It’s not very often that I wax political. I’m wrong about so many OTHER aspects of human life, why expose myself to more ridicule, more personal attacks from my fellow Christian Americans? But something’s been stuck in my craw for a while now and I have to get this off my chest Blog Express.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “The Twelfth Imam” mentioned by TV’s talking heads lately. Well, I have! In October 2005, Iran’s President Mahmoud “Mammy” Ahmadinejad, made reference to this guy – The Twelfth Imam – when he addressed the United Nations. As he was wrapping up his speech, he asked Allah to quickly usher in “the Twelfth Imam.”
As one, the all-knowing pundits and world’s Graet New intellectual elite, mouths agape with wonder, replied, “huh?”
Sometimes referred to as the “Hidden Imam” or “The Mahdi,” Mammy’s prayer caused many of those who consider themselves in-the-know to confess that they were clueless and sent them scrambling to Google.com, just as I did myself. Afterward, Mammy claimed that he was surrounded by some sort of halo of light as he spoke and that the leaders of the world were mesmerized by his speech.
SO, WHO WAS MAMMY TALKING ABOUT?
Many Shia Muslims, like Mammy, believe that this “Mahdi” person – meaning “the guided one,” used in reference specifically to one guided by God – fulfills a type of messianic role in Sunni Islam, though it has been used by Sunnis to refer to various reformers who have arisen periodically in history to revive Islam when it has grown weak. The concept is more popular among the Shi’ites who believe Mahdi to be the last in a line of saints descended from Ali, the founder of the Shia sect. They say he disappeared down a well in Iran, in A.D. 941. Yes, a well. Well…they say he went into a state of “occultation,” like the sun disappearing behind the clouds. One fine day, after a terrible period of apocalyptic wars upon the earth, they believe these clouds will part, and the Mahdi will be appear on the scene. They believe that, when he is released from his imprisonment in the well, the entire world will finally convert to Islam. That is, after all, the goal of Islam in a nutshell; conversion or death. Face it, many see this as the goal of Christianity as well. Let’s not throw stones for, over the centuries, we’ve been plenty guilty of advancing our perceived Christian cause through bloodshed, too. The TRUTH is, the goal of Christianity is NOT to score conversions. According to Jesus Christ, His “goal” – His Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) – was that we make DISCIPLES, teaching them His Doctrine. HUGE difference. But I digress…
We laugh at unfamiliar religious notions like those of Mammy but, friends, guys like him are incredibly motivated to see their religious beliefs fulfilled. Where they’re concerned, Islam is “to die for!” Not only does he believe it, but the tens of thousands of mullahs – teachers of Islam – throughout the Middle East and elsewhere believe it, too, and they’re preaching it and teaching it with great zeal. These people are on a mission from God, fighting a Holy War. They’re training their kids to hate the Jews and the Christians and world domination is their ultimate goal. They are taught to believe that, when they die in this jihad, they become martyrs and ascend to Paradise where 72 beautiful virgins await them. They BELIEVE this as fervently as any Christian believes in the resurrection of Christ. They will NEVER surrender. For every one we kill – especially those we consider collateral damage – two more will rise up in their places. At the start of this war, I said that, even if we did catch Sadaam Insane and Osama Been Hidin’ dining at the same table and served them each a live grenade sandwich, there are millions of like-minded fanatics lined up right behind them, ready to jump in line for the sake of the cause as well as the power and prestige that goes with it.
I’m as patriotic an American as they come, but we can dispel any notions that there will ever come a glorious moment of Al-Qaida surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri.
There will be no Appomattox Courthouse.
No ticker-tape parades as Johnny come marchin’ home once and for all.
Shall we cut our losses and bring our soldiers home? Not on your life! These people will follow them home like the snarling, growling, frothing German Shepherd that followed me home in the 8th grade! They believe they are on a mission from God.
Repeat: they believe they are on a mission from God.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Jeremiah 15:7 declares that “Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD, intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; Therefore the nations are going mad…” Imagine, a wicked, evil place referred to as “a golden cup” in the hand of the Lord. God was using Babylon just as He uses the devil, just as He’s using Islam today. You see, I believe that Islam is a thorn in the side of the Church. God’s trying to stir the Church to recognize that something else is trying to UNITE the world and it’s NOT Christianity. We are too divided by ideologies, doctrines and dogmas and it’s proving to a world that notices our division, our declining numbers, our publicized immorality – a world that’s looking for answers – and they’ve determined that our faith is NOT the answer.
Islam is here to wake us up! The bloodiest wars ever fought have been fought by Christians and Muslims. Today, there are Christian countries destroying other countries believing that we’re going to help them by bringing them democracy, something they don’t even desire. We act like democracy is the Divine Government of God. Democracy is NOT what they need. The people need their King, Jesus. THAT is what we who know that King should be bringing them.
A CNN World News Story article headline, April 14, 1997, read: “Fast-growing Islam winning converts in a Western world.” The body read, in part: “…The second-largest religion in the world after Christianity, Islam is also the fastest-growing religion. In the United States, for example, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,200 mosques have been built in the past 12 years…”
Other notable comments regarding the rise of Islam include the following:
“Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America, a guide and pillar of stability for many of our people…”
– Hillary Clinton, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1996, p.3
Already more than a billion-people strong, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion. – ABCNEWS,
“Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the country.” NEWSDAY, March 7, 1989, p.4
“Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States…” NEW YORK TIMES, Feb 21, 1989, p.1
“Moslems are the world’s fastest-growing group…” – USA TODAY, The Population Reference Bureau, Feb. 17,
“Muhummed is the most successful of all Prophets and religious personalities.” – Encyclopedia Britannica
“There are more Muslims in North America then Jews Now.” – Dan Rather, CBSNEWS
WHAT’S A CHRISTIAN TO DO?
Whatever the Western Church is currently doing to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, frankly, it simply isn’t working. I say scrap the popular hunker-down-in-the-edifice mentality, scrap anything but the teachings of Christ, and adjust our sails to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit. We can learn from the example of our persecuted brethren in the underground Church in developing nations, the ONLY place on the planet where our faith is thriving, incidentally. Is it persecution that will cause the Imperialistic Western Church to seek relationship with God and abandon the powerless form of self-righteous godliness that we currently possess?
Recently, I began pondering a verse from the Book of the Revelation, Chapter 20, verse 4. In the Amplified Bible, it reads: “Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted. Also I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes [beheaded] for their witnessing to Jesus and [for preaching and testifying] for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted his mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands…”
I recall the first time I read this verse, about age 19. I remember thinking, “Beheadings??! Who does THAT anymore? Surely there are some more effective and efficient methods for mass murdering one’s enemies….just look at Auschwitz!”
Now, as I push age 50, I’ve already heard far too many horrifying news reports about beheadings – more than I ever imagined possible – all at the hands of Islamic extremists. Is THIS what the Church has in store for her because we failed to preach Christ all these centuries while we had the chance? As we approach Christmas 2006, even the City of Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus, has a Muslim majority whereas fifty years ago, Bethlehem was overwhelmingly Christian.
One day, something will grind “Christian” America’s billion wheels to a halt. Pride comes before destruction, after all.
WHAT’S A NATION TO DO?
So, what should America and her allies do? For starters, sadly, our armies must remain there or the fight WILL come to our pampered shores.
At the end of Word War 2, General Douglas MacArthur said that we should send a battleship filled with missionaries to Japan. He was right. We failed to heed his advice and Japan remains a virtually Christ-less nation today. Jesus was the answer and we failed. The relative few ministers who are there are aging rapidly with shrinking congregations.
With that in mind, nearly ten years ago, a dear friend of mine, a woman with many Muslim friends who refer to her as “sister,” gifted in ministry to children who once had a Christian television show in Canada, suggested to me that America should focus a major effort on evangelizing the children of the Muslim world. “What child can resist cookies and candy, puppet shows and coloring books,” she insisted. “Kids know when they’re being loved.”
I believed then she was right. When I saw on television a beautiful 5-year old Iraqi boy with big brown eyes, glaring into the camera and, with clenched teeth, spewing hatred and damnation upon Jews and Americans, I KNEW she was right.
Armed with the capability to produce nuclear weapons, Iran will soon possess the ability to carry out her threats against us. With his finger on the button, Mammy will be in position to launch his rockets, driven as much by hatred as his desire to usher in the return of the Mahdi. Of course, this Hidden Imam will remain hidden for he is not coming; he’s a figment of Islamic imaginations. Though he won’t be making his long-awaited appearance, American and Israeli forces WOULD retaliate immediately.
Talk about unleashing Hell.
We can’t leave Iraq. Neither can we defeat this enemy with “horses and chariots” (Ps 20:7). Sorry, but to all those who insist upon talking to these madmen, we can’t reason with Iraq nor with their neighbor, President Mammy of Iran.
But the Church CAN pray and we can evangelize the children like there’s no tomorrow.
At this rate, frankly, there may not be.
HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!
Thanks to my brother in Christ, Ed Dupas of Canada, who writes, after reading my rough draft on this article: “…I thought the name “Mahdi” had a familiar ring, but wasn’t sure until I did a little internet surfing. There was a 1966 movie called “Khartoum”, which starred Charleton Heston (a British General) and Sir Lawrence Oliver (as the Mahdi). Because of the pronunciation of ‘Mahdi’ that I have been hearing recently, I didn’t make the connection. Olivier pronounced it like “Maw-ch-tee” (as though one was collecting a gob of spit in his throat on the first syllable). It was a powerful movie, made so by the sheer screen presence of both Olivier and Heston.”
Thanks, Ed! I followed up on the movie and one critic wrote, “In the light of recent world events, this classic confrontation between Western Imperialism and Eastern Islamic fundamentalism makes “Khartoum” more topical than ever.”
Some of what the critic wrote included: “Heston essays one of his best roles as Charles “Chinese” Gordon, the patriot who thrives on challenge… Gordon becomes a national hero for his exploits in China and his ill-fated defense of Khartoum…Gordon is a Christian with the Bible constantly under his arm… A national hero who abolished slavery in China… An honest man revered by the British, as well as by the foreigners… A martyr-warrior who ever truly loves the Sudan and cannot, under ‘his’ God, leave it to the misery and the sickness of which he once cured it…A solitary non-conformist who craved and despised public adulation, a devout Christian that never allied himself to any church, a reluctant empire builder more often sympathetic to those he had to oppose….
“Lawrence Olivier is superb as the fanatical Arab leader, Muhammed Ahmed Al Mahdi, the Expected-One… His softly glowing black eyes never blink… His measured voice spreads holy terrors: “I have been instructed by the Lord Mohammed, Peace be upon Him, to worship in the Khartoum mosque. Therefore I must take Khartoum by the sword.”
Two thumbs up!
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