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Islam and Christianity: The Only Hope for Peace

Islam and Christianity:
The Only Hope for Peace 

This fall America is facing the possibility of a fourth war with a Muslim nation in twelve years.  Despite our attempts at nation building, it appears that the hostility and scope of our conflicts are growing every year. Is there any real hope of peace between America and the Muslim world?

First let’s look at the historical context.  For 1,400 years the Christian West has been forced to defend itself against the onslaught of Islam, a religion built on world conquest. The army of Mohammed first invaded the Holy Land, which had been Christian for 300 years, taking Jerusalem in 625 A.D.  Since that time hundreds of battles have been fought through the centuries.  Charles Martel defeated 80,000 Muslim warriors at the battle of Tours in France in 732, which halted Islam’s attempt to destroy the last vestiges of Christianity in Europe.  The Crusades (1095-1192) were largely a failed attempt to regain control of Jerusalem and the holy places of Christianity from the Muslims.

By the 14th century the Ottoman Turks had become the central power of the Muslim world and labored for centuries to prepare armies to destroy Christian Europe.  They defeated the Christians at Constantinople in 1453, slaughtering tens of thousands, turning the largest church in the world (Sancta Sophia) into a mosque.

By the early 16th century, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent spent decades training over 150,000 men for an invasion in an attempt to destroy Christianity.  Providentially he was turned back at the gates of Vienna as an incredibly rare September snowstorm and sickness contributed to the devastation of his army in 1529.

Then in two Muslim invasions, both on September 11th in two different centuries, the Turks suffered devastating defeats in their quest for worldwide hegemony. First, in 1565, Suleiman and his Ottoman Turks had only one obstacle in their path in their drive to obtain complete control of much of Europe including Rome. That obstacle was the small rocky island of Malta in the Mediterranean. After six months of battle, on Sept 11, 1565 the 700 Knights of Malta, with less than 9,000 soldiers, finally defeated 50,000 Muslim warriors who viciously attacked the small island with 200 warships. The courageous Knights of Malta were determined at all costs to save Christendom (Western Civilization) from destruction.

Then again on Sept. 11, this time in the year 1683, 138,000 Ottoman Turks were routed as they were besieging Vienna, Austria in the Muslim drive to invade and destroy all of Christian Europe. On that day, as the people of Vienna were facing eminent starvation and defeat, the Polish King,

Jan Sobieski, gathered 81,000 Polish, Austrian and German troops. He surprised the huge Muslim army encamped outside the city.  Jan’s attack was led by 38,000 men on horseback with 16 foot spears in one of the largest calvary charges in history. Many of them were wearing giant wings as of angels that created a thunderous roar and fear as of divine judgment. Again the Christian world was saved, the cathedrals of Europe were not burned or turned into mosques and Christendom continued its cultural ascendency while the Muslim threat subsided for centuries.

But the struggle continued.  Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean plundered and sunk ships and enslaved crews from every nation in Europe.  In 1625 the Pilgrims lost one of their ships to these raiders. The Pilgrim ship was loaded with beavers and fish that had been sent back to England to pay debts. This pirating continued for over 200 years. Even America’s founding presidents were forced to pay bribes to the pirates to protect American shipping in the Mediterranean, culminating in a war with these pirates during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.

– – – – – 

Once again, in our time, the threat of a militant Islam confronts the world. The conflict that is unfolding is a new chapter in a 1,400 year old war between the ideologies of Islam and Christianity; between the power of religion of forced submission and the transformational loving religion of voluntary conversion. Could it be that there are answers that lie beyond the scope of government and military force?  Five hundred years ago Martin Luther gave insight into the problem as he, and all of Germany were facing the invading Turks at their doorstep.
Luther placed the blame for invasion ultimately on the unrepentant Christian world.  He says, “There is reason to fear that the Turks will not be so easy to beat… Christian weapons [spiritual weapons] and power must do it…[the fight against the Turks] must begin with repentance, and we must reform our lives, or we shall fight in vain.”

John Calvin saw the real solution to the Muslim question, even as the Muslim Turks were invading Europe in his time. He said, “Until the church finds the heart and the will to care for those lost souls bound in Islam with the hope of the Gospel we shall always be at peril.” 

The most impactful news story of the 21st century is the explosion of evangelical Christianity. Scholar Dinesh DeSouza explains this great news: “We often read that Islam is the fastest growing religion. Not true. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world today….for the first time in history Christianity has become a universal religion. It is in fact the only religion with a global reach.”

Author Peter Leithart reports, “At the same time that traditional Christian populations are being driven out [of Muslim nations], Muslims are converting to Christianity at what missionaries and other church leaders describe as an unprecedented rate.” According to Al-Jazeerah’s interview with Sheikh Ahmad, the president of The Companion Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, “In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.” (Al-Jazeerah has since removed the interview and details.) Best-selling author Joel Rosenburg continues, “More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history. A spiritual revolution is underway throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.”

The transforming power of God bringing salvation to those lost in Islam and a revival of true faith in Christ to the concerned people in the Western World is the only lasting solution to peace between nations. It is the promise of Scripture that the day will come when all the people of the earth will pay homage to the one true King, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:25).
                                                       –  Marshall Foster

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