[COMMENT: Below is a newsletter posted by John Rankin, a
superb apologist who goes about apologetics with grace and passion. He
describes below his growing emphasis on Islam, and his way of dealing with Islam
-- go directly to them.
And that is backed up by his concern for "the power of
informed choice", which God gives to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden -- by
the creation of the two trees, the Tree of Life and the forbidden Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil. He is one of the few persons I know who
develops the meaning of these trees like they should be.
Heaven is founded on a freewill covenant, which requires the
informed choice to which Rankin refers.
You can contact him as indicated below.
Dear Friends in Christ:
Greetings, as always, in the love of the Lord.
Last night I visited a mosque (masjid in
Arabic) for the first time in my life, as 250 men were praying during the
fasting month of Ramadan, listening to a visiting Sheikh, and then listening
for over a hour during further prayers as one leader recited a portion of
the Qur'an by heart. The whole Qur'an is recited this way across 27 days in
Ramadan. It was a remarkable experience, and I was received very warmly. The
nature of the Gospel is the Jesus came into our worlds and met us where we
were for who we were. So too, as a minister of the Gospel, that is always my
goal in imitating Jesus my Lord.
I will review these details of my visit to the mosque,
and my follow through, in the next TEI Update.
In 23 years of public policy ministry, I have one
overriding focus rooted in Genesis 2.
Namely, when life and death are defined honestly, when
good and evil are defined honestly as God does in the Garden of Eden, then
we have the power of informed choice.
When Moses gave his final words to Israel, he said:
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set
before you life and death, blessings and cursings. Therefore choose life..."
When Joshua gave his final words to Israel, he said:
"Now fear Yahweh and serve him with complete faithfulness. Cast away the
gods your forefathers worshiped across the River and in Egypt, and serve
Yahweh. But if serving Yahweh seems evil to you, then choose for yourselves
this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served
across the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are
now living. But as for me and my household, we will serve Yahweh" (Joshua
The apostle Paul says: "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and
where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17).
The power of informed choice depends on
accurate definition of terms. Thus, whenever we define good and evil,
and life and death accurately, the Gospel is advanced. People can then can
make an informed choice.
But the devil seeks to define terms dishonestly
so that the power of informed choice is stolen. Isaiah put it this
way: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who set darkness for
light and light for darkness; who set bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter"
In five arenas of ministry since 1983 I have seen this
to be true, and a sixth arena needs attention:
The debate over human abortion, where abortion-rights
advocates define a misinformed choice which destroys the lives of women and
the unborn, usually in reaction to the violation of male chauvinists.
The debate over church and state, where skeptics seek
to restrict religious liberty.
The debate over pagan and occultic religion, and over
atheism and secularism, where there are deep reactions to a church that has
not truly defined or lived the power of informed choice;
here skeptics have been burned often by an imposed religion.
The debate over homosexuality, where most often male
chauvinistic violation upon men and women in their youth has poisoned their
souls profoundly; it has robbed their power to choose to trust in a healthy
heterosexual chastity before marriage, and fidelity within true marriage.
The debate over evolution and intelligent design, where
so much of the argument against creation and the Creator is rooted in
reactions to imposed and facile religion.
The debate over Islam -- how the Qur'an challenges the
Bible, and as a result we have jihad and the 1400-year old commitment of
much of Islam to rule the world in the name of Allah.
From this point forward, my Mars Hill Forum
series will address any of the first five arenas that are needful, and they
are; but too, I will focus on setting up series of forums on Islam
with leading Muslims scholars. I have studied enough Islam in my
undergraduate and graduate years, along with much more since my
post-graduate studies, that I could qualify for a major in the subject. But
this only scratches the surface of what I need to learn, and this fall I
have finally made the time to start studying Arabic -- from a Palestinian
Muslim woman at Hartford Seminary, a native of Nazareth who is a Ph.D.
candidate in archeology. All Muslim people, like the rest of us, are created
for freedom. But Islam does not allow biblical freedom. And to bring the
freedom, the power of informed choice, by the power of the
Holy Spirit, into this debate -- it is the most critical international issue
of our day, maybe of history.
This also involves making it
first the Gospel, then politics..., so as to bring the power of informed
choice into U.S. politics, and I have a project underway as well --
details forthcoming, especially as my new website is nearing completion.
Blessings and your servant in Jesus,