Kingdom Perspective on Mosque Building

I’ve been meaning to write something as a followup to my post about the Ground Zero Mosque for a few weeks now. It obviously struck a nerve with many, and provoked much personal reflection for myself, not the least of which was examining the situation from various perspectives.

As I stated in the previous post, I have my own political views, to be sure. But as a Christian, I must have more than simply political or even historical perspectives on current events. To do so would be to confine my analysis to a very near-sighted and eventually flawed means of examination, one based on human understanding. Instead, I am called to have the mind of Christ on such things, and in doing so, invite a Kingdom perspective.

Since there are few such writings out there on this subject at present (at least to my knowledge), I’m attempting to shed some light on what I believe a true Kingdom mind-set is on the issue of the Ground Zero Mosque–and I don’t expect it to be popular. But I hope it’s received somewhere.

With the political midterm elections nearing in November, I’ve heard a lot of talk among Conservatives about our “fore-fathers” and returning to “their values.” I’ve heard words like “independence,” “freedom,” and “small government versus big government.” At heart, I raise my fist in sympathy with these tenants, priding myself on being a true Conservative. But something still wasn’t sitting well in my gut, especially when it came to distancing ourselves from this mosque issue. Reject the mosque. Push it away. Don’t allow it. Distance.

Since my travels as of late have taken me across the Atlantic, I often find myself trying to explain the core values of what makes us American–of our pursuit of freedom, and our desire to preserve independence–to people who have mostly known Socialism in one form or another.

After my last post, however, the Lord began asking me some very subtle, yet very pointed questions, mainly about the evolution of these great United States. About where we came from. I started searching my memories of the World Wars. Honor. Freedom. But the Lord asked me to go back further. The Civil War and the end of slavery. Further. The Revolutionary War. Further. The Constitution. Further. What’s further than the Constitution?

The Pilgrims.

But what’s so relevant about the Pilgrims?–one of which I’m a direct descendant of (William Bradford):

Motive.

Even a cursory reading of any historical text will reveal a similar thread across the board: fleeing from religious persecution to a new world in the pursuit of freedom. And that’s so evil because…?

And then it hit me. It’s not the pursuit of freedom that’s evil; it’s the abdication of responsibility that is.

I wonder what Pastor in the 1600′s was pleading with his congregants to remain in Holland. I wonder what husband or house wife thought, “No, we need to stay here and affect culture, even in the face of opposition.”

The reality is that at our core, we pushed away one system in the hopes of creating a better one. The “better one” is not the problem: it’s that we left a “broken one.” And that value is not Kingdom.

Why not? Because Jesus–if He is the epitome of example–portrayed a very different lifestyle. In heaven, He knew utter freedom: true, unbiased, uncontrolled liberty of religious expression. And then He willfully left it all to venture into the most hostile environment in the universe: earth–the physical manifestation of all spiritual battles. And he did so with one goal: to effect its culture at any cost.

Born and bread into the DNA of Americans is a core value that’s traceable to the Pilgrims themselves: fight for freedom. True. But it’s an incomplete truth. It’s only Kingdom-true when we include, “and take it to the ends of the earth.” Including to extreme violent sects of otherwise tolerant religions. (In all my travels to date, I have yet to meet a single Muslim hostile to my faith in Jesus. Are they out there? I’m sure, just like there are Christians who burn Qur’ans).

Why are we pushing a mosque away? Why are we pushing Muslims away, even those with the intent of killing us? Politically, I get it. But Kingdom wise, I don’t. And my Kingdom mind-set must supersede my political one, or else I am in danger of not heeding Jesus’ own warning against a political spirit in Mark 8. Because the reality is, right now, there are Christians winning Muslims–even violent ones–to Christ.

This couldn’t be more clearly seen than in the life Leif Hetfield. Since beginning his ministry in 1994, Global Missions Awareness has seen over 750,000 decisions for Christ around the world, mainly in Muslim nations like Pakistan. Yep, Pakistan. Leif has even been invited to preach this “healing Gospel” in the largest mosque in Pakistan under the gaze of the highest Imam; even to orphan boys taken in to terrorist training cells on account that if they “die with a physical condition, they enter the Kingdom of heaven maimed.”

His recent statement to America during a conference in Sydney regarding the Ground Zero Mosque really puts things into a Kingdom perspective: “Since you won’t go to them, God is bringing them to you.”

And suddenly scriptures like Isaiah 55:5 make a little more sense: “Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Who ever said they would be peace loving? That’s a very Western bias.

The reality is, God is bringing the nations to us, jealous–or even hateful–of our splendor, and we’re trying to do everything in our power to keep them away. While most of us would attack them for being unBiblical in their hate of the Western world, I would argue that we are being unBiblical in rejecting the very humans Jesus commissioned us to go after.

Probably one of the most prolific speakers, authors, and teachers on this subject would be Carl Madearis, and his book, “Muslims, Christians, and Jesus.” Carl and his team are seeing Muslims–even those in high political and spiritual influence–come to Jesus through signs and wonders.

Forget mosques; what about next door neighbors? A terrorist cell is birthed in the apartment right beside yours. And your Kingdom response is what? Perhaps if we were equally as willing to lay our lives down in love as they are to lay theirs down in the name of domination, we might see revival in the East.

The reality is that if we are simply politically minded, we will miss the opportunity to love unbelievers into the Kingdom in unprecedented numbers. And we will make the same mistakes that our forefathers made: abdicating our responsibility to effect a hostile culture in the name of discovering a free culture. My only freedom is in Jesus, and no country on earth can give me what He has. ch:

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  • Kirk

    I applaud this Christopher……..may we Agape those around us. The only picture of the Cross is a man brutally beaten looking down on his Accusers saying……”Father forgive them for they know what they do”. Of course…..they knew! In the flesh……but not in the Spirit – hence our example. Well written and said!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks Pastor Kirk. Just been examining my own heart and my own motives, and getting beat up with the Cross over and over. Thanks for your own life’s example; sure makes it easier to follow when you can see it lived out in front of you.

  • http://kostadare.wordpress.com Costa

    Wow Christopher! Thanks for portraying Jesus’ heart of love toward those that may seem unlovable to us! Awesome

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thank Costa. I’m learning.

  • Michael Hensley

    Well written ch. I would argue that Isaiah 55:5 isn’t for our Western culture, but I think you were just making a point. However 55:7 certainly is a universal truth, and fitting for this discussion.
    “7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

    I believe you and I are like-minded on the “ground-zero” mosque. So many Americans think religious tolerance should only be afforded to themselves and yet not to any other they may disagree with. While political agendas continue to erode our Christian freedoms, it certainly seems hypocritical (in my mind) to infer the same injustice on someone else simply because of their different belief.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Michael: Always love when you chime in; thanks! Good stuff.

      I actually think that the passages in Isaiah, when placed in a New Testament context (which they have to be if they are to remain pertinent), speak of not only their obvious connection to Zion, but by direct association (Zech 4, Jer 11, Rom 11), they speak of the role of both Jew and Gentile being “glorious” (John 17 – as Jesus gave them His glory for attraction of the unsaved). Isaiah 60 – Christ now speaking to both Israel and the Church in the last days – therefore directly pertains to us as Christians, whether West or East.

      Certainly some might see this as semantics, I see it as core doctrine.

  • http://www.hilaryanne.wordpress.com Hilary

    this post makes my heart happy. and i think Jesus likes it too. thank you for taking the time to search your heart and to share your thoughts so openly.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks so much, Hilary. Means a lot. Really.

  • http://galacticoverlordinchief.blogspot.com Jason

    Christopher, I think your piece is very well written, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I hope you don’t mind if I post some thoughts to the contrary.

    I don’t accept the premise that we’re rejecting Muslims if we don’t accept this mosque. Most conservatives, myself included, are not opposed to Muslims building mosques in general or practicing their faith. I oppose this particular mosque because of where it will be built. The site is practically in the shadow of the destroyed World Trade Center. If you look at the history of warfare between Muslim armies and the West, Muslims frequently construct mosques on the sites of their conquest. The conquests of Jerusalem, Cordoba, Spain, and Constantinople were all followed by the construction of the Dome of the Rock, the Grand Cordoba Mosque, and the conversion of the Hagia Sophia church into a mosque. These are not just houses of worship, but symbols of triumph. This 9/11 mosque will be used the same way, even if this imam who wants to build it doesn’t have that intention.

    For that reason, it won’t be spiritually helpful to Muslims at all to allow it to go through. It will be used as a propaganda tool in the Muslim world as a sign that Islam is on the march and has gained a foothold in the land of the infidels. It will harden countless Muslims in their faith, as they will see their religion as ascendant and will have no reason to consider Christianity. It will be used as a sign of validation. Respectfully, I don’t see it as a Kingdom-mindset to allow the mosque to go through if it serves to encourage people not to seek Christ. What good will having the Muslims come to us, as you say, if they encounter a de-facto validation of the expansion of their faith?

    Again, I don’t accept that we’re pushing out Muslims. They’re free to immigrate here, free to build mosques, to associate in American society, to pray towards Qiblah, to work, to go to school, and enjoy the fruits of American freedom. At the same time, I recognize that we are in the middle of a war against a violent sect of this religion, and we must be careful not to capitulate in areas that are not only politically perilous, but spiritually as well.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Jason: You are always welcome to bring up contrary points. Thanks for chiming in.

      I think a de-facto validation of their faith is when they meet a Christianity that is more concerned with the placement of their religious institutions–regardless of motive–than with the condition of their souls.

      Christianity that places more power in principle, ethics, morality, and law to accomplish its mission of reaching a perishing world than it does the manifest presence of God in the life of Believers is not true Christ-following. I’m not counting on serving the Muslim conscience through my approval of their mosques, I’m counting on serving their souls by as frequent and close encounters as I can possibly manage.

      Thanks for your comments.

  • http://kmstone.wordpress.com Kelly Stone

    I LOVE THIS!!!!! It is truly a great write and presents the heart of the Father so well. I will admit when I saw the subject matter I grimaced because there has been so much hate spewing from all sides on this issue. Thanks for injecting Kingdom perspective into this fiery issue, you definitely did it justice.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks Kelly. I agree that this one issue has caused great division, and it so saddens me, as it assumes we have lost focus on the real issue: souls. May we return to Daddy’s broken heart for humanity.

  • Erin

    CHopper – Thank you. This is an awesome post! FYI – the Middle East window has been opened wide. Ravi Zacharias and Benny Hinn have or will be preaching The gospel in the Middle East with full support of many of those in leadership. God is amazing and His Word will be shared in the uttermost parts of the Earth.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      That is so exciting! Thanks for sharing this news! Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! I wonder how many of us have seriously given thought and prayer about “our next missions trip to the Middle East.” Perhaps that should become a priority for Americans.

  • Ted Hamilton

    An interesting related point is that of “immediate positional obedience”. God being a God of War and of Peace, an interesting question is, “What if Muslims an idol-worshipping group that the OT God would have commanded to be obliterated, to every last living creature?”
    I fear that would be more in line with “Crusade” thinking than modern-day relational evangelism. But the question that must remain poignant to us is this — has our emphasis on God’s love and grace softened our perspective on our Warrior King? He certainly values “life” (meaning our limited human days) differently than we do — perhaps with death as more a threshold/transition than an “end” as we behaviourally treat it. When is war justified, at what cost shall we preserve “peace?”
    I’m not advocating violence toward Muslims, nor am I advocating capitulation, or even tolerance aimed toward opportunity to evangelize.
    The correct Kingdom perspective is “what does God want ME to do RIGHT NOW?” and then going and actually doing it. Then, and only then, will we be putting hands and feet to Love. And it may be that some are loving and serving, even as some are fighting… And both will be right. My $0.02, anyhow.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Ted: this is an absolutely critical point, and thanks for bringing it up.

      I think your most valid statement (and the big take-away here) is “What does God want me to do right now?” That’s a true reflection of how Jesus lived out his daily life with His Father. Well put!

      As to your thoughts on God’s Old testament behavior–which is certainly an apparent conundrum at first glance–I’m actually quite convinced that scripture proves He gave the Children of Israel the opportunity to be both “kings and priests” before the nations. Meaning, brokers of peace. They (ironically with regard to this modern day issue) abdicated their responsibility, and subsequently war ensued–wars that God Himself stood behind because He had given them the ability to chose.

      Then the New Testament comes in and Jesus makes an incredibly bold statement to Peter and James when they are returning from Samaria and want to call down the wrath (fire) of God on the town that rejected Jesus’ ministry, “just like Elijah did.” (Luke 9:55) And Jesus’ response (“ye know not what spirit ye are of”) basically is saying “if you want that sort of result, you’re going to have to operate in another spirit, because my Holy Spirit doesn’t do that anymore.”

      My point being, while I fully believe in my Warrior King (and cheer with him!), I simply cannot find scriptural reference for Him seeing mankind as the enemy (especially since it is WE, His people, He entrusted with peace brokering): it always was and always will be Satan. And Jesus will be more long suffering than I can possibly imagine to give every human the chance to receive grace.

      I am far from a pacifist (although in my later days, I might be seen more and more like one), I’m just a firm believer that if Christian were doing what you wrote (“What do you want me to do right now, Abba?”)–in other words, OUR JOB–that war would not be present.

  • reenie

    I think this is an awesome perspective on where we are now, in reguards to the mosque and muslim issues. I do think that our Fore- fathers the pilgrims were led here to America, I think they were directed by God to come and protected by His Holy Spirit as well. To say they were running away is a judgement call, Yes, they were seeking freedom, but I must believe these same men would have stayed had the Lord told them to (This is a heart issue and the only one who really knows is the Lord himself) . When I read my history books I see God’s hands involved in this country from it’s conception. I believe you are correct in your post about abdicating authority. We need to stand in all authority that is given to us in Heaven and Earth through the Spirit of Jesus Christ and use that authority to love God and His people (when I say His people I am not talking about Just Christians – He made us ALL!!!) ….In loving, like Christ….unto death. We are accountable for what we do, what we say and what we think….. May we be Kingdom minded in all our ways – political, Religous, familial, Business, Arts, Education and Media~ there are those 7 mountains again. :) Great post btw. Love you !!!!!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I was WAITING for someone to bring up the Pilgrim thing! Thanks Reenie!

      I totally agree with you in that I believe God used those men and women to settle what has become one of the most blessed nations the earth has ever known. Blemishes and all. And, surely, who ca know the exact context or decisions that were discussed? I will always honor them for their boldness.

      I am simply questioning when does that drive to seek out new “free lands” in the name of persecution stop, and we start to dig in amongst the face of opposition? At least that’s what I found needed to change in me as a patriot of America.

  • Heidi Harris

    CH- WoW! ….. You not only cause us to think with your writings, but you CHALLANGE us with your perspective! Always! That is the hard part, living it out or changing mindset! Thanks!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      And thank YOU for being willing to be challenged!

      As my senior pastor says, some people view change in doctrine and values as weakness; “I see it as me saying ‘I want to grow!’”

      I don’t want to be the same person I was 10 years ago, nor believe the same things I did 10 years ago. I want to grow.

  • BRIAN CORCORAN

    Bro Chris, If I didn’t know you personally, I would think your post was written by an aged individual with 30 years of schooling who has written 100′s of books. I boweth to thee…..Great Post!

    My two cents follows -

    Two times I read where Jesus dealt with the Government, He stood before Pilate and Herod, both found no fault in him.

    Jesus was “Totally” Kingdom Minded, He never condemned the world, therefore the world found no fault in him.

    Revelation 12:10-13 – Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, AND THEY DID NOT LOVE THEIR LIVES TO THE DEATH.

    What are Christians of America going to do when the anti-christ says we can’t buy or sell? What are Christians of America going to do when we hear our friends have been put to death because they stood for Christ?

    Will the Agape Love of God reign in us? To allow the Agape Love of God to reign in our mortal bodies means “NOT TO LOVE OUR LIVES TO THE DEATH”. That’s how we overcome. Would Jesus be bothered by the building of a Mosque? He died for all mankind. Jesus is not an American, He is not a Jew, He is God and His Kingdom is not of this world. His Kingdom is Agape Love, a Love that is unconditional. A Love that can only be represented by a Christian walking in the Spirit.

    The biggest question on my mind is will I endure to the end to be saved, to be a representative of Jesus Christ, to allow God to live through me, to Love with a Love that reaches out to my enemy knowing he hates me? That is God, that is Kingdom, anything less than that is missing the mark.

    Anything less than God living out His will through our vessel leads to the Love of many growing cold. Jesus said Christians will betray one another in the last days. The debate over the Mosque concerns me the prophecy of the Love of many growing cold is being fulfilled in our hearing….

    We are in this World, not of this World if we are walking in the Kingdom, the Kingdom is Agape Love, Unconditional Love.

    1 Corinthians 13

    - Love is patient
    - Love is kind
    - It does not envy
    - It does not boast
    - It is not proud
    - It is not rude
    - It is not self-seeking
    - It is not easily angered
    - It keeps no record of wrongs
    - Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
    - It always protects
    - Always trusts
    - Always hopes
    - Always perseveres

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Wow, Brian. I’m beyond honored by your words. Means a lot coming from you, and knowing who you are and what you’ve walked through personally. My readers would do well to note your response above, especially if the knew who you were and who you are in God today. You’re a great man.

      Thanks for sharing the scriptural basis for our Kingdom perspective. Love.

  • Patrick

    “Christianity that places more power in principle, ethics, morality, and law to accomplish its mission of reaching a perishing world than it does the manifest presence of God in the life of Believers is not true Christ-following.”
    I’m pretty sure that Christian principles, ethics, law, and morality both come from Christ and that as true Christians we should always apply them in situations like these, so how is forsaking those principles simply for an attempt at making peace and demonstrating forgiveness the right thing to do? I don’t mean to be disrespectful but it just seems that you and a lot of other people are trying avoid a conflict that needs to be addressed with right and wrong, not with fuzzy rhetoric and feeble attempts at appeasement. If a Christian Church was built near the site of a huge massacre of Muslims at the hands of radical Christians (gee, I wonder why you don’t hear that term in the news very often), would that be appropriate? Of course not, not in least. Just as that would be wrong for Christians to do, so it is wrong for Muslims to do.

    “(In all my travels to date, I have yet to meet a single Muslim hostile to my faith in Jesus. Are they out there? I’m sure, just like there are Christians who burn Qur’ans)”
    Let’s be fair here. Who as it who hijacked the planes and had them flown into the World Trade Center and other attempted acts of terrorism? Was it a group of white Christian men from Alabama who were fired up by their radical preacher? Who was it that attempted to suicide bomb a plane during Christmas last year? Was it a rogue nun from a convent that constantly spewed hate to its members about unbelievers? What about all of the killings in the Middle East? Who did that? Man, is this really a tough one? You know, I don’t mean to make too many assumptions here, but I think it’s safe to say that those people were Muslims. Yes, it’s unfortunate, and yes, not ALL Muslims are like that. Yes, Christians who of course aren’t really Christians can be pretty darn nasty too. But I’m happy to say you don’t often hear such things as suicide bombing, airplane hijacking, and other things of that level that involve Christians. Christians are made fun of all the time, in the news, the media, and by sometimes by other religions even. Have Christian leaders responded to all of that mockery with legitimate threats of violence and retribution? I don’t think so, at least not in the world I live in.
    In an ideal world, kind and thought-provoking words from the heart could change the minds of the most evil human being. But unfortunately, this doesn’t always work. With your mindset, self-defense is unnecessary, because in the long run one will win over in the end by meeting Christ in heaven. We can’t all be martyrs, Mr. Hopper. How would we spread the faith if their is no one left who possesses it?
    I totally agree that Muslims should be given the same rights as Christians and every other religion, just as long as they are following the law, which is the rule for everyone. But I think that constructing a Mosque right by the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is highly insulting to the countless families, friends, associates, and everyone else who was affected by them. It is extremely insensitive. It’s easy for us to sit here at our computers and speak of love and equality while others have suffered tremendously. Is it really that hard for the Muslims involved in building this Mosque to choose a more appropriate site as opposed to creating this huge upset and pain for people? This isn’t political. This is something very very personal and should be treated at the very least with some amount of decorum. Or maybe modern day society has so desensitized us that things like mass killings aren’t really a big deal anymore because they have become so common. Again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, nor am I completely dismissing your philosphy–I think it’s very interesting, certainly useful,and worth discussing–I just don’t think it’s very prudent in dealing with this issue. God Bless :)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Get your eyes up, Patrick. Praying for you.

    • Michael Hensley

      Patrick writes;
      “Or maybe modern day society has so desensitized us that things like mass killings aren’t really a big deal anymore because they have become so common.”

      Like the fact that more babies are murdered each day in this country than how many people died on 9/11?

      Do you know where the abortion clinics in your neighborhood are?? Are they allowed to be there??

  • Bill Deer

    Christopher, Thanks so much for the boldness and willingness to post the explanation of your position of which I agree. Yes We were wronged. Yes, We hurt. And in turn We want…what? We need to do some soul searching and while we are ask the Lord what does he think?

    After getting over my own feelings of hurt and how could they, I realized I needed to see it in the perspective of what should we expect? Has anything really changed in the past 2000 years? God has truly blessed the beginnings of the United States for the positions of what our fore fathers stood on and were willing to die for and, in comparison to what positions we take to be politically correct, does God agree with us or do I agree with him and what can we the nation expect from God with the restraints we place on him, God is faithful to those who honor and exalt him,s so let us return to our roots and stop blame shifting.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Thanks for chiming in, Bill. Asking God what He thinks is the absolute right course. (Does anything else matter?).

      Seriously, everyone’s got me thinking now. When was the last time I planned a missions trip to the Middle East? All this fuss over one mosque in NYC, and yet how many of us have taken a year of our lives to sow into Muslims around the world?

    • joel

      why would you have to go all the way to the Middle East?
      They are here. They are our neighbors. What if we just loved our neighbors?

  • MiMi

    With all due respect, anyone familiar with history recognizes that, as previous posters have pointed out, the erection of a mosque on ground zero will be a sign of victory and dominion over Christianity in the Muslim world. As a parallel, we might consider the significance of the mosque which currently sits on the Temple Mount. If we think about the history of that site, along with what the Bible teaches us is yet to come, we realize that things like this – though symbolic – have huge meaning. While I understand and appreciate the spirit behind your sentiments, the “love and tolerance at all costs” gospel is not what Jesus preached. We’ve already abdicated certain rights and responsibilities (moral principles) in the name of love and tolerance – and it’s cost this nation untold thousands of unborn lives, as well as an entire generation who now considers all truths equal. Spread the Gospel in the Muslim world? I’m all for it! Allow a symbolic triumph of Islam over Christianity – understanding the powers and principalities behind it? Heaven forbid!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      MiMi: Again, I think my point is being missed here, though I appreciate how succinctly you made your own point so I can respond in kind.

      Physical land obviously matters to God, with Israel being the most obvious example (which you brought up). However, human lives have infinitely greater importance, bar none. The overwhelming sentiment form the Christian right, I find, is placing historical and national significance above the Great Commission.

      It’s not that the Temple Mound situation doesn’t bother me; that we have failed as Christians to walk into the Arab world and have a Christ-like affect on it does.

    • MiMi

      Dear Christopher: Your point is not missed. In fact, it illustrates the tremendous heart you have for the lost. I praise God and applaud you for this! I believe, however, that the main (or strongest) point of the opposing argument is that religious accommodation, historically, has never produced the fruit that we desire. If anything, it has done quite the opposite.

    • joel

      MiMi,
      I would like to respectfully point out a few things here.

      The Dome of the Rock wich rests on the Temple Mount is not a momunment dedicating the conquering of Jerusalem. It is a shrine to the 3rd holiest site in Islam. It marks the paths of Abraham and Muhammed.

      I fear that you are hanging on to “Christianity vs. Islam/World” point of view. The coming of the Kingdom of Heaven does not hinge on the success of the Christian Religion. Jesus did not come to set up a better religion, but to announce the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, and to show us how to be a part of it.
      In response to the mosque, why isn’t the Body of Christ welcoming the alien and the stranger into our community? Our job is to be the Body, not be the superior religion.

  • EmClementine

    Thank you for this post, Christopher. I’ve not wanted to read it, because although the Lord has touched my heart for the Muslim people, I’ve struggled with how to be a patriot…and how to deeply love a group of people who have been associated with such acts of hatred against my country.
    I worry about how hurtful a mosque at this site would be to the families and victims of 9/11, because of this association. I feel a need to protect them, and my heart breaks with them, if I only let it.
    I am reminding myself in this moment that I am a woman of God first, before I am an American.
    If nothing else, this post softened my heart and confused me to no end; I will be taking this matter to the Lord this time, instead of making assumptions based on the part of me that wants to hold on to my victimization.
    So…thanks for confusing me. :D I daresay I needed it.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I love how transparent you are. Thanks for being so willing to let your guard down to see other sides. I admire that about you a great deal.

  • Elyssa Belding Krivicich

    I agree with your sentiment. Christianity is meant for the masses. I hosted a student from China who is starting at the Ohio State University and he said that he wanted to celebrate one of America’s holidays. He seemed to suggest that Christmas was just an American holiday, meant only for us. It made my heart sink because Jesus came that all may have life and life abundantly. Of course that life is from accepting Jesus as a personal savior and starting a personal relationship with him. Let us just be mindful that sometimes we must learn from other cultures and other people and not ask them to accept the Gospel as an “American Gospel” but as the Gospel from the God of the universe..

    I don’t know if that makes any sense but that is what is been on my heart recently.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I think we would all do well to think upon your last notion: He is the “God of the Nations.” Man, that really shakes me up.

  • Michael Hensley

    Many of these posts led me to reply again.

    What if major media had not “opened your eyes” to the pending mosque? What then?

    Would it surprise you to know that there are two other mosques a stones throw from ground zero that have operated for decades? What about the fact that since that “proposed site” was purchased in mid 2009, it has been being used as a house of prayer for Muslims?

    Where is the public outcry for ALL the other mosques built and attended in this country? What have Muslims conquered in those regions?

    I submit that some here are lemmings of whatever agenda major media would like to shove down your throats on any given day.

    I’ve just returned from the West Bank. I spent time with Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Wonderful people all and longing for love. Isn’t that what Jesus commanded us to do? Show his love to others?

    I don’t agree with the tenants of Muslim faith. However, not every one of them want to cut your head off.

    With ignorance comes fear.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I’m not sure how many people have actually frequented Manhattan, but the fact that this proposed mosque is 3 blocks away is not lost on me. THREE BLOCKS. Does anyone know how many stores, institutions, clinics, offices, and apartments exist in a radius of 3 city blocks in NY? That’s bigger than most towns in the US! Talk about believing a lie pitched to us fro the media.

      Would LOVE to hear about your travels to the West Bank.

    • http://joelhayden.wordpress.com joelhayden

      Amen Mike. Amen.

  • Kirk

    One last chime in…….I applaud Brians view here – its dead on. As well, Mike that is so entirely true. And from you just returning from the West Bank – I’d think you’d have some experience we all don’t have. I, for one, just simply want to follow the Scripture in which Jesus turns everything upside down…….Love your enemies, do good to those that spitefully use you…..bless and do not curse. I don’t necessarily like it (Heck, I’m a Scotsman!), but I believe at the very premise of God’s Word is heart and the understanding that only God can have of what works with mankind. Those are not just words – they are really the way to really touch hearts and change human nature. I wonder how many of us can say…….”I LOVE the Muslim, not their religion, but their soul”. The Gospel is not anti American (though it would confront it at times), but its certainly not American either – and I love my country! The Cross? And taking up our Cross? It’s simple……..beaten so others may live. That’s brutal but true.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      For a Scotsman to admit his citizenship is heavenly before it’s Scottish is a big deal. I bow before your humility!

  • Matt S

    Hey Chris! I am glad you shared this. The thought of the mosque issue wasn’t really on my mind so much as much as the response of people to 9/11, but I think for many the reaction to the mosque is a result of unforgiveness of 9/11. I was praying and thinking a lot that day this year, and what people said, which very often was “NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGET!” from both believers and non-believers alike. And all I kept thinking was, “wait a minute, weren’t we called to forgive?” The image of Jesus came on my heart that day, dying on the cross, surrounded by the many terrorists, that being pretty much every human there, and then He said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Immediately after this thought I thought of someone, maybe Jesus or maybe a man with a strong faith in the Lord in the World Trade Center, as he’s falling to the ground, recognizing death, saying “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I realized the magnitude of unforgiveness in my heart as two boys moved into the apartment upstairs from me who were of middle eastern descent and found myself stereotyping in my heart before I even knew anything about them, and found that this issue was preventing the very thing I was called to do in the first place. thanks for sharing Chris!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Matt, I think this is an outstanding point. While we certainly don’t want to forget the lives of the fallen, we also must be careful not to mix it with an emotion of bitterness. If Jesus could ask his Father to forgive those who murdered him, why do we think we’d be off the hook? Thanks again for speaking up.

  • Justina H

    Christopher, it takes courage to let the Lord challenge and shake our human/political/traditional beliefs like this, especially in this day and age where political correctedness has become like godliness. In my own life, God has torn me fro…m my political beliefs and turned me to Kingdom beliefs. It was a very painful process, but it’s amazing to see that God is working the same in other believers. Lord deliver us from our angry justifications!! LOVE LOVE LOVE. God IS love, he’s our dad, so we shouldn’t be anything else but the manifestation of his love. We are not America’s babies, we’re God’s. Thank you for sharing this brother.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Justina: you bless me. You represent a new generation of Kingdom thinkers and I’m behind you 100%.

  • reenie

    Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ……. ;)

  • http://www.crmooney.com mooney

    Wow CH, you know how to pick ‘em, lol. You covered a lot of territory. Note: Often, things can be read in many tones, and when people disagree with us, we tend to read them harshly. Read this in kind, gentle tones, as great thought and love went into it. I think I wrote ten versions, so I hope everything I wanted to say comes through.

    Pilgrims/Puritans:
    I have to kindly disagree that the pilgrims were in error for leaving England. They were under intense persecution for not complying with the Church of England. Jesus said to the disciples in Matthew 10:23a, “When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next.” Also, there were many Puritans who stayed in the face of persecution, and even death. (One outstanding example is William Gurnall.) No one blames the Jews for leaving Germany. Somehow they managed, like the Puritans, to find a place of refuge, maintain their identity, and build a prosperous nation.

    Mosque:
    Did I just read that if I do not want the mosque built there I’m not kingdom minded? Please tell me I missed something. Honestly, I really don’t want them to build a mosque anywhere. It’s a temple to a false god. However, we live in America, and as I said on your last post, “…they have every legal right to build the mosque. They can fundraise from wherever they like, and place in charge any individual they deem suited. They have those rights. As a Christian, I say go ahead and build it. Our battle is not against flesh and blood and He wills that they all be saved.”

    I don’t think it’s against the kingdom to want them to move it. When seventy percent of polled individuals say it should be moved a little further away, and you say no, you are trying to make a statement. Moving it would show great humility and compassion by the Imam. But then you get into, “How far is far enough?” I guess I can’t answer that, so why not three blocks?

    As Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy said, “This is not a humble Islamic statement. A mosque such as this is actually a political structure that casts a shadow over a cemetery, over hallowed ground. 9/11 was the beginning of a kinetic war, it is not an opportunity for cultural exchange. It was the beginning of a conflict with those who want to destroy our way of life,” (dailycaller – dot – com)

    I know there are fanatical, radical, terrorist Muslims who will see this as a victory. I don’t care for their opinions or beliefs. They represent less than one percent of the world’s Islamic population. Regarding people of this persuasion, Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

    However, what I DO care about are the families of the dozens of Muslims that died on 9/11, the other ninety-nine plus percent of the Muslim faith that are also sick about what happened, the various Muslim organizations that gave millions to help rebuild, gave aid to the families, and put on blood drives to help the victims. They have the right and the need to have a memorial.

    Last note, if the Imam really wants this to be an interfaith cultural center, I vote we apply to have the first Christian prayer meeting there.

    • personal opinion

      I completley agree with you Mooney. There are a lot of people out there who think of us who disagree with the placement of this Mosque as being intolerant toward the Muslim faith. In contrary every single person that I have either takled to or have heard that disagreed with the placement of the Mosque has absolutly nothing to do with them not being tolerant of the Muslim faith but the fact that it is insensitive to the families of those who died on that day. As a matter of fact there is already a Mosque just a few block away from the one that is being proposed. So why is there a need to build another Mosque so close the one that is already built, especially when it’s not a residentual location, that whole area is full of buisnesses. If it was a group of RADICAL Hinu’s, Buddhist’s, Jew’s, Christain’s, or any other religion where to have performed this horrible act I would not want that religion to build any sort of center or church or whatever there for the fact of being insensitive to the families of the one’s who where killed on 9/11/2001. I do know that most people from most religions are not violent and not radical, the fact is that it was a group of RADICAL Muslim’s who did this horrible act. As a Christian I do understand and agree that the very BEST WAY to win soles over for Christ is to show them Christ Love. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the placement of this Mosque doesn’t mean that they are intolerant or don’t have the Kingdom mindset, so Chris and everyone else who says that is the case for those of us who don’t want this Mosque place at this one particular location as that should be careful of labeling people that way. Don’t get me wrong I think this blog was well written and has some good points to it. I just don’t like it when someone tells me that I am not Christ minded, Kingdom-minded, anti-Muslim, or intolerant just because I don’t want this Mosque built in this location b/c it is insensitive to ALL of the 9/11 families. Just one more thing not about the Mosque, toward the beginning of the blog Chris said that the Constitution came before the Revolutionary War, actually the Constitution came after the war and it isn’t even the first draft of the Constitution that was written. The first one that was written wasn’t working so out founding Father’s re-wrote the Constitution to the one we have today. Chris, thank you for your insight and your opinion. I do agree with you on some points but obviously not on all. I think you are a gifted writer and are very wise, but again I do have do disagree with you on some aspects.

    • personal opinion

      Sorry one more thing I forgot to mention. Tolerance is great, but where is the line drawn? I’m not saying we should draw the line at not letting a Mosque be built, all I am asking is where do we stand up for our beliefs and say enough is enough? Again don’t get me wrong I am not saying that the time is necessarily now. We are told to be loving and courageous Christains and witness to all, but we are not told to be cowards and sit back and let us be bullied either. If something is obviously wrong we have the OBLIGATION to stand up against it. No I am not saying we should be violent AT ALL, I am just saying there are things we should stand up against and not just tolerate, because that is not going to win souls over for Christ, yes some time it will but not always. With this last little rant or whatever I’m not saying we should or shouldn’t stand up for or against this Mosque on religious tolerance, my opinion has already been stated in my previous rant. One last thought then I will go, we do have to remember that when something goes against what the Bible teaches then we can get angry about it. Jesus turned the tables over in the temple and ran the money changer out with wips b/c what they were doing in God’s house was wrong and evil, he didn’t just sit there and go “Well I’m going to just let them do that b/c toleration will stop them from doing evil and make them turn toward and follow me” so when there is a time to stand up we have the obligation to. Again that last little bit doesn’t have to do with the Mosque, if you want to know my opinion on that read my previous rant. Thanks

    • joel

      Why exactly is a Mosque so offensive in this location?
      It was not Islam that attacked the Twin Towers. We (followers of Jesus) wrestle against the demonic spiritual powers that seek to destroy all of Gods Creation – not religions, terrorist organizations, democrates or republicans, etc. That is what took the towers down – not Islam. Why are we so pre-occupied with finding a guilty party among us (humans) to blame? Is this the justice that the Gospel has prescribed?

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Mooney: thanks, as always, for diving in head first friend. (But what took you 50 comments to do so?).

      Pilgrims: regarding your Matthew quote on persecution, are martyrs unbiblical for hanging around in the countries they ministered in?

      Mosque: I think it’s really interesting that:

      A) This community center / mosque is already 3 NYC blocks away from Ground Zero…that’s about a 4 minute walk; the amount of stores, apartments, offices, and non-profits in a 3 block radius is equal to more than most towns in the US.

      B) My sister who lives there informed me that this particular religious community was already meeting near Ground Zero and lost their building space in the accident; it was the owner of the currently proposed site that graciously offered to house them at no cost (save construction). I wonder if they were a Christian…

      ch:

  • Sean

    As a “non-believer” trying to understand your post, I think I can see where you are coming from. Figured I would throw my two cents in…

    I want this Mosque built to hopefully teach some tolerance. From what I see on the news (which can be and is biased) America is becoming pretty intolerant of Islam. If this Mosque is built, I hope that it will teach some religious fundies some tolerance for Islam.

    As many of you have said, not all Muslims are extremists, just like not all Christians are extremists.

    • http://joelhayden.wordpress.com joelhayden

      Amen Sean. Amen.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Sean, thanks so much for jumping in. Appreciate your candidness, and for being willing to see my point through some of my Christian-speak.

    • Sean

      I wanted to make this comment before but it slipped my mind in my last post. As I’m sure it’s been said many times before, this group of people have every right to build their mosque. I would argue that holding this right up may be more important than wether or not the mosque is being “insensitive”.

      Freedom of speech is huge in America, everyone loves it (almost everyone? haha I don’t know anyone who is opposed to it but I’m sure there is someone out there). The great thing about freedom of speech is that it allows everyone to voice their opinion. The bad thing about freedom of speech is that you are going to hear opinions that you aren’t going to like. But that’s the beauty about it, everyone has a right to it.

  • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

    Thanks for all your comments, people. SOrry for my delay: I was puking my guts out (with the runs) all weekend. Finally recovering.