Posts Tagged ‘Israel’
Emerging/emergent spirituality continues making serious inroads into Christianity. Churches and Christian colleges, unaware of the subtle undermining of such spirituality, are embracing teachers and leaders of this movement and pointing others to them. Often they are unaware of what these teachers really believe and teach. Mike Erre (pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton – Chuck Swindoll’s former church) wrote a book titled Death by Church: Rescuing Jesus from His Followers, Recapturing God’s Hope for His People. This book is a perfect example of how the “new” spirituality has an outer wrapping of Christianity but an inner core that exudes an entirely different spirituality. The concepts in this book are the basic concepts of the mass deception that is happening within the walls of Christianity today. In this book review, we hope to show the “big” picture of this deception.
In the pages of Death by Church (Harvest House), Mike Erre acknowledges that Jesus is Lord. He also references a number of Scriptures and talks about several different Bible stories. But for the discerning Christian who knows his Bible, it doesn’t take too long into Erre’s book to realize something is amiss, and such a reader soon begins to have a sense that he is theologically being tossed to and fro between the pages of this book and soon feeling like he is in a battle zone for the truth. Sandwiched between the Scripture references and the mention of “Jesus” is a theology that does not at all represent the Gospel.
Death by Church has a point to make–that God is saving “all of creation” (eg. p. 100) and that the “church” is not the substance of the kingdom of God (i.e., the whole of creation and all of humanity is). In fact, Erre says, the church is not the kingdom of God at all – it only points to the kingdom of God, which incorporates all of creation and, if the church does all the right things it can have the privilege of being part of that kingdom too. Erre seeks to prove his point but not just by turning to Scripture – he turns to prominent figures in the emerging/emergent church (e.g., Brian McLaren and Dan Kimball), the contemplative mystical prayer movement (e.g., Dallas Willard and panentheist Richard Rohr-a favorite of Erre’s), and New Age sympathizers (such as Marcus Borg, who believes Jesus did not see himself as the Son of God (see FMSN, p. 124), and Gregory Boyd, emerging author of Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty). Couple Erre’s frequent use of emerging/contemplative/New Age sympathizing authors with his kingdom-now theology wrapped in universalist/panentheistic overtones, and Death by Church actually takes on a pseudo-name, Death by Deception. But let’s take a closer look:
Erre states in the beginning of the book that as Christians, “We have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for” (p. 22). Relying heavily on statistics and studies in this first section of the book, Erre wants the reader to know that for the most part over the “majority of the last 2000 years” Christians have “been the sponsor and center of most of Western culture and civilization”(p. 20). But this has not been a good thing, according to Erre, who says that something has “gone very wrong,” particularly with “American culture,” which has been guilty of simplifying “complicated things.” He gives an example: salvation. “We have reduced salvation into four steps that allow me entrance into heaven when I die. But in so doing, we have bypassed the gospel that Jesus preached–the gospel of the kingdom of God. This gospel deals much more with the ‘here and now’ that the ‘then’ ['then' meaning when Jesus died on the Cross] and there’ [there meaning heaven, our eternal home]” (p. 26). And this is Erre’s set up for the remainder of the book.
The kingdom of God theology that Erre presents is broad–in fact, very broad. That is why he turns to Brian McLaren, Alan Hirsch, and a number of other broad-minded thinkers to make his case. Erre is not merely quoting these figures in a benign manner–he clearly resonates with them and admits many of them have been “highly influential” in his life.1 He fondly and favorably tells his readers what they think and what they believe. Quoting Alan Hirsch, Erre says that “the major threat to the viability of our faith is that of consumerism” (p. 31). He eventually defines “consumerism” as individualism, saying that there has been too much emphasis within Christianity on individual salvation and nothing on corporate salvation (ie., all of the world and creation being saved).
As with most emerging authors, Erre exalts uncertainty and doubt (always searching, never finding). He states: “Jesus brings mystery, paradox, and tension–rarely did someone get a straight answer out of Him” (p. 36), which is not true about Jesus at all. To help build Erre’s case, he turns a number of times to two Fuller Seminary professors, Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger. Interestingly, in Faith Undone, Roger Oakland discusses Gibbs and Bolger. Oakland states: “They found that emerging church leaders are not impressed with Christians who defend the faith by offering definitive answers to those who doubt the faith (p. 182).” Doubt and uncertainty are vital to the emerging church thinking–and to their mission–and without this foundation, the emerging church cannot reach its goal of an all-inclusive kingdom (that Erre seeks to present in Death by Church). This resonates with Thomas Merton who told people of other religious traditions that we are already in unity, but we just don’t realize it yet. (see ATOD, p. 159). Again from Faith Undone, Oakland quotes Gibbs and Bolger:
Evangelism or mission for me is no longer persuading people to believe what I believe, no matter how edgy or creative I get. It is more about shared experiences and encounters. It is about walking the journey of life and faith together, each distinct to his or her own tradition and culture but with the possibility of encountering God and truth from one another.2
Oakland shows how Gibbs and Bolger are presenting an “inclusive gospel,” certainly the overall message of Erre’s book.
Ironically, Gibbs and Bolger look to emerging church figure, Spencer Burke (of The Ooze), who, according to Burke’s publisher’s website (Zondervan), has had significant connections to Erre’s former church RockHarbor Church.3 Roger Oakland reveals some disturbing things about Burke’s spirituality that sound very inline with Erre’s. Quoting Gibbs and Bolger again:
Burke’s community is prepared to learn from faith traditions outside the Christian fold. There is a Buddhist family in their church. As a community, the church visited a Buddhist temple. They participated in a guided meditation with this family. Burke celebrates the many ways God is revealed. He recognizes that the Spirit has been with these people all along. The community celebrates other traditions. They reach out to other traditions, and see them as beloved children of God. With a focus on kingdom rather than on church, people find that their relationship with other faiths changes.
Back to Death by Church. Erre says that “Central to the kingdom is God’s desire to renew, restore, and reconcile all things” (p. 41). Calling this a “deep theology” (p. 42), Erre says he would like to “lay a theological groundwork” (p. 45). First, he explains that a gospel that focuses on “going to heaven after you die, and praying the prayer of salvation” is “only a narrow slice of what the Scriptures teach about salvation” (p. 46). Erre adds: “His great purpose is to restore His fallen creation and renew it beyond the original” (p. 48). Numerous times throughout the book, he says that the “central theme” of the Bible is “the kingdom of God” (p. 54). But as the discerning reader pours through the pages of Death by Church, a clear and disturbing picture of what Erre means by “kingdom of God” begins to take shape–when Erre talks about the kingdom of God, he means that “the church” is “not the kingdom.” The kingdom is “something bigger.” “If the kingdom is inclusive,” Erre says, “the church should be also” (p. 78).
Erre sounds very much like New Age Episcopalian priest, Matthew Fox, who calls the “deep theology” that Erre talks about a “deep ecumenism” (“deep” meaning all-inclusive). Fox expresses this clearly:
I foresee a renaissance, “a rebirth based on a spiritual initiative” … This new birth will cut through all cultures and all religions and indeed will draw forth the wisdom common to all vital mystical traditions in a global religious awakening I call “deep ecumenism.”4
While Erre himself does not speak of the “mystical traditions” in Death by Church, many of those he incorporates into his book (Willard, McLaren, Rohr, Borg, Bell, Kimball, etc.) abundantly do in their own writings.
Erre is not shy about sharing his replacement theology views either. Speaking of a “coming restoration” (p. 88) and a “new order,” he says that the “people of God” are “the new and renewed Israel” (p. 95). Reading through the book, one realizes that Erre sees no prophetic value or plan (for the future) in Israel:
“Jesus … creates a new order–a new community, a new Israel” (p. 104).
“Jesus of Nazareth reconstructs a true Israel by choosing 12 disciples (one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel)” (p. 110).
“Central to understanding this call of Jesus is the idea that it concerned itself less with the salvation of individual souls and more with the formation of a renewed Israel, a community of disciples that would collectively embody the kingdom” (p. 111).
“The early Christians saw themselves as continuing Israel’s story … as messianic Israel” (p. 116).
Echoing his fellow emergent leaders, Erre minimizes “the question of what happens to me after I die” and talks about a “cosmic” Jesus who “sends His “new community, the church” into the world (p. 98). He states: “The New Testament … regularly insists that the major, central, framing question is that of God’s purpose of rescue and re-creation for human beings and the whole world” (p. 98). He calls it the “here and now” theology (p. 99). (“Our worn-out theology of escaping from this world does not do justice to the here-and-now work” (p. 99).
Erre’s theme, that all of creation is being restored and saved, is redundant through the book. On one page alone, he drives the point several times:
1. “God wants to redeem the whole person and all of creation.”
2. “The good news … is about the rule of God being applied to all of creation–every part of human beings and the world.”
3. “Our traditional conceptions of salvation are blatantly more individualist, focusing on one’s individual reconciliation with God through a personal relationship with Jesus … It is more concerned with getting souls to heaven than with bringing heaven to earth. [This resonates with Marcus Borg, who calls this old paradigm Christianity.] This narrow gospel focuses only on the salvation of the human soul, but the gospel of the kingdom s includes salvation of human beings within the context of the larger story of God restoring all of creation.
4. “[T]he consummation of the kingdom includes an entirely new creation.
5. This new and cosmic salvation is spoken of as the renewal, restoration, or reconciliation of all things.”
6. (p. 125): “One of the ways that the kingdom is larger than the church is that the focus on the kingdom is the redemption of all creation. The message of the kingdom of God is cosmic in its proportions … it [the kingdom] is ultimately aimed at redeeming and restoring all that God has made” (more on pp. 128-129; 210-211; 217).
Please understand that the view Erre is expressing in these statements is classic universalism – all are saved (which negates the Gospel message of Jesus Christ because now faith in Christ is not a requirement for salvation, and regardless of one’s acceptance or rejection of the Gospel, he or she is saved. This would mean, as New Ager Neale Donald Walsch teaches, that even Hitler would be saved).
It is important to note here that when Erre talks about God restoring and renewing all things, he is not talking about the new heaven and the earth that will take place after the events that are foretold in the Book of Revelation. He is espousing a view about a renewal and restoration that will occur prior to these events (this is called kingdom-now theology).
Erre says that this newly defined “Kingdom citizenship” incorporates those of other kingdoms as well, not just our own kingdom of God, which helps us to see “our place in the cosmic [meaning universal] story” (p. 112). This new “Kingdom” “has decreed that independence has no place in His kingdom. Instead collective interdependence is demanded,” Erre states. One term that Erre uses frequently is a term that resembles New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard who also speaks of a “new humanity.” When Marx Hubbard uses this term, she means man has been enlightened to understand his own divinity and now realizes all of humanity is being saved, along with all of creation. The stipulation for this “new humanity” is not whether someone has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through being born-again and regeneration through Christ–no, it is about a new humanity that has joined together and understands her cosmic divinity (see False Christ Coming).
Erre’s kingdom-now theology is expressed throughout the book. For instance on page 132, he states that the Gospel is “something bigger” than the “story of Jesus’ dying for the private sins of individuals…. it is the story of God’s kingdom being launched, on earth as in heaven, generating a new state of affairs. Atonement, redemption, and salvation are what happen on the way.” This is typical emerging spirituality that does not see atonement, redemption, and salvation as a moment in history when Jesus Christ died on the Cross but rather an ongoing process that is continually growing, expanding, changing (see our review of An Emergent Manifesto of Hope). Erre states that “the end of the age does not result in the destruction of the earth but rather in its renewal.” He says: “[R]ather that waiting for the last days, we have been living in them since the coming of Jesus. Rather than waiting for the end to come, we are already living in the end times that will be consummated when Jesus returns” (p. 198). And, “[T]he end of the age does not result in the destruction of the earth but rather in its renewal”(p. 212).
Erre believes that the church “neither initiates nor sustains [God's] work” on the earth but must seek out where the work of God is already taking place and participate in that work. He says when we take on this view, we can then understand that the “whole of creation is now included in the scope of redemption.” “The church is not the primary location of God in the world; the world is,” he says (p. 133).
Death by Church also lays out a perfect example of what Lighthouse Trails calls “the new missiology.” In essence, Erre tells believers that “we don’t take Christ to a region or people group, but we instead show up and pay attention to the work that Jesus is already doing. We have to move away from the current mind-set about church, ministry, and mission.” (p. 136). In other words, we don’t have to tell people about Jesus because Jesus is already there among them (before they hear the Gospel and believe; i.e, they can keep their same religion and still be connected to God). This is what William Young, author of the best-seller The Shack, echoes when The Shack’s “Jesus” says he has no desire to make anyone Christian. Erre states: “We don’t do God’s work in the world; we simply participate in God’s work in the world that is already underway. … He’s always at work everywhere” (p. 162).
As if the kingdom-now theology, replacement theology, universalistic message, and new missiology were not enough, Erre presents to the reader a case for panentheism (God in all things). Given the fact that he includes Richard Rohr in his list of those he resonates with, this is no surprise. Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. His spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ) who believes in pantheism (God is all) and panentheism (God in all). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity) worship the same God.
In Death by Church, in Erre’s presentation of panentheism, Erre quotes Madeleine L’Engle: “There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation” (p. 159). What she is saying here is that God (the sacred) can be found in everything (the secular). In that line of thinking, Erre himself says that his new kingdom “dismantles the sacred/secular distinction” and “all things are given over to God–including those things formerly thought to be secular or unspiritual” He adds: “Confessional worship … seeks to see everything as having been made to reflect the glory of God. … we reawaken to the possibilities of redemption in all areas of life” (pp. 158). This is the same theology as Sue Monk Kidd (see ATOD, p. 134). This concept reflects classic panentheism–God is in all things. Keep in mind, that there is a continuity of the theme that God is in everything with many of the figures that Erre turns to in his book. Richard Rohr, Marcus Borg, Brian McLaren, and John Dominic Crossan are four who hold to this view and are referenced in Death by Church. Borg is one of the leading champions of panentheisism of mainline Christianity, as is Brian McLaren through the emerging church. Rob Bell, who resonates with Marcus Borg, is also referenced in Death by Church. We want to reiterate here, Erre is not just referencing these figures–he has absorbed their theology!
We close with this. It’s vital to understand that spiritual deception can sound very Christian. That is how deception works. Ray Yungen has given a solemn warning to this effect when he comments on occultist Alice Bailey’s prediction of what her movement (the New Age) would do and how it would accomplish “world illumination”:
In light of the many who will be coming in Christ’s name, I believe the Alice Bailey prophecies can provide further insight into what the apostle Paul called in II Thessalonians the falling away. Bailey eagerly foretold of what she termed “the regeneration of the churches.” Her rationale for this was obvious:
The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished.
In other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness! The various churches would still have their outer trappings of Christianity and still use much of the same lingo. If asked certain questions about traditional Christian doctrine, the same answers would be given. But it would all be on the outside; on the inside a contemplative [emerging] spirituality would be drawing in those open to it.5
1. From Disclaimer in Death by Church at beginning of book.
2. Eddie Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic of Baker Publishing Group, 2005), p. 132. (This book cites Brian McLaren on back cover).
3. One source told us that Burke may no longer be on staff at RockHarbor.
4. Roger Oakland in Faith Undone (chapter 2), quoting Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, 1988, p. 5.
5. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, LLC, 2nd ed., 2006), p. 123.
LTRP Note: The following is an excerpt from Diet Eman’s book, Things We Couldn’t Say. Diet was part of the Christian resistance movement in Holland during World War II. Her group was responsible for hiding and saving Jewish people from Hitler’s “final solution.” Today, at 92, Diet still shares her story with others.
A little bit different from last year’s Easter! Then we were in the midst of war and now that horror is over. O God, still we were closer to You then. And did not this all happen to bring us closer to You? How can it be that all of us are getting so bitter, and that we feel guilty under Your heavy hand.
Send Lord, Your light and Your truth. Never did we know what truth meant until now, when we are surrounded by lies. Bah, what an atmosphere around us—and are we the “lights” in the darkness, like You commanded us to be? There is no difference between me and the world. Am I of the world? Sometimes I am afraid that I am. Please loosen me from that, O Lord. from the diary of Diet Eman
It was no more than a few months after the Occupation [of the Nazis in Holland] began that we realized there were things that simply had to be done. When we saw injustice, we all felt it; we couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. But what could we do? The atrocities toward the Jews all around were beginning, and we felt it was our duty to act in some way. But it took time for us to know exactly what, when, and how we could do something.
Right from the beginning, the Occupation created ambiguities, arguments, and difficult struggles within Christian circles. When Jesus lived, His country was occupied by the Romans, and everyone remembered what He said: “Give Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Jesus Christ never preached rebellion against the Romans. Part of the moral struggle was the belief that what had happened in our little country was in fact ordained by God: some people claimed that we shouldn’t interfere with what went on because the Occupation itself was God’s will. Even my brother was originally inclined to think that one simply could not work against the Germans if one followed the teachings of Scripture.
The queen and the government had left for England in the early moments of the five-day invasion; there was a whole group in Holland who said the queen had no right to lead us anymore, and those of us who remained behind would be required to obey the government that God had given us now—that is, the Germans. But Hein, my fiancé, and I and many others felt our royal family had been crowned in a religious ceremony, with the words “by the grace of God.” We felt the queen was our rightful government, and we felt we were doing what the Lord wanted when we obeyed her. That’s why, later in the Occupation when the queen actually told the Dutch to go on strike against the Germans, we did it, although our actions cost many lives.
Many people in our church felt that the queen was still our head, not the Nazi puppets. Meanwhile the church we called the “black-stocking church” leaned toward the other point of view—that our burden was to be in subjection to whatever higher powers God had placed over us. People who took that point of view were never very strong in the Resistance because they thought resistance against the established government was, quite simply, sin.
Those were the kinds of arguments we used to hear, and we would even have them among ourselves during those early days of the Occupation. We had especially good arguments at the home of one of my fellow bank employees, a man named Platteel. We talked about how we were to live now in this new arrangement with the Germans. He was older than I was, in his thirties, and was married with two little kids.
In those early days, members of the Platteel group would advise everyone what passages to read from the Bible, what Scriptures we should consider when we were trying to reflect morally about our new national situation.
Some of the early Resistance people would sit down and take passages from the Bible that clearly showed the direction that we as Christians ought to take. Then they would write those passages on pieces of paper, and pass those notes around. A little note would say, “Read this passage, or that one.” Mr. Platteel would give me such a note, passing it along after copying it many times. There were no copy machines in those days, so who knows how many times he wrote that out and gave it to someone? He would often distribute lists of readings on his own, and even that small gesture would be an encouragement, a direction for us to go in. Such little things were important because such little things gave our hearts strength.
We all felt terrible about what was happening around us. Hein and I would sit down and ask ourselves, “What can we do?” We always talked about it together, and then discussed how we felt with a few more people at my bank or at his office, people who thought the same way we did.
Once the Occupation began, the Germans began to make all kinds of rules: we were not allowed to listen to the BBC, for instance, though any number of people still did it secretly, of course. And then came the next order in the newspapers: “Everybody has to surrender their radios.” Radios, in those days, were the size of televisions today; nobody had little pocket-sized appliances. So deciding whether or not to give them up to the Germans was a big decision. And the Germans made it very clear that if you didn’t deliver your radios to them, you could be thrown in prison. People became very scared. In the Netherlands, people were accustomed to liberty; nobody had ever told us what to do before.
This is what we thought: “Do we simply obey those miserable Huns?” The question “Are we going to obey?” had to be asked and answered, asked and answered, over and over again. Some brave people would make a hole in the wall of their homes, put in a shelf, and then place a radio in that hiding place and hang a painting or a mirror over it.
Every evening at eight o’clock, the BBC sent out information about the progress of the war and other matters. If you lived on a main street of the city, somebody from the family would walk the dog or just walk down the street to be sure there was no spy around. By that time, there already were Dutch cowards—those who sided with the Germans—who had started to make money by turning in their own countrymen. If they betrayed you by pointing the Nazis to your house, they made good money. Once those kinds of sides had formed, the real danger started: the Underground against the informers.
The Germans continued to say, “You are not allowed to do this, and you are not allowed to do that.” They made prohibitory laws against just about everything, and they reported the news in such a crooked way that everyone assumed what we heard was just plain wrong. So we knew the BBC on the radio was our only source of reliable news. Those of us who met to discuss what could be done were a very few people then, very few. Because many people were intimidated by the Germans and did hand in their radios, we knew that few of those people were hearing the real news of the war, the news from England. Thus, our first act of disobedience was listening to the BBC, taking down the real news in shorthand, typing it out, and spreading it around. That was the beginning of most Resistance groups. If you were caught doing that, of course, you went to prison. But we did it anyway.
In The Hague, we were surrounded by Germans immediately. They were everywhere, marching and just standing around on street corners. Even where you worked, you had to be careful about what you said because a lot of people in the office were pro-German, some of whom you never would have suspected.
My heart nearly broke because my two dear girlfriends, Rie and Jet, the friends my age with whom I went jumping sloten and climbing trees and had so much in common—these best friends wouldn’t think for a moment about resistance. As a matter of fact, my brother Albert had a crush on Jet, so those girls were always in our house. Albert and Jet were friends, and I was dating Hein; Rie’s boyfriend, Paul, lived on our street, and his sister Jopie came along too. We were all the same age and we formed a club called the Malakka Club, because we lived on Malakka Street, named after a part of Malaysia. We were always together on Saturdays, and it was quite a mixture: Jet, Rie, and Daniel were Christian, as were Albert and I and Gerald, another friend; but all the rest of the kids were of different faiths. There were even two brothers of a family who had no religion, Stan and Henk van Eekelen. Of the two, one became a fanatical communist, the other one a fanatical Nazi, of all things; two brothers in the same house, two completely different views of the world!
Even before the war, my parents would often have Dutch soldiers over on Sunday. We lived beside an armory, and we would have several soldiers come to the house for dinner, and to play the organ and sing. My parents thought that was one way to support our boys.
Jet’s family didn’t invite boys from the armory into their home. Her family belonged to our church, but they had six kids, and they would say, “Yeah, yeah, our family is too busy. We can’t do that.” We accepted their decision. But they were really the same kind of people we were: they attended the same church and had the same basic beliefs. In fact, their father did the same work as my father did; they were sort of competitors. After church on Sundays, the girls would come to my house, and we would play Ping-Pong or sjoelbak (shuffleboard), or we would play four-handed piano.
But one Sunday, just a few weeks after the war broke out, I entered their house, and there above the piano hung a portrait of Hitler! In addition, German soldiers were in their house that night. Jet’s family was doing for German soldiers what we had done for the Dutch boys before the war. Now, after the Occupation had begun, they could do it for the enemy.
Soon after that, something else happened that hurt me very much. I had decorated my bicycle at that time by putting a little patriotic red-white-and-blue flag on it. Every night I rode home from the center of the city on my bike with the flag waving. One day Jet’s brother Daniel ripped the flag off my bike. I was so deeply hurt that I wrote them a letter. “Until that picture is gone”—I meant that picture of Hitler—“I’ll never set foot in your house again,” I told them. I said I was angry, “because you had no place for the Dutch soldiers who gave their lives for our country, and now you treat the guys who have come into this country, totally uninvited, with hospitality.”
Dear Rie and Jet:
Sometimes I would so very much like to know how you are doing. Sometimes I long so much for both of you. Especially when I look at our vacation photos. Then I can barely take it that things are now the way they are. You had such a large place in my heart, and I loved you both, more than even Fanny. You probably are playing a lot of piano, eh, Jet? And what is Rie doing? I have the feeling that I barely know you anymore. Nel, Bram’s girlfriend, sometimes laughs and makes movements and then I am thinking: “Who does she remind me of?—somebody does it just the same.” And now I know it, Rie—it is you. When you were teasing someone, you laughed just like Nel does.
Did I do wrong in breaking with you? Would it have been my task to still try to keep you? Was it wrong that I did not want to come to your house any longer? Also not to be considered a traitor? I spoke to Taverne, [a man I helped] and he said, “The light may not be in communion with the dark forces.”
I wish I was a light, but I am only a little flickering flame. I am so happy that Nel now came into my life, I still don’t know her, but I feel that she will be able to replace something that I lost when I lost you. from the diary of Diet Eman
To this day, I don’t understand their way of thinking. That family was so similar to ours in beliefs—same church, same profession, and same standard of living. Maybe I never knew what those people were really like. When we were younger, maybe we were just having too much fun. We never talked about important things, about politics; we never talked about serious things at all. We just had fun. I never knew them inside, I suppose. But maybe there was more to all of it. Those girls were my best friends, so I’ve often thought about what happened.
Hein and I and the group that met at Platteel’s felt very strongly that what we were doing was right, both with our consciences and with God. What we were certain of was that there were things happening in our country that were wrong. But it was so difficult to know what to do. At first, we didn’t know where to start. At that time, the Germans had not yet started persecuting the Jews. What had aroused us was other things: laws against radios; rules about what we could listen to; laws forcing us to hand in copper, brass, and other metals; laws against everything. We the people of the Netherlands were accustomed to being free.
July 7, 1941
Did not write in a long time and much has happened during that time. Two weeks ago, Russia joined. All metal has to be handed in. Political parties have to be dissolved. Their monies have to be handed in. Many arrests among the Roman Catholics. And we are getting accustomed to this, that is the very worst of all. And also, I forget to see this all happens with God’s permission.
I keep looking at the injustice, So this man rang the doorbell at the home our country and people are suffering, but I forget that You allow trials on this earth.
Teach me to see that this too is You, who carries everything in Your strong hands. Then I can even be happy knowing that You are fulfilling Your plans. Keep me from saying so many things, which are not pleasing to You. Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, and keep watch over the door of my lips. from the diary of Diet Eman
The Germans would print rules in the newspaper and broadcast them over the radio. They put up little signs on trains: “Be careful what you say.” That’s always what the Germans told each other: “Be careful with your conversations. The enemy is listening in.” Of course, we were the enemy, and they were reminding their military that they should not talk about military things, because we would hear it. Then they began designating certain cars on the trains as belonging only to them. At that time in the Netherlands, only the very rich had automobiles, and there was no gas. So the trains were a vital means of transportation. Everyone had bicycles, of course, but if you needed to go some distance, you usually took the train. What they did was this: if it was a train of six cars, say, they would take two cars for themselves. They would put big signs on those cars: Nur für Wehrmacht (“Only for the German army”).
When the Germans marked specific cars, those cars would almost always be empty, and the Dutch people had to stuff themselves into the one or two cars left for them. One time I fainted on the train, and I could not fall to the floor: there were too many people. I hung there, even though I had fainted dead away. Hein saw that I had fainted, but he was standing so far away from me that he could not get through the crowd. You were simply happy if you got on the train at all, never mind if you stayed together. We were already doing Underground work and were heading to Nijkerk on that day, and I fainted shortly after we left The Hague.
The train stopped in Voorburg for two minutes, and the people around me saw me hanging there, green probably; and when the doors opened, they shoved me onto the platform. The doors closed, and the train simply left without me! Hein could not get to me. He had seen me lying there on the platform, but he was caught in his car because everyone was so cramped in. The train went all the way to Utrecht with him on it and me lying on the platform at Voorburg. Imagine, if you fainted, you couldn’t even fall on the floor, you just hung there between people.
The way the Germans abused the railroad made me very angry, especially later, when I had to do so much traveling on those packed trains for the Resistance. So one time I walked right into one of those empty cars where the paper message (written in both German and Dutch) Nur fur Wehrmacht/Gereserveerd voor Duitsche Weermacht was stuck on the windows. I stood there with my back against the window, and behind my back, I ripped the message off completely. Immediately, of course, the whole car filled up with Dutch people. That time, at least, the Dutch people had one extra car on their own train.
An officer at the bank I worked at by the name of Gitz used to give me occasional hints: “I have heard some people are actually taking these Jews and hiding them,” he said to me one day, as if it was an incredible shock that such a thing was being done. At that date, to be sure, it wasn’t really done often. There were onderduikers already by that time, people who “dove under,” went into hiding under a false name. But even hiding onderduikers was all very new then. Gitz was a man with whom I had a lot to do at the bank. “Have you heard of people who are in the Resistance, and who then have to go into hiding?” he asked me in a rather casual way.
“Ja, I’ve heard about that,” I said, also very casually.
He often attempted to read my own feelings about the whole situation in that way, and I always was wary of him and his interest, even though, later on, he gave me more tips on people who were in the Underground and in other organizations. So Gitz helped me to get started, but always in a very guarded way. It wasn’t easy to bring these things up with people you didn’t know well: the price for being wrong about who could be trusted was very, very high.
Working together was absolutely required if our movement was going to grow. One of my uncles, my mother’s brother, lived in The Hague and was doing important work for the Resistance when he showed interest in us. He worked for a printing outfit, which was ideal because he could secretly print the things we needed badly. He had his own contacts, so our circle grew because of our contact with him and his printing press.
When we started the dangerous work of trying to hide Jews, Herman, a Jewish man I worked with at the bank, told me about his Uncle Frits, who was doing all kinds of things for the Resistance. “Would you like to meet him?” he asked.
This Uncle Frits was not Jewish, but he had married Lena, Herman’s mother’s sister. Because his wife, his whole family, and all his relatives on his wife’s side were in danger—being Jewish—he began to work hard for the Resistance. Uncle Frits had a strong sense of what was right and wrong.
He started doing all sorts of things with us. He came to the meetings at Platteel’s, and, of course, he had even more contacts, including an accountant and his wife, Jenny, who was a housewife and very active and eager to work in the Underground. So at one point we had a big group of resisters in The Hague, and soon there were many things we could do.
This is what happened: when it became apparent that the Nazis were really starting to go after Jewish people, we saw our task. Up until that time we had been groping around with the constant question, “What can we do?” But after the seizure of Jews became clear, that was simply not a question anymore. Our objective became very clear: to find places for Jews wherever we could.
When we formed ourselves into a Resistance group, we called ourselves “Group HEIN”; but the name had nothing to do with my fiancé’s name. It was an acronym formed from the first letters of Help Elkander in Nood, which means “helping each other in need.” Hein was one of the two leaders; the other was Ab van Meerveld, an old friend of his from The Veluwe, the part of the country where Hein had been raised and where his family still lived.
At first, we didn’t even think about a name; everything we did was so casual and limited. Our first activities consisted of spreading reliable news and trying to get people to England. Such efforts seemed to be so small, and we were such ordinary people. But then our work started growing. And other small groups started to form in those early months. The Resistance was simply made up of people who were opposed to what was happening in the Occupation.
Distrust and suspicion surrounded us all the time. Young men could be stopped at any time on the streets and conscripted by the Germans. Germany was so short on manpower, their men spread over the whole of Europe as Occupation forces, that at home they had only young kids under fourteen and very old men. So they made it a rule that young able-bodied men of the countries they occupied had to go work in Germany. First, it was an invitation; later, it was forced labor. Those men were placed in factories, which became dangerous places when the Allies got involved, because they would often drop their bombs on those factories. Few Dutch men wanted to go to Germany to help the enemy; so our work began as an effort to hide not only Jews but also the onderduikers, Dutch men hiding for other reasons, such as to escape having to go work in Germany. The necessity of that effort had become very clear to us.
The razzias, the Gestapo raids, began to take place after the Germans were already coming after the Jews; but our trying to help the onderduikers really started at about the same time that we started hiding Jews. When the Germans started taking other people too—not just Jewish men for forced labor camps—then the queen, in a radio broadcast, made very clear to us that Dutch men should not go to Germany. Once again, just as with the confiscation of radios, Dutch people had to make a difficult choice. I realize now that a lot of people were simply very afraid; and many just obeyed all those crazy German rules.
Many men did go to Germany, but many others went into hiding. They worked on farms or did what they could in hiding; some worked in the Underground. No one had any inkling that the war would last for five years. At first, we really thought it would last only a year. We thought, “These are modern times, after all, and this horrible barbarism will be defeated quickly.”
We were sure America would join the war effort. We thought Roosevelt would help free us. But we didn’t have access to much world news, and thus we didn’t know that in America there was terrific opposition to the war. We pictured America as the great land of justice and freedom, and we thought America and Roosevelt simply wouldn’t stand for letting that little painter fellow out of Austria have his way with Europe.
At that time, the British were fighting for their lives against the bombardments. I still admire the British immensely because they had to send all their little kids out into the country in big trains, where they were taken in by farmers. Every night London was being bombed—the Blitzkrieg. Under those circumstances, when you are all in danger, you want to keep your kids by your side. And all the British housewives learned first aid and how to fight fires. After the bombardments, many English people would go out with their masks on to help. For them the war was simply horrible. I have the greatest respect for the courageous British.
September 28, 1941
Rev. Bosch in the Grote Kerk: “Do not pray as in the Old Testament—‘Smash the heads of the children of those who persecute me against the rocks,’ but pray instead, like Paul—‘I wished that you were like me, except for these chains.’”
Sometimes I cannot imagine that we as a people ever will be less hard again. Because of the things I say now, openly, without blushing. These thoughts of revenge I would earlier have wanted to dig a hole for saying—before this war. Lord, only Your Spirit can keep us from turning into animals. Send Your Spirit into our hearts and lead us in Your eternal way. from the diary of Diet Eman
Chrislam – The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity written by Mike Oppenheimer is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Chrislam – The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity, click here. There is also an Appendix titled “Rick Warren’s Muslim “Man of Peace.”
Chrislam – The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity
By Mike Oppenheimer
In 2010, Terry Jones, a pastor from Florida, wanted to burn the Qur’an, which gained him national and international notoriety. In direct response to Jones’ Qur’an burning, Larry Reimer, a minister of the United Church of Gainsville, Florida, decided to incorporate reading passages from the Qur’an as part of the worship services on September 12th, 2010. Of the situation, Reimer said:
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all part of the Abrahamic tree of faith. We all believe in the same God, and in many aspects we are all trying to accomplish the same goals.1
The quote above is but one example of how a movement (and a mindset) called Chrislam is becoming increasingly commonplace in the Protestant church. A multimedia, audio-visual example of how Chrislam is being introduced into traditional church settings (in this case, a video of an Islam recital in a Methodist church) is another example of this encroaching reality and can be found on YouTube.2
This fast growing trend, pursued in the name of finding “common ground” so we might, as a body, experience spiritual unity and effectuate a more peaceful coexistence, is a slippery slope spiraling ever downward, dictating that other religions are as valid as Christianity. When one considers the condition of the Christian church today, especially given how watered down the Gospel message has become and how other spiritual elements, not of God, are continually being interspersed with it, it really shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that this now is being embraced by a growing number.
What is Chrislam?
Chrislam is an ecumenical, interfaith movement that is said to be a “dialogue” with Islam. It is a syncretistic movement that openly speaks of spirituality without boundaries. Churches that embrace this movement soften and dilute John 14:6 while opening the door to allow the conversion of their people to Islam, in the context of not only professing to still be Christian but also allowed to place equal weight on the tenets of the Qur’an with the tenets of the Bible.
It was Robert Schuller, founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, who began this process in America by housing the offices for “Christians and Muslims for Peace.” Schuller once told an Imam of the Muslim American Society that “if he came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn’t bother him.”3
Such a statement would never be uttered from the lips of a Bible-believing Christian who understands Scripture as it pertains to Jesus Christ, who said “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But it would be acceptable by those who embrace and espouse the “new progressive Christianity” of our times.
The erroneous assumption here is that Christians and Muslims all worship the same God, in the context that they, along with the Jews, all originate from the seed of Abraham. Sadly, this is something we have steadily warned about for years, only to have it fall on deaf ears. When people take the name of Allah—the god of the Qur’an— and make it acceptable and interchangeable with the name of the God of the Bible, they forget that we are speaking of another “god” of a different nature, characteristics, and divinity. They even go so far as to suggest it is suitable for a Christian to pray in this name because it is the same “God,” or maintain that Muslim converts can continue to go into their Mosques and pray and worship as if nothing happened to them; this is conditioning that undermines the discernment of those who profess to be Christian to becoming all the more open to accepting the Qur’an as equal in inspiration to the Bible.
Can One Be Both Muslim and Christian?
Consider the story of Episcopalian priest Ann Holmes Redding, who, even after more than twenty years in the priesthood, has no problem stating, “I am both Muslim and Christian.”4
On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest. On Fridays, she ties on a black headscarf to pray with her Muslim group. She says both Islam and Christianity are compatible at the most basic of levels.5
Are they? Can one be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time? Can one serve two masters? According to the teachings of the Qur’an, Islam’s Jesus is not divine or God incarnate, is not the only-begotten Son of God or the Messiah, did not die on the Cross (especially not for our sins), and was not resurrected from the dead. Islam categorically denies the Gospel of Christianity—the foundational reason Jesus came to Earth. This is what Chrislam churches are willing to compromise when it comes to the truth in order to make peace!
The simple truth is, Christianity has no commonality with Islam that could ever justify putting our spiritual well-being in jeopardy in this manner. The Bible says, “[F]or what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The Chrislam movement is apostasy in action, and we can expect much more of this type of compromise.
A Common Word?
In 2007, 138 Muslim scholars and clerics sent an open letter titled, “A Common Word Between Us and You” to Christian leaders. Many of America’s top Christian leaders and known scholars responded with a signed letter to show their support in finding common ground between the two religions and yet failed to read the fine print, remaining ignorant to the fact the open letter contained a rebuke and an Islamic warning.
After this Muslim document was released, numerous Christian leaders drafted a statement called “A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You.” The response, which can be read online, states:
Before we “shake your hand” in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One [a name for the Muslim god] and of the Muslim community around the world. . . . That so much common ground exists—common ground in some of the fundamentals of faith—gives hope that undeniable differences and even the very real external pressures that bear down upon us can not overshadow the common ground upon which we stand together.6
Some of the Christian leaders who signed the response are Rick Warren, Leith Anderson (NEA president), Richard Cizik, Bill Hybels, Tony Jones (Emergent Village), Brian McLaren, Richard Mouw (Fuller), Robert Schuller, and Jim Wallis. In addition, pastors and professors representing many evangelical denominations and seminaries signed.
Suffice it to say, we now have Chrislam, which blends the minimalist parts of Christianity with Islam, with the intention of putting them on an equal playing field. In some churches, the Qur’an is placed in the pews right next to the Bible under the guise and garb of “loving your neighbor,” which was part of the open letter that the unsuspecting, undiscerning Christian leaders signed to have peace at any price.
This is part of a Jihad: to expose those who normally would not be interested in the Islamic religion by using peace and love quotes as the catalyst and a way to disarm before drawing a potential convert in. Muslims certainly know how to take advantage of this new openness to convert the kafirs to Islam. Islam condemns the belief in the divinity of Jesus as “shirk.” We must understand, to an authentic Christian—born of the Spirit of God—there can be no debate in this matter.
But to others who are marginal Christians or Christian in name only, those who give little credence to Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), they have no misgivings about forging a peaceful coexistence with those who demean the very religion they profess.
The False Premise of Chrislam
I find a statement made on the Human Rights First website to be most revealing:
The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., along with fifty other churches in twenty-six states, have [already] committed themselves to participating in this effort [to hold Qur’an readings]. . . . Faith Shared is a project of Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. . . .
Christian clergy at churches across the country [hosted] readings from the Qur’an and other sacred religious texts as they welcome[d] their Muslim and Jewish colleagues.7
On the Faith Shared website (the sponsors of the above event), we are told their purpose was to:
. . . counter the Anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past year and led to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases violence.8
But think about this for a moment. The premise is very slanted. Bigotry is part and parcel of Islam, as they have no allowance for other religions, even those they call “people of the book.” Tensions and violence have come from Islam itself, from all over the world. This reaches a level of absurdity and inanity that is beyond human comprehension when you factor in the Jews of whom Islam continues to make open war against, while their religious leaders openly and solemnly vow to eliminate and blow the Jews off the face of the map—not to mention how they label America the “Christian Satan” and wish upon us the same fate. Are people deaf and blind to what is taking place? Leave it to those who stand for nothing and fall for anything to ignore the obvious. Liberal thinking and the practice of being politically correct rules over all logic, reason, wisdom, and common sense.
If we should ask: “What would Jesus do?, we know He NEVER once read or quoted from another religion of His day to promote His teaching or make it more palatable for the people. He instructed and rebuked when necessary Jews who spoke falsely—a dynamic which He certainly would have put to action in this case with all those who profess to be His true followers, claim to come in His name, and presume themselves to be a part of His church.
Tad Stahnke, director of policy and programs for Human Rights First, states:
We want to send a message to the world . . . that Americans do respect religious differences and reject religious bigotry and the demonization of Islam or any other religion.9
If I may make sense of his false statement by allowing reality to intrude . . . America has always allowed all manner of religions to freely worship as they so choose in our country, including Islam. It is the Islamic countries, however, that strictly prohibit other religions to freely worship and do so under penalty of imprisonment and even DEATH! They allow for no religious integration within the borders of their lands or with regard to their culture, show ZERO tolerance, and they certainly do not allow for any kind of integration whatsoever with their religion. That is anathema to them!
We therefore have a dilemma—that dilemma being, Islam is the one that is intolerant; Islam is the one that has sown seeds of bigotry. Islamic figures adamantly assert that it is we in America (and the Western world) who are the bigots and haters because we judge them based on their own words, from their own “Holy” book and their nihilistic actions.
Are we called of God to intentionally turn a blind eye to hundreds of implicating, lawless statements, which promote the shedding of innocent blood and have no value for the sanctity of human life like those found in the Qur’an to prove we are not bigots?! God makes it very clear that those who live by the sword, die by the sword. And yet the Muslim god, Allah, IS the “god of the sword!” In fact, this is what Allah, in essence, means: God of the Sword!
From the Qur’an—Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle says:
I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ and whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him).10
It’s not even remotely, nor has it ever been, a matter of whether or not we respect Muslims, but more of a question of do Muslims respect us, or others for that matter? Do we see Islam granting equal rights to those who practice other religions in their own land? Of course not. In fact, in most Islamic countries other religions are OUTLAWED. Once a culture (whether it be their own or a culture they make subject to them) is forced to abide by Sharia Law, it becomes difficult for them to allow for anything that is contrary, especially given it could result in certain death. Let’s not overlook the obvious, hidden in plain sight (a little thing called the nightly news). Of all the compromises being made in these last days, this has got to be one of the most asinine, ludicrous, short-sighted, and flagrantly ignorant vehicles for concealing the truth.
We have freedom to worship any way we want to in America. Try to have the same freedom or promote an interfaith agenda in one of the countries in which Islam is the state religion. That is, if you live to tell and make it back in one piece.
The fact is, the only religion now being used for violence is Islam. We must begin to think more critically with regard to such things, stop being like blind dumb sheep and wake up! We must start thinking for ourselves versus glibly swallowing any camel the media would have us swallow. Why are the majority of terrorists throughout the world Muslim? Have you ever thought to ask yourself this? It’s because of the Qur’an, which Muslims pattern their way of life after and not, contrary to popular belief, their ethnicity. Simply put, it is their religion that radically affects their worldview, the adherents themselves, and their respective culture.
The Outcome of Chrislam
The idea of appeasement may exhibit a certain level of tolerance to Islam, but it exhibits disloyalty to Christ on such a deep level that it can’t be qualified. Those Christians who are practicing Chrislam, compromising their faith to such an irreparable degree, are not going to be able to stand against the tide of persecution that I believe will soon be coming upon the church. You can’t uphold what you don’t know. These betrayers of the faith will very likely convert to Islam in toto as they are halfway there already. They are Christian in name only because they will not stand up for Christ or His Gospel. This proves who the true head of their “Christian”-Islamic church is. For the Lord Himself is not consulted, and they have abandoned the head of the body for political correctness and the way of the world and of man, which leads to death.
The Chrislam agenda supposedly includes reaching out to the Jews. Adherents want to read from each other’s “sacred texts.” Do we expect the Hebrew or Christian Scripture to be read or spoken of well in the Mosques? Is it too much to ask to see them do the same for Israel that they do for Islam and stand up for the Jewish peoples’ right to exist and practice their religion not only in their homeland but in Muslim lands? Not only is it too much to ask, it’s unthinkable in the minds of those who adhere to the tenets of Islam as put forth in the Qur’an.
In an article titled “Pulpit Pals: Christians, Jews, Muslims Plan Shared Worship,” the following was stated:
Religious and human rights activists are asking U.S. churches to invite Jewish and Muslim clergy to their sanctuaries to read from sacred texts next month in an initiative designed to counter anti-Muslim bigotry.
The June 26th initiative, called Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding, is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. Leaders of the two Washington-based groups said the event hopes to demonstrate respect for Islam in the wake of Qur’an burnings in recent months.11
The Berean Call posted excerpts from that article along with an interesting comment about the article by an atheist. “Even atheists, on occasion, have recognized that the real threat to themselves is not biblical Christianity, but Islam,”12 TBC stated preluding the atheists comments who said:
In the past I have stated I am not religious, but my goal is to help educate and unite Atheists and members of non-Islamic religions against a common enemy. That enemy is Islam. The good news is that our voice against Islam is clearly getting louder, the bad news is that far too many Americans who identify themselves as “Christians” are taking the easy way out and bowing down to Islam, in an effort to avoid a conflict that has been raging out of control for 1,400 years.13
Stop now and take a close look at this most disturbing excerpt from the TBC webpage. It is from the Muslim Hadith Book.
It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib’ that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.14
“A conflict which, most regrettably, Christians (and Jews) are clearly losing!,”15 TBC exclaimed.
There are some who are hopelessly missing the mark trying to bend over backwards to respect a religion that considers itself superior to all other religions and challenges the Bible’s authority on nearly everything it says, and exchanges the truth of God’s inerrant Word for a lie.
Agenzia Fides Continental News (the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies) reports an increase in rape and forced marriage with the express purpose to make Islamic converts of Christian and Hindu girls in Pakistan, a Muslim nation. This has been taking place on an even larger scale in Africa. This is what Islam allows and condones under Sharia Law? We see no repercussions for this from Islam. Is this what they want us to respect? I’m afraid so.
Muslim-Christian Coexistence Starts in Africa
In Africa, Islam and Christianity are becoming progressively more assimilated.
Nigeria, like many other African countries, has been experiencing increased violence between Muslims and Christians. What they consider to be the solution came religiously and not politically.
The most popular Chrislam movement in Lagos, Nigeria at present is called Oke Tude: Mountain of Loosing Bondage. The older Chrislam movement is called Ifeoluwa: The Will of God Mission.
Oke Tude was founded in 1999 by a Muslim man who called himself Prophet Dr. Shamsuddin Saka who was born to a Muslim family. He believed in Allah and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca four times. During Saka’s second hajj in 1990, he received a “divine call” by Allah, telling him that he had to unite Christians and Muslims together by enlightening them to the “fact” they are serving the very same “God” but in different ways:
The vision to bring mutual understanding between Muslims and Christians was revealed to me by Almighty God, when I rested near the Ka‘aba. In a dream God showed me pictures of religious intolerance in Nigeria, and He assigned me to bridge the misunderstanding between the two religions, to stop the killings. Initially, I didn’t understand the dream. On New Year’s Eve, I called several Muslim scholars to my house. They prayed and afterwards fell asleep. It turned out that they all had the same dream: in their dream they saw me bringing together Christians and Muslims. This is how it started.16
As far back as January of 2006, Christian Science Monitor did an article on the Chrislam movement stating:
Pastor Saka explains that his father was an herbalist and that both Muslims and Christians would come to him for healing. Although he grew up Muslim, and has been to Mecca on pilgrimage several times, he couldn’t comprehend Nigeria’s sectarian strife. He now considers himself a Christian, ‘but that doesn’t mean Islam is bad.’ Quite the opposite. Next to his mosque is a televangelist’s dream—an auditorium with 1,500 seats, banks of speakers, a live band, and klieg lights. On Sundays, the choir switches easily between Muslim and Christian songs, and Pastor Saka preaches from both the Bible and the Koran. His sermons are often broadcast on local TV.17
But let us stop a moment and think about what is being said here. His assertion is that “God” (Allah) told him he is the same God of both religions and to stop the killing (something which originated from the Muslims initially). This new revelation from a Muslim started this new synthetic blend that has become the “answer” for Africa’s conflicts.18
This concept has been termed, “Muslim-Christian coexistence.” However, to accept the premise and practice of the coexistence movement you must depart from faith in Jesus Christ and all that is said of Him in the Word of God. These religions are disparate and were never meant to be united but were intended to forever remain wholly separate and distinct from one another. Clearly, we have prior examples for us today:
They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them” (Jeremiah 11:10).
Islam believes Christianity has another God but will feign being of a kindred source when it is advantageous to them.
The Name of God
If Christianity and Islam share the same God and the same teachings, then the names of God from each religion would be interchangeable. One issue that continues to come up is the name Allah as an appropriate generic name for God. Some believe this name is acceptable to use inside the church.
After the Israelites were slaves among the pagans in Egypt for over 400 years, the Lord who promised and prophesied Israel’s bondage and release to their own land, did just that through Moses (Gen.15:13-18).
While in Egypt, the Israelites lived among those who had made gods of nature; even their own leader, Pharaoh, was a manifested god of nature. It was easy for God to get Israel out of the land of numerous gods, but it was not so easy to have them believe in the one God who delivered them through Moses.
In their journey to the Promised land, the Lord (YHWH) called Moses up to the mountain and gave him ten commandments on stone tablets for Israel. Exodus 20:2-5: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” They are told not to make a likeness of God, and told, “thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”
Here we find God is jealous. Jealous of what you may ask? He does not want us to mistake other gods for Him, or worship Him the way others do their gods. One of the main ways to identify these other gods would be by their name. Exodus. 23:13: “[M]ake no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”
God’s jealousy is not like a human jealousy. It is about truth; it is about our relationship to Him and the consequences of willfully disobeying in worship and service.
None of the gods of Egypt were like the God of Israel. This is why the true God said, “[A]gainst all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord” (Exodus 12:12; see also Jeremiah 46:25). The Hebrews did not adopt the Egyptians’ names of Amon or Ra. They knew who the true God was and did not use other name(s) in worship.
So to answer the fundamental question: do Christianity and Islam share a belief in the same God, or share the same moral code based in the Ten Commandments? The answer is NO. Their god is not our God. Their god is not the God of Israel. To call God Allah would be a travesty for the genuine body of Christ, which is bought by the blood of the Son of God. Allah does not acknowledge Israel, the Jews, Christianity, or the Bible as legitimate or from God. Consider Joshua 23:7:
. . . that ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them.
In other words, other gods of the nations are not to be included in our worship or service.
Islam says the Qur’an is Mohammed’s sign of his prophethood. Our principle example is in Deuteronomy 13:2-5 where Israel had a prophet or a dreamer that gives a sign or a wonder, and speaks:
Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. . . . he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God.
Herein lies the reason we cannot call the living Creator, who is our God, Allah—it removes one from the true God. This introduction of the name Allah as a generic name for God is being used to bring the exclusive Islamic name of God into the church and have Christians believe we all worship the same God. It is a byproduct of Chrislam, which is an intentional blending of the religions.
This syncretism has been going on for a long time, but now it is getting traction inside the walls of the church. It is being brought in by men that may even call themselves evangelical but in theology and function are not.
These concepts are presented as lofty goals under the heading of “moving forward” to forge unity. Yet we need to have a better name for Chrislam—maybe Chrislamity (Chrislam and Calamity)—as it is part of the Islamization of Christianity, and it will only hurt, not help, the preaching of the Gospel to the lost.
To order copies of Chrislam – The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity, click here.
1. “UCC Pastor to read Quran in Response to Dove Quran Burnings” (The Creative Seminole, http://web.archive.org/web/20101028184745/http://creativeseminole.com/2010/08/19/if-they-can-burn-it-we-can-read-it-a-ucc-ministers-response-to-burning-the-quran/).
3. Dave Hunt, “What’s Happening to the Faith? (The Berean Call, April 1998).
4. Janet I. Tu, “I am both Muslim and Christian” (Seattle Times, June 17, 2007, http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2003751274_redding17m.html).
6. Yale Center for Faith and Culture: http://www.yale.edu/faith/acw/acw.htm.
7. Faith Shared press release, June 26, 2011, http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/2011/05/17/faith-shared-june-26-2011.
10. Bukhari, Hadith, Vol. 4, Book 52, p. 196.
11. Adelle Banks, “Pulpit pals: Christians, Jews, Muslims plan shared worship” (Religion News Service, May 17 2011, http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/51832311-80/initiative-religious-christians-human.html.csp).
12. Taken from https://www.thebereancall.org/node/9230.
13. Ibid., taken from “More Than 50 U.S. Churches Agree to Hold Koran Readings!!,” http://loganswarning.com/2011/05/17/more-than-50-u-s-churches-agree-to-hold-koran-readings/#sthash.WLBEAHTp.dpuf.
14. Ibid., quoting the Muslim Hadith Book 019, Number 4366.
16. Dr. Marloes Janson, “Chrislam: Forging Ties in a Multi-Religious Society.”
17. Abraham McLaughlin, “In Africa, Islam and Christianity are growing—and blending” (Christian Monitor, January 26, 2006, http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0126/p01s04-woaf.html).
To order copies of Chrislam – The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity, click here.
LTRP Note: Refer to our former article “Former senior White House correspondent renews venom [against Israel and the Jews] at Arab conference.” Also see the video and the map of the Middle East below.
(CNSNews.com) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered condolences on the death of Helen Thomas, saying she will be “fondly remembered by the American Muslim community.”
Thomas, who died on Saturday at the age of 92, was the first female member of the White House press corps. She covered the White House from 1960 until 2010, when she resigned after making anti-Semitic remarks. . . .
“She will be fondly remembered by the American Muslim community and by all those who value a free press and transparent governance,” they said.
Thomas was a fixture at the White House for decades, covering every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. In May 2010 a viral video cost Thomas her position when she said Israeli Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.”
At a White House celebration for American Jewish Heritage Month, Thomas was asked by RabbiLive.com if she had any “comments on Israel.”
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” Thomas said. ”Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land.”
Thomas then suggested that Jewish people “go home” to “Poland, Germany,” “and America, and everywhere else.” Click here to continue reading.
Map: Israel is in red; Muslim countries in green.
Germany opens investigation into Nazi commander who ‘has been living in Minnesota since fleeing Poland after his unit torched villages and killed dozens’
LTRP Note: As many of our readers know, Lighthouse Trails stands as a voice that remembers the Holocaust against Jewish people during WW II by Hitler and the Nazis. One Lighthouse Trails author, Anita Dittman, was a Jewish Christian teen in Germany who suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazi regime. Two Lighthouse Trails authors, Diet Eman and Corrie ten Boom were part of the Christian resistance movement in Holland, rescuing the lives of many persecuted Jews. Anita and Diet are still alive today and still speak to groups about their experiences during the Holocaust. You may wish to read these women’s books and also a booklet we have titled When Hitler Was in Power.
“Germany opens investigation into Nazi commander who ‘has been living in Minnesota since fleeing Poland after his unit torched villages and killed dozens’”
German prosecutors said Monday that they opened a formal preliminary investigation of a Minnesota man who was a commander of a Nazi-led unit during World War II, to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring charges and seek his extradition.
Evidence indicates that Karkoc was in the area of the massacres, although no records link him directly to atrocities.
Kurt Schrimm, the head of the special German prosecutors’ office responsible for investigating Nazi-era crimes, said prosecutors ‘have opened a preliminary investigation procedure to examine the matter (and) seek documentation.’
Schrimm’s office is responsible for determining whether there is enough evidence against alleged Nazi war criminals for state prosecutors to proceed with a full investigation and possible charges. Click here to continue reading.
Calvary Chapel Founder Chuck Smith Speaks Against North Coast Calvary Chapel Invitation of Palestinian Activist
LTRP Note: Below is a follow-up article to journalist Jim Fletcher’s previous article “Calvary Chapel Breached,” regarding the situation with North Coast Calvary Chapel’s recent invitation of a Palestinian activist. Just prior to the event, Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith made a public statement against the North Coast event. Also read our article, “Further Implications of Calvary Chapel North Coast Event – Lynne Hybels Presence Shows Serious Move Toward Apostasy.” We also posted this note on Facebook after we watched Chuck Smith’s “denouncing” and have decided to post it here as well:
From the Lighthouse: Chuck is not being completely accurate when he says that each Calvary Chapel is independent and “on it’s own completely.” If that were the case, then why did his son get ousted for being emerging? And why are there Calvary Distinctives and Calvary Position papers? Like virtually every organization that exists, Calvary Chapel has guidelines and boundaries; otherwise, an organization couldn’t call itself a distinct group, and it would be a free for all. When the whole emergent thing came up seven years ago, Chuck made it very clear that any church that wanted to go in that direction should best remove their Calvary Chapel name from their title. So it is not accurate to say that CC churches are on their own completely and can basically do whatever they want.
May 18th: We are adding this article by former Calvary Chapel pastor Chris Lawson: http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/north-coast-calvary-chapel-breached-indeed.html.
“Christian Palestinianists” Unable To Establish Beachhead Within Calvary Chapel Movement
by Jim Fletcher
In a dramatic showdown last week within the Calvary Chapel movement, the leadership of the California-based association of churches rebuked an event held at North Coast Calvary Chapel that featured a presentation by Palestinian activists.
Called “Hope for the Holy Land,” the seminar program aims to present the Palestinian narrative to church audiences. Observers are saying that what made the North Coast event such a flashpoint was the fact that since its inception, Calvary Chapel has been staunchly pro Israel.
Israeli officials and American Jewish leadership have long known that Calvary Chapel is a staunch supporter of the Jewish state
CC remains so, as evidenced by Chuck Smith’s public rebuke, which aired last week, just ahead of the Friday event, which spotlighted discussions by Sami Awad, Lynne Hybels, and Mae Cannon.
Sponsored by World Vision, the relief organization, “Hope for the Holy Land” purports to offer a balanced, nuanced view of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some who attended the North Coast event say the presentations were heavily tilted toward the Palestinian view, which claims the “occupation” is responsible for Palestinian suffering.
On May 9, one day before the North Coast event, Chuck Smith (who founded the Calvary Chapel movement 40 years ago) denounced the decision of North Coast to hold the event. On his “World News Briefing” via HisChannel, Smith made it clear that North Coast’s approach to this issue was an anomaly for CC:
“I’m really shocked…I understand that one of the Calvary Chapels down in the San Diego area is having these fellows who are really friendly to the Palestinian cause, and anti-Israel, and they’re having them to speak there at a church that is affiliated with the Calvary Chapels. I just have such a difficult time with that, to try to understand why a pastor would have an anti-Israel speaker, in these days.” Click here to continue reading.
LTRP Update: After posting this article on Facebook, the question arose as to whether Sami Awad was actually going to be speaking at North Coast Calvary Chapel. To help alleviate any doubts, we are attaching a photo copy of North Coast’s webpage showing Awad’s appearance: click here. The event will be taking place on May 10th.
By Jim Fletcher
Used with permission.
Near the summit at Masada, one can see the place where the Romans breached the defenses of the 1,000 Jewish men, women, and children who’d fled after the destruction of Jerusalem some two years earlier. It is on the western side and serves as a stark reminder that since forever, enemies of the Jews have sought to do them harm.
Masada ended badly for those Jews, and while they are not always threatened first physically, they are always threatened.
This week, Sami Awad, a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem (and director of the Holy Land Trust), announced on Facebook that he will be speaking at several churches on the West Coast this month. The May 10th date caught my eye and leaves me dismayed.
In a two-week stretch, from Seattle to San Diego, Awad will speak at more than two-dozen churches. Most of them will be churches friendly to his pro Palestinian message.
That’s why the May 10th engagement is so stunning, and so dismaying.
For 40 years, Calvary Chapels have been a stronghold of biblical thought. The verse-by-verse teaching style from the pulpits is a blessing to the American Church, now awash in false teachings and outrageous personalities.
It was a matter of time before leftist thought was mainstream enough to contemplate infiltrating Calvary Chapel.
That’s now happened.
Awad, whose family is well-known in certain circles, has been partnering with American evangelical friends Lynne Hybels, Todd Deatherage, and now Gabe Lyons to promote what he describes as a “non-violent” approach to peacemaking. In brief, Awad and his friends portray Israel as a lamentable occupier of Palestinian land and the usual narrative also includes discussion of the big “open-air prison” forced on the downtrodden Palestinians by Israel’s “apartheid wall” (security fence to realists).
I get concerned when I hear information that is skewed. For example, the so-called Christian Palestinianists allege that the fence completely encircles Bethlehem.
That is a lie.
For some time, a full campaign—well-financed, organized, and choreographed—has been underway to marginalize Israel to evangelical audiences. Typically, the approach of Sami Awad has been to portray Israel as a harsh occupier in need of tough love. End the occupation, allow the right of return, and establish a Palestinian state.
Who is Sami Awad? A March 15, 2008 article in the British paper The Guardian gives us a clue:
“Outside Betlehem’s Nativity Church, Christians yesterday queued not to celebrate the birth they believe happened here but to mourn a death – that of a Palestinian militant with close links to neighboring Lebanon’s Islamic militia, Hizbollah.
“Mohammed Shehadeh was one of four Palestinians shot in an Israeli undercover ambush here last week, killings that have fuelled support for Hizbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, among Christians and Muslims alike.
“School principals, teachers and students from the Bethlehem School, the Catholic School and the Greek Orthodox School paraded to the mourning tent outside the church chanting and waving placards praising the Palestinian ‘martyr’.
“’People admired Shehadeh’s ability to stand up to the Israelis,’ said Sami Awad, Christian executive director of the Holy Land Trust, dedicated to promoting non-violent action against Israel’s occupation. ‘There’s a lot of admiration for the charisma that Nasrallah has and the way he speaks and presents his views in public.’”
Unfortunately, later in the article, Awad’s view doesn’t sound any better:
“’The reason he was popular was because he presented a symbol of those individuals who were engaging in resistance,’ Awad said. ‘People are seeing that Hizbollah has done what others have failed to do either by military operations or negotiations. If Fatah had been able to achieve real steps through negotiations, people would be following that [process] and be feeling more proud of it and more supportive of it.’”
I frankly wouldn’t trust anyone who wouldn’t unequivocally denounce anything Hezbollah stood for, past or present. Let’s not forget their murder of American Marines in Beirut in 1983.
Whether it’s Fatah, Hezbollah, Hamas or any other murderous organization, the view that Israel is at fault is false.
Occupation. Land-for-peace. Right-of-return. Carving-up tiny Israel.
Interestingly, this “cure” for the Arab-Israeli conflict is the same as that of the PA/PLO. When one hears a presentation from Awad & Friends, as I have, one is struck by the extreme one-sidedness.
This is what North Coast Calvary Chapel will be treated to on May 10. Awad will be joined by Lynne Hybels and Mae Cannon (of World Vision).
The basic MO of these presentations is that Israel took Palestinian land in aggressive wars. Cleverly, in fine-tuning their presentations, these influential speakers are now talking in terms of being “Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, Pro Peace, and Pro Jesus.”
Who could argue with that?
Again, it’s a cleverly worded attempt to sound even-handed, tolerant, and peace-loving. I think it’s anything but.
By the way, anyone who thinks peace can be achieved by caving-in to Palestinian demands is either uninformed, deluded, or malicious.
“Pro Israel and Pro Palestinian,” in the context of Sami Awad & Friends, is grossly naïve. Every single thing we know about the Palestinians in the last two decades since Oslo underscores a compelling case that a Palestinian state would be a lethal threat to Israel.
So we can’t have our peace cake and eat it, too.
Although there are people involved in these activities who are genuinely looking for peaceful solutions, many are not. When one considers that the basic story line is that Israel is at fault—and when Palestinian terrorism and murder of Jews is rarely if ever discussed—one can legitimately wonder whether this whole endeavor springs from efforts at peacemaking or . . . malice. (source)
“Propaganda Wins” on Israel by Jim Fletcher
Who Really Killed Jesus? by Tony Pearce
The Anti-Israel Revelation by FrontPageMag