Five years ago, I wrote a blog about the PCUSA decision to normalize homosexuality and predicted that one of the fall-outs of this error would be the inability of PCUSA missionaries to reach the Muslim world. Since Muslims are taught within their own Scriptures that homosexual behavior is sinful, they would quite naturally conclude that any group espousing that homosexual practice is fine with God would have nothing trustworthy to say on any other spiritual topic.
In an interview with Ishaq Akintola, an African professor of Muslim Eschatology and Director of Muslim Rights Concern (“Islam has no age barrier for marriage — MURIC Director, Akintola,” Punch, March 6, 2016), the professor is asked to defend the morality of Muslim men marrying young girls. His response is that Islam has no prescribed age barriers, and that those outside Islam have no business judging something happening within Islamic practice — they should, as Jesus told his disciples, judge not lest they be judged. But his second defense is that Christians should look to their own house before they criticize the houses of others. Specifically, he cites the fact that churches are now conducting same-sex weddings. “So, instead of paying attention to marriages conducted among Muslims, Christians should do something about gay marriages inside churches” (emphasis added). In essence, Mr. Akintola is saying to the Western (“Christian”) world, “Who are you to pillory us for something that our religious law allows? At least we still see marriage as between members of the opposite sex. But you allow the perversion of homosexuality in your churches and even celebrate it with a marriage ceremony. You have no moral high ground to stand on — we have no obligation to listen to you. In fact, your practices are reprehensible before God while ours have divine sanction.”
A second helping of bitter fruit was served through remarks made by Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam and Sheikh of Al-Azhar University (the head spokesman of Islamic theology at Sunni Islam’s premier institution of higher learning) while he was at a conference at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta on February 23rd of this year. When asked during Q&A time about the status within orthodoxy of the Islamic State, he responded with the logic that in the same way that some Christian groups approve of homosexuality but we don’t thereby assume that orthodox Christianity normalizes such sin, so also groups such as the Islamic State embrace and practice certain evils but Islam as a whole does not approve of such actions. Stunningly, the Grand Imam compares the rise of homosexual advocacy in mainline churches such as the PCUSA with the rise of ISIS in the Islamic Sunni world!
What Sheikh al-Tayeb fails to note in this comparison, however, is that while the Bible nowhere advocates for homosexual unions and in fact every time homosexuality is mentioned it is in the context of sin and judgment, the Qur’an, Hadith and the Sira (early biographies of Muhammad’s life) amply condone and support the violent and hateful actions of ISIS — in fact, the leaders of ISIS regularly quote passages from the Qur’an, backed up by associated Hadith traditions reflecting Muhammad’s words and actions, as well as by the oldest, most respected biographies of the prophet penned by Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari, and they appeal to legal rulings issued by Islam’s early and highly revered jurists, all in order to lend credence to the spread of their poison. This is not in spite of orthodox Islam but in fulfillment of it! In other words, while an objective reader of historic Christianity would rightly conclude that approval of homosexuality is a radical distortion of biblical teaching, that same objective reader of historic Islam would conclude that violence against infidels and hypocrites (uncommitted Muslims) is part and parcel of the religion from its inception.
Sheikh al-Tayeb did, however, have some sobering words of warning for leaders of the PCUSA and other mainline denominations that have folded to the social pressures of the pro-gay movement in America: “It is extremely regrettable that some heads of churches in the United States conduct [homosexual] marriages. I wonder how little of the Injil [Gospel] is left to them and how they will face our master, Isa [Islamic version of Jesus]. ”
The state of the mainline church is pretty deplorable when the head of an Islamic University makes more sense than all the “Christian” moderators, stated clerks, presidents and poobahs put together. One wonders, indeed, how little of the gospel is left to them….