Monday, March 31, 2008

Have you heard about this Letter, "A Common Word between You and Us" from Muslims to Christians?

The cover of the March 2008 issue of Citizen magazine has a picture of a Bible and the Quran side by side and asks, "Same God? Some Christians are sending the wrong message in their well-intentioned outreach to Muslims."

The story, "Common ground?" by Stephen Adams (pgs. 18-23), tells of a document from Muslim clerics entitled "A Common Word between You and Us" that declared a "need for peace between Christians and Muslims and asserts the basis for understanding to be contained in the common teachings of 'love of the One God and love of the neighbor'" (pg. 20).

According to the story, Joe Carey, who ministers to Muslims through a California organization notes that the title of the Muslim letter, "A Common Word," comes from a verse in the Quran that also instructs "people of Scripture" (Christians and Jews) to "embrace Islam and you will be safe."

"'They're asking us not only to worship Allah alone,' Carey said, 'But they are asking us to renounce the divinity of Jesus Christ and the fact that He is Lord over all creation.'" Carey went on to say, "'The intent of Muslim scholars is serious, direct and one-sided: Accept Islam. This is the example Mohammad set for the context of this verse; these Muslim scholars know this.'"

So what has happened with this letter? On our (Christians) behalf, a response was drafted at Yale Divinity School. Signed by over 300 Christians--including some names you'll recognize--it not only repeatedly references "the 'one God' worshipped by Christians and Muslims alike" according to the article, it also "apologized for the 'sins' of Christians today and in the past."

Does that anger you as much as it does me? I'll tell you more from this Citizen article next time.

The article is not online. Request a copy (cover price: $2.50) from the magazine's publisher, Focus on the Family: 1-800-A-Family. Find: Citizen magazine at If you don't already get the magazine, I highly recommend you subscribe.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Christianity vs. Religion

In my last post I mentioned that in a way Islam is "a great religion," but I didn't explain. I promised to do that here.

I suppose there are a lot of great religions. But what is a "religion"? To me, it's a bunch of rules and rituals. If we look through history we can find where some people have made up a new religion to believe in.

I think a person can also be religious about anything. We use the word "religiously" to show when someone is fervent about something. But being fervent or religious about something doesn't necessarily make that something truth.

I've been called "religious" at times. I try not to take it as an insult. People who have called me religious mean well--they mean that they know I'm a Christian and that it is very important to me. But I don't consider myself religious.

I am a Christian. I've looked at the evidence, and I'm totally convinced it is true. There are no rules to follow to make me "good enough" with God.

There are definitely no rituals. Oh, we do some things in church and what not, but none of them are required to make us right with God.

Religion is all about ritual. Christianity, on the other hand, is all about reality.

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.’” (Acts 17:22-23, NIV)
And then Paul went on to tell them about the One True God, the Creator of the world and everything in it, and of His Son Jesus Christ whom He raised from the dead.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Book: Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't

Have you missed me? I took a vacation and didn't mention it because I thought I'd blog occasionally while traveling, but guess what? No internet access--unless I wanted to pay a bunch for using it a few minutes. So...I'm back. While I was gone I even heard about a study that shows people who take at least one vacation a year live longer. It's good to take a vacation--even a vacation from internet service, I guess.

Lately I've been reading a book by Robert Spencer titled Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't (Regnery Publishing, 2007. $27.95). I'm only into chapter four, but I can already recommend this book. The author clearly knows his stuff--about Islam and about Christianity. Here's a sample from chapter two:

" quickly became conventional wisdom after September 11 that the War on Terror had no religious dimension. Analysts acknowledged that at most, it involved a struggle against 'a global network of extremists who are driven by a twisted vision of Islam,' as Peter Wehner, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White Houses's Office of Strategic Initiatives, put it in January 2007, more than five years later. This is just one indication of how resilient this notion has proven to be. (2) Few in the mainstream media or in Washington offices would even consider the possibility that Islam was part of the problem, and no one would have dreamed of suggesting that Christianity could be part of the solution.

"President George W. Bush summed up mainstream assumptions when he declared: 'Our enemy doesn't follow the great traditions of Islam. They've hijacked a great religion.' Islam, he explained, 'is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.' (3) To accompany this praise, the United States government sponsored the building of mosques in Afghanistan and elsewhere as a gesture of goodwill toward the Islamic world. (4)

"But in 2006, many in the mainstream media began speaking in deadly earnest about a religion that really was inciting violence and extremism, and which was a threat to the very survival of American constitutional government. Islam, however, was not the religion they had in mind. This dangerous religion, of course, was Christianity. Fostering the spread of this idea was the cascade of books that appeared that year, warning the American public about the growth of 'theocons,' 'Christian fascists,' or, in a conscious parallel to the term 'Islamist' (which denotes the proponents of political Islam), 'Christianist.' These groups are supposedly not only advancing a Christian agenda in the public sphere, but are also working to subvert the Constitution and establish a theocracy. Sure, the Islamists are working to impose religious rule on their own societies, but so are the Christianists--and the Christianists pose the far more serious threat. Some even charge that just as the Taliban practiced stonings and beheadings, so would these Christianists if they got half a chance." (From pages 13-14.)

Mr. Spencer goes on to give numerous examples with documentation. So far, his book has served to remind me (or show me) that a lot of dangerous ideas have been subtly slipped into our nation, society, and minds...and I haven't reacted as I should have. For example, I remember the feeling in my gut when I began hearing from the President and then echoed elsewhere that a few extremists had hijacked a great religion (Islam). I knew there was something terribly wrong with that thought, but I didn't stop to think about how wrong it was, let alone think about speaking up and saying something. To someone. Anyone. Until now.

You see what I think is so wrong with that statement...[pausing here to brace myself for all the hate mail that's going to come my way] that Islam is not "a great religion." (Well, perhaps in a manner of speaking it is...but let's not get distracted. I'll explain what I mean by that in my next post.) But what I'm thinking today is, when you get right down to it, there are only two ways to believe--two "religions": the one that is Truth, and then everything else can be lumped together as what is not truth.

Obviously I believe Christianity is Truth (or else I wouldn't believe it. Duh.). That means I believe every other "religion" is a false religion. Therefore, I do not believe Islam is "a great religion" because it leads people away from the one and only Truth: That Jesus Christ is not just a prophet but is indeed God come in the flesh; that Muhammad is not a prophet (not of the true God) and that he neither was nor is equal with Jesus; that the Holy Bible is the infallible words of God to us and the Quran is not; and that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God of Jews and Christians is not the same as Islam's Allah.

How can a religion be good or great if it's anything but the truth?

At the end of Robert Spencer's chapter two he writes, "Judeo-Christian civilization deserves a better, more spirited defense." I absolutely agree.

I'm looking forward to learning more from him through the rest of his book. If you're interested, I've put a button over there on the right side of my blog to this book at If you've received this by Feedblitz's e-mail, you'll have to click on the link to go to my actual blog to find the button.

Spencer's footnotes from the excerpt above:
(2) Peter Wehner, "The War Against Global Jihadism,", January 8, 2007.

(3) Remarks by President George W. Bush on U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Presidential Hall, Dwight David Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C., October 11, 2002.
(4)"U.S. State Department funding mosque building in Bulgaria," Focus News Agency, October 4, 2004; "Faithful spurn U.S.-built mosque,", February 25, 2004.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Speechless: Silencing the Christians-episode 1

So did anyone watch Speechless: Silencing the Christians? Episode one aired March 1. Episode two aired March 8.

I've watched episode 1 via the internet. I had heard about the valedictorian who was about to mention Jesus in her speech during graduation when school officials cut off her microphone. They would have allowed her to use the term "God" because that is not specific to one religion. But using the Name "Jesus" was not allowed because that is specific to one religion. Have you noticed we can use a generic term "God" and usually be accepted? While the term means to Christians and Jews the One True God, the God of Israel, Isaac, and Jacob, the great "I AM," to others it means "Allah" or to some a spiritual universal impersonal something-or-other. As long as we're vague enough to allow everyone to insert whatever they want, we're okay. But when we get specific and say Jesus is God, then we're cut off...not tolerated.

I had heard of the Pennsylvania Eleven, but I didn't know the story of what had happened to them. These eleven Christians wanted to share the gospel of Jesus Christ during a gay event called "Out Fest" and were doing so on public streets, and were arrested for doing so. So much for our freedom of religion or freedom of speech. Of course the gays can promote homosexuality in word and in public and that's perfectly fine, but don't try to speak about Christianity in public because you can now be arrested for that. Seriously!

I had not heard at all about the text books being used in California's public schools that are filled with pictures of Muslims praying and other photos and text very much promoting Islam. In this public school curriculum, students must learn verses from the Quran. (For Christian students, learning verses from the Bible instead is not allowed of course.) Also part of the curriculum is an assignment where students are to stage their own jihad. These things are required in class. But...but...I thought we were to keep religion out of the public schools! Oh wait...that only applies to Christianity.

Obviously, this is outrageous.

What are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? Just let it go? Hope someone else will do something about it? Not worry about it too much because, after all, that's happening in California. And, well, we all know how liberal California is, right? And besides, for some of us, we're not residents of California therefore we can't write a letter to the Governor of California...right?

Have you noticed that whatever California does, the rest of the nation usually follows?

I'm reminded of that old saying from World War II that went something like this: When they came for the Jews, I didn't stand up and say anything. When they came for the Catholics, I didn't stand up and say anything. When they came for me, there was no one left to stand up and say anything.

If we let it go, we'll have these same text book in our own states soon.

And oh by the way, did you hear last Friday that a California appellate court decided that because parents who are home-schooling don't have teaching degrees, they are not teaching legally and their children are now considered truant? More here:

(Just a note: I was looking for links to mainstream reports, like CNN, MSNBC, or FOX, but didn't see any. They might be there and I just didn't search far enough, but it's not like it's a headliner of a story. Have you heard about this on your nightly news?)

If you put a frog in water and increase the temperature gradually, it won't jump out because it doesn't notice the water is heating up. It will sit there and be cooked to death. If the promotion of the Islamic faith and similar outrageous events come upon us gradually enough, like the frog being cooked in a pot of water, we won't notice. Or are we noticing, and just not doing anything about it?

If you haven't viewed episode 1 of Speechless: Silencing the Christians, you need to see it.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Don't Think Your Letters Can Make a Difference?

Did you check out the web site for Speechless: Silencing the Christians ( Did you discover you don't get any of the networks it's airing on, as I did? When I entered my e-mail address and name to see if I could get a network with the show, I received the following letter from a representative of The Inspiration Network.

Think your letter, e-mail, or phone call (to someone in the entertainment industry, a politician, or someone else of influence) won't make a difference? Think again.

Thank you for sending your request for INSP from The Inspiration Networks. We received your email and wanted to respond back to you.

Unfortunately, we are not carried in your area; I believe your cable company is Comcast, if so you can find the address and website where you can contact them. If it is not Comcast please let me know, and I will find your cable operators contact information.

Your comments to them WILL help! Cable operators do take notice when their paying subscribers or potential subscribers send them requests. Sometimes it takes numerous requests and it helps to have different people send letters/emails…so if you know of others that would like to see our network on the lineup of your local cable company, please have them write and call as well.

You may or may not live in your cable operator’s service area, but if so…this letter or call to them requesting our network will encourage them to add us. Send it to the attention of the “General Manager” of the cable company in your area. The thought of possibly getting NEW subscribers or providing more value to their existing subscribers by adding our programming is important to them…and even more so if you communicate your wishes to them in writing.

In addition to the great programming available on our network, we have recently launched I-VOD , which is free Inspiration Video-On-Demand programming that will allow you to view selections of our programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; with the ability to watch the programs when YOU want to watch them. This new format is now being made available to cable companies nation-wide. In addition, as a computer, owner, you may now view selected programming on, which is best viewed by using the high-speed internet service provided by your local cable operator.

Again, thank you for your request. We will do our part to encourage these businesses to add our network, but your involvement personally is just as important!

Comcast, 8000 East IIiff Ave, Denver, CO 80231

Thank you.
Tammy Burklin
The Inspiration Networks

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Speechless: Silencing the Christians

If you haven't heard about this new TV series, Speechless: Silencing the Christians, I think you ought to be aware of it. Hosted by Janet Parshall, it will explore some of the recent incidents that have occurred in our nation where Christians have not been allowed to speak out precisely because they are Christians. This in a nation that is to have (and used to have) freedom of religion.

The 13-week series began March 1, and will air every Saturday evening at 8:30 pm Eastern on INSP, INI, and iLifeTV. If you don't know if you receive any of those networks, you can do a search through the site. You can also request to begin receiving INSP on the site.

If you don't get any of these networks (as I don't) you ca view the episodes on the web after they air. There's also a preview to view on the site. Find all the information here:

Find an article with some background information here:

Non-Christians may scoff at this series. (At least that has been my experience so far.) But your Christian friends will most likely be very interested in it. Please spread the word by sending the information to anyone you think would like to know about it, or you can direct them to this blog page.