In the late 80’s when I was attending one of my mandated military officer schools, we were assigned to small study groups along with officers from allied military forces from countries across the globe. In one of these groups was an officer in the Saudi Arabian army which a friend of mine had been assigned to mentor and escort. This was part of a program that helped the foreign military officers assimilate and find their way around while they were attending our schools and was part of our diplomatic programs to foster friendship with nations we were allied with or wished to be allied with. As you can imagine, the escort/mentors had a pretty big job sometimes, especially when there were language or cultural conflicts. One day, as my friend was escorting this officer in a visit to a local mall, the officer’s wife was in tow, a few steps behind the two men. As they approached the doors of the mall, this Saudi officer allowed my friend to enter, then the man let the door go, closing right in the face of his wife. A stranger from the local area, a young man, had been leaving the mall at just that instant and watched what he interpreted as a very rude gesture and immediately launched into a verbal tirade against the Saudi officer. My friend had a really hard time defusing the situation and explaining the seemingly rude actions of this man.
The man meant nothing by his actions. This was typical of his Islamic culture in which women are looked on as inferior beings and are frequently treated poorly. But this is a shining example of why we should be very careful in our interactions with practitioners of the Islamic faith. We can witness to them and even find ways to give loving service to them, but we should never, ever water down the truth of our faith, nor deny the full truth of who Jesus is (or other key biblical tenets) so that we can reach them. Not all people are so careful. In fact, there is a supposedly Christian group that is intent on erasing the differences between Christianity and Islam and merging the two religions. Some have called this unholy alliance Chrislam. And despite denials by some of its adherents, to include well known pastor Rick Warren, their words and actions betray what’s in their hearts. Moreover, faithful men of God such as Jack Van Impe have tried to call them out on their apostasy and have suffered for their witness by being shut out of the power corridors and media platforms.