Crucified Again — What's the Big Deal?
19 August 2013
Last week I started a review of the book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians
by Raymond Ibrahim.
Today's article is the fifth and final in response to this book. If you missed the four previous articles, you should read them before continuing here.
After writing these four articles, for this last one I will trying to tie all these strands of thought together into an overall analysis of the book. As I mentioned previously, Mr. Ibrahim devotes more than 200 pages to documenting hundreds of incidents of persecution that Christians around the world have experienced at the hands of Muslims, from the beginning of the Islamic conquest of the Middle East in the seventh century all the way up to the present. On his Web site,
he writes articles every day about the current persecution of Christians, which I see via RSS.
Other RSS Web site feeds I have subscribed to also highlight the persecution of Christians with numerous articles throughout the day include Atlas Shrugs
and Jihad Watch.
For example, on the Atlas Shrugs last week there was an article entitled List of the churches and institutions that have been destroyed by Muslim Brotherhood supporters today
while earlier in the month Jihad Watch had an article called Syria: Jihad violence emptying entire Christian towns.
Between just these three Web sites there are quite a number of articles each day which report on the persecution Christians are experiencing around the world at the hands of Muslims. Frequently, one of these Web sites will republish an article from one of the other two, so it can get a bit repetitious following all three. But there is enough unique content on each site that, in order to not miss anything, I had decided to keep up with them all.
But now I'm not so sure. To tell you the truth, this constant griping all day long, every day, about the horrible persecution of Christians is starting to get on my nerves. So what's the deal? In my selfish lack of love am I simply becoming calloused and uncaring? Is the constant bad news so shocking that I just can't take it any more? Or is there a deeper, more legitimate reason for being tired of all this alarmist reporting?
Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs is Jewish and not Christian, so it's understandable that she's coming from more of a humanistic
perspective. She should not be expected to understand that the New Testament teaches that persecution for being a Christian is normal and to be expected. And besides, she's not just bothered by the Muslim persecution of Christians, but she's also distressed by the Muslim persecution of Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Western soldiers, women, homosexuals, alcohol merchants, pork eaters, and anyone else the Muslims target.
On the other hand, Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch makes no secret that he's a committed Catholic. As for the author of Crucified Again,
I've read Raymond Ibrahim's bio on his Web site, and although his parents are Copts,
he doesn't say anything about his own level of Christian commitment. Either way, Mr. Spencer and Mr. Ibrahim should surely know enough of the New Testament to not be at all surprised by the persecution of Christians, as if something strange or abnormal were happening. What's the big deal?
Unfortunately, both of these gentlemen are manifesting a mentality prevalent amongst Christians, especially in the West, which is a lot more humanistic than Biblical. This faulty worldview imagines that large-scale persecution is a thing of the distant past, ending with the Muslim conquest of the Middle East in the 7th and 8th centuries, or with the "Christianization" of the Roman Empire in the 4th century. But now, the reasoning goes, hundreds of years after the civilizing, humanizing influences of the Renaissance
and the Age of Enlightenment,
and with the positive influences of the United States, United Nations and European Union, such barbaric days of Christian persecution are really no longer possible.
How pitifully naïve and how completely wrong! Because there has been a lull in most large-scale persecution of Christians for some centuries, and the because the West is generally ingorant of any that has taken place during that time, most Western Christians, including Mr. Spencer and Mr. Ibrahim, are very shocked and surprised that the normal Christian life of persecution and martyrdom is making a huge comeback in our day. By perpetuating this faulty worldview through their writings and making a big deal out of Christian persecution, these gentlemen are doing the Church a great disservice. Here's why (not in any particular order):
- As I documented in the first article in this book review — Crucified Again — Don't Be Surprised — Christian persecution and martyrdom are the New Testament norm. Because persecution is the rule and not the exception, there's no point in being surprised about it or making a big deal over it.
- The New Testament teaches that when Christians die, they go straight to Heaven to be with Yeshua (Jesus, Isa) — see Philippians 1:21-25 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. The apostle Paul also wrote that "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) Because Christians who are killed by Muslims go straight to paradise, and escape the suffering and misery of this world, what's the big deal? Why are we upset? It's only a pagan, humanistic worldview that would be bothered by Christians going to heaven!
- Those who say, "It's a horrible catastrophe that Christians get killed by Muslims," are doing exactly the same as Peter when Yeshua told His followers that He was soon to be killed.
Peter took Yeshua aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Master!" he said. "This shall never happen to You!" Yeshua turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."
Yeshua's dramatic words clearly reveal the demonic origin of Peter's humanistic outlook, as well as the humanistic outlook of today's believers who say, regarding persecution and martyrdom: "This should never happen to Christians!" Was Yeshua talking to Peter, or to Satan? Probably both — Peter was saying the words, but it was ultimately Satan who was influencing his thoughts and worldview. So it is today with many who are called Christian.
Then Yeshua said to His disciples, "Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For I, the Son of Man, am going to come in My Father's glory with the angels, and then I will reward each person according to what they have done." (Matthew 16:22-27)
God has His concerns, and man has his merely human concerns. As Christians, we are supposed to be putting aside our human concerns, and make God's concerns our own. The apostle Paul said about his co-worker Timothy: "I have no one else like him.... For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Yeshua the Messiah." (Philippians 2:20a,21) Later, Paul wrote to Timothy, "Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Yeshua the Messiah. Soldiers don't get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please their commanding officer." (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
God had a great and glorious plan in the sufferings and death of Yeshua. Likewise, God has a great and glorious plan in the suffering and death of Christians at the hands of Muslims. Are we going to take God's view on this, which is revealed in the New Testament, or Satan's humanistic view, which most Christians today espouse, including this book Crucified Again? If God's view, then why make a big deal out of the persecution of Christians?
- Muslims are NOT the enemy! The real enemy of mankind is "that ancient serpent called the devil [false accuser, slanderer], or Satan [adversary], who leads the whole world astray." (Revelation 12:9) I realize that most Christians will have a very hard time accepting this statement, but it's true, and their lack of acceptance reveals once again their pagan, non-Biblical mindset. This same chapter describes how Christians can have victory over Satan:
They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Yeshua] and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.(Revelation 12:11)
The ultimate victory over Satan is Christian martyrdom. Yeshua Himself said:
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I [Yeshua] tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution.... Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown. (Revelation 2:10)
Victory over Satan and a victor's crown from Yeshua Himself await those Christians killed by Muslims. So why the lamentation and complaining? What's the big deal? Unless Christians don't really believe what the Bible says!
- Even the Muslims celebrate when one of their own dies for the sake of their demonic impostor-god Allah. How much more should Christians celebrate when a believer gives his or her life in honor of the one true God, Yahweh, the God of Israel, the Father of Yeshua? The fact that Christians generally do NOT celebrate just goes to prove how much they really do NOT believe the Bible. A prime example of Pagan Christianity at its worst!
- As I wrote in the second article in this series — Crucified Again — Sharing Yeshua's Sufferings — our sharing in, and living out, the sufferings and death of Yeshua reveals to Muslims, and to all the others who are not following Yeshua, who He really is. To quote that article:
Yeshua loved us enough to willingly lay down His life so that we might be saved from sin and eternal damnation. Are we willing to imitate Him, to follow Him, by laying down our lives for the Muslims He already died for? Or, like many Christians, like Mr. Ibrahim in this book, will we lament and complain about the unjust persecution of Christians, as if we should expect, despite what the New Testament teaches, to have a right to live a peaceful persecution-free life? When the followers of Yeshua start looking like He did, suffering and dying for the lost out of love and devotion, then and only then will Muslims start to have the eyes of their hearts opened to see Yeshua for who He truly is.
- The unending, daily kvetching of the three above-mentioned bloggers about the destruction of church buildings in Egypt and elsewhere in the Muslim world is totally unnecessary, because the church buildings themselves are totally unnecessary. There is nothing in the New Testament to support the long-cherished tradition of Christians going to a special building to worship God in a special service led by a professional pastor/priest.
As I wrote recently on my Brian's Bits Web site, both the church building and the professional clergy are non-New-Testament concepts and practices which developed from Old Testament Jewish practices combined with Greek and Roman pagan practices. Both special buildings and professional clergy were totally foreign to the early apostolic Church. Neither have any place in authentic Christianity today. For all the details, see Pagan Temples Called Churches and Pagan Priests Called Pastors.
Couldn't it be possible that the Muslim destruction of church buildings is actually a GOOD thing, if it helps destroy the psychotic obsession with, and dependence on, church buildings that Christians around the world have had for the past 1,700 years? And their unhealthy, damaging reliance on the professional clergy? Christians in Egypt and elsewhere can just as easily meet together in small groups in homes, without the presence of a professional clergyman, and they would most likely be much better off doing so. In light of all that, what's the big deal about Muslims destroying church buildings?
- And lastly, as I wrote in the fourth article in this series — Crucified Again — Tingling Ears — it could very well be possible, just as God did with His special people, the Jews, in the Old Testament, that God is using the Muslims to judge and correct His special New Testament people, the Christians. To quote that article:
If God wants to use the Muslims to purify and correct His people, then what's the big deal? Who are we to criticize or complain? We need to learn to see things through God's eyes, through the eyes of the New Testament, through eyes of faith, focusing on the big picture, God's eternal plan and the life to come, instead of through humanistic eyes that focus primarily on this current, temporary life that disappears like a mist in the morning sun.
Seeing that God used the Babylonians to judge and correct His people, the Jews, because their hearts had turned away from Him, and they were ensnared in rancid religious routine, why would it be hard at all to imagine that God could and would use the Muslims to judge and correct His people, the Christians, because their hearts too had turned away from Him and they were ensnared in rancid religious routine? From the evidence I can see, I think it would be much easier to believe this than to not believe it!
Well, that finally brings us to the end of my five-article review of Raymond Ibrahim's book, Crucified Again.
For all the reasons I have presented in these articles, I don't feel that it is a book I could recommend reading, and I don't imagine that I will ever finish it myself.
Rather than complaining about Christian persecution and martyrdom, we should be encouraging Christians around the world to embrace it, celebrate it, and live it. And when it starts to get as bad in the United States as it is elsewhere in the world, we need to be ready and willing to stick our necks out for Muslims
and give our lives so that Muslims can know Yeshua too. This is the Islamic future which Christians are called to — will we heed the call and follow Yeshua, or will we try to save our own necks through submission (Islam) to Allah?