Michael Youssef, founder and pastor of the Church of The Apostles, recently said: “I fear Islamic jihadists less than I fear the Christian church departing from Biblical orthodoxy. The reason I say this is because historically, Islamic expansions have taken place every time the church of Jesus Christ departed from living under the authority of the Scriptures.” I agree, but I doubt that Dr. Youssef and I have the same understanding of ‘Biblical orthodoxy’.
Christians are indeed departing from the ‘authority of the Scriptures’. Instead of radiating the love of our Lord and Savior, Christian groups are engaged in publicizing the evils of Islam. For example, billionbibles.org claims that Muslims are engaged in a five-step program to institute Sharia law. Not ‘some Muslims’ or even ‘many Muslims’ – this site, as do so many of the same ilk, speaks of ‘Muslims’ as if all are the same, with the same intentions. , and by doing so they demonize all Muslim people. While the Brotherhood is indeed active in many countries, including the United States, but it certainly does not represent ‘Muslims’. Just one example: the governments of Bahrain Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates consider it to be a terrorist organization, just as the US does.
This focus on ‘what is to fear from Islam’ is endangering Christianity. The great and wonderful thing about Christianity is that it is a religion for which ‘orthodoxy’ is love, the love of one’s neighbor whoever he or she may be. By demonizing, we turn away from the ‘orthodoxy’ of love.
Some claim ‘Of course, we love Muslims – it’s just their religion/ISIS/Sharia/Al Qaida/whatever that we are exposing as evil’. If we ‘love Muslims’, then we will take care not to demonize them. And where does Jesus tell us to put our energy into creating websites and programs that focus on the wrongs that we think others are doing?
Where there are forces that can create hatred in our hearts, the Church must be on the side of love. Instead of fanning the fires of fear with ‘evidence’ that Muslims are evil, the Church is called on to use its energy to argue for love.
Truth is the foundation of love. Some Muslims, like the Muslim Brotherhood, intend to take over America, and the state must fight against this, just as it fights against any force with this intention. Some Muslims have joined ISIS, and we must fight with all our strength against this entity. But we must filter our words through love when speaking about any publically demonized groups, including Islam and Muslims. Most of all, we must focus on spreading love, not increasing fear.