Regarding Islamophobia: An Open Letter to Charisma Media

Regarding Islamophobia: An Open Letter to Charisma Media

From: Daniel Buttry

To: Charisma Media

Jesus said if you want to remove a splinter from your neighbor’s eye you must first remove the beam from your own. As a community of Christian Pentecostals and charismatics around Charisma magazine we need to practice the teaching of Jesus in a profound communal and public way now.

Charisma published an article online by Gary Cass titled “I’m Islamaphobic, Are You?” that said that all Muslims stand for the killing of Christians and that Mohammad taught and modeled that approach. Cass called for Christians to engage in holy war against Islam, including deporting all Muslims from the United States. The resulting furor caused Charisma to take down the article from the website, but that is merely a worldly form of responding to criticism. We need to exercise in the Christian community a response to the Holy Spirit’s work of refining the church through conviction of sin, calling to repentance, and calling to a life faithfully following our Lord Jesus Christ.

islam2Today there is great concern over the rise of militant Islam, and rightly so. We have seen many situations around the world in which Christians have been victims of persecution, in which Christian churches have been bombed, in which Christians have been threatened with execution unless they convert to Islam, and so on. I have personally been to many of those places and have first-hand knowledge. The recent news about ISIS (or ISIL—same organization with different translations of their name, or the shortened IS for Islamic State) and their treatment of the Iraqi Christian community has stirred concern and debate.

But what should be a Christ-centered Spirit-filled response? The Apostle Paul called for us to test what is said even under supposed divine inspiration: “But test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5.21,22). In the article published by Charisma we do not see an isolated expression by one Christian but a view and attitude expressed in much of Christian media and by many Christians in the churches, including and especially in charismatic and Pentecostal circles. Many of us feel that there are severe spiritual problems with this approach and are calling for discernment in the Spirit, repentance, and change of behavior to be consistent with the Spirit of Jesus. Because this sin has been publicly expressed, our rejection of the sin and commitment to following the way of Jesus needs to be publicly expressed, including by Charisma.

Why is that article wrong? First it is factually wrong and broke one of the Ten Commandments. We are commanded, “Do not bear false witnesses against your neighbor.” Statements were made about Muslims that are false. Cass wrote, “History shows where Muslims get the power and means to subjugate and behead Christians, Jews, et al, they do it.” This is false. Sometimes it happened, but such actions also happened in many Christian communities to Jews, Muslims, and Christians of other convictions than the dominant group. During many periods of history Muslim cultures have been relatively tolerant of religious minorities and at times have even received religious refugees from Christian lands. When Christians took over Moorish Spain, which had often been a center of religious tolerance, many Jews fled to Egypt where they found safety from the Christian Inquisition. During the Holocaust of World War II, besides Christian figures aiding Jews (like the Ten Boom family and Dietrich Bonhoeffer), there were Muslims in Albania, France and Bosnia who also protected Jews.

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