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:

What’s the matter with a mosque?

Christopher Hopper - What's the matter with a mosque?

Most of my readers know I don’t often delve into politicking here, as this is not a political blog in nature. However, when faith and policy meet, I feel obligated to chime in. How much more so as a Christian Pastor who lives in NY State when being asked about a proposed mosque in lower Manhattan.

While I think there are noteworthy points of interest raised up by both factions (those that think there’s no problem with building a mosque, and those that think it’s an outrage), I do have some very strong opinions.

First off, in defense of the mosque, I think it’s worth noting two simple points:

1.) There is an existing, operating mosque literally just down the street from the site of the proposed build. If you don’t want one, then you’ll have to close the other; that’s just consistent freedom-loving logic.

2.) If we tell someone they can’t build a mosque today, they could be telling us we can’t build a church tomorrow. So you’ll have to do better than just saying, “I don’t like mosques.” And sadly, while I think sensitivity plays a huge factor here, our culture is way beyond sensitivity and tolerance when it comes to anything Christian.

For the record, I live in America. And we have responsibilities long before we have rights. Or at least that’s what our forefathers believed. That includes the responsibility to build a religious place of worship that holds to the same principles that makes our nation great. So in that regard, I am most definitely not against the presence of a mosque in lower Manhattan (including the existing one just down the street).

But I am against Shari’ah Law and the teaching of it. And any mosque erected to proliferate it.

Quite frankly, I’m baffled why so may Liberals are not screaming against this. After all, unlike Conservatives who merely want to keep homosexual marriage from happening, those among the Muslim community who endorse Shari’ah Law also endorse the stoning of homosexuals; husbands divorcing women for any reason (but not the other way around); amputating limbs as penalty for stealing; stoning for the sin of adultery; and not to mention their caustic views toward infidels. (I’m guessing I fall into that category).

Please note, I have close friends and relatives who have committed their lives to reaching the Muslim world for Christ and are seeing amazing results. In fact, I know of a few ministers, who must remain nameless for the moment, who are leading unprecedented numbers of Muslims to Jesus in Pakistan as you read this. They are souls, period, and very important to God. But I’m not talking about evangelizing Muslims right now: I’m talking about the NY State Government allowing a Shari’ah disseminating mosque to be built in Manhattan.

Hold up. What’d you say?

If you haven’t been introduced to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf yet, perhaps you should read up on him here, here, and possibly here. Sure, it’s kinda’ strange that he’s gathering millions of dollars from outside the US to build the highly controversial Ground Zero Mosque; heck, if I wanted to build a church somewhere in Manhattan, I might ask friends in Europe to help invest in the project. But what Imam Feisal says to news networks in English is definitely not what he says to Arabic news agencies. From his views on Hamas as not actually being a terrorist organization, to his promotion and emphatic endorsement of Shari’ah Law within the United States, he is one of the last people on the planet I would trust with educating the young minds of future Muslim leaders in one of the greatest and most influential cities on the earth.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

I suppose I’m also deeply alarmed that NY State has voted against an even more important rebuild (besides the 911 Memorial; it’s been 9 years folks): St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Unlike this “new” place of worship that’s getting all the press, the one that was there in the shadow of the towers and whose congragation has since been displaced has been conveniently forgotten. And in regard to faith, exactly what faith is actually irrelevant: this place of worship has been a keystone in the community with a proven track record of promoting Constitutional albethem Christian virtues. That’s more than I can say for an institution and a leader that promotes Shari’ah Law.

So it’s not the religion, or even the location that bothers me professionally (even though it definitely bothers me personally), it’s what’s going to be preached. And I would think the same of any Christian church that taught that homosexuals should be stoned. Don’t build it, and give the permission and money to someone who’s actually going to value all human life.

Do you think the mosque should be built? Why? Why not? I’d love to hear from you. ch:

EDITOR’S NOTE 08-20-2010 9:57pm EST: I just heard a quote from one of the “unnamed ministers” I mentioned above who is speaking live in Sydney, Australia right now, and as I see it, making it OK to share his name and the quote. This is one man I will not argue with, and just leveled the playing field with one line. I stand speechless. Regarding mosques being built in the US: “…you are not going to them so God is bringing them to you!” -Leif Hetfield