A review of The Challenge of Islam to the Church and Its Mission. By Patrick Sookhdeo.

Isaac Publishing, 2008. Available in Australia from Barnabas Fund: barnabasfund.org/Index.php?m=10%2352&page=barnabasbooks&first=no&pages=all

Patrick Sookhdeo, who was born a Muslim, is now a Christian convert living in England. He is a world authority on Islam, jihad and terrorism, and has been warning the West and the church for decades now about the threat they face from militant Islam. This book is perhaps the best brief summary of these issues now available.

There are plenty of good books around which inform Christians about Islam, what it believes, what it does, and how it should be approached. This book does all this, but its main concern is to warn believers who think that Muslim-Christian dialogue is the way to go, and that interfaith relations can be constructive for both parties.

This book is really about how two global missionary faiths are in conflict, and how one seems to be making great gains (Islam) while the other (Christianity) is basically asleep at the wheel. The truth is, Islam is on a mission to not just convert Christians, but to see the entire world submit to Allah and come under sharia law. But most Christians are completely unaware of all this.

Sookhdeo documents how both Western governments and Christian churches are going out of their way to appease and placate Islam. It may be done with good intentions, but the outcome is far from good. Indeed, the main reason why such attempts fail is because the real nature and aims of Islam are not recognised.

Working for peace and understanding has its place, but it should never be at the expense of truth and justice. Consider the issue of peace. Peace for Muslims means submission to the will of Allah. The kafir (non-Muslim) cannot be at peace with Allah, and are instead in a state of war with Islam.

Real peace in Islamic thinking can only occur when all submit to Allah and sharia law. And Muslim da’wa (mission) is actively engaged in extending the territory of Allah’s rule on earth. In their view, interfaith dialogue is all one-way traffic. It is about just one thing: reducing the number of kafirun and increasing the number of Muslims (those who submit).

While certain theological commonalities exists (eg., a creator God, revelation, judgment), the differences between the two faiths are insurmountable. On the Dome of the Rock in Arabic we read that “God has no son” (based on Surah 112, eg.). This is the complete antithesis to the Christian claim that God indeed has a son, and that he is the only saviour of mankind.

Indeed, Islam claims to supersede and be superior to all previous religions, and that Muhammad is the final and complete revelation of God. Thus Christ is viewed as inferior and Christianity as ultimately false.

And Sookhdeo reminds us that Muslims supremely respect strength, power and honour, and despise weakness, shame and admissions of guilt. Thus when Christians seek to make major concessions to Islam, as in apologising for the Crusades, they commit a number of major mistakes.

Such apologies simply confirm to Muslims that they are superior and Christians are inferior. Also, these confessions of guilt wrongly imply that Christianity and the West are one, when in fact they are not. And the first Crusade at least could rightly be seen as a belated response to four hundred years of Islamic expansionism.

Consider various attempts at interfaith dialogue. Sookhdeo demonstrates how these usually result in Muslims doing all the talking. This includes using common terminology but with radically differing meanings. There is also the issue of taqiyya, or deception, in which Muslims can deliberately mislead and deceive Christians in their attempt to defend Islam.

Then there is the issue of justice. Muslim apologists can talk all they like about peace and freedom, but there simply is no freedom of conscience or religion in Islam. People are free to convert to Islam, but leaving Islam is apostasy, and warrants the death penalty.

Muslims may plea to be better received in the West, but this is false pleading. Muslims can basically say and do what they want in the West. They can build all the mosques they like, distribute all the Korans they like, and preach all the anti-Western sermons they like.

Christians in Muslim majority countries have no such freedoms. In places like Saudi Arabia there is not permitted even one Christian church. Christian minorities are dhimmi, or second class citizens. They face tremendous persecution, opposition and deprivation of basic human rights.

Even in areas like relief work, there is no reciprocity. Muslims often see Western aid as simply more Western aggression and imperialism. And when Western aid came in 2004 to tsunami-struck Aceh, Christians there could not get access to this aid unless they converted to Islam.

Thus if these interfaith ventures are going to be anything more than an excuse for Muslim da’wa, then the issues of Christian dhimmitude and human rights abuses need to be at the top of the agenda. But they seldom are. Instead, Muslims take the line of victims, expecting and demanding ever more concessions from Christians.

And as this book shows, many Christians have capitulated big time. Consider the evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary in California, which has gone into dialogue and appeasement big time. It proposed an ethical code which would keep Christians from saying anything negative about Islam, and pledge not to proselytise!

Some British church leaders have even publically refused to accept Muslim converts to Christianity. And often churches are inviting imams to actually preach in their services. Of course Christian pastors almost never get to preach in a mosque.

Sookhdeo reminds us that the Bible nowhere commands us to enter into interfaith dialogue, or seek to be reconciled with other religions. Indeed, Israel was meant to keep separate from the surrounding pagan religions, and not engage in roundtable discussions with them to find some elusive “common ground”.  And Paul’s attempts at reaching the Greeks in Athens used common ground only as a means to reach them for Christ, not to create some ecumenical melting pot.

The concluding appendices look at the recent Muslim evangelistic endeavour, “A Common Word,” and the wishy-washy Christian response, “The Yale Statement”. Even though hundreds of evangelicals signed on to this latter document, Sookhdeo notes how appeasing it is, and how many concessions it makes to Islam: “they were behaving like dhimmi, bending over backwards to please the Muslims”.

All in all, efforts at Christian-Muslim dialogue have been a great benefit to Muslims, but a real loss to Christians. “The emerging scenario around the world is of Christian missions being increasingly limited both by secular states and in Muslim lands,” says Sookhdeo, “while Muslim da’wa activities are rapidly advancing and expanding worldwide.”

This book clearly shows why this is the case, and how we need to smarten up if we want to preserve the Christian faith and Western freedoms. This is a superb volume which must be read by every Christian, and all those concerned about the rapid and ever-increasing spread of a totalitarian Islamic ideology around the globe.

(It should be noted that this book is actually a revised version of the 2006 volume, Islam: The Challenge to the Church, published in the UK. This book is mainly the same, with around a dozen new pages of material. The main difference is the inclusion of 44 pages of new material in the appendices.)

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8 Replies to “A review of The Challenge of Islam to the Church and Its Mission. By Patrick Sookhdeo.”

  1. If we are indeed children of the Most High God through the Lord Jesus Christ, why do we insult Him by limiting His purposes, Grace, and freedom by consorting with the diabolically deceived in the likes of interfaith & other dabblings with Islam?

    Get real, get Christ back into your heart and into your church or perish with the deceived who think they have the final revelation.

    Grant Weedall

  2. I keep getting emails from a certain Muslim of the London School of islamics, singing the praises of Islam on one hand, but promoting “tolerance” (that modern weasel-word!) on the other. A week or son ago I became fed up, so I sent him the following response:

    Dear Mr…,
    Please do not any longer send me any of your emails. I DO NOT support your cause (i.e. Islam); I DO NOT sympathise with Islam in any way whatever. I am a committed Christian, who believes the Bible (Old and New Testaments), and who is committed to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God manifested in the flesh. I believe that Muslims worship a false deity, Allah, who has no objective existence outside the Muslim mind, and who is definitely NOT the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Moreover, I believe that Islam is a cult, a Christian heresy (albeit on a large scale), on a level with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and so on, but coming from the seventh century. Its view of Christ is merely a mish-mash of heretical Gnostic concepts, and snippets from Gnostic texts concocted in those early centuries. This explains why it is so hostile to Christianity (as evidenced by the harassment, intimidation, and murder of Christians by your Muslim co-religionists around the world – on an almost daily basis): Islam lives off what it professes to reject, i.e. it must have Christians (and Jews) to berate in order to buttress its own position.

    I reject the term “Islamophobia”. Apart from its alleged substance, it is based on a misuse of Greek: “phobia” comes from “phobos” meaning “fear”, NOT “hatred”, as current use of the term implies. Moreover, a “phobia” normally refers to some medical condition, such as in “acrophobia” (fear of heights), “pyrophobia” (fear of fire), “claustrophobia” (fear of confined spaces), and so on. Normally the approach to these is some kind of treatment, such as a drug, or a rehabilitation programme. Is there such for “Islamophobia”? Is there a drug or potion to “cure” one of this dreaded disease? Obviously not, otherwise there would not be the strong tone of blame in your email. So come clean: is “Islamophobia” a medical condition, the sufferer of which should be more pitied than blamed? If so, then cut the language of blame! Is it rather something morally reprehensible? If so, then call it something else and stop using quasi-medical terminology.

    In fact the term “Islamophobia” has no meaningful content, but is merely a smear term designed to intimidate your opposition into silence, and brand any opposition as “hateful” without having to interact with any of his/her arguments, which are often quite substantial. But for this purpose it serves very well; after all, when you’re on a good thing, stick to it! Hence the standard Muslim tactic against anti-Muslim apologists such as Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Bat Yeor, or Patrick Sookhdeo: if you can’t refute them, smear them, and use the “Islamophobia” epithet to that end.

    I daresay all the above will in your eyes brand me as “Islamophobic” (to use that silly and meaningless epithet). Well, I am calling your bluff. I will not be intimidated; I will call the proverbial spade a spade and display Islam for what it is; and I will NEVER bow down to a lump of stone in Mecca (i.e. the Qa’aba stone in the Grand Mosque). You proclaim Islam’s freedom from idolatry, yet all Muslims commit idolatry five times per day when they bow and genuflect to this piece of rock (probably a meteorite), centrally placed in Islam’s “holiest” shrine!

    My prayer is that you forsake this heresy, this blasphemy, that is Islam, and embrace Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners, by whom alone one comes to the Father, in whom alone there is salvation. Your Five Pillars of Islam will not justify you before the Living God; your Islamic piety will not make you right with Him; your prayers and rituals, your Ramadan observances and so on will not entitle you to Heaven’s glory. Only Jesus Christ, the Redeemer will bring men and women to glory.

    Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ

    Murray R. Adamthwaite

    In fact, Islam is NOT a coherent religion; it can make NO claim to be a revealed religion. The best authorities I have read declare that it is a pot-pourri of Judaism, pre-Islamic paganism, Zoroastrianism, and Gnosticised Christianity, and of course, the meanderings of Muhammad’s own mind.
    I would put the Qur’an on the same level and in the same category as the Book of Mormon.

    Murray Adamthwaite

  3. I find it sheer hypocrsy that a great many in the media and comedians can lampoon Christianity, but as soon as Islam is mentioned they go silent.
    Wayne Pelling

  4. Wayne
    Late last year, I heard a telling comment from someone who had spent time in a region of India where Hindus were persecuting Christians. On asking a number of Hindus why they were doing this, they gave a list of reasons, to which he responded, “But don’t Muslims fall into the same category? Why aren’t you persecuting them also?”

    The response? “Christians don’t fight back!”

    Roger Birch

  5. Perhaps one of the reasons why Islam is flourishing – and Christianity declining – is that Christians have chosen to practise contraception and abortion.
    Dunstan Hartley

  6. Hi Bill,

    I saw Patrick Sookhdeo speak here in Melbourne last week. He drew heavily on the UK experience in making the case for understanding and countering the Muslim threat to Australia.

    One of his main points was the need to develop organisations with the sole focus of raising awareness and countering the Muslim agenda at every turn. He suggested that these organisations did not need to be exclusively Christian, but could include concerned Jews and atheists to make them broader based and more effective. His thesis was that it was largely through the focused and persistent use of dedicated organisations that Muslims in the UK had, from very small beginnings, become so influential, and this strategy was best countered in kind.

    The good news for Australia, he said, was that we had many experienced Christian strategists and leaders if only they would commit themselves to this cause. And also, whilst Muslim numbers in the UK now make their agenda almost unstoppable, in Australia we do not have that problem yet, and won’t so long as we act now.

    P.S. I was very encouraged to read your letter Murray. Congratulations for giving such an uncompromising and fearless witness.

    Mansel Rogerson, Melbourne

  7. I also saw Patrick Sookhdeo speak in Melbourne last week. Probably at the same meeting as Mansel. In addition to the issues mentioned by Mansel, it was interesting to hear Patrick’s evaluation of the Rick Warren invocation prayer at the inauguration of Obama. As other experts on Isalm have also observed, Patrick pointed out that Warren appeared to have made a deliberate effort to “contextualise” his prayer so that it was inclusive of Islam. Patrick was also incredulous that Warren at one point claimed that “all Heaven” was cheering the election of Obama despite his obvious anti-Christian (my words) policies.

    In the past I’ve tended to give Warren the benefit of the doubt, that it was just incompetence and ignorance that saw him sign things like the Yale response to A Common Word, but it seems to me now that he is shaping up to be someone who is more a part of the problem than part of the solution to the problems we face in the West.

    Ewan McDonald.

  8. Patrick Sookhdeo’s recommendation to develop organisations with the sole focus of raising awareness of the Muslim agenda wont work. Australia is further down the road of islamisation than he realises. Mosques and Islamic schools will continue to be approved in areas with small muslim populations or, as is the case with Camden, an almost non-existent muslim population. Thirteen centuries of muslim expansion show they know how to carry out their agenda and Christians can’t combat their determination. Western democracies are easy targets, not just because of political correctness, equal opportunity, anti-discriminmation, and immigration policies but simply the democratic process, Australia is particularly vulnerable because of our small population and low non-muslim birthrate. Australia’s muslim population grew by 40% in five years (census 1996 to census 2001) while the percentage of Australian’s from an Anglo background continued to drop. The latest gvernment forecast on current census data showed that Australian’s of an Anglo background will be a small minority in 50years. This is based on our current source of migrants (predominantly Asian) and the low birthrate of Anglo Aussies. Interestingly, the loudest defenders of the rights of current minority groups are Anglo Australians who still hold positions of power in politics, academia, or wealth. They have little or no interaction with the society they have created for the majority of Australian’s but demand that we be accepting of it. How well will their descendants be treated when Islam is the dominant force in both will and numbers. Our long period of smugness when viewing civil unrest around the world came to an end at Cronulla – that event will become part of life during the next century.
    David Stone

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