Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Friday, September 4, 2015
A comic in a recent TV competition made fun of the Bible. After judge Roseanne Barr complimented him for being "real brave," fellow judge Norm MacDonald responded: "I don't think the Bible joke was brave at all. I think if you're going to take on an entire religion, you should maybe know what you're talking about."
Can you imagine comedians making fun of Buddhist sacred writings? Or the Qur'an?
This week Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Adha, one of two official Islamic holidays (along with Eid al-Fitr, celebrated at the end of Ramadan). I have seen no news coverage disparaging the holiday. Nor should there be.
Eid al-Adha is a remarkable observance. It is known as the Feast of Sacrifice, since it traditionally includes the sacrifice of an animal such as a lamb in thanksgiving for Allah's mercy. The day reminds Muslims of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God, and calls them to similar dedication. Men, women, and children wear their best clothing for services at the mosque.
Our culture doesn't denigrate Islam the way critics treat Christianity. But many view Muslims with considerable angst. When Americans think of Islam, most think of the Islamic State and are understandably repulsed. But Islam is not the Islamic State. A recent United Nations report shows that ISIS has murdered far more Muslims than non-Muslims.
As my friend Tom Doyle notes, radical Islam is Satan's strategy to cause Americans to fear Muslims at a time when we most need to love and pray for Muslims. This longtime missionary to the Middle East has documented the astounding spiritual awakening taking place in the Muslim world. He calls on believers to pray harder than ever for awakening to continue, and to find ways we can befriend Muslims the Lord has brought to our own communities.
Eid al-Adha is a great place to start. Muslims who sacrifice lambs to God must repeat the ceremony again next year. They have no concept of salvation by grace through faith. For them, God's mercy must be earned through repetitive acts of religious obedience.
Their holiday is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to share the grace of Christ. We know that Jesus is "the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8, NIV). We know that only his blood can atone for our sins, that only his death can secure our salvation. And we know that his sacrifice ended all sacrifice. Now we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Our Muslims friends deserve to know what we know. Of course, we must have Muslim friends before we can share God's love with them.
Would you join me in praying for millions of Muslims to find Christ this year? Would you ask God to help you share his love with a Muslim friend? If you don't have a Muslim friend, would you ask God to help you make one?
New Zealander Winkie Pratney, after traveling three million miles to share the gospel with millions, concluded: "Every Christian a missionary; every non-Christian a mission-field." Which are you?
Photo courtesy: navalatanjjnn.deviantart.com
Publication date: September 4, 2015
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