MAMA, ARE YOU SAVED?

Introduction: II Timothy 1:1-5 

Our text shows that Paul prayed for his young helper, Timothy, young Jewish boy whose mama was a good Christian believer, but his father was not (Ac. 16:1). Timothy became a real help to Paul, later he lived and served as a pastor or assistant to the Apostle in Ephesus. He had been brought up to know the Lord for he had a good Mama.

Today is Mother’s Day so I want to brag about mothers. Millions of ladies are good mothers, even before Christ comes into their lives. 

Mamas take mothering naturally. They start early. When a little girl gets a doll for a present she picks it up tenderly in her arms and immediately cuddles it very near her. She even coos and woos the pretend little baby. She is so gentle and kind to her new pride and joy– her doll baby. 

Not boys. When boys pick up a doll baby it is usually to hide it from their sister. They grab the little thing by an arm or a leg and sling it into a corner. Then they unceremoniously pitch some big ol’ object over it to hide it. 

Have you noticed, boys and girls are different from each other?

I. MANY LADIES ARE GOOD MOTHERS EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT SAVED! 

I am sure this is so. My mother did not know the Lord when my brother, my sister and I were growing up. When, at age six I asked her what was going to happen to me when I died, she said she didn’t know. I was really scared by that! 

She knew about cooking. We had good inexpensive meals. It was the Great Depression but my dad landed a good job at Owens Corning in Newark, Ohio, my birthplace. It was 1933 and he received .40 an hour. Mama said, they were able to save a little from his checks! 

She knew about keeping clothes cleaned. She worked on the dirt floor of our basement with two wash tubs and a scrub-board and she scrubbed! We had an automatic dryer too. It was about 40 feet long and was strung along the middle of the back yard. Mama worked hard keeping our clothes clean.

Mama knew about fighting fires too. I set ‘em and she put ‘em out. I liked burning things — combs in our bathroom stove, papers in the kitchen wastebasket, leaves and wood in Dad’s trailer, finally stuff in the basement window wells– along side of the house — Talk about stupid! I liked setting fires. 

When Dad got home from work he set a fire too, every time– on the seat of my pants! I kept setting fires though, until Dad raised the price too high and then I quit! But, Mama was good at putting them out! I’m not sure I was a good example to my little brother and sister! Mama was good about doctoring too. When I was just six weeks old I was desperately sick in my throat and ears. The doctor said, “When he sleeps you stay awake and watch him.” Babies sleep a lot. But she stayed awake and saved my life. She didn’t know then that I would one day set many fires — good thing! 

Mama could make a great mustard plaster too. When I got it in the chest she made up a mustard plaster. Just the thought of wearing the stinkin’ thing made me get  better. 

If I had my way about it every 21st century spoiled brat would have to have at least one mustard plaster as a kid. That would make him or her appreciate everything else in life for at least a year. Only thing, Mama couldn’t take pills very well. So she always insisted we take our pills, for whatever, with a spoon of jelly. I could take them best with water but she couldn’t so we always used jelly. What a waste — I kind of gagged on the stuff! 

Mama was good with Dad too. He loved her and showed it. One day he came home from work early and tippy-toed into the house. Our house was too rich to have doors between the various rooms. We had curtains instead. Dad sneaked into the house and stuck his head into the room Mama was in from the kitchen. He wanted to give her a kiss. But first he helled “Boor It got Mama’s attention. She thought he was an intruder so she swung her small fist as hard as she could. It caught Dad on the end of the nose. He never sneaked in again that I can remember. 

Mama was a wonderful cigarette maker too. She bought Dad “Buglar” tobacco and with our little rolling machine she made him many cigarettes. Often at night she’d press me into service and we rolled and twisted the ends closed and put them back into the pack so Dad sort of had plenty of packs of cigarettes. Mama didn’t smoke. I think she hated smoking but Dad smoked for 39 years regularly and started much earlier than that sneaking around as a child.

I never used any of Dad’s — afraid I might get caught. I got mine from the gutter in front of our house — there were plenty and they were shorter but more round than Dad’s. I don’t remember giving Bill or Ann any though! 

Mama was really good as Santa’s helper too. When I was five I got up early in the night just before Christmas and there under our little leaning Christmas tree were presents and stuff. I pretended I was sick and started looking for mama. I went outside and looks down to the garage — decided she wasn’t there. I went out to the front porch and looked around — callings several times for her. 

Finally, I ran through the trace of snow with my bare feet on and went up on the neighbor’s porch. I got something in my eye so Mama thought I was crying when the neighbor lady opened the door and brought me into their fine living  room. 

Was I surprised. Mama had a little glass in her hand, really small. So did the neighbor man and lady. There was something brown in the glass and a funny smell about it. Mama seemed very embarrassed and I got the idea it was a brand new thing to her. Later, I  learned it was. She was taking a drink to fit in. I wonder if any good mothers still do things like that! 

Mama picked me up and made a bee-line for the door. Now that I think of it, I believe God woke me up that night and sent me to the neighbors’ house to speak to Mama! If so, it is a case of a pint-sized bare-foot boy in his pjs. witnessing   to  his Mama  before HE was saved! She never did that again — never in her whole life that I can remember. Like I was to become, she became a strong  enemy of  rot gut  alcohol when we realized the terrible things it does to everybody involved! 

Yes, Mama was a wonderful woman, even in her lost condition. After I got saved I wrote letters home from my Navy station imploring her to get saved too. She saw a new interest, in religious things in me, so she would write back and congratulate me on my new religion. She thought I had gotten religion. I knew I had gotten Jesus into my life and I tried hard to explain! 

About that time a couple of young men came to her door at home. They began to explain about their religion. They talked to her about one Joseph Smith. They gave her a Book of Mormon. complete with little hand-drawn diagrams of how great he was. Later she gave it to me and I have used it many times over the years to point out the silly things taught therein that formed the Mormon false religion. 

II. BUT MAMA GOT SAVED 

Mama kept reading the tracts about Christ and the plan of salvation as I sent them home in my letters. Finally she opened her heart to Christ, and signed the plan of salvation at the end of one of the tracts and sent it to Chicago for further help. 

 When she got saved she got a Bible. Oh, we always had a Bible at home while we kids were growing up. Grandma and Mama used it to press flowers into when anybody in the family died. Grandma had her own Bible and sometimes she read it but just the easy parts like Mark and John because she got only to the fourth grade when her mama died so she stayed home and ran the house for my great grandpa and her siblings. But Mama started bringing her Bible to church. She wrote to me more explaining that she felt funny taking her Bible as she was the only one in church with one, well, except the minister. She began to realize no-body in our church cared about the Bible or didn’t seem to know anything about it. That helped me convince her she was in the wrong church.

If you go to a church and the Bible is not evident in many hands of those coming to church, you are probably in the wrong church. Over the centuries the established church forbid folks to have a Bible, to bring it to church and discouraged them from reading it. “Only established scholars can understand the Bible,” they said. “So, don’t bother reading it.” 

Now in our day, we’ve heard a lot of blabber about “Why can’t we read the Bible in school.” Parents suck up their chests and complain — “We need to get the Bible back into the schools.” Well, my answer to that is, “They haven’t taken the Bibles out of your house yet have they! Do you read your Bible in your home?” Maybe you ought to start there. When you had children at home, did you read the Bible with them? Do YOU even read your Bible at home now? I’m not talking about the “Daily Bread.” The few Scriptures in the Daily Bread are fine but if that is all the Bible you are getting, you’re going to starve spiritually! As fine as the Daily Bread is, I think even the publishers would tell you that is the kindergarten of the Christian faith. If that’s all the Bible you get, no wonder you don’t know much about the Lord! Do you think your body would thrive if all you ate every day was one small carrot?

III. WHEN MAMA GOT SAVED HER LIFE CHANGED 

When you got saved, did your life change? My mama’s did. Soon she was ready to listen to my suggestions to find a good Bible-preaching church. In the meantime my dad got his heart right with Christ after never admitting to any of us that he had gotten saved in his old-time Methodist church at age 12. 

Together Mama and Dad set off to get established in a good church. They started learning the Bible. Dad began substituting in teaching Sunday school Then he prayed for more Sundays off from his job. God heard him! 

At work Dad played cards at lunch time with the gang in his shop. He smoked and heard the dirty stories others told, stories not unlike the ones he had been telling up to then. 

One day, just as Dad was leaving for work, he said to Mama, “Pray for me, Honey, I left my cigarettes upstairs, I’m going to try to quit.” 

Mama went into action the moment he left. She buzzed up the stairs, gathered all Dad’s cartons of cigarettes, his lighters, his ash trays– the whole works and took them out to the burn barrel. Yep, Mama was changing.. So was Dad. He later said to me, years later, “Two weeks after I quit smoking the smell of cigarette smoke nauseated me.” He said, “I quit playing euchre because I couldn’t gamble any more. I quit smoking because I got tired of witnessing to guys and blowing cigarette smoke in their faces.” Yep, Mama changed, and Dad changed. Have you changed since you confessed Christ? 

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (II Co. 5:17). If you are in Christ you are changing to be more like the Lord. If you are not changing to be more like the Lord, you’re still stuck in your old hell-bound self! Not good! God never intended His plan of salvation to be something to breeze into and be done with. Mama, Papa, Younger, God is not in the business of making temporary half-way changes in your life. He wants you all!! Once He has your soul, now He wants your body too: “What, know ye not that your body in the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which he have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” ( I Co 6:19-20).

The Apostle Paul said about this new life we have in Christ: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”(II Co. 3:18).

So, what is supposed to happen after we are saved? Grow man grow! Grow Ma’m grow! Grow “younger,” grow!

MAMA, ARE YOU SAVED? 

Nowadays, when someone confesses Christ and his or life doesn’t change, somebody else gets the blame for their failure. That is unbiblical. When you get saved, I mean really saved, no obstacle is too great to overcome with Christ. That is because “We are more than conquerors, through him that loved us” (Ro. 8:37). Christ didn’t die to be a pee-wee in your life. He died to be your Lord and Saviour. It’s about time we started playing the role of conqueror, just like He outlined for us! 

Friday night we had our Mother’s and Daughters celebration for Mother’s Day. I am glad we did. Our ladies deserve our planning, our attention, and a good time in the Lord. But more than that, we want each one to understand, “I need to be saved.” Every mama needs to be saved. Mama, are you saved today?

Today is Mother’s Day. Guys and gals, do something nice for Mama today. Mama started taking care of you when there were only three things in the world you could do and all three of them were a problem for her. If you are not saved or have a friend who is not saved, help them to come to Christ, and make all Mama’s work for you worthwhile. 

Mama did many wonderful things for me in my life right up to the last years she lived. I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but the two greatest things I ever did for Mama was, first, to stop being a drifting, average lost soul, and secondly to become the instrument by which she found the mighty Christ. God did that in my life! Wow! 

I don’t have to ask the question any more, “Mama, are you saved?” Yep, Mama i you are saved and you’ve been n the presence of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ for tell years, six months and eleven days! Hallelujah! 

Conclusion

Before Mama died, she said to me one day, “Ken, I just wish I had been saved while you kids were growing up. Things would have been a lot different!” Yes, Mama, you bet your Toosie Rolls they’d be different!

Yep, Mama, we wouldn’t have had to roll all those cigarettes, and you wouldn’t have been embarrassed with a glass of whiskey in your hand, and you wouldn’t have had to correct my cussin’ and fussin so much. We’d have been reading our Bibles and studying our Sunday school lessons and would have been working on our neighbors to be saved, wouldn’t we Mama?

In December of last year when I always put out Bible reading plans for you folks to get started in a Bible reading plan, one person called me over to the table during those weeks and asked about one booklet. To my knowledge, I picked up every one of those I had put out those weeks and put them back into my files except that one! So, what am I supposed to think as your pastor: “Everybody in my church is busy on their own daily Bible reading plan; they don’t need me?” Or, are there quite a few in our church who can get along okay without reading their Bibles?” I wonder! 

I can’t help but feel, I better ask my question again: “Mama, are you saved today?” And Papa, are you saved today. And “younger,” are you saved today. 

You may feel it won’t make any difference. Friend, if you are saved or you are not it will make all the difference in this world. And it sure will make all the difference in the next. Come and be saved today.

Mama, Are You Saved? DAY-80

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISLAM

Introduction

When I was a boy in grade school history classes I learned of a strange eastern religion. Men in long robes and turbans dashed around the desert on horses and camels.

They followed an Arabian prophet they called Muhammad.

They were warlike. Unable to distinguish Turk from Arabian and Arabian from Persian, I had a mixed picture of them. I thought of them all like “Allah Baba and His Forty Thieves,” dashing into caves to hide from enemies, riding forth to administer their brand of justice and then escaping when outnumbered to fight another day.

Later I learned that the Arabians of “Mohammedanism” had taken their young religion all over the eastern part of the world. If it be asked how this new religion came to be adopted, the answer is primarily at the point of the sword.

Confusingly, in the face of the atrocities of recent years that have taken place, perpetrated by followers of Muhammad, his religion is trumpeted as a “great religion of peace.” Nothing could be further from the truth. His religion was born in conflict, has been advanced at the point of the sword and today jihad (“holy war”) is the cry from his followers in nation after nation all over the world.

Renowned historian, Will Durant, explains the fate of a group of the many who dared to make war with Muhammad and his men in the year 616 as the “Prophet” was establishing his religion and its authority. A group of Jews was overcome in battle and upon surrendering, was offered the choice of “Islam or death,” as Durant puts it. He continues: “They chose death. Their 600 fighting men were slain and buried in the market place of Medina, their women and children were sold into slavery” [1]. This example is by no means an isolated event!

A recent book, a simply written digest of the teachings of several religions entitled “World Religions in America,” states flatly, “The Moslems worship the same God as do the Christians.” Oddly enough, numerous Christian writers have taken a similar position. Is it true? Hopefully, this paper will provide a clear answer.

I pastored a church many years ago which featured a missionary doctor and his wife, also a physician, as our weekend speakers. When asked in a missionary forum during the event what their goal was for their upcoming four-year term of service in the Moslem land they served, they quickly replied: “Our goal is to win one Muslim to the Lord.” One convert in four years? If their Muslim god “Allah” is our God, why do we even try? Why send missionaries there in the first place?

Here in America Muslim people live in many cities and towns. They are trying to win their neighbors to their faith. They are building mosques in many cities. In some cities their cries for calling their devotees to prayer can be heard five times daily over loud speakers, Hamtramck, Michigan, being one such example. Does the Christian merely shrug off these events saying, “They have a right to believe anything they like?” Therefore are their activities none of our business? We shall see.

Today’s noon newscast, like so many we hear these days, warned of young Americans being enlisted as “home-grown terrorists.” Muhammad’s name is almost never associated with them. The proper politically correct term is that they “have been radicalized.” Nineteen such “radicals,” all from Muslim nations, self confessed followers of Muhammad, have already brought down the two tallest buildings ever built in America back in 2001. Can we afford to remain neutral in the face of such ominous threats?

At this present hour in 2010, your tax dollars are being spent by the president’s administration in Washington to restore “cultural sites” in a number of different nations to the tune of six million dollars. For example, the cost to tax payers for restoration of Muslim mosques and minarets in China, Pakistan and Mauritania plus an Islamic monument in India comes to $270,000! [2] Whatever happened to separation of church and state?

Should not Mr. and Mrs. Average Christian know at least the basic tenets of this seventh century religion? If the average Muslim is peace-loving, and many are of course, does that fact entitle us to dismiss the threat of violence by other Muslims around the world and right here in our great country? I personally believe that should Christ not come soon for His own, as He has promised to do, we are entering perhaps the most dangerous era in American history for the survival of our way of life.

Let us, as Christians, examine our hearts to be certain we are “earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). In my judgment, future generations of Christians and their freedoms are in great peril. I pray that I am wrong. Examine the facts and think for yourself.

MUSLIM TERMINOLOGY AND BACKGROUND

In this paper I have endeavored to use the terminology and spellings related to Islam that are currently vogue in scholarly writings except when making exact quotations. The confusion arises from the fact that the Arabic words are transliterated and over time spelling preferences change. Here are some basic terms to get us started. Others will be introduced later.

Islam – an Arabic word meaning “submission” or “surrender” The religion claims surrender to God (I prefer “god”). In lands where Islam has gone to conquer the term takes on a most ominous significance.

Muslim (Moslim) – is one who follows the religion of Islam. The term means “one who surrenders.”

Muhammad (formerly spelled variously “Mohammed” or “Muhammed”)- Several variations of the spelling are intended to identify its founder whose full name embodies over fifty letters. He was born about the year 570 A.D. and lived until 633. He was born to a shepherd family in Mecca near the west coast of Arabia (now Saudi Arabia). He never claimed deity but a dizzying array of legend grew to surround him and the adoration with which many of his followers viewed him. A fanatical devotion to the man is the substance of the lives of millions in the world today!

Quran (Qu’ran, Qu’rran, Koran) the principal Muslim “holy book.” Muhammad claimed the book exists in perfect form in heaven today. It is a collection of “suras” or chapters put together from memory by the followers of Muhammad after his death. In writings to give reference to a certain place in the Quran looks like this: “Sura 9:12,” meaning the ninth chapter, the twelfth verse.

There is no record that Muhammad ever read or wrote anything and is believed to have been illiterate. He claimed that the things he dictated to his followers he got from the Quran in heaven from his memory or visions from angels, Gabriel, etc.

The chapters of the Quran vary greatly in length. The organization is extremely poor with the chapters arranged from the most to the least lengthy. Chronology or subject matter was not considered in the construction of the book. It is simply: the long chapters first, the shorter ones last. I remember having done spot reading in a copy of the Quran while in the Navy, the year I was saved. None of it made any sense whatever.

Scottish scholar Thomas Carlyle said of the book: “It is a toilsome reading as ever I undertook, a wearisome jumble, crude, incondite [badly put together]. Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any European through the Koran.” [3]

Hadith (pronounced “haDEETH”), meaning “collection” or “tradition”- A supplement to the Quran “based on the concept that all Muhammad said or did was also divine revelation. Most Muslims consider it a step below the Quran in authority.” [4]

Bukhari (pronounced BUKhari) – part of the Hadith, making a 9-volume set in English

Masibah (pronounced masEbah, approximately)-a popular collection of hadith, making a 4-volume set in English

Shariah Law (sometimes referred to simply as “sharia”) — complete body of regulations governing all of life within Islam. A body of literature, written and developed over the centuries, forming a set of requirements every Muslim is to follow. The warfare currently raging in Iraq and Afghanistan involves Shariah. The various sects of Sunnis, Shiites, etc. differ on content and application of Shariah and seek to establish it everywhere within the more moderate elements of Muslim society, whether by consent or by force.

With regard to the Bible, the Muslims claim to accept the Pentateuch (books of Moses), the Psalms and the New Testament as true. These are mostly ignored, however, claiming they have been “corrupted” the “proof” of which being offered that they differ from the Quran.

THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD

A good deal of attention in writings about Muhammad pay tribute to the man as having come from idolatry to monotheism, the belief in just one God. That is of little significance if, however, that “one God” is described in terms totally out of harmony with Scripture. For example, the Bible presents God in His true form as a tri-unity, a trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Islam flatly denies any such trinity with little about the Holy Spirit and a straight denial of the deity of Christ.

At the time of Muhammad’s birth, people of Arabia (the Arabian peninsula now occupied by Yemen, Oman, The United Arab Emerates, Qater and Kuwait and the great land mass-Saudi Arabia) were pagan and idolatrous.

Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, died before his son’s birth and his mother’s death, when he was age six, left him an orphan. Abdullah was of the Quraysh tribe which was custodian of the Kaaba, of which we will speak later. Muhammad was raised first by his grandfather and later an uncle. They were both members of the same Quraysh tribe in Mecca. This is significant in determining the identity of the god of Islam.

Muhammad tended the family flocks as a boy and later went on trading expeditions which broadened his outlook on life beyond the idolatry around him. Little else is known of his youth.

At age twenty-five he married Khadija, a woman of forty years. This apparently good marriage raised his social standing and financial security. He is reported to have lived monogamously until her death twenty-six years later. They had several daughters and two sons, both of whom died in infancy. He later adopted a son, “Ali” who described Muhammad as “of middle stature, rosy of complexion with black eyes and thick shoulder length hair.” [5] Muhammad sired many children during his entire lifetime but no son survived to adulthood.

Modern writings of Muhammad gloss over details of his life that might place him in unfavorable light. While this seems, on the surface to be charitable, it is also dangerous. The public does not get the full story.

Here are one writer’s comments:

Through his marriage Mohammed attained economic security and social position of importance in Mecca. Yet throughout his interesting life, the future Prophet [sic] lived simply, remained abstemious [restrained in appetites, especially food and alcohol] in all his habits, and was particularly fond of children. In appearance Mohammed is said to have been medium height, with an oval face, large eyes, long dark hair and a dignified mien [demeanor]. [6]

The charitable sketch above continues with praise for Muhammad’s attacking of idolatry, his espousal of monotheism [worship of one god], his forbidding of revenge, his banning of infanticide, humane treatment of women, avoidance of drinking alcohol, etc. There is far more of his real life, almost never written about in recent years.

He eventually married at least fifteen women. In addition to his wives there were additional slave women. Women numbers 17 and 18 were concubines. Numbers 19,20, 21 and 22 merely gave themselves to him for his own personal purposes. Woman number 17 was a slave named Mary, a Christian who had been taken captive. She was offered opportunity to marry her master but she did not agree since he refused to become a Christian. His third wife, “Aesha” was nine years old (some authorities say seven or eight) when he consummated his marriage to her.

Muhammad sanctioned multiple wives for his followers but limited the number to four plus an unspecified number of concubines. Commenting on these matters Dr. Robert Morey says: “This aspect of Muhammad’s personal life is something many scholars pass over once again because they do not want to hurt the feelings of Muslims. [7]

Without intense conflict and warfare there would never have been an Islam. Any honest researcher is quite able to substantiate that Muhammad both initiated his religion with warfare, continued it as such when necessary, which was often, and orchestrated the deaths of multitudes of his enemies, sometimes their heads presented before him for his satisfaction. At first he was somewhat understanding of the Jews, even charitable. Later this changed. The hatred and rejection of the Israel as a nation, by Muhammad’s followers traces back to the “prophet’s” lifetme.

As for his conversion to monotheism from the idolatry into which he was born, the term “Allah” was quite known in the eastern world prior to Muhammad’s birth. To state or imply, as some well-meaning Christian scholars do, and others who casually look at the subject, that “Allah” is merely the Arabic name for “God” is simply not true. Numerous scholars make claim that “Allah” is traceable to “moon god.” Even the crescent symbol of Islam is consistent with this idea. More will be said of this in our section on doctrinal beliefs.

Dr. Robert A. Morey, Islam Unveiled, states:

The Quraysh tribe into which Muhammad was born was particularly devoted to Allah, the moon god and especially to Allah’s three daughters who were viewed as intercessors between them and Allah…The worship of the three goddesses, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat played a significant role in worship at the Kabah in Mecca. [8]

A word about the Kaaba is in order (sometimes spelled “Kabah” or Ka’bah or “Kaba”). The Kaaba is a small cubical stone shrine located at the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca. A “sacred” Black Stone is located at one corner. Muslims assign its date to the time of Adam, whom, they claim was given it upon his expulsion from paradise.

About the Kaaba an encyclopaedia article records:

“During most of the year the Ka’bah is covered with an enormous cloth of black brocade woven into which in gold are the formulas, ‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.’” [9] Actually the small black stone is a meteorite. More about the Kaaba is given later in this paper. Muhammad initiated worship at this site resulting in the decision to designate it as the “holiest spot on earth.”

With respect to persuasion by Muhammad, those peoples and nations conquered were offered by way of religious freedom only Islam or the sword. Islam can be rightly understood then only when one realizes it is intended to be a state religion.

Of all the Islamic Arab nations of the world, not one is democratic. Today, attempts to make Islamic nations over into democracies are mostly doomed to failure because democracy is impossible under what Muslims call Shariah law. Muhammad intended from the beginning to single out Allah as one god he and his followers would worship and life was to be a theocracy [the rule of God only].

MUHAMMAD: A NEGLECTED MISSION FIELD

No one knows if Muhammad ever received a straight gospel witness, though he was around and learned much from many Christians. He was a gifted man, of that no one should doubt. Like the rest of us, however, he was a lost sinner. There is no record that he ever performed any works similar to those of Christ nor did Muhammad ever claim deity. In recent times, his followers have embellished his person and accomplishments beyond reality, under pressure to present him in the most favorable light. He was an exceptional man. Too bad he was not introduced to the saving merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Muhammad experienced various “visitations,” he claimed were from divine sources. Various passages from the Quran announce these as involving the “Holy Spirit,” whose identity the “prophet” never makes clear, and “angels” or “Gabriel.” About age forty these trances or revelations involved his “call” to be a prophet.

“Revelation” as defined by Christian scholars as God’s word presented to or through a man is not the same idea as Islam holds. The Quran came only to Muhammad, it is he alone who announced its contents to his followers who then wrote them down on whatever materials they could find: bark of trees, flat stones, ribs of animals, wooden boards, pieces of papyrus, et cetera. When no writing materials were available, the memories of his hearers were relied upon. The result was that numerous matters of fact were corrupted to say nothing of the errors the “Prophet” introduced himself because of his deficient knowledge. As simple examples, here are a couple:

Muhammad has one of Noah’s sons standing at the side of the Ark in defiance while his father pleads with him to enter and be saved (Sura: 11:40).

The Quran says Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba (Sura: 2:125-127). No explanation of how the Black Stone became placed within it, a stone that supposedly existed since the time of Adam!

Numerous errors recorded in some editions of the Quran and documented by scholars have been “cleaned up” in others. Other stories in the Quran record at great length imagined details of biblical stories. The succinct and honorably written account of biblical Joseph’s confrontation by Potiphar’s wife is made a lengthy and lurid story in the Quran (Sura:12:21ff).

After a brief period of poor health, Muhammad died on June 8, 632. Few details are given beyond the basic facts. It is thought that a Jewess whose relatives had been murdered in a massacre endorsed by Muhammad may have poisoned him as much as a year or so earlier. Will Durant reflects on the attitudes of his most devout disciples:

“His followers collected his spittle, or his cut hair, or water in which he had washed his hands, expecting from these objects magic cures for their infimities.” [10]

MUSLIM DOCTRINE

Thousands of books and articles exist on the beliefs and practices of Muslims. Here in simplified form is a kernel sketch of what they believe and practice.

The key to understanding Islam as a whole is knowledge of “The Pillars.” Muslims differ as to the number, most claiming five but many others, particularly in recent years, claim five. Here they are:

Pillar One – (Profession of Faith)

Once in the lifetime, the following profession of faith is made to become a Muslim: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” In recent years some of the literature has it: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his messenger.”

This statement must be made aloud, correctly and purposefully. It is understood to be recited with assent of heart and understanding of meaning.

Pillar Two – (Prayer)

Five congregational prayers must be recited daily. If no mosque is available the devotee may recite them alone. The prayers are to be offered: 1) morning before sunrise, 2) just after noon, 3) later afternoon, 4) immediately after sunset, and 5) before retiring.

Only three such prayers are mentioned in the Quran: morning, middle afternoon and evening. However, special congregational prayers are offered on Friday afternoon to replace some of the usual ones with a sermon following.

The Imam, (prayer leader – Imam is also used of leaders of more significance) The imam stands at the front of the mosque and faces Mecca with rows of congregants behind him (men only) making prayers and chants and recitations from the Quranas differing postures are assumed.

Necessisty for these prayers is not relaxed, even for the sick, but they may receive special permission to pray in a lying position.

All prayers are in Arabic and are considered valid whether or not the devotee knows the Arabic language.

Pillar Three – (The Zakat, pronounced zawKAAT) An obligatory tax. It is leveled on one wealth in grain, livestock and other possessions. It varies from 10 percent to 5, depending upon whether one’s land is watered naturally or artificially

Pillar Four – (Fasting)

The ninth month of the Muslim lunar year is Ramadin. Fasting is enjoined for this month by the Quran from daybreak to sunset, this includes drinking water. Those of the strictest sects will not even swallow their own saliva. Smoking during thee times is also prohibited. There is much feasting after sunset, including a great deal of drinking and drunkenness, even though alcoholic beverage is forbidden in Islamic lands. One writer said:

“…night is turned into day; and there is more feasting in the night hours of Ramazan [Ramadin] than any other month of the year. [11]

Pillar Five – “The Hajj” (Pilgrimage)

This is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. It is to be made once in the lifetime of every Muslim “who can afford it.” It is held from the 7th through the 10th of the last year of the Muslim calendar. While there, prescribed dress and exacting rituals are enjoined upon the pilgrims. The Kaaba must be encircled a given number of times leading up to the kissing of the Black Stone that is located in one corner of the Kaaba.

It is usual that numerous pilgrims lose their lives through one mishap or another during the performance of “The Hajj,” Sometimes there are many deaths.

Connection with the Haage is most significant since this very small shrine, early in Muslim history, contained many idols. From this collection came Muhammad’s decision to single out one, Allah, to be his “one God.”

Those who claim Islam is “monotheistic” (belief in one God) ignore the significance of the Haage’s connection to the identity of “God.” Actually the Black Stone is an idol and is worshipped as such despite the fact that is has been clearly identified as a meteorite.

Pillar Six – “Jihad” (pronounced geeHAWed) – “sacred struggle with word or sword in the cause of Allah; holy war” [12]

Few people seem aware of the violent language used throughout the Quran with regard to attacking, punishing, killing and otherwise doing violence to “the enemy.” The term “infidel” is a common one with reference to non-Muslims. Take Sura: 9:3 and following as one example of the many (the Quran supposedly represents God speaking in the first person throughout):

Allah and His apostle are free from obligation to the idolaters [anyone who differs from Islam]. If you repent it will be well with you; but if you give no heed, know that you shall not escape His judgment.

Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except those idolaters who have honoured their treaties with you and aided none against you…

When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere you find them. If they repent and take to prayer and pay the alms-tax, let them go their way. Allah is forgiving and merciful.

Some Muslims claim such passages as this above are “taken out of context.” The truth is that the language above is pervasive all through this “sacred book.” Little wonder that a well-meaning pastor would encourage his flock to burn their copies!

Religious warfare was engage in my Muhammad and his followers for centuries as Islam advanced throgh Africa and Europe. The Battle of Tours, France, in 732 under the leadership of Charles Martel, forerunner of Charlemagne, decided the fate of Europe for it was there that the Muslim onslaught westward was stopped. This turning point in the history of western civilization demonstrates the inherent danger in a world where Muslim fundamentalists are unleashed.

No doubt many peace-loving people are numbered among the Muslims. Of these most would be abhorred at the thought of persecution and death to non-Muslims. We should be grateful for that. However, there is nothing in their religion that sanctions peaceful co-existence with non-Muslims. Recent killings of Christians and Jews in Muslim lands and a diabolical and obvious hatred of such, displayed by violent acts that are constantly in the news, simply and sadly prove my point.

ISLAM’S PLAN OF SALVATION

One Christian writer was asked about Islam’s plan of salvation. He bluntly replied: “There is none- you have to save yourself.” While this may seem utterly simplistic and meaningless, my studies have brought me to the same conclusion.

The classic error that God grants salvation to those whose good deeds outweigh their bad ones is part and parcel of the Quran. Take, for example, this passage: Sura:23:101ff

“When death comes to a wrongdoer, he will say ‘Lord, let me go back, that I may do good works in the world I have left behind.’

Never! These are the very words which he will speak. Behind them there shall stand a barrier till the Day of Resurrection. And when the Trumpet is sounded, on that day their ties of kindred shall be no more, nor shall they ask help of one another.

Those whose scales are heavy shall triumph but those whose scales are light shall forfeit their souls and abide in Hell forever. Its flames will scorch their faces and they will writhe in pain” (Sura:23:101ff).

Salvation by works is presented throughout the Quran. This is an irrefutable fact that anyone, merely curiously paging through the book can perceive.

So then, what of the Savior, the Lord Jesus, the non-Muslim asks. Here the entire spiritual bankruptcy of Islam is laid open for all to see. Islam denies the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, they acknowledge his birth and life. They deny that he died upon the Cross. They deny that He is God. They deny that God even has a Son. Note this quotation from the Sura called “The Believers”: Never has Allah begotten a son, nor is there any other god beside Him. There follows, in the same paragraph this nonsense: Were it otherwise, each god would govern his own creation, each holding himself above the other. Exalted be He above the gods they serve besides Him! (Sura: 23:90ff)

Some will ask, “Why are the men of Islam, so many of these violent terrorists, so ready to die, even commit suicide for Allah?” There is a very simple yet sad answer to this question.

Throughout the Quran, heaven, often called “paradise,” is presented for those who die for Allah as a place of sexual orgy, reserved for faithful men, women provided in abundance for unrestrained pleasure. “Paradise,” as understood through the Quran is a man’s place for every kind of enjoyment, particularly as regards sexual satisfaction.

The fact is that the entire Quran is written from the man’s point of view. Little is said of salvation for women. As a matter of fact, in this life the man is presented as not only the dominant one, but of even a higher state than the woman. Her witness in a court, for example counts merely half that of the man. The husband’s treatment of the wives (plural!) is basically his own business. This extends even for permission to “beat them.”

Even Muhammad’s permission for each man to have four wives is expanded in the Quran as including any number of occasional encounters with women for personal satisfaction.

My paper entitled: “Muhammad’s Quran Examined by the Scriptures” contains detailed comparisons of the Quran to the Christian Scriptures. The Quran is not a large book, about the size of the New Testament. There the comparison ends. Taken as a whole it must be judged for what it is: an evil book, dismissing the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, denying His rightful place as Savior of the world of men, and in total disbelief of His plan of salvation by grace through faith in his death, burial and resurrection from the dead.

One of the most amazing things I can conceive of is to confuse the heathen god Allah with the true and living God. They are an eternity apart. One is the figment of the imagination of a mere man, picking one idol from his pantheon of many and proclaiming him alone as God. The other is the lovingly revealed Creator who sent His only Son into this world as a tiny baby to live and die to pay the sin penalty for the whole human race.

Conclusion

We have but scratched the surface of the multitude of errors and misrepresentations of the true God that are present in the religion of Muhammad, the misguided genius of the seventh century whose fundamentalist Muslim millions now span the globe.

The late C.S. Lewis, the brilliant Christian apologist, wrote that he believed that at the end of the Christian era a great false world religion would rise to become the mortal enemy of Christianity. He adjudged that religion to be Hinduism.

I personally believe Mr. Lewis was correct that a great ethnic world religion would rise to rival and persecute Christianity, but I believe that religion is manifesting itself today in the form of Islam. Remember, “Islam” means “surrender” or “submission.” Forbid it, Lord, that such an event should transpire. Let us make ourselves aware as never before that we must be victorious Christians and faithful witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ while there is still an hour available to us. Let us warn the unknowing of the dangers of this incidious form of thought called Islam. Let us love some of these to Christ as He affords to us the opportunities.

In our strong desire to bring the truth to everyone, including dear Muslim people who are unaware of the ramifications of many of the precepts and doctrines of their religion, we must treat these folk with respect, concern and genuine love. We must find ways to lovingly get the truth to them. In this climate, by God’s grace, we may be able to win some to our blessed Savior, some who without Him will surely perish.

Rev. Kenneth F. Pierpont, M.Div., M.Ed., D.Min
Copyright 2010

List of Works Cited

1 Durant, Will History of Civilization, Vol. IV, p. 170

2 American Family Association as quoted by Sword of the Lord, 9-17-2010, p. 3

3 Morey, Robert A., Islam Unveiled, p. 104

4 Olsen, Viggo What Muslims Believe

5 Durant, op. Cit., p. 162

6 Wallbank and Taylor, Civilization Past and Present, 269

7 Morey, op. Cit. p. 85

8 Morey, op. Cit. p. 49

9 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. V. p. 649 (1978)

10 Durant, op. Cit., p. 173

11 Vos, Howard S. Religions in a Changing World, p. 75

12 Geisler, Norman L. and Saleeb, Abdul, Answering Islam, 313

Is Cremation Christian?

Some Christian leaders are giving counsel which leads the Christian public to accept the cremation of a corpse as a proper and convenient practice. If you are interested in a more careful approach to this subject, you are invited to read Pastor Kenneth F. Pierpont’s study of the history and general tenor of Scripture regarding cremation.

Is Cremation Christian?

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he swear to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:24-26). [Read more...]

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Isaiah 5:11-13

The worse social evil ever to infest this planet is quietly finding its insidious way, at least to some degree, into acceptability with the Bible-believng community. This paper confronts that reality.

This message is for “us.” And who is “us”? It is every child of God who is eager to find truth from God’s Word, the Bible, and to live by that truth, come what may.

If there be any justification for social drinking, it is completely nullified by the harmful effects that seek to overwhelm our society. Even among medical authorities one seldom hears the trumpeting of the use of alcohol for medicinal purposes any more. But, of course, this message is not about alcohol administered under the proper care of one’s physician. I am talking about “the bottle,” and we should just say “No!” [Read more...]

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Galatians 1:6-8; I Corinthians 15:1-4

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You may have neighbors or professional people who are Mormons. They prefer to refer to themselves as members of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” (LDS). You may be impressed by their upstanding private lives and more. They may very well portray a happy successful image. Who are these people? [Read more...]

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Serious Christians ought to go deeper than this.   Not only: “Where is the church?” but “What does this church teach?”  If a family entrusts its children to a church’s ministries, won’t a concerned parent take note of what the children are being taught? Will not the place accorded to the Bible be carefully noted?  Some years ago, a young woman in our congregation returned from a vacation trip during which she and her family attended a church on Sunday.  She engaged me in conversation about it the Sunday she returned.  As she spoke of her family’s church experience, while on vacation, she seemed dismayed by their experience. [Read more...]

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Why Be a Baptist?

You probably know of a church that “used to be a Baptist church” but now goes by another name.  Maybe the new name is “Community Fellowship” or “Abundant Life Church,” or something similar.  But the word “Baptist” is no longer in the name.  This is certainly a growing trend.

Some churches have dropped the Baptist name in recent years in order to appeal to a wider range of the general public.  As the world around us offers more and more leisure-time activities churches and pastors find themselves hard-pressed to bring people under their ministries.   The percentage of population that identifies with any church grows smaller with each passing year. [Read more...]

Slaughter of the Innocents

SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS
Psalm 139:7-18; 23-24

“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which he ascertained from the magi.  Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, ‘a voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.’”
–Matthew 2:16-18, NASB

Introduction

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In recent months news reports have surfaced of runaway cars complete with grisly details of accidents that have occurred as a result. In some cases police dispatchers can be heard offering counsel to those who automobiles are speeding down a highway out of control.

Even now automobile manufacturers are at work correcting this problem that has involved many vehicles. In some cases the auto’s engine has dropped back to slower speeds allowing the owner to bring it to a halt. In other instances more tragic results have occurred. [Read more...]

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John 15:1-7

Introduction
PRA-11

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