“But mark this:
There will be terrible times in the last days…
evil men…will go from bad to worse,
deceiving and being deceived.”
(II Timothy 3:1, 13)
Dear Friends & Partners,
As I write this op-ed, it is the evening of “Father’s Day.” For Patt and me, it has been a blessed day of going to church, followed by lunch with some of our local children and grandchildren. It was a “love fest” through worship, good food, fellowship, laughter and reminiscing.
But it is also a sad time to remember one week later the “hate fest” that took place in Orlando last week at this time. Through the systematic cold-blooded massacre of 49 people and wounding of scores more, it became the largest act of terrorism since 9/11 on American soil – apparently carried out by a lone self-radicalized Islamic jihadist.
As with similar Islamic terrorist incidents in Paris, Brussels, Boston, and San Bernardino, the Orlando carnage has become a political battlefield for people on all sides of this human tragedy. It is being viewed and critiqued from very different biases and perspectives. Each group is using it to highlight and champion their particular cause – whether it is immigration, gun control, police protection policy, budgetary allocations, foreign affairs or LGBT rights.
I was listening to a report on National Public Radio (NPR) the morning after the carnage as I drove to my morning radiation. The theme was: “Making sense of this latest act of Islamic Terrorism.” From the perspective of the commentator, it made no sense whatsoever. It was completely…senseless!
I fully understand that perspective from a secular source that apparently has little or no working understanding of the history of Islam, the bloody record of terrorism by the prophet Mohamed, or the clear dictates of the Koran. But to the faithful Islamist with that jihadist worldview, it makes all the sense in the world. In fact, it’s the only logical course of action that makes any sense at all.
There is a parallel blindness when it comes to the understanding of the Christian faith by the unenlightened and unregenerate. Paul expressed this clear truth with these words:
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come
from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and
he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned...
But we have the mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2: 14-16).
So, without the discernment of the Holy Spirit working in the life of the regenerated believer who has received the “…mind of Christ,” the Bible makes no sense! It is a book of “pious foolishness” to the unregenerate. It makes no more sense to them than color does to a blind man or quadraphonic sound does to a deaf person! They just do not have the ability to perceive and reason spiritually. The person with only the “natural mind” can only come to truncated human conclusions. They cannot see the true spiritual picture. As Paul says, they “…cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
And no place is this faulty human reasoning more evident than the many conflicting voices that are trying to make sense out of the current global “War on Terrorism” and this latest act of clear “Islamic jihadism” in Orlando. Sadly, most of it is like blind men trying to describe color to each other or deaf people trying to dance to music they cannot hear!
If the diagnosis is wrong, the antidote will be equally wrong. For a patient to be healed, the doctor must make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the right medicine – which the patient must then faithfully follow. Only a correct diagnosis can lead to a positive prognosis.
Sadly, most of the professional and political diagnoses of Islam that are dominating the media today are naive and truncated at best.
President Obama decried the Orlando massacre as an “act of terrorism” and “act of hate.” Then he used it to highlight his call for greater gun control. Donald Trump championed it as a fresh call to limit immigration from Muslim countries that have a clear record of Islamic jihadism. Hillary Clinton rebutted that neither a fence on our border nor stopping Islamic immigration would have stopped this latest act of terrorism.
Like each of the other acts of Islamic terrorism against Americans before this one, the public will continue to be divided on both the cause and solution. And they will ultimately express their opinion in the coming presidential election by whom they vote for.
The first thing a doctor does when examining a patient is to “check his or her pulse.” It is interesting to me that this latest massacre took place in a LGBT Night Club called “The Pulse.” Like it or not, the very purpose, presence and popularity of that Night Club is a vital key in understanding this latest act of Islamic terrorism. Sadly, most Americans – especially politicians – do not or will not see or be able to connect the dots between the obvious.
ISLAM & HOMOSEXUALITY
Anyone who has even a basic understanding of the Koran, Hadiths and history of Islam understands the clear hatred Islam has for any and all expressions of homosexuality (Koran, Sura 4:16; 7:80-84; 26:165-166; 27:54; 29:28, etc.). That’s why, in fundamentalist Islamic countries where Sharia law prevails, there is zero tolerance for any homosexual – be they male or female. And there is certainly no tolerance for bisexuals or transgender people.
Within orthodox Islam, the roles and expectations for males and females are totally clear and unambiguous – with the males having a clear advantage in every way. Women are little more than chattel, sex objects and reproductive wombs for men’s pleasure and for making babies who will ultimately grow up as followers of Mohamed.
There have been several major TV specials by all of the leading networks this year under the general title or theme: “Why Do They Hate Us?” The level of hatred that Muslims in general and radical jihadists in particular have toward America and the decedent west is incomprehensible to most people. After all, we are the country of freedom and human rights – the “land of opportunity” where anyone can succeed if they really want to. We are the “good guys” who wear the white hats – not the bad guys with long beards and black turbans!
All of this shows our basic bias toward our interpretation of the meaning of “freedom” and “human rights.” It also shows our blatant ignorance of the history of Islamic fundamentalism.
Here is one example that I could amplify many times over. It is from the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna. In 1928, four years after the Muslim Caliphate was abolished at the end of World War I, Banna decried the rapid moral decline of Islam in Egypt after the war due to Western influence. Here is what he wrote that ultimately gave birth to Muslim Fundamentalism or Radical Islam (emphasis mine):
“…The victorious Europeans have imported their half-naked women into these regions, together with their liquors, their theatres, their dance halls, their amusements, their stories, their newspapers, their novels, their whims, their silly games and their vices…”
Furthermore (their schools and institutions have) “…cast doubt and heresy into the souls of its sons and taught them how to demean themselves, disparage their religion and their fatherland, divest themselves of their traditions and beliefs, and to regard as sacred anything Western.”
This was the genesis of Islamic jihadism that has now become a global phenomenon. These so-called “freedoms of expression” we Americans are so addicted to are the root causes of Islamic fear and hatred of America as the “Great Satan” – along with our historic support of Israel, who is the “little satan.” Faithful Muslims clearly understand that this is not only a “religious war” but also a “cultural war” – unto death.
History and contemporary experience prove that both Islam and Christianity cannot survive and thrive side-by-side. One will contaminate or dominate the other! And Muslims are convinced that they will win because of the superiority of their god-given mandate from Allah. They passionately believe that time and history are on their side – whether it takes another decade or another century! For them, jihad is for life – not just for a few battles until a truce is signed.
In the worldview of orthodox Islam, there are no truces…no peace treaties…no détente with the enemy…no co-existence with the infidels. It is either Dar Salam (the house of Islam) domination or death!
One Muslim cleric expressed it this way: “Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you; thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you.”
Their strategy has not changed from the days of the prophet Mohamed:
We often hear our liberal, leftist politicians saying that the existence of places like Guantanamo is fueling radical Islam around the world. Or, they make statements about temporarily banning Muslim immigrants from countries dominated by Islamic fundamentalism, believing that this ban causes the hatred and terrorism we are experiencing. But Islamic radicalism has hated us from the very beginning.
Islamic hatred and jihadism did not begin in the Twentieth Century – but the Seventh Century through the words and deeds of their prophet Mohamed. And his multiple injunctions in the Koran about “cutting off the heads” of the infidels (anyone who will not willing convert to Islam) is the bloody record of history numbered in the thousands of decapitations and crucifixions – especially against Jews and Christians!
So, it is not the existence of Gitmo that inflames the radicals. It’s the presence and popularity of places like “The Pulse” that inflames Islamic passion against the perverted “civil rights” that have become the norm in America today! It’s the annual “gay pride” marches and blatant demonstration of every form of sexual perversion and deviation that gets the ‘pulse’ of Islamic Radicals beating faster! It’s the fuel for their radicalization!
Islamic jihadism is also fueled by our Supreme Court that has legalized and normalized gay marriage as normative in every way. This legal rendering a year ago proves to them the inferiority of our legal system in the face of the superiority of their courts regulated by Sharia law.
Their ‘Islamic pulse’ also increases dramatically as a result of our entertainment industry that spews out violence, sexual immorality and profanity like raw sewage covering and defiling the land.
And it is the general rejection of our Judeo-Christian values by society that has accepted “lewd and crude” as the norm where the “f” word is the favorite expletive – by men and women alike. While that kind of vulgar verbiage no longer impacts our pulse rate, it makes their blood pressure go off the charts – motivating them to radicalism!
Therefore, it is impossible to isolate this overall “cultural war” from these individual acts of terrorism. It seems that this perpetrator, Omar Mateen, struggled with years of identity issues that ranged from religious to sexual. He was a “third culture kid” who was never really comfortable and at home in America or Arab countries…in Islam or secularism…in homosexuality or heterosexuality. He obviously had some serious vacuums in his life due to his relationship with his father. And in the process, he was self-radicalized and proclaimed his allegiance to ISIS on his cell phone in the last hours of the massacre.
Certainly every rational person decries the senseless death of these 49 people – especially Christians who understand that every murder is an offense against God because it defaces and destroys His image in them (Gen. 9:6). But politically correct or not, it is also important to remember that none of these people were the “innocent victims” that they are being proclaimed to be in the media.
While I don’t want to in any way be insensitive to the scores of grieving people in Orlando who have lost loved ones, it is important that we look at this tragedy more closely through the lenses of Scripture. And for the sake of time and space I will only highlight several considerations.
First, no person is truly “innocent” before God since we are all born in sin. As a result, we are all sinners by nature and sinners by choice (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 3:10-23; etc.).
Second, many of the victims had willfully chosen – not been born into – a homosexual life-style that the Bible clearly condemns (Lev. 18:21-22; 20:13; Rom. 1:27; I Cor. 6:9-10, etc.).
Third, when the massacre occurred, they were in a cultural and time context that inflamed and fed the flesh rather than the spirit (Prov. 10:23; Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:20-21; II Tim. 3:4; I Pet. 4:3; II Pet. 2:13, etc.).
Fourth, most had chosen to be a part of an “alternative community” to the societal norm. As a result, they had chosen to “hang out” with other gay friends or sympathizers who would support their perverted life-style (Prov. 13:20; I Cor. 5:6; 6:9; 15:33; II Thess. 2:9-11, etc.).
Fifth, their physical deaths brought a spiritual finality to their lives before the holy and righteous Judge of all men – that resulted in either an eternal heaven or hell (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; Matt. 5:22-30; 10:28Heb. 9:27; II Cor. 5:10, etc.).
We can only hope that in those horrific several hours during the carnage and siege when scores were held hostage – that some of them cried out to God in repentance like the dying thief on the cross. Only God knows their hearts as their lives hung in the balance between life and death…heaven and hell. Only He knew their true ‘spiritual pulse’ in those last moments of life. And whether they had seconds, minutes or hours, it was a “time of grace” that they could call out to God in faith and repentance.
Sadly, people tend to die like they lived. But if they did cry out to God in sincerity like that thief on the cross – who had also lived a rebellious life in the lusts of the flesh – then God saved them. But He did not save them from physical death by a terrorist’s bullet – but from spiritual death and eternal death which bring a finality from which there are no second choices or chances.
The Orlando massacre in “The Pulse” is a fresh reminder of the uncertainness and fragileness of life. None of us knows the day of our demise. Nor do we know the circumstances that will usher us through death’s door – whether disease, an accident, the aging process, or a terrorist bullet. So we need to live in a sense of readiness all the time.
Orlando reminds us that each of us needs to let the Great Physician take our pulse about our true spiritual nature…about our choices…our life-styles…our hang-outs…our companions…our readiness to face Christ through death.
And while I love to party as much as the next person – I would not want my exit from this life to be from a place like “The Pulse.” I’m not sure I would hear the Lord say: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:21).
If I have any choice in the matter – which I do – I want my exit into Christ’s presence be from some positive context – like from my happy and faithful marriage to Patt. Or from a wonderful family celebration with my children and grandchildren – like we enjoyed on Father’s Day. Or from a wonderful worship experience in church like I enjoyed this past Lord’s Day. Or from some foreign country where I am working with one of our national partners to advance God’s Kingdom. Or simply from “…giving a cup of cold water in His Name” (Matt. 10:42).
How’s your spiritual pulse? Is it beating in sync with the heart of God? Is it pulsating with a passion for His redemptive, reconciling and restorative purposes for the world? I pray so for you…and for myself!
Summer is a great time to “take your pulse.” It is a timely opportunity to do some life-changing re-thinking…re-orienting…re-focusing…re-prioritizing to a healthier spiritual life-style that glorifies God and edifies others!
Grieving, groaning and growing with you through the terrorist events of Orlando,
JL & Patt
PS: Be watching for our next eNewsletter that will arrive in your inbox this Wednesday morning as usual. I think you will be blessed and encouraged.