Get Your Mosque Out of My Church

January 7, 2011

Wednesday, I asked and you answered, who has better PR, Jesus or Allah.

An unusually timely story popped up on my radar since Wednesday.  While Christians like Terry Jones threaten a Koran burning event, and other Christians (and just plain old Americans) protest mosque constructions all over the country (not just in New York), a few churches are actually opening their doors and allowing Muslims to conduct worship services inside their sanctuaries.

Take Pastor Steve Stone of Heartsong Church in Tennessee.  His church invited Muslims to use their church as a makeshift mosque during Ramadan while their mosque was under construction.  They even topped off the month with a joint Thanksgiving event.  To Stone and other similar pastors, it’s about “what would Jesus do?”  You can read a bit about it here.

But as lovely as the idea is of reaching out to our Muslim neighbors, I have to ask, is this really what Jesus would do?

The Christians Made Me Do It

Let’s get one thing out of the way.  I can understand the furor around the Islamic Center near Ground Zero.  We had a hearty debate on the topic here.  But that is the only mosque that should have any kind of controversy.  All over the country though, Muslims find it difficult to build mosques without a lot of pointless legal flap (which is later overturned by a judge).  I can almost guarantee that most of the legal trouble these Muslims groups are facing is just being trumped up by angry locals, the kind of people who say “I learned everything I need to know about Islam on 9/11,” protesting as if a mosque is a prison or toxic waste dump.

I bet you that if a church is in a position to open it’s doors to mosque-less Muslims, it’s because other Christians and neighbors are standing in the way of the mosque being built.  Nothing like having to clean up your neighbor’s stupid mess.

What Is the Church?

You know, I could talk about how the church is sacred and it’s wrong to allow Allah to be worshipped in it.  That’s what I want to say.  But I can’t, not after countless Christians have stressed over and over not going to church, but being the church.

If we really believe that we are the church, and we really believe it is just a building, I guess this is the final test of our belief in that.  So thanks a lot, everyone, for destroying that argument.  Hey, I don’t like putting my money where my mouth is any more than you do, but we’ve talked ourselves into a corner on this one.

Besides that, churches all over the place already stuff their buildings with secular and barely-Christian groups and activities anyway…Grandma’s quilting circle, I’m looking at you.  So I guess letting a few Muslims use the church for free isn’t all that big of a stretch.

I Am Protesting You in Christian Love

I guess you could say that the Christians are encouraging others to stumble by facilitating false worship.  But I doubt that the Muslims would stop being Muslims just because another Christian group tried to prevent their worship.  (On the flipside, I doubt any Muslims are going to become Christians just because the church showed them some hospitality.)  How far does our responsibility go to prevent others from stumbling, anyway?  Are the people who protest mosques doing the right thing in Christian love to prevent false worship?  Should a Christian carpenter not help build the mosque?  What about Hindus or Sikhs?  They often turn a room of their homes into a shrine.  Should Christians try to keep them out of the neighborhood?

Of course, it seems silly when you take the logic to its conclusion…well, to some of us, it does.  Besides, I don’t see any Christians protesting the local convenience stores that peddle dirty magazines and liquor to poor people…or bookstores that peddle dirty magazines and coffee to rich people…or any of the other little things that we tolerate, which cause people to sin and rot our communities, unlike a mosque.

This is probably the first time this has ever happened on this blog.  I started out writing wanting to say the church was wrong and stupid to let Muslims worship in their space.  And now that I’m finished writing, I can’t say it.  I just can’t find one good reason that a church shouldn’t let a group of Muslims worship in their building.  I really wanted to, but I can’t.

But maybe I’ve missed something.  What do you think?  Is it the church’s duty to open it’s doors to a different faith in the name of Christian love, or is it just a disgrace.  Please tell me I’ve missed something!  Or tell me I’m right, as usual.  Either way.  Happy Friday, everyone.

53 responses to Get Your Mosque Out of My Church

  1. You could say something similar to letting Christians of other denominations worship in your building too. I think it is permissible to allow pretty much any group to do stuff in the church building. Then again, for most of my life I have worshipped in schools, universities or other church buildings.

    I think it is a good idea outside of that. You can’t evangelise a group of people you have no contact with and I think. I don’t think it is the church’s duty to open its doors to people of different faith but I don’t think they should be banned from it.

    Hmm, I think Jesus might be all like you can worship here but you really want to worship the One True God. Then he would eloquently gospel them.

  2. Somehow, you seem to have summed up the issues very well. The story of Noah reminds us that God has a purpose for every being in this world. We are saved by grace through faith, not by whether you attend church or not. James 2:17-26 reminds us that by works, faith was made perfect. Pastor Steve Stone is demonstrating what one needs to do to make faith perfect.

  3. i’m not sure how i feel about this. of course how i feel doesn’t matter a great deal. i have to wonder, though, if paul’s words in 1 corinthians 10 have any application here? [and to be honest, i’m not sure]

    – to flee from idolatry
    – that while there is no truth to the religion of islam, what they are offering in their time together is indeed idolatry
    – not sharing a cup and table with demons or idols

    i agree that the church is the people and not the building. but still i have to wonder… if we’ve set aside a particular place to meet, should we willingly desire to share it with those who are sacrificing to a non-existent god and warring against the one true God?

    i think i would view this as being similar to inviting muslims into my home and asking them to pray to allah before we share a meal. i have no problems showing love to muslims and inviting them into my home. but to invite them into my home to worship their god and thank him for the food which i’m sharing with them seems much.

    so i lean towards this-is-not-a-good-idea. but i could be swayed. and i’m interested in hearing the discussion that follows.

    at very minimum, though, i think i’m going to stand with paul’s words just after the text i mentioned earlier:

    “everything is permissible — but not everything is beneficial. everything is permissible — but not everything is constructive.”

    i’m not sure what the benefit is in offering our buildings to muslims. what is God gaining in that? how is he being glorified in a greater way?
    JamesBrett recently posted..prolonged adolescence

    • I’m with you, Brett. In my core, it just doesn’t sound like a good idea. But I can’t come up with a convincing reason why it’s not a good idea.

      • I don’t know Matt, isn’t the fact that it’s not beneficial (if indeed it truly isn’t) enough of a reason?

        I like the discussion here and do wonder as well. After all, shouldn’t love push us to extreme measures, no matter how they are viewed by others? Yet I also wonder if Brett makes a good comparison when he asks about letting Muslims pray for a shared meal.

        I think if I were in the meeting and had a vote, I’d have to lean towards saying no today. But perhaps you should ask me again tomorrow.
        Rick Nier recently posted..Time is Ticking

  4. When I first started ministering, an old SBC pastor once told me that the hardest thing I’d have to do in the Navy was decide it I would share “my” pulpit with a Mormon. Of course, that was before Islam took off in America. Now it’s Islam that is the question, as your blog suggests.

    I wouldn’t share my church building with a Muslim group. I just wouldn’t. While it is a building, it is a Christian group’s refuge and teaching center. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t stop them from building a mosque either. I agree with you on that.
    Dan Smith recently posted..King James and Me

    • I know what you mean. Pastors still worry about “ecumenical” they’re going to be – are they going to appear in public with pastors from other denominations, etc? I think pastors are going to realize that they need to start showing a more unified front, because being “ecumenical” is going to mean sharing the stage with Muslims and other completely different faiths.

  5. We are told not to judge, period. We are told to show love to everyone, period. We are told these things by God Incarnate in Christ Jesus, period. End of discussion.

    • by being told not to judge, steve, do you mean that we as christians are not to make judgments as to whether a thing is of God or against him, whether something is right or wrong?

      and i agree we are to show love to everyone. but i’m wondering what is loving about encouraging someone to worship a god who doesn’t exist, by encouraging someone to sin against the one true God?

      i don’t think this is as simple as you make it out to be.
      JamesBrett recently posted..prolonged adolescence

  6. Excellent comments and a great blog!

    Does anyone find it interesting that we cannot really do missions in places like UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iran? And yet, Muslims are coming here to the US and to a pretty much Christian Europe. Personally, I think its God.

    We sort of had this discussion on Wednesday – it the Kingdom of God is power – real power and not just talk, we have the trump card. After all, greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4) Right? And isn’t it Jesus the draws men unto him? The problem is when we present each religion like detergent on the shelf at the grocery store, each one with it’s own label and bright colors. The truth there is only one that cleans that best. If it is truly out of love and service, and not out of political correctness, it might in fact work.

    We are to invite sinners into our churches and homes and love on them. We don’t have to agree with them – heck they could even be enemies.

    I suppose I would get a little widgy if we were to let Satanists use the building – but God even loves them. I have been to meetings where the demons showed up. On each occasion, someone got saved.
    David recently posted..God is Sooo Very Cool- Especially When He Talks to You

  7. I have two questions that relate to the issue:
    1) If a Muslim gives money to the poor, clothes the naked, feeds the hungry, cares for the sick, or visits those in prison, is she advancing Christ’s Kingdom?

    2) If a Muslim has love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, is that the Spirit working in his life?

    • Dang, great question! Jesus told his followers that what we do for the least of those around us, we do for him. Does that apply only to us, or to non-believers?

      • Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.

        22 Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?

        23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you.
        David recently posted..5 1-2 Things Christians Cant Seem to Live Without

    • Musilm religion is what is called “Moralistic Theraputic Deism.” It is one of the most “moral” religions out there, with all the enforced rules and belief that good deeds will grant them favor with Allah. In a society that is morally bankrupt, the next generation is hungry for morality and the Islamic faith has stepped up to the challenge.

      The only problem with this is: Morality alone will not put you in relationship with the Creator, will not exchange righteousness for sin, will not do anything but make you feel better about yourself (hence the theraputic part).

      Reference– Soul Searching by Christian Smith

    • Not without a surrender to Christ.

  8. All I have to say here is that your reasons above are giving me fits while I think through them…

    Dang. Why ya gotta make my brain hurt?

  9. Yes, there is a great reason for this not to happen.

    God states in the first commandment that we are not to worship other gods. I cannot find any reason to actively encourage (encourage being the operative word) another faith to worship another god. I cannot encourage someone else to commit a sin. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a building or a house, I’m not going to give anyone the motivation to sin.

    We shouldn’t try to PREVENT them from sinning, but also we should not give any person a place to safely sin- commit adultery, kill someone, worship another god, whatever.

    • See, that’s what I want to say. Of course, through persecution, many people have been encouraged to worship Christ. I don’t know if the same has proven true for Muslims, but it just goes to show that we can’t always know what will encourage others.

  10. I’m with Kelybreez on this one. I’m thinking and ouch. When the NYC mosque issue popped up I managed to get yelled at by libs and conservatives for thinking through questions in multiple ways on my site. I like the way you go back and forth on this issue to follow the logic that each argument leads to.
    Yes, we’re not supposed to judge, but we’re also to not compromise on truth. Jesus didn’t even let moneychangers in his Father’s house. Everyone is welcome and we must show mad love to all, even our enemies. What comes from the leadership is a different story though. Tough stuff bro!
    eduClaytion recently posted..4 Ways To Improve Your Life In 2011

  11. If some churches gather in Strip Clubs then what would be the issue with offering our buildings to others? Has no church ever hosted a Boy Scout troop in their building? Boy Scouts aren’t a “Christian” organization, yet we still open our doors to them. Church buildings open up for concerts and birthday parties and wedding receptions all the time. I understand that those events/activities aren’t “religious,” but still. Muslims need Jesus, just like anyone else. Shouldn’t we do what we can to build bridges rather than burning them?
    SethC recently posted..Books2

  12. Interesting question. Here’s a potentially-pertinent real world analogy.

    For more than a decade, in Indonesia followers of Jesus (“Issa” to Muslims) have been creating Community Centers all over the nation. During the week it is a gathering place and soccer (football :) ) field. On Fridays it is a mosque. On Sundays, a church. Over time, the Imams of the mosques tend to be moved to ask “what kind of love would lead these Christians to do this for the community?”…and they start visiting on Sunday.

    There is NO WAY any terrorist would attack one of these community centers… they are very much “owned” by the community. At one point, national leaders met with the Christians…asking them how the government could encourage more of this type of work. “…and don’t worry about terrorists. If they attack, they will have to answer to us!”

    This was secret for a long time, but now is public. It is that strong.

  13. Bill Keller runs the ministry LivePrayer.com with a daily devotional, a TV show in Florida, and recently the beginnings of the “9/11 Christian Center at Ground Zero”. He has talked at length about some of this topic. He is not starting this Christian Center as a way to say the Muslims should not build their mosque right there. In fact, even though he does not like the idea of a mosque anywhere especially near New York’s ground zero, he is taking advantage of the freedom we all have to worship as we feel is right as guaranteed by our Constitution. He sees it as an opportunity to say to the Muslims and every other person “We are created equal, but allow me to present the message my Lord has given me.”

    I also do not like the idea of Muslims using the church building for all of the reasons listed above. I do support them welcoming the mosque and its worshipers. That is polite and a great introduction to the Gospel. It also leads into a reason why I am willing to support opening the building to them: Muslims all over the world – even here and in Europe – understand the value of family and hospitality (as was mentioned elsewhere here) to the point that they welcome complete strangers in their house even if they do not believe as they do. To the Muslim, this church opening their doors is like saying “Come in. We love you, even if we do not agree.” This gives the pastor and his flock way more opportunity to witness than almost anything else we can do.

    When I went with a team to Morocco five years ago, we were openly welcomed into houses even though they knew we were Christians. Heck, I was adopted by a local family as an honorary brother always welcome in their home! These were Muslims! Protesting their Mosque will only embolden them. Ignoring or passively accepting them will do little to nothing. Showing them brotherly love will open their hearts to the true Gospel. As much as I do not like it, I think I would have opened my church, too. (FYI: I currently attend a church using an elementary school as our house of worship.)

  14. I think the issue here may actually be a question of what “evangelism” truly means (bear with me – I’ll get there, I promise).

    At the beginning of Mark, the discussion centers on John the Baptist (or “John the Evangelist” to some). His entire purpose in life was to “prepare the way of the Lord.” His job wasn’t to “convert” (that job belongs to the Holy Spirit). His job was to _prepare_. Imagine, if you will, a boulder-strewn path in between a person and Jesus. Our job as evangelists isn’t to force an encounter between a non-believer (of any creed or lack thereof) and Jesus (effectively trying to make them ignore or jump over all the boulders) – our job is to clear the path of the boulders (both large and small) so that the person can have their own face-to-face encounter with Jesus.

    What are the boulders in between a Muslim and Jesus? The ones I see are the following (although I’m sure this is far from a complete list, and Middle East-centric since that’s where I’ve lived other than America):
    – Christianity is a religion of loose morals. In the ME, it is the Christians who run the liquor stores, and wear the short skirts and tight shirts. Additionally, “the West” is “Christian” and most of what is known about the West is through television shows like Seinfeld and Friends – people who sleep around regularly, among other things – and movies (overwhelming gratuitous sex and violence). This boulder can only be moved aside through personal contact in which a Believer shows him or herself to be a true follower of “the Way.”
    – Christianity is a polytheistic religion (and hence we are infidels). This is based on a misunderstanding of the Trinity. Since Christians really don’t understand the Trinity either, this is somewhat understandable, but easily explained through the egg or apple analogies (apple is made up of core, flesh, and skin – each completely “apple,” each absolutely distinct; egg is made up of yolk, white, and shell – each completely “egg,” each absolutely distinct). Again, requiring a personal relationship in which there is discussion of spiritual matters.
    – There is a HUGE amount of misunderstanding in the Christian community as to the beliefs of Muslims, causing great fear/judgment against Muslims. Everyone believes somehow that they know everything that all Muslims believe, many without ever actually _talking_ to a Muslim or studying their books. This boulder can be combated through education which is sought, not for the purpose of further (mis)judgment of Muslims, but which is sought for the purpose of understanding them better and loving them more. Again, actual discourse and relationship with Muslims would be helpful in this regard.

    What happens when a church invites a Muslim community into their building? Relationships are formed. Stereotypes are broken. Misunderstandings are corrected. Love is shown. (Well, hopefully anyway.)

    Will a Muslim be “converted” by giving them the use of your church building? I don’t know and frankly don’t care. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job and I trust Him to do it as it should be done. Will there be boulders moved aside so that Muslims can come closer to having a face-to-face encounter with Jesus? Absolutely. And that is the true purpose of evangelism, imo.
    Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

    • Amen!

    • You are right on about everything, Leia. Non-westerners have a very hard time seperating “western” culture from “Christian” culture, since their cultures are not so easily divisible between “secular” and “religious.” Of course, it doesn’t help that it is Christian culture that overlaps so much with secular culture, in all the negative ways.

  15. You are ignorant of the Koran and Islam, you could car less that Christians around the world a persecuted by Islam and you teach and follow the gospel of “tolerance” and have left the true Gospel,

    • Mmmm…quite the opposite, Daved. I do care very much that Christians are persecuted by Muslims. I only expect that persecution to increase. Our church has done a lot of missions work in Sudan where the persecution has been unbelievable – a modern holocaust. I am quite aware of the stakes that Islam presents. I am also not the kind of Christian who believes that all paths to God are valid and equal, nor do I believe that Muslims believe that. Muslims believe that we are infidels, and it is Christians who are trying to reconcile everyone to God.

      So what did I say that indicated I’ve left the true gospel?

  16. This is an excellent question, and a difficult one. My question to the community is this: why do we assume that Muslims are worshipping a different God? Aren’t they worshipping the God of Abraham? The same God as we? True, they don’t worship Jesus, but my understanding of Islam is that they worship the same one true God as we do. It seems to me that to share a church with a Muslim congregation would be sharing the house of God with people who also worship God, though in a different way. We may disagree with them, or believe they are not saved, but that doesn’t change the God they worship. I can’t find anything wrong with sharing our building with them.
    Cara recently posted..Month 1 Grades on the Eat Your Values Challenge

    • I’ve often wondered this myself, Cara. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the “one True God” of Abraham. We have so much in common and yet I can’t seem to convince people that “Jehovah” (Hebrew for God) and “Allah” (Arabic for God) are not two separate entities. Like somehow the spoken language makes a difference.

      I’m not saying that they’re saved – I’m not since I believe their understanding of Jesus is flawed (similar to the Jewish (mis)understanding of Jesus) – but I think it’s more like Paul needing to clear up the understanding of worship of the “unknown God” than it is idolatry.
      Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

      • This is an easy question! It’s because we compare only the best qualities of God revealed in the Bible to only the worst qualities of Allah revealed in the Quran. That way they always look different and ours is always better :)

    • Cara (and Leia),

      Allah originated from a pre-Islamic moon god. Before the monotheistic Islam we see today, many Arabs worshipped hundreds of gods, almost one for each day. Allah was originally the “Zeus” among those gods (remember, 360+), and in the original polytheistic mythology, Allah had three daughters: al-Uzza, al-Lat, and Manat. A lot of traditions in Islam were around before the monotheistic religion started.

      Please see here: http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-allah-pre-islamic-origin.htm

      Allah and the God of the Bible are NOT the same. Don’t ever forget that.
      Brooklyn Cravens recently posted..The Jesus Virus

      • I think someone needs to mention this to the millions of Arabic-speaking Christians (and Jews and Hindus and other theists) in the world then, because the common understanding amongst them is that “Allah” is just the Arabic word for God/god.

        I think what you mean is that when Muhammed returned to the Arabian peninsula from the Holy Land (where he learned about Jesus and “the Book”), the people there (the Arabian peninsula) were polytheists who worshiped a god (pronounced “Allah” in Arabic) with three daughters.

        Was there some syncretism? Absolutely. But Allah is just “God/god” in a language other than English. That’s like demonizing the word “Dios” or “Dieu.”
        Princess Leia recently posted..Shoeboxes!

  17. Is this about showing Christ’s love to the Muslim community or is it PR for this church? I think a good deal of our response to this depends on motivation. And,if it is to show love, is this the best way or simply the most newsworthy way?

  18. Ryan Rushing is on the mark. There is only one true God and worshipping any other “god” is a sin. It’s idolatry. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to sin and by allowing someone to worship a false God inside our church building that’s exactly what is happening. We may as well set up Asharah poles next to the pulpit.

    Even if you want to say “well, the church isn’t the building but the people” I would ask you this…was the building dedicated to God? Was He given the credit for providing what was needed for the land, the building, everything in it? If so, then the building is God’s. Sure, there’s imperfect people inside it and sinful things do get committed there but we don’t seek to enable sin inside our churches. As such, allowing people within it to proclaim that He is not sovereign and Holy and the only way is spitting in God’s face. When Muslims are worshiping, they’re not proclaiming the one true God.

    And if you want to bring in the fact we let other groups in there, how many of those groups are saying in their meetings that God is not the one true God? That the God of the church building is a fake? If they are, throw them out too. I doubt Granny’s quilting circle is going to say that God is a lie.

    You can say other Christians and neighbors are putting the Muslims in a bad way by blocking mosque construction but in reality, that’s not our problem. Jesus never told us to find ways to enable people who worship someone other than God to worship their idols. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I’m not going to say the protesting is a good idea but the fact some Christians are doesn’t mean it’s our place to enable someone who doesn’t worship God to do whatever they want such as denying God.

    Jesus would NEVER tell anyone else that worshiping someone other than His father is acceptable. Jesus would NEVER arrange for a location for someone to worship someone other than his father. To allow a Muslim group to worship in their church, that pastor is not doing “what Jesus would do.”
    Jason recently posted..Day 6- OK…I was tired

    • And when I say God, the Bible clearly says God is in three persons…father, son, Holy Spirit. To deny one is to deny all.
      Jason recently posted..Day 6- OK…I was tired

    • Jason, you posted this one minute before I posted my reply.
      “Even if you want to say “well, the church isn’t the building but the people” I would ask you this…was the building dedicated to God? Was He given the credit for providing what was needed for the land, the building, everything in it? If so, then the building is God’s.”

      I suppose it is what I was trying to say, but you managed to do so more succinctly.
      Helen recently posted..Merry Twelfth Day of Christmas

  19. I’m going to be the fly in the ointment here.
    If my Church wanted to let another faith use the gym or hall, I’d pray that it be an opportunity to open people’s heart to Christ.
    But as a Catholic, I believe in transubstantiation, and while I personally do not know of any rules or rubrics that would be broken by allowing them to worship in the Church proper, I would be bothered that we are allowing someone who denies Jesus’s divinity to worship in His home. Since I do believe in transubstantiation, I believe Jesus is present in the tabernacle. I cannot invite someone to come into His home and deny His divinity in His physical presence.
    I have less of an understanding of how Protestants view their Church building. Forgive me. I do recognize Christ’s presence there among the worship assembly, and of course, in the Word. I would think you would see your building like a second home. I couldn’t permit anyone in my home to speak against Christ unchecked.
    Matt, I hope I haven’t in any way disrespected you home (blog) or beliefs here. I don’t mean to… I love your blog and the way it forces me to think about things I wouldn’t otherwise.
    Helen recently posted..Merry Twelfth Day of Christmas

  20. Sorry to be the pebble in the pond, but I completely disagree with the popular opinion of this discussion. I am a little upset by it as well.

    Let’s say you are a pastor of a church. Two alcoholics come in with dollies stacked with kegs. They tell you they want to come with all of their friends once a week to party up because they are too loud for their neighborhood and too rowdy for the bars. Would you let them do so?

    Probably not. Why wouldn’t you? It’s quite obvious they want to use your simple building as a place to worship their Booze Baal, and since your simple building is just that, why not!? Oh, that’s right. What they are doing is Biblically sinful. Media and outside opinion aside, you don’t want them setting a bad example for church-goers, and you do not want to encourage them to sin, for that is wrong (1 Corinthians 8:9, much?).

    The same logic applies for letting Muslims worship in your church, whether it be a “simple building” or a house. You are freely letting them worship a demon (Allah), and you are encouraging them to sin by letting them do so. What’s the difference between an alcoholic and a Muslim worshipping Allah? Nothing. They are both in sin, of which you are encouraging.

    Ezekiel 3:18-19 – “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”

    If I had to or willingly chose to allow Muslims to worship in my church (which is NOT a community center), I would at least make them meet in the middle and attend our Sunday services for each week they use our church. But that is not the problem here, because no one has suggested that. The problem lies much deeper in our hearts.

    What is really sad is how sheepish Christianity has really become in America. I say this in love, and I really mean that. However, what is stopping any of you on here from going into a bar to build relationships with the alcoholics? What is stopping you from going to meet Muslims wherever they are in your community and telling them about Jesus? If you have, praise the Lord. I hope you continue. However, it seems to me from this discussion that it’s more plausible to hide behind the “simple building” we worship the Sovereign Lord in, hoping that by our ‘hospitality’ and ‘tolerance’ Muslims will come observe so then we can tell them about the Gospel.

    And I have read all of the above posts. I have read the cool, great stories where God used those situations to reach Muslims, but there are obviously more effective ways. Do not forget that Jesus left us with a Great Commission to go out and preach initiatively. Not open up and hope for opportunities.

    Jesus painfully broke through our sin with his blood so that we might know God, and that is what we should be proactively proclaiming to the world. So many of us have claimed to experience the Gospel, but (once again I say this with deep love) I would be willing to bet money that a large majority of you here don’t even set aside one day a month to go out onto the streets, into Starbucks, onto campuses, etc., to tell the world about Jesus.

    We are not a faith of tolerance. Jesus preached that, and he was ultimately killed for it. No wonder the churches of China and the Pentecostal churches will be the lighthouses of Christianity by 2040 (if not earlier): they do not worship Jesus and wait for the lost to seek them. Even amid persecution, they seek the lost, just as Jesus sought you through your disgusting sin that rightfully separated you from God. My sin is so disgusting that it cost a Man his own life!! I deserved punishment, but received none. I can’t wait to tell people that, and I do. There’s no way in hell I’m going to encourage people to sin, simply hoping they see my Jesus without me saying a word for fear of man.

    Why did Jesus overturn the tables in the temple again? It was because people were practicing sin in his Dad’s, our Dad’s house of worship. I wonder what Jesus would say if he posted here.

    Sorry if I offended any of you. I spoke with the conviction in my heart from my love and protective passion for the Church. God bless you all, and may God please give me his mercy every day as I need desperately.
    Brooklyn Cravens recently posted..The Jesus Virus

    • a) Excellent reply! Way to nail it on the head! My initial response was going to include reasons why we should not do it, but I got caught up in my reasoning why this church could be doing a good thing and forgot to do the rest. Therefore, thank you for this!

      b) I do not think you should have apologized for this! It was a very good word, and if anyone felt offended it is a matter of the Spirit. This was truly inspired of God for it is completely truth. Thank you!

  21. Thanks, Daniel. I appreciate the comforting words.

    ***One mistake I made: by Pentecostal churches, I meant Pentecostal churches of Africa. Not the American Pentecostal churches.

  22. This is a good discussion and one thing I really enjoy is how people discuss disputable things without rancor. After reading this, the one verse that came to mind was “I am the Lord; I will not share my glory with another.” I used my Zondervan verse finder to see that it is segment from Isaiah 42:8. And wasn’t God really ticked in Ezekiel when He showed him the priests worshipping idols in his temple? For that matter, wasn’t Jesus ticked when the Pharisees mixed business and worship? So the question is, if we open up a church that worships the Living God to allow Muslims into it, are we “defiling it” for God?

    I guess the one question that I still struggle with that might be the key to answering the question above is this: Do the Muslims worship the same God as the Jews and the Christians but in a manner that does not please God and with ideas that are not from God (jihad, fasting, works-based) or do the Muslims worship an idol that they claim/have been deceived into believing is God (Allah)?

    I know where my husband and many friends stand on this question. I am currently a waffle.
    Tandeming Troll recently posted..Whats in a Name

  23. This is really a fascinating discussion. When I started off reading this my initial reaction was that surely it must be wrong. While reading I swung over to the ‘yes it would be a good witness’ side, and then back. So I’m going to try and reason this through.

    First, there are a couple of arguments I would set aside. The first one is the sacredness of place. I really believe we are the church and individually the temple; I just can’t see how the place can be sacred. Jesus is where we are gathered, why would He be hanging around when we’re not? But I’m Protestant, so I could be missing something there.

    Second, the question about who they are really worshipping. I’ve heard both sides from Christians, but to me the critical factor is who does the Muslim believe they are worshipping, what is their intent? I believe that God looks at our heart, and I have yet to hear any Muslim say they are not worshippng the God of Abraham. So the issue of idol worship to me isn’t an issue, unless someone can somehow demonstrate that a large percentage of Muslims are intentionally worshipping a moon god.

    With those 2 issues out of the way, which relate to loving God with all our heart and putting Him first, the issue then for me becomes how do I best love my neighbor?

    I really love the analogy someone made about how our role needs to be focused on removing the boulders from someone’s path to Jesus.

    On the one hand, am I removing boulders by not enabling the practise of a false understanding of Jesus and appearing to implicitly be ok with it?

    Or, do I need as Paul said to be all things to all people, and show love based on what most Muslims will highly value? From the anecdotes here it appears that actions which are interpreted by the Muslim as hospitality are very highly valued and open the doors of communication.

    I’m not 100% sure of the right answer. I would love to hear from several Christians who have lived in Muslim communities and who have successfully been a witness there. If it was my decision to make, it would be their perspective and advice that I would base my decision on.

  24. What would Jesus do?
    When the money changers et.al were in the church, he turned over their tables and made a rope out of the cord of the curtains (per my memory-ish).
    Then He said “My Father’s house shall be a house of prayer”

  25. I just saw this truly amazing and wonderful story, and thought it needs to be shared in context of this thread.
    http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/3365.aspx

    Do you think some of these Muslims had a similar discussion on whether their actions amounted to support for a false religion?

  26. Loved the article, and the discussion…

    I see a couple comments referring to the “one true God,” speaking in a manner as if Muslims worship multiple gods or a god other than the God which created us. As a matter of fact, you could say Muslims hold patent on the idea of a “one true God” because they are stubbornly monotheist. They believe in the God that sent Christ, but that Christ was not God-incarnate. A Muslim would be quick to remind you of the first Commandment, and the dialogue in which Christ emphasized that is it the most important Commandment. Muslims are quick to call idolatry on Christians for setting up equals with the “one true God” in the form of Jesus and the Spirit. They are not worshiping a different God, even the Christians in Arab nations know Jesus by the name of Allah.

    I think this Pastor is doing a wonderful thing. Perhaps he will even get a chance to witness to some of the Muslims and show them about Jesus. I’m sure that’s the idea.

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