Muslims' Rights to Build Mosques?

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by scottmaciver, Apr 25, 2018.

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  1. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    A small mosque is being built in my town, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. What ought the correct response of the church be to the establishment of the first mosque on our Islands?

    Opposition has come from the moderator of the Presbytery of the Free Church (Continuing), Rev Greg Macdonald who said, “On the basis of this biblical teaching, we object to the promotion of all false religion, including the promotion of Islam through a mosque in Stornoway. God’s right to be worshipped by his creatures in the way he requires must take precedence over any other supposed rights.”

    On the other hand, the Free Church, through Rev. James Maciver, support the Muslim's right to worship, "They have always been regarded by the local community as people who’ve contributed to the local economy and integrated well. I don’t remember any animosity towards them. Outsiders may have got the impression that the Christian community here have resisted the mosque, but that’s not the case. I come at this from the point of view of liberty of conscience, freedom of religion. I don’t personally see Islam as the way to salvation, but they have a civil right to a place of worship. I have no right to come between someone’s conscience and their god.”
    (See the Guardian article Here for further details, including the context for the above quotes)

    Elsewhere, Thomas Guthrie was quoted to support the Free Church position, as follows, "When one of the early Free Church leaders, Dr Thomas Guthrie, appeared to give evidence before a select committee of the House of Commons in 1847, about the Free Church being granted sites to build churches, he was asked if he would grant a site to any group other than Christians. He said, ‘I would grant a site to any man who desired to worship God according to his conscience’. The committee then asked, ‘To a Jew, or a Muslim, or even an idolater?’ He said, ‘Yes, I have no right to stand between a man and his conscience.’"
  2. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I'm definitely with Rev. MacDonald and the Westminster Confession on this one.
    I really doubt that James Maciver would stand before his congregation and say, "I have no right to come between your conscience and your god of choice. I personally believe that you should obey the Scriptures, but just do what is right in your own eyes." If his stance on public morality and religion were taken to its logical conclusion, it would be clear that it's just plain silly.

    That's a shame about Thomas Guthrie. I don't see how he could have reconciled his views with the confession he subscribed.
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  3. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    The FCC's response is the right one, although it's not likely to be popular.
  4. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The Confession refers to false doctrines within the local church, not outside of it though, correct?
  5. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    I see you have a JW Kingdom Hall and a Catholic church as well. Any thoughts on those?
  6. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    The false religions you mentioned, amongst others, have had places of worship in Stornoway for years. They would be in the same bracket, aside from the fact that the mosque is currently being built & has been drawning media attention.
  7. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Just for interest sake: Do you lean towards an opinion on this?
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The Confession is speaking to allowing Islam within the church, but not speaking to outside of it, correct?
  9. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    I struggle to determine to what extent my culture is affecting my judgment on this, but since they are not worshipping God, it falls in the same category as putting up a building for Rotary or the Boy Scouts.
  10. scottmaciver

    scottmaciver Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was more interested in the opinions of others, particularly from a confessional perspective, than making my own views known. However, I agree with the FCC position.

    Having said that, I am friendly with some of the Muslims involved in the mosque build and while disagreeing with them and their religious beliefs, I would like to see them treated with respect by all concerned. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary, aside from those who would equate "disagreement" with "hate."
  11. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Isn’t Islam more orthodox than JWs?
  12. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    what is the concern, as the true Jesus is still sovereign over false Allah, correct?
  13. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Islam has been called the satanic counterfeit world religion.
  14. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    No. It states that any false worship should not be tolerated, inside the church or outside.
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  15. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    With respect to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 9th commandments -both explicitly and by way of necessary consequence- of course we should not support the erecting of Muslim temples. The LORD God of truth is decidedly against "freedom" of religion.
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  16. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I see this issue as having two different aspects.

    1. Should we as the church be okay with false places of worship being built? That is a hard one.

    We know that a man can commit idolatry in his heart with regard to anything. If every place that I commit idolatry in my heart was torn down, there'd be no world left.

    How do we make these distinctions? Formal religions don't get buildings, but naturalistic atheists get their worldly places of worship (malls, theatres, etc.)?

    2. Should the state be doing something about this, especially in light of the Islamification of Europe?

    I say yes. Importing too many foreigners with a different culture will eventually destroy your own culture.

    I hope to make it to Scotland to visit my ancestral homeland one day; I sure do hope it is Scotland still.

    Perhaps I need to let go of the West, and only care about God's kingdom; but it is hard to see enemies being welcomed into our homelands and do nothing. Ask Sweden and Germany how that is going.

    Another point is that there will only exist freedom of religion until Islam is powerful enough to enforce its own theocracy.

    This may not represent all Muslims and mosque building, but I am speaking generally about the state of certain parts of Europe right now.
  17. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Did the early Christians have all of the pagan temples and worship of false gods outlawed though?
  18. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    That is irrelevant to the conversation. The earliest Christians were not in positions of political power. They couldn't outlaw anything. But they could still hate a thing on the grounds that God hates it.
  19. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    They also didn't outlaw child p0rnography, but that doesn't prove anything for today.
  20. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    How is setting up a place of worship to a false god the same as a Boy Scout troop? Did the Lord regard Asherim or altars to Baal in the same manner He did a place of business or merchant's guild?
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  21. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Since we don't live in theocracies, the most we as individuals can do is petition the city to not allow the building permit for the mosque.

    Why don't we do that for all evil places though?
  22. SavedSinner

    SavedSinner Puritan Board Freshman

    The Swiss allow them to gather for their false worship, but they are not allowed to build the mosques. We have plenty of proof that these mosques have been used as terrorist training centers. Your Muslim "friends" could be planning the next terrorist attack.
  23. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    We aren't to tolerate false religion within the church. We are to spread the Gospel to those outside the church. There's nothing in Scripture which gives us the right to force people into Christianity, and there's nothing in Scripture which tells us that we are allowed to prevent others from worshipping false gods who are not apart of the church.

    In America, we all have the freedom of religion for a reason. We don't have a state religion for one very good reason.....we don't want the government telling us how to run our religious life. Therefore everyone is free to worship the true God or false gods.

    I have a problem with idolatrous buildings for worship because they are idolatrous to God. On the other hand, I don't have a problem with said buildings because that's the freedom our Constitution has given to us and barring them isn't commanded in Scripture.
  24. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Ultimately, the question is very simple. Is a thing pleasing to God? If not, then why should we, who are God's people, tolerate it?

    If a country's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, does that trump God's hatred of idolatry?

    Of course we do not live in Christian countries. But we are Christians, aren't we?

    It's about what is right before God. But we've had this discussion already, and not even that long ago.
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  25. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Sophomore

    The weapons of our warfare are the Word of God, prayer, sacrificial love, and perhaps even suffering. By these we shall conquer.
  26. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The question was: what is the right response of the church?

    First, to pray for idolaters that they repent. Second, to point the magistrate to the law, reminding them of their duty to kiss the Son and worship the Lord. This quite obviously would restrict the assembly for false worship and the building of places where said assembly takes place. Third, if neither the first nor the second happen, to storm the gates of heaven until the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as a sea.

    As the Reformed, establishmentarian position was, originally, the protection and promotion of a Protestant expression of the Christian faith as constituted in one Reformed church in the land, this also means that the duty of the church here is to lament its own divisions and pray that the Lord would make us one. This would also imply that we need to work at healing the divisions amongst God's people by promoting God's truth. Church courts need to actually debate and discuss the differences amongst us and attempt at unity under one constitutional, confessional document for theology, worship and practice.

    Finally, I do also believe that the church has to be consistent. If not Muslims, then why JWs or Mormons or Catholics? It doesn't help the accusation of hypocrisy constantly levelled against us when we fail to apply our own standards fairly.
  27. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    We are not talking about what is, or was, but discussing what ought to be. The secret and providential workings of God in history are not the pattern/standard He has given to His creatures as to how they ought to act. No, duty is ours, and consequences/results are His. He has -in His most gracious kindness- given us His Law and His Word, which tells us our duty. That is, what we ought to do.

    This particular nation of states -the US, allegedly united by law in the form of the federal Constitution, was arguably not a Christian nation from the beginning, at least not at the federal level. There is no reference to Christ as Lawgiver, and governing according to His Law. There is reference to a Creator, but such broadness surely opens up for too much abuse. Regardless, this should not be a debate over whether America may rightly be called a "Christian nation," or not. Such is irrelevant if we are to consider our duty (that is, professing Christians), which is bound by God and Scripture alone.

    Instead, then, we should begin with the assertion that all magistrates -and especially professing Christian magistrates- have the duty to "be just, ruling in the fear of God," (2 Sam. 23.3) whether America and its Constitution asserts that or not. I believe the Scriptures necessarily teach this. However, it seems the whole matter has become needlessly convoluted amongst professing Christians, and much of this is perhaps due to pragmatism, or historical ignorance and misguided nationalism, unwittingly styled as patriotism. Consider 2 Samuel 23.3:

    The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.​

    These are a part of the last words of David, as a prophet, pertaining specifically to those who would rule in Israel, but more generally, those who would rule over men period. In the general consideration of this passage, it seems clear that men must be just, and they must rule in the fear of God. We should be careful not to understand the term God here with some nebulous entity fitting to any and every man's religious machinations, but rather the God and Rock of Israel. If Christians believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God, ergo the rule of life (and they should), then we must believe that God, as mentioned in 2 Samuel 23.3 is, in fact, the God revealed in the rest of Scripture.

    Psalm 111 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." We read also several times in the book of Proverbs that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." These Scriptures provide us with many implications, two of which I will mention. First, that without the fear of the Lord, we really cannot even begin to have wisdom in the truest sense. Secondly, that tied to "the fear of the Lord" is an execution of His commandments, and without a knowledge of them, we cannot rightly execute them.
    "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
    - Deuteronomy 29:29

    1."But those things which are revealed . . ."

    Q. What are the "Revealed" Things?
    A. Well, they're summed up in the 10 Commandments, a few of which we will consider. Let's remember, however, that all the Commandments are somewhat intertwined seeing that what is forbidden in one may also be covered in another, and what is commanded in one, may also be required in another. So, while we will only consider a few, there are implications and correlations to other commandments that we simply will not address.

    -The first commandment is "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
    -The second commandment is "Thou shalt not make unto me any graven image, or any likeness of anything..."
    -The third commandment is "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain."
    -The fifth commandment is "Honour thy father and thy mother."
    -The eighth commandment is "Thou shalt not steal."

    These are some of those "things revealed."
    2. Responsible Persons

    Q. Who is Responsible to Obey These?
    A. In the context, the children of Israel were the addressed party; however, as God holds all men accountable to His law, so are all men responsible for obedience thereunto. For example:

    -It's always been wrong to have other gods (Gen. 3:17ff).
    -It's always been wrong to worship God outside of his parameters set (Gen. 4:1-7, Heb. 11:4).
    -It's always been wrong to dishonor superiors (Gen. 9:20-25)
    -It's always been wrong to murder (Gen. 4:1-10).
    -It's always been wrong to steal (Gen. 2:15, 16, Gen. 31:26-32).
    -It's always been wrong to violate the sabbath day (Gen. 2:2-3 & Ex. 16:25, Ex. 20:11).

    All of these "moral laws" are applicable to each and every person born of Adam.
    3. From the Lesser to the Greater, Particularly in Light of the 5th Commandment

    Q. Since God Requires Obedience of the Private Individual, Does He Not Surely Require, Then, Also of Superiors, Particularly in Light of the 5th Commandment?
    A. Particularly in light of a superior's duties himself to obey the Law of God, he must, according to place, station, and sphere of influence, rule in such a way as to countenance that those under his authority obey these laws, and discountenance disobedience (insofar as said obediences/disobediences are aggravations in public) to them.

    -If the magistrate may have no other Gods, and he is required to "Kiss the Son" (Psa. 2) how may he countenance, even righteously protect by "law," religions which conspire against Yahweh and His Supreme Authority? He may not (Psalm 94.20).
    -If the magistrate is not welcome to worship God according to His whimsical desire, how may he righteously protect by "law" public worship which assaults the precepts God has laid down for His worship? He may not.
    - If a private citizen may not worship other Gods, why would a public magistrate protect by "law" a practice (the civil and public worship of false religion) which God has prohibited in His Law?
    No one is saying that we the magistrate's duty is to convert people to Christianity. But we are saying that it is every man's duty -according to place and station, in light of all that is required between inferiors, superiors, and equals with regard to the 5th commandment- not to hate their brother in their hearts, exemplified by suffering sin upon him. Now this is applied different by degree and intensity according to one's place and station. But surely a magistrate's duty is to suppress false religion in the public square, seeing as such false religion being permitted openly to flourish is tantamount to letting run freely what Rutherford calls soul murder in his A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience. Let's argue from the lesser to the greater: If we agree that murder is to be punished; how much more, then, the open propagation of soul murder? Men's misinformed consciences -neverso sincere and earnest- are not greater or more sacred than God's Law.

    Our first salvo in considering the current estate of our nation ought to be tears of repentance, shame, and "confusion of face" in our own closets, for our own sins, which no doubt have contributed to national sins, in their outworking. Then, tears of repentance, shame, and confusion of face, as a nation for our disregard of God's many kindnesses shown and judgments abated. As it stands, as the visible church, and as a nation, we are much like Sodom, bringing self-inflicted judgments by way of pride, fulness of bread, abundance of idleness, and neglecting to strengthen the hand of the poor and needy (Ezek. 16.48). Our leaders cry peace, when there is no peace, and we have sinned unto such a degree that we cannot even blush (Jeremiah 8). We interpret God's manifest non-action in ways of more severe judgments as apathy, or altogether approval, as if He were such an one as ourselves (Psalm 50.16-21), thinking He will not do good, neither will He do evil (Zeph. 1.12). We should be diligent in confessing our particular sins, particularly, and our national sins, nationally. Begging Him not to forsake us and leave us to our own machinations. Then praying for new obedience, for the Gospel to flourish such that men's hearts of the populace might be changed, resulting in a desire for godly leaders, and that working its way out in legislation, Constitutional amendments, and the lawful voting for godly men, etc. Let us beseech our God to turn us, that we shall be turned.
  28. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I wouldn't disagree with you there. Since the Word of God is our weapon, it ought to be applied.
  29. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Sophomore

    How is it to be applied in this particular situation in Scotland?
  30. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I think the response of Rev. Macdonald repsonse is appropriate
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