I have carefully avoided involving this blog in politics, but when a sitting U. S. President makes religious comments at a National Prayer Breakfast, then I consider them ‘fair game.’
Several teachers I respect have made solid cases that the Crusades were a defensive action undertaken to take back lands conquered by Muslims and to prevent their further conquests (see Kevin DeYoung at this link). But, even if they are wrong, the immoral actions associated with the crusades were against the will of Christ.
There was a time in the life of Christ when Jesus and His teachings had just been rejected by the inhabitants of a Samaritan village. His disciples James and John said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and consume them?” Jesus “turned and rebuked them.” (Luke 9:51-56, ESV) Jesus’ followers should ‘take His lead’ and not engage in religious wars of conquest in this era.
It is safe to say that Mohamed would not have rebuked the disciples in the story recounted above. He may have even ‘taken matters into his own hands’ and destroyed the village without divine intervention as is evidenced by these quotes from the Koran:
“Slay them wherever you find them … idolatry is worse than carnage …Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme” (Surah 2:190).
“Fighting is obligatory to you, much as you dislike it” (Surah 2:216).
“Seek out your enemies relentlessly” (Surah 4:103).
I could go on. Because the good people at Answering Islam have done so at this link, I do not have to.
Slavery and Racism
I have very little to comment on here accept to say that Christianity is a religion which plainly teaches that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28-29, ESV). It is difficult to use that kind of religion to justify slavery and racism. In fact, it is easy to use that kind of religion to tear down the walls of slavery and the injustice of racism (see the life and writings of William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King, Jr.). The Koran simply does not have a passage like that.
One Way to Heaven
Yes, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). A widely respected moral teacher and moral example said that; not some ‘Bible-thumping,’ uneducated, and backward “fundamentalist.” So the statement should be respected. (Not to mention that the aforementioned great moral teacher died and rose from the grave just to make His point.)
As for us, it is high time we stopped griping about the fact that God only provided one way into heaven and start being in awe of the fact that He provided a way into heaven at all whatsoever. A God who is holy (free from sin and its affects) does not owe a person who is sinful (affected by the evils of sin in all aspects of his / her being) a way into heaven. All God owes us is a ‘one-way ticket’ to hell for an eternity without a chance of escape. (See R. C. Sproul’s more eloquent and refined version of this argument at this link.)
May God have mercy on us and bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear His name. (Psalm 67)