We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
Clash of civilisations?
I attended a debate in January on the subject ‘A World Civilisation or a Clash of
Civilisations’ in which Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, was debating with Daniel
Pipes, the American historian and counter terrorism expert. As we waited for the
debate to begin the slogans of the Mayor’s office were flashed across the screen:
‘We’ve come a long way. There’s a long way to go. Together we can get there.’
Ken Livingstone told us where he wants to go as he extolled an emerging global civilisation,
which he says will allow ordinary people to decide what they think best and how to
live. The essence of this new world is an attitude of tolerance towards others however
they may choose to live their lives, as long as they do not harm others. People may
or may not follow any particular religion or ideology. As long as they do not impose
their views on others that is acceptable. He spoke of the dangers of repeating the
Cold War situation in which the world was divided into competing ideological camps
armed for each other’s destruction. He warned of a crude ‘Islamophobia’ emerging
as a result of the ‘War on Terror’, which would once again divide the world. As the
Islamic world is in our midst in Britain and Europe it is important to find a way
to live and let live with Islam also and avoid polarisation and intolerance.
Daniel Pipes countered by saying that this is wishful thinking and that the clash
of civilisations exists whether we like it or not. The radical Islamic movement has
declared war on western civilisation and has to be defeated as Fascism and Communism
were defeated. He differentiated between radical and moderate Islam and defined radical
Islam as having three main features:
1. Complete adherence to Sharia (Islamic) law and its extension into areas where
it does not apply at present.
2. A division of the world into two parts, the moral and the immoral, the good and
the bad. As British based Islamist Abdullah el-Faisal put it: ‘There are two religions
in the world today - the right one and the wrong one. Islam versus the rest of the
world.’ This view creates a hatred of the non Moslem world and a desire to take it
over for Islam.
3. The transformation of a personal faith into a political system for ordering power
and wealth. Radical Islam derives from Islam but is an anti-modern, millenarian,
misanthropic, misogynist, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, triumphalist, jihadistic,
terrorist, and suicidal version of it. It is Islamic-flavoured totalitarianism.
His conclusion was that if western nations do not resist and take action to prevent
the spread of radical Islam they will be taken over by it. He noted that those on
the right politically tend to be in favour of taking such action while those on the
left often ally themselves with radical Muslims. He quoted George Galloway of the
‘Respect Party’, who said ‘the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims
have the same enemies,’ which he then went on to indicate were Israel, the United
States, and Great Britain. Pipes said this is incredibly short sighted because the
triumph of Islam would be the defeat of many things the left campaigns for (e.g.
the secularisation of society, feminism and gay rights).
As a Christian sitting in this debate I was aware of two great forces, hostile to
each other, but also hostile to biblical Christianity struggling for supremacy in
Britain and in the whole western world – secular humanism and Islam.
Ken Livingstone’s new global civilisation which preaches tolerance and ‘let everyone
live how they like’ is actually not quite so tolerant when it comes to relating to
biblical Christianity. One of the main ideas behind this way of thinking is the view
that there is no absolute right and wrong, good and evil, but everything is relative.
What is right for me may not be right for you and vice versa. Above all you may not
say that something is sinful in the eyes of God.
As I wrote in my article in the spring 2007 edition of Light for the Last Days, a
new intolerance is taking over our society in the name of tolerance and liberalism,
a process which is happening across the western world. Education, the media and governments
backed by international organisations like the UN and the EU are imposing a new world
view which claims to be ‘tolerant’ of minorities, but is actually extremely intolerant
The result of this way of thinking is a disintegrating chaotic society which is self-destructing
through drink, drugs, violence, sexual immorality and family breakdown. The major
problems facing society today involve bad behaviour especially in the youth, with
gang violence, drunkenness and promiscuity creating havoc in the lives of the people.
Such a society needs to be told, ‘There is right and wrong. Choose the right way
through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Change your ways and stop getting drunk
and fornicating and fighting and killing.’
While there are many Christians doing this, one of the voices which is also being
raised on this issue is that of the Muslims. A BBC feature programme recently showed
a Muslim doctor saying that the answer to western social problems is Islam - drunkenness
curbed by banning the sale of alcohol, promiscuity reduced by covering up rather
than exposing female flesh, severe punishments for theft, rape, violence etc. One
can see that for many this has an appeal as European conversions to Islam show. This
is a delusion because an Islamic society can forbid things it considers harmful and
punish wrongdoers but it cannot deal with the sin nature which makes these things
attractive. Only being born again of the Holy Spirit through believing the Gospel
and coming to a living faith in Jesus can bring about the change that is needed in
the lives of our people.
However the results of evangelism may be having an effect on individuals today but
there is little impact on society in general. Despite endless claims that the tide
is turning and prophecies of revival coming, the reality is that our society is going
from bad to worse. The Christian voice is being suppressed in public life in favour
of a political correctness which is fundamentally anti-Christian. It is hard to see
how this condition can change while Britain remains a part of the EU which has successfully
taken over the running of so many of our institutions and is itself the source of
much of the anti-Christian world view that now dominates us. In fact the issue of
who will end up dominating our society now depends to an alarming extent on who ends
up dominating Europe.
I can see the time coming not too far off when people will cry out for a strong leader
to impose order and crack down on the disorder which is threatening us all. This
could actually result from a reaction against both the liberal humanistic approach
which is seen to be failing and against the radical Islamic alternative which most
people are terrified of.
On this issue I happened to be in France taking a meeting the week before the final
round of the recent French Presidential election. The Lord directed me to the spiritual
forces at work in France reminding me of major events in French history: the Roman
Catholic massacre of French Protestants (Huguenots) in 1572 which resulted in the
marginalisation of Biblical Christianity in France; the French Revolution in 1789
which as well as being anti-monarchist was also anti-clerical and humanistic; and
the Napoleonic Wars which brought France into the Middle East area and into contact
with Islam. I was aware of these three spiritual forces now at work in France today
– Catholicism, secular humanism and Islam.
Of all the countries of Europe, France is the one which faces the greatest danger
of the clash of civilisations with Islam. The growth of the Islamic population is
explosive. According to some, one out of three babies born in France is a Muslim.
Hundreds of Muslim ghettos already de facto follow Sharia, not French law. Some believe
France will quietly become a Muslim country, while others are predicting a civil
war in the near future.
On my last day in France I was travelling through Paris and had a bit of time to
spare. I found myself at the Place de la Concorde, where I felt I should pray for
the country of France. This is the place where the guillotine stood at the time of
the Revolution and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed, as well as the revolutionaries,
Robespierre and Danton, when the Revolution began to devour its children.
Today at its centre is the obelisk which once stood at the entrance to the Amon temple
in Luxor, Egypt. I saw this obelisk as an oppressive spiritual power in the heart
of France connecting it to the Middle East which is now dominated by Islam. It is
significant that French foreign policy has for a long time been hostile to Zionism
and has in recent times given help to Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah
Just across the Seine from the Place de la Concorde is the National Assembly (parliament)
building and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I prayed around these buildings as
well and had a sense of the importance of the elections which were about to take
place not just for France, but for the whole of Europe. I prayed in particular about
France’s attitude towards Israel and for deliverance from the power of Islam, as
well as for freedom for the gospel.
Nicholas Sarkozy’s victory took place the following Sunday which raises interesting
issues relating to the subject of this article. His rival Ségoline Royal accused
Sarkozy of being a ‘dangerous choice’ who would threaten democracy and could spark
a civil war. I found this to be a concern amongst the French people, including those
who supported him. In particular there are fears the Muslims will launch a new wave
of violent protests because Sarkozy has been elected. Sarkozy took a hard line against
Islamic radicals operating inside France when he served as Interior Minister during
the Paris riots in 2005. His proposals to tackle France’s economic problems will
also bring him into conflict with the left and the unions, causing many to view him
as a French Margaret Thatcher.
On other foreign policy issues, Sarkozy is strongly opposed to allowing Turkey to
join the European Union, warning of the threat of allowing 100 million more Muslims
free reign through the European continent. He is generally perceived to be pro-Israel,
telling the Jerusalem Post that Israel has the right to defend herself against radical
Islamic attacks. He has said that he supports a Palestinian state but only after
Israel’s security is assured.
Whether Sarkozy provokes civil strife in France or is successful in making changes
to France remains to be seen. Interestingly I found a prophecy given in 2005 on a
French website www.blogdei.com which warned of a leader bringing strong measures
to control France and blood and fire coming as a result.
What is certain is that the issue of the place of Muslims within Europe is going
to continue to be a potentially explosive one throughout the continent. Libyan leader
Gadhafi has said that Islam will take over Europe without violent force within a
few decades. He said on al Jazeera TV, ‘We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There
are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without
guns, without conquests. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim
continent within a few decades. Europe is in a predicament, and so is America. They
should agree to become Islamic in the course of time, or else declare war on the
Of course not all these 50 million Muslims are united and some of them are in Europe
to escape from persecution in Islamic lands rather than wanting to bring Europe under
the dominion of Islam. Some are becoming Christians (in France as well!) and the
challenge to believing Christians is to maintain an attitude of love towards individual
Muslims while being aware of the threat of radical Islam to our freedom.
As far as Bible prophecy is concerned the books of Daniel and Revelation indicate
that at the end of this age the Antichrist or Beast will arise out of the revived
Roman Empire, which I believe to be the EU. Whether he will be Gadhafi’s hoped for
Islamic victor in Europe or the Saviour of secular Europe allied to ‘Christendom’
(i.e. Roman Catholic dominated ecumenical Christianity) remains to be seen. Either
way it will be hard for Bible believing Christians but there will be tremendous opportunities
to share our faith. It is good that we know the end of the story. ‘When these things
begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draws near.’