CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Jesus, Muhammad and Violence

Nov 21, 2008

We are continuously being told by Muslims and their sympathisers that if Islam has its violent aspects, well so too does Christianity. They are very eager to convince us of a moral equivalence that exists between the two religions. Sure, Islam has some violent extremists, but Christianity does too. Even gullible and not very learned Christians make this charge quite often. But they should really know better of course.

I have written elsewhere about such things, but let me repeat here a fundamental difference: if a Christian kills in the name of Christ, he does so in total opposition to the life and teachings of Christ, and the entire New Testament. However, if a Muslim kills in the name of Allah, he has full justification to do so from the life and teachings of Muhammad, and from the Koran.

Here I want to look more closely at the two founders of these religions: Jesus and Muhammad. It goes without saying that they are both central figures in their respective religions, and the life, teaching and example of each become crucial for their followers.

Jesus of course never killed anyone, never ordered the killing of anyone, and never shed anyone’s blood. Neither did any of his New Testament disciples. One will look in vain throughout all 27 books of the NT to find even a hint of killing, bloodshed or religiously-motivated violence conducted by Jesus and his followers.

The story about Muhammad of course is quite different. However, before I proceed any further, let me mention a few words about Muhammad’s place in Islam. Jesus is regarded by Christians as God, as divine, and as the object of their worship. Muhammad does not occupy such a place in Islam.

Muhammad is not considered to be God or the son of God. He is not declared to be sinless, nor is he to be worshipped. He is simply the final and fullest revelation and prophet of Allah. But he is nonetheless held up as “the ideal man”, and as the example and role model for every Muslim to follow.

Also, a word about authoritative sources in Islam. The Koran and the Sunnah (the “way” or “model” of the Prophet Muhammad) are two of the main foundations upon which Islam stands, and upon which Muslims base their faith and practice on. All of the events, actions, sayings, teachings and examples of the Prophet make up the Sunnah.

The hadith (reports) about Muhammad’s life mainly make up the Sunnah. Authoritative biographies of the Prophet would be based on these sources. A number of such biographies exist, but the most authoritative biography is the Sira (“life”), by the great Islamic scholar Muhammad bin Ishaq, composed in the eighth century. Together these sources give us copious detail about the life, actions and teachings of the Prophet.

Now when one reads the Koran, the hadith, and the biographies of Muhammad (which I have done), it becomes clear that Muhammad was not at all a man of peace as Jesus was. Instead, we find a political ruler, a military commander, and a harsh master.

Here is a brief outline of his involvement in warfare, killing and violence. When we talk about this, we must be aware of the chronology of Muhammad. He was born in Mecca in 570. He started receiving revelations and visions in 610. For the next dozen years he sought to more or less peacefully spread his new faith. He was rejected, so he fled Mecca in 622 (the hijra, which begins the Muslim calendar). His last ten years in Medina were his violent, bloody years of military conquest. He died in 632.

Also, a word about the Muslim doctrine of abrogation (naskh – see suras 2:106 and 13:39). This has to do with later revelations given to Muhammad superseding or abrogating earlier ones. About three-quarters of the Koran’s 114 suras (chapters) are the peaceful Meccan ones, while about one-quarter are the more violent Medinan ones. So while the Koran does speak about peace and nonviolence in religion, these are the earlier Meccan suras (such as 2:256, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” which we so often hear about), which are abrogated by the later violent Medinan suras, if a conflict arises.

The Koran has much to say about the enemies of Islam, such as the kufar (unbelievers) and the mushrikun (idolaters, or pagans). The Koran prescribes jihad against these enemies. While this can take the form of nonviolent opposition, it also entails the use of armed struggle. Altogether there are around 100 passages in the Koran which speak of the use of force and the sword (compared to some 120 earlier, more peaceful and tolerant verses).

Sura 9:5 for example (the ‘Verse of the Sword’), says “Kill the pagans wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush”. Sura 9:29 reads, “Fight against those who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day”.

Sura 2:190-193 says this: “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you … And slay them wherever you catch them …And fight them until there is no more tumult.” Or consider sura 61:4: “Truly God loves those who fight in His cause in battle array as firm as a mighty edifice”.

Sura 8 is entitled “The Spoils of War”; it lays out practical instructions on battle. We are told that Muhammad is to get 20 per cent of the spoils of war, while his men are to divide up the remaining 80 per cent (8:41). It also says to keep fighting until there are no more unbelievers (8:39). Plenty of other such suras could be mentioned.

The barbaric practice of beheading infidels is not just something we see happening today by Islamic terrorists. It was enjoined in the Koran and practiced by Muhammad and his followers: “When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield strike off their heads” (sura 47:4). The very next verse assures those who have died while fighting for Allah that they will be taken into paradise (the only guarantee of salvation in Islam).

And of course the hadith contain many similar injunctions. Let me offer just one “I heard the apostle of Allah say, I command by Allah to fight all the people till they say there is no god but Allah and I am his apostle. And whoever says that will save himself and his money” (Al-Nisai, 3:6:5, no. 3,087).

Also, Muhammad himself participated in warfare and killing. According to the earliest biography of Muhammad, the Sira, the Prophet was involved in some 84 battles and raids in the last decade of his life. He was present for 27 of these, and he personally fought in nine of them. So quite unlike Jesus, Muhammad was certainly a man of war.

And revenge, not forgiveness, was the order of the day for the Apostle. As but one example, in the Sira we read of Muhammad declaring his murderous intent: “If God gives me victory in Quraysh [Muhammad’s own tribe in Mecca] in the future, I will mutilate 30 of their men.” Many other such examples can be cited. This clearly has nothing to do with turning the other cheek as Jesus emphasised.

Reading the biographies of Muhammad certainly drives home the truth of this vivid contrast to Jesus Christ. (Of course, do not read the white-washed, sanitised versions of the prophet’s life. For example, former Catholic nun and big-time interfaith advocate and Muslim apologist Karen Armstrong’s works should be avoided like the plague.) If you read Guillaume’s English translation of the Sira by Ibn Ishaq, you will get all the gory details of Muhammad’s personal involvement in, and endorsement of, bloodshed, killing and warfare.

All these battles, raids, massacres and revenge attacks cannot here be further discussed, but it is overwhelmingly clear from the three main Islamic sources that Muhammad was a man of bloodshed, one who sanctioned massacres, approved of assassinations, and engaged in numerous armed conflicts and bloody episodes of retaliation.

In sum, we find in the life, teachings and example of Muhammad nothing at all comparable to that of Jesus Christ. The two men could not be further apart in these areas. Claims that the two are both great religious leaders who share much in common are obviously quite wide of the mark.

On the one hand we have Jesus Christ who was the Prince of Peace who told us to love and forgive our enemies. On the other hand we have Muhammad who was a military leader who told us to kill and take revenge on our enemies. Muhammad preached “Death to the infidels!” while Jesus prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The disciples of Muhammad killed for the faith while the disciples of Jesus were killed for their faith. The two could not be any more different.

As Mateen Elass, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, puts it, “While there is certainly room for debate over how well throughout history Christians and Muslims have followed the teaching of their respective leaders, there is no doubt over the contrasting visions of Jesus and Muhammad as to how the kingdom of God should be advanced on earth.”

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29 Responses to Jesus, Muhammad and Violence

  • Dear Bill,

    As I write I note that there are no comments on this article. There maybe reasons for that; firstly your readers are too stunned to reply or secondly, and more likely, that silence signals assent.

    t is impossible to sit down at the conference/negotiation table or to live next to someone whose intention and duty is to force you into submitting to Islam or killing you if you don’t.

    Recently I have sent you news articles on the conference hosted by the Pope in the Vatican to encourage dialogue between the Church and Muslims. As a Catholic I am fully aware that there is good intention on the part of the Church but I am concerned that some Church officials maybe naive and accept the words and overtures of the Muslims at face value.

    I read an argument recently from within official Church circles that the Muslims entirely misunderstand the culture of the West. Their culture is a theocracy where the clerics rule, unelected, with an iron fist. These Muslim clerics may well be misunderstanding that the Church does not in fact “rule” in the West and that we have elected secular governments and a separation of Church and State.

    It has been said that these Muslim clerics’ intentions are to convert the Pope and in their eyes, if this is achieved, then the West will be converted to Islam.

    If this is so, then their arrogance blinds them to the fact that the Pope is a very learned and wise man and a very wary one at that. He is certainly not naive.

    John FG McMahon

  • So perhaps, Bill we should not be comparing Mohammed with Jesus but Joshua. Many Christians find the mandate to wipe out the Cannanites also abhorent. How do we compare and contrast these two?
    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill, how valid is the information that ‘Allah’ was the moon god of the pagan Arab pre the Prophet, and that they worshipped many gods at Mecca of which Allah was one and that perhaps Muhammad adopted this one to blend more easily with his tribal people in the early formation of Islam?

    Ray Robinson

  • Thanks David

    I partly answer your question here: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/03/15/time-to-trim-the-bible/

    But five quick points which need to be more fully developed at another time:

    -Christianity is ultimately about Jesus and the New Testament.
    -We do also accept the Hebrew Bible, but there is continuity as well as discontinuity between the two.
    -God is the author of life and death.
    -Canaan had reached such a state of evil and wickedness that a holy God was forced to act.
    -That was an action given to a specific people at a specific time, while the Islamic call to armed jihad is to all true Muslims for all times.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Ray

    The exact etymology of the Arabic word ‘Allah’ is the subject of much debate. There certainly was polytheism in pre-Islamic Arabia, and there were many gods in the Meccan pantheon (the kaaba). Allah tended to be the term for the High God or the Supreme God. Muhammad latched on to it to affirm his monotheism and refute polytheism.

    As to the moon god thesis, some Christians have sought to make that case, like Robert Morey in his 1992 book, The Islamic Invasion. Not everyone is convinced by this. One website that utilises Morey’s material is this: www.biblebelievers.org.au/islam.htm

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I linked to this helpful article in one of mine, Unfair to Islam? (Is Islam really a peaceful religion?: What does the Qur’an really teach about Jihad? Are most Muslims peaceful, and what is the significance of this?)
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Also, we might mention the rating they have in Saudi Arabia for offenders of the law from different sexes and religions, because this shows they differing value they put on people. Or is it the reimbursements to differing kind of people who have been offended? The atheists who may support Islamic presence in Australia should note that atheists and polytheists are at the bottom of he pile in their estimation of value.
    So it would serve the media really well to bring to justice now the Muslim clerics in Australia who are offending and teaching others to offend Australian laws in the areas of polygamy, wife-beating and the like.

    Rebecca Field

  • Thanks Bill and Jonathan for your account of the destruction of the Amalekites which has led me on to reading up on the destruction of Dresden. I am afraid that even John Stott is tainted by “kindness“ theology.

    John McMahon:
    I am not convinced that the Muslims do not understand the west. Even if they mistakenly equate the Pope with their own clerics, I believe they understand the way our thinking in the west is no longer governed by Biblical truth but by Hegelian relativism. The devil believes in Christ (and trembles) and the devil also understands the way the human mind works as demonstrated in the Garden of Eden and with the Temptation of Jesus Christ. The crafty Muslim clerics understand ours only too well.

    I also see a comparison between Islam and secularism. Both are out to destroy the Church. Both use the same psycho/spiritual tactics.

    The Christians concern for upholding truth and compassion, for justice and mercy, is perceived by both groups to be our strength and weakness. They will attempt to destroy the strength by inflating the need for the weakness. The strength of the Christians, the truth, the righteousness and the justice is a real and potent threat to them; but the Christians tender conscience can be pushed to the extreme and encouraged into confessing not just a lack of love, compassion and care, but all manner of hidden hatred. They push the tender conscience of the church in the direction that it will naturally fall. And like the show trials in Stalin’s reign of terror, in Russia, they will find the hatred – and we will confess it. Having shamed us into silence, Christians will allow the Muslims, secularists and homosexuals to invade our sitting rooms, homes, schools, youth clubs, churches and communities.

    C.S. Lewis said ‘The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials ‘for the sake of humanity’, and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.’ (Mere Christianity)

    David Skinner, UK

  • David,

    These Islamists are rather myopic and I’m sure that reality is not their strong point. I read once that a cleric from Iran was asked in an interview as to why Islamic women are not permitted to drive. He replied without hesitation: “Because it would look stupid”. Being rational is not a characteristic that Islam encourages. Their distorted logic and twisted reasoning is guided and formed by the rantings and ravings written by someone born in the 6th century AD. Have you seen or heard any humour from anyone of them?

    John McMahon, Kolonga, Qld

  • Many thanks for this article Bill. It will be of great help to me.
    Stan Fishley

  • John, that is all part of the trick i.e., to give the impression that we are dealing with, as you say myopic medieval clerics. The Iranian revolution was led by a highly educated intellectual, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a philosopher, equal I would imagine to any of the western intellectual/philosophers who have brought the west to its knees. We are not dealing with hillbillies but men of great ability and cunning. They know how we think. They certainly have a grasp and control of western human rights.

    David Skinner, UK

  • David,

    My emphasis is on perspectives and a grasp of reality, not intelligence or learning. Those who live their lives entirely in a restricted insular environment, a cocoon if you wish, generally have little, or at best a tenuous, -usually warped-grasp of wordly realities. Common sense is also too often a casuality in these circumstances. No amount of intellectual prowess counters this. Coupled with life-long continuous brainwashing from birth these people are unable to recognize the conflict with their outlook versus reality and fact.

    Academics, who are nursed from the cradle through school to university back to school (as teachers, administrators etc) or back to life-long university careers or in academe, are often a good example of this. Take the abortion and climate change debates. No matter how many facts, figures, graphs, scientific evidence and other information, anti-life proponents and climate warming alarmists remain in denial, refuse to face reality, close their minds to argument, reason and evidence and continue to promote their ideology mostly by lies and ad hominem attacks on their opposition.

    The Islamic culture is a prominent example. The lives of Muslims today have changed little from their tribal ways. New ideas, scientific research, free exchange of information, liberty, encouragement to learn etc are all denied in such a climate. The world is assesed and judged from this point of view. It is akin to someone standing all their lives with their nose hard against an enormously high and wide wall, seeing nothing but tiny grains of sand, cement and rock.

    Yes, they are shrewd, manipulative, quick to note and exploit any weakness but that does not equate to full or any understanding and appreciation. Simply ask any one of the Muslim clerics here in Australia about their knowledge and understanding of Christianity. One of their reasons for rejecting the divinity of Jesus, ie Son of God- second Person of the Holy Trinity, is their question and argument: “Why would God have sex with a woman? God does not need a concubine”. They don’t understand the Trinity and the work of the Holy Spirit. These are basic tenets and precepts of Christianity which are unknown to them. Many everyday Christians extend themselves to learn and understand Islam, either to some degree or extensively, but it is a rare occasion when a Muslim troubles himself to learn anything at all about Christianity.

    Thus the Muslim clerics view the world entirely from their deep, narrow, dark enclaves of limited knowledge and understanding. Thus their belief that by converting his Holiness the Pope, the western world will capitulate to Islam.

    John McMahon, Kolonga, Qld

  • John, all that you say about Muslims and western secular intellectuals is a condition shared by us all. We Christians also suffer from deception, delusion, denial, distractions and if we are not careful a premature destruction (Ananias and Sapphira). Let us never think that we are beyond being caught by the wiles of the devil.

    I thoroughly agree with you concerning both the Muslim and western secularist being unable to recognize the conflict with their outlook versus reality and fact. The sensory deprivation chamber (where a subject in swathed in soft material and shut up in darkness, so that he or she senses nothing, starts to hallucinate and if left long enough goes mad) is a picture of being cut off from the reality of God and the Truth. To witness this on a daily basis one only has to go into any western school and try to communicate with children using, as you say, common sense and reason.

    It is no co-incidence that the two groups who are attempting to take away our freedom of speech and expression are the Muslims and homosexuals, both using human rights.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Dear Bill,
    I am a hindu living in India. We hindu’s believe in all religions and gods. Infact, we believe that Jesus Christ was one of the many “Avatar”s (Avatar =Incarnation of God) who have come earth to give us blessings and to guide us along with other modern avatars like Gautama Buddha, and Mahavira (Jainism). I think you do injustice to the christian world alltogether by comparing Jesus Christ to Muhammad. Islam is not a religion at all. It is as you have rightly pointed out, a political movement which was used by muhammed for his own means. Nonetheless thank you for a very enlightening article.
    Tuhin Chatterjee, Darjeeling, India

  • Thanks Tuhin

    Yes I am aware of the Hindu-Muslim rivalry that exists in India, and the very real tensions there. And I am aware of the Hindu claims about Jesus being just one of many avatars. Christians of course disagree fundamentally. Jesus is not a mere guide like Buddha, but is God, and claims to be the sole and exclusive means of reconciliation with God. And Islam is a religion, albeit one which is also a political movement, which sees no separation between church and state.

    I will need to write a whole article to point out the fundamental differences between the Hindu worldview and the biblical Christian worldview. But thanks for writing.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • This is from the great Ayatollah Khomeini architect  of the Iranian revolution: “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.”

    Khomeini also rebuked the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace crowd: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]….Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

    Doug Swallow, Bang Na,Thailand

  • As Andrew Bolt has documented, the Islamofascist terrorists who attacked Mumbai hotels killed many hostages in cold blood after viciously torturing them.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I recently posted on my favourite book of the moment, David Levering Lewis’s God’s Crucible (I fear it will not find favour with many here given his consciously secular historical approach – BCE instead of BC – heaven forfend!).

    It is full of really interesting historical facts about Islam, including that Muhammad was from the very beginning involved in temporal politics and using violence in the shape of jihad to acheive temporal political goals. There could be no separation of church and state therefore.

    One other fascinating fact in the book was that a key step in Muhammad’s development as his marriage to an independent business woman much his senior. The extraordinary nature of a woman operating successfully and independendtly in Arabia at that time is immediately obvious – equally the tragic fact the Islam took so little notice of this woman’s contribution in forming its attitude to women in society.

    Ben Carter

  • Jesus also never spoke the words of Satan:

    www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/sverses.htm

    Grant Vandervalk

  • Bill, do you think it was unethical for Bonhoeffer to be involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler?

    Annette Nestor

  • Thanks Annette

    Hitler was an enemy combatant, not a mere civilian political figure. In just war theory seeking to take his life would be a fully ethical option indeed. So I am with Bonhoeffer on this one.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill you wrote: “One will look in vain throughout all 27 books of the NT to find even a hint of killing, bloodshed or religiously-motivated violence conducted by Jesus and his followers.”

    i loved your article but I would suggest that this comment is probably right in only 2 of the 3 areas you cite.

    Consumed by zeal for his fathers house, Jesus made a whip out of cords (a pre-meditated act) and drove all from the temple area. It may even have been the second time he did it (Matthew and Mark’s account have the incident at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry). Luke’s abbreviated version makes it clear that “those who were selling” were part of the “all” (not just the sheep and cattle) who were driven out.

    He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables and ordered them out of his ‘Father’s house”.

    While there is no record of Jesus using the whip on the people there – nor the animals, it was hardly what you could call a peaceful action and must be acknowledged as having aspects of violence involved in it. Hardly the “gentle Jesus meek and mild” image taught in my Sunday School.

    The other incident recorded in the NT of course was Peter’s chopping off of the High Priest servant’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus.

    It was rebuked by Jesus, and he even repairs the damage done. But it is clearly an act of violence done by one of Jesus’ followers. Was it religiously motivated? I don’t believe so. It was a very natural human response. But a violent one none-the-less.

    Of course these are all very minor incidents compared to Muhammad and his followers, but it may be more technically correct to say that there is nothing that Jesus taught that could be used to justify violence – particulalrly against one’s enemies who are to be the object of our love, forgiveness and good deeds. Christians who act in this way must do so against the specific teaching of Jesus. Whereas – as you rightly point out – the same could not be said about Muhammad, nor his followers.

    It’s only a very minor point – but I offer it anyway. The major thrust of your article I totally agree with. Many in the West are just totally ignorant of what the authoritative books of Islam actually say.

    John Hannaford

  • Another comparison that could be made between the two would be the number of women and children sold into slavery by the prophet (peace be upon his name) as compared to Jesus of Nazereth.

    JD Curtis

  • Yes quite right JD

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks for your articles Bill. On Christian TV I see Jay Sekulow (ACLJ- American Center for Law and Justice Chief Council) and he has written a book “Rise of ISIS” which he is urging people to buy to realize the threat of this force, to counteract the words of President Obama that ISIS have nothing to do with Islam. Due to the cost of postage I have not ordered the book at this stage. Do you know of his work in USA and abroad fighting for persecuted Christians, Israel etc?

  • Thanks Bill. If there’s anything that the hearing of it appalls me the most in religion, then they are the words “interfaith dialogue”. Christians and Muslims are so diametrically opposed in core doctrines that it makes the whole interfaith dialogue a mockery. Any theologically astute Christian will not think of being part of interfaith dialogue; but for theologically illiterate Christians, that is the way to go.This is sad for most of us.

  • Just imagine, maximum Muslims in the world and a vast decrease in Christian population then. What will be the fate of Christians and other religions. The Muslims will kill, maim, crucify, crush, persecute and destroy, rape and bury alive, for they say – There is no god but ALLAH.
    This people talk of peace now at times, and one can see how peaceful this people are. No moderate muslim has the guts to speak openly that whatever is happening is wrong. And even if they speak, always the motive is ulterior, that we moderates or other muslims are not like the muslims who terrorise, torture and maim.

  • SELF-DECEIVED WESTERN WORLD LIVES IN DENIAL

    Widespread assertions that global terrorism and ISIS atrocities have nothing to do with Islam and moderate Moslems show the extent of self-deception and wilful denial that permeates global cultures. These misguided idealists need to read the Koran and Muhammad’s words, to which ALL Moslems are dutifully bound. And which governs all totalitarian Islamic regimes worldwide.

  • Just as the Philistines rose up against Israel whenever they turned to idols, Islam is fueled by the demise of true Christianity.
    As far as the west is concerned, the degree to which Christianity has been displaced is often matched by the the rise of Islam in those places.
    Unfortunately there is also collateral damage due to the Koran-inspired violence in countries lacking defense (e.g. Africa). Conversely, there are also countries with enough common sense to recognise Islam as the source of Islamic terror (duh), like Japan for instance.
    But for the post-Christian nations, the connection is more than circumstantial.
    And looking back through history, Islamic influence was waning during the revival of Biblical Christianity in the 1700-1800’s. But during the 1900’s, the modern Islamic revival was initially sponsored by oil money from a western world swimming in materialism and hedonism. These idols actually sponsoring the future enemies of a polluted western culture.
    There is only one solution to Islam. A rapid increase in genuine Christianity, which is not as impossible as it sounds. Saul, who was the equivalent of an ISIS commander, encountered Jesus while the Church was praying urgently. He became Paul – the most prolific author of the New Testament and a prototype for all Muslims to follow – esp those who are driven to Islamic violence (some Muslims), and those who condone the violence (all Muslims).
    Let’s take the rise of Islam as a signal to get going in prayer and evangelism. Don’t forget, if an atom bomb goes off in a big western city, we can kiss goodbye to house values anyway. It is all very temporary. So we might as well let go of the materialism race while we have a chance. (A bit like the early disciples who sold their houses in Jerusalem a few decades before the Romans made them worthless anyway)

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