Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, December 21, 2007

    Islam's New Challenge

    Muslims now face a significant challenge which has become obvious to all ...
    a struggle that's being publicized worldwide on the "smiling faces" of Islamic women who violate the teachings of Sharia law in wearing western style dress, and a struggle that reveals significant division within the camp as a leader known worldwide such as Ghadaffi has chosen (as it has fit his needs) to flaunt such opposition publicly.

    The challenge, while on one level dealing more with secular and cultural issues such as whether it's okay to wear lipstick, make-up, to dress in western clothing, etc., actually strikes at the root of religion, the standards of righteousness(and how one obtains righeousness), as well as the claims and necessities of following Islamic law.

    The challenge is going to be exacerbated with time as more and more Muslims are exposed not only to the freedoms and free thinking in the west, but also to the sins and abuses of many in the west, for not only will there be those who see a difference in the freedoms and righteousness defined by the gospel, but there will also be those who are drawn by the sinful nature toward new ways of expressing rebellion and licentiousness.

    This we know, that with the rising generations, and especially among teenagers and college students who naturally are inquisitive and seek to find answers for themselves, the legalism found in both the doctrines and practices of Islam will present a challenge to those who in being exposed to the rest of the world see the smiles, meet the people, and see the difference in those who believe that righteousness is not dependent upon a specific form of dress. This battle was seen recently in the case of the father who killed his teenage daughter who wanted to dress in western style and now rises to a new level through the press associated with Ghadaffi's bodyguards.

    We can expect that while the number of Muslims has been what it has, in coming years there will be many who due to lack of exposure and heavy cultural influence of the past have been counted among the Muslim community though they may not have truly been Muslim at heart, who especially with differences found between the teaching of Muslims in the West with that of more traditional Muslims, will begin with Modernity to separate themselves from the more tradional teaching of Islam and Sharia Law, if not from Islam itself. Such is the path of modernity.

    The good news is this will result in more splintering and disunity within the Muslim communities and any efforts to stop it will only escalate the differences. This is a plus not only for the world, but for Christianity as well, as we can point not only to the contradictions within the Muslim community but also raise the question of the binding nature of Islamic teaching and law, and more importantly point Muslims to the righteousness that comes from above (Romans 3), that is not dependent upon a scarf one wears, but upon the sacrifice God accepts and the gift (of righteousness) he provides.

    Don't be fooled though. Such division will not stop Muslim fundamentalists, but only fuel them more... for when one bases their righteousness on what they do, they must defend that righteousness at all costs.

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