While Christianity is sharply declining in the United States, Islam continues to grow. Instead of going and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), young people all over the world are choosing to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). One woman, speaking about her daughter’s so-called ‘radicalization,’ declared “I don’t blame Islam…I blame the people who made her believe in a radical way of life.”
Certainly, ISIS promises a radical way of life. They behead unbelievers, which is exactly what the Koran commands (Koran 8:12). They crucify people, which is what they recently did to three brothers. Apparently, “one of the brothers was accused of supporting the Libyan government, which under ISIS’ Sharia law is equivalent to the executable offense of apostasy.” Of course, the Koran commands that mischief-makers and Allah’s enemies be crucified (Koran 5:33). Finally, they set “honey traps” for gay men. They pretend to be homosexuals, so they can lure gay guys and stone them to death. Although the Koran isn’t exactly anti-gay, they know what they believe and they act on it. Can the same be said for Christians in the United States?
With all due respect to ISIS, Jesus offers a far more radical lifestyle than the one they’re living. He said “any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). He added that “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). He also explained “if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away” because that’s better than having “your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). That’s pretty radical.
So, why aren’t we seeing more young people ‘radicalized’ for Jesus? It’s simple, really. Most of the Christians they know aren’t radical for Jesus, especially church leaders. Many of these leaders aren’t denying themselves to please the Lord (Matthew 16:24). They preach what people want to hear, tickling their ears and taking their money for the privilege (2 Timothy 4:3). Instead of fearing the Lord, they fear what people think (Matthew 10:28). They have an acceptable form of godliness, but they deny God’s power (2 Timothy 3:5). They carefully quote from the Word of God, focusing on passages about His grace, His love and prosperity. They’re afraid to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), because they don’t want to offend anybody. In trying to make church ‘relevant,’ they’ve made it completely irrelevant. I mean, if people wanted a motivational speaker, why would they go to church?
It’s time to count the cost (Luke 14:28), be on fire for God (Romans 12:11), and boldly proclaim “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).