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    Secret Believers: The Necessity of Imitating Christ

    February 5, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    If there is a theme to this week {month?}, it is survival. Thankfully, it isn’t survival of the fittest, or I would be eaten by someone farther up the food chain. E. came down with something mild last week, which then jumped to A. {who contracted a bit more severe form}, and then Q. and me {who spent yesterday being utterly miserable}, and now E. is on the couch with a cough and I find myself wondering if we are beginning round two of this horrid little curse.

    Why is it our family seems to spend every winter, in its entirety, sick at home?

    Last week, I did manage to finish reading Secret Believers, and my original assessment still stands: this is the most encouraging book I have read in a long time. Moreover, Brother Andrew has a very practical approach to combat Islam {or, as he calls it, fight the good jihad}.

    Now, what I expected was a lot of what I had heard before: love your enemies and pray for them. And, naturally, that message was present. But Brother Andrew went beyond this in a couple ways, and today I’m going to talk about one of them: morality.

    Now, what does morality have to do with the Islam problem, one might ask. I believe that it is Brother Andrew’s depth of understanding of Muslim culture that allows him to slice through all the nonsense of our “Christian” culture here in the West and argue the need for true morality.

    Which is not to be confused with legalism.

    Brother Andrew explains how a Muslim thinks:

    In their minds, religion is not separated from culture and politics.

    [snip]

    [T]hey proclaim that Islam is the only solution to all societal problems–moral, political, and cultural.

    Here we see the idea that Islam is an all-encompassing system. I might add that Christianity is, too, or at least it should be. {However, Christianity recognizes the right of others to choose to deny its truths in a way that Islam finds intolerable.}

    Andrew explains:

    When they turn their satellite dishes to our media, they see and hear popular entertainers, often wearing big gold crosses while dressed in the most suggestive clothing and singing lyrics that promote violence and s*x, and they think they are viewing Christian behavior. It doesn’t matter if you or I protest that this isn’t real Christianity.

    I would add that it gets even more confusing if a Muslim comes to our country, happens to visit one of our churches, and witnesses the clothing on our teenage girls. I don’t want to get into why some parents allow their daughters to prance around in suggestive clothing at all, but most especially at church. What I want to focus on is what this communicates to a Muslim who might visit the church.

    It communicates that Christianity is lacking in certain virtues.

    More importantly, it communicates that our God is not powerful.

    Let’s let that one simmer for a minute. Why would the power of God be attacked by, for instance, the way a young woman dresses at church, or the couple from church that is living together while unmarried, or the professed Christian who is promiscuous? Brother Andrew would respond to this questions with another questions:

    If our morals are the same or only margnially better than the society at large, what message do we have for 1.2 billion Muslims that at least outwardly uphold a higher moral standard?

    Now, we could get into the idea that much Muslim “morality” is only a facade, but I think we would lose the point if we went that direction.

    The point is this: If God is not powerful enough to make a Christian different from the world, to so purify his life that he has not even a hint of immorality, to cause him to shine like the stars in the universe, then He is not powerful enough to do the big things, like changing an entire culture for His glory, or saving an entire people from damnation.

    Unfortunately, many of today’s Christians, especially our younger members, put authenticity above obedience. They believe in self-expression rather than self-denial, freedom rather than duty. And their very lives tell the story of a powerless god. A false god.

    Brother Andrew finishes up with the idea that there is a central question to the battle between Christianity and Islam: Who is God? He urges us to answer this question not just with words, but with lives poured on in love for those around us {even our enemies, or perhaps most especially our enemies}. He writes:

    Muslims have made their declaration and are ready to spread Islam around the globe. How will we respond? The only legitimate response is for Christians to demonstrate who God is by imitating Christ.

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