Problem #2 - The Rise of a Powerful Rival
While Christianity and biblical revelation are challenged, marginalized and legally discriminated against in Western democratic culture, the religion of Islam becomes more and more accepted (Just hold onto this thought for now; it will be discussed in more detail later on.). Islam increasingly waggles its way inward toward the center of the public arena and the court of law in the Western world, whose mantra of “Tolerance, tolerance!” grows louder and louder. Yet - and at the same time - Christianity is ridiculed as offensive, which places even more peer pressure on the adolescent Titanic church to separate itself from Truth and embrace the cool, contemporary, relevant cultural clique.
Please understand the repercussions of this facet of the Titanic church’s voyage! If the Western church continues to focus on becoming more accommodating to the pagan culture in order to attract and keep pagan seekers, while this culture’s center becomes more and more influenced by Islam, then the Church is eventually going to have to make a choice to avoid hitting disaster head-on: sail around this “iceberg” to the right side or to the left.
On one side lies accommodation. If it goes this direction, the Titanic church will need to accommodate new cultural views to remain relevant. The Titanic church will need to embrace Islam as an equal and viable religious option. (Ironically, while the misinformed, historically irrelevant Titanic church may pursue this route, the Islamic religion is most likely not going to bring the same enlightened insight to the negotiation table; Islam will not offer to recognize the Church as “an equal and viable religious option.” To do so would undermine 1,300 years of Islamic practice and theology. But, if it makes you sleep better at night you can pretend the last 1,300 years doesn’t have anything to do with your current, relevant, brave new world. Just pretend you never read this.)
If it chooses the other route, the Titanic church will need to make a stand. It is never necessary for the Church to take a stand against
Islam, but to be a truly faithful biblical church, it will need to take a stand for
Jesus Christ. This means the Titanic church will somehow have to commit to the biblical revelation of Jesus Christ and communicate this insight firmly to their tolerance-frenzied Western Culture: Jesus, the man, is the Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe, the Second member of the Trinity, the crucified and resurrected Savior of the World and the King of the Kingdom of God.
In this scenario, the Titanic church will have to be very clear in its assertion that Muhammad did not agree with any of the facts above. In fact, if a person were to take such a stand for Jesus Christ that person would be classified as an infidel by Muhammad. (Research Islam’s treatment and conversion of infidels for further insight.)
So, the culturally-relevant Titanic church is destined for temporal disaster either way. The fate of the Titanic church is set. If it swerves to the left in peace it will be overthrown by assimilation. And if it swerves to the right in conviction it will be overthrown by force. Either way, the Titanic church will lose. The only question is will they lose their soul to destruction, or their worldly standing to spiritual transformation. Jesus discussed both scenarios during his ministry. First, to the one who chose compromise Jesus said:
Whoever wants to save his life will lose it… What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul. – Jesus (Matthew 16:25-26), 30 AD
And to the one who would take a stand Jesus said:
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. . .Whoever loses his life for me will find it. – Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25), 30 AD
I predict the Titanic church will be pragmatic enough to anticipate its fate, whichever side of the Islamic iceberg it chooses. I also suspect that, following its well-ingrained and practiced response developed through years of rehearsal, the Titanic church will hold its straight and steady course, guided still by the North Star of cultural relevance and materialism. And as a result, the Titanic church will be absorbed - its Community Centers will become Islamic Centers, its pulpits will be filled with Islamic activists, and through the continuation of emotionalism and the practice of mysticism, the Titanic worshippers will adapt easily to prayer rugs.
Thus the voyage of the Titanic church will be complete. Its captains will be commended for their skill and wisdom in averting a Titanic-like sinking disaster. Its leadership teams will be praised for having demonstrated the courage to act on their insight, and safely leading their communities into a new age of religious unity, peace and love.