James R. White is not Jewish, alas. But I don’t mind. What matters is he’s a Calvinist AND worships Jesus, like I do, that is not to say we worship the same way. He, like me, is a five-point Calvinist, so a consistent one: no fudging with total depravity (radical corruption) and particular (“limited” atonement). I learn much from his books, debates and “Dividing line” podcast.
What I want to talk about here is White’s critique of Islam, mostly very sound. He wrote a good book “What every Christian needs to know about Islam.” What I have noticed is that there is one topic on Islam he never debates or writes about, which I suggest every Christian, indeed everybody, needs to know about. I’m thinking of the violence in Islam; not merely among Muslims, but in the Islamic literature itself – the Qur’an and the Hadiths.
When White does talk about violence in Islam, it is in the vein of most Western politicians where the distinction is made between “radical” Islam and the “true” Islam, which they say isis (oops) a religion of peace; it’s just those radical nasties. In other words, they say there’s nothing to phobe but Islamophobia itself.
Here is White on his Dividing Line podcast of August 7, 1914. He is lambasting Theodore Shoebat’s “Islamophobia”:
[I italicise salient parts. My comments appear in italics after each paragraph]
“I happen to know that there is a cottage industry of real Islamophobia. I would describe Islamophobia as if you were someone who was trying to make every one afraid of every Muslim in the world, that would be true Islamophobia. If you cannot recognise that in a group of a billion people are all different kinds of people with different perspectives, standings and beliefs, if you try to say that all of Islam is the same and fail to recognise this, I ‘ve no more respect for that. It’s very easy to do by the way. If you want to divide people, that is how you do it. It’s us against them. Problem is, man I really get angry when people do that to me. I really get angry when I am held accountable for the Crusades, for the pornocracy of the papacy in Rome, for the sales of indulgences, all that kind of stuff … Homosexual marriage, abortion. From the world’s perspective they’re all Christians because you can just throw them into one pile right? Well no, you can’t.
About the Crusades:
“President Obama, writes Ravi Zacharias, basically lectured Christians not to get on a moral high horse in their castigation of the ISIS atrocities by reminding them that the Crusades and slavery were also justified in the name of Christ. Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy.” (Ravi Zacharias – A presidential blunder: My response to Obama’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast).
Christianity should not be coupled with the violence of the Crusades. In passing, the crusadfers were not invading lands that belonged to Muslims but lands that Muslims had – with Muhammad and later his “companions, at the vanguard – taken by the sword.
Does it take effort and time and energy to differentiate between those Muslim groups. You tell the difference even by just looking at the people I’ve debated among the Muslims. Can’t you discern real distinctions between them not only in their positions but on their mind set and their perspectives. If you can’t, I can for sure. And so I would say that islamophobia is when you try to paint all Muslims with the same broad brush which would mean Christophobia when you do that to Christians. I am concerned that I see some serious islamophobia on the Shoebat website because I don’t see any recognition that there are Muslims other than the radical bloodthirsty animals that we see going after the Azidi right now and killing Christians and fellow Muslims right left and centre. These are obviously demonic people. Then when you have that reality and make it an us versus them get your sword, kill everybody that looks like them attitude and mindset, that is when things really go wrong.”
There is indeed no need to be afraid of every Muslim in the world, because, as White says, in every society there are violent types and peaceful types. I would add that as long as most Muslims either remain ignorant or not care much about what the Qur’an (and Hadiths) teach, most Muslims won’t want to chop off the heads of Kafirs (unbelievers) and apostates. What does White mean by “Islam in “his if you try to say that all of Islam is the same and fail to recognise this, I ‘ve no more respect for that. It’s very easy to do by the way?” If he means the practise of Islam, then there is no doubt about that, but if by Islam he means its texts, then this is incorrect. The Qur’an and the Hadiths are chock full of knocking off the blocks and such like of unbelievers and apostates. The latter are those who do not do everything that Allah and Muhammad have commanded. Where do I end quoting the bucketfuls of verses on this matter! White says about Isis, “these are obviously demonic people.” But Isis is faithful to the Qur’an and Hadiths. The way White is talking you’d think he was unaware of the violence in the Qur’an.
The issue is not the (mal)practise of a religion but religious texts. Muslims do point to the violence in the Hebrew scriptures where God commands the Israelites to kill entire communities. What, though, I am arguing here is that Muslims and ignorant or frightened or politically correct Westerners say that Islam (by that they mean non-violent Muslims) is a religion of peace. Yes, peace when they are in the minority. But wait until they – the coming generation or two – are 30-40% of the European population, they’ll follow the example of their prophet by forcing Kafirs to submit. As more than one person has said, Islam is the fastest growing forced religion in the world. Europe’s turn is round the corner.
1 hour 8 minutes into his podcast, White expresses his disgust at Theodore Shoebat posting a video of an Arabaic teacher in a Muslim country talking about the definition of kafir. Here is White: “At one point he (the teacher) says to them, ‘So what do we do with kafirs ( those who have a differing religious belief)? We slaughter them.’ “And that, says White , is what the Inquisition did. The same mindset. It’s frightening. It should be frightening to you. Frightening to me.”
The Inquisition, not the Gospel, is demonic. What is really frightening is that the reason why that teacher tells his pupils to slay the unbeliever is because he is faithful to his demons, to his Qur’an.
Surah 9:5 When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful. (For background and context see THE VERSE OF THE SWORD: SURA 9:5 AND JIHAD).
In his “Is ISIS a faith-based terrorist group?” (Colombia Journalism Review), Christopher Massie argues:
The real problem [of ISIS] is that nobody can precisely calculate the aggregation of factors that have produced the modern phenomenon of Islamic extremism. And so the claims of people who cite religious causes cannot be dismissed any more than the claims of people who cite political ones. Hussain is right to caution that “Western society doesn’t have a great familiarity with Muslim culture,” and Nomani is also right to say that “we should cover Islam like we cover a city council meeting,” bearing in mind “political interests” and “ideological interests.”
David Wood, in contrast, argues that the main inspiration behind ISIS is Islam in the Qu’ran and the Hadiths.
“Jihadists fighting for ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) claim that they are following the commands of Allah and Muhammad. Yet Westernized Muslims, politicians, and the media claim that ISIS is violating the principles of Islam. Who’s right? In the following video, David Wood presents the top ten Quran verses for understanding the beliefs and actions of ISIS.”
The following is an excerpt of a review by Kendal B. Hunter from Ravi Zacharias’ Light in the Shadow of Jihad: The Struggle for Truth.
“In Chapter Three, Dr. Zacharias discusses the essential nature of Islam, whether it is good or bad. … I think that we make sweeping generalizations against Islam, since the key to understanding the two Islams is how one translated “jihad.” Dr. Zacharias makes the case that Islam is not inherently evil, but that the fundamentalists have hijacked it. He spends some time discussing the blasting cap book of radical Islam, “The Missing Religious Precept,” which focused on the negative, violent definition of “jihad.”
I haven’t read Zacharias’ book, but if he did indeed say that Islam is not inherently evil, here is the reason why the New Testament maintains that all non-Christian religions are inherently evil: they all fall down at religion’s highest point – the cross. I quote from Steve Lawson’s lecture The kind of preaching God blesses. at the Knox 500 Conference, Perth, Scotland, 11 August, 2014.
“Paul, “I’m determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ crucified.” The highest apex, the pinnacle the summit of Paul’s preaching was again and again to scale the heights of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul preached the full council of God, did he not? Paul preached the truth,the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He preached all the areas of systematic theology, … Christology, pneumatology (Holy Spirit), eschatology, anthropology, harmatology (Si), soteriology (salvation), ecclesiology. Paul preached it all, yet here he says, ‘I am determined to nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’ What do you say if every area of systematic theology is rooted and grounded in one way or another in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and that all of the lines of his theology intersect at that highest point that sets forth the glory of Jesus Christ who has come into this world to lay down his life as a ransom for many. He preached Christ but not just Christ,the teacher, not just christ the example, and not just Christ the wise instructor.”
“But Christ the sin-bearing substitutionary saviour of sinners by whose death propitiated the righteous anger of God for sinners so that therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For Christ up on the cross reconciled holy God and sinful man by bringing them together through the blood of his cross.”
Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus’ substitutionary/vicarious penal sacrifice. Islam bolts out of history and says that Jesus wasn’t even crucified.
During the last few decades, many Christians are abandoning this crucial doctrine of substitutionary sacrifice, so vivid in Isaiah 53: “He was crushed for our iniquities.” A pox on their houses.