Outline of Islam

The Duty of Jihad and its Meaning

Osama’s Declaration of War

Theonomic and Secularistic Islam

The United States and Iraq

Reflections on Other Things

Islam and Islamicism

In addition to what is below, there are several pages that you may find of interest.  One is an outline of Islam; it runs about seven printed pages.  Another is a brief look at how Osama bin Laden justifies his jihad against Israel and the United States.

The relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a major roadblock to world peace, and the United States is intimately involved.

Below are two pieces that I wrote in reflection on the terrible events that took place on September 11, 2001: Terrorism as Jihad, an article that ran in our local newspaper, The Alexandria Daily Town Talk on September 14, 2001; and Signposts of the Dies Irae*, a sketch of a sermon that I preached on September 16, 2001.

I have found Dr. Jeffrey Record’s report on the War on Global Terrorism given to the U. S. Army War College chilling.


Terrorism as Jihad

This truly is a time for prayer. With so much naive speculation about how the government of the United States should have made some preemptive move to stop this, we need to remember that such acts by suicidal terrorists cannot easily be prevented, not even by revoking the Bill of Rights. Though such things as tighter airport security may surely help, even extremely regimented states such as the former Soviet Union and China have not been able to prevent all air hijackings. This fact should give us pause, and move us prayerfully to seek sober and wise responses. Terrorists may be insane, but they are anything but stupid. How essential it is, then, that we buckle down to the discipline of the chessboard, rather than let emotion lead us to make the kind of foolish moves that they are calculatedly seeking to provoke.

Guerilla forces, particularly those that do not share a central command, are very effective in waging war against civilized nations by means of acts of terrorism. When those guerilla groups are influenced by demonic religious ideas and are willing not only to die but to kill thousands of innocent people in carrying out jihad because they have been taught that this will bring them to a carnal paradise with beautiful houris, we face a formidable foe indeed.

People raised in powerful, affluent nations, especially in times of peace, do not comprehend terrorism, but terrorism is often the only means that an occupied, oppressed people, lacking sophisticated matériel, has to use against a militarily powerful, occupying force. History is replete with examples of the psychological effectiveness of terrorism. 

The Sicarii were ancient zealots who engaged in random assassinations of Roman citizens and their collaborators in the streets and markets of Roman occupied Palestina. The assassin carried a short dagger, called a sicarius, which was hidden until the moment to strike. These unpredictable acts were not ultimately effective in driving out the Romans, but they did succeed in provoking a Roman response that galvanized a massive uprising on the part of the occupied people.

The purpose of the terrorist is not always simply to cause the superior force to lose its will to control the less powerful group; it is to provoke the superior force into acts that provoke, in turn, a wider and more intense rage on the part of the less powerful group against the superior force. In other words, terrorist acts are often done to provoke their enemies to act in such a way that the terrorists’ own people are moved from complacency to radical involvement in their cause. We must pray that the decision makers of the United States do not fall into that trap.

Among many Arab peoples in the Middle East, Israel is generally perceived either as a satellite of the United States, or the United States is viewed as being under substantial control of
Zionists.” Because of their perception, the violence that has intensified in the wake of Ariel Sharon’s campaign and subsequent election has profound ramifications for the United States.

To many morally conservative Muslims, the United States is viewed as the chief purveyor of global decadence through our entertainment industry
we are the Great Satan. The Industrialized World’s thirst for oil is seen as a major cause of exploitation of native populations, and U. S. oil interests are seen as a major reason why oppressive tyrants are still in power in certain countries of the Middle East. Mindless rage leads people to believe that terrorist acts are morally justified as the only effective way to wage jihad against what they view as the enemies of God.

Now is not a time for self-righteous, mindless rage, in turn, against an easily identifiable scapegoat: all Arab peoples; it is a time for soul searching and a humble seeking of divine wisdom. Those who were behind these horrific acts of terror must be effectively punished. We must pray for the President of the United States to act with great wisdom. He must refrain from acts of vengeance that simply satisfy a pressing, political need; he needs to take action that is effective in bringing the perpetrators to justice.


Signposts of the 
Dies Irae*

‘Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem ? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”’ (Luke 13:1-5)

By Jesus’ response to the those who informed him of these deaths, it is obvious that they had raised the issue of God’s judgment.  These folk thought that disasters, whether natural or caused by humans, are simply the hand of God punishing people for their sins. 

One does not have to believe in the God of the Bible in order to look at troubles that way. The folk on the shores of
Malta , seeing Paul having been bitten by a viper said, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” (Acts 28:4)

What does the Bible tell us about the hand of God in history? Do these disasters simply happen, and God has nothing to do with them? Is history ultimately meaningless with no connection between how we live and what happens to us? Do we serve an impotent God?

Many people believe that God, for one reason or another, either does not or cannot intervene in real time and space, or that his power is off-set by the decisions of men and devils.

In the ancient world of
Persia , the followers of Zoroaster were profoundly dualistic. Zoroaster “apprehended Ahura Mazda as God, the one eternal, uncreated Being, wholly good, wise, and beneficent; but coexisting with him he saw another Being, the Evil Spirit, Angra Mainyu (Pahlavi Ahrimanc), who was wholly evil, ignorant, and malign, likewise uncreated, but doomed in the end to perish.” Freedman, David Noel, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ( New York : Doubleday), 1992. (Sounds a bit like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s instructions to Luke Skywalker about the Force with its dark and light sides.)

God rebuts this Zoroastrian dualism to the Persian Emperor Cyrus in Isaiah 45. Note especially verses 6 and 7: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” All things that happen are the unfolding of God’s divine purpose, both weal and woe.

Without addressing all of the many questions about the relationship of God’s sovereignty to such things as humans as free moral agents, natural phenomena, or the real power of Satan, we have to affirm that the terrible events this past Tuesday did not happen outside of the sphere of God’s sovereignty. The Prophet Amos asked: “When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?” (Amos 3:6)

Yet having affirmed that, we must immediately affirm the enigma of history: “Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:17)

We know that God is working in history, but figuring out how that happens or what are his penultimate purposes is beyond our ability. 

Ecclesiastes keeps us from glib commentaries on these horrors. It underscores how foolish it was for Messrs. Falwell and Robertson to make their facile remarks on national television about this being caused by the gay community, abortionists, pornographers and the American Civil Liberties Union. Not only does the enigma of history condemn such comments, but they sound terribly self-righteous.

Jesus’ words about Pilate’s state sponsored terrorism cut the ground out from under us when we are tempted to do that, because he tells us that all these terrible things are signposts of the future judgment of God and warns us to be ready for it. There is coming a time when fire will fall from heaven, not on one city but all over this world.

The Black preacher in James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones asks:
Sinner, oh, sinner, Where will you stand, in that great day when God’s a-going to rain down fire?”

September 11, 2001 , is not a time for finger pointing; it is a time for kneeling before a sovereign God. It is not a time for self-righteous pride; it is a time for self examination. For we may fare no better on that day than the abortionist and pornographer. Indeed, we may not fare better than those who did these atrocious deeds.

As a signpost of that Dreadful Day, it warns me that I am “Standing in the need of prayer.”

“Not my brother, not my sister, But it’s me, O Lord, Standing in the need of prayer.”

Not my neighbor, not a stranger, But it’s me, O Lord, Standing in the need of prayer.”

This fire from the sky is a divine summons to bring each of us in the brokenness of repentance to the foot of the cross. And there is no more secure place in all the world than that. It is to those who turn from their sins and self-righteousness, that Jesus speaks words of security and comfort: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28-31)

It is why we can join in singing Luther’s wonderful rendition of the Forty-sixth Psalm, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”


* Dies Irae is Latin and means “Day of Wrath.”  It is the title of a medieval Latin hymn describing Judgment Day. 

Dies irae, dies illasolvet saeclum in favilla
teste David cum Sybilla
Dies irae, dies illa
Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando Judex est venturus
cuncta stricte discussurus.

(Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending
Heaven and earth in ashes ending
Day of wrath and doom impending
Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth
When from heaven the judge descendeth
On whose sentence all dependeth.)

Events such as September 11, 2001, serve as signposts warning us of that dreadful Day to come when all earthly pain and trouble will pale into insignificance compared to the outpouring of the wrath of a holy God on those who have not turned from their sins and cast themselves on his mercy in Jesus Christ.  As this old hymn reminds us, not only sacred Scripture, “David’s word,” but even that of pagans, “with Sibyl’s blending,” point to a future manifestation of justice and wrath.

This old hymn picks up on the truth recorded in Revelation 20 about the books being opened where every thought, word and deed is recorded and will be righteously and definitively judged.  God sends no one to hell arbitrarily; our own sins are the sole basis of our sentence.  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:11-14.)

Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet apparebit,
nil inultum remanebit.

(Lo! the book exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded,
Thence shall judgment be awarded.

When the Judge his seat attaineth,
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.) 

The only hope of anyone is God’s mercy in Jesus Christ, because “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15.)

Recordare, Jesu pie,
quod sum causa tuae viae;
ne me perdas illa die.
Quaerens me sedisti lassus,
redemisti crucem passus;
tantus labor non sit cassuc.

Juste Judex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis,
ante diem rationis.

(Think, kind Jesus, my salvation
Caused thy woundrous incarnation;
Leave me not to reprobation.
Faint and wary thou has sought me,
on the cross of suffering bought me,
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Righteous Judge, for sin’s pollution,
Grant thy gift of absolution,
Ere that day of retribution.)

When we come to God through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, we are assured that he will receive us and forgive us all our sins.

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37.)

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:20-28.)