CultureWatch

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

This is What Apostasy Looks Like

May 21, 2019

The Bible speaks about apostasy. Church history provides us with many cases of apostasy. But just what might it look like today? What kind of contemporary examples of it can be point to? There would be various things we could use as examples, but a recent headline pretty well fits the bill.

And it really is a shocker of a headline: “Christians offer to cover up crosses and picture of Jesus for Muslims to celebrate Ramadan in their church”. The news report begins:

A Church of England vicar has been criticised for organising a celebration Ramadan in her parish church. The Reverend Lissa Scott agreed for the celebration of the Muslim fast to take place in St Matthew and St Luke’s church in Darlington. As part of the event, the Reverend agreed to ‘cover up’ the church’s cross and a copy of The Light of the World, a well-known devotional painting of Jesus by the pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt.

It is believed men who from a nearby mosque were invited to pray in the aisle of the church, while Muslim women were offered an adjoining set of rooms. The plans were discussed at a church meeting on May 9 attended by the Rev Scott, former Darlington mayor Gerald Lee, and a number of local Muslim representatives. Mr Lee has been seeking to boost racial harmony in the area with a group called Celebrating Communities, which mostly organised diverse social events.
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7046347/Christians-offer-cover-crosses-Muslims-celebrate-Ramadan-church.html

This is just so wrong on so many levels. Where do I begin? This has all the hallmarks of apostasy. Here we have so-called church leaders who seem ashamed of their own Lord and their own faith, as they bend over backwards to placate a false religion and do everything to please those who are diametrically opposed to the essential beliefs of Christianity.

Islam of course teaches that it is sheer blasphemy to claim that Jesus is the Son of God. The very core of our faith is denounced unreservedly in Islam. Yet these progressive church leaders would rather please the followers of Islam than stand up for Christ and Christianity. Hmm, sounds like apostasy to me.

Not only is Islam bitterly opposed to the central tenets of Christianity, but it is responsible for killing millions of Christians during its 1400-year reign of terror. Yet these clueless wonders who pretend they are Christians want to have a groovy interfaith powwow with them.

They can sit around and hold hands and sing Kumbaya all they like, but it will be all one-way traffic. Muslims are happy to co-opt ignorant Christians for their cause, but they will never return the favour. There will NOT be mosques in the UK or anywhere else in the near future allowing Christians to worship there, as they cover up any Islamic symbols or quickly take out all the Korans, etc.

These apostates certainly know nothing of what Scripture teaches about false gods, false religions, idols and the like. God instructed his people in the Old Testament to have nothing to do with them. Indeed, they were to treat them harshly: get rid of them, destroy them, do not allow these pagan statues and images to remain.

Since I just finished 1 & 2 Chronicles again, let me quote some of the passages found there concerning how God’s people treated false gods and idols:

2 Chronicles 14:2-5 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him.

2 Chronicles 15:8 As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 17:6 His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.

2 Chronicles 23:16-17 Jehoiada then made a covenant that he, the people and the king would be the Lord’s people. All the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

2 Chronicles 31:1 When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.

2 Chronicles 34:33 Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

And the New Testament also commands us to beware of idols and false gods. While pulling them down may not be enjoined, we are to fully steer clear of them nonetheless. Consider just a few passages:

Acts 14:15 We are bringing you good news, turn from these worthless images to the living God [referring to Greek gods and goddesses].

Acts 17:16 Paul was greatly distressed and grieved because Athens was full of idols.

1 Thessalonians 1:9 They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.

1 John 5:21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

God demands exclusive worship in the church today just as he did with ancient Israel. Our God is a jealous God, and he will not share his glory with another. Simply recalling the words of the First Commandment should suffice here: “You shall have no other gods before me”.

Finally, consider the matter of Ramadan. This is NOT something any Christian should celebrate, participate in, or endorse. The simple fact is, historically Ramadan is a time when jihad radically increases, and even more infidels are targeted and killed than at other times. As I wrote earlier:

This month is in fact the time where Allah grants military victories to his followers through jihad. It is known in Islamic history as a key period for jihad. It goes back to year one in fact. But don’t take my word for it. Consider the words of one Islamic website on this:

“Jihad is the summit of Islam. Its virtue is countlessly high, as mentioned in many places of the Koran and Sunnah. . . . The month of Ramadan in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and the righteous ancestors was a month of forthcoming. The greatest battles during the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh) occurred in this blessed month, the month of jihad, zeal and enthusiasm.”
billmuehlenberg.com/2014/07/02/ramadan-and-jihad/

In so many ways this was an utterly idiotic and anti-Christian act by this num num church leader. Thankfully not everyone was happy with this decision in the UK. As the news item went on to say:

Christian Episcopal Church Bishop Gavin Ashenden criticised the plans because of the disrespect caused by covering up Jesus. ‘When Muslims come into our church, we invite them to come in and respect Jesus. If we accepted an invitation to go into a mosque, we would respect Muhammad,’ he said.

The diocese of Durham has intervened in the fiasco, stating that church law does not permit acts of worship by non-Christians in a Church of England building. Muslims are still set to join Christians and other faiths at the church at sunset on June 2 for the evening meal of Iftar which ends the daily fast.

There are plenty of ways in which apostasy can take place. But when church leaders effectively deny their own faith while grovelling before other false faiths, that would be a pretty good case of apostasy. Lord have mercy.

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20 Responses to This is What Apostasy Looks Like

  • Unfortunately this is predicable.
    Much of the church is neglecting its foundations and I suspect doesn’t really understand them. Failure to understand foundations means that they will not be used to be built upon.

    So much of the church has opted for the “touchy feely” perception of Jesus.
    This means that the basic Hebrews 6 doctrines of repentance from dead works, and eternal judgement, are not believed. It is interesting that these are the “bookend” doctrines in the list.

    My wife and I visited a Uniting Church on Mothers’ Day, and the signs of apostasy were writ large. So much of the service was about “Mother Earth” that it was hardly recognizable as Christian. About the only time Christianity was clearly being proclaimed was in the sacrament, and even then there were wobbles.

    The only Bibles were the Good News Bibles and the scripture readings were from that except, praise God, one woman read from her own NIV. I suspected that that was a form of protest and I made a point of complimenting her afterwards.

    What we do about this is a bit of a problem. I’m not sure that anything can be done without making a mess, like Jesus did in the Jerusalem temple a couple of times.

  • Hi Bill
    Good article highlighting the stupidity of man and religion.
    They can call it a church but thats only useful
    if your looking for it on google maps.. otherwise its just a pagan hybrid building with
    the most lukewarm christians in name only inhabiting that place.
    Regards.
    Pita Lino

  • The feast of Ramadan is a celebration of the giving of Qur’an to Muhammad: Therefore, for a Christian to observe the customs of this feast may be seen by Muslims as tantamount to acceptance of the legitimacy of Qur’an as a divine revelation on a par with The Torah and the Gospels.

    The association between the true words of God and fasting or eating are not original to Muhammad and his message. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” [Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Matthew 4:2-4; Joh 4:31-34].

    The critical questions for every intelligent person when it comes to Ramadan and its Lailat-al-Qadr are: Who spoke to Muhammad? Whom did the message come from?

  • I would suggest the apostasy had likely already taken place and the promotion of false religion is simply a manifestation of that previous apostasy.

    They think this is doing good to people and fulfilling Jesus’ command to love your enemies but what they are actually doing, in giving ground to Muslims is firstly, defiling their church in what should be an obvious fashion and secondly, proving that they don’t have faith because, if they did, they would know that promoting wickedness is not actually loving nor is it doing good. Very basic faith teaches you this – to not defile your church.

    When they see the Lord they will know that what they have done was wicked and was not loving but then it will be too late – their lack of faith will have been demonstrated.

    This is precisely how the blind leading the blind end up falling into a ditch (Matt 15:14, John 9:42). They void God’s commandments through their own, wicked thinking which then makes their worship in vain (Matt 15:9). This is how they demonstrate and prove that all their songs of praise and teaching has simply been hypocrisy (Matt 23). They make a show of being God’s people but their actions clearly demonstrate otherwise.

  • Thanks Bill. You are the Bill we can afford. While we’re on this name how did a senior politician gain access to St Joseph’s East Gosford last week?
    Maybe more apostasy?
    How does a Christian make sense of this?

  • How can a believer diminish Christ in the vain pursuit of “getting along”? We can’t. Ever.

    This isn’t how to reach the Muslim lost for Christ. Not only misguided but actually counterproductive as it shows them that we are willing to diminish our God, and our faith isn’t worthy to lose our lives over, and as such it isn’t worthy to be worshipped.

    Muslims actually have no respect for other religions – their faith does not allow it – they see this as weakness (which it is) and lack of belief (which it is) and the correct subjugation of other religions to theirs (which it is).

    To reach them we need to show them the love of Almighty God, and compassion. The great practical difference that is unassailable for Muslims is that Jesus’ way is to lay down our lives for our fellow man for the sake of our God. Then they are ready to hear the mystery of the cross.

  • These are signs of the end times, which was prophesied, so that on one hand, we Christians know that soon we will be with the Lord for ever and ever.

  • “If we accepted an invitation to go into a mosque, we would respect Muhammad”.

    Is that how a Christian visiting a mosque is seen, paying “respect” to Muhammad?

  • I wonder what would be the response if the offer were made: “Certainly, you can come over and have a Ramadan service at our church next year – provided we are allowed to have a Christmas service in your mosque this year.”
    Actually, I don’t wonder.

  • The tearing down of idols and statutes in Israel is reminiscent of the exact same thing that occurred in the melonesian islands following their discovery by Captain James Cook in the 18th century. When the missionaries landed in the Cook Islands, which were covered, literally, in images of Tongaroa, with his over exaggerated and enlarged phallus, carved in wood and stone, they managed to get the cannibal islanders to gather them all up and throw them into a high ravine in the middle of the island. They also ‘forced’ them to stop carving a huge stone phallus out of the very top of one of the highest volcanic cores in the middle of the island. You can still see today where they finished work on one side, almost completed another side and had started work on the third of four sides. Today, Christianity still plays a large role in Islander life, where businesses on Cook Island’s main island, Rarotonga, close on Sundays and just about everyone goes to one church or another (Catholic, Methodist, SDA, etc). Unfortunately, today many/most young Cook Islanders have abandonded both their cultural and Christian history and are indistinguisable from most Western riff raff youth with wide-spread graffiti and general disrespect for people. Many/most islanders live in New Zealand or Australia.

  • It’s impossible to comment beyond or in addition to your article, Bill. I mean, you nailed it from every angle and point out there. Thanks for this, I’ll post it, send it to all my contacts and print it, (with appropriate credit legally to you), and pass it along to my friends and acquaintances who don’t go online. Way-y-y-y too many people today think it’s cool to be community-minded even when that means aiding false religions by being “”nice guys” and community -minded,” as in, open your church ‘building’ doors wide and give them a forum to spread their false doctrine, as well as, oftentimes, outright apostasy.

  • December 3 last year. The Pope, (supposedly representing all Christian denominations) signed a Friend covenant with the Grand Mufti, so that Muslims and Christians would not fight each other. But alas, that has not stopped the fighting!

  • Again Bill,

    Glad you’re back, how many articles have you written about this matter? With the risk of being told off may I say that one may easily think that the fear of God is fast disappearing since the Christian church is more and more accommodating to the world, as many Christians continue to sit on the fence and carry on the syncretism that most believers have since the first century AD. There is nothing which stirs up God’s wrath more than His disobedient children or self righteousness/unrepentant Christians and remember that we cannot expect us any differently now than the way He did in Old Testament times, punishing people for sin with natural disasters and war etc. We are not sinful because we sin but we sin because we are sinful from before birth! Why do so many of us who know the unchanging God seem to think that He has changed His stance on sin, when his greatest act of grace and mercy was to send Jesus to suffer for sin, taking the punishment we deserve all the way to the cross, as a once for all time sacrifice? Why do we seem to think we will have another Saviour like Christ Jesus who is clearly the person he says he is in God’s Holy Word? Is the Catholic church not Christian anymore? Not a long essay, thanks for the subject and opportunity to respond Bill, bye xo

  • “Christians offer to cover up crosses and picture of Jesus for Muslims to celebrate Ramadan in their church”
    1. “But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:9) if they do not repent for this grave sin that violates the 1st Commandment (‘no false gods or false religions’) before death this sin can lead to the loss of their eternity (damned to hell).
    2. This provides evidence of Ms “Reverend’ Lissa and Co.’s own erroneous/apostate beliefs which are not aligned with the Holy Scripture, Tradition and Christian theology which they are supposed to adhere to and follow. This behaviour could potentially be an obstacle to conversions (scandalising) to Christianity as well as giving public scandal to all CHRISTIAN community members. “And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:41).
    3. This is yet another example of how “self-interpretation” of the Holy Scriptures could potentially jeopardise the salvation of souls. “And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”( Matthew 15:14, Luke 6:39).

  • A check-list for apostate Chrislam churches:
    Jesus and Muhammad, Islam and Christianity: A Side-by-Side Comparison
    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/articles/jesus-muhammad.aspx

    PS. Bill, I note you are (still) producing an article every day. I trust you can find some time to rest and to share your time while in the US.

  • John Miller, a most excellent resource (your link). Many thanks for posting that. I’ll pass it on to FB, MeWe, and my friends who don’t use those 2 resources.

  • Michael Taouk on May 21, 2019, at 2:29 pm you said

    “If we accepted an invitation to go into a mosque, we would respect Muhammad”.

    Is that how a Christian visiting a mosque is seen, paying “respect” to Muhammad?

    No, a Muslim would see it as subservience (= victory over silly Christians). We can have respect for Muhammed the individual without agreeing with him but, for me, that doesn’t go as far as visiting a mosque.

    I can admire a beautiful building from the outside without going in, and without approving its purpose.

  • Clearly an excellent example of apostacy. Seems to be occurring with disturbing regularity in recent times, particularly in the C of E. Frankly this is gobsmacking, shameful stupidity. It cowtows to what Islam expects from all ‘inferior’ faiths; willing dhimmitude.

  • John\Michael
    I think it’d depend on what you did in your visit to the mosque as to whether you would show respect for their beliefs (even if you disagree with them), versus respect for Mohammad. Bishop Ashenden didn’t make any clear distinction but whether that’s his mistake or the journalist’s fault isn’t clear.

    A pastor who went to a mosque for a scheduled debated with an imam for instance could show respect for Muslims even as he adamantly refused to pay respect to Mohammad.

  • Hmmm. I Think the steady slide into apostasy started at The Reverend ‘LISSA’ Scott…

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