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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

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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 of dissenters.


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 Khomeini.


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 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 Muslims.’


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.’ Luke 21.28.