Who Has Better PR, Jesus or Allah?

January 5, 2011

Do you know what the world’s fastest growing religion is?

This year, American churches will pour millions of dollars into new programs and services, designed to attract new people to God.  They’ll built more extravagant buildings.  They will buy radio ads and billboards and build giant sparkly crosses to tell everyone about God.  Pastors will try to be more relevant with their messages.  They’ll create a better show, broadcast it to more people, collect more money, get more cards signed.

And Christianity in America will continue to lose influence, while Islam continues to be the world’s fastest growing faith.  Europe will be 50% Muslim in the coming decades.  Islam is fighting with Christianity for supremacy in Africa.  Even in America, where anti-Islamic hyperbole flows freely, many are turning to the Islamic faith.

A simple question: why?

Who Has Better PR, Jesus or Allah?

Jesus’ PR team has been, in many ways…lacking.  I cringe and shout at my television when Kenneth Copeland or Pat Robertson are on.  I know, I’m working on not shouting at my TV so much.  But I find it ridiculous that people who I don’t believe represent my Christianity have such a large audience.  I don’t think they are good PR for my Jesus, and they are just the tip of the iceberg.

On the other hand, lots of churches are putting on a good PR campaign.  They’re trying to be friendly and accepting and tolerant of others.

But…Allah’s PR is a different story.  Sure, he doesn’t have phony preachers and scam artists.  He’s got terrorists, and public stonings and a whole region that’s engulfed in generations-old violence.  I don’t get the sense that Islam is debating how to be tolerant of homosexuals, or of anyone for that matter.  They just think homosexuals are evil, along with almost everyone else.  Sure, that’s just a small part of Islam, just like Pat and Kenneth are a small part of Christianity.  But it sure doesn’t make a good impression.  I think Jesus has better PR than Allah.

Yet, somehow, our advertisements and billboards and new-found tolerance are not as attractive as Allah’s PR.

Who Has a More Attractive Church?

I haven’t been to too many Islamic worship services, so I’ll admit to being a layman.  But much of Islamic worship looks very much the same to me.  If any Christians worshipped the way Muslims do, well, we’d confine it to the 8:00 am service, I’ll put it that way.  Islamic worship is much more rote and regulated than the “dynamic” worship and “relevant” preaching of many Christian churches.  I don’t know how many “programs” your average Islamic mosque has to keep members “plugged-in,” but my feeling is it’s not as many as an average Christian church.

Yet, somehow, our “dynamic” worship is not as attractive as the Allah’s repetitive, even “dull” worship.

Who’s More Manly?

You know what’s funny?  It turns out that many men don’t like to be talked down to by a pastor, or feel like their being scammed out of their money, or feel like they’re being placated with superstitions.  Okay, struggling to get men to come to church is nothing new, but churches today aren’t exactly succeeding at it.  Meanwhile 75% of people my age and younger will give up on faith by the time they’ve moved back home after college.  I look at that number and blame every dad who skipped church, and every church that made church a place for women and children.

Meanwhile, Islam is, let’s face it, a manly faith.  They don’t even allow women in the same room with the men at church!  The ideas of Islam are just more appealing to men than “taking up your cross,” or being a “bride.”

Maybe Jesus, Perhaps, Doesn’t Come From a Store

It makes me wonder what would happen to the church if, somehow, everything got taken away.  No more big buildings or loud music or silver-tongues preachers.  All that’s left is just you and me.  Could the church actually survive with nothing else but Jesus’ followers?

Of course, you know the answer.  The church has done more than survive, it’s thrived with nothing but Jesus and his followers.  I can tell you, if everything got taken away, we’d have the biggest mass exodus from the faith that has ever been seen.  And then, maybe, we’d be on the same footing as Islam.

There is nothing that I can see that makes Islam more attractive than Christianity.  Christian churches seem more attractive.  The music is more beautiful, the worship more engaging, the programs more exciting, the deity more loving.  Yet, it seems none of that matters.  The only thing left when you take all that away is the people.  The people of Islam seem to be more attractive to outsiders than the people of Christ.

What do you think?  Are all our efforts to attract people a waste, or is there something else I’ve missed?  What do you think churches need to do in order to grow again?

44 responses to Who Has Better PR, Jesus or Allah?

  1. Hi Matt,

    Resurrection.

    As I recall of the 21 sermons recorded in the book of Acts, 18 of them center on the resurrection of Christ. In those days, the Christian faith spread all over the world.

    Sometimes today I hear a message about resurrection only on Easter, unless the talk centers on Spring or flowers or the oil depletion allowance. In our day the church is graying or dying or waving hands in the air.

    Islam stays on message. We don’t.

    We have taken away our own Lord, and don’t know where to find Him.

  2. The Christians need to show love one to another (especially those of the household of faith) and live holy lives like Jesus wants us to. Then and only then will outsiders be attracted to our faith. Churches need to seek God’s will and ask the Lord what He wants them to do to reach more people with the gospel of Christ.
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  3. They will know you are Christians by your love for one another. Whatever happened to that?

  4. We seem to be ignoring the possibility that Jesus IS Allah.

    • Yep. I don’t consider that a possibility. The character of God in the Koran is different from the character of the God of the Bible, and while the Koran acknowledges Jesus as a prophet, it denies his resurrection. That right there says that Jesus cannot possibly be Allah.

      • I’ve read the Qur’an and I don’t see anything about the character of God that’s different. I see cultural differences and I see commentary/translation that tells modern Muslims to believe things that aren’t actually written there. And it’s been a while, but I don’t remember anything about denying the resurrection. What is commonly denied today by Muslims is Jesus’ crucifixion which is based on modern (and inexact) translations of Sura 4, verse 157.

        An example is Dr. Mohsin’s translation: “And because of their saying (in boast), “We killed Messiah ‘Īsā (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allâh,” – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of ‘Īsā (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. ‘Īsā (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) A.S.]:”

        Pickthal’s more exact translation says: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.”

        The common teaching is that Judas was switched for Jesus at the last minute. What I see in the verse though is that the Romans didn’t crucify Jesus, although it seemed like they did (since they were the ones who performed the actions). And the Jews didn’t crucify Jesus, although it seemed like they did (since they were the motive force behind the crucifixion). Instead, the truth of the matter is that _I_ crucified Jesus, even though I wasn’t there. It was for _my_ sins He was crucified.

        (Another example is the common thought that the Qur’an says that Ishmael was the son brought to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah – in actuality, it just says “son,” not specifying which – modern teaching has propagated the idea that it was Ishmael and not Isaac. The Qur’an is actually virtually silent about Ishmael. He’s mentioned once in passing, to the best of my memory.)

        Now, I’m not saying that the Qur’an is God-breathed Scripture because it’s not…but I think there is a LOT of misunderstanding about what it does and does not say. And I think there is a LOT of misunderstanding about who “Allah” is and isn’t (did you know that Arab Christians call God “Allah?” True – because it’s just the word for God/god in Arabic. It’s not some super special unique name that belongs solely to Muslims.). Of the “99 names of God,” I have found none that disagree with the Bible. In fact, the only one that’s missing is the one secret that Christians (and the camel) know that Muslims don’t – that God is love.

        The Qur’an also points Muslims quite frequently to “the people of the Book” or “the people of Scripture” if they don’t understand something that’s written in the Qur’an (which is only one of their five “holy books” – the law, psalms, prophets, and Gospels being the other four).

        I understand that your point here wasn’t so much “Muslims are wrong/bad/Eeeeeeeeevil” as it was that “Christians clearly aren’t doing something right” (a point with which I heartily agree, btw), but your usually thoughtful blog posts weren’t well represented by this one. It would have been a great post if there’d been less (uninformed, imo) bashing and more analysis.

        Also, a point you missed is that Muslims are having babies in large quantities while Christians are not. They’re making lots and lots of new Muslims while we are “waiting until we’re ready” and saying that God should have control over every area of our lives (except birth _control_). _We_ know better than Him about how much we can afford and how much time we have.

        But that’s another issue entirely.
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        • Leia, you are obviously more informed than I am. Really, I meant no disrespect to Muslims at all, nor am I trying to debate their scriptures, since I am not knowledgable enough to do so. It was really more of a cultural comparison – what is attracting people to Islam and not Christianity. And while I did not address it, the issue of birth rates did come up in the comments. It’s a factor, sure, but Christianity is also losing vast numbers of young people in America. Lots of factors at play.

          Your point about the camel knowing the 100th name of God is love is one I’ve come across too. The impression I get is that Muslims do not know that God is love, which is a huge omission to me. Again, I’m not equipped to debate Islamic scriptures, but I’ll simply say that I don’t believe the Koran and Bible are compatible.

        • Jesus is not just one of “Allah’s Messengers”. Jesus was not a prophet. He is the only begotten Son of God! (John 3:16)

          Contrastingly, the Qu’ran says this:
          “So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three”-Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only one God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son. His is all that is in the heaven and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.” (Surah iv: 171)

          and also please consider this:

          Surah iii: 59 “Lo! The likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him out of dust, then he said unto him. Be! And he is.” This clearly denies the deity of Christ

          VS. John 1:1-3 which says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Jesus is not a created being, made from dust like Adam!

      • Based on one discussion with a Muslim a long time ago, I also don’t think they believe that Jesus was both God and man. Not having read the Qur’an, I am not sure if this is a basic tenet of their faith, or one man’s interpretation. This was basically the sticking point as we tried to convert each other. Both of us walked away unsuccessful.
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        • My understanding is the same, that Muslims do not believe Jesus was the son of God, because it’s anathema that God would be a man. To them, it would require God to have intercouse with Mary, which is unthinkable. I don’t think what you heard was limited to one person, it seems to be the general belief. Muslims aren’t the ones trying to believe that every path to God is the same and equally valid, it’s Christians.

  5. The secret is the manifest presence of God. Without it, Christianity is on equal footing with Islam and every other religious philosophy – talk and ritual. It’s about a living God with power, not about a structured way of life that seems good.

    John mentioned the ‘message’, certainly that needs to be communicated. The other thing that the early church had, and so have many revivals around the world, is power. And lastly, need – a desperate need.

    Bible believing Christians poo poo healing, prophecy and the like. So they go to doctors (first and sometimes second without every asking Jesus to heal them and there are few churches where the elders anoint with oil for healing), and can be found reading horoscopes and messing around with fortune tellers when God gave both revelation and healing as gifts to the church. The church is meant to love one another not just with feel good emotional ways (sloppy agape) and in service (feeding the poor, widows those in jail etc), but to share their gifts of service and power with everyone around them; with both the lost and the saved. Counselors would virtually be out of business if the church understood relationship in a spiritual sense. Who really confesses all all their sins one to another so that they may be healed?

    And finally, Islam seems much more willing to give their lives for the sake of their religion, yet that is one of the hallmarks of Christianity.

    Until we have need, the message will be often be weak, and the power (manifest presence of God) will be far from us. Contrast to the explosion of churches in 3rd world countries where there is extreme poverty, no healthcare and persecution. There Christianity is growing.

    So what would you do if someone showed up at your church and started making mud with spit and praying for the sick?

    It’s about presence, not PR for this Christian. I want to be where God is.

    Sorry, touchy subject for me.

    Thanks for bringing it up, Matt.
    David recently posted..The Times They Are A Changin

    • Thanks for sharing, David. I’ll admit, raised in churches that all but ignored prophecy and healing, I don’t really know what to do with those two, or how to act around those who really emphasize it.

      You are right, Christians carry the trump card with the manifest presence of God. My point is that somehow, through all the things we are doing, that manifestation isn’t translating to outsiders.

      • I live in Nigeria where Christianity is growing in leaps.Do you know the reason why? 1 Cor 2:1-5; I cor 4:20. John 4:48. The solution to lack of growth in North America is More Power Less Talk. God Bless

      • In the last days, people will have a form of Godliness, but deny the “Power” thereof…

        Well Put DAVID…

        Every Wednesday night we have a Healing/Prayer service at my church…The pastor encourages us to bring all who are sick and we pass through a line of all the elders and pastors who have anointed oil in there hands, which are touching the people as they pass through while praying and healing them in the Name of Jesus.

        Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

        “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”

        IT’S ALL ABOUT THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

        • @Arny – Yes, without the Holy Spirit, we are just robots trying to adhere to a set of religious rules which is a killer.

          I love the fact the Christians believe the word and pray for healing. It is very exciting.

          I also want to be sure that, as Matt stated, we don’t just emphasize one aspect of the Kingdom life. There certainly is more to biblical Christianity then just healing (I am sure you know that – but hey, we get excited about the power part!)

          It is hard to hear the voice of God and do it. Why? Because some days it means trial, sacrifice and longsuffereing.

          Thanks for the reply!
          David recently posted..Living in the Kingdom is not Impersonating Jesus

    • That’s exactly what I was going to say, except not as eloquently.

      If people (both Christian and pre-Christian) actually “experienced” Jesus, we would see differently.

      Even after death, Muslims don’t experience the presence. They go to paradise but Allah is still somewhere else. With Christ, it’s all about Emmanuel.

  6. For people who grew up with church splits and divisions, a religion that seems like it has very little wiggle room and internal strife is attractive. This may not be entirely true; Islam may have the same pettiness within it that Christianity does. If so, it is not well-publicized. I think that many are looking for the security that this brings.
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  7. I think we send a mixed message. The Bible tells us to be selfless, to humble ourselves as Christ Jesus and be obedient. But then we think we have to entice people into coming to church with “programs” and “relevance”. People need Jesus, and it really bugs me that so much money is being spent trying to entice people into a building instead of presenting to them the Truth. It’s like Christians read the story of the rich young ruler and said, “Let’s not let that story slip out.” But you know what? That’s what people need to know. That following Jesus is simple. But it sure the heck isn’t easy.
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  8. How about birth rates? The prolific use of contraception by Christians?

  9. I wonder how much of the problem comes from the watering down of the truth of Christ so we can be better friends with the “world.” Why should people believe in something that no real firm truth to it? I’ve seen “Christians” saying there are many ways to God and not just Jesus.

    I think the “enemy” (for lack of a better term) isn’t Islam’s PR machine or even our own PR machine…it’s us. We stopped insisting on truth in the name of making the world love us.
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  10. See, if people were leaving Christianity for Islam, I would say that Allah’s PR is better. But I don’t think that’s the case.

    Sadly, I think people want to be told what to do. They want rules. Islam offers that. Do this, this and this and get this. Easy-peasy.

    The Christian church has a decidedly different approach. In general,I think it’s moved away from rules and really emphasized a relationship with Christ. Relationships are messy. They aren’t easily defined. They don’t work under rules as well. That’s complicated, so it’s not nearly as attractive to someone who is looking to religion to provide order to their life.

    I think both can command a level of seriousness and devotion, but the KIND of devotion is very different. All I know is that in my personal situation with my spouse, stricter adherence to rules is not what is going to woo him back.
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    • I think you make a great point! Funny how the less rigid churches got, the more they struggled…

    • That is a really good point. It is easier to follow rules because you have a much better idea if you are “good” or “bad”. Christianity is different because it says “you will be never be good enough, so here’s Christ’s righteousness in exchange for your sin.” For so many people, letting others help them is hard because we have this “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality.

      However, there are still lots of passages that talk about obeying God. Somewhere in John 15-18(?), Jesus tells his disciples that if they love him, they will obey him. So Christianity is this delicate balance of doing God’s will and letting him cover us with his righteousness where there are “holes.” That, is a very difficult message to understand, much less follow sometimes.
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      • Oh yeah. I don’t mean to say that there are NO opportunities in the Christian faith for obedience, only that it’s not where the focus seems to be. And I’m personally not sure that’s an all bad thing.

  11. Wow! This post would be a good sermon to preach if no one showed up to church. I like it a lot!
    jay sauser recently posted..…a new day…

  12. I actually read this article. Now I think I’m gonna make it a habit! =) Thanks Matt.

    Hmmm….. I went to Isreal and then to Jordan during a world trip when I was 19.

    What striked me, was the black and white difference between the borders. I walked the nomans land accross the border customs, from a fly-less Isreal to a fly infested Jordan. 10 steps, then there was the plague.

    But something else striked me. At the compairing hostel between the borders, the Jordanian muslim, despite ramadan, would go out of their way to house us, host us, feed us, show us around, talk with us, share with us. I have not met a compairing hospitality in another country. They were set in the month long fast, from 8 am to 6 pm, yet they were open to hear us or talk with us about Allah, debate him, and further enjoy the cheapest accomodation they could scratch up for us.

    Yes, politically they were shooting mortars at Israel at the time.

    Back in isreal, staying in the old city Jerusalem, i couldn’t help but shiver at the tension. A bunch of Koreans were bashed in a night previous, the muslim and christian and jewish quarter of the old city was tight. Alien upon alien mentally challenged each other, waiting for any excuse to eradicate the other.
    I then look again, in Tel Aviv, the youth, from outside and in, all Israeli.. drinking, partying, having sex, being nocturnal, and loosing it.. being there cause of a free “birth right” government program, free beer included for 2 weeks.

    Sitting in the jordanian desert, with the isreali family sitting there, with his daughters.. and the first thing he said to us was..”do you have any alcohol?”.. nope, me and my christian buds did not. The jordanian guide gives us large blankets and asks if we want some tea, or if we want to sleep in the moonlight in the desert somewhere. Polite, non-intrusive.

    Yes, Jordan has a high rate of women and child abuse, most muslim countries do. Yes, Jordan was poorer than Isreal. Yes, Jordan was infested with flies, strangely enough. Yes, Jordan was being a bit silly with their mortars pointing into the small peice of dirt called Isreal. Yes, many of their people were even living in there, with the largest population quarter of the old city Jerusalem.

    But I prefered them, with their atfront image.

    Why?

    Hospitality.

    They not only lived what they preached from the traditions and soforth. They also tried to treat the common tourist as a part of them.

    I felt like an alien in Isreal.

    Churches strive to be hospitible, and they do that well, and in South America, Colombia, where I reside, it’s incredible to see an Christian church, filled to the brim, having quadrupled it’s size in the past few years. Making people feel welcome, like they belong.

    But I don’t think that is what really hits the spot.

    What makes my muslim buddies on my holiday best mates better than my cold Isreali friends who didn’t even talk to me? And what good thing do these two people have in common which i have utmost respect for, something Christians should respect and honour?

    What?

    FAMILY.

    Hospitality is just a reflection of family.

    If we have hospitatliy without family, then we are empty.

    Family is the ability for one generation to relate with the next.

    Many churches today die when the parents grow old, and the children leave. Many churches don’t last a generation, let alone many.

    Why does islam prevail? Not just a high birthrate, but a very tight family system. Everyone knows their place in the family. The son is his fathers son, the wife is his husbands wife, his daughter is her mothers daughter, and so the tranference of generations prevail.

    The age old hebrew traditions still stand today among the Jews the one and the same. If you took the synagogue away, their churches, the Jew will prevail and exist. Their family, just is.

    But what left the mark in my brain, was that in Isreal, the next generation was lost from the traditions, they were modern, and the next generation had nothing to do with their parents. In Jordan, the children were the heirs of their parents traditions, and even the taxi driver was fasting the Ramadam to purify himself to reconnect with Allah, waiting till 6 pm to feast again with..none other than his family.

    If we took the church away from the Christian, would we have family to lean on? If our image of “hospitality” dissappeared, would our family still stand? We call each other brother, and sister, father and mother…. but are we really family?

    Does our “hospitality” really come from a family? Does our generation relate with the last?

    That, i think is what church really should be about, and what Christianity is, or should be. Family, generations and sexes all knowing who they are, and where they belong for each other, with eachother, and by each other.

    Families don’t die, they grow as people birth within with new lives, and identity.

    If a church only focussess on “hospitatlity”.. acceptance, attractiveness, comfort and pleasure for the passerby, the visitor, the selfish tourist……. and forget that we are family, inviting an adoption, showing a perfect father, and a brother who would die for us.. that we are family… then christians would be lost.

    A church needs to be a family, before hospitality.

    Being a family is a unity between generations and sexes. Father to son, Father and mother, sister brother, mother daughter, father daughter, mother son. Family is tranmission of who we are, through time, through generations, and holding strong.

    That’s where true hospitality and “attractiveness” comes from.

  13. They, the Muslims, have a passion that we as a whole seem to lack. In the early centuries of the church, the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church. Christians were known as those crazy people who were willing to die for what they believed. They embraced being crucified, fed to lions, skinned alive, all as witnesses for their faith in Jesus Christ. When was the last time anyone suggested that becoming a Christian might involve dying, even being tortured to death, for the sake of Christ? We attend the weddings of so-called Christians who marry unbelievers (or such nominal believers that it doesn’t matter). We give our children the choice of what to believe, whether to attend worship. We are obsessed with not interfereing with our children’s freedom of thought so much so that we sign over this job to the world which has no other agenda except to make our children into secular-humanists. No matter how perverse our society becomes, we find a way to “live and let live” out of our duty to free expression. We try to out-do each other in tolerance so that our most anti-Christ friends will like us and not call us names, like, “intollerant”. Funny, how those whose opinions we covet so much are completely unconcerned with Christ’s opinion, and as we seek their approval more and more we become less and less concerned about Christ’s opinion of us.

    The public image of the Muslim is that of a person who is willing to die for their faith. The public image of the Christian is that of a person who would nogotiate away the core of their beliefs in order that others not think ill of them.

    Who would you want to follow?

  14. This post reminds me of the song “Cathedral Made of People” by Downhere. No opinion other than that :)
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  15. I think the rules are a huge difference. Neatly defined boundaries and regulations are always easier to follow rather than simply “Love God, love your neighbor.” I would say both Jesus and Allah have crappy PR. We’ve got old white fear mongers on one side and Terrorists on the other.

    Perhaps we should also consider the fact that Christianity is a generally accepted in America and it is shrinking. In China and other persecuted nations Christianity is exploding with growth. Just some more thoughts on the topic.
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  16. Interesting thoughts here. It is amazing that the Christian church in China is growing so fast and will soon be sending missionaries TO America. Your ideas about men and the American church are thougt-provokers too. I’ll have to chew on that one some more.
    One thought though. As Ravi Zacharias says, Islam is the fastest growing ENFORCED religion in the world. He says, “take your foots off the necks of the people and then see what happens…”

  17. Every faith has its phonies and every faith has its extremists, but Christianity sure does do one better than the other…and that’s the phonies in my mind.

    Sure, we see the guys on the street corner with their signs and bullhorns every once and a while, but how many people do you know that claim to be Christian yet aren’t living out their lives that way??? That is the main issue with Christianity today…people think we are all talk, a “dog and pony show.” It is all for looks and reputation to be a Christian, not what many people truly live their life by or follow. I just graduated from college in 2009 and I can tell you plenty of stories of people who claim to be good Christians, yet get drunk every weekend and are outwardly sexually promiscuous. Yes, Christians are tolerant, but should we think its ok to sin knowing that we will be forgiven?

    There is nothing wrong with trying to relate to people today, using great music, more relevant preaching styles, etc. I think that this does attract people to the church and thats great! But its what people see you doing outside the church that makes the difference. Christians are not committing to their faith and truly living by the Word today. And the statement that “they will know we are Christians by our love.” There is a lot of Christians out there that are not living that way…loving those around them.

    I am not claiming that I am perfect or anyone is, but we as Christians should try to live our life by our beliefs instead of the world. Ok, sorry for preaching…great subject Tim!

  18. Islam may seem more attractive, but keep in mind that having a personal relationship with God is extremely offensive to Muslims. So what happens when you take away the promise of 72 virgins after this life? I’m an Advertising major, so without an inherent benefit (i.e., knowing God personally), a product must have quite the incentive to ‘keep people coming.’

    Seriously, though, there are a lot of socio-economic factors that aren’t really being accounted for here. I honestly don’t think the church’s problem in America has much to deal with its ‘level of relevance’. The fact of the matter is the Gospel’s message never changes, but given that plenty of churches preach the truth with little growth, that is a reflection of our culture. A modern culture with advanced technology has no need for God because of individualism and moral relativism. With so many things to buy and consume, many Americans feel they do not need God.

    This seems plausible, but obviously stats on rising depression rates tell otherwise. People obviously still need God, but the apathy that results from a highly individualistic society blinds many people to truth and reality.

    So where is the point of difference? How Christians live.

    Of course the church would survive if it was reduced to nothing but members. That’s how the early church started, but inevitably with growth they obviously needed and utilized larger buildings for worship. Either way, I think stripping the modern church of everything we see is useless, because quite frankly the only difference between a blog post and a sermon are money [salary] and audience size. Both can be made by someone silver-tongued.

    Again, where is the point of difference? How Christians live. You may have a house church with less than 20 members that serves the community and lives out the Gospel. Great. You may have a mega-church that is exploding with growth because the Gospel is being preached and people are being served with resulting godliness. Great! Why does it matter which church is doing what as long as Jesus is the center?

    Because times and methods change so fast with technology, it’s no surprise that various corporate churches are growing while other movements with completely different methods are growing as well. Relevance is great in contextualizing the Gospel as education and ethnic compositions fluctuate. What needs to not fluctuate is the Gospel itself and the fact that, once experienced, will change lives forever. Check out my blog post on the link below relating to living out our faith.

    Thanks for reading!
    Brooklyn Cravens recently posted..When Christians stop Acting- People stop Asking

  19. Well, part of the problem is that you said our worship music is beautiful. I don’t want beautiful. I’m a man. I want something more manly.

    Secondly, Islam has more manly things to do. Granted, some of them include conquering. Just the same, a spirit of adventure, risk, and absolute faith in God is what drove men like Carey and Taylor. We need that back in the church.

    Having said that, it doesn’t matter who has better PR. The narrow road almost dictates that Jesus won’t have very good PR.
    Dan Smith recently posted..Sailors and Sexual Desire- By Tim Challies

    • I like this! well-put :)

      (I was totally looking for a “like” button, but then I guess I’m not on facebook…)

  20. I think in the present day there should be a seperation of terms between church and ‘the way’ on which the first churches were founded (and what Jesus taught). To the outside world (since we are debating from a standpoint of converting someone to a religion) the christian church is a building filled once a week with hypocritical people that doesn’t live what they preach where the counter option is fairly clear cut in terms of ‘how to do religion/church’. Which one would you choose in a society that loves quick fixes ?

    Maybe we need to:
    1) come clean to the world and say that we dont have all the answers or a 10 step method to salvation but we have love for each other and others and WE CAN PROVE it; and
    2) to go back to ‘the way’ and follow the teachings of greatest outlaw that never broke the law.

  21. No true Muslim can ever bring himself to write such a pathetic view of Islam in such a degenerated way like you did in your piece. A true spiritual person will never try to ridicule or make fun of people’s faiths. That is simply not noble. Exactly there, you already lost all the argument. Now, you are left with nothing but all the bells and whistles (in a materialistic way) to put on all these churches and synagogues and sit with a belief that somehow (via a miracle) everyone will become a Christian or a Jew. That’s not gonna happen and you’d have to come out of that sarcastic (even in a funny way) view of Islam. When you’d brush such a prejudice in your heart aside, you’d start appreciating (and if possible, respecting) people’s faiths, beliefs and ideologies. I’d leave the rest to my prayer for you to see things differently instead of this hate-filled view that you got for Islam. Thanks. A Muslim…

  22. Instead of posting such irrational and provoking topics you should promote the religion of Humanity and peace instead of taking side of any single religion.

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