I was reading an interesting article (The Future of Christianity) by Anglican priest and regular Quadrant contributor Michael Giffin, who stopped me in my tracks by saying the Bible is silent about the Islamic threat. He added that he was proud that “for the most part, the Church has remained consistently silent about the supposed Islamic threat and stuck to preaching the Gospel of Christ.”
Now I admit to wanting the Christian churches to be more muscular when it comes to Islam. First, what do I mean by being more muscular? Well there is a middle course between Pope John Paul II kissing the Koran, as he did, and poking imams in the eye with a burnt stick. It’s a question of balance. To my mind a proper balance is not struck when Christian Church leaders make overtures towards Islam. Interfaith dialogue is misconceived, in my view, when the other side is committed to taking over.
It is no accident that where Islam predominates Christianity and Christians are driven out. Christ was not a doormat and neither should be those whose job it is carry his message. And it is a grave mistake to think the Bible is silent on the Islamic issue. Christ was quite clear about false prophets arising. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”(Matthew 7:15-16)
How much clearer could He have been? St Paul was pretty clear as well in his letter to the Galatians:
…there are some who are confusing you to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven [even, I add, the Archangel Gabriel to Mohammed in a cave] should proclaim to you a different gospel contrary to what we have proclaimed, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
This should be instructive and alerting for those Christians who have ears to hear. St Paul bears reiterating: Let those who proclaim a gospel contrary to the gospel of Christ be accursed. Not invited, you will notice, to morning tea by the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss matters of common faith. There is no faith in common. Islam denies the divinity of Christ and places a man of unsavoury disposition above Him in the pecking order. It is just not tenable to sit down with these people as purveyors of a false gospel.
Nor is it tenable to ignore them and remain silent when the faith to which they owe allegiance is responsible for the persecution of Christians. Whether Edmund Burke said it or not, it is surely true that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. I cannot see that Christian churches are right to simply stand by and allow the propagation of hateful scripture to go directly unanswered and unchallenged.
If a number of Popes in history had not taken up the cudgels it is doubtful that Christianity would have survived the militaristic onslaught of Islam. The fight isn’t over until both sides disengage. The other side have not disengaged.
The threat is real and it is not all being acted out in far away countries between people of whom we know nothing. It is here and now and “simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly; it means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.” Reagan was referring in this quote to political appeasement. It applies equally to spiritual appeasement.