Believe it or not, there are some things we can learn from the Islamic terrorists who have been in the news lately, with a siege in Sydney, Australia, vicious murders in France, the beheading of captives in Syria and Iraq and more recently the death of an American young lady who was a hostage of Isis. When people look at these terrorists, they consider it madness, but as a recent article in the Bloomberg View by Stephen Carter puts it, “Terrorism isn’t madness. That’s the true lesson the west keeps refusing to learn The terrorists aren’t irrational. Evil, yes. Irrational, no. So although most of the world agrees with President Obama’s condemnation of the fatal shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdoas as ‘senseless attacks against innocent civilians’ it is useful to remember that to the terrorists, the attacks aren’t senseless, and civilians aren’t innocent.” (Minneapolis Tribune January 11, 2015)
Be that as it may, what can we learn from these terrorists? What can Christians and the church learn from them? Let me suggest the following four things we can learn –
1. THEY HAVE A VISION. The vision is a big one. It is to take over the world and establish Islam as the dominant religion. They are working to see it happen and are willing to use whatever is necessary to accomplish that goal.
2. THEY INSPIRE PEOPLE TO BE COMMITTED TO THE CAUSE. They enlist people, using modern methods of the internet, as well as personal contact, even recruiting young girls, as well as young men. This has happened here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
3. THEY LIVE BY A DIFFERENT LAW. They want to establish sharia law as being the way to organize life. This is what they want to establish as the governing law of society and it is already beginning to happen, even in the western world.
But probably the biggest lesson we can learn is –
4. THEY ARE PREPARED TO LAY DOWN THEIR LIVES for the cause and so embrace martyrdom. Hence you have young people, even children, becoming suicide bombers.
Come to think of it, isn’t this how Christians and the Church should be living.
VISION – The church was commissioned to do just that – reach out to the world. Jesus gave the marching orders ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you (Matthew 28:18-20)
DISCIPLESHIP – The church was also called to enlist followers for Jesus, through preaching the gospel and what we would call discipleship, to raise up people to radically follow Jesus.
WORD OF GOD – The church, likewise, has a different law, to live by, God’s word, the Bible, our source of truth and life.
LIVING SACRIFICE – The church and Christians have been called to be willing to lay down their lives, not in suicide bombings, but in a willingness to give everything for Jesus. Actually, that is what is happening in many parts of the world today – Martyrdom. Check out Revelation 12:11 ‘And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.’ Also, Romans 12:1-2 tells us we are to be a ‘present your bodies, a living sacrifice.’
MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
But it should be noted these Islamic terrorists have some major differences with Christianity, besides the obvious matter of what is truth, who is God, who is Jesus, and salvation, etc.
1. They use a different method – physical force, even to the point of killing people who will not embrace their cause. Christians, by contrast, are to use the weapon of love in establishing His kingdom, together with the power of the Holy Spirit, consistent with God’s word in the presentation of the gospel.
2. They do not have a revelation of God as Father. A God of love and justice, who loved the world so much He gave His son to die for us. They don’t believe in a personal God that you can know and love.
3. They do not have the spiritual weapons we have, so they use natural ones. We have the power of the blood of Jesus, the authority of the name of Jesus, the promise of God’s word and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, together with prevailing prayer and faith. Let us use those weapons and let us pray for Moslems, that they may come to know the truth in Jesus Christ and come to know the Christ as Savior.
Who is more dedicated to the cause? Islamic terrorists or Christian believers? Let’s be honest. They are deceived but you can’t deny their commitment level. May a generation rise us that is just as or better still more committed to the Lord and be prepared to pay the price to win the world for Jesus.
ADDITIONAL COMMENT BY FRANKLIN GRAHAM
After U.S. President Barack Obama’s controversial remarks comparing radical Islam to the Christian crusades, Franklin Graham took to social media to call out America’s leader:
“Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the President implied that what ISIS is doing is equivalent to what happened over 1,000 years ago during the Crusades and the Inquisition. Mr. President, many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires. But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life. Muhammad, on the contrary, was a warrior and killed many innocent people. True followers of Christ emulate Christ-true followers of Muhammed emulate Muhammed.”