of like trying to photograph a double rainbow that stretches across the sky. If you could just snap the picture, then you’d have the rainbow for always.

God doesn’t operate in such a way that we can ever capture Him. Yet—and here’s is one of the most mysterious of His Ways—He voluntarily, willfully declares my heart His home.

I think of Joseph resisting the sexual temptations Potiphar’s wife threw at him day after day, only to end up in prison. Well, not “end up” because he moved from the outhouse to the penthouse in a mere thirteen years. Thirteen years that undoubtedly had Joseph thinking nothing would ever change, that his life was going to continue on and on and on in the dungeon. But it didn’t. God had big things in store for Joseph.

I think of…

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Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Living Together in the Word

Daily Readings

Reading 1 Gal 3:22-29
Responsorial Psalm Ps 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
R(8s) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
Gospel Lk 11:27-28
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

While this may appear to be another one of the times Jesus “disses” His mother He is instead using her to show greatness.  Think about Mary’s response in Lk 1:38 I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary heard the word spoken to her and she accepted what that meant for her.  It is in hearing the word of God that we are blessed and we find joy in living His word in our lives.  Our goal is union with God.  As St. Augustine says “We were made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in…

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ISLAM: ONE AND THE SAME

There is no way you can truly comprehend Islam without first understanding the history of Christian heresies. The two are tied together. What an appropriate thing in this school that upholds the authority of the Word of God, to understand the danger of heresies; not just for what it does now but what it dos for the next generation and the ones to come after that.
As many have know in the study of Church history, the first 500years of the Church was plagued by a number of heresies; many of which have been redressed in nice ‘clothes’ now and sort of dusted off, and they are trying to invade the Church again. These heresies have mostly to do with the nature of the Trinity, and more importantly it has to do with the nature of Christ Jesus and his person- and there were so many of them: I just give you three as a highlight.

Aryanism reached its zenith in 320 BC. An Aryan in Alexandria thought that Christ had two distinct natures: his divinity and his humanity; and he thought that only the Father was eternal and therefore the Son couldn’t possibly be infinite. Therefore, the Son was created; and that is why in 325 BC the council of Nicaea met- all the bishops of the Church and particularly, Bishop Athanasius fought Aryan, tooth and nail in the Church of Alexandria in Egypt. It was there that the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to that terrible heresy.

Then there was Nestorius who was the bishop of Constantinople, between 428AD and 431AD . Nestorius insisted that the human Jesus was crucified and therefore atonement is not divine- that the Father Son relationship is only spiritual but they did not share the same nature. Some form of Nestoriansm even to this day still exist today in some of the Assyrian orthodox churches. The Council of Ephesus in 431AD condemned Nestorius as heretic and many of these churches in Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria put the Nestorians out of their territories and most of them, believe it or not, ended up in northern Arabia.

Perhaps, one of the most significant heresies of the Church that gave dattic rise to Islam is what is known as Ebeonites . One would think that after Paul condemned the judiazes in his epistle to the Galatians, that that kind of teaching which he referred to as another gospel and that he who propagated it must be accursed, would ceased or disappeared but indeed it grew and grew further south and it spread largely to some Jewish tribes who added Jesus to Judaism. That mixture of that corrupt Christianity and Judaism, which in its true sense was more Judaism than Christianity is what most probably influenced Mohammed the founder of Islam the most.

As a young man, Mohammed himself heard the bishop of Najran named Cox or Kaus , preach Ebonite heresy but he thought that that was Christianity: I will concentrate on two things. First and foremost, what we believe is of uttermost importance with regards to this subject under discussion. Why? This is because beside the obvious, modern day heresies in the Church from heterodoxy to universalism , hyper grace, to the insider movement, to the emerging church; all of these heresies are not only dangerous in themselves but what they would lead the next generation into that is probably even more dangerous for it is a Christian heresy, the Ebeonite that gave rise to Islam. The second thing I would want to emphasize or highlight is that Islam today particularly in the form of islamists is one of the two most dangerous threats to the Christian Church. The second one is of course, Secular Humanism.

In a bit of summary, Mohammed was born in Arabia around 570AD. His early life was sort of filled with tragedy for his father died when he was just 1year old. His mother died when he was 6, after which he went to live with his grandfather who also died when he was 8years. He then went to live with his uncle. As a child, he suffered from epilepsy but back then they had little understanding of epilepsy being a medical condition because of the fear of being associated with demon possession. In Mecca, Mohammed belonged to a very large and powerful tribe called Quraysh. This tribe really was made of two clans. One was very rich and powerful and the other which was poor and weak. He in fact belonged to the latter. The rich clan had the ownership of the running of the Kaaba in Mecca. It was the worship center of the numerous Arabian gods. Arabia in those days was highly and significantly polytheist: and because they had control of this kaaba, they automatically had control of the fees people paid to come to worship there and also pay homage to the gods. That rich clan oppressed the poor one. Later on, Mohammed would concentrate his war against his richer cousins; against this other clan.

However, instead of being a war between the rich and poor, it ended up being a war between polytheism and monotheism. Many of the so called Allah’s revelations to Mohammed about fighting and killing of which we hear and see daily came about during this period. About 3 decades ago, one had to go to great lengths to explain things concerning what has been happening , but now it is in the news everyday. Most of the suras that supposedly came were fashioned around that time when he was fighting with his rich clan relatives. More importantly, because he lived with his uncle, he learned his trade, as it was custom of those ancient eastern peoples. They traded in spices and other goods into Syria and Palestine , and also bring in stuff from there. They went back and forth to these places with their trading activities and he was clever. His first boss was his senior if 15years who later became his wife. She was 40 and he was 25. She was a business owner and owned this trading company. He ended up marrying her. In his travels, all to Syria and Palestine and through the Nabataean kingdom of Petra which was somewhere in present day Jordan- but as he travelled too Syria and those so called Christian lands , he saw the icons and the bells ringing and ‘churches’ and images; and he heard the Jewish shofar being blown and later on, it was seen that in his confusion regarding all that ‘spiritual’ chaos, what formed in his mind about Christianity came from what he saw doing in Syria and Palestine because he saw them bowing to Mary; and there were some who were also bowing to the ‘father’ and bowing to the ‘son’. The impression he then got about the Trinity was that it referred to father, mother and son-which he vehemently refuted and he even defended the virgin birth. Back then ,of course, they believed that the demons whom they called gods had intercourse with human women and produced children whom they referred to as the children of the gods. He said far be it from Allah to do that. Permit me to chip in something here: Allah was the chief-god of the Kaaba in Mecca. He was believed to be the most powerful of the pantheon of Arabian gods of Mohammed’s day. He believed that, Mary must have been an absolute virgin.

His life can be summarized in three stages. The first stage was when he was being discipled by his wife Kadijah’s cousin. He was a monk; an ebonite monk and was discipling Mohammed to become and ebonite priest in that ebonite Christian heresy church. He taught him the Old and the New Testaments and he began to understand, but not in the orthodox or conventional version. It was rather a distorted form that was enough to lead the unsuspecting astray. He taught him about monotheism and he began to see that all he wanted to do was basically try to help the Arabs to understand the God of Moses and Jesus. Then came the second stage in which this monk and cousin of his wife died and his confusion worsened. He did not know where to turn or where to go. His death left him to be bereft, bewildered and so depressed. He was caught in a situation of ‘where do I go from here?!’ He did not know which way to turn; especially as the opposition to his teachings about his one true ‘God’ heated up on the part of his cousins from the richer clan who had control of the Kaaba then. In that depression he began to contemplate who he was? What is he supposed to do? What is his mission? If he really wanted to change the people of Arabia and make them more like followers of the God of heaven: the God of Moses and Jesus. All that happened in that second stage of his tragic life. He also began to see that probably, as equal to Moses and Jesus, and in fact he reasoned: Moses was a prophet to the Jews and Jesus was messiah to the Christians then he must have been called to be a prophet to the Arabs. At that moment he believed that he was preaching the same message as Moses and Jesus. And he called the Quryash tribe to turn to the one true god, ‘Allah’.

Then comes the third stage in his life when he had to flee Mecca to medina because the opposition got hotter and hotter. It was in medina that his third stage actually began and took shape. This really is the other most important stage of Mohammed’s life, because to this day, it is what influences all we see on television and also hear on the news and read in the tabloids about islamists and extremists and fundamentalists Muslims or what have you. It all began about 623AD- after the initial acceptance of many of the Jewish tribes, the largest tribe and the strongest after some thought realized that they made a mistake. They turned on him and rejected him. This was really truly, the beginning of trouble. So what he did then was that, he killed all the men of that tribe, and sold the women and children into slavery. Up until this point in the life of Mohammed, he followed the Jewish customs: they were praying three times a day, they faced Jerusalem when they prayed and Saturday was a holiday; celebrated Jewish feasts. They even fasted for ten days and were using the Jewish shofar to call people to prayer. When the Jewish tribe turned on him everything changed. Things suddenly took a U-turn. He went one better. They were no longer going to pray three times a day but rather five times, no more facing Jerusalem but Mecca, Saturday gave way to Friday as a holiday , fasting changed from ten days to the whole month of Ramadan and the shofar gave way to the adhan or the call to prayer. After his success in the defeat of this richer clan cousins, he victoriously declared himself no longer to be equal to Moses and Jesus but he is in fact superior to them. any prophet who came before him or any teaching that is contrary to what he taught is to be superseded by what is in his Quran. The best known secret here is that there were many Qurans; just so many Qurans until the second caliphate and successor burnt a whole bunch of them and kept just one. He said any book viz the Old and New Testaments which he commended for people to read, he said there are contradictions and so what he has to say must be accepted for those words of the Judeo-Christian bible had been falsified.

Since all the teaching regarding the killing of enemies supposedly came by a revelation of the arch angel Gabriel to establish monotheism in Arabia, today, this very subject that you see in the news is creating a huge debate among Muslim scholars. Some of them have converted to Christianity. So many of the moderates of Islam are sort of modernist thinkers, and saying that these killing of the ‘infidels’, these supposedly revelations that came were only for Mohammed and they were only meant to last until the establishment of the religion but are not bound on all Muslims all the time. The others who grab the headlines in the media: extremists, islamists , fundamentalists; all these names, they so NO! These orders to kill infidels and be rewarded for it or subjugate them is for all time and all places until Islam becomes dominant globally. Here is something new for me and I want to share it with you. What happened in Egypt thirteen months ago was so unique in order to enforce this particular debate mentioned earlier. I must confess to you that for many years I felts that islamists, the purists, fundamentalists; whatever they call them had the upper hand because for one thing, they scare everybody else. They are terrifying even the modernist Muslims and were hiding some of them. Not too long ago the retiring head of BBC was interviewed and they asked him the question: “why are you so hard on the Christians as the BBC is and yet you never say anything negative about Islam?”. His answer was: ” Are you crazy?! Christians have broad shoulders; they can take anything, but if you say anything negative about Islam they would show up on Oxford street and they will kill us all”. How truthful that is- but until recently my thinking was, because of the violent nature of the Islamists and the constant advocacy of violence, not only in the Arab world but for the rest of the world, that modernist Muslim thinkers would lose in the end until I saw June 30, 2013 where 33million Egyptians took to the streets in all of the major cities rejecting Islamist rule by the Muslim Brotherhood which was only there for 12 months. That regime brought the country economically to its knees and that really brought out these modernists in force.

What does that mean? Are we out of the woods yet?? I don’t think so! It doesn’t mean that suddenly all these islamists are saying “oh yeah, since this is now becoming common thinking why don’t we all come to a consensus and tow that line ……….. in fact this is forcing them to become more violent and extremist. All these social movements from the Wahabis to the Muslim Brotherhood, to the Islamic Jihad, ISIS, AL Qaeda etc and how they have progressively become more and more violent in reaction. Not by any stretch of the imagination, we have turned the corner in terms of the violent part. This is globally well funded movement and it is not going anywhere anytime soon unless God himself intervenes. Now the biggest challenge of the secular government of Egypt is that things have become more dangerous. Here is some of the currents Islamist thinking:

• In their minds, since Allah gave his final and best revelations to Mohammed, therefore the previous revelations must surrender to Islam. By the way, the root word of Islam has absolutely nothing to do with ‘peace’ or salam . It is rooted in the word of submission or surrender. In the case of refusing to surrender on the part of the people of the book i.e. Christians and Jews, there is another option left: they become 2nd Class citizens or protected citizens as long as they pay ‘penalty’ or ‘punishment’. It could be up to 50% of ones income in addition to normal taxes. Its a form of humiliation to Jews and Christians and clearly the implication is the superiority of Islam. Even today, if it is going to cost a million dollars to build a mosque, it is going to cost two million dollars to buy a church that has been closed down in Europe, tear down the cross and put up the crescent by turning it into a mosque . They would rather spend the two million dollars because that is the highest form of superiority or the expression of it. On one Islamic satellite television, about eighteen months ago when the Muslim Brotherhood still had rule over Egypt, some Muslim scholars many of whom are in prison right now under the secular government, were having this discussion and one of the said: “..this two billion dollars that America pays Egypt, the penalty for being an infidel nation, if they want to avoid the wrath of Islam, they better keep paying”. During the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood, that amount was increased but now have been suspended because a secular government is now in place. That was America’s punishment for being and infidel nation.

The third Jihad, the first was in the 600s-700s AD, when the Muslims came out of Arabia under Caliphate Omar the second successor of the prophet when they invaded traditionally Christian lands, and they did exactly what is being seen on television today to Christians in Mosul. They basically gave those Christians those three options: convert to Islam, or pay the high penalty and remain a Christian or face the sword. That was the first Jihad. Here is another item in history to do with biblical orthodoxy. In the church of North Africa during those times in the early 700s, there was a movement founded by a woman known as the Montanans movement. At the bottom-line of that movement, it say that the bible is not a closed revelation and that God can still reveal Himself in some other ways and it would be just as authoritative as the Bible. The churches in Egypt back then refused and said the Bible is a closed Canon and “we refuse to believe and accept this” and they rejected that movement and its spurious doctrines and it ended up in other parts of Northern Africa. Many embraced it and thought it to be a new revolution but the churches in Egypt would have nothing to do with it. Within 30years of Islamic invasion, North Africa which at one time had 5000 dioceses , that is thousands upon thousands upon thousands of churches and parishes, within 30years they were wiped out completely. Montanism was rejected by the churches in Egypt and consequently the 10million Christians in Egypt today survived because of the faithfulness of their ancestors. There they reached all the way to Spain, Syria, Lebanon, and finally knocked on the door of France. During that time they perfected this concept of penalty paying.

The second Jihad, and that is when the Turks overrun Constantinople and reached far west of Austria and the Ottoman Empire extend its reach to literally almost half of the world, and there began to have their own Caliphate successes. Today in Islamic literature if you read it or read their agenda for their big meetings and conferences, they speak of a Jihad. The first one reached as far as France, the second one reached Austria, the third one does not have to have that much of bloodshed in it, and the writers obviously got checked with ISIS because they said not much bloodshed. They reasoned that due to their natural birth rate in Europe coupled with the trillions of petro-dollars invested in Europe would be enough in say about 2025, many of the European countries would have Islamic rulers. As an example, they give you 5million Muslims in France; on the average 32.5-4 children to Muslim families while there is 1 or probably negative to the French families…….you can do the math.

So what is the Christian response as we face these incredible numbers, and it is a threat not because we know that the Kingdom of God is here and yet to come therefore we know where we are going; but the threat it poses to the very heart of missions. Things are happening that are not all positive on a clearer perspective but the fact is it has some positives on its fringes. The thing that God is doing in the Muslim world is absolutely incredible! Today, one man is one of the highest authorities in Yemen has converted and is currently studying in a Middle Eastern Seminary. God is doing this in strange ways that in few years past many would have thought impossible. Among many of the things God is doing, and with other countless lot of people Egyptian and Arab satellite TV stations have now given way for Evangelistic and Gospel Apologetic programs to be aired on them. One is even next to Aljazeera. These programs have ended up in 160million Arab homes and right now there are many Muslims who are coming to Christ, secretly and behind the scenes. What is most disappointing is that the Christian churches are refusing to baptize them for fear of being attacked. When the truth is spoken about the rise of Islam or Islamic ideology, it means that you are unloving to Muslims; at least that is what many people think. In fact, the term Islamophobia was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood aparagus in America.

This was just to shame the west and the Christians particularly into accepting not just sympathy but their ideology. This is very important because there is such a fallacy among the liberals and Evangelicals. First it was in the main line but now it has eaten up into the Evangelicals. This deception from the very depths of the pit of hell is very rampant in almighty America today. The reality however is, the more one understands the darkness of that ideology, the more we truly love that muslim; the more true we are to the very gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. When He said, “I send you like sheep among wolves”, He didn’t say He was going to knock the thief out or defend those wolves. It takes more love to understand the nature of the wolf, than trying to Christianize so them so that they become lovable. Such deceptions run the gamut from accepting Islam as true and equal to Christianity as is seen in what is known as the Insider Movement, to the Liberation theology, where Rev. Jeomeyer once said in an address that the passage where Christ said, “..other sheep have I not in this fold…”, He was referring to Muslims and Islam. Again it runs the gamut to what has now become Chrislam being championed by Rick Warren. They say just as you say Judeo-Christian, why cant you say Chrislam. The challenge now for Bible believing Orthodox hristians is to be able to articulate the Christian Faith lovingly, thoughtfully, most certain truthfully, and above all fearlessly. What we must always remember is, whatever we do we must never ever compromise the fact that there is no Name under Heaven given unto men by which they must be saved except the name Jesus.

One of the strategies of the islamists today, and very similar to that of the homosexual lobby, they want to shame Christians into not just loving them but loving their demon inspired ideology which says, ‘if you plan to accept me, them you must accept my beliefs and my way of life’. If you don’t, you are a bigot and that is a favorite word for them. We have nothing to be ashamed of when we say I love you deeply but not a false religious system nor a self destructive way of life. That is why we offer you the best we know and that is top come to the only One who can truly save you. As a matter of fact, the Insider Movement has really impacted a lot of Evangelicals. They say it really offends Muslims when they refer to Jesus as the Son of God so they would just refer to Him as Isa. The truth is this Isa is not the Jesus of the Bible. Isa in the quran is a prophet. This began with well intention by the 74 Contextualization Movement to contextualize the Gospel to Muslims; to just say lets take whatever the quran says about Jesus and say “yes that is the Jesus we are talking about”-the One we worship. This is why the Insider Movement is the most dangerous movement in the Christian community today. This corrupt doctrine has been bought into by many liberals and evangelicals. This doctrine from hell is truly a HERESY and not the truth because there is always a distinction between Jesus the Son of God: God of very God, Man of very Man, and the Isa of the quran.

Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of any part of the information presented here in this material. It is only a transcript of a sermon delivered by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jnr at the Southern Seminary titled UNDERSTANDING ISLAM. My intention for sharing this in neither borne out of malice or prejudice but rather to educate people on the darkness that is descending upon the earth, which once was, got dispelled but is now returning with a greater force and even darker than ever before. Everyone is free to comment but it wont change the facts as has been presented. That notwithstanding, whatever grammatical errors might have been committed during the transcription are solely mine. I humbly assume responsibility for them all.