The Reformers Teach Us How to Stand up Against Islam

June 19, 2017
June 19, 2017 Matthew

At a house I once lived at we invited a Muslim from Libya to live with us. He was an exchange student studying here to become a doctor. He lived with us as a roommate for six months. We did this because we were Christians. Muslims would never do anything like this. Jesus’ command to love your enemies (Matt. 5:44) , is not found in the Qur’an.

We made an impact on him. Much can be said about reaching out to Muslim immigrants or students before allowing them to retreat into their own Islamic social circles to develop negative perceptions of the West. Christians are ambassadors and diplomats first, moving into foreign territories to spread the knowledge of Christ’s Kingdom (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20), and in those rare opportunities hosts of foreigners and sojourners second.

“Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner…” – God in Zech. 7:10

These teachings are based on wisdom, welfare, and love for neighbor, and not meant to be hard-coded rules no matter what.

Jesus said, “do not resist an evil person when he slaps you on the cheek.” (Matt. 5:39) This was not a teaching for men to be effeminate. It was a teaching meant to show the evil person how strong you are without hitting back. R.C. Sproul comments on this verse, “To the best of our knowledge of the Hebrew language, that expression is a Jewish idiom that describes an insult, similar to the way challenges to duels in the days of King Arthur were made by a backhand slap to the right cheek of your opponent.” Notice also how Jesus continues to fight with his mouth in boldness when he was literally slapped on the cheek in John 18:22-23.

It was all about revealing the character of boldness that could not otherwise be seen. Righteous character gets blindingly bright in heated, violent duos when one person remains steadfast and strong and yet does not hit back. If Jesus was teaching his disciples to run, cower, or turn the other cheek because they were supposed to show themselves as inferior imbeciles, then we’re all screwed.

When it comes to war, the rule is wisdom and discernment. The wisest have told us, there is a time for war. (Ecc. 3:8)
There is a time for pacifism and a time for collective resistance. If not, Islam would have taken over Europe during the Crusades (which, by the way, were at least partly a defense.)

Islam is not a religion, but a complete empire with a mission of world dominance. Religion is only part of Islam. You cannot be ignorant of this fact and understand how the Reformers were so bold and manly in their confrontation of the mission of “Mohametan”…

The two great works of the devil which he…wrought against the Kingdom of Christ are…his Anti-Christian [Romish/Papal] and Mohametan [Islamic] kingdoms…which have been, and still are, two kingdoms of great extent and strength. Both together swallow…up the Ancient Roman Empire; the kingdom of Antichrist swallowing up the Western Empire, and Satan’s Mohamentan kingdom the Eastern Empire…In the Book of Revelation (ch. 16-20)…it is in the destruction of these that the glorious victory of Christ at the introduction of the glorious times of the Church, will mainly consist.  – Jonathan Edwards, A History of the Work of Redemption

The sect of Mohammad was like a raging overflow, which in its violence tore away about half of the church. – John Calvin, comments on 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12

It is a good while ago since Mahomet gave them the cup of his devilish dreams to drink, and they got drunk with them. It is about a thousand years since those cursed hellhounds were made drunk with their follies…Let us be wise and discreet!….For otherwise we shall be like the Turks and Heathen! – John Calvin, Sermons on Timothy and Titus

…two regimes, that of the Pope and that of the Turk (Islam), are…antichrist. – Martin Luther, commentary on Daniel 8:23-25

Luther was no pacifist, but he advocated for walking wisely and humbly. One of his articles against the Catholic Church’s desire to wage war with the Ottoman Turks/Mohametans was explained thus:

This article does not mean that we are not to fight against the Turk, as that holy manufacturer of heresies, the pope, charges. It means, rather that we should first mend our ways and cause God to be gracious to us … God does not demand crusades, indulgences, and wars. He wants us to live good lives. But the pope and his followers run from goodness faster than from anything else, yet he wants to devour the Turks. – Martin Luther, Defense and Explanation of All the Articles (1521), LW 32:89–91; WA 7:443.

Ahhhh those haters. The sexist, misogynist, Islamophobes, those Reformers.

The boldness evident in the words of these Reformers is precisely what gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. Revolutions don’t happen with kind, endearing words. They just don’t. In Luther’s mind goodness always has a patience and forbearance to it. Goodness is the priority of the heart, fighting is a last-ditch effort to defend your loved ones which, when done in wisdom, can actually serve to show a witness unlike any other. That someone would be willing to risk their lives and fight for me and my welfare is a monumental testament to whatever it is they believe in and I’m going to have tremendous respect for that belief if I don’t convert to it myself. Conversely, if someone stands by and risks nothing for me while I’m being attacked I will be highly unlikely to give a rip about whatever they believe in. Christianity is a war mission fighting on behalf of the people of the world on a spiritual level–mind, heart, and soul. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal… 2 Cor. 10:4. Our physical bodies are not as valuable as the mind, heart, and soul. But they are still valuable and worth fighting for.

…let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. – Jesus, Luke 22:36

 

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