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In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he o worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned, “If Christians have caste differences also, “ he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.” That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior.
In the villages of Northern India a missionary was preaching in a bazaar. As he closed, a Muslim gentleman came up and said, "You must admit we have one thing you have not, and it is better than anything you have."
The missionary smiled and said, "I should be pleased to hear what it is."
The Muslim said, "You know when we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin. But when you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave."
But the missionary just smiled and said, "That is just the difference. Mohammed is dead; Mohammed is in the coffin. And false systems of religion and philosophy are in their coffins, but Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is to include all nations and kindreds and tribes, is not here; He is risen. And all power in heaven and on earth is given unto Him. That is our hope."
Martin Luther said “A religion that does nothing, that saves nothing, that gives nothing, that cost nothing, that suffers nothing, is worth nothing.”
B. D. B Moses
During the time of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Greg Livingstone was asked to give a "missions minute" at a large evangelical church on the East Coast. Since he had only one minute to speak, he decided to ask them only two questions. The first one was, "How many of you are praying for the 52 Americans hostages being held in Iran?" 4000 hands went straight up and he said, "Praise the Lord! Now, put your hands down and let me ask you another question…How many of you are praying for the 42 million Iranians being held hostage to Islam?" four hands went up. He said, "What are you guys? Americans first and Christians second? I thought this was a Bible-believing church!"
This rebuke to the church by Linvingstone served as a wake up call and helped mission-minded Christians see the need for prayer for Muslims. This mission minute was used in a dramatic way to lead to what has been called by mission experts as "the ’...
Illus.: “Buddah Is Sleeping”
In a large city in Sri Lanka there is a huge statue of Buddah in a reclining position. The chiseled face is calm, the eyes are closed and the head rests upon one hand. A full 50 feet long, the image is impressive except for one thing: Buddah is sleeping while the world goes by. He is paying no attention to his worshippers. How could he. The “he” is an “it.” It is a thing, not a person. How unlike that our God is. He cares for us. He watches over us. He protects and blesses us. Shame on us when we are filled with fear and uncertainty.
There is an old story about a man in China who was walking on a rain slick road. He lost his footing & fell into a ditch filled with mud. He kept sinking deeper & deeper in the mud. The more he struggled to get out of the ditch, the deeper he sank.
As he was sinking in the mud Buddha came by. Buddha looked at him & said, "My what a predicament you are in. Here is a paper that tells you ten ways to get out of ditches." The man started reading & he tried all ten ways to get out of the ditch, only to discover that the harder he tried the deeper he sank.
Then Confucius came along & looked at him, & said, "You are in a terrible condition, but I have good news for you. If you’ll take 5 steps toward me, I’ll take 5 steps down to meet you, & then together we will walk out of the ditch."
But the man said, "I couldn’t even take the 5 steps. The more I struggled the deeper I sank in the mud."
Then Jesus came by. Jesus looked at him, took off His crown & His royal robes, & got down in the ditch with him & He pushed him until his feet were on solid ground once again.
"From sinking sand He lifted me. With tender hands He lifted me. From shades of night to plains of light. Oh praise His name, He lifted me." That is what love means. It means that Jesus Christ has lifted us out of the muck & the mire of our sin, & He has put our feet on solid ground.
I would like to read you something I came across this week. It was written by a man named Tamim Ansary– who is an Afghani-American writer [ taken from Salon.com ]. I don’t generally like to read something of this length, but I think it is important for us to hear.
[start quote] I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we’re at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought especially hard about the issues being raised because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I’ve lived here for 35 years I’ve never lost track of what’s going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I’m standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They’re not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."
It’s not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country. Some say, why don’t the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they’re starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines. The farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already.
Make the Afghans suffer? They’re already suffering.
Level their houses? Done.
Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.
Eradicate their hospitals? Done.
Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs.
Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today’s Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They’d slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans; they don’t move too fast, they don’t even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn’t really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they’ve been raping all this time [end quote]
A Muslim in Africa became a Christian and some of his friends asked him, “Why have you done such a thing?” He answered, “Well, its like this: Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions. You didn’t know which way to go; and there at the fork were two men—one dead, and one ali...
The official position of Islam is that her martyrs go directly to heaven:
The Prophet said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." (Sahih Bukhari 1.35, also Sahih Bukhari 4.386) It is therefore not difficult to understand why some extremist Muslims (eg. the Hamas) were willing to die for their terrorist acts. Jesus said:] "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"
What’s the main idea?
On his many caravan rides along the trading route between
Syria and Arabia, a merchant named Muhammad observed people of
all kinds of faiths. He became increasingly concerned that
people were straying from ethical and moral responsibility. In
A.D. 610, when Muhammad was 40 years old, the angel Gabriel
allegedly commanded him to become a prophet, calling people
back to the truth. The foundation of Islam was laid.
Islam is the second-largest religion in the world (after
Christianity), claiming one billion followers, called Muslims.
The religion hangs on the phrase, "There is no god but Allah
and Muhammad is his prophet." Allah (Arabic for "God") is
alone to be worshiped. So it’s a big mistake to think Muslims
view Muhammad the same way Christians view Jesus. Muhammad was
not a deity to be worshiped, but the last and greatest
prophet -- someone who brought a perfect message from God.
Muslims aren’t concerned as much about the right beliefs as
they are about the right actions. In "submitting to the will
of God" (that’s the meaning of the word "Islam"), they stick
to the Five Pillars, a set of important requirements that
includes regular charity, praying five times a day, and making
at least one hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca (Islam’s holy city).
In addition to this, most Muslims devoutly refrain from
alcohol, drugs, gambling, and certain foods such as pork. The
Qur’an (or Koran), which Muslims believe is the written
recollection of the visions Muhammad received, is the most
important text, although our Old and New Testaments are also
significant in Islam.
ANY COMMON GROUND?
Christians and Muslims share a lot of similar beliefs. For
instance, Moses, Jacob, and David are influential in both
faiths. And Muslims have enormous respect for Jesus, seeing
him as the second-greatest prophet. Muslims also believe in
Jesus’ virgin birth and his miracles, even saying he’s the
WHAT SETS US APART?
Muslims don’t believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and
they consider the Christian claim of Jesus’ divinity
blasphemous. In Islam, Muhammad is the greatest and most
authentic prophet. While they think highly of the Bible,
Muslims think the Qur’an is the true Word of God. Most
significantly, the Christian concept of grace is completely
absent in Islam. Allah is relatively cold and removed, and the
principles of right and wrong, do’s and don’ts, form the
foundation of the faith.
Dr. James Lewis, Associate Professor of World Religions at
Wheaton College and Campus Life.
June 26, 2002