In my last post, I accused Accad of heresy. That is not an accusation to be made lightly so this second part will be shoring up that accusation. Again, Martin Accad is the director of the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES) at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon and an associate professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in America. A highly placed theologian.
His heresy is an old one. Accad seeks a way for the Christian Church to live in peace with the enemies of Christ. That is heresy because this world is in rebellion against Christ. The price of world peace is the Church abandoning Christ. Here, I present two articles by Accad in which he argues for compromising Christianity’s ‘monochromatic political vision’, as he put it.
4 Toxic Mistakes to Flush Out Regarding Islam
By Martin Accad, 13 October 2016
As our American friends approach Election Day this coming Nov. 8… I would like to point out a few mistakes that we often make in our thinking about Islam and Muslims, perhaps to help some of the voting be less fear-driven and more rational and socially compassionate.
1. We have a tendency to view Islam from a “world religions” perspective.
Many of us have gotten used to thinking about the world’s population in terms of ratios reflecting the major religions of the world. We have developed color-coded maps that contribute to this way of thinking.
But if we approach belief from a more phenomenological perspective (looking at particular religious experiences and expressions), we quickly realize that there are few people in the world (if any) who think alike about God, his interaction with our world, and human destiny in God’s eternal plan.
The reality is that religious ideologies are shaped by the behavior of their adherents, and this behavior is supremely affected by events of history and current affairs.
Ideology, noun: a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. Behavior does not change ideas. A Christian who worships the Moon Goddess is a false Christian, not a Model Year 2018 Christian.
Religious ideologies are, therefore, in a constant state of transformation and change.
Ultimately, there is no such thing as Islam as a monolithic and static system of belief. The same may be said about Christianity.
It is true that Muslims and Christians claim that their religions are based on their sacred Scriptures, but Scriptures (as any text) only take meaning when they are interpreted by their community of faith.
And that interpretation too is dynamic and goes through significant change in history.
Do some Muslims venerate The Prophet Larry instead of the Prophet Mohammed? No, they don’t, and if they did then they shouldn’t be classified as Muslim. Meanwhile, Accad claims to be Protestant yet claims Scripture means only what we today believe it to mean.
God is a person, not a book. Woe betide the man on Judgment Day who tells God to his face, “that’s what you said but it’s not what I chose to believe you said.”
2. We have a tendency to define Islam based on the behavior of the more media-sensationalized groups of Muslims.
If we abandon the “world religions” interpretation of the world, then we will lose the tendency to judge Islam based on the behavior of certain Muslim groups with a particular crave for media attention.
Muslims for whom Islam inspires morality, tolerance and good neighborliness rarely make it into our newsfeeds.
A religion is not defined by its practitioners. (Otherwise, you could debunk any religion by claiming to be a member while not obeying its ideology.) Most people are sheep who do as they’re told. You want to know whether a society is a threat, look at its leaders and its fringes. Those are good indication of future attitudes.
Here’s a fun question you can ask your clergyman. Suppose a church wants to feed & shelter families through a harsh winter. They can afford to help ten families. A gov’t official comes along and offers them enough money to help a thousand families on condition that the church keep silent about God. The innocent will be helped but Christ/Allah/whoever will be left out. What should the Church do?
Tell the gov’t to get lost, of course. We help the poor in order to worship Christ. We do not worship Christ in order to help the poor.
As 21st century Christians, if we were suddenly transported back to the 12th century and came face to face with a fully armed European horseman preparing to journey toward the East under the banner of the cross, we would be loath to regard them as Christian.
We would object that they are not practicing the “true” teaching of Jesus who taught us to love our enemies, or at the very least argue that they have misunderstood the teaching of the Bible.
BULLSHIT! The Crusades were defensive actions against unprovoked Muslim aggression after Christian Europe witnessed the extermination of Christianity from Christian North Africa. It says much about these false Christians that they view every instance of a man drawing a sword and praying “Christ give me strength” as a war crime atrocity.
3. As Christians, we have a tendency to relate to Muslims out of our instinctive fears rather than out of our core biblical values.
Most of us humans abhor change. We like to hold on to the familiar. We call it “our way of life,” “our culture,” “our traditions” and “our values.”
We fear the new, along with every perceived “outsider” who appears to be bringing change to these elements of our comfort zone.
Straight from the “Immigration Is Our Strength” playbook. I suspect Accad doesn’t ask Muslims to stop caring about their culture, traditions and values. That could be a pain in the neck for him. *chop, chop*
4. As Christians, it is easy to forget the rich common ground that we have for conversation with Muslims and we focus instead on our differences.
With Muslims we share, first of all, a common humanity. With Islam we share a rich common tradition, sometimes referred to as our common Abrahamic heritage.
It does not matter so much whether or not we agree with this narrative of a common thread and origin. What matters is that Islam views itself as flowing from this common source.
Common source? My king and savior is Christ the Son of God, not Abrahamic heritage. Muslims takes a dim view of Christ; the best they can offer is “Jesus was a great prophet that nobody listened to”.
The moment we give up on our calling to be salt and light, which gives life its true meaning and taste, we cease to be Christ’s body that was lifted up to gather all people to itself (John 12:32).
Mister “we shouldn’t hold on to our way of life” thinks we should be the salt of the Earth? Salt is a preservative! It kills infections. Literal salt kills microbes, moral salt kills Islam. Not the people, mind, but the false religion. And that is the root of Accad’s heresy: he would have us abandon truth for peace with a people who neither know nor love peace.
Next article, in which Martin Accad would have the global Church stand down from wariness towards Muslims because they’re only avenging themselves upon us for ancient wrongs.
Rejecting Muslim Stereotyping, Focusing on God’s Mission
By Martin Accad, 25 July 2016
[Brief history of post-WW1 meddling in the Mideast by England & France omitted]
In the summer of 2014, the group calling itself the Islamic State went on a rampage, conquering and massacring Christians, Yazidis, Shiites and any Sunnis who disagreed with its program.
Strikingly, they started off with the supremely symbolic act of tearing down the international border demarcation between Iraq and Syria, which had resulted from the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. [GQ: The omitted part I mentioned.]
The challenge to the post-colonial order imposed by Western nations on the Middle East region had been launched.
Meanwhile, more than 20 years ago, political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1992 proposed the notion of a “clash of civilizations” as a key to understanding the nature of global conflict in a post-Cold War era.
It became popular to think of Islam as the single most significant divisive agent in today’s world.
With good reason. The globalists are importing Muslims into Christian areas in genocidal numbers. The number for Germany was set by Angela Merkel at one million Muslim immigrants per year, in a nation of roughly 80M Germans. They have been neither tolerant of Christians nor generally law-abiding. Meanwhile, no new Christian colonies are being set up in Muslim regions and we certainly don’t enjoy gov’t-protected status there. How oppressive of us that for all the “Christian” meddling in the Mideast, Christians haven’t enjoyed any special status.
In much of the popular mind, the world is now divided between the Muslims and “the rest.” Christians of the East are an oppressed “minority” that needs rescuing by the rest in “the West.” And Muslims are largely on a grand mission to conquer the world.
Has ISIS’ behavior confirmed Huntington’s vision of the world or challenged it? How do we understand militant jihadism within the grander scheme of the Islamist and Salafist ideologies of the 20th century? What does a 21st-century perspective on the Middle East and global developments tell us?
I would argue that 20th-century post-colonial realities represented jihadi Salafism’s “raison d’etre” and attractiveness in the last century as well as at the turn of the 21st century.
He keeps bringing up post-colonialism, as if Muslims today are violent only because of past injustices. Remember Mohammed bragged about murdering his own uncle? I suspect the people who venerate him will be similarly bloodthirsty no matter their reasons.
The biggest world power in the Mideast today is America, which never had any colonies anywhere. We weren’t even a player on the global scene until after WW2. Why would ISIS hate America for the colonialism we never did?
The biggest draw of ISIS on young people is its rebellious stance toward the dominant order imposed by world powers.
For the disillusioned young people living under post-colonial, paternalistic, corrupt, yet largely Western-supported regimes in the Arab and Muslim world, affiliating with a movement that dares to challenge the dominant order under the victorious black banners of ISIS is an extremely defiant and invigorating act.
This is a total lie. The dominant order/world power he refers to is giving Muslims free bus tickets into the Christian world and protection from local law enforcement, up to and including gang-raping our children. The globalists are not capable of boosting Islam any harder then they currently are.
Accad is trying to paint Muslims as victims of Christianity. He’s reaching back all the way to the Crusades because there is that little evidence to support this. Not to mention that nearly all governments in Europe/North America are secular. It’s been a long time since kings ruled only with Rome’s permission.
Meanwhile, French sociologist Olivier Roy reveals through comprehensive research into ISIS’ recruitment draw in Europe that the thrill of affiliation to ISIS is more to do with the disaffection of young Europeans who are part of second- or third-generation migrant communities living in ghettoized societies as well as young Millennial and iGeneration converts attracted to the service of revolutionary hordes with no apparent moral boundaries, than anything to do with commitment and loyalty to Islamic theology.
As Roy puts it, ISIS recruits have a fascination for the narrative of “a small brotherhood of super-heroes who avenge the Muslim Ummah.”
Is this not grounds for wariness towards Muslims? A religious fascination with heroically punishing us Christians today for the not-crimes of secular powers a century ago? The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 was 102 years ago and Accad is implying today that that’s legit cause for raping our children and burning our churches.
…I would argue that ISIS’ very existence forecasts new, deep and comprehensive developments even within Islam in the near and longer-term future.
I plan to present this perspective in a November 2016 lecture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, challenging popular notions that draw brash generalizations about Islam.
Fuller Theological Seminary hosted Accad’s teachings.
I will argue that the world is mostly populated with ordinary people who simply want to live their lives and provide a decent future for their children.
Has anybody said differently? EVERYBODY “simply wants to live their lives” except the actively suicidal. See that badass Special Forces soldier over there? Guess what, he wants to survive his next mission and keep living his life.
But Accad’s sentiment is exactly what Tradcons love to hear. We’re all the same, we just want to live together in happiness, let’s import all of Uganda into someone else’s backyard because we care about starving children.
This category of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is, Yazidis and holders of no particular faith effectively represent the “silent majority,” which the “Clash” theory tends to brush off as of no significance to world tensions and conflicts.
Yet the recent uprisings in the Arab World seem to have inaugurated a new role for this grass-roots group, to a large extent as a result of globalization and the rise of the social media.
Searching for the Islamic roots of ISIS in the Quran and Islamic traditions may yield some interesting results for scholars of world religions.
The idea that a religion’s established documents and traditions have no correlation with the current behavior of its members is stupid.
And their work may be useful in the long run, as scholars of different faiths engage in conversation about theology and its impact on politics.
But the more important question from the perspective of the sociology of religions is the reverse: How are current events and manifestations of contemporary Islam, together with the reactions to it among adherents of other religions, particularly Christianity and Judaism, going to affect Islam and other religions in the longer run?
Scholars who study the phenomenon of religion are more interested in defining religion based on the behavior of its adherents than on the basis of some grand theological themes that are supposed to be the driving force of people of faith.
Grand theological themes? That unite doctrinally incompatible religions? People of “faith”? These are Unitarian concepts. Not Christian.
What does mission look like when the church globally ceases from aligning with monochromatic political visions of the world? How do we take the focus away from stereotyping driven by fear, and back to God’s hopeful mission to individual human beings in all their diversity? …
Is Jesus still of any significance when a more “existential,” “low-boundaries” approach to religions is taken? What does a kerygmatic, “supra-religious” approach to mission have to offer our contemporary missiological thinking?
The latter two concepts – kerygmatic and “supra-religious” – are two angles which I intend to use to develop a new framework for a missiological vision in the 21st century.
Martin Accad has abandoned any pretense of loyalty to Christ the Son of God and now uses his influence to sell Christ as a tool for world peace… looking forward to a world in which economic prosperity replaces ideology and dogma in the hearts of the people.
But he still identifies as Christian, goes through the motions of Christian worship and occupies a slot in Church leadership. In his view, that makes Accad a loyal Christian. In God’s eyes, that makes Accad a heretic vandalizing Christ’s work to make peace with a rebellious world.