Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obnoxious 'evangelism': yay or nay

I found the video imbedded in the July 27, 2012 American Vision News post, Muslim mob stones Christians in Dearborn; police then harass the Christians, and reproduced below, to be quite disturbing:

Without getting into the issue of freedom of speech in America, I would like to ask a simple question: was the type of 'evangelism' displayed in the video an effective means of communicating the Gospel to Muslims?

Grace and peace,



Nick said...

Thanks for posting this.

It was a wrongheaded approach to evangelization, so free speech aside (as you said), the effort was worthless for preaching the Gospel. Short quips that are typical of modern Fundamentalist "evangelization" don't teach anything and only inflame.

Clearly, there is a mob type rule in that area, so the deputy was fearing for his own life and was going to say whatever to get them out. The deputy knows his own life isn't worth opposing a mob for, and he's right.

What was very educational though is that it is clear this isn't a religion of peace. They see any violent resistance as perfectly justified against anyone opposing them. If cameras were not there, there would have been more injury. Sadly, violence is a part of their ethos, so that's all they know how to respond with.

Ken said...

Not an effective method of evangelism at all.

But it did bring out violence of the Muslim majority community.

Free speech was definitely violated and they did suffer for persecution for their signs with bible verses, Hebrew lettering and calls for repentance and warnings of judgment.

Muslim majority areas can be dangerous to those types; and they seemed like they were trying to provoke.

But, no, not effective at all.

Rory said...

I watched it all. The sign carriers seem to have been very well prepared and perhaps got most of what they wanted.

1) They provoked Muslim teens on tape to use violence and vulgarity.

2) They made Dearborn law enforcement look like they were violating their civil rights and unwilling to provide them escourt.


I am sure they would have been pleased if some Islamic operson had responded to their signs by converting to their beliefs. But I don't know how they could have been expecting any favorable results. Maybe the sign carriers were expecting violence, and even hoping for violence.

My sympathies would have been with law enforcement. The deputies were unprepared for this guy's rhetoric and I hated seeing them embarrassed by him.

I don't see how this was done in the hopes of advancing a religious message. Maybe it was more about stirring up sentiments of "anti-Islamism" wherever their video is replayed?

St. Francis of Assisi stowed away on a ship sailing for a Crusade. Ultimately, he made a visit to the Sultan's tent in which it is said that the Sultan almost converted. Whether that is an embellished legend or not, it shows what might happen if a Christian loved Muslims. I don't see much evidence that this supposed attempt at winning souls demonstrated the kind of prudent boldness that is motivated by contemplative love of God and neighbor.

My examination of conscience says that it is MY SIN if I deliberately provoke my neighbor to profane God or break the commandments in other ways. "By their fruits you shall know them."


Rory said...

Hey Nick,

You suggest that this proves that Islam is not a religion of peace? What about the anti-Catholic who was causing the riots? Maybe he wouldn't cut off our heads in a modern Western setting either. I wouldn't want to have met him 490 years ago.


David Waltz said...

Hi Nick, Ken and Rory,

Some interesting comments—certainly, 'food for thought'. I would like to add a couple of my own reflections: first, the actions of the Christians and Muslims in the video portray both respective faiths in a very negative light; and second, I find it more than a bit 'interesting' that an Evangelical apologist, Josh McDowell, has had a booth at the Dearborn Arab festival from 2009 through 2012 with none of the problems portrayed in the video (LINK)—any thoughts on this?

Grace and peace,


Steve said...

This is what it looks like when grown-ups get together...

Nick said...

I am not aware of any similar mob type actions on the part of Christians to other religions who evangelize. The contempt and hatred of Christianity and New Testament is mainstream in their thought; Christians are fools and stupid to them. Sure there are moderates and more educated types who can have peaceful discussion, but that's the minority. There would have been worse violence if no camera was involved.

About Josh McDowell, he says this about why he was at the festival with a booth: "The purpose for my participation at the festival was to give out complimentary copies of my Arabic murder mystery novel, The Witness."
That doesn't really sound like evangelization or apologetics to me. I'd bet if he had simply a pamphlet about Jesus being God or the Resurrection or the Bible being true he would have got thrown out.

Ken said...

Balance and knowing your audience is the key.
There is something to be said for a strategy that seeks to get one's foot in the door in their culture so that people will listen. Hospitality and one on one evangelism allow for that.

Muslims are not afraid to talk about issues and heaven and hell and judgment day and gospel issues - but at the beginning, there should be kindness and friendliness to overcome the fears they have of the westerners and Christians - they automatically already think Christians are "CIA agents" and they use the problems of the past - Crusades, Inquisition, colonialism, oil wealth power and politics, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to throw in your face - one has to calmly work that stuff with them so they will calm down and listen many times.

I don't know what Josh McDowell's group did beyond just passing out books and being friendly, but hopefully they were not shy about discussing the gospel with particular Muslims once there is the establishment of a context where there is genuine listening.

Josh was very good in his debate with Ahmad Deedat back in the early 80s in South Africa.

Jesus was the friend of sinners and tax-collectors, but He also called for repentance.

Some have said that McDowell was too politically correct the other way and make comments that seemed to be critical of David Wood and Nabeel Qureshi and what happened with them. (DM's comments about "Sharia Love" in past years)

David and Nabeel and their team were good also - Nabeel especially was very good in the way he handled angry young Muslims who were cursing at him and yelling at him.

But the Reuben Israel folks are just trying to be obnoxious.

Ken said...

Douglas Wilson did an excellent job of preaching the gospel amidst a very hostile, vulgar, obnoxious homosexual crowd recently.

3 + hours of the best Christian example of engaging our current culture that I have ever seen.

Be sure to go to the link and watch the whole 3 + hours of lecture and Q and A.

Ken said...

Fred Butler and David Wood (see his blog article at also make some excellent observations.

Most Americans are going to understand this as more of a problem with the Muslim youth and culture, because we have a long history of allowing obnoxiousness like the Reuben Israel group (they did obnoxious things at the Mormons in Salt Lake City for years). And they will see it as more of a problem with the police not doing their duty and that local areas in the USA have the potential of becoming enclaves and no-go zones, like in France and other places of Europe.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful,

I hope no one whom hopes to meet their Creator bad mouths Josh McDowell. He has been doing his part for the Christian tradition long before Anis Shorrosh, Sam Shamoun, Robert Morey and David Wood were even a whisper.

So what if he was selling a novel, anyone care to check it's contents? Maybe it has subtle messages in it? Maybe he is doing his part to counter terrorism in America, or give the message of Christianity in some subtle form. Maybe he is just trying to make friends.

You can't get by in life if every time you meet some one the only topic for discussion is that persons eternal security.

Rory as always has some very balanced comments, and I was also appreciative he pointed out that those who engaged the Christians were kids (teenagers). I have first hand experience with Lebanese and Palestinian Arab teens talking that way with their own parents.

Remember folks Islam is a religion of hate filled violence, this is our narrative and to prove it we will provoke it in Dear-born Michigan, so we can fan the flames of hatred and drive home our 'Shariah in America' 'Americans Beware' agenda.


The respected Josh McDowell, Dr. Gleason Archer, Dr. John Gilchrist, and Dr. Dudley Woodberry, have to be the last in a long line of Christian apologist who know how to interact with Islam and Muslims appropriately and intelligently.

If Norman Geisler, Anis Shorrosh, Robert Morey, Sam Shamoun, David Wood, James White, and Ergun Caner are what Protestants are left with than I can take a longer hiatus from my blog.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I am thankful for Christians like Rory as well.

Ken said...

More facts are coming out in this case.

Ken said...

Rory wrote:
You suggest that this proves that Islam is not a religion of peace? What about the anti-Catholic who was causing the riots? Maybe he wouldn't cut off our heads in a modern Western setting either. I wouldn't want to have met him 490 years ago.

490 years ago was 1522.
The Diet of Worms was 1521 and the Roman Catholic Church would have surely executed Luther if Frederick of Saxony had not rescued him. Is that was you are referring to?

I am no fan of Reuben Israel and his King james Only - ism and his group's style of evangelism is awful, obnoxious, and a bad testimony.

GV - I have always appreciated Josh McDowell and especially his debate with Ahmad Deedat, especially when Deedat asserted, "No where in Bible does Jesus say, "I was dead, now I am alive!" and Josh calmly answered him with quoting Revelation 1:17-18 - Jesus said, "I am the first and the last, the living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."

So, Rory -
Are you just estimating or referring to something specific?

the German Peasants Revolt - 1524-1525


the execution of Servetus - that was 1553 - ?

If you mean those kinds of things (or the Salem Witch trials) - I agree that they were bad; But they learned that behavior from the general Roman Catholic / European culture that existed at the time - they learned it from the Crusades and the Inquisition - Roman Catholic actions - fueling the human heart which is full of vengeance, violence, pride, etc. (Mark 7:120-23; Genesis 6:5)

Thank God for the Baptists who came later and got rid of that harshness - and thank God for America and the principle of separation of church and state, right?

Ken said...

Thank God for the Baptists who came later and got rid of that harshness - and thank God for America and the principle of separation of church and state, right?

Happy 4th of July !!!!

Watch the film, "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart to celebrate the 4th of July !

Nick said...

Hello Grand Verbalizer,

I'm not sure if you had my comments in mind, but perhaps I can clarify. There are two points that I believe are key to getting to the bottom of this:

(1) Sharia Law is similar to the Torah, it is believed to be God's perfect law and thus must be imposed for a truly just and God fearing society. Anything else is severely deficient. In this sense, any Muslim not wanting Sharia as soon as possible (at least as a wish in their heart) isn't a muslim deep down; they don't understand the religion. I understand this because I am a traditionalist Catholic and know that a society should be based around God's Divinely Revealed laws, in this case Catholic teachings.

(2) Morality in Islam is relative, what is forbidden between fellow Muslims can be allowed against unbelievers, including violence and lying. This is because the mindset states that whatever promotes God's Ways (in this case Islam) is ideal and violence and lying are justified if they promote God's Ways. This is why Islam is intrinsically a Conquering religion.

This is not meant to be inflammatory but rather 'academic'. This is the philosophy/mindset of Islam and these kinds of points must be recognized when discussing. Neither of these points are inherently inflammatory, but rather that's just how things are.

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