After watching this video where a Muslim converts to Christianity, and an exhilarating discussion on Twitter yesterday with a Catholic and a fellow Anglican (I myself am Anglican and part of an Anglican Church of North America church), I’ve come to a conclusion–well, rather, a hypothesis:
Christian orthodoxy will save the world.
Specifically, the Muslim world.
What Islam has going for it is a relatively organized system: several holy books (the Koran, the Sira, and the Hadith), the life of a figure regarded as ideal or holy (Muhammad) for study, and decrees (fatwas) issued for clarification of Muslim law (Sharia) by figures in a central authority (mufti).
If that doesn’t sound like Christian orthodoxy gone horribly wrong, I don’t know what does.
We have our holy books (the Bible and occasionally the Apocrypha), the life of a figure regarded as ideal or holy (Jesus) for study, and decrees issued for clarification of Christian doctrine and practice by figures in a central authority (the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or, in the case of the ACNA, Archbishop Foley Beach).
While Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and Episcopalians disagree on the doctrines issues raised by the Reformation (Martin Luther really did a number on the Church, both for good and for bad) and social issues (mostly regarding sexuality), all of these bring some semblance of order to unstructured Christianity. Nondenominational churches will most likely never be palatable to an orthodox Muslim who has converted, because of the disorganized nature of things and the continual disagreement between denominations as to how far to go with post-Reformation theology.
Please note that in the former paragraph, I used the word ‘palatable’ not to mean that we change Christianity to suit Islam–conversion without the radical heart change introduced by the Holy Spirit is not conversion!–but that we welcome Muslims into the body of Christ not just through conversion, but also baptism and the other Sacraments into our holy fellowship.
In other words, we invite them into Christ’s Church, but we also give them the structure necessary for former Muslims to have the grounding and satisfaction that comes from hundreds of years of Christian orthodoxy–the Sacraments, the succession of bishops, all of it.
Now how do we implement this? I’m not sure, but I think it might be happening already. I do know that Anglicanism is already spreading throughout Africa and that we have missions organizations. I imagine the Catholic Church does too. If we are already there, then shifting to the Middle East shouldn’t be so hard to do. The only thing I would add to traditional missions work is including weapons training, so that new Christians can protect themselves. If a Muslim gives their life to Christ only to be murdered the next day, what has the Church gained?
The United States government, as it is now, cannot be trusted to protect Middle Eastern Christians–they bring in Muslims almost exclusively. Whether Europe can be trusted is doubtful as well. Christians are going to have to do this by ourselves–but this is probably as it should be. Orthodox Christians need to have the backbone of the Crusaders, so that we–Christ through us–can save the world.
Article has been edited for clarification.