Tuesday, November 18, 2014

National Cathedral Hosts Islamic Prayers

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In an apparent attempt to make the church "relevant," Washington National Cathedral hosted last Friday's Islamic prayers.

In our Capital's most prominent church, they "moved out the pews and rolled out the rugs." A place where American leaders have come to mourn and marry, and find inspiration, prayers were offered toward Mecca.

Church leaders say it was an effort to promote interfaith prayer and improve global relations between Christians and Muslims.

Christine Weick, a Christian, interrupted the Muslim prayers, loudly asking some very interesting questions.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University, put the event in perspective.

While the church may not have a clue as to what is actually going on, Dr. Gorka says the Muslims knew exactly what they were doing. And it has nothing to do with global relations and better understanding between the two religions.

NBC 4 n DC reports that Christine Weick briefly interrupted the prayer gathering Friday, saying in a loud voice, "Jesus Christ died on the cross over there. He is the reason why we are to worship only Him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior."

There was more. NBC says she also asked, "Why can't you leave our churches alone... and worship in your mosques?"

Washington National Cathedral is in many ways "America's church" in the Capital.

While it has hosted Muslims at various interfaith services, this is the first time in history it has invited Muslims to conduct their own prayers in the church.

The planners called it a "powerful symbolic gesture." The media called it "progress."

It was both "powerful" and "symbolic." "Progress?" Depends on which direction you want to proceed.

It was a powerful statement to how far the church has drifted from Christ's mission for His church. And the symbolism was most likely way beyond anything the church leaders imagined.

Dr. Gorka gave clarity to the symbolism.

Franklin Graham probably spoke for most all biblical Christians when he wrote on Facebook, "One of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America--will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah. It's sad to see a church open it's doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said' I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'." (John 14:6).

Others are asking the question Christine asked: "Why can't you worship in your own mosque and leave our churches alone?"

She mused, "Would they let us have a prayer meeting in their mosque?"

Why "did" they want to pray in National Cathedral?

The quick answer is that some churches are desperate to find their new identity---a new mission, having abandoned the biblical mission of Christ's church. They are also pressed to fill a growing number of empty pews. Events like this draw attention and, they believe, will attract more people to our church.

In June, National Cathedral invited openly transgendered Episcopal priest Cameron Partridge to preach from its pulpit in honor of LGBT pride month. Now this.

While the church may have lost its way and is in search of identity and mission, the Muslims have not.

They are very clear as to their mission and identity. And they are on task.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka from the Marine Corps University puts the Muslim mission in perspective.

He points out that 100 years to the day---November 14, "the last Caliph, or emperor of Islam, declared the last jihad against the infidels"---and that day, 100 years later, marks the first time ever the National Cathedral in the nation's capital hosted Muslim prayers.

He says the "Caliph of the Ottoman Empire declared a Holy War against infidels, as was his right within Sharia law and Islamic theology."

The act, Gorka says, was "the catalyst which led to religiously-fueled genocide against Christian Armenians and Assyrians." That continues to this day.

He says the leaders of the Episcopal Church who organized the event probably have no idea what happened a hundred years ago on that very day in Asia Minor.

"However," he says "we can rest assured that the co-organizers do, for they include the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR), The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the All-Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAM) center."

He says he doubts the Episcopal Church leaders even understand the full extent of their "prayer meeting."

Gorka explains, "Under jihadist doctrine, one the finer points is "that if a place of worship is used by Muslims for their prayers, that territory subsequently becomes a part of Dar al Islam, sacred Muslim land. Forever."

I strongly recommend you read his entire article linked above.

As I researched this story, I was reminded of the many strong warnings in Scripture regarding being unaware of the times in which you live. Being uninformed and spiritually asleep. The prophet Hosea says God's people "are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

And Proverbs warns again and again against sleeping through the days and events of our lives, defining it as "staggering toward the slaughter" (Proverbs 24:11-12), then in self defense saying "we knew nothing about this..."

Proverbs 6:9-11 asks "How long will you lie there...when will you get up from your sleep?"

And sadly, I thought of Proverbs 24:30-34 as a reflection of our own National Cathedral, and other churches as well. "I went past the field of the lazy man, past the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction."

So what is the instruction?

"A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; So shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man."

Our culture is overgrown with nettles and thorns, the walls have been broken down because of ignorance and rebellion. The church, in too many cases, is distracted from its purpose and calling, or simply intimidated to silence.

Its time to wake up and sound the alarm---and explain the Solution.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.