The Anti-Logic of Being Anti-Islam
Vol: 59 Issue: 31 Thursday, August 31, 2006
It takes a lot of courage to do the right thing sometimes, especially when doing the right thing can be so risky.
This past week, “Zola Levitt Presents” faced such a confrontation over programming that the TBN network executives deemed to be too ‘anti-Islamic’. Before going on, let’s take apart the phrase ‘anti-Islamic’ and see what it means.
The word ‘anti’ has a number of meanings in the English language: It can mean ‘against’ something, as in ‘anti-American;’ or it can mean ‘in place of’ or ‘counterfeit’ as when applied to the son of perdition – the antichrist.
It has other, specialized meanings, such as ‘attack’ as when used to describe an ‘anti-viral’ drug — a drug which attacks a virus.
It can also be used to describe a movement, such as the historical term ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ — the term applied to the papists of Henry VIII’s day who opposed the disestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church as the state church of England.
(I’ve been a writer a long time. Today’s column provides me with my first opportunity ever to use the longest legitimate word in the English language in a context. I couldn’t resist.)
So, being ‘anti-Islamic’ means to be in opposition to Islam. Or it means to preach Christianity IN PLACE OF ISLAM.
So, for “Zola Levitt Presents” to stand up to TBN’s censorship efforts and tell them to take a hike, as Hal did in January, means that Zola’s ministry now faces the same challenges that we did.
Even more. Hal is still alive and well and able to rebuild with new programming. Zola went home to the Lord, leaving his ministry organization to carry on without his active participation.
“Our television ministry could be facing its own Armageddon of sorts,” wrote Mark Levitt. “TBN committed to continuing our broadcasts only so long as we could furnish new programs that featured Zola. A high-level TBN executive suggested that Jeff’s TV series on Isaiah would be satisfactory thereafter in terms of being neither too pro-Israel nor unduly anti-Arab. TBN, you see, is modifying its programming to be suitable for broadcast in Arab nations. Despite our best efforts to appease their programming directors, our last program on TBN will air on Monday, Aug. 28.”
Nonetheless, when confronted with the choice between submission to politically correct censoring or staying faithful to the truth, Zola’s widow, Sandra, son Mark and the rest of Zola’s organization did not back down. And now TBN has another open time slot and Zola’s organization is out the door.
Please pray with me that God will heap abundant blessings on Sandra, Mark and on Zola’s ministry team for maintaining the courage of their convictions and risking it all in order to stand up for His Word.
Now, to return to the charge of being ‘anti-Islamic.’ As we’ve seen, to be ‘anti’ means to ‘oppose’ something.
In the context in which TBN uses the phrase, putting the perfectly legitimate words ‘anti’ and ‘Islam’ together form a nonsense word.
As a Christian, I am pro-Christ. By definition, that puts me in opposition to any religious worldview that is NOT pro-Christ. But I’ve never been accused of being ‘anti-Hindu’ or ‘anti-animist’ or ‘anti-Judaism’ or ‘anti-Jainsim’ or whatever other non-Christian faith might be out there.
And since I haven’t, allow me to be my own first accuser. I am anti-whatever faith that leads away from Jesus, including those listed above and any others I can’t think of off-hand. The day that becomes a false accusation, I have perverted my calling and pray to be recalled to the Factory before I can do any damage to the Cause of Christ.
Things that are different are NOT the same. One cannot be pro-Christ without being ‘anti’ non-Christian, unless, somehow, things that are different can become the same thing.
If salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, then anyone who preaches that central truth is (by any honest interpretation of the word ‘anti’) AUTOMATICALLY anti any other religious system. Being a Christian REQUIRES one to be anti-Islamic. And anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist, anti-whatever.
TBN is supposed to be a Christian broadcasting network that claims its reason for existing is to spread the Gospel, which, if their efforts are successful, creates anti-other religious worldviews every single time a viewer surrenders to Jesus.
If TBN is pro-Islam, then it cannot be pro-Christ. If TBN censors a program for being too anti-Islam, then what is it demanding instead? Less pro-Christ?
Jesus Christ is not, and never was, an example of religous tolerance. Jesus did NOT tolerate the religous perversions of His day, instead calling its purveyors ‘vipers’ and ‘hypocrites’ likening them to ‘whited sepulchres’ (tombs) filled with dead men’s bones.
According to Jesus Christ Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:16)
So, somebody help me out here. If the door to salvation is through Jesus Christ and no other, can one be pro-Islam and still be preaching the Christian message?
The phrase ‘anti-Islam’ as it is used by TBN evidently means telling the truth about Islamic teachings. I’ve never heard either Hal Lindsey OR Zola Levitt say anything negative about the teachings of Islam. The negativity comes from the teachings themselves.
If one quotes the Koran and the listener finds something negative in it, who is at fault? The Koran? Or the person reading the words printed in it? It is a classic case of shooting the messenger. The message is the same no matter who brings it.
Does Islam teach that the only way to salvation is Christ? It does not. That is a matter of fact. To teach otherwise would be anti-Islamic, since it would not accurately reflect Islam.
To teach that Islam is a legitimate alternative to Christianity would be anti-Christian, since it would water down the truth of the Gospel — indeed, it would totally pervert the Gospel.
Islam teaches that Jesus Christ did NOT die on the Cross. Instead, it teaches that somebody else died in His place and that He went on to live and die like everybody else. That not only means that there is no atonement for sins, but that He was a fraud. And the faith He founded is based on a lie.
Faced with such a monstrous blasphemy, how can any Christian NOT be ‘anti-Islam’? How could a supposedly ‘Christian’ network censor that truth? TBN argues that telling the truth alienates Muslims from being receptive to the Gospel.
I am still trying to figure that one out. If Islam is as legitimate as Christianity, then why would any Muslim want to convert in the first place? If they are the same, then what is the point? It turns logic on its head.
I didn’t want to discuss this at all, because I don’t want to marginalize the truth by opening myself up to charges that I am just exercising bitterness against TBN for forcing us to pack up, pull out and start over.
But Zola Levitt’s ministry is at a particularly vulnerable place without Zola, and it is my duty as a Christian to stand with them. I cannot do otherwise.
I also didn’t want to write this column because I don’t like to slam other ministries or to be responsible for causing division within the Body of Christ. If TBN is responsible for leading people to Christ, then it becomes my duty to help them where I can and to pray for their continued success.
I am not God, so I cannot judge their effectiveness. If, in all their years of broadcasting, they brought just one soul to Jesus, the Bible says that one soul is worth the whole world.
But I can judge what is true. God gave me His Word to use as the standard against which to measure the truth. And logic dictates that one cannot stand for the truth by concealing a lie.
If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then Islam can only lead to hell. Concealing that truth doesn’t lead to Christ. It leads exactly in the opposite direction.
Things that are different are NOT the same. And there are only two sides a Christian can take. One side leads to Christ and eternal salvation. Every other position does not.
Censoring the truth about Islam is NOT different than censoring the truth about Christ. It IS the same thing from a different direction.
A ministry that censors Jesus is no longer preaching Christ and Him crucified. No matter how big it is. No matter how many lawyers it has. No matter how glib their explanations are. There is only one truth. It isn’t about what Islam IS. It is about what Islam is NOT. It is not the truth. It is not the life. It will lead no man to the Father. Either Jesus is a liar, or those who say differently are.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” Hal Lindsey didn’t say it. Jack Kinsella didn’t say it. Zola Levitt didn’t say it. JESUS said it.
Hal and Zola simply spread the message as Jesus delivered it. It isn’t Hal’s or Zola’s (or my) fault that the message is anti-Islamic.
We are just the messengers. I will leave it to you to decide why TBN decided to shoot us all for delivering it as received.
I also leave it to you to decide what message TBN has decided to spread by in its place and why. And who among TBN’s ministry programming might be next. Which begs yet another question. If nobody IS next, then WHY not? (Boy, that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.)
I know that Zola is proud of Sandra, Mark and his team for not compromising the truth in order to keep their market share with TBN.
And so am I.