On The Road Again. . .

On The Road Again. . .
Vol: 55 Issue: 21 Friday, April 21, 2006

Robin’s training is completed and I am pleased to announce that Robin Snotherly will be taking over many of the administrative duties so that we can being planning our road tour in earnest.

We left for North Carolina yesterday to take Robin home and get her set up in a home office. Last night, we stopped at a campground outside Charlottesville, Virginia. Utterly beautiful campsite, 7 miles off the beaten path, with a gorgeous private lake, lots of trees and altogether exactly what one might want in a campsite.

With the exception of cellular service, that is. And since I connect on the road via a Cingular Air Card, I wasn’t able to log on until we stopped at a rest area just inside the North Carolina line, where I am at this moment.

We continue to finalize our itinerary; our current plan is to begin with the OL gathering in Branson, Mo. that Nicole is setting up. I hope to speak with her once we get home and make sure I have the details straight — we will then post a page on the site with all the details we have so far.

Our current intinerary appears to be Missouri June 1-7, eastern Oklahoma June 7-21, and then on to East Texas. Dates will firm up as we line up speaking engagements, but we will keep you posted.

Pray that gasoline prices drop; it has cost us more than $200.00 so far to tow our camper the last 700 miles — 15 gallons of gas in Virginia cost me $55.00. To this point, that seems to be the only major obstacle — but it’s only money. This is the Lord’s tour and He has all we need.

Please forgive the brevity of this morning’s report — it has been a hectic couple of days and my mind is somewhat mushy this morning.

Thank you all for your indulgence and support. We are looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the next few months, should the Lord tarry.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)

Maranatha!

The 1948 Connection

The 1948 Connection
Vol: 55 Issue: 20 Thursday, April 20, 2006

The restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land is one of the most staggeringly overt fulfillments of Bible prophecy to occur in the last 2,000 years. The Hebrew prophets all foretold an eventual restoration of Israel, even addressing the future state by name, in some cases centuries after Israel had ceased to exist.

Jesus said, Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:32-34)

In his book, Personal Witness, Ambassador Abba Eban, one of Israel s Founding Fathers and Israel s first Foreign Minister wrote;

In accordance with our plan, a letter from [Chaim] Weizmann to [President] Truman had been sent on May 13 asking him to recognize our new state. The expected infant state was still nameless, since the Zionist leaders were still characteristically, arguing over the name (should it be Judea. Zion, what about the name Israel ?). Weizmann, for the first time in history, was asking for a nameless state to be recognized….

Although Ezekiel confidently wrote of the restored Jewish state as Israel 2,500 years before, those who actually served as midwives to the rebirth did not decide on the name until the very day before!

Hosea said of Israel, I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time . . . (Hosea 9:10)

Joel wrote of the northern invaders of Israel, He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree. . .(Joel 1:7)

In 1948, the fig tree began to put forth leaves, so to speak, and Jesus said that generation would see all these things fulfilled.

The Bible said that pivotal event in history would take place simultaneously with the birth of a revived Roman Empire. A unified Europe looks back to its foundation as January 1, 1948.

It said an apostate world religion would develop at the same time. Revelation 13:11 describes this religious system as having two horns like a lamb — symbols of Christianity. The World Council of Churches was born in 1948.

It predicts that global political system will co-exist with a global economy. The World Trade Organization — a trade organization empowered to regulate the global economy — saw its genesis in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, enacted by the UN in 1948.

The Bible predicted that global economy will fall under the control of a single individual who will be able to regulate commerce down to the individual level — That no man might buy or sell -Rev 13:17. Such individual control was impossible before the advent of computers.

Although computers had been invented during World War II, they were huge, bulky monsters that used notoriously unreliable and hugely inefficient vacuum tubes. The first computers were slower than a pocket calculator, filled huge environmentally sealed rooms and required enough electricity to power a small city.

That all changed in 1948 when Bell Labs invented the transistor chip, signaling the official birth of the Computer Age.

That final age would be marked by ‘rumors of war’ – Matt 24:7. The ultimate ‘rumor of war’ was the Cold War. It began with the Berlin Airlift of 1948. The Soviet collapse was a direct result of the cost of fighting the Cold War. The ongoing decline of US influence in the world is also related to the costs of that ‘war’. The power vacuum left by the simultaneous decline of each of these great powers is being filled by Europe, just as the Bible predicted.

Earthquakes began to show a marked increase in size, scope and intensity in 1948. The modern period of ethnos against ethnos can be traced to the death of colonialism beginning in 1948. Increasing ‘pestilence’ or deadly disease, can be traced to 1948. Economic ‘kingdoms’ began with the first multinational corporations in 1948.

Legislation passed by the UN in 1948 like the UDHR and the UNCPR function today as the legal cornerstones of our developing globalist worldview and the disintegration of US Constitutional guarantees.

The decline in morality — worldwide — can arguably be placed at the feet of the current trend of devaluing human life to the degree that legislation permitting abortion and euthanasia are evidences of an ‘advanced’ society.

The Japanese Eugenics Act — the first legal abortion on demand legislation ever passed in modern society — was passed in 1948. American Margaret Sanger was so impressed with the idea that she founded the premier abortion rights advocacy group — Planned Parenthood — in 1948.

Let’s not forget the other technological advances introduced in 1948 — commercial television, holography, cybernetics, meteorology, the nuclear arms race, microelectronics and dozens of other advances that served to demystify the books of Daniel and the Revelation for this generation.

Add that to the social breakdown that followed the ouster of God from American education following McCollum vs. the board of education decision of 1948. Don’t forget the contribution made to evolutionary theory by the introduction of the ‘Big Bang’ theory of 1948. That served to further alienate the concept of a Creator God from the American worldview.

2 Peter3:3 warns “that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

All these things taken in context point to one logical conclusion. This is the generation of whom Jesus was speaking when He said, “This generation shall not pass until ALL these things be fulfilled.”

Mohammed s Jesus

Mohammed s Jesus
Vol: 55 Issue: 19 Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I received an email today from someone taking me to task for not recognizing that Muslims love Jesus, in fact, they have more reverence of Him than we Christians.

So is he right? Is there a Muslim Jesus? Does Islam reverence Jesus? If they reverence Jesus, why would they declare jihad against Christians and Jews?

First off, one needs to understand how Islam sees itself relative to Judaism and Christianity.

History traces Islam to its birth in 622 AD in the Arabian city of Medina. But Islam traces itself back to Abraham.

Consequently, it regards itself as the primordial religion from which sprang both Judaism and Christianity.

O followers of the Book! why do you dispute about Ibrahim, [Abraham] when the Taurat [Torah] and the Injeel [Gospel] were not revealed till after him; do you not then understand? Behold! you are they who disputed about that of which you had knowledge; why then do you dispute about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows while you do not know. Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists. – (The Koran, Sura 3.65-67)

The Koran teaches that the first Muslim was Abraham. As a consequence, it is Muslims, and not Christians or Jews, who are the true representatives of the faith of Abraham to the world today.

There are two main sources for Isa, the Muslim Jesus. The Koran gives a history of his life, whilst the Hadith collections recollections of Muhammad s words and deeds establish his place in the Muslim understanding of the future.

Jesus true name, according to the Koran, was Isa. His message was pure Islam, surrender to Allah. (Sura 3:83-84) Like all the Muslim prophets before him, and like Muhammad after him, Isa was a lawgiver, and Christians should submit to his law. (Sura 3:50; 5:48)

Isa s original disciples were also true Muslims, for they said We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered. We are Muslims. (Sura 5:111)

So, the Koran s Jesus was really a Muslim. According to the Koran, Isa was the Messiah. He was supported by the Holy Spirit . (Sura 2:87; 5:110) He is also referred to as the Word of Allah . (Sura 4:171).

Isa s mother Mariam was the daughter of Imran, (Sura 3:34,35) the Amram of Exodus 6:20 and the sister of Aaron (and Moses). (Sura 19:28) She was fostered by Zachariah (father of John the Baptist). (3:36) While still a virgin (Sura 6:12; 19:19-21) Mariam gave birth to Isa alone in a desolate place under a date palm tree. (Sura 19:22ff) (Not in Bethlehem).

Isa spoke whilst still a baby in his cradle. (Sura 3:46; 5:110; 19:30) He performed various other miracles, including breathing life into clay birds, healing the blind and lepers, and raising the dead. (Sura 3:49; Sura 5:111) He also foretold the coming of Muhammad. (Sura 61:6)

The Koran also declares the Bible to be a true revelation of God and demands faith in the Bible. O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I will fulfill (My) covenant with you; and of Me, Me alone, should you be afraid. And believe in what I have revealed, verifying that which is with you, and be not the first to deny it, neither take a mean price in exchange for My communications; and Me, Me alone should you fear. Sura 2:40,41

So, how does the Koran reconcile the inherent contradiction? The New Testament predates the Koran by some 600 years. The Old Testament predates the Koran by 2000 years or more.

Yet the Koran claims the mother of Jesus was the sister of Moses, and the foster child of John the Baptist s father Zachariah. For this to be possible, not only would the Bible have to be wrong, but Mary would have to have been more than a thousand years old at Jesus birth.

In 1064, Ibn-Khazem discovered these inherent contradictions. (It took more than 400 years before anybody caught it) Believing, by faith that the Koran was true, the only remaining conclusion is that the Bible must be false.

How can one be true, the other false, and still be obedient to Allah? Easy.

Ibn-Khazem reasoned, “Since the Koran must be true it must be the conflicting Gospel texts that are false. But Muhammad tells us to respect the Gospel. Therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians after the time of Muhammad.” His argument was not based on any evidence or historical facts but only on his personal faith, reasoning and desire to safeguard the Koran.

This led him to teach that, “The Christians lost the revealed Gospel except for a few traces which God has left intact as argument against them.”

Assessment:

Aha! So that s how it happened. The Koran draws the same conclusion about the Old Testament. The Jews tampered with their own Scriptures to conceal the fact it was Ishmael that Allah gave the Promise to, and not Isaac, as the forged Scriptures now say.

Although Christians believe Isa died on a cross, and Jews claim they killed him, in reality he was not killed or crucified, and those who said he was crucified lied (Sura 4:157).

Isa did not die, but ascended to Allah. (Sura 4:158) On the day of Resurrection Isa himself will be a witness against Jews and Christians for believing in his death. (Sura 4:159)

Muhammad came bringing the Koran to correct the ignorance of the Christians and Jews. (Sura 98:1). Muhammad was Allah s gift to Christians. They should accept Muhammad as Allah s Messenger, and the Koran as his final revelation. (Sura 5:15; 57:28; 4:47) True Christians will not love Muhammad s enemies. (Sura 58:22)

In other words, anyone who opposes Muhammad is not a true Christian.

Muslims should not take Christians or Jews for friends. (Sura 5:51) They must fight against Christians and Jews who refuse Islam until they surrender, pay the poll-tax and are humiliated. (Sura 9:29) To this may be added hundreds of Koranic verses on the subject of jihad in the path of Allah, as well as the Book of Jihad found in all Hadith collections.

The Muslim Jesus comes back at the end of the world to destroy Christianity. The prophet Isa will have an important role in the end times, establishing Islam and making war until he destroys all religions save Islam. He will break the cross, kill pigs, and abolish the poll-tax. Allah will destroy all religions except Islam. He ( Isa) will destroy the Evil One and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die . (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37: 4310)

Jesus will break the cross , kill the pigs (only Christians eat pork) and abolish the poll tax a reference to jihad.

According to the Koran, the book revealed to Isa was the Injil. The word Injil is a corrupted form of the Greek euanggelion good news or gospel.

The term euanggelion later came to be used as a title for the four biographies of Jesus written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the gospels . Apparently this is where Muhammad got his mistaken idea of the Injil being a book .

The Koran claims the Psalms are a single book given by Allah to reveal Islam, not a collection of Jewish songs of worship written by several different writers.

In the Bible Haman is the minister of Ahasuerus in Media and Persia (Esther 3:1-2). Yet the Koran places him over a thousand years earlier, as a minister of Pharoah in Egypt.

The Koran claims that Christians believe in three Gods Father, son Jesus and mother Mary. The Koran is equally inaccurate in its claim that Jews say Ezra was a son of God. (Sura 9:30)

The Koran has a Samaritan making the golden calf, which was worshipped by the Israelites in the wilderness (Sura 20:85) during the Exodus. The Samaritans did not exist until several centuries later. They were descendants of the northern Israelites centuries after the Exodus.

The story of Jesus being born under a palm tree is also based on a late fable, as is the story of Jesus making clay birds come alive. Everything the Koran says about the life of Jesus which is not found in the Bible can be traced to fables composed more than a hundred years after Jesus death.

Allah was the name of a pagan god worshipped by the Arabs of Mecca until Muhammed came along. Muhammed s father s name meant slave of Allah .

The Muslim Jesus is not God, but a wise teacher and a prophet. That s why Islam can’t allow Him to have been crucified. If Jesus claimed to be God and was subsequently crucified rather than deny it, then He would not be a wise teacher or a prophet. He’d be a liar and a blasphemer. So instead, the Koran denies the crucifixion. All this hundreds of years after the fact.

Islam may reverence Isa, but Isa is not the Jesus of the Gospel. And Allah is not the God of the Bible. Islam is NOT a ‘religion of peace’ that is simply another way to come to God, as is asserted by the Bush administration. Anymore than the Koran’s Isa is the Bible’s Jesus.

Things that are different are NOT the same. That s just the way it is.

“Moderate Islam Must Not Be Ignored”

“Moderate Islam Must Not Be Ignored”
Vol: 55 Issue: 18 Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Less than two hours before the new Israeli Knesset was sworn in, another Palestinian terrorist blew himself up outside a falafel stand in Tel Aviv.

Sami Hamad walked up to the falafel stand, which had been hit by a suicide bomber in January. The Israeli security guard, Binyamin Hafuta, spotted Hamad and blocked his entry into the restaurant, forcing Hamad to blow himself up outside. Hafuta’s fast thinking probably saved scores of lives, but it cost him his own. He was one of the nine victims of the attack who were killed.

Five of the victims were men, four of them women. Thirty-six others were wounded, including two children and a sixteen year-old American tourist (who is listed in critical condition.)

Sami Hamad had been a member of Hamas, but switched allegiances and joined Islamic Jihad, complaining that Hamas hadn’t killed any Israelis in a long time. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing. But it was Hamas’ reaction to the attack that made the headlines. Hamas member and Palestinian Authority Interior Minister said Palestinian security forces would not interfere with terror strikes against Israel.

“We will not put our sons in prison for political memberships or resisting occupation, because occupation is the reason for the problem,” Siam said.

The US condemned Monday’s attack, but WITHOUT the usual call for Israel to show restraint. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement in which he “noted reactions by several Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, that defend or even applaud these barbaric actions, as we have noted President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s swift denunciation of it.”

Abbas’ “swift denunciation” came in the form of a statement saying: “This attack violates the Palestinian national consensus and runs contrary to our interests, and we as an authority and government must move to stop it We will not stop pursuing anyone who carries out such attacks. . .”

In other words, it was ‘despicable’ because it harmed ‘Palestinian national interests’ and NOT because it killed five fathers, four mothers and wounded 36 other innocent Israelis.

The most interesting Israeli response came from Israeli President Moshe Katzav, who said he was perplexed by the silence of Islamic spiritual leaders whenever terrorist attacks were carried out against Israelis by young Palestinians.

“We are the ones who tell them that this is counter to the teachings of the Koran,” he said. “Why are the Imams not saying this? There is no religious justification for killing people of another faith.”

Katzav’s remarks were interesting because they went unanswered by any Islamic leader. We hear constantly that terrorism runs counter to Islamic teachings, that Islam is a religion of peace and love and that the majority of the Islamic world is ‘moderate’.

So, where ARE all the moderates?

Assessment:

Khaleel Mohammed, an assistant professor of religion at San Diego State University is an Islamic ‘moderate.’ But he is hardly a member of any Islamic majority.

In an article called, “Moderate Islam Should Not Be Ignored” carried in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, authors Ilan Benjamin and Tammy Rossman-Benjamin argued:

“Khaleel Mohammed is a courageous man. His critical analysis of contemporary Islam puts him at odds with most Muslims around the world. Scholars such as Mohammed are rare in the Arab world because those who dare to challenge the prevailing understanding of Islam may be targeted for assassination and must flee to the West.”

Hmmm. Does this mean the majority of Islam lives in the West? Take another look at the column’s title.

If moderate Islam is the majority, then why do Islamic moderates like Khaleel Mohammed have to flee to the West to prevent being assassinated?

The authors note: “. . .there is another reason why Mohammed s scholarship, which speaks directly to the serious threat that militant Islam poses for the entire world, is not being given the fair and objective hearing it deserves at universities around the country. In the current climate of political correctness that pervades so many of our college campuses, Mohammed s call for a return to a more tolerant and authentic Islam has, ironically, itself been labeled as a racist attack on Islam. . . “

They noted that Mohammed came to speak at USSC last month: “Of the 10 university departments, colleges and research groups that were asked to co-sponsor Mohammed s talk, not one agreed; one explained that Mohammed was too controversial, even though all 10 academic units had previously co-sponsored numerous talks and events vilifying America and Israel. Also, in the weeks leading up to his visit, fliers announcing his talk were systematically torn down or obscured by fliers of a Muslim student group, denouncing Mohammed and disputing the legitimacy of his scholarship.”

Why is it that ‘moderate’ Islamic scholars get the cold shoulder from US universities who find no conflict in inviting speakers that ‘vilify America and Israel’? Money.

Five million dollars was donated to USC Berkeley by two Saudi sheiks linked to funding al-Qaeda. The University of Arkansas got $20 million; $11 million went to Cornell; another $8.1 million to Georgetown.

Other recipients of Arab government largesse include UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, USC, American University, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton, Rice, Rutgers, Syracuse, Texas A&M and the University of Chicago.

Imam Siraj Wahaj is another Islamic ‘moderate’. In 1991, Wahaj was the first Muslim invited to give the invocation opening the US Congress. Not long after 9/11, he went on record saying, “I now feel responsible to preach, actually to go on a jihad against extremism.”

But Wahaj also warned that the United States will fall unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda.” He has lamented that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”

In the early 1990s he sponsored talks by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in mosques in New York City and New Jersey. The blind sheik was convicted of conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Wahaj was designated a “potential un indicted co-conspirator.”

Islam is an extreme ideology that only appears to be ‘moderate’ when its adherents make unprincipled exceptions to it’s teachings. Muslims in general do not like using the term, understanding it to indicate an individual who has politically sold out to the other side.

In some internal intellectual debates, the term ‘moderate Muslim’ is used as a pejorative to describe a Muslim who is more secular and less Islamic than he should be. Still, it appears that there IS at least one Islamic ‘moderate’ in America.

At least, until one of his co-religionists offs him for blasphemy.

Depicting Islam Unfairly . . .

Depicting Islam Unfairly . . .
Vol: 55 Issue: 17 Monday, April 17, 2006

US Islamic leaders are complaining about the way that Muslims are being portrayed on TV and in the media. They say conveying a peaceful image of Islam is much more difficult since September 11, and they blame what they call a ‘barrage’ of negative news stories.

By ‘negative’ news stories, they mean stories like the Afghani convert threatened with execution, the daily terror attacks by Islamic jihadists, the mass demonstrations protesting cartoons of Mohammed and the Islamic car-burning protests in France.

USAToday quoted Irfan Rydhan, 31, a spokesperson and organizer for the South Bay Islamic Association in San Jose, Calif.

We say we’re peaceful people, but it doesn’t matter what we say, he complained. They see these violent images on TV, and those people look like us.

It seems as if extremist voices have taken over, said Rana Abbas, a 26-year-old Muslim American who is deputy director of Michigan’s American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a nationwide civil rights group based in Washington, D.C.

It makes your struggle so much harder. It makes it seem as if all your efforts are in vain. It’s really hard right now for moderate Muslims to get their message out.

James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute says Islamic terror isn’t Islam’s fault, at all. Instead, says Zogby, the Islamic world has been destablized by war.

The problem is not the nature of the religion; it is the dislocation and disruption of normal society brought on by the trauma of war, says Zogby.

It’s similar to what happened in our own country during the post-Civil War period where you had lynchings and the emergence of extremist currents that lasted for decades.

Imam Hassan Qazwini heads the largest mosque in the USA, the Islamic Center of America, based in Dearborn, Mich. Qazwini said he and other imams have grown weary of being made to answer for every violent act committed in the name of Mohammed.

This has become a daily nightmare for Muslims, Qazwini said. We’re upset. We’re frustrated. We cannot control every Muslim. We cannot be held responsible for everything.

By way of comparison, Qazwini asked, How is it that when Pat Robertson calls for the murder of the president of a sovereign country that nobody said Christianity is promoting violence and murder?

One suspects there is a difference between one guy calling for a political assassination and thousands of guys committing political assassinations, but therein lies the problem.

Assessment:

I admit that I feel bad for those Muslims who aren’t sympathetic to Islamic terror. But my sympathy is tempered by the fact that there are about a billion and a half Muslims and maybe a dozen of them have spoken out against the Islamic terrorists — the rest just complain they are being tarred with the same brush.

The ‘negative news stories’ that US Muslims say give Islam a bad name are NOT ‘made up’ stories. Afghanistan, the most moderate and US-friendly Islamic regime in the Islamic world WAS prepared to execute a guy for converting to Christianity.

There WERE hundreds of thousands of Muslims demonstrating, destroying property and burning cars over the publications of cartoons insulting Mohammed.

Why don’t people say Christianity promotes violence and murder, despite Pat Robertson’s comments?

Let’s see. Is Jesus regularly lampooned by the media? Yes. Do Christians react by rioting and burning private property? No.

Has a Christian ever been executed by his co-religionists for converting to Islam? No.

(And, for the record, Robertson’s comments were widely excoriated and Robertson subsequently apologized. I am waiting for an apology from Islam for promoting jihad)

Zogby’s argument that Islam seems warlike thanks to all the wars in the Islamic world is almost impossible to follow. What wars is Zogby referring to?

The five wars against Israel? (All were conducted in the name of Islam). The Sudanese civil war? (That is a war between Islam and the Sudan’s non-Islamic population.)

The UN charges of genocide were NOT leveled against the non-Islamic south, but against the Islamic government of Sudan.

The comparison to the American civil war is makes one wonder what in the world Zogby is talking about. The Civil War was about politics, not religion. It was between two clearly identifiable sides, not an assymetrical global war between the United States and stateless, faceless Islamic jihadists.

The imam complaining about the ‘daily nightmare’ for American Muslims has my sympathy. But, as noted, it is tempered by the fact their complaints are aimed at the US — not the jihadists. I don’t think there is any American who believes anybody can ‘control’ the jihadists.

But the reason that Christians couldn’t mount an effective terror campaign (apart from the fact is is wrong) is that they would immediately be slapped down by other Christians.

There was no groundswell of Christian support for Eric Rudolph, or James Copp, — or Paul Hill — who was executed in Florida for the murder of an abortionist in Florida. Murder is wrong, regardless of the reason behind it.

If the majority of the Islamic world was truly moderate then where are they?

There are two schools of thought regarding the best way to deal with the war with Islam. The first is the ecumenist school.

To the ecumenist, the aspect of Islam that represents a threat is the radical (false) Islam. That school of thought dictates that the West must empower ‘moderate’ Islam so that Islamic moderates can remake their world into decent, free societies.

The second school of thought is the ‘civilizationist’ view. The civilizationist school of thought sees the problem as not being one of a few radicals having hijacked a peaceful religion, but rather that the problem is the teachings of Islam itself.

The civilizationist school does not believe in the existence of ‘moderate’ Islam and efforts to co-opt them to our side has about as much chance of success as Israel had with the Oslo Agreement.

They fear the possibility of endless negotiation going nowhere while we empower our mortal enemies in the vain hope they will become our friends.

At its heart is Islam’s understanding of jihad. The way Islam understands jihad, it is the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims (known in Arabic as dar al-Islam) at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims (dar al-harb). In other words, it is an Islamic duty to destroy America.

Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, deputy chairman of European Council for Fatwa and Research is one of those Islamic moderates who participates in Islam Online’s ‘Ask the Scholar’. Islam-Online.net describes themselves as: “adopting the middle ground of Islam, avoiding extremism or negligence, rejecting deviant or strange opinions.”

Mawlawi was asked if suicide bombers are striving in the cause of Allah.

Replied the moderate Sheik, “Martyr operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one’s life. Allah says in the Glorious Qura’n: “And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.” (Al-Baqara:195)

He continues, “This means that martyr operations are totally different from the forbidden suicide. . . . In the light of the above-mentioned facts, I believe that those missions are a sacred duty carried out in form of self-defense and resisting aggression and injustice. So whoever is killed in such missions is a martyr, may Allah bless him with high esteem. ”

Islam Online is the voice of ‘moderate’ Islam.

Is anybody out there listening?

Another Easter, Another Gospel

Another Easter, Another Gospel
Vol: 55 Issue: 15 Saturday, April 15, 2006

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

Let’s start a little differently. Who’s up for a quick Bible quiz? I know it’s early, but mental calisthenics help get the thought processes flowing.

Quick, if somebody preaches another Gospel, what does the Bible say about that preacher?

Got it? Good. Now a follow-up question: If the person PREACHING another Gospel is accursed, should Christians be studying the ‘other Gospel’ on their own?

Or put another way; can there be anything spiritually edifying to be obtained from something that God Himself has declared to be ‘accursed?’

I’m sorry, is this hard? It seems pretty straightforward. The Apostle Paul told the Galatians that there is but one True Gospel and pronounced a rare Scriptural curse on those who would purvey another.

Despite Paul’s admonition, ‘Christian’ leaders are hailing the allegedly ‘lost’ Gospel of Judas as a ‘watershed breakthrough’ that ‘might change our understanding’ of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I set off Christian and ‘watershed breakthrough’ in quotes because I doubt both. The most outspoken proponents of the Judas Gospel are professors of religion at major US universities.

Noted the New York Times’ account of the find, “The Gospel of Judas is only one of many texts discovered in the last 65 years, including the gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalene and Philip, believed to be written by Gnostics.”

“As the findings have trickled down to churches and universities, they have produced a new generation of Christians who now regard the Bible not as the literal word of God, but as a product of historical and political forces that determined which texts should be included in the canon, and which edited out.”

The Gospel of Judas portrays Judas Iscariot as the Lord’s most favored disciple and willing collaborator. The four Gospels say Judas betrayed Jesus in exchange for thirty pieces of silver and later killed himself in remorse.

The Judas Gospel manuscript has been authenticated and carbon-dating says it is about 1700 years old. The authentication effort was organized by the National Geographic Society, aired the documentary on Thursday and plans a second airing on April 22nd.

National Geographic quotes Rodolphe Kasser, whom it identifies as a ‘clergyman and former professor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Geneva in Switzerland’.

“This lost gospel, providing information on Judas Iscariot considered for 20 centuries and by hundreds of millions of believers as an antichrist of the worst kind bears witness to something completely different from what was said [about Judas] in the Bible.”

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2nd Corinthians 11:3)

The National Geographic describes the Judas Gospel in breathless terms, saying the “text not only offers an alternative view of the relationship between Jesus and Judas but also illustrates the diversity of opinion in the early Christian church.”

Assessment:

Baloney. The ‘diversity of opinion in the early Christian church’ was hardly a secret. Neither was the Gospel of Judas.

The ‘Lost’ Gospel of Judas was composed by members of a Gnostic sect sometime around AD 180. It had already been thoroughly vetted by Iraenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, in his book Adversus Haereses (“Against Heresies”)

Iraenaeus, who published ‘Against Heresies’ in AD 180, dismissed it out of hand, saying of its Gnostic authors, “They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas.”

The Gospel of Judas opens with the words;

“The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he celebrated Passover. … Jesus said to him, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom. It is possible for you to reach it, but you will grieve a great deal.”

(No wonder the Apostle Paul lamented, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” [Galatians 1:6])

What sets the True Gospels apart from the various alternative gospels is immediately apparent. The spurious Gnostic accounts all claim to offer a secret teaching.

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene allegedly reveals secret teaching that Jesus showed Mary in a vision. The spurious Gospel of Thomas opens with the claim; These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote them down.”

Iraenaeus insisted that Jesus did not teach any of His disciples secretly, and the Scripture’s Gospel accounts bear that out.

When His disciples came unto Him ‘privately’ to ask Him of the signs of His coming and of the end of the world, His reply was recorded in three separate Gospel accounts.

Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and teach what He taught them.

Iraenaeus wrote that “the heretics say that they have more gospels than there actually are; but really, they have no gospel that is not full of blasphemy.”

To suddenly embrace the Gospel of Judas in the 21st century as a ‘watershed’ that will ‘change our understanding’ of the Gospel while ignoring the perspective of Iraenaeus is nothing short of willful ignorance.

Iraenaeus lived within living memory of the Apostles themselves. The events described by the Gospels were as recent to Iraenaeus’ time as the First World War is to our generation.

There remained living links to the events of Jesus’ day in Iraenaeus’ time — and Iraenaeus dismissed the Gospel of Judas out of hand as a work of fiction.

To suggest that Judas will ‘reveal’ new insights into the Gospels to this generation that it didn’t reveal in Iraenaeus’ time is breathtakingly arrogant.

It is worth noting [again] that the ‘Gospel of Judas’ is mainstream news — [and so suddenly!] — because this is Easter.

This is the time of year when Christians recall the true Gospel of Jesus Christ:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Every year at Easter, there is a major media push to mythologize Jesus, to discover some ‘new’ and ‘secret’ evidence that Jesus was not really God come in the flesh, but some kind of religious huckster who has pulled the wool over the eyes of generation after generation. . . until this one.

It is a source of endless fascination to me to watch it unfold each Easter season. Every generation, from that of Iraenaeus to this one, has attempted to ‘prove’ the Bible is wrong, the Gospels are a work of fiction, and that there is no God.

There is no literary work of history that has been more thoroughly vetted, debated, examined and subjected to the level of textual criticism than the Bible.

“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.” (2nd Timothy 3:8-9)

Every generation has raised its crop of skeptics determined to disprove the truth of Scripture. Each generation has had its share of thinkers shouting ‘Eureka’ — only to have their alleged ‘proof’ evaporate under the weight of new discovery.

Eighteen centuries after Iraenaeus’ evaluated and rejected the Gospel of Judas as a work of fiction, a new generation is shouting ‘Eureka’.

Every year at Easter, Jesus is suddenly discovered by the media to have been a fraud. Every year, being a Christian becomes a bit less fashionable, and, in some parts of the world, a bit more dangerous.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2nd Timothy 3:12)

Despite the two thousand year constant assault on Scripture’s veracity, nobody has ever conclusively disproved a single word of Scripture.

Not a single point of science, medicine or history mentioned in Scripture has ever been contradicted by direct evidence.

Not a single thinker in all the generations of skeptics who ever shouted ‘Eureka’ in the last two thousand years ever became known to history as the man who disproved the Bible and destroyed the underpinnings of Judeo-Christianity.

And if such a person ever lived, we would certainly know of him.

Instead, on Easter, Christians talk about Jesus the Savior. The world talks about Jesus, the Myth.

Nobody seems to find anything of evidential value in the fact that, no matter what their perspective, whether their confession is positive or negative, EVERYBODY is talking about Jesus.

“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)

I pray each of you has a happy and blessed Resurrection Sunday.

‘Page Not Found. . .’

‘Page Not Found. . .’
Vol: 55 Issue: 14 Friday, April 14, 2006

Today is one of those days. For reasons known only to God and Bill Gates, all the various gizmos and gadgets that together make up my internet connection, Vonage connection and home network decided not to talk to each other this morning. No particular reason. Mad, I guess.

I sat down to my desk, opened a browser and got the ‘page not found’ screen instead. Our house is a “home office” in the truest sense of the word. I have an office in my attic; but that is a long way from where the cable comes in.

Thanks to wireless networking, I can put the modems and wireless router in the living room by the TV and connect from my attic office. Gayle and Robin also work out of another ‘office’ in my attic where there are two more computers.

But sometimes, I’m not in the attic. So I have a laptop set up in the kitchen. And another hooked up to my TV in the living room, just in case I get a brainstorm while watching the news. All this is made possible by a little gizmo with flashing lights and a set of rabbit ears on it called a wireless router.

Vonage is a pretty good deal. For twenty-five bucks a month, I get local and unlimited phone service via a Vonage modem connected in a daisy chain between my cable modem and my wireless router.

All the gizmos talk to each other in my living room, chattering away, night and day, lights flashing and blinking, and no matter what computer I go to, there I am, online and ready.

Welcome to the 21st century! George Jetson would have been astounded.

But this morning, when I plodded up the stairs to my tiny attic office and sat down at my computer, I got the ‘page not found’ screen.

So I stared at it for a minute. That didn’t help. I hit ‘reload’. It reloaded the ‘page not found’ screen. I rebooted the computer. Computer rebooted fine. Then it loaded the ‘page not found’ screen.

My router has a handy web-based interface from which it can be administered. I typed in that address.

It loaded the ‘page not found’ screen. So I tinkered with my computer’s network settings. Rebooted.

‘Page not found.’ Grrrr!

I plodded back down to the kitchen to check my laptop (and get a fresh cup of coffee). Coffee pot was empty and page was not found. GRRR!

I went in to check the gizmo array. There they sat, blinking and flashing just like they always do. I turned on the only hard-wired computer on my network, the one hooked up to the TV. Page not found. Grrrrrrrr!

I picked up the phone to call my son-in-law, webmaster and all around computer genius, Mike. HE can tell me what to do!

Dial tone not found. (The Vonage phone won’t work if the internet is down, genius!) GRRRRRRR!

Time for a cup of coffee, clear the cobwebs, and fight down the rising sense of panic. (Good heavens! I am incommunicado!) Wait! I have my cell phone! Battery is dead. Great.

Welcome to the 21st century. George Jetson would have been scared.

As I pondered my situation, I remembered that cycling off the cable modem would reset it. So I cycled it off. Then I waited for three minutes.

(Three minutes is a long time, BTW)

I powered the modem back up, and watched all those lights flicker and blink until the requisite number of them appeared.

Page not found. Dial tone not found.

So I recycled the Vonage modem off, waiting the three minutes before powering back up, waited for the flickering lights to stop flickering and checked it again.

Page not found. By now, I’ve wasted the better part of two hours. The phone still doesn’t work. I still can’t log on to the internet. But my wireless network thingy on my desktop says things are just hunky-dory. Everything is fine.

Provided I don’t want to check my email, make a phone call, or read the day’s headlines online. It’s all working perfectly. Except for the ‘page not found’ part.

Time for another cup of coffee. By now, I am awake. Indeed, my mind is racing. As I pondered my situation, my mind was going in so many different directions that I began to wonder how long it was since I last changed the oil in my truck . . . EUREKA!

Power off EVERYTHING! THAT should fix it! So I went over to the gizmo array, plucking power cables as fast as I could find them (I WAS on my fourth cup of coffee), before going turning off the computer in the living room, the kitchen laptop, up the stairs to the attic, turning off all of THOSE computers, and back down the stairs to relive my whole morning one more time.

Another cup of coffee. More pondering my situation, this time ignoring my oil change schedule, drifting to the unintended consequences of a US strike against Iran . . . (with a sixth cup of coffee, I could have solved the whole problem on my own)

As I began restarting the whole mess, I glanced at the clock. I’d been fighting the ‘page not found’ error for almost three hours. Good ol’ Bill Gates! He sure made life easier!

First, I powered on the cable modem. Once all THOSE lights were blinking, I powered on the Vonage modem. When THAT light STOPPED blinking (you’d think SOMEBODY would standardize stuff like that) it was time to power on the wireless router, which goes through several combinations of lights blinking and NOT blinking, all of which evidently means something.

(I just waited until whatever they were doing was consistent.)

Then, the big test. I fired up the computer closest to the blinking lights (maybe it could see them and wouldn’t be so shy about talking to them) and opened a browser. Tick, tick, tick, everything loads. . . . pause, the browser opens. . . pause . . . the status bar moves. . . pause. . . BINGO! I AM a genius! Now I only have to repeat the process four more times and everybody can go to work three hours late. . . .

Sigh. The 21st century looked like more fun on the Jetsons.

Report to the Members

Thanks to the time-saving miracle improvements of the 21st century, I am too stressed to write my regular column this morning. . .

Seriously, this is as good a time as any to bring everybody up to speed on our planned road tour this spring and summer. Finalizing things has been complicated, but we’re making progress.

Robin’s training is about completed and she will soon be assuming her duties running the ‘mother ship’ while we are on the road.

Our own Nicole Boedeker has been planning an Omega Letter members’ gathering in Branson, Missouri, tentatively set for June 1st. I know that a number of our fellowship are planning to attend. Gayle and I are looking forward to meeting as many of you as can make it.

Details of the Branson gathering are posted in the Omega Letter member’s forum, together with Nicole’s contact information. And thank you, Nicole, for all your hard work.

From there, we are going to head to East Texas and kick off our road tour from there. We’ll be posting an information page at the Omega Letter website with more details, a phone number, a comment section etc., this week. I look forward to meeting as many of you over the coming months as the Lord permits .

If He tarries that long, that is.

-Jack