Sookhdeo: Liberal Christianity intensifying threat from radical Islam
The Western church's growing tendency to blur theological differences and not uphold the absolute truth is contributing to the threat of radical Islam to the Western world, according to Islam expert Patrick Sookhdeo.
Sookhdeo, the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity and of the Barnabas Fund, said churches are moving away from central doctrines that teach about separation and instead conforming to secular society's ideology of inclusion.
"When faced with the uniqueness of Christ we become inclusive. He loves everybody so we talk about love, and hell and damnation goes out the window," said Sookhdeo. "It becomes too embarrassing. So our church has conformed itself according to society."
Sookhdeo - a former Muslim and advisor to British, American and NATO military officials on jihadist ideology - recently spoke to 1,500 people at Focus on the Family (FOTF)'s headquarters in Colorado Springs in the US about the threat of radical Islam to the Western world. The event was broadcast in two parts by FOTF this week, the last part of which aired on Wednesday.
Christians are afraid to admit that only believers in Jesus Christ will be saved and others - Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists - are lost, because that would be arrogance in a society dominated by secular humanist ideology, Sookhdeo argued.
"If the US church goes the way of Europe and embraces liberalism in its theology then it will embrace liberalism in its life," said the British Anglican canon. "And if it embraces liberalism in its life then the church will die and not only will the church die, but society around it will also die.
"What worries me is this," he added. "I say this to churches in Britain. I can't say it of the US. Is the Lord taking His candlestick from Britain and from Europe? Is the Lord saying: 'I'm going to vomit you out of my mouth, because your sickness is beyond cure? You are so taken with other gods, you have prostituted yourself enough. I'm finished with you.' It is a question and a question we must address, not just in Europe but here also."
Islam is one of these gods which Christians are embracing, said Sookhdeo.
The Islam expert acknowledged in the beginning of the programme that Muslims are diverse and emphasised that there is "chaos within Islam" where its own members kill one another.
Some Muslims live peacefully among Westerners while others like Al-Qaeda want to "blow us up to bits". While some Muslims say our religion is one of peace, the Koran has been used throughout history to justify violence.
"How do we compute, not just the hundreds, not thousands, but the tens of thousands who are dying within a religion that claims to be unified and claims to be a religion of peace?" Sookhdeo asked.
Muslim extremism is not a single movement but multiplicity of movements with different motives - some ethnic while others purely religious - but all united by faith against the West, he explained.
The method of attack is also diverse with some choosing to enter the Western system of government to change it to their agenda, and others using money, the "petrodollar", to buy media outlets such as television and newspapers to shape the way people think.
Sookhdeo noted that Saudi Arabia has tried to influence the American education system by donating tens of millions of dollars to top US universities.
"Others use violence, but there is not a single approach but a multiplicity that we need to discern," said the expert.
He noted that Muslim extremists do not distinguish between Christians in the West and those in the Middle East and that they are seen as "being one of the same thing".
"We are in a spiritual battle...it is not just the great powers lining up all the technologies, but we understand and interpret the world in an altogether different way," Sookhdeo said. "If there is a solution, it's a spiritual solution, a Christian solution."
He concluded with hope saying that for the first time in history, there are more Muslims than ever before who are becoming Christians.
"There is a movement across the Muslim world and no country is left out ... where there are not now people being saved," he said encouragingly to a room of applause. "We are not in a position of defeat actually; the church is growing at a fair pace within the Islamic world. We have to thank God for that."
Sookhdeo repeatedly urged Christians in the West to remember the persecuted church, which Barnabas Fund supports, and to pray, support and lobby the government on their behalf. But he also called on Americans to learn from the persecuted church.
"There is considerable disillusionment within the Muslim world and I think violence which we see ... is producing an inner hunger within many Muslims for reality," Sookhdeo said. "The danger is at the very time we should be holding fast to our faith and onto our foundation and sharing those, the temptation is to weaken our position, to weaken it, and embrace the other.
"So I want to say if we are going to fight this battle and fight it spiritually then we have to look at our own spiritual lives - our dedication to the Lord, our theological, our moral and spiritual - and then move into prayer where we can deal with Satan.
"Of course I believe in love. But I think in our serious condition we need a new generation of prayer warriors with the prophets of God."