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.)