The Jesus Way
Thursday, August 12, 2010

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)

 

                Last week news began to break nationally of an “honor killing” perpetuated upon two beautiful young ladies by a Muslim man.  As the news unraveled, the horrors were revealed that these two beautiful young girls were horribly murdered by a father who thought he was doing God a favor.  In fact, 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001 abuses heaped upon innocent people by radical elements of that faith.  How shoul we as Christians think about such things?  Let’s look at that today.

 

                First of all, Christians must be honest with themselves.  Many innocent people have died and are being mistreated in our world today by the hands of Christians who, like Islamic radicals, believe they are doing God a favor.  Some believe that number historically is upward of 65,000 lives --that is 65,000 men, women, and children who had life and lost it, because someone thought they were doing God a favor.  And sometimes these deaths were horrible – burning at the stake, hanging, and other torturous forms of execution.  And of course, not all such abuses end in death.  Today in churches all over the world and their dictatorial pastors and leaders spew the words of legalism and hate and force people to act and behave in ways that run contrary to the teachings of Christ.  On the others side of the same coin are the radical left teaching racism, liberationism, and hatred.  These teachings too result in death and abuse.

 

Let me tell you for certain, that if Jesus were following this line of thought – the Good Samaritan would have been torched; Pontius Pilate would have been a pile of ashes at Jesus feet; the Roman soldier lifting the hammer to drive the spike would have been toast.  You cannot rationally come to conclusions of hate, abuse, or “honor killing,” and be a follower of Christ at the same time.  In other words, abuses done in the name of Jesus are part of the things that still bring tears and grief to our Lord.  They are not part of the “way” that He showed us on earth.

 

Now having said that let me get back to the teaching at hand.  Abuses have happened in Christianity, not because of Jesus and His way, but because people who called themselves Christian were following Satan.  Now, stay with me, this is really important.  Followers of Mohammed abuse, hate, and kill precisely because they are following the “way” of Mohammed.  They are simply living as he lived and are part of the religion he established.  You cannot read the Koran and come to a different conclusion, any more than you can read the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles and come to a conclusion of hate or murder.  Now remember, I said historically at least 65,000 people have been wrongly killed because of false followers of Christ.  That is a sad truth.  But people who are following the teachings of Islam have killed hundreds of millions of innocent men, women, and children – all in the name of doing God a favor.  

 

If you look at the last two decades of terrorism in and to Americans, with the exception of the Oklahoma City bombing, and the torching of the innocents in Waco, all were done at the hands of radical Islam.  The Oklahoma City bombing was born out of radical ideology not having anything to do with religion and the Waco incident was the result of an overzealous government imposing what they believed was right upon a man who had set himself up to be God.  David Koresch clearly was not a follower of Christ and the government was clearly not either.  However, the issue we must examine – how should we feel about such abuses?

 

First of all, we do not have the option as Christians to hate anybody.  I find myself listening to ideological pundits who agree with my political opinions and almost joining in their frenzy.  Although no one knows for sure (except Jesus) why Judas betrayed the Lord, I suspect the answer lies in the fact that Jesus was not meeting Judas’ ideological bent of what the Messiah should be.  “All this love talk was not getting the job done,” was probably his thinking.  And I find that is the bent of the conservative right wing of America today.  We simply do not believe that Jesus, through the Divine Conspiracy of love, has the power to set things right.  So we believe that we must take matters in our own hands.  That line of thinking is clearly opposed to the Jesus way of the New Testament.  And it is His way of love we must carry into our love for people of Islam, the same as Jesus did for the Samaritans. 

 

Secondly, we can learn a thing or two about discipleship from Islam.  We Christians in America are far more easily described as disciples of the Constitution than of the teachings of Christ.  For all their faults, Islamists would never separate such discipleship.  Misguided:  certainly.  But make no mistake about it, Jesus expects us to be as radically aligned with His teachings (Mt. 28:20) as the Islamist are to Mohammed.  But you see the results would be vastly different.  Christians as radically dedicated to the principles of the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness as Islamists are to Mohammed would produce a world of love so overwhelming that Christian revival would sweep the world over.

 

Third, we must not forget what happens when an ideology based upon anything but the sound teachings of Scripture will not and cannot succeed for the betterment of the Kingdom of God – not Islam, not communism, not socialism, not capitalism, not liberationism, not Mormanism – nothing outside the teachings and life of the King will do.  All else will ultimately fail.  And for readers who have forgotten what the Kingdom of God is, let me restate it.  The Kingdom of God is where what God wants done, gets done.  And what God wants done is to love Him with all our hearts, soul, minds, and strengths; and to love our neighbors in precisely the same way as Christ loved us – sacrificially and for their good.  There is no higher ideal for which we can aspire and nowhere in this ideal are hate, abuse and killing.

 

Finally, as responsible citizens living in the world (not of the world) we must intellectually examine everyone aspiring for public office from City Dogcatcher to President of the United States and exercise our rights as Christian citizens to express our thoughts (but only in love) and to exercise our God given rights to vote.  And until the government commands us to do what is wrong, or commands us not to do what is right – we cannot and must not cross that boundary.

 So, how are we to feel about the people of Islam in light of the abuses, hate, and murders – we must love them.  We must teach them boldly, without thought for our own well- being or political correctness, the teachings of Christ (love God and neighbor).  We must be fully aware of how far Islam will take people away from the radical teachings of Christ (love God and neighbor).  And we must live as Christians (followers of Jesus’ Way) in the political arenas and spheres of this world. 

 


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