Monday, December 11, 2006

Silencing the Uniqueness of Christ

One of the more prominent black preachers in Atlanta has decided that it is time to join forces with the Nation of Islam in order to eradicate violence, drugs, and crime from the black community. Jasper Williams, Jr, pastor of the well-known Salem Bible Church (formerly Salem Baptist Church) c0-organized with a local Nation of Islam mosque what they called a Stop the Violence Unity Coalition Silent March. This march took place in an Atlanta neighborhood on November 11, 2006. The organizers hoped to demonstrate the so-called unity that exists between people of faith when it comes to the issue of crime and violence in the streets of our communities. As one on the outside looking in, I must applaud Rev. Williams for the laudable ends which he seeks. All of us desire to see the crime rate go down in Atlanta, and to see black on black (or any type for that matter) violence cease. This is a commendable goal and the ends of the march should be an ends we all strive to attain. However, the problem with Rev. Williams' decision to be cobelligerents with the Nation of Islam is that the ends do not justify the means.

(You can click on the above link to see a video summation of the march, and to listen to the inter-faith service that was conducted at the end of the march.)

As Christians we are not called to stop crime at all cost. We are not called to bring about an end to violence and drug trafficking by any means necessary. While we may implore a variety of means and promote different agendas, we must not do so to the detriment of our witness to the uniqueness and glory of Christ. By becoming co-laborers with the Nation of Islam, Williams became co-laborers with anti-Christ. Question: Are we called to walk hand in hand with anti-Christ so long as the there are no more drugs on our streets? Question: If conspiring with anti-Christ meant that you could walk the streets safely at night, would you conspire with him?

Any way you slice it, the Nation of Islam (from Elijah Muhammad to Louis Farrakhan) is anti-Christ. To walk hand and hand with them is to give legitimacy to their blasphemous teachings concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The interesting aspect to any cooperation between Christians and the Nation of Islam is that it always benefits the Nation of Islam. As an illegitimate religious organization, it seeks legitimacy by seeking alliances with Christian leaders. The Christian leaders who give them a platform to speak and/or to pray will inevitably hear Christ blasphemed, as did Rev. Williams and those in attendance.

Rev. Williams may yet be successful in silencing the violence in our communities. But is it worth the price of silencing the uniqueness of Christ in the process? The name of Salem Bible Church may be more known, but what of the name and character of Christ? Unfortunately, this is what happens when we become more concerned for our communities than we are for the person and glory of Christ.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?" He said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." --Luke 10:30-37

Rather than being the laywer who attempts to quiz the Reverend on his faith, it is much more prudent that you try becoming one who proves faith through action of service!

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? --James 2:14

Scotty J. Williams said...

And to the person who posted anonymously, instead of being a lawyer on Anythony being one who proves faith through action of service, why don't you go and learn good hermeneutics because your interpretation and application of this verse is a little sketchy and isogetical.

. Reuben Muhammad said...

Salaam/Shalom/Peace...

John 10:16
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Acts 5
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Food for thought:
Dogma does not suffice in the place of understanding.
"Therefore, get wisdom; but with all thy getting, get understanding."

We must be careful how we judge.

RM

ajcarter said...

I am always a bit amused and somewhat impressed when people quote Scripture out of context. It lets me know that there is an innate sense that all have toward the truth of Scripture. Nonetheless, while we quote Scriptures let us not neglect the ones that point us to the uniqueness of Christ. There are far too many to list, but here are a few:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ

John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"


Rev. 22:12 " And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

Reuben Muhammad said...

Salaam/Shalom/Peace...

An Afterthought:

I find it interesting, to say the least, that the author of this post would characterize the good work being done by the Hon. Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in conjunction with Pastor Williams and his Church, as "anti-Christ"; when such good work is EXACTLY what believers in Christ SHOULD be doing.

If it is true that a "corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit", then how could an obviously good work be classified as "anti-Christ"?

Is the author saying that the Nation of Islam is casting out the "devils" of our community "by the power of the Prince of devils"?

If that be the case, my question is, "If Satan cast out Satan, how shall his kingom stand?" For, "A house divided against itself cannot stand.

And if the Nation of Islam is doing such Good Works "by the power of the prince of devils", then "by whose power do your sons cast them out?"

To the Author of this post:
By whose power do you and your congregation cast out the "devils" of gang violence, and drugs, and prostitution, and illiteracy and self-hatred from the Black Community?

Just something to consider.

P.s. - What I also found interesting is that a man who openly proclaims that the Nation of Islam is "Anti-Christ", lists as one of his "favorite books"..."The Autobiography of Malcolm X"...who was a Muslim to the day he died.

Does that make Mr. Carter a co-conspirator with the "Anti-Christ"?

Education is not in the "knowing", but in the "doing".

RM

loulove said...

Reuben Muhammad;
Please tell us what you believe concerning Jesus.
You are not being helpful to anyone by attempting to blur the thick lines between Christianity and Islam. Please spare us your misguided applications of Christian Scriptures aided by your interpretations that entirely miss He Who the Scriptures are principally about.
Just simply tell us who you believe Jesus to be.

LL said...

Interesting comments brother Reuben. please consider this question. I ask it not as a hypothetical possibility but as a cetain reality (our Lord willing)

As you probably know we too in Philly suffer from the scourge of drugs and violence that afflicts most of our communities in major cities. Of course the neighborhood I live in and where I pastor (my church and home are in the same neighborhood)is no different. I've been asked to participate in an activity in which men from our neighborhood, our church and other organziations will man the drug corners in an effort to put an end to this activity and offer those engaging in it other ways to earn a living.
Now here's the question:

Would the NOI in Atlanta have participated in this event if pastor Williams had said candidly and pointedly in their presence and the presence of the community that he was taking these actions against drugs and violence in the Name of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the only sacrifice for sins, the only way to have a right relationship with God and the only true living Lord, Savior and God? That while he welcomed participation from other community groups and organizations he was doing this to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to those bound by sin, whether that sin plays out on the street corner or the board room?

Peace
Pastor LL

Eric M Washington said...

Anthony and any other biblical Christian has the right, even the obligation to raise such concerns over a Christian Church in the name of Christ Jesus cooperating with a Muslim organization. The faith of Christ is exclusive. It demands total adherence to his words and commandments. The prophet Amos warned the people of Samaria: can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3). Williams and the Nation of Islam may agree that violence must stop in ATL, but there is no concert between Christ and Baal?

True Christianity holds that any and every other religion is false and comes from the sinful and wicked minds of man. There is one true faith that has been revealed to man, the biblical faith from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Word of God (John 1:1ff).

For Williams to have joined together with other members of the Greater ATL community is one thing, but he signally represented Christ. This goes against the entire thrust of the biblical faith.

Unless he preached Christ and him crucified, it was all for nought in the sight of God.

To any Muslim that reads these words: there is one way to God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He offers something that you need: grace, even the forgiveness of your sins through his merit alone. Repent and believe the gospel today!

Anonymous said...

I hope I have not responded to late to this post, but I have geunine questions re: this post-- what if I see a Muslim extending mercy to "a certain man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho [and] fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed leaving him half dead"? Can I not join the Muslim in extending mercy? Or should I refrain from assistance so as not to be unequally yoked? Is the problem that Pastor Williams performed his actions in his office as a pastor? If so, then does that rule out social action for those who assume pastoral ministry? Would things be different if Williams was just a latman? What if Pastor Williams and the Muslim man were both members of their neighborhood watch and stood outside together on the corner for the 2AM-3AM shift? Could someone please provide a framework for when co-belliegerence is and is not appropriate for the Christian seeking to be faithful to his/her Lord?

Anonymous said...

One more thing: doesn't this post indict the Civil Rights Movement led by the Black Church in the 60s? Of course then, the anti-Christ wasn't Muslim imams, but unorthodox Protestants.

ajcarter said...

I am not clear on your point with the civil rights movement, but I will seek to give a brief response to your questions. They all seem to be asking the same question and so I will just give a general answer to them.

Question: What if Pastor Williams and the Muslim man were both members of their neighborhood watch and stood outside together on the corner for the 2AM-3AM shift?

Answere: Rev. Williams, and any other responsible adult in the neighborhood should do all he can to uphold the covenant into which that community has entered.

However, when Rev. Williams, or any Christian man or woman, joins in an ecumenical service in which Jesus Christ is blasphemed, Muhammad and Allah are exalted to co-equals with Christ; where the Bible is put on par with the Koran; where the impression is given that Christianity and Islam are two faiths heading in the same direction - worshiping the same God; where the Nation of Islam is given credibility that even orthodox muslims would not give it; where Elijah Muhammed is exclaimed as the savior and prophet of god; where Farad Muhammad is declared to be god manifested in the flesh, then there is indeed a serious problem with our witness to do all things to the glory of Christ.

When Rev. Williams gave the Nation of Islam a platform in his church and at the community worship service following the march, all of the above is what was said one way or another.

Lastly, understand the meaning of "anti-Christ." Anything that is against Christ is "anti-Christ." Notice I did not say "the" anti-Christ, but just "anti-Christ." There is a difference you know.

Peace to you my unknown blogger.

Anonymous said...

CUT... TO... THE... CHASE.

This was not a providential meeting of a distressed person, nor a private gathering of two individuals in the middle of the night.

It was a called, planned meeting with a program and speakers. And what did Jasper Williams say to a listening community at this called, planned meeting featuring christians and muslims?

I quote "Now when it comes down to religion and I'm finished with this. When it comes down to religion it's all about God. But God is not of any one religion. HE CANNOT BE. Religion is really like glasses that we wear on our eyes. This pair of glasses that I have on I wear them because I see best out of them. I see best out of them. If you put my glasses on you cannot see out of my glasses. I am a christian because it is the christian faith that allows me to see God best out of my eyes. My brother is a muslim because he sees God best out of his eyes. It's how we see God and its one common thread that runs through all faiths and all religions and that is the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all mankind. We are here today because we are of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all men".

brothers and sisters anonymous and otherwise this is not something I or Anthony inferred, nor something I made up. This is directly from the mouth of Jasper Williams. If you doubt click on the link in the blog and see for yourself.

Is this how one engages in social action while being faithful to our Lord? Is this the new witness we're being told to present to our community? Is the cause for justice for black folks so absolutely holy, righteous and beyond question that we must not only join with those who deny Him but stand up and betray The Crucified One in their presence? Does His bloody death for my sin count for so little? Did He offer up His life to be crushed out of Him so that I could simply use His example as a mascot for my well intentioned agenda? Was He somehow deluded, mistaken or lying when He claimed to be way, truth and life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him? Are we so afraid of mere men that we quickly and easily jettison our conviction just to be thought well of in their eyes? Do we really believe that Jesus Christ offers no real hope, no real redemption, no real power, no real salvation to the lost souls of black folk? Is this what the Black church has come to?

peace with truth
LL

L Lewis said...

sorry that last post wasn't from our regular anonymous but from me Pastor Lance Lewis. I forgot to put my initials in the id box

Eric M Washington said...

Pastor Lance,

That quote from Jasper sums up everything Anthony, Louis Love, and myself have put forward in this conversation regarding the sinful actions of Jasper.

This sounds like one who is ashamed of the gospel and ashamed to own Christ publicly.

A statement such as this sullies and possibly destroys all of Jasper's years of gospel preaching. He's on the brink of heresy, if not already wallowing in its filty and stinking mub.

Eric.

Nappily Evah Aftah said...

@AJCarter

All I can say is...AMEN!!!