An assessment of the challenges to the Global church through the ministry and experience of Bro. Elijah’s missionary work in 45 countries and counting. He is originally from Middle East and from a Muslim background. He has been serving the Lord globally And domestically for 23yrs. He earned his Masters in Divinity with Biblical Languages from an American seminary. He also served as a missions pastor at an American church. Thus, he has a good understanding of the challenges that face the American and the Global Church.
Brother Elijah's talks from last year's conference:
Hello, my friends! I just want to welcome you to the 2021 “The Berean Call Conference.” It is a privilege and honor to share with you this session. I want to thank my dear brother and friend, Tom McMahon, for allowing me to come before you and share with you the challenges that’s been happening around the world.
First and foremost, I want to just explain what you are seeing on the screen right now. You’re not seeing my face, and the reason for that is because I’m a missionary—a global missionary. I’ve been in 45 countries; I’ve traveled to very difficult places around the world that are very hostile toward the gospel, anywhere from communist to Muslim countries to secular countries. The topics I discuss and talk about are very sensitive in America as well as around the world.
My background, just to give you a little bit of an idea, I was raised and born in the Middle East. I came from a Muslim background, and the Lord got me out of Islam into the light of Christ in the United States. The Lord called me to ministry after a few years in the faith, and I’ve been in the ministry now almost 25 years. I’ve been, like I said, to 45 countries, and it’s been a privilege. Our ministry is to really equip the saints globally, specifically the leaders, the pastors, elders, missionaries, church planters, because they, in turn, train others.
I’ve also been in about 30 states in the United States, speaking across denominational lines, and it’s been a joy, really—a joy serving the Lord. But at the same time, very challenging. Like you see here, this is a challenge to make this happen. I’ve had many opportunities to speak in so many conferences, or be on television, whatever, but this is really where the Lord had called me to, to serve Him in this capacity to be under the radar.
So, I pray that you’ll be very must understanding and really be—the whole point of this session is the content of what I’m about to share with you in this session. And the title I’ve titled it is “The Global Challenge to the Gospel.”
Last conference of last year, I discussed many challenges that the church—the global church—is facing. So, I would encourage you to go back to last year’s conference and view those two sessions that I did last year. I would say this is a continuation of last year’s session, just for the time’s sake and the facility, we could not really cover all of the material. But there are challenges, as you know, if you are a student of the Scriptures. There are challenges and obstacles and opposition to the gospel, to the church, to God’s people, and we as light of the world, the church, need to function in this dark and wicked world.
So, how do we do that without compromising the gospel? And I think this is what we tried to do in this session, and I did that last year as well.
So, I pray that you’ll be understanding and open your hearts and your minds to what I’m about to share. Later on, I’m sure The Berean Call will make these notes available to you, so you can download it in a pdf format, or something like that.
So, first, I want to talk about…kind of review a little bit about what I shared last year, but I want to talk about, you know, there are two kinds of Christianities. Many people ask me, “Okay, you’ve been in 45 countries; you’ve seen the good and the bad and the ugly, as far as Christianity or church is—anywhere from the poorest of the poor in Africa to mega-churches in America. What is your assessment? What do you think about where we are as a church?”
It’s a really difficult question to answer. It’s a hard question, and I always try to tell the person who asks me that question is “Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say. I am not here to judge the church; it is not my church, it’s God’s church.” But from what I have seen, my assessment of what we have—we have dual Christianity. The first is Cultural Christianity—in our context, what we’d call an American Christianity. And the minority of what we see is biblical Christianity—these are the faithful churches that are unapologetic about the gospel, who are preaching the gospel, the unadulterated Word of God from Genesis to Revelation.
Cultural Christianity, in this case in America, American Christianity—basically, what that means, I kind of came up with this terminology: “Cultural American Christianity.” It’s basically a church allowed the culture to influence the church instead of the church influencing the culture.” And as a result, the gospel is being compromised; the Word of God is being compromised; how you do church is being more or less worldly. The gospel, especially, in the Bible—they start entertaining other sources outside the gospel, or outside the Bible, to give authenticity to other groups or other books or other religions. And they’re really not being the light, as God called us to be.
The light does not mix with darkness. The light’s purpose is to expose darkness, and dissipate darkness. But American Christianity, or cultural Christianity, really wants to blend with darkness, and go along with darkness. And that’s really what the Bible tells us! The gospel is to expose darkness, and man, in his heart, because of the sinful nature of man, loves darkness! And that’s something that we always need to keep in mind—that we live in a sinful world, and the gospel is offensive to those who want to stay in darkness and in their sin.
But unfortunately, American Christianity and cultural Christianity presented the gospel, presented Christianity as a “seeker-sensitive,” “let’s get along for the sake of getting along,” and they compromise their moral standards what the Bible says.
Last year, I addressed a lot of this slide. Some of the topics I addressed last year, so if you have not seen last year’s conference, please go back and you can watch it. I addressed about the attacks—areas of attacks. The attacks being on the Bible, definitely. The identity of God, the Lordship of Christ, salvation—the doctrine of salvation, the security of the believer, sin—especially in cultural Christian that really doesn’t want to preach about sin. They don’t want to talk about sin, because in their mind, that’s offensive. That will upset people. Like I said, the gospel is offensive to those who want to stay in their sin.
The doctrine of hell—many deny even the existence of hell, even with their “evangelical” world. The church—what a church is or is not. That’s kind of being sugar coated, what the church is.
Worship—many churches became “worship-centered” instead of Bible/Scripture-centered. And if we read Acts 2, how the church started, and, really, the focus of the church was mainly the people were listening intently to the teaching of the apostles, to prayer, to fellowship, and to share bread with each other. But unfortunately, in American Christianity and cultural Christianity, the focus became on the music and the worship. And look, I came from the Middle East. I love music! But it’s not at the cost of the gospel or the scripture. And that’s what’s been happening. It’s kind of more or less flipped.
Eschatology and prophecy, many churches don’t even talk about that. That’s why you see many Christians, especially during the pandemic and the political upheaval and so on, a lot of Christians are not living in victory! They are fearful. And the reason for that, because they have not been taught eschatology and the end times, and are not living an eschatological point of view—that this world does not belong to us. We are just pilgrims. Our citizenship is in heaven. And we need to look and interpret world events and current events from a biblical, eschatological point of view. That’s not being taught.
Social justice has infiltrated evangelical churches, Bible colleges, seminaries, denominations. I have a three-hour presentation on social justice, where I do go back into where did this come from? And it is a Communist/Socialistic point of view or ideology. And unfortunately, because church leaders have bought into that—bought it either ideologically or financially beneficial to them—either way, and sometimes both, bought into that. They have introduced this kind of teaching or this kind of ideology into the church. And unfortunately, because you have many church members, and some of them even elders, who are not really astute [enough] in the Bible to call a spade a spade, and call social justice, which is really a communist movement, they allowed it to infiltrate the church and thus infected the church. And it’s really a sad state of affairs that we are living in such a day. But it should not take us by surprise. The Lord told us we are living in an age of deceit, and many people will be deceived.
But today, I want to talk about other issues, such as false teachers, Bible translations, “Chrislam” movement—a lot of people have never heard of Chrislam. And we’ll talk about that, and also the Prosperity Gospel.
But for us to really look into false teachers, or false prophets, we need to look in the Scriptures. And how they…first we need to look at false teachers. How did they affect Bible translations? And our passage here, 2 Peter:2:1-3: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves sore destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
Peter writes, in the second and third chapter of his epistle about the unseen danger of false teachers who arise within the church. He told us—the Bible warns us about false teachers. Many people look at false teachers mainly from outside the church, but here in this text, he’s talking about from within the church. Even Paul talked about that in other passages.
They often are unrecognized, especially in their earliest form, partly because they profess to share a like precious faith. They will present themselves as believers. They will say the right things. They will say the same terminologies. Yet they secretly introduce false teaching, which is destructive to themselves and to all who follow them.
So, let’s look at five signs to identify false teachers and false prophets. They are first, self-promoting. They promote themselves. It’s all about them—how great they are, how eloquent they are. And popularity—they kind of more or less start competing with each other, how popular they are.
Disobedience to the Lord, His Word, as well as to church accountability. And they’re always looking for signs and wonders to woo people, to lure the people who are really illiterate biblically. And a lot of the focus and the worship is basically materialism.
There are a number of videos you can look at on social media of “pastors” or “evangelists” or “televangelists,” and all of these guys. That’s all they talk about: money and materialism. And there is one particular guy in north Texas, and he’s out front. He says it’s all about money! And that just…I remember the first time I saw that video, my jaw dropped. For him to have the gall to admit that, and continue to have a large megachurch in north Texas!
What do we need to know about false teachers from this passage? Well, Peter strongly infers that we should regard anyone who claims to be a prophet as a false prophet, which is really interesting. In my travels, especially in third-world countries, where the prosperity gospel is a prevalent, this is the mass Christianity of churches in third world countries. They are very much into “so-and-so” is a prophet, or “so-and-so” is an apostle. And they are false teachers, and they are promoting false doctrine. And unfortunately, many people—actually, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in those countries follow these individuals.
In my training, I had a number of confrontations with pastors who are being offended by what the Bible says about what a prophet is, and I’m standing on what the Word of God says, and I’ve said, “Look, it has nothing to do with me. You are arguing with the Lord—arguing with the Word of God.”
It’s been very, very challenging, but, praise God, there are some pastors who have repented. But there are some who are not interested in what the Word of God has to say.
Peter also teaches us to expect false teachers to arise from within the church as well as from outside. Okay, like I said earlier, it is understandable to see a false teacher from outside the church. And who are they? Well, you’ve got, in our context in the 21st century, you’ve got the media, you’ve got politicians, you’ve got athletes, you’ve got Hollywood celebrities, and other celebrities.
And, unfortunately, they do have mass following, and they are presenting a false narrative of where the world is. And many people are deceived. But here, Peter also talks about [that] they are from within the church. Some of them we consider as brothers or even sisters—some women who have women’s ministries or other ministries. And, unfortunately, they’ve been used by the devil, in this case.
The teaching of these false teachers is destructive, Peter talks about—to the church and to all those who follow their teachings and practices. When it says “destructive,” it is destructive to themselves, because they will be held accountable by God, but also to the church and the mission of the church to the true Gospel, to the mission that the church is the light of the world, the Great Commission that we need to share the gospel and make disciples. That is being destroyed by their teaching, because the emphasis now is no longer on the gospel of Christ but on themselves, or on material things, on worldly things, or the miraculous signs and wonders, and destructive for the people who follow such teachings and fall prey to that.
False teachers bring reproach upon true saints and the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. That’s something that we need to make sure, as the church of the living God, to uphold to the gospel, and to the truth that the Bible teaches—the inerrant Word of God. We need to develop thick skin, because we will be maligned and called all kinds of names because we’re standing on truth; [we’ll] be maligned and called all kinds of names not just by false teachers, but other churches who adhere to such false teaching, or the American cultural Christianity, who’ll point the finger at biblical churches, biblical Christianity, or for not going along with the mainstream.
And that’s, to me, I hold that more or less as a badge of honor, because if you are not really persecuted for your faith—persecution comes in all different kind of forms and shapes—if you are not harassed by the devil for your faith—for me, I feel like there is complacency in my life, that I am not really being the light. Because darkness hates light! We have to keep that in mind. We are a light to the world, salt of the earth.
These false teachers are always evident—well, not always evident. Sometimes you really don’t see them unless you are really grounded in the faith, grounded in the Bible, then you recognize a false teacher. Otherwise, they’ll pass as a wonderful man of God, good Bible teachers, and they will use a lot of Bible scripture and add a little bit of falsehood in there. And that’s very destructive, very deceiving. So, we have to be very much aware about biblical doctrine and biblical teaching so we can call out these false teachers.
False teachers can be identified by their morals and their motives, such as, they very much lust—not just lust for life or materialism but lust for the opposite sex or immorality, for greed, for their selfishness, for exploiting others. They could care less about those who attend. All they care about is the bottom line, whether it be fame, or the dollar, or a bigger church, or whatever it is that they are motivated by. And definitely they are much more or less sensual but not spiritual.
So, let’s look at the Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospel, which is, that’s really… this passage [that] Peter really exposes. False teachers can be recognized by their methods, “the way the truth is maligned,” that Peter tells us in verses 2-3. When you listen to the Word of Faith movement, preachers of the prosperity gospel, they take the Word of God and just twist it and malign it, and even the way to Christ has been maligned. They really don’t talk a whole lot about salvation, and they even brought God to their level and then made themselves above God. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the doctrine, the “little god” doctrine. You could search that and you’ll see plenty of video where some of these preachers, prosperity gospel preachers, where they do teach the “little god” doctrine.
The doctrines are heresies, which are destructive (2 Peter 1, verse 3). They claim to teach the Word of God, but they actually twist and distort the scriptures, so their interpretations justify their lifestyle and their lust.
There are some of these preachers, if you look at the top ten wealthiest preachers or pastors in the world, number one lives in Texas with over $750,000,000 net worth, and he’s got two private jets, and an airport on his property. Is that where the Lord really wants his followers to be? I mean, even the Lord, He said, “There is no place for the Son of man to lay his head.” All He had was His tunic, and they took it off and ripped it. And so, that’s…they gambled for it, you know, when they crucified Him.
So, the lifestyle does not reflect Christ and His life and how He wants His followers to live. Now, don’t misunderstand me—God does not…I’m not telling you that we have to be poor and destitute. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is if your focus is on materialism and money and prestige and all of that, and you do that at the sacrifice of the Word of God, the Bible, and what Jesus taught, that’s not biblical, and these are false teachers.
These teachers go as far as denying the Master who bought them. Just how did they deny Him? Peter seems to imply that they deny His authority and those in authority, and, boy, that is so true! Especially those who, right out on TV, they start to “prophesy,” “the Lord told me,” “He showed me a vision,” and “this is what the Lord said,” and sometimes they even put dates, and the date comes along—and passes—and nobody holds them accountable! And if they get held accountable, they say, “Well,” and they come up with another vision to justify the first vision that did not come true.
So, they are not accountable, they despise accountability and authority from the biblical church. That’s why they prey on individuals, Christians who are very much illiterate biblically.
They actively seek to undermine those in authority and to establish their own authority. And I’ve seen so many churches that have split because of some within the church start teaching false teaching, contradictory to the pastor or the elders’ teaching, and they have their own group of followers, and they’ve split them and they take them and start their own church with their own false teaching.
I was a mission pastor of a church—a pretty good-sized church, anywhere between 2,500 to 3,000 any given Sunday. And we had some of these issues where we had someone, a Sunday school teacher, start teaching some really bad teaching, and when we held him accountable to that, he took a large group with him and moved on and started another church. He did not want to submit to authority; did not want to submit to accountability. They just want to prey on God’s people.
So, how do false teachers arise? Well, first they distort the emphasis of the scripture; second, the false teachers can also deny the Lord Jesus by narrowing the field of affliction, of which the cross of Christ provides the solution. These teachers deny the Lord. They don’t want people to go through suffering, in their mind—which, it’s interesting, the moment I got saved, the moment you got saved, you’re a target. We’re a target! A target by whom? By the devil and his army, the demons. And by doing that, by following Christ, he will make my life and your life difficult on a daily basis. That’s why it is trials and tribulations, and by doing that, God allows suffering in our lives, really to mature us, to make us stronger, to persevere, to walk closer with Him, to encourage one another. But false teachers, especially in the prosperity gospel, if they see you suffering for Christ, they point the finger at you: “There’s something wrong with you! You are in sin. You were doing this…you’re doing that.” And there is no victory in following Christ, then. So, you either have to do it their way, or any other way is not the solution.
So, I want to talk about Bible translations in the Muslim world. That has been a big, huge problem for the last 40 years or so. And the global church is really unaware of this. I have been part of a group for the last, I would say, 15, 20 years. I’ve known about this over 25 years, but it’s really not till the last 15-20 years I have found other likeminded individuals and missionaries and professors or pastors who have the same concern. We started talking about it, trying to hold these individuals accountable, but they were not interested in that, so now we start educating the global church that they should not fund any ministries or Bible translations ministries that really take away the identity of God the Father, or the Son, or even the gospel. And we’ll talk about that, too, in a little bit.
But before I talk about Bible translations in the Muslim world, first I have to kind of go back into… Let’s talk about Islam and why these Bible translators should not court Islam or the spirit of Islam.
So, first, what is the definition of Islam? Unfortunately, many in the political realm, in the media, even Hollywood movies and others, and even pastors who are deceived, or even the Bible colleges, they are deceived when they say “Islam” means “peace.” Even Muslims, especially younger generations, they say “Islam” means “peace.” I encounter many Muslims in the West, and especially in North America, where they say, “Oh, Islam means ‘peace.’”
No, there is an Arabic word for “peace,” and I’ll share that with you. By definition, Islam is “to submit” to that entire system, Islamic religion, its tenets, and laws. It does not mean “peace.” “Islam” is derived from a word called Istislam—basically, “to surrender.” It’s a war terminology, or when you, let’s say, invade a region, at the time they say, “Istislam,” means “submit.” And if the person wants to surrender, he says, “Istislam,” “I surrender.” But if they don’t, then they get killed. That’s the war on that town. So, it’s a war terminology.
So, we, as Christians, we have the scriptures, the Bible. It’s got two major sections: Old Testament and New Testament. Well, the Islamic Bible, many people think that Oh, it’s only the Qu’ran. Well, not necessarily, no. That’s not true. What we have in Islam, Islamic bible, is really…. It is a combination of three sources: First is the Qur’an. Second is the Hadith, which is traditions: what Muhammad said and did and elaborated on some verses in the Qur’an. And the biography of Muhammad, called Sirah. You put those three together, then you have Islamic bible.
So, if you look at that, if they tell me Islam is inspired by a divine being (which we’ll talk about that in a little bit), if Islam is inspired by Allah, or the Islamic bible is inspired by Allah, shouldn’t be the question we need to ask, “Shouldn’t these sources inspired 100 percent from Allah?” Well, statistically speaking, 14 percent from Allah, 86 percent from Muhammad.
“They told me Islam is a religion!” Well, is it? If you look at the three sources that I just shared with you, 40 percent is religious, 60 percent political. So, the question we need to ask, “Is this still a religion? Is Islam a religion like what we know what religion it is?” You’ve got Buddhism—they have their sacred varieties. Hinduism—they’ve got their own sacred writings and their own 360-million gods. But Islam, they proclaim, there’s only one book, the Qur’an, inspired by Allah 100 percent. Well, not necessarily. And of course, you have to put the Hadith, the Islamic Traditions of Muhammad’s Biography.
So, what is the true definition of Islam? Now, this—what you see on the screen—is my definition. Many people disagree with me on this definition, and that’s okay. This is what I see based on the statistics I shared with you. Islam is really not a religion. It is a socio-political system that uses a Deity [Allah] to advance its agenda.
That’s a tough statement to say, and a tough statement even to say in front of a Muslim, because he’ll definitely be offended. So, this is for you, church, to really be aware and not to be deceived by acknowledging that Islam is a religion. And sometimes, you will be deceived by fellow missionaries, Christian missionaries, who have political…they bring out their resume: “Oh, I’ve been in Muslim countries for 30 years, and I know, let me teach you how to witness to Muslims.” And all of a sudden, they say, “You know, Islam is a wonderful religion,” or “Allah is the same as Yahweh,” which we don’t believe that. Last year, I dug into it a little bit deeper, and we’ll talk about it a little bit now.
But from their own sources, and their own statistics on these sources, are 40 percent from Allah, 60 percent from Muhammad. I’m sorry—14 percent from Allah, 86 percent from Muhammad. Forty percent religious, 60 percent political. Islam is not just a “religion,” but it’s a political movement. It’s a socio-political system that uses a deed to advance its agenda: socio-political, socio-economics, socio-judicial, and so forth.
So, then, the question we need to ask: What is the Spirit of Islam? I mean, we as
Christians, we need to ask these hard questions. Unfortunately, many people have not asked these hard questions because they have been conditioned to fear the reaction of Muslims toward such questions.
Well, there is no spiritual truth in Islam as we have in the gospel according to the Scripture. Look, I have to rely on the Scripture, not on the Qur’an. And, of course, I could show you from the Qur’an—so many verses that really, it’s awful in what it teaches. According to Sharia law (Islamic law) lying is allowed at least (this is not limited to these four, but at least in four cases) in a Holy War. That’s why when there is a treaty, or there is a cease-fire between, let’s say, Hezbollah and the Israelis, or Hamas and the Israelis, or between Iran and the United States, whenever there is a treaty, I don’t believe this is for a long period of time or for peace. This is just to buy them time to be in a better position to attack later, or to demand other things later.
So, they’re allowed to lie! Why? Because Muhammad did it!
When two enemies reconciled—we saw that in 1993, when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands in the White House, had a peace treaty—great! That’s fine, but I did not buy it. Sure enough, seven years later, in the year 2000, suicide bombings started in Israel by the PLO.
By a man to his wives (now, remember, if you look on the screen, you’ll see that I said “wives” plural, because a Muslim is allowed to marry up to four wives at any given time, meaning you could marry four, divorce one, marry another one, divorce two, marry another two—so in your lifetime, you could have about 20, 30 weddings—as long as four wives at any given time.
But according to Sharia law, a husband can lie to his wife. And a wife to her husband. So, even the wife is allowed to lie to her husband. This spirit of deception and cunning comes into play, especially when dealing with non-Muslims.
When I witness to Muslims (and I train missionaries all over the world and here in the United States, and of course churches when they witness to Muslims), I say, “Look, don’t be too upset when you find out that your Muslim friend that you’re trying to reach out to lies to you. It’s just in their nature. That’s how they are. And they even brag to each other about how much they swindled you out of money, or lied to you about something, or misled you about something. To them, it’s a victory as a Muslim because you are not a Muslim, you are an infidel. You’re going to die and go to hell, as far as they’re concerned.
So, Islam is very exclusive. And it’s interesting, that is why the “prosperity gospel,” and the “Health/wealth gospel,” “Chrislam movement,” and “seeker-sensitive movement”—this idea, “Oh, we just need to be inclusive—the gospel’s for everyone.”
It is for everybody, but the gospel, like I said, is black and white. You either believe Christ or you don’t. If you believe Christ, you have eternal life with Him. If you don’t, you have eternal life apart from Him.
So, it’s very exclusive. Our faith is very exclusive—only because of Jesus. Why? He made that statement: remember John:14:6: “I AM the way.” Not “a” way. “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE—NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.”
He made it exclusive! He did not give any option to us or to anyone else to provide it any other way.
So, Islam is the same thing. It’s very exclusive. Unless you are a Muslim, a follower of Allah and Muhammad and the Qur’an and the Sharia Law, you have no chance of going to Paradise, as far as they’re concerned. As far as they’re concerned, everybody who’s not Muslim is going to go to hell.
That’s fine! You know, we’re exclusive. The church is of the Living God, that Christianity is exclusive; Islam is exclusive. That’s fine. But one of us is wrong, one of us is right. And I believe the Word of God is the only true Word of God, not the Qur’an. Yahweh is the only true God, not Allah. Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and the Savior of the world, not Muhammad, no one else.
Now, we must learn to scrutinize the statements of Muslims, otherwise we will constantly be deceived (1 Corinthians:13:7; Matthew:10:16). And that’s the problem in those who teach about how to reach Muslims for Christ, they kind of more or less have adopted the theology of “nice theology” at all costs. “Let us appease Muslims, no matter what, so we can lead them to Christ.” But when you do that, you start compromising in the truth.
So, when you are lied to, more or less Christians say, “Oh, let me go along with that,” you know, “I just won him to Jesus.”
No! If somebody lies to me, no matter who it is, especially in this case, Muslims—I’ll hold them accountable! I’ll ask them, “Why do you lie to me? This is the truth, and this is what you said!” So, they need to understand that there is right and wrong, there is true and there is false, and by us standing our ground—and especially standing our ground from a biblical point of view—they’ll come to admire your stand and admire your moral stands on this.
Islam, you need to understand, is a post -Christian religion. It’s about… 6-700 years later, it came after Christ’s cessation. And out of necessity, for Islam to exist, it became an anti-Christian religion. Now, I put two passages up, but I want to focus on one right now on 1 John:4:1-4. And here’s the text. It’s very important. By the way, this text is a command. It’s not a request of the church. It’s not saying, “Please consider….” This is imperative, in the Greek. He said, “Beloved.” Who was he talking to? The Apostle John, the church, the disciples. “Beloved” (here’s the command) “do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God.” Wow! That’s a strong command. Why?
He tells us: “Because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Okay, John, thank you very much. How can I test? This is how we test: “Hereby, know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” Pretty good test! “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not from God.” Now, he does not leave me hanging, trying to figure out what kind of spirit this is. He identifies that spirit: “And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come and even now already is in the world.” And he reminds us who we are in Christ: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. (1 John:4:1-4)
Now, when I was a young baby Christian, I heard the last part: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world.” And that’s all I heard. And being advertised, being sold in Christian books, and a plaque, and so forth—it’s true: “Greater is He that is in me that he that is in this world.”
I could overcome everything as long as I’m submitted to Christ. But you need to put that in the context, and the context is that we need to be discerning of false prophets, false spirits, false gospels. “Any spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is from God.” That’s a pretty good test. Well, does that apply only in world religions, world ideologies? No, that applies to anything that we expose ourselves to, whether it be politics or music or movies or preachers—anything! Or books—anything that does not give God the glory, there is an element of false teaching and a doctrine of demons behind it.
Now, people, when they hear me say this, they say, “Well, that’s pretty rigid. There is no room for negotiation.”
I didn’t say this! Right here, the scripture tells you, “Any spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the Antichrist.” I didn’t say that! So what if God does? So, if we believe in the Bible, we’re going to submit to the Bible. So, it is a challenge for me and a challenge for you guys, too. What do you expose yourself to? What do you expose your children to? And that’s a struggle I have even with my own kids, because they are exposed to the world, and the world’s always coming after them, and we have this constant confrontation, but also explanation from the scripture, trying to teach them the right way.
That’s a tough one! So, we need to understand—any teaching, any ideology, outside of the Bible, whether it be Islamic, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, you name it—anything that that ideology is teaching is not biblical teaching because it’s not inspired by the Bible. So, therefore, there is somebody who inspired it, and that’s an Antichrist inspiration.
So, what if a teaching of that ideology or that religion is an antichrist ideology? Because of time, I really don’t have time to expound heavily on this, because this is a weekend seminar, 12 teaching hours of doing that. So, if you’re interested, I’ll be glad to come to your church and we’ll do that over a weekend.
But keep in mind: don’t be deceived. Islamic teaching, Buddhism’s teaching, any other world religion teaching is not of God. So, therefore, whatever book they have is not inspired by the Holy Spirit. There’s only one book inspired by the Holy Spirit and that’s the Bible—Old Testament and New Testament. Period. Nothing else.
So, I want to do this within the context of Bible translations, but then we have to look at the Bible. Is the Bible sufficient or not? Let’s look at the sufficiency of the Bible. Is it sufficient? Is the Bible sufficient for what? Is it sufficient for salvation? Absolutely! You know, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.” It did not say it comes by hearing the word of Allah, or the Qur’an, or Buddha. No! The Word of God! Yahweh.
The Bible is also sufficient for sanctification, for our spiritual growth after we got saved. Also, it is sufficient for evangelism. Many people ask me (Amir) because I came from a Muslim background, and I witness to Muslims, I teach about reaching out to Muslims, they say, “Okay, what’s your method? Give me the method.”
And it’s interesting—an American mind set, and a Western mindset, they’re always trying to find a silver bullet. “Give me that silver bullet in evangelism, and I have a Muslim convert.”
It doesn’t work that way. For me, when they ask me that question, I just look at them with a straight, simple answer. My method is an old-fashioned method. Actually, it’s a good method, it’s a current method, and it will continue to be the best method, and that is the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and a lot of time on my knees praying. Yes, am I prepared? Sure. Do I read and study? Absolutely! But ultimately, evangelism is totally the power of God and the Word of God. There is nothing I could do to convict and convert anyone, because I am not the Holy Spirit. So, we need to keep that in mind. Evangelism is total dependence on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and prayer.
The Bible is also sufficient for discipleship. We have seen so many books outside the Bible, where you’ve got churches trying to study that book instead of studying the Bible. And their idea of discipleship sometimes—not always, but sometimes contradicts what the Bible teaches.
So, how do false teachers affect Bible translations? Well, when the Word of God is not the supreme authority, an alternative gospel message arises—insufficient to redeem mankind like the true gospel. And I have seen this in the mission work outside the United States in so many countries. It really breaks my heart. And these individuals who do these Bible translations, and missionaries who are pushing these methodologies are not held accountable to the church because they are lying to the church of what they are doing overseas.
Now, you might say, “Well, that’s a strong allegation and accusation!”
We have a number of evidences of that, and toward the end, I’m going to show you a picture of a book that you could get online that will tell you a little bit more about all of this.
So, when traditions of man nullify Scripture, Christ alone is no longer sufficient. And that’s a problem. In America as well as overseas, especially in America now, they say the Bible is really not the only word of God! There is this progressive Christianity. There’s a church out of Tennessee—they’re up on their website, and their Facebook page, and they do say that the Bible is not the Word of God. Then why do you call yourself Christians? Why do you call yourself Church? The moment you deny the Scripture, you do not belong to Christ—you belong to the devil, as far as I’m concerned.
Now, people say, “I don’t like the way you put this.” Well, how do you want me to put it? How can I sugarcoat somebody denying the Bible and denying that Jesus is the only way? What do you want me to say, “Oh, he’s a brother”? No, he’s not a brother, because he’s teaching false teaching, representing false spirit. So, we need to keep that in mind.
Like I said in the beginning, develop good, thick skin. I think that this is a time when we need to develop thick skin, because these kind of attacks on the gospel and the Bible and the church and people like you and me, will intensify. So, you need to start doing that.
I want to introduce you to a translation called “Muslim Idiom Translation,” or MIT. Not the M.I.T. in Boston, but MIT— “Muslim Idiom Translation.” The rationale behind the MIT can be found in David Owens’s article, in his article titled A Jesus Movement within Islam” under the subtitle, A New Approach to Bible Translation, meaning “He found the silver bullet. He’s got the answer. There is a Jesus Movement within Islam.” Well, that’s a problem. If he said “Jesus Movement within Muslims,” the people—Okay, I get that. God is at work among the people. But when he says, “Jesus Movement within Islam,” and I just defined what Islam is—it’s a political ideology, uses a deity to advance his agenda, uses a book that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit, called the Qur’an, inspired by the devil, and he says Jesus Movement told him that?
That should be a red flag to be raised.
But now he says, “A new approach to Bible translation…” and this is a quote from that article. Here’s what he says, “It is a necessary requirement that Islamic-styled [that’s why I highlighted “styled”] Bible translations be produced in order for a Jesus Movement in an Islamic context to ever get off the ground.”
So, basically, he’s saying, “Look, if we need to reach Muslims, we have to do this. We have to come up with a Bible, the style, even the writing, looks Islamic.” And I do have a copy of one of these Bibles. I remember the first time I opened and read half of the page—I could not even finish the whole page—I felt like I was reading the Qur’an; that’s how close it is to the Qur’anic text, or style.
Let me continue with this. He said, “Bible translators will play a functional role in the initial stages of Haraka Isawlyya [Jesus Movement]. In carrying out their task, they also will take a consolidating step in the work of….listen to this! … “re-theologizing the Christian message within their ‘Muslims’ particular context.”
So, basically, he’s saying we need to come up with a Bible that reads and looks and feels like the Qur’an, and at the same time, the Bible translators need to redefine the theology of that particular Bible and the message of Christ.
Who gave him permission to do this? God didn’t. And that’s one of the issues when I talk to Muslims, and they say, “Oh, the Qur’an is in Arabic; it’s always been in Arabic for 1,400 years, but you guys, the Bible is being translated into so many languages it’s been corrupted.”
Well, my answer to that, I say, “Okay, so you’re telling me a Muslim, a Chinese Muslim, does not understand or read Arabic—you’re telling me he tried to read the Arabic, most likely he doesn’t, so he has to memorize it, and if he memorizes something he does not understand, he’s a true Muslim?”
See, the issue is “God of the Bible” is not afraid of good, godly men, who are faithful to the scripture to translate His Word in multiple languages so every tribe and tongue and nation can hear the message of the Gospel and God’s will in their lives. God is God and Allah is not.
Since 1987, some professing evangelicals began publishing Islamized “Scripture,” which continues to this day, unfortunately. Why? Because they’re still getting a lot of money from churches. Why churches continue to give money? Either out of ignorance or they’ve bought into this idea that this is the new “silver bullet.”
Islamic terms, including phrases from the Qur’an are often used in place of key biblical terms in those new translations, or “Islamic-friendly” Bibles.
The practice is part of C5 or Insider Movements for Muslims. C5/IM (I forgot his first name, but his last name I think is Travis, I forgot). Anyway, back 25-30 years ago, he came up with a scale. He wanted C5. C5 is Muslim-closed or Communist-closed countries to the gospel, so we need to be innovative to present the gospel. So supposedly, this kind of translation is designed for that. An insider movement is all about operating within that context.
C5/IM Insider Movement claims that a Muslim can retain a Muslim identity while having saving faith in Jesus Christ and result in a “Jesus Movement” within Islam.
How could he have a Muslim identity—continue to be a Muslim—call himself a Muslim, does everything a Muslim does, but then he says, “Well, I’m saved by faith in Christ Jesus”? That’s not an identity.
Look, when God saved me from Islam into the life of Christ, my identity was no longer in Islam. My identity is in Christ. I am a child of God. He purchased me with the blood—with His blood. He redeemed me; He purchased me; and He saved me, and He sealed me with His Spirit. So, this is my identity. I’m a Christian. I have to correct so many missionaries, and some Christians, they call me, “Oh, you’re a Muslim-background believer.”
I’m offended by that! I say, “No, I’m not a Muslim! You called me a Muslim. I’m not. You said ‘background.’ Background of what? Believer? Believer in what? You have not identified who I am. “
So, we need to be very careful on that, and a little bit later, I’m going to give you some examples. What do they mean by “a Muslim can retain his identity?” Muslim identity is still “be part of the kingdom—or believe in Jesus.” We’ll show you that a little bit later.
So, how does M.I.T. (Muslim Idiom Translation) help Muslims? Well, for decades if not centuries, Muslims have claimed that Jews and Christians changed the Bible in order to reject Muhammad as their final prophet. Well, Muslim Idiom Translation now has given them the proof that Christians have changed the Bible—because they have! And this new Muslim translation, a Muslim-friendly translation Bible, it’s really not a true Bible as far as I’m concerned. Because they have compromised in many things, and I’m going to show you in a little bit a table—a comparison about what is really the most egregious change that they have made in the scripture that will make you upset.
So, what are the distinguishing features? Well, M.I.T. is normally categorized by any one or more of the following. Again, this list is not limited to this list.
—Non-neutral renderings for ‘God,’ for ‘father,’ and ‘Son’ terminology: Why? Because the term “Father,” the identity of God as a Father, is offensive to Muslims because they don’t believe in Allah as a father.
—Also, “Son”— Jesus as the Son of God is so offensive to Muslims, we need to change that, because Muslims don’t believe that.
So, wait a minute! Jesus identified Himself as the Son of the Living God. God introduced Himself as the Father. So, who are you, who am I, who are they, to change that, just so we not have Muslims be offended?
I love talking about God the Father and the Son with Muslims. Of course, they get upset! Of course, they get hot and bothered! But that’s where evangelism comes in. You know, I just straight-faced look at them and say, “Hang on a second! Why do you object that God is a Father?” I want to know where they’re coming from. Why do you [deny] that Jesus is the Son of God? And once they tell me, I’m ready to demolish those arguments, and these are things that you can learn as well!
But just because he gets upset with me for saying “God is the Father” and “Jesus is the Son”—just because he gets upset, I have to backtrack and accommodate that? That’s wrong! And I think we need to develop a little bit of spine and thick skin to present the gospel, the unadulterated Word of God, and not to be afraid of people’s reactions.
Look, when a Muslim gets upset, he’s not upset with you. He’s upset with the truth of the Scripture! You’re just the messenger. So, stop trying to defend yourself without the Scripture. You go back to the Scripture, and say, “Look, I’m not saying that. The Bible says that.”
“Well, the Bible is corrupt.”
“Really? Where was it corrupted? Show me where it’s corrupted.” And this is…you can bring…throw the ball on their court. They are the one who is accusing that God is not a Father, Jesus is not the Son, the Bible is corrupt. Well, they have the burden of proof to prove their accusation is true!
Words and phrases from the Qur’an are introduced in the bible. Islamic theological terminology is also in that new bible. Omission of certain passages is totally eliminated from that new bible.
Here are some passages that they have taken out—they’ve changed, okay?
Like Matthew:28:19. You know, The Great Commission. It says, “The name of the Protector, his Representative, and the Holy Spirit,” instead of “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Is that really what the Greek says? Is that what the Bible really, truly says?
Here’s another one: James:2:19: “There is no god but Allah,” instead of “God is One.” This is the first part of the shahada, or the Islamic Creed. There is no linguistic, no theological justification for this. In Islam, for you to be converted to Islam, you have to say the Creed: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” Right there in that creed it denies God as a triune God and denies Jesus the Son of God, and elevated Muhammad to the same level as Allah.
But here, you’ve got “Bible translators, Christians” have put that term, the first that “There is no god but Allah”—in Arabic, “La ilaha Illallah,” (There is no God but Allah), and put that in James:2:19, and basically, they switch. Instead of saying “God is one,” what’s wrong with “God is one”? That’s the word the Bible teaches me: “God is one.” Even Deuteronomy:6:4: “Worship the Lord your God, the Lord your God is one.” God is one. That’s what the Bible teaches.
Galatians:2:20, it says, “Caliph of God,” instead of “Son of God.” Do you see, they took “the Son” out, because it’s offensive to Muslims! This makes Jesus a religious or political successor of Muhammad. He’s really not the center of the whole existence, the whole purpose of Creation that God will redeem mankind. And before the foundation of the world, He had planned to send His only begotten Son, His eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind to Himself.
And there are some other omissions. By the way, you will have…I will forward these notes to The Berean Call and make that available so you could download that from their website.
So, how is “Son of Man” rendered in this case? This phrase is usually not literally translated in these Bible translation. This feature eliminates the divinely inspired parallel between the Son of God and Son of man. This parallel is essential to biblical witness, that Jesus Christ is…what? Both divine and human!
Sometimes when I encounter Muslims, when I share the gospel with them, I also teach that in my conferences and seminars, they say, “Well, give me an example in the Bible that He is fully human and fully God.” The best example: when He was preaching all day, all night, He’s exhausted, He says, “Let’s go to the other side of Galilee.” They got in the boat; He fell asleep—He was exhausted! That showed His humanity, okay? His body was tired, needed rest. He fell asleep. But when the storm came, and the disciples were fearful of the storm, and woke Him up and actually they blamed Him: “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?!” So, He got up, and He said, “Hush! Be still!” and the storm calmed down. He showed His divinity.
And they asked this question: “Who is this man that even the storm can obey His command?”
And there are other passages in the gospels to prove that Jesus was fully man and fully God. Some representative verses to verify are these passages that you see on the screen that shows that Jesus Christ is fully man, fully God, but also He is the Son of God and Son of Man.
Now, I’m going to show you a quote, and this quote is from a gentleman named Rick Brown, who was with Wycliffe, and this is from 2005, an article. And here’s what he said, “In most of the occurrences in which ‘Son of God’ is used for Jesus, the usage is Messianic, meaning the focus on Jesus’s role as Lord and Savior.”
Uhh, hello!? This is so wrong! Jesus did not become the Son of God when He was incarnated and became a Savior. No! Jesus Christ was the Son of God before the foundation of the world, will continue to be the Son of God for eternity, because He did say, “I came,” (past tense) into the world. I came from the Father into the world, now it’s time for me to go back to the Father.” He told them, “I came” (past tense) “from the Father—that means He was the Son from the past—into the world, and He’s going back to the Father. He will continue to be Son of God.
So, right here, even the term “Son of God,” this gentleman, Rick Brown, has redefined and limited it to only “Lord,” or “Savior.”
Here’s another statement he said, “No cardinal doctrines are at stake, only traditions about wording, and the wordings are just temporary—a bridge to the Bible.”
I disagree with that! “Doctrines” is not about wording. “Doctrines” is truth. It’s teaching of what God had to say and revealed in His Word, and we need to abide by it. It’s set in concrete—biblical concrete, if you want to call it that.
It’s not just about wording, and the doctrine is not used as a method, or bridge, to the Bible. The moment you dismantle the doctrine, the biblical doctrine, “In the beginning…” and now you’re trying to “repair” it and bring it back to the Bible? I disagree with that statement.
Now, I have a friend of mine, Reverend Adam Simnowitz, and he’s a missionary to Muslims. He showed really wonderful samples of the differences between Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Muslim-friendly bible and one of the versions, which is in this case, the New American Standard Version, and some of the passages. Let’s look at that:
Wycliffe, instead of saying “Son of the Most High God,” and “Son of God,” they just put “Christ.” So, instead of leaving it as it is, “Son of the Most High,” and “Son of God,” in Luke:1:32-35, they just replace it with “Christ.”
“Christ” in Arabic is “Masih,” it’s not “Messiah,” because if you ask Muslims what Masih means, the term, or the role, of Masih, or Christ, they don’t know what it means, as far as they’re concerned, it’s just a title. They don’t know what it means. It’s not “the Anointed One.”
Wycliffe Bible translators, they said, “Messiah of the Most High God.” So, they replaced “Son of God” in Luke:4:3-9. And they also replaced “My Son” into “The Beloved Messiah.”
Messiah is not a son, you know? “Son of God,” Jesus is the Son of God. That’s who He is. This is His identity! “Messiah” is who He is as far as “Anointed One,” the Christ, the promised One. So, we need to really pay attention to these terminologies.
And, of course, if you’d confront a Wycliffe Bible translator who came up with this stuff, or promoted this stuff, and ask “Why would you do this? This is not saying what the Bible says.”
And, believe me, they are so slick! They will come up with some incredible explanation and will deceive you! They say, “Well, this is how they will accept Jesus,” or “This is how we present Jesus in a nonconfrontational way, just to lead them into the Bible to accept Jesus as Son of God.”
That’s a problem! They put just “God” instead of the true meaning, “Your Father, the Father.”
“Lord of the Worlds” in their Muslim-friendly Bibles—“Lord of the Worlds” —that’s a typical Islamic terminology for Allah, Rabb-al-Alamin, “Lord of the World,” instead of “your heavenly Father.”
They put “God the Praised” instead of “My Father.”
They put “Oh Lord” instead of “Father.”
They just put “God” instead of “My Father.”
And the “Great Commission’s” interest in how they changed it—and here’s what it says: “And baptize them with water in name of God and His Messiah and the Holy Spirit,” instead of “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Again, we have to ask the question, who gave them that permission? Did God give them that permission to change the Scripture? Especially change how He revealed Himself as a Father and also as Jesus is the Son of God. Who gave them that permission? They took it upon themselves and changed that, so Muslims can “get saved,” and that tells me they have a lack of faith in the work of the Holy Spirit that can convict and convert people, and the true Word of God that can penetrate through the hearts of men and women when they hear the Gospel, and through the power of prayer.
So, how about the facts about “Father” and “Son”?
“Father” in reference to God occurs 260 times in the Greek New Testament. “Father” in reference to God is the same word used for human fathers. I’m a father, so the way that God showed or revealed Himself, the term “Father” is the Father and His children. We are children of God.
“Son” as also a reference to Jesus occurs about 79 times in the Greek New Testament.
“Son of God,” in reference to Jesus occurs 45 times in the Greek New Testament.
“Son” in reference to Jesus is the same word as human sons. So, I’m a son of my dad, Jesus is Son of God the Father.
“Father and Son” are the basis for believers in Jesus becoming children, or sons, of God. We have biblical references to show that (e.g., John:1:12; Romans:8:14-19, 29; Galatians:4:4-7; Ephesians:1:3-5, 1 John:3:1-2).
“Father” and “Son” are not treated as metaphors but as integral witness to God’s eternal Triune nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and we see that in The Great Commission.
“Father” is the source for all family. “Father” thus, cannot be an analogy, or metaphor, with human fathers.
“Son,” the Son of God, is called God. We see that in Isaiah:7:14; 9:6; Hebrews 1, 1 John 5.
“Described as the Creator,” and we see that in the Scripture. And He is stated to be eternal (Isaiah:9:6; Micah:5:2; Colossians:1:13, 17; Hebrews:7:3).
“Son” or “Son of God” thus cannot be an analogy either, or a metaphor, with human sons.
“Son” and “Father” have enjoyed shared glory and love from eternity as “Father” and “Son” (John:17:5, 24).
First Timothy 4:16 tells us—it’s a warning—Paul is warning Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy:4:16).
And that’s where a teacher must be very careful what he’s teaching. He has to be biblical truths, because he will deceive not just himself, but he’s deceiving those who are listening to him.
The Bible is sufficient for evangelism, so these individuals who came up with this new Bible translation, they also came up with a new methodology in reaching Muslims for Christ. So, what we have, we have apostasy in the church—what we call Chrislam. Just to give you an idea, there are some churches—and usually they are seeker-sensitive, prosperity gospel, or some liturgical churches in America, where sometimes they have Bibles and Qur’ans in the pews, especially during Ramadan, the month of fasting of Islam.
Sometimes, you’ve got an Imam [who gets] invited into the church and reads the Qur’an, and call the Islamic prayer. You could watch that on YouTube. It just breaks my heart to see a man, an imam, which is a Muslim preacher, call The Islamic Prayer in the church behind the pulpit, and you have a pastor and some of the church leaders behind him just standing silently and they’re [shaking] nodding their heads, “Oh, this is wonderful!”
But they don’t understand the Arabic, because they basically, in that Islamic Call to Prayer, call on the Muslims to come to the straight path, not to the path of those who have strayed, and mainly the Jews and the Christians. They basically are cursing the Christians right in front of them!
The Emergent Church fasted the month of Ramadan with the direction of one of their leaders, Brian Maclaren and some others.
So, they come up with contextual lies, approaches, and Muslim evangelism. Unbiblical methodologies! Let’s go through some of them. One of them is “Camel Method.” This was initiated and started by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board with Kevin Gleason, who came up with that.
“Jesus in the Qur’an Seminar,” Jamie Winship, and the other one, which is the worst of them of all is called “Insider Movement,” or they do conferences, “Common Ground Conferences.”
So, what is their reasoning? Why are they doing this? Well, because, they say, “Allah is Yahweh.” The biblical Jesus is the same as the Islamic Jesus, or Isa, even in the Qur’an, the name of Jesus being corrupted.
“There’s truth in the Qur’an: thus we can share the gospel from it,” they say.
“Muhammad is a true prophet.” There are some that even equate him to the same level as prophets of the Old Testament!
What are their practices? Well, Missionaries call themselves Muslims. You’ve got a missionary who goes to a Muslim country and identifies himself as a Muslim. Now, when a Muslim hears that—here’s a guy, let’s say from Europe or from North America, and he’s going to look at his friends and say, “Hey, come here, buddies, look, look, look! This guy, this westerner, he’s a Muslim; he’s a follower of Allah and Muhammad.”
And some missionaries, they find themselves in a real predicament, like “How in the world am I going to get out of this?” And when Muslims find out about this, they get upset! They look at the guy and say, “Wait a minute! If you’re a Christian, why are you ashamed to be a Christian?” A very good question!
So, look, Muslims will object to your belief, but as long as you stand in your faith, at least they’ll give you respect—you’re standing for what you believe. But when you go and deceive them, and you’re going under false pretense, that is not what the Bible teaches.
Of course, some of the missionaries go to the mosque and pray with the Muslims! Of course, they are not denying Jesus, they’re praying in the name of Jesus in the mosque! Did Paul instruct the believers in Corinth to go to the Temple of Diana and pray in the name of Jesus? That’s what these guys are doing!
An insider performs Salat, or prayer, in the Mosque. He recites the Shahada (Islamic Confession of Faith)? So, wait a minute! If you’re telling me this insider “convert” (converted to whatever “Christianity” that these guys have presented), he goes to the Mosque, prays like a Muslim, recites the Confession of Faith (which denies God, the triune God, and Jesus, the Son of God), what kind of believer is this? You call him an “insider”? Inside of what?
So, basically, they robbed this person’s identity, not just as a true Muslim, not even a true Christian! So, he’s stuck in between, and he doesn’t know who he is.
Of course, they instruct the Fast in of the month of Ramadan, telling converts to call themselves Muslim followers of Isa (Islamic Jesus), just like the Jesus movement—you’ve got Jesus followers of Messiah. Converts pray within the Qur’anic verses.
See, that’s the thing. They encourage converts to call themselves, “I’m a Muslim follower of Isa,” so when you go to pray, so you will not be denying Jesus, you only pray verses from the Qur’an pretending to Isa, Jesus of the Qur’an.
I have a whole presentation about the differences between Jesus of the Qur’an and Jesus of the Bible. They are definitely not the same!
Just to give you an example, Jesus of the Qur’an denied his own deity. Denied that he is the Son of God, while Jesus of the Bible acknowledged that He is the Son of God, that He came from God the Father.
“Jesus,” of the Qur’an, he is not the son of God, and he performed miracles in the name of Allah.
But Jesus acknowledged that He is the Son of God, but also performed miracles in His own power. He said, “Rise up walk!” He did not say “In the name of Yahweh, rise up and walk.”
Jesus of the Qur’an did not die on the cross; was never raised to die for mankind, while Jesus of the Bible did die for mankind and was raised three days later.
Unbiblical practices: Of course, you’ve got new converts remaining in the Mosque with no plans of withdrawal. So, there’s no such thing as “going to church,” or being a member of a church.
The insider also can go to Islamic Pilgrimage, the Hajj, and practice the festivals and sacrifices of Islam.
A Christian can convert to join the Mosque; can convert to Islam and join the Mosque. And we’ve seen these kind of practices happen in Bangladesh and other…Pakistan and Ethiopia and some other countries, Sri Lanka, and some other countries. It’s all being exported from the United States to these countries and these practices being done.
So, one must ask what happened when modern western philosophy, theology, social sciences, and linguistic convergences into inherently synchronistic religious environments? What would happen? We lose biblical values, we lose biblical theology and doctrine, and the true gospel.
So, this is a frontal attack into the Bible and the identity of the Father, the Lord God Almighty, and the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, and definitely the gospel and the Bible.
The Insider Movement is a by-product of the Emergent Church, seeker-sensitive, liberal seminaries, and political correctness in the churches.
Do you remember at the beginning of this presentation I talked about American Christianity, and basically, this is a by-product of that.
What they believe, the common “insiders”:
When people say, “Oh, when I go to southeast Asia and I’m teaching seminars, and so forth, and conferences, I have some national pastors or church planters who’ve bought into these methodologies. They said, “You come from America, you try to teach us Western religions.”
Well, wait a minute. Jesus was not born in Paris, London, or New York. He was born in the Middle East, so I’m not teaching anyone western religion. I’m talking about biblical teaching and biblical doctrines. So we need to make sure that we should not back down when they accuse us of false accusations. We need to stand up for the truth.
Like I said, it is my conviction this is blasphemy. How could you equate the Son of the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, to a fictitious character Muhammad invented? His name is Isa al-Masih.
To answer that, when people say, “Well, why can’t you use Muslim followers of Isa, just like Jewish followers of Messiah?”
I say, “Well, wait a minute! The Jews continue to call themselves Jews because that’s their heritage, that’s…they were born in a Jewish family, and that’s where they are from. But they’re followers of Messiah, Jesus Christ, and at the same time, they have the Scripture. They have the Old Testament.
But now, they believe in the Lord Jesus, and they start seeing the prophecies of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament. So, the New Testament is now a continuation and revelation and expansion of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Lord Jesus.
Muslims don’t have that. The Qur’an is not a continuation of the Old Testament, neither of the New Testament. The Qur’an is a total contradiction of the Old Testament and the New Testament. So, we cannot say, “Yeah, they can stay Muslims and they can be followers of Jesus.”
“Well, which Jesus?” We’ve already identified that’s not the same Jesus. They still call him Isa Masih. So, we’ve got a problem with that.
Insiders sometimes call themselves “messianic Muslims,” which, like I said, like Messianic Jews, which is really not the right terminology at all.
So, what are the issues? Does it describe a type of Muslim, or a type of non-Muslim, or something else? Again, it’s identity is being lost from that person.
Is culture neutral? Can it be separated from religion?
Forced isolation—we’ve seen some isolated “insiders” communities from observation and accountability, the church cannot hold these people accountable. For years, some missionaries, American missionaries, claimed that there have been 250,000 Muslim converts in Bangladesh by these methodologies and Camel Method, and so forth. And we kept asking them: Show us the proof. Show us the proof. Show us the proof. What are the churches? Is there any multiplication of those churches? Any baptisms? Any disciples?
“Hey! I’ll even buy your airline ticket; I’ll buy my airline ticket. Will you show me where they are?” And they will not do it.
Not until about 15 years later, after continuously questioning them, pressing them, finally they acknowledged that they were manufactured numbers!
But in those 15 years, they raised tons if not hundreds of millions of dollars “to reach Muslims for Christ” under false pretense, and leading these Muslims to false ideologies.
See, this is a problem. It really upsets me, because you’ve got these Westerners coming up with methodologies that will take Muslims out of Islam into doctrines of false ideology—and not even Christianity! They don’t even call themselves Christians, so it’s not Christian. It’s not followers of the true Jesus.
So, they really don’t care about the souls of these people. The motives, you know—initially they said, “Well, we want Muslims to come to know Christ.”
Well, this methodology has been cooking since the ’60s! We just now, over the last 20 years, we’ve seen the fruit of the labor. So, if you have good intentions, good intentions only last for so long, but not for the last 40-50 years. So now they are intentionally doing this, so therefore, do I really…. Look, I’m not the Holy Spirit! I don’t know what’s in their heart, but I really question, are they really truly born again? Because you have to judge the fruit of the labor! If the fruit is ungodly, if the fruit is contradiction to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, what do you call that?
You know, God is watching! They’re making mockery of God, and God is a jealous God. He’s not going to allow this to happen! And “woe to them” who continue to do this!
—Questionable math, lack of visible communities and significant attrition. —Prejudiced, selective, and inaccurate use of Scripture—they only select certain Scripture to fit the narrative that they want to present and the method that they are using.
—Continuing financial assistance for leaders. Some of these leaders—and I remember… (the reason I keep saying “Bangladesh” is because they use Bangladesh as a laboratory for their methodology. There was a leader in Bangladesh who was a Muslim, but he knew—he figured out what these guys are doing, and he basically milked them of tens of thousands of dollars and coming up with false conversion numbers.
—Controversial translation work (and we already discussed that, and I’ll show you a book that you can get later that exposes all of this).
—Affirmation of Muhammad.
—No role for the historical/traditional church in this
—No connections to the visible church
—Primacy of anthropology/sociology over theology—biblical theology
—Ethics issues concerned with deception
—The Lord wants us to be salt and light.
—What kind of…is the mosque salt and light? Is that what we are now talking about? There is only one light, and there’s only one salt. That’s the church of the living God, the Bride.
So, there’s a huge confusion of identity that these people have now bought into what these missionaries have promoted and shared. Now they’re not Muslims, they’re not Christians—they’re kind of in between…they call themselves Muslim Followers of Isa.
So, action points: What are we supposed to be doing? What are you supposed to be doing? Well, when the essentials of the faith are in question, we need to take time and respond. You need to figure out, okay, who’s doing it in your community? Which pastor, which missionary, and so forth, and you need to hold them accountable, and if they don’t listen, then we really need to kick them out of the church, or kick them out of their community, if they’re missionaries—especially foreign missionaries.
Our silence and inaction are part of several reasons why we are even discussing this in this fashion and having this conversation. I’ve been talking about this since 1997, and very few churches really are aware of this. And even after I talk about this in front of churches, they really don’t do anything! The money continues to flow. As long as money continues to flow, these false teachers and false missionaries and false translators will continue doing what they’re doing.
Write letters to these and other organizations, including the mission boards of evangelical denominations—because you need to understand, God is a jealous God! He will not tolerate this. He is patient. He is gracious. But He will not allow people to abuse His scripture, abuse His grace, abuse who He is, and who the Son is.
Psalm 86 :11 says, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: Unite my heart to fear Thy name.”
I think that’s the attitude we need to continue to have to keep us in check. I’m part of a group called Biblical Missiology. And we started this, really, once we found out about each other, we started really holding these organizations and translations and missionaries accountable.
Biblical Missiology exists to promote biblical methods of missions and to counter and expose unbiblical ones. We’ve been doing that for conferences, articles—it exists to educate the church to this danger by teaching sound biblical theology. We hold agencies accountable by dialog, meetings, articles, websites, online petitions. I
f you want to go to the website, it’s called biblicalmissiology.org. Please go to it. Educate yourself.
Also, I would highly advise you to get this book: Chrislam: How Missionaries Are Promoting Islamized Gospel. It’s by 25 authors, I am one of them. Basically, we did this—way back in 2012, this book came out, and it talks a lot about the Bible translations, we give you facts, because I’m not here to expose something or accuse an agency or missionaries without facts. And we do have the facts from their own mouths, from their own websites.
And about a few years ago, it became public. Some radio stations covered it, but it died down. And so, we need to continue that pressure that they need to stay accountable.
So that mindset—where did that come from? Well, that comes from their doctrine of “The Two Kingdoms.” And this is how they explain it, okay? I’m going to show you how they explain it, and I’m going to show you, really, what the Bible says.
They call it the Kingdom Circles. They say this is the Kingdom of God, and these are world religions. So, you see the “C” for Christianity, “I” for Islam, “H” for Hinduism, “B” for Buddhism, “T” for Taoism, “S” for Sikhism.
And there are other “isms” out there. They said because they intersect with the Kingdom of God, the first mistake they made, the “C” in Christianity, they made it a world religion.
Christianity’s not a world religion. Our faith is a personal relationship with the living God. Period. It’s not a religion on the same level of other religions. Yeah, we’ve got churches kind of organized, but really, the heart of our faith is our personal relationship with the Living God.
They say—that’s why earlier on I said that they believe a Muslim can stay a Muslim, meaning he can stay in the “I” in Islam—as long as they intersect with the Kingdom of God, he can stay a Muslim but still be part of the Kingdom of God, he is saved.
A Hindu can stay a Hindu as long as he intersects with the Kingdom of God, he is saved, believes in Jesus, and so forth.
Is THAT in the Bible? It’ not! If you say “yes,” I don’t know which Bible you believe, because it’s not the same Bible that has been around for the last 3,500 years.
Now, if they tell me God is only…see, they even limited the Kingdom of God only that intersects with other world religions. The question is “Outside of the Kingdom of God, who is in charge of the rest of the circles, other than kingdom of darkness?”
You see how they flipped it? So, what does the Bible say about the two Kingdoms? Because there are two Kingdoms. We’ve got the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Darkness.
God is in charge of everything. He’s also in control and charge of Satan and his demons. He puts them on a short leash. Satan does not do anything without God’s permission, so He’s still in charge. World religions are in the Kingdom of Darkness. They don’t belong in the Kingdom of God, as far as the Kingdom of Light. They are in darkness. That’s why the Lord Jesus, when He came and established His church smack in the middle of the Kingdom of Darkness, that’s why we are the Light of the World, salt of the earth.
What is the purpose of light? When you go into a dark room, the first thing you is try to find the switch and turn it on, okay? So, you turn it on, what does the light do? The moment you turn it on, darkness disappears. So, light is to expose darkness and dissipate darkness.
We, the church, the people, God’s people, when God puts us in the path of an unbeliever, we are the light of that person’s life, and when we present the gospel, we are shedding light into his dark world, and with prayer, reliance on the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, the Lord will work in that person’s heart and bring him into the light of Christ, which is in this church.
Sometime, eschatologically, sometimes in the future, the New Jerusalem will come and will destroy the kingdom of darkness, and it will not exist. If you knew eschatology, Satan will be thrown in the Lake of Fire, will not be heard from any more, and praise God for that. We’re looking forward to that!
Galatians:1:6-9 tells us, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
That’s strong language! But it’s a strong warning—a strong warning for those who pervert the gospel and pervert the Scripture. And I showed you some of these false teachers, and most of them are products of the West.
He continues: “As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
That’s pretty strong! My final thoughts: Muslims and non-believers ought not to be deprived of the gospel in the name of Bible translation.
Now, I think this is what happened. Just because a Bible translation will lead them to Christ, but then present them with a false gospel, false teaching, Christians should not be defrauded of their time and money by praying and funding something of which they would not approve. I’ve been in many churches, when I shared this truth with them, and I give them facts, they are bewildered, they’re angry, and they’re upset why these agencies of missionaries that they have been supporting for years have lied to them, and they ask me, “Why?” I say, “Go and ask them! I’m not the one who is doing it! I’m just telling you what they are doing. I’m just exposing them.”
Christians should not be unwittingly distributing Bible translations that are not biblical. If somebody—I remember one time, I was in seminary, somebody gave me a box of Arabic Bibles. He said, “Can you use them?”
I said, “Yeah, we’re working with refugees. Thank you so much!”
I took them home, I opened the box, and I opened the Bible—the first page, I just closed the Bible, and I just wanted to throw it in the trash. Why? Because it was heavily contextualized with Qur’anic terminologies and Qur’anic language. So, I did not distribute them; I did not give them to refugees, and neither should you.
God should not be so impugned through the perversion of His Word. We need to really stand up and contend for the faith. We have to be very careful who we promote as far as missionaries or mission agencies.
Now, I mentioned Wycliffe by name. Their international arm is called ISL. They’ve partnered with some other agencies, like Mission Frontiers and others. Are they doing the same thing in other contexts, whether it be communist contexts, or tribal contexts? I really don’t know. So, I cannot say every missionary is doing that. What I can tell you is that the agency has funded this kind of translations, and you could go to biblicalmessiology.org, and you can find all the proof that you need.
I pray this session has really opened your eyes and awakened you and made you to be a warrior for the gospel, because people desperately need the gospel. And God put you and me in the path of those individuals to be the light of the world in their path. But if we have the wrong gospel, if we have the wrong Jesus to present, then we are no longer the light of the world, and we have deceived these individuals and we did not represent Christ very well. And we will be held accountable to Him someday.
So, I pray this session has been a blessing to you, and I want to thank my brother, Tom McMahon and The Berean Call staff for inviting me to do this, and I want to thank my brothers who have this facility for me to make this happen, that this material will be a blessing to you, and a warning, but also a challenge that you others not to stray away from the faith. God bless you and keep you all the time until Jesus comes. Hopefully, we’ll see each other face to face, and you will see my real face. God bless you. You have a blessed day. Thank you.