Founders and the faithful

Founders and the faithful

By Dr. Robert R. Kopp

I like to pull out my old red letter King James Bible every now and then and review all of the words of Jesus in one sitting. The Founder is the best source for how to be faithful.

To be a Christian is to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior and then pray, study, consult, and work to be a “little Christ” or enfleshment of His ethics as He exemplified and explained in His own words.

The words of Jesus, not the words about Jesus, define Jesus as the Founder of Christianity while providing clarity about what it means to follow in His steps.

Indeed, Jesus shouldn’t be blamed for those Christians whose conduct and countenance contradict who He was and what He said. Aberrations to the truth should not be confused with the truth. Suggesting that Jesus is guilty by association with false witnesses to Him is as silly as blaming Rolex for those cheap imitations being hawked on street corners.

In the same way, the founders of world religions more than their followers are the best sources for understanding intentions.

I mention this because of the intellectual dishonesty surrounding Islam by its American marketers, media and politically correct but practically illiterate apologists.

While American expressions of Islam are as watered down as American expressions of most other religions to accommodate our amazingly celebrated and globally unique unity amid diversity (Praise God!), militant Islam may be more normative than aberrant in the rest of the world.

Certainly, American Muslims are doing their best to distance themselves from their radical counterparts; but just as certainly, it is rare to hear voices from the rest of Islam’s nation condemning terror as an instrument of their religion. It’s not so much a vocalized affirmation as much as a deafening silence that affirms, or at least acquiesces to the more militant sentiments.

Most world religions, including Islam in America, honor their founders through acts of kindness and cooperation. It’s hard to imagine an American Muslim, Irish Catholic, Scottish Presbyterian, Vietnamese Buddhist, Russian Jew, or almost any other religious person invoking their founder’s name as rationalization for terror.

However, unlike Jesus, Buddha and others, a literal reading of Muhammad could, and obviously does, allow the religious utility of terror.

For example, Muhammad did say, “I have received orders to fight against people until they say there is no god but God…Paradise is in the shadow of your sabres…The wounds received by Muslims in holy war will be the color of blood, but it will smell like musk.”

Founders are the best source for how to be faithful to their religions.

It brings to mind the cautions of a prophet and psalmist: “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace…I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (Jeremiah 6:14; Psalm 120:7).

Dr. Robert Kopp is the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Loves Park.

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