There are a lot of differences between Christianity and radical Islam.
For one example, consider the media. When a news organization publishes a funny looking cartoon of the Prophet, it’s about to be the third World War. When a news organization publishes a hit piece against Christianity, it’s called just another Tuesday. Or Christmas. Or Easter. If Christians reacted to mass disrespect of their religion in the same way that radical Islamists do, there would be no media left on this planet.
Which leads me to the one thing that Christianity and radical Islam have in common.
Both religions are advanced through bullying, fear and even violence.
Perhaps I should explain.
I spent almost all day Wednesday driving in my car and listening to news about the shooting in Paris. Strangely, some media outlets couldn’t figure out the motivation behind the murderers who swore praise to Allah before killing 12 people. At the same time, there were news stories about the fire chief in the city of Atlanta. He’s a Christian who wrote a book a while back calling homosexuality a perversion. Earlier this week, he was fired for the words he wrote in his book.
As we saw in Paris on Wednesday, Islam seeks advancement by force. Their missionaries carry guns and use them on those who refuse to convert.
And as we saw from that announcement by the mayor of Atlanta earlier this week, Christians are usually the victims of bullying, fear and even violence. And yet the Kingdom still advances.
In the first chapter of Joshua, God gives a strange command.
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:7-8 (ESV)
When God tells you to, “be strong and courageous,” you would expect him to follow with words about some big battle just up the road. But that’s not what happens here. Instead, he talks about obeying God’s commands. Obedience is not for the faint of heart. It could get you called some mean names. You could become the target for some mean words. Or a mayor’s power. Or a terrorists sword. As Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
So be strong and courageous.
Islam seeks advancement through violence. But, in the end, this will never work because Islam is a false religion centered around a false prophet who is now dead.
Christianity is the frequent target of bullies, governments and madmen. But try as they may, they just can’t make it go away. That’s because Christianity, unlike Islam, is truth and at its center is the one true God who lives today. Not only does he live but he is also very present with his people.
Remember God’s words to Joshua.
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Joshua 1:5 (ESV)
Christian, your obedience might cost you your job. It could hurt your reputation. It could even bring your life to an end. But through it all, the one and true God is with you. The worst thing that man can do to you is kill you. And after that, God will not just be with you. You will be with him. Forever.
No matter what you lose, you can’t lose.
So be strong and courageous.