Muslim Refugees?

Q. I had a brief discussion with a Christian lady. She thinks we Christians have to help Muslims as they need our help. I told her about the European countries which received and helped them, and were repaid with violence and welfare abuse by the Muslims. They want to take over the countries which let them in, and do not assimilate. They want to convert people to Islam, change the place into an Islamic state, and impose Sharia law. They resort to violence, riots, and terrorism. They abuse the welfare system, and drain the countries’ resources. I quoted Deut 7:2-5 and Mt 10:16 to her. Why did God want all Canaanites killed? If I apply Deut 7:2-5, would God want us to embrace these Muslims to love them, because God is love? I feel if I apply Mt 10:16 to refugees, we are to have love but also wisdom.

A. First, I think we need to make a distinction between real refugees forced to leave their country to escape war, natural disaster or persecution, and those coming under a pretense to perpetrate terrorism, create havoc, and cause disruption to overthrow and destroy. I don’t have statistics to prove it, but I expect the former to be in the majority, and the latter to be in the minority. Unfortunately, it’s the minority extremists that cause most of the problems and give a bad name to the whole. You’ve probably met people who claim all Christians are bigots and cause all the problems in the world, such as the crusades, the Inquisition, inciting hatred against LGBTQ etc. That’s not true, but the label that Christians are self-righteous snobs sticks, and you wished people knew better.

Like you, I deplore the fake refugees’ abuses of the system which showed them kindness. But I would not apply Deut 7:2-5 to Muslim refugees, because that’s misapplying Scripture. First, let’s examine the text:

Deut 7:1-5 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you,
• 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.
• 3 Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.
• 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.
• 5 But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.

From what you wrote, you are equating:
• Present day Muslim refugees = the seven nations living in the Promised land in OT times, and
• Current “Christian” nations= the ancient Israelites who utterly destroyed the nations to take over the land.

While there are similarities e.g. they will turn your sons (i.e. radicalizing youths) away from following Me (Yahweh) to serve other gods (Allah), there are also differences e.g. they are migrants, NOT nations greater and stronger than you (i.e. the European countries to which they escaped). In fact, the radical refugees see the analogy as:
• Present day Muslim refugees = the ancient Israelites in the minority, and
• Current “Christian” nations = the nations whom they are to utterly destroy to take over the land.
They would be wrong of course, but you can see how by misapplying Scripture you can twist it to justify any wrong action.

What we need, as you rightly pointed out, is both love and wisdom:
Mt 10:16 Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. (NASB)
We need to be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves, with no self-serving agenda (AMP). Our love need to abound more and more in real knowledge and all discernment (Php 1:9). Only then can we discern who are the real refugees that need our help, and screen out the extremists that need to be blocked from harming our people.

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House of Islam

Before Ramadan our church distributed a booklet called “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World” by WorldChristian.com calling Christians to pray. The booklet contained extracts from A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison, which I found very informative. The House of Islam consists of those countries where Muslims are dominant and which practice Islamic laws. I have summed the data on the nine geo-cultural regions or “Rooms” in the House of Islam, as follows:

Slide1

Together, these 9 Rooms comprised of almost 2,000 unreached people groups with a population of 3.2 billion, of which 1.5 billion or 49% are Muslims. How do you reach them? The booklet lists 10 bridges that God used to draw Muslims to Him, abstracted as follows:

1. Faith of the early missionaries, who only saw movements to Christ and “welcomed them from a distance” (Heb 11:13), becoming “a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) surrounding later missionaries.
2. Prayer – 69 of the 82 documented Muslim movements to Christ in the last 14 centuries took place within the past two decades, coinciding with the 22 years since the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World started.
3. ScriptureIs 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. More Bible translation into Muslim languages for the people to hear and believe over the past decades than in the preceding 13 centuries.
4. Holy Spirit activityJn 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. How? Through dreams, visions, answered prayers, and divine encounters.
5. Faithful Christian Witness from all who share the gospel with Muslims.
6. Learning from the Body of Christ – where successful approaches in one region are applied to other regions.
7. Communication via contextualized gospel translations, so that Muslims can hear the gospel without having to overcome cultural barriers.
8. Discovery – when Muslims discover Christ for themselves, instead of being told they need the gospel and react by resisting.
9. Islam itself – through reading the Qur’an in their own language instead of in Arabic and realizing they need Christ.
10. Indigenization – when evangelization from external means becomes internalized and spread by itself.

It takes many bridges to reach Muslims. What ways have your church tried to do her share?