The challenge of Islam

[This post is my translation of a portion of Robert Dubarry’s commentary on the book of Revelation. I bought this book many years ago from a Montréal bookstore. It is undated, but I believe it was written about sixty years ago. M. Dubarry was a French Baptist pastor; I can find next to nothing about him on the internet, but I did come across one mention of an article on the history of the Baptists in France that he wrote in 1912. The following passage is part of his commentary on Revelation 9:1-12.]

The monstrous union of secular power with fallen Christianity since the time of Constantine had assured the domination of paganism disguised as the gospel. Savage doctrinal battles, the domineering and dissolute spirit of the clergy, absurd notions and idolatrous practices, all these things had transformed the holy and blessed piety brought by Jesus into a scandalous religion. Mohammed, faced with such a spectacle and priding himself on never having wanted to learn to read and write, was incapable of making contact with the revelation of true Christianity. Many who have studied his life are persuaded that if he had first known Jesus Christ by other means than these degenerate representatives, he would not have gone further in seeking an ideal alternative to the lamentable state of his epoch and his milieu.

He was born in 571 at Mecca in the desert of Arabia and experienced the harshness of life, yet was endowed with remarkable intelligence despite a mental imbalance probably due to epilepsy. Having an iron will and aware that there must exist a moral ideal superior to that of his time, yet devoid of scruples, he developed the ambition to reform the thinking of his people, which was at that time half pagan, half Christian.

He offered more than paganism by getting rid of the notion of many gods, he brought more than degenerate Christianity by reviving certain elementary principles of order, wisdom, morality, righteousness and piety, sadly lost from the view of the false disciples of Jesus Christ.

But he gave infinitely less than apostolic Christianity, by denying the Trinity, in ignoring redemption, in putting aside true spirituality and opening new avenues for the carnal nature of man through earthly advantages and by heavenly promises entirely contrary to the spirit of the gospel.

Mohamed has sometimes been considered as being in many ways an extremist of oriental Christianity. However that may be, over an immense territory and for more than a thousand years, Islam has become the most insurmountable obstacle ever encountered by the gospel. The simplicity of its doctrine and practices has gained the allegiance of many hearts. Instinctively moulded to man’s natural tendencies, it requires an insignificant minimum of sacrifice for a maximum of privileges. As a substitute for evangelical Christianity, the Enemy could not have done better. The religion of the least effort, Islam has immobilised the thinking, morality and spiritual aspirations of its followers to such an extent that those that it has gained from paganism are too satisfied by this easy gain to imagine that greater spiritual progress might be possible, or even desirable.

It would be inconceivable that in a prophecy of “things which must soon come to pass” there would be no mention of such a great upheaval, involving not only the province of the seven churches of Asia but the whole Orient and even our own nation. For we must not forget that in the eighth century all the south of France was ruled by the Crescent of Mohamed, as was all of Spain until the eleventh century. The charred stones at Nîmes remind us that after seventeen years of Saracen occupation this improvised fortress was liberated by Charles Martel in 737. Islam remains in our day the most difficult missionary problem of all, and for civilized nations the most troubling foreign problem in the political, social, cultural and moral areas.

5 thoughts on “The challenge of Islam

  1. Yes, today Islam has regained consciousness of itself (some say this happened since 1948, the creation of the state of Israel). It is sending out thousands of missionaries and promises many riches and pleasures to those who follow it. The leaders of Islam try to convince their people that the degenerate Western society is Christian, therefore proving the Christian way wrong. Many nominal Christians in Europe are turning to Islam, because it is an easy religion and because of the community spirit they feel. It is also a way for violent people to feel useful by supporting what they believe to be a just cause.

    However, Islam is facing challenges too. In some areas, such as Kabylie in Algeria, or even in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan, Muslims are converting to Christianity despite heavy persecution. Now that translation of the Quran is allowed in all languages by the king of Saudi Arabia, people are more able to find the flaws in the Quran, the many contradictions and also the places where it says that the Bible is also an inspired book. This is causing many seeking Muslims to question the traditions they have followed for generations without understanding them.

    It is a crucial time in the history of both religions. But there are still many Christian missionaries who fear going to Muslim countries. A quarter of the world is Muslim, who will tell them the real message of the “prophet Isa” (Jesus)?

    • Good points Hugues. Many people in the United States of America claim that it is a Christian nation. To a Muslim, all the world is contaminated with filth that seems to have its primary source in the United States of America – immorality and pornography spread by music, video, books and even the news. The Muslim says “If this is what Christianity is like, I want no part of it.” Can we blame him? We need to do better in presenting the real truth and beauty of the Christian faith. We need to especially make it clear that no nation or government speaks for the true Christian faith.

      There are many testimonies from Muslim countries of people having dreams that lead them to seek to know Jesus Christ. God is still at work in those countries, even if Christian individuals and mission agencies are not able to do much.

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