The Church’s Backbone

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You may not know the name Magdi Allam. You probably recognize that it’s not like Dukhart, Kovash, or Schmidt. In fact, Mr. Allam is Egyptian.

“Oh,” you muse, “since he’s Egyptian, he must be Muslim.”

“No,” I remuse to you, “he’s Christian.” But he’s not just any kind Christian. Magdi Cristiano Allam is his full name. He is a Christian by choice not by birth, which is the only kind there really is. Saying, “I’m Christian by birth,” is a bit like saying, “I’m in the grocery store, so I must be a Twinkie.” Allam was born a Muslim, but chose to follow Jesus in 2008—he was 55 years old—and baptized by Pope Benedict XVI. End of story? Not exactly.

Back in March of this year, 2013, Allam left the Catholic Church. He remains firm in his belief and devotion to Jesus and his church. He did not leave Catholicism in order to become Pentecostal or Presbyterian, but for a very different reason. Allam said, “more than any other factor [that]drove me away from the Church is the legitimation (sic) of Islam as the true religion of Allah as the one true God.”

Isn’t it interesting that a convert wishes the church had more of a backbone when it comes to Islam, Allah, Muhammad, and the Qur’an? The strength of the Jesus’ church is not found in the priests, pastors, seminary professors, or other paid professionals. The muscle of the church, the place of resolve is found in believers with the courage to stand up and speak the truth. Courage is not being unafraid, but doing what’s right even when you’re afraid. Magdi Allam is a person of courage, resolve, and strength. Allam knows that for Christians, Islam is not the religion of Yahweh, that Yahweh is not Allah of the Qur’an, and that the Qur’an is not revealed Scripture. He also knows that the ‘Isa of Islam is not the Jesus of the Bible.

Now, before I am accused of bashing Muslims and their religion, let me remind you that it is both honorable and biblical to speak the truth, and to speak it with gentleness and integrity (Proverbs 12:17; Ephesians 4:15). By analogy, if I say the Heart River, a slowly moving river, is not the Missouri River, I am speaking honestly. My statement doesn’t denigrate either river; it simply makes an observation, stating the obvious. If, however, I called the Heart River a slimy cesspool-like good-for-nothing dribble, you would be right to poke your finger in my chest and correct me for being mean-spirited, if not downright inaccurate.

Islam and Christianity are two different, in fact very different religions. And what I appreciate about Allam’s statement is that he is reminding the church of her proper place in this world. The church must speak prophetically to the world. This means we Christians—Protestant and Catholic—using God’s word, can speak into situations, events, and behaviors—and to other religions—when necessary.

So, I applaud brother Allam for his courage to speak prophetically, to speak with truth, power, and integrity, first to Christians and secondly to Muslims. His message to Christians is this: let’s stand up for what we believe; stand up for the Trinity, the reality of the crucifixion, and the truths of the Bible. Allam’s message to Muslims is this: we are not afraid, but we will lovingly and sensitively share the good news of Jesus Christ with you, for this is what Jesus has commanded us.

Some say the gift of prophecy, speaking for God, is no longer with us, but this is inaccurate. The voice of the church must be purposely and profoundly prophetic as illustrated by the courage and integrity of Magdi Cristiano Allam.

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About Author

Jeff Morton / Bunyan Towery (M.Div. and D.Miss., Biola) is pastor of discipleship, Hillside Baptist Church, Dickinson, ND. He is author of " Two Messiahs," "Insider Movements: Biblically Incredible or Incredibly Brilliant?" and co-editor of "Chrislam: How Missionaries are Promoting an Islamized Gospel."

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