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What Luther Says

A Christian Response To The Manchester Terror Attack: 'Love The Muslim, Not The Islam.'

It's a sad state of affairs in this world for sure when it was only a few days before the recent terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England when I had organized some things and saved the following quote with a note to myself that read, "Save this so you can share it after the next terrorist attack" which read...

Christians who want assurance of salvation become Lutheran. Muslims who want assurance of salvation become suicide bombers. The god of Islam says you must die for him. The Son of God died for you. No, we do not worship the same God.

Now, I don't know who should get credit for that one, but it is spot on accurate, isn't it?

It also reminds me of some other Biblical truths as well...

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

John 16:2 (ESV) They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

With God's Word as our firm foundation, and feeling as though there's nothing more I could possibly add to this topic that I haven't already written over the past several years here, perhaps it's better to provide you with a powerful Christian response to the Manchester terror attack (or at least one of the better ones that I've read in a long time).

Love the Muslim, not the Islam. 
This past weekend, I spent quite a bit of time at the airport biding my time and chatting with strangers. Two among them were Muslims, one from Dearborn, Michigan, another from Cairo. I love such conversations. It's wonderful to be able to see things from someone else's point of view, as they share their life stories. What do we have, as Christians, to say to our Islamic friends? 
A couple of things come to mind. First, the coming of Muhhamed is one of the great tragedies of history. While he touted monotheism, he in fact stripped people of the true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even as he took Christ down from the cross. In other words, in stripping the Christian faith of its two greatest mysteries, he aimed his teaching at the very soul of our humanity. 
You see, the Christian God is Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. Three persons, one God. This has profound implications, for our God is not only one, he is love itself. Yes, God is love, eternally love. The Father gives not a thought for himself, but focuses on his Son. The Son looks in no mirrors, but gives glory to the Father. From that love proceeds the Spirit. God's eternal focus is on the other, and pours itself out into our humanity, creating us in His image, Man, but not simply man, male and female, from which union proceed children. The family, created, gives us a picture of the God of love. 
Islam has also stripped Christianity of the cross, where we see God's love most clearly, in action, in all its glory. For Christians, the crucifix is the first of all symbols, for there we see the self-giving love of the Father who sends his Son, the love of the Son for his Father and for us, and the Spirit, then breathed out upon humanity that we might have life again. 
Islam is an evil, a disfigurement. Ah, but the dear people. They are precious in God's sight. And we must never forget the power of the gospel to change hearts. So it was, at our graduation, the keynote speaker was Gottfried Martins, a pastor in Germany. Last year alone he baptized some 500 people from Afghanistan and Iran - - former Muslims, all. These are the true refugees. 
Apart from Christ, the people of the world are enslaved. Enslaved to ideologies, political systems, and false religions. What frees us, finally, is the true God, the God of love. The God who wants communion more than submission, who offers his own sacrifice before he calls on ours, who loves down on us in mercy, rebellious as we are, and says, "I love you still. Forgiveness is yours, hard won by my Son." And so, as always, we moved forward. Defending our earthly homes in earthly ways. Recognizing evil as evil, ever recognizing the threat of the terrorists. But also, but also, reaching out with the good news, the only good news that can save our Islamic friends, all our friends, from a death still greater. Because we love, in response to God's love in Christ, we so desperately want them to know that Muhhammed was a false prophet. That God is One, but Three in One. And that Christ is the Eternally Begotten, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, crucified, died, buried, and yes, risen. In His Death, the death of the second person of the Trinity, love has reentered the world, as has hope. So yes, love the Muslim, but not Islam, for Christ is the Savior. 
-- Rev. Peter J. Scaer

This is most certainly true.
Now, I don't know what the "rules" are about sharing things on a personal blog like this one that I actually found on someone else's Facebook feed, but I sincerely hope that Rev. Scaer will excuse my lack of "digital etiquette" (if that's what this is) and that he will be ok with me sharing his sentiments on this subject here with the few readers I have, especially since it's more for my own purposes anyway.

If not, and word gets back to him about this and he has any kind of a problem with it, then I will gladly remove this post if need be.

Either way, isn't this what we need to be reminded of in times like these? No, I'm not advocating burying our head in the sand and not dealing with the pure evil that is Islamic terrorism. We are supposed to call evil by its rightful name (Isaiah 5:20).

However, I do believe we need to remind ourselves of some other key truths that need to be a part of this debate and discussion.

Matthew 5:11 (ESV) Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

As you know, we could go on and on.

In other words, it's not just a cultural and/or geo-political debate, but a religious and spiritual one.

The point is that Christianity is the TRUE "Religion of Peace" because its Head is "the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6) Himself, that is, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In case you're wondering, yes, I have a Muslim friend, and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I truly care for him and his family.

He also knows that I vehemently disagree with him when it comes to matters of faith and has listened to me share the Gospel with him on a couple of occasions while also pointing out the places where Christianity and Islam are similar and where they are anything but.

I will continue to love them and pray for them even if the day should ever come were he to reveal an anger, a hatred, and a desire to commit violence against me and mine for our faith in Christ.

God's will be done, and God's will is for me and my family to love our neighbors whether they are atheists or Muslims.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, let's always remember to "love the Muslim, not the Islam."

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 4 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the truth myself. Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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