God Meets Culture, the writing home of Michael J. Klassen

September 14, 2012

How Big Is The God of Islam?

Tuesday this week, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were killed after gunmen set fire to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The killing, which coincided with a protest outside the consulate compound, surrounded an inflammatory movie about Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

The Wall Street Journal identifies the filmmaker as Sam Bacile (reportedly a pseudonym), an Israeli-American real estate developer living in California. In fear for his life, “Bacile” has reportedly gone into hiding.

YouTube carried the movie, “Innocence Of Muslims” for a time, but after the protest decided to remove it. However, it does carry several movie trailers. Take a peek and you can tell it ranks extremely high on the “cheese” scale. So high that I refuse to give you the link here.

What The Protest Says About The Protesters

The movie portrays Muhammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer. Other scenes show angry Muslims destroying Christian homes and a donkey who was anointed the first Muslim animal.

After barely suffering through the embarrassingly bad movie trailer, I must ask an all-important question…

But first–a common phrase recited among Muslims is called the Takbir. When they’re happy, or pleased, or in the midst of battle, or under duress, they shout the Takbir: Allahu Akbar! The phrase is translated “God is great!”

Without a doubt, the protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar!” before setting the compound on fire and killing four people. But this begs the question: How big is Islam’s God if his followers must act on his behalf? I mean, if he’s that great, why does he need people to come to his defense? Can’t he defend himself?

Don’t worry—I don’t intend on pouring fuel on the fire in the Middle East…

What The Film Says About The Film Maker

This begs another question: How big must Sam Bacile’s God be if he must act on his God’s behalf? A cheesy movie like that has a zero percent chance of winning people over from Islam. At a minimum, the movie is an attempt to strike a blow to the Muslim faith.

Lest I cast a stone in my own glass house, I must ask myself, To what extent do I run to God’s defense? Sometimes, when I read comments from atheists belittling my faith—like I quoted in last week’s post—my initial reaction is to strike back.

Let’s Make Room For God To Defend Himself

Back in New Testament times, the Jewish religious leaders were furious about an upstart sect that proclaimed Jesus was the messiah. So, in defense of their God, they jailed the entire leadership team of this sect, intent on putting them to death.

Then a wise Pharisee named Gamaliel stood and addressed the incensed leaders. Extrabiblical records indicate that he was the most respected Jewish leader of his time (and the mentor of a young man named Saul, who we know today as the apostle Paul).

After recalling previous failed messiahs, he concluded his remarks with this:

Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. Acts 5:38-39

Gamaliel’s words convinced the religious leaders, and they released them.

Please understand, I’m not advocating a lackadaisical, fatalistic approach to life and faith. But in matters that involve a threat to the reputation of our God–If we really believe our God is all-powerful, then he doesn’t need us to fight his battles–except on our knees.

What battles are you tempted to fight on behalf of God?

Michael J. Klassen is a freelance writer and co-pastor of The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado. 

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7 Comments »

  1. I think the hardest thing is to realise that your enemies isn’t always God’s enemies, and vice versa. God says that the only way we need ‘ to ‘battle’ our enemies is to pray for them… how more, then , should we ‘ fight/pray’ for God’s enemies 🙂

    Comment by elna — September 14, 2012 @ 7:21 am | Reply

    • I agree, prayer is our most underutilized weapon. Most people–me included–want to do something productive, something we can control. Prayer requires effort while leaving the outcome in God’s hands.

      Comment by Michael J. Klassen — September 14, 2012 @ 8:39 am | Reply

  2. Romans 10:2 “For I bear them witness that they have a ZEAL for God, but NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE.”

    The morning’s gruesome news photos and reports could begin to rival the wanton passion and mob brutality so noticeable in the Crucifixion. Bloodthirsty dehumanizing dramas. And what is their point? These things best sum up and demonstrate satan’s pure destructive hatred against us, as manifested through his available and co-operating human puppets, deliriously, savagely, carrying out his vicious will. Satan has always wanted to BE God. He poses. He pushes. He possesses. He brags. He claims. He drives. He threatens. He lies. He coerces and seduces. He rapes. He murders. But all he can manage to be is a puny and writhing RIVAL, the very opposite of (and ultimately subservient to) THE REAL DEAL.

    Ezekiel 12:2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.”

    Romans 11:8 “Just as it is written: ‘God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.'”

    If we just look to see with our eyes — (not blinded by the lying conventions of “political correctness” and psychological/quasi-spiritual excuses and justifications for endemic bad behaviours) — it should be painfully obvious to anyone, that there is a powerfully determined dark enemy and mind-set which can occupy, influence and take-over masses of humans at one time, (or just one at a time), propelling them like the crazed proverbial lemmings into deeds of unspeakable degradation and defilement of God’s beautiful Creation.

    And can anyone still wonder why it has been necessary for (the Good) God to painstakingly REVEAL His chosen and preferred Will to us, as clarifying instructions, through His Word and His prophets, and His own Son, sent to save us (rescue us) out of this nasty and violent quagmire? How would we be able to know the difference, if Someone didn’t tell us clearly? THE REAL GOD, Who has made ALL that exists, is the beneficial and benevolent Father, Who needs us to recognize Him as such, in order to be able to connect with us and help us:

    James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. … ”

    How will the Real God, the Good God, maintain/defend His “position” in this lowly degrading earthly drama? We know He doesn’t have to for His own Almighty sake,… but because He loves us, He has powerful heavenly resources available to use on behalf of His “friends”:

    John 15:15 [words of Jesus] “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you FRIENDS, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

    Our relationship with the Father should be one of security and trust rather than fear: (1 John 4:18 ” … perfect love casts out fear … ”)

    God’s wrath, His punitive and judgmental side, is reserved for His enemies:

    Psalm 138:7 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.”

    Nahum 1:2 [ God’s Wrath on His Enemies ] “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies;”

    How will God lead His people in these difficult and challenging times? We need to seriously bow before Him to find out, to become clear, each one personally, and as a Body,… The very least we should do is to focus clearly on Him and His Word and His ways, to pray, and when we speak and act, to do so clearly representing Him and His Truth,… In this way, we will be more closely in line for His blessings, protection, and His valuable and precious instructions,…

    Exodus 14:13 “And Moses said to the people, ‘DO NOT BE AFRAID. STAND STILL, AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.'”

    2 Chronicles 20:17 “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.”

    God IS merciful, but the more fully we recognize and resist co-operating with His polar opposite, satan, and the more we choose against “the ways of the world”, and the more we seek God’s face and His Will for our lives, the better position we will be in to “know” what it is that He is calling/asking us to do and be for Him.

    Psalm 40:10 “I have not concealed Your righteousness within my heart; I have proclaimed Your faithfulness and Your salvation. I have not hid away Your steadfast love and Your truth from the great assembly.”

    Amen.

    Comment by Georgie-ann — September 14, 2012 @ 10:05 am | Reply

    • Thanks for adding the Scripture references, Georgie-ann. Our actions betray our true beliefs.

      Comment by Michael J. Klassen — September 14, 2012 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

      • I think it is a “sad” fact of life that we do need to be able to properly defend ourselves against vile onslaught,… and the ugly ramifications of all this type of thing, in pushing back against such invasive maneuvers, will involve bitter and soul-wrenching casualties.

        Anyone can come up with self-justifications, or impute “fanatical religious” meanings to events, — (and satan has more twisted psychological and cultish logic and “reasoning” powers, and contagious “zeal” up his sleeves than the average snake oil salesman!) — and simply on the so-called democratic “even playing field” of the “modern earthly stage”, who’s to say who is “right”?,… everyone is surely insistent that they are,… definitely an ongoing problem, and a delicate and convoluted matter, if one is addicted to splitting earthly reasoning hairs,… How do we decide where to draw the lines, or how to act?,…

        For this we surely need to be able to truly seek God’s face,… those of us who really do know Him,…

        Isaiah 55:7-9
        7 “Let the wicked forsake his way,
        And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
        Let him return to the Lord,
        And He will have mercy on him;
        And to our God,
        For He will abundantly pardon.

        8 “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
        Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.
        9 “‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
        So are My ways higher than your ways,
        And My thoughts than your thoughts.'”

        Comment by Georgie-ann — September 14, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  3. Hi, Mike–

    great thought-provoking post…while everyone else is shouting about what Romney said and what Obama didn’t say, you’ve brought the conversation back to the central issue: do we truly believe Jesus is who he said he was, and do we trust him?

    Coincidentally (or not!), Chloe posted something along the same lines on her blog a couple of weeks ago. I think you’ll find it interestingly similar to your sentiments. http://chloechristine.tumblr.com/post/30742750565

    Thanks!

    Comment by Lisa Stormes Hawker — September 14, 2012 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

    • Lisa, I read Chloe’s blog post. I couldn’t agree with her more. No one is truly argued into the kingdom–it’s a sovereign act of love from the God who loves us and demonstrates his love for us through his son. Love wins more hearts than the most intellectual debate or fiercest act of retribution.

      Comment by Michael J. Klassen — September 14, 2012 @ 2:40 pm | Reply


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