Yes, the world has changed! Suddenly, America joins the host of countries where war is on their own soil. A once obscure Arab guerilla leader named Osama, pledges, " I swear to God that America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine, and before all the army of infidels depart the land of Mohammed."
And the greatest superpower the world has ever seen — listens.
So, what is this "new kind of war" that President Bush says we are in? He says it is not with the Islamic people, that Islam is a peaceful religion, that it has been hijacked by radical terrorist thugs.
But if this is true, there are a lot more of these "thugs" around than just in Afghanistan. The daily news continues to carry stories of violence and brutality from Indonesia to Sudan to Pakistan, to Nigeria, to the Philippines. And all these incidents are occurring where Islam either dominates or is operating guerilla war to topple a legitimate government.
These radicals are referred to as "fundamentalists." This means they take their religious teaching literally. Bible believers are branded with the same label. So, what is the difference? In a word: "jihad."
Islam, like Bible Christianity, sees a two-part world: kingdom of God and kingdom of Satan. The great commission prescribes discipleship as the method of advancing the kingdom of God against the kingdom of Satan.
Islam's great commission also includes advancing the kingdom of Allah against the kingdom of Satan, but with a very different method. Mohammed, himself, set the pattern. When asked what was the most important thing in Islam, he replied, "Faith in Allah and jihad in His path."
Then he proceeded to demonstrate what he meant by leading his army against all his neighbors until he had imposed his new religion on them on pain of death by his sword.
Jihad means "struggle." The "moderate" Muslim says that this means the personal struggle against sin. In the first part of the Koran, this appears to be Mohammed's teaching.
But later, when he gained power, he redefined it as a "holy war" and promised elaborate sensual pleasures in paradise for any "martyr" who died fighting to expand Allah's rule over the land of "infidels."
When an Islamic leader several years ago called America the "Great Satan" this placed the U.S. in the infidel camp, an open target for the "holy warriors." We now know that this was about the time when the plot against the World Trade Center was hatched.
Hundreds of young Muslims answered the call to attack the Great Satan spurred by the promise of dozens of virgins in paradise if they died in the process. Thus was born the most effective terrorist weapon, the suicide bomber.
Some see Israel as the focal point of Islamic violence and that the U.S. is only involved because of her support of Israel. But Israel is only called the "little Satan." One newsletter published by a Messianic ministry in Israel, says, "Here is the awful truth. Radical Islam is absolutely, utterly and totally at war with the world's Western Democratic nations."
Dave Hunt, in his book, "A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy", says, "Islam is fighting a holy war for control of the world! That war was begun by Mohammed himself in the seventh century and is still carried on today by his faithful followers through terrorism."
But war is more than guns, planes and tanks. These are just tools used by armies to advance an idea or belief system. Islam believes that they are destined to conquer the world. And it teaches that war is holy if it advances Islamic control. Muslim soldiers who die in this war receive immediate entrance to paradise where 70 virgins lay on 70 bed sheets waiting for them.
In this war of ideas, Islam sees two arch enemies: Jews and Christians. Converted Muslim G.J.O. Moshay in his book, "Who is this Allah?", states: "The fact is never hidden as to the attitude a good Muslim should have towards Christians and Jews. In fact, much of the incitement to violence and war in the whole of the Koran is directed against the Jews and Christians..."
Sadly, Islam's concept of Christians is based on the inquisition and the crusades, not on exposure to true Bible believers. On this basis, Islam has virtually eliminated all "Christians," including soul winners, in the countries that they control. To them, the hated "Christian" nations have conspired with the Jews to invade Muslim territory (Palestine) and lay claim to the exact spot (the temple mount) where sits Islam's 3rd most holy mosque.
When bin Laden pledges to drive the infidels out of the land of Mohammed, he means Jerusalem first, but also, any other Muslim land where westerners dare enter, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. After the Jews, he sees Americans as the next most hated intruders.
As you can see, Satan has constructed an almost air-tight domain in the Muslim world. Soul winners are particularly unwelcome. The penalty for "proselytizing" in any of the Muslim dominated countries is often death.
What can Bible believers do? Fortunately, millions of followers of Allah have settled in the western world. Estimates range up to 6 million in the United States. Europe and the UK host millions more.
We have freely welcomed them into our open, diverse society. Some have used that welcome to bring their "holy war" to our land. Most have settled here and are enjoying freedom's prosperity. They must be able to see the contrast between freedom's blessing and Islam's oppression. But few have been told that Jesus is the real reason for the difference.
Soul winners, that's where we come in. If we could get just a small percentage of them saved here, they would begin to share the power of the gospel with friends and relatives in their home land.
America has vowed to use military might to "smoke out" the terrorist cells. For some, that will be the only way to stop them. But, if we could win the spiritual war by winning enough of them to Christ, most of those cells would dissolve. If someone had won Mohamed Atta to Christ, would the Twin Towers still be standing?