The early church was, like Christ himself, both for the world and against the world at the same time.
Jesus became incarnate in human flesh because he, along with his Father, “loved the whole world.” And yet that same world had trapped the people he came to save in deception and bondage. In order to set people free, he had to attack the lies that kept people enslaved in spiritual darkness. In order to save the world, he had to oppose it.
And the world in its spiritual darkness didn’t like it very much. In the end, the bitter and vengeful opposition of the world led to his violent, bloody, and brutal death.
In a similar way, today we must be for Muslims but against Islam. We must be against Islam precisely because we are for Muslims. Muslims are the victims of a terrible, dangerous, tragic and eternally destructive lie, and if we care for them and truly love them we must fight that lie with everything in us. We must be implacably and unalterably opposed to the pack of lies that is Islam not because we hate Muslims but because we love them. We want to see them released from the dungeon of their dark and hellish religion and brought out into the sunlit uplands of the kingdom of God in Christ. And so we are pro-Muslim but anti-Islam.
As a Christian nation, it has been, and will be necessary again, to take up arms against the armies of Islam. Islam has been since its inception relentlessly and unalterably opposed to Christianity in all its forms. Its opposition is so blindly opposed to Christians that the god of Islam orders his followers to kill every one of us.
According to Muslims, the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, was dictated word-for-word by Allah himself. In Sura 9:5, the god of Islam utters this unambiguous and impossible to misinterpret command: “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”
This is why the Christian nations of Europe had to go to war against the armies of Muhammad at the turn of the last millennium, why Thomas Jefferson had to send the Marines to the “shores of Tripoli” in the 18th century, and why Barack Obama had to send Seal Team Six after Osama bin Laden in the early days of this century.
Islam from its earliest days has been dedicated to advancing the Islamic kingdom through the use of force and violence. While the kingdom of Christ has always advanced through prayer and persuasion, the kingdom of Allah has always advanced at the point of the sword. In other words, Islam is not a benign and equally valid alternative to Christianity. It is a religion which must be stopped if the world is to know peace, liberty, and freedom.
The means that Christian nations must be prepared to take up the sword in their own defense when necessary. God has delegated to earthly powers the right to defend themselves and the citizens who look to them for protection. Civil government, the Scriptures tell us, “does not bear the sword in vain” (Romans 13:4). The sword is an instrument of lethal force, and may legitimately be used by a Christian nation for the purposes of justice and national defense. Consequently, Christianity is not a pacifist religion.
When America is attacked by Islamic forces, it has a divine right to respond with whatever force is necessary to neutralize the threat and protect and preserve our security and peace. Regrettably, this will mean the death of some who march under the crescent flag and will not lay down their arms.
But at the same time, it is also the most pro-Muslim thing a Christian nation can do. This is for the simple reason that there is no religious freedom in Islam whatsoever. Those trapped in Muslim lands do not have the liberty to follow Christ if they wish. They have no choice in the matter.
According to Pew Research, 70% of the Islamic countries in the Middle East and Africa have made it a crime to convert to Christianity from Islam, with punishments ranging from incarceration to execution. In other words, while exercising religious liberty is a constitutionally guaranteed right in America, it’s a crime in the Muslim world.
Muslims will not be at liberty to freely follow Christ until their Muslim overlords are stripped of their lethal power. There are but three choices that Muslim tyrants give infidel Christians: conversion, submission, or death. That’s it. There is no freedom to follow the path of Christ without fear, either for Christians in Muslim lands or for Muslims in Muslim lands.
I’m not at all suggesting America should go to war against Muslim nations for evangelistic purposes. But when Muslim forces attack us without provocation, we have both the liberty and the obligation to use force to defend ourselves and neutralize the threat. And in so doing, we may give Muslims around the world an opportunity not only for political liberty but spiritual freedom as well.