The Reformers and Islam: A Public Lecture by Emidio Campi

One of the leading scholars of the Reformation is holding a series of public lectures around the country. Emidio Campi will be at Union Theological Seminary in New York tomorrow night presenting on ‘The Reformers and Islam’. You will WANT TO GO if you are nearby. Campi is stunningly brilliant and his work is top of the line.

Date: November 6, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Union Theological Seminary, New York
Topic: The Reformers and Islam

Don’t miss it.  

Professor Campi was educated at the Waldensian (reformed) Theological Faculty in Rome, at the University of Tübingen and at the Comenius Theological Faculty in Prague, where he completed doctoral studies in Theology and History. He holds doctoral degrees from both the Comenius Faculty and the University of Tübingen.

He has served as General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation, based in Geneva, and as Pastor to the Waldensian Congregation in Florence. From 1989 until his retirement in 2009 he taught at the University of Zürich, latterly serving as Professor Ordinarius of Church History and Director of the Swiss Reformation Studies Institute in the University.

Professor Campi’s many scholarly publications include Michelangelo e Vittoria Colonna. Un dialogo artistico teologico ispirato da Bernardino Ochino, Torino: Claudiana, 1994; Peter Martyr Vermigli. Humanism, Republicanism, Reformation, Geneva: Droz, 2002 [ed. in collaboration with Frank James III and Peter Opitz]; Heinrich Bullinger und seine Zeit. Eine Vorlesungsreihe, Zurich: Theologischer Verlag, 2004; The Architect of the Reformation. An Introduction to Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575), Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House 2004 [ed. with Bruce Gordon].

His current research projects include scholarly editions of the church ordinances of the major Swiss reformed cities, and continuing research on the Italian reformer Pietro Martire Vermigli. He is also preparing a history of the World Student Christian Federation. Professor Campi serves on many editorial boards in the fields of Reformation scholarship and church history more generally.

Registration is required, RSVP online

Bullinger and Islam

Perhaps the most well-informed Reformer on the religion of Islam was Heinrich Bullinger.  In 1567 he wrote a fairly long book titled Der Türgg : von Anfang und Ursprung dess türggischen Gloubens, der Türggen, ouch jrer Königen und Keyseren, und wie fürträffenlich vil Landen unnd Lüthen sy innet 266 Jaren yngenommen und der Christenheit abtrungen habind / kurtze Verzeichnuss durch Matthiam Erben zuo Rappoltzwyler &c. …

It exhibits an understanding of Islam relatively nuanced and more sensitive (if one might use such a word of a man who saw Islam as a heretical offshoot of Christianity and Judaism) than either Zwingli or Luther. It can be downloaded in pdf directly here.

It would be a good thing if theologians today exhibited the same sort of thorough knowledge of Islam that Bullinger managed in the 16th century.

Certainly we would be wrong to think Bullinger was sympathetic to Islam.  He definitely was not.  Indeed, he saw them in the same light, thanks to their violence, as he did the Munster Anabaptists (for whom he had no kind words).  But he could point to the good deeds of Muslims and he wasn’t afraid to compare them to the bad deeds of Christians (as a sort of cattle prod to Christians that they should surely do better than the Turks!).  For Bullinger the fact was that Islam rose because Christianity was weak and Christians were fighting among themselves for power and control.

In sum, for Bullinger, Islam was a foil off of which to provoke Christians to better living.

A Letter from Pastor Youcef

He’s the Christian house church pastor facing execution in Iran for leaving Islam. From CBN

07 May 2012

Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani.

To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.

First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And during these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments.

I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial due has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will.

I am neither a political person nor do I know about political complicity, but I know that while there are many things in common between different cultures, there are also differences between these cultures around the world which can result in criticism, which most of the times response to this criticisms will be harsh and as a result will lengthen our problems.

From time to time I am informed about the news which is spreading in the media about my current situation, for instance being supported by various churches and famous politicians who have asked for my release, or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me. I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting human rights in a right way can bring forth positive results.

I want to appreciate all those are trying to reach this goal. But at the other hand, I’d like to announce my disagreement with the insulting activities which cause stress and trouble, which unfortunately are done with the justification (excuse) of defending human rights and freedom, for the results are so clear and obvious for me.

I try to be humble and obedient to those who are in power, obedience to those in authority which God has granted to the officials of my country, and pray for them to rule the country according to the will of God and be successful in doing this. For I know in this way I have obeyed God’s word. I try to obey along with those whom I see in a common situation with me. They never had any complaint, but just let the power of God be manifested in their lives, and though sometimes we read that they have used this right to defend themselves, for they had this right, I am not an exception as well and have used all possibilities and so forth and am waiting for the final result.

So I ask all the beloved ones to pray for me as the holy word has said. At the end I hope my freedom will be prepared as soon as possible, as the authorities of my country will do with free will according to their law and commandments which are answerable to.

May God’s Grace and Mercy be upon you now and forever. Amen.

Youcef Nadarkhani

Please remember to pray for him, and for the other Christians suffering persecution around the world.

The 2011 Bavinck Conference Lectures Online

Audio recordings of lectures from the 12–14 October 2011 international Bavinck conference, “After 9/11/11 . . . What? Reformed Theology and the Church’s Global Mission Today,” are now available on our web site.

Via.  The theme of the lectures is dialogue with Islam.  Look’s like there might be some gems in there.

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The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

In the world of biblical scholarship there are scholars worthy of the name, authentic intellectual diamonds; and there are ‘scholars’ who are- to be polite- cubic zirconium.   Máire Byrne fits into the first category and her recent book will prove that to all its readers.  The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam arrived today courtesy the good folk at Continuum and I’m already certain of one thing- it’s brilliant. I can say that before I’ve read it because Máire delivered a paper based on it at the SOTS Winter Meeting in Durham last year.

Her paper was brilliant and if the fruit is brilliant that can only mean that the tree from which it springs is similarly attired.

Nevertheless I’ll go through it with a fine tooth comb and I’ll even be uncharacteristically ruthless and unforgiving of every slip and typo. It’s worth the time.  When the review is done I’ll post it here.

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Hunting Christians

Violent persecution against Christians continues in Somalia, and one Christian watchdog group thinks Islamic extremists are to blame.

The latest incident took place in Hudur City, where Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that “Islamic radicals kidnapped a Christian brother and then beheaded him. His decapitated body was discovered.”

Racho believes Islamic extremists from al-Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaeda, are responsible for the murder. But this is not the first time the extremists have done something like this, he says.

“Members of the Islamic radical group al-Shabaab have made their intentions very clear that they want to get rid of Christians in Somalia,” Racho notes. Juma Nuradin Kamil is the latest martyr for Christ in the country over which al-Shabaab holds much control.


Oh No, Not in Copenhagen Too!

This is so tragic and so completely barbaric:

One man was killed and two more wounded in a shoot-out outside a mosque in central Copenhagen on Tuesday morning.

The Norway gunman seems to have like minded friends across the sea in Denmark.

Anti-Islamic feeling has been strengthening in Denmark ever since the conservative Jyllands-Posten newspaper outraged the Muslim world by publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

Astonishing, really, given the openness of Danish society and the friendliness (in a German-esque way) of the Danes. God willing all this madness will end and never be repeated. I know the decent Danes wish the same.

Brutal Islam

A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda is still unable to walk 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam and putting her faith in Christ, according to area Christians.  Susan Ithungu of Isango village, Kasese district, has been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital since October 2010 after neighbors with police help rescued her from her father, Beya Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released, sources said.

Anyone know of any Christians who torture their children if they convert to Islam?

Christians Keep Being Targeted in Iraq

Barbaric murderers.

Via Yahoo News: Kirkuk, Iraq – Fifteen people were wounded on Tuesday by a car bomb targeting a Syrian Catholic church in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, a police officer and a priest said. The bomb exploded at the Holy Family church in the north of Kirkuk at about 5:30 am (0230 GMT), wounding 15 people including church staff and people in neighbouring houses, the high-ranking officer in the Kirkuk police said. The officer, who spoke on condition of … Read More

via Fr Stephen’s Blog

Belgium’s Burqa Ban

Belgium will enforce a burqa ban from July 23 with a fine and possible jail time for women who wear it, joining France as the second EU nation to forbid full veils, Belgian media said Thursday.  The new law was published Wednesday in the kingdom’s official journal after deputies approved it unanimously in parliament in April.  Offenders will face a fine of 137.50 euros ($195) and up to seven days behind bars. An estimated 270 people wear the face-covering niqab or the full-body burqa in Belgium.  France−home to Europe’s biggest Muslim population — became the first European Union country to ban the burqa on April 11.

Nothing says xenophobia quite like intrusion into religious practice.  And in Europe, paranoia and fear reign supreme.  Every Muslim is an enemy and every veiled woman a secret bomber…

Very Unpleasant News from Egypt

Out of Egypt reposts a news essay, claiming

The number of Christian girls abducted and coerced into converting to Islam since the Egyptian “January 25 Revolution” has skyrocketed, according to Father Filopateer Gamil of St. Mary’s Church in Giza. “More than two to three girls disappear everyday in Giza alone,” he said. “The cases that are brought to public attention are few compared to what the numbers actually are.”  Many Christians blame the military council for not intervening to put an end to this problem, which has escalated after the Revolution because of the “emergence of Muslim Salafists,” says activist Mark Ebeid, “who believe strongly that converting a Christian Infidel is in some ways like earning a ticket to paradise — not to mention the earthly remuneration they get from the Saudis.”

This is perfectly unacceptable.  The US State Department needs to exert whatever pressure necessary to bring an end to this barbarism.

Some Good News from Iran

The AFP reports

Iran‘s supreme court has overturned a death sentence handed down to Yusef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor accused of apostasy for having converted from Islam, his lawyer told AFP on Sunday.

“The supreme court has annuled the death sentence and sent the case back to the court in Rasht (his hometown), asking the accused to repent,” Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said.

Nadarkhani, now 32, converted from Islam to Christianity at the age of 19 and became a pastor of a small evangelical community called the Church of Iran.

He was arrested in October 2009 and condemned to death for apostasy under Iran’s Islamic Sharia laws, which however allow for such verdicts to be overturned if the convicted person “repents” and renounces his conversion.

After his conviction was upheld by an appeal court in Gilan province in September 2010, Nadarkhani turned to the supreme court. His wife, who was initially sentenced to life imprisonment, was released on appeal.

The lawyer said the verdict had been read out to him on the telephone and that he needed to travel to Rasht, where Nadarkhani is being held, to see the ruling for himself.

Thank God.

Tensions Between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians are Rising

In Ägypten ist es erneut zu Spannungen zwischen Muslimen und Kopten gekommen, wie die Online-Zeitung «Al Masry Al Youm» am 24. Juni schreibt. Am 23. Juni belagerten mehrere hundert Muslime eine Kirche im mittelägyptischen Dorf Bani Ahmed und protestierten gegen den örtlichen Priester. Die Polizei habe die Versammlung aufgelöst. Menschen wurden dem Bericht zufolge nicht verletzt.

Read the whole sad report here.

Luther: On the Turks (Read, Muslims)

Luther wasn’t a very politically correct person.  Even for his own day.  Indeed, he was brusque and said what he thought regardless of how people felt.  Who can help but admiring such a stalwart?  In what follows be sure to read ‘Muslims’ where you see ‘Turks’, as that’s what Luther meant.

News came from Torgau that the Turks had led out into the great square at Constantinople twenty-three Christian prisoners, who, on their refusing to apostatize, were beheaded. Dr. Luther said: Their blood will cry up to heaven against the Turks, as that of John Huss did against the papists. `Tis certain, tyranny and persecution will not avail to stifle the Word of Jesus Christ. It flourishes and grows in blood. Where one Christian is slaughtered, a host of others arise. `Tis not on our walls or our arquebusses I rely for resisting the Turk, but upon the Pater Noster. `Tis that will triumph. The Decalogue is not, of itself, sufficient. I said to the engineers at Wittenberg: Why strengthen your walls—they are trash; the walls with which a Christian should fortify himself are made, not of stone and mortar, but of prayer and faith.

The last sentence is so very true and still 500 years after Luther said it, we still lumber along as though he never had.  Buffoons.

And this certainly could be written today were it not for our reticence to see things as they are

The Turks pretend, despite the Holy Scriptures, that they are the chosen people of God, as descendants of Ishmael. They say that Ishmael was the true son of the promise, for that when Issac was about to be sacrificed, he fled from his father, and from the slaughter knife, and, meanwhile, Ishmael came and truly offered himself to be sacrificed, whence he became the child of the promise; as gross a lie as that of the papists concerning one kind in the sacrament. The Turks make a boast of being very religious, and treat all other nations as idolaters. They slanderously accuse the Christians of worshipping three gods. They swear by one only God, creator of heaven and earth, by his angels, by the four evangelists, and by the eighty heaven-descended prophets, of whom Mohammed is the greatest. They reject all images and pictures, and render homage to God alone. They pay the most honorable testimony to Jesus Christ, saying that he was a prophet of preeminent sanctity, born of the Virgin Mary, and an envoy from God, but that Mohammed succeeded him, and that while Mohammed sits, in heaven, on the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ is seated on his left. The Turks have retained many features of the law of Moses, but, inflated with the insolence of victory, they have adopted a new worship; for the glory of warlike triumphs is, in the opinion of the world, the greatest of all.

No matter how much things change, they remain the same.  There’s really nothing new under the sun.

Paranoid France

Woman wearing a scarf wrapped around her head ...

Muslim woman, or ninja?

What folly.  Are the French really that afraid of Islam that they outlaw women practicing it?  Seriously?  The French ‘democracy’ just became the French Fascism.  Next thing you know, they’ll elect their own Mussolini.

Muslim women who wear the niqab or burka in public in France face fines of 150 euros (£132) under a new law that has just come into force. The country five-million-strong Muslim community is the biggest in western Europe, but fewer than 2,000 women are believed to wear a full face veil. Many Muslim leaders have said they remain neutral on the issue, neither supporting the wearing of burkas nor the law restricting their use.

Good grief. But I suppose this is to be expected of a nation so fearful that it surrenders after 3 minutes of battle in every war it enters.

By rights, though, France must now ban Ninjas too.

The Pakistani Christian Who Died in Prison: Be Suspicious of the ‘Official’ Cause of Death

The Washington Post advises us that

A Pakistani Christian jailed for blasphemy has died in prison and his lawyer said Wednesday he suspected the man had been murdered.  Regional prison chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo said the prison doctor believed Qumar David, 50, died of a heart attack on Tuesday in Karachi Central Jail after complaining of chest pain. An autopsy is due to be carried out on the body in the presence of his family members.  Two prominent Pakistani politicians have been murdered this year for their campaign to change blasphemy laws that make it a capital offense to insult Islam. Critics say the laws are widely misused to persecute Christians or settle scores in the mostly Muslim country.  Human rights groups say Christians convicted under the law have been murdered by extremists.  David’s lawyer Pervez Chaudhry says he is “100 percent” certain it was murder but was unable to offer evidence. Chaudhry said both he and David had received death threats during the trial in 2010.

Yeah it’s hard to buy the ‘died of a heart attack’ story when there’s a clear campaign in Pakistan to exterminate Christians and Christianity.  Barbarism.

If A Christian Cleric Advocated Killing…

99.9% of the rest of the Christian clerics in the world would denounce it as the vilest representation of wicked total depravity.  Let’s see if Muslim clerics step up to the plate and denounce one of their own.  Or if, by their silence, show their agreement with him.

An American-Yemeni cleric whose Internet sermons are believed to have helped inspire attacks on the U.S. has advocated the killing of American civilians in an al-Qaida video released Sunday. Anwar al-Awlaki has been singled out by U.S. officials as a key terrorist threat and has been added to the CIA’s list of targets for assassination despite his American citizenship. He is of particular concern because he is one of the few English-speaking radical clerics able to explain to young Muslims in America and other Western countries the philosophy of violent jihad.

So, Muslim leaders, what say you? Or will your silence speak volumes?

Here’s the face of hatred-