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Paris – a message from the mess

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, adversary! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16: 13-20

Paris. Killings. Islamic State. Islam. Jersey. Jesus. The September/October 2015 Barnabas Aid magazine reported (numbering added): -

1. Islam was founded by Muhammad in the 7th century AD. When he could not convert the surrounding Jews and Christians to Islam peacefully, his approach became violent, with the use of jihad (holy war) to force people to accept Islam or to submit as second-class citizens. When Muhammad died, his successors continued the same policy and Muslims began to engage in armed conflict to spread Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula.

2. Muslims follow sharia law, which has a number of different schools, all of which discriminate against non-Muslims and women. Christians and Jews are categorised as “People of the Book” and are permitted to live under Islamic rule, but only with the inferior status of dhimmis. This means they must acknowledge that they submit to Muslim rule and follow various humiliating rules.

3. Problems for modern-day Christians in Muslim-majority countries have increased because of Islamisation and the radicalisation of ordinary Muslims.

‘Where violence reigns, reason is weak.’ (Sebastien Chamfort, French writer, 1741-1794)

4. Muslim-majority countries have turned increasingly to Islam as their main source of identity. Their governments have become more Islamic, some because of their own beliefs and others because of the need to compete with Islamic political opposition groups.

5. Countries previously modelled on secularism, such as Pakistan, Turkey, Algeria and Indonesia, are now following a more Islamist model. Some Muslim-majority states have sharia as a source of law, thus opening the door for discrimination against Christians and other non-Muslims.

6. Sharia lays down a death penalty for converts from Islam, which is seen as treason against the Islamic state. This means that the authorities and society in general react very strongly against Christians from a Muslim background and punish them in many ways. The difficulties that Christians face include imprisonment, especially of church leaders and those who are involved in evangelism, restriction on publishing and distributing Christian materials, including Bibles, and discrimination in many forms.

7. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State have emerged in recent years, increasing the problems and risk for Christians within their reach. They aim to re-create an Islamic state as in the early days of Islam.

It follows that - (1) violence and armed conflict is endemic and underlies Islamic religious and political expansion, (2) sharia law, although discriminatory in its application to women and other groupings, is being actively pursued, (3) the violent basis of Islam is attracting radical believers and increasing violent extremism, (4) Islam, despite its inherent divisions which give rise to internal violence, is increasingly a banner for global nationalistic advance, (5) Western secularism with its global ambitions has a global opponent in Islam, (6) when immediate physical death is the penalty for apostasy from Islam that same death becomes appropriate for all non-Muslims, and (7) whilst Western secularism perceives Muslim terrorist groups with abhorrence, Muslim leaders may silently see these groups as advancing Islam.

‘Violence is normal in a fallen world.’ (Os Guinness, author and social critic)

Which are you following? Western secular humanism which retaliates with vengeance? Islam? What awaits you? Look now at the words in bold above. They’re from around AD 30 and written by Matthew, the eye-witness biographer of Jesus.

What did Jesus state that he must do? When Peter strongly objected Jesus called him his “adversary”, his opponent – because Peter had no intention of allowing Jesus to die at the hands of others.

What did Jesus mean when he said that Peter was “not setting his mind on the things of God but on the things of man”?

The Son of God willingly dies – he doesn’t kill. He says to all human beings, to all Jersey folk, “Come to me ... and I will give you rest...”

Richard Syvret

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