Conversion To Christianity: A Missionary Deception

M S M Saifullah

© Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.

Last Modified: 22 November 1999


Assalamu-alaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

Introduction

The Christian missionary efforts in preaching the Gospel are hardly worthy of emulation. Ever since the appearance of Islam on the world stage and the first sighting of tribes (or natives) of the New World, the crusade to convert the whole world to Christianity was accompanied by the unholy means of deception, exploitation and persecution.

The exploitation of the indigenous tribal people by the resource-hungry invaders called the Christian missionaries, has amounted to the persecution of the most ruthless and relentless kind, including the theft of the tribal land, the stripping of their forest in the name of 'development', the destruction of their cultures, and the wholesale enslavement of their populace. This enslavement continues without abatement by the evangelizing ambassadors of Christianity - the missionaries.

In this document, we will be concerned with the deceptive tactics and exploitation used by the Christian missionaries when it came to preaching the 'gospel' to Muslims or the indigenous people. The detailed study of the issues like persecution of the indigenous tribal people can be found in specialized books on cultural anthropology which the reader can refer to in the libraries.

Muslim & The Christian Missionary

Before reading the below quotes, let have a look at the lecture by Shaykh Salmân al-Awdah talking about Christian Missionaries Sweeping the Islamic World. This lecture by the Shaykh deals with various deceptive tactics used by the Christian missionaries to convert unsuspecting and ignorant Muslims to Christianity. The deceptive tactics of the missionaries include misquoting of the Islamic sources, building churches that look similar to mosques, doing Christian ceremonies on Fridays purposefully and not on Sundays, and use of natural disasters to forcefully convert poor and helpless.

According to the Christian missionaries, this page is a:

(The Islamic Paranoia Page) If only we would have as much impact as he believes Christians have.

In order to verify who exactly is paranoid, we refer to a book called Islam And Christian Witness by Martin Goldsmith, who lectures at All Nations Christian College. This book was given to us a few years ago. It was published by OM Publishing, Carlisle, UK. In a gist, this book is all about how to convert Muslims to Christianity in the Islamic world using the deceptive ways exactly as mentioned by Shaykh Salmân al-Awdah in his lecture.

Without beating around the bush let us quote a few paragraphs from the chapter "How To Witness". Let us start with the Prayer.

Orthodox Muslims place great emphasis on the importance of prayer timings. If they are strict in their religion, they will put other things aside at the prayer times in order to pray. It is vital to realize that the Christian also believes in it and practices it. In some cases, it may even be helpful if we can join the Muslim in prayer, so that they actually hear the Christian communing with God through Jesus Christ.

Muslims pray regularly five times a day at the set times of prayer, to which they are summoned by the call to the prayer. This call is always made by human voice, and never with the use of musical instruments or bells.[1]

And later on the author states:

...and there is no need to export the use of church bells, which may be easily exchanged for a human voice calling believers to pray worship and pray.[2]

The high point of the Muslim prayer is the act of prostration in which the Muslim kneels before God with forehead bowed to ground. In the Bible too we have accounts of people who demonstrated their worship and awe at the presence of God in similar fashion. Should Christian prayer in a Muslim society practise such agreed ritual movement?[3]

The Church in a Muslim context must ask whether it is helpful for prayer to be made in the symbolic direction of Jerusalem. Muslims must pray towards Mecca; Daniel directed his prayers with his face towards Jerusalem; should the Muslim convert follow the example of Daniel?[4]

There are a few interesting ideas about the way a Mosque should be modeled

Should the actual building of the Church be more akin to a Mosque? Are the usual European fashions a necessity? Do we need seats in the Church? Must the focal point be a table or a pulpit? Do we need a special lectern?[5]

In the conclusion of the chapter "The Muslim Convert" the author states:

In coming years we may see new Christian Churches which are outwardly as closely as akin to Muslim Mosques as the early Christians were to their Jewish Synagogue background.[6]

And how to deceptively go for Hajj and do Sacrifice

Some of the festivals are based on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca with its particular background and theological implications. Some aspects may be celebrated with an eye to their fulfillment in Christ, but many Christians would not feel happy to endorse all that the pilgrimage stands for Islam.[7]

And a few thoughts about the month of Ramadan itself

And then comes the question of the fast month. In connection with prayer, fasting is encouraged in the New Testament. Jesus gives teaching on a snare of pride in fasting and the dangers of sanctimonious piety, but true fasting has a significant place in Christian devotion. Is it permissible to introduce a fast month along Muslim lines into a Christian Church? Of course, it must be voluntary and practised in conjunction with prayer.[8]

In some strongly Muslim countries conversion from Islam into another faith is tantamount to suicide. Those who come to faith in Jesus Christ must therefore make a radical decision. They can make an open confession of Jesus as the Lord and Saviour, be baptised and then probably die the death of a martyr. Otherwise they may perhaps be able to flee the country, find anonymity in Europe and North America and there develop a true Christian life. But they then also loose contact with their own people and have no testimony to them. This second alternative is generally open to the wealthier and more educated. Many ordinary people eschew the first alternative and cannot afford the second. They opt for a third possibility, namely, to continue the outward forms of Islam while adding in their hearts a new spiritual dimension based on a person and work of Jesus Christ.[9]

And with regards to wolf dressed in sheep's skin, the author states

After an initial period, however, they may develop sufficient spiritual maturity to enjoy having their Christian faith dressed in Islamic cultural garb.[10]

In other words, the ideas of deception are in fact coming straight from the horse's mouth and then put into practice by his fellow-men. The Shaykh did not invent the statements and neither did other Muslims.

We should also emphasize that this deception was not an "original" idea of Martin Goldsmith. Arthur French, a Christian missionary, wrote about the methodology of "Christianizing" Muslims in India some 80 years ago using a similar deception. He said:

If we are insistant in urging the claims of "specialized" Missions, let it be remembered that until Arabic is conquered Islam remains. Islam is wedded to Arabic in indissoluble bonds till death do them apart, either the death of Arabic or the death of Islam. Arabic must be Christianised, if we were to win Islam. Islam must be won, if we were to win India.

Christian Arabic Prayers, Hymns, Liturgies, Lectionaries; the Five Hours of Prayers; the Call to Prayer; Churches furnished more in Mosque-fashion and erected in Sarcen style; these are the methods which Missions to Moslems need. We have to take over from Islam all that we can with the least possible dislocation.[11]

Dr. cAbdullâh Hâkim Quick writing in the magazine The Message on his recent trip to East Africa says:

I was shocked when I returned from East Africa in May to find Muslim families in a desperate struggle to save their children from leaving their homes and their faith! In Kenya, the Pope and the forces of Christianity vowed last year to change Africa into a Christian continent by the year 2000 CE. Crosses with red fluorescent lighting are being raised on the skyline of Mombasa, Kenya and other traditionally Islamic cities. In Mirti (Northeastern Kenya), Muslim youth are being called to a Christian worship center called "Makkah Center," which is shaped like a masjid, five times a day.

An example of open deception on the WWW can be found here where one can find "suggestions" for using the Qur'ân in the Muslim Convert Church. Interestingly, Christian missionaries talk about being guided by Holy Spirit. Whether it is the God or Devil of Deception is anybody's conclusion!

"The Panare Killed Jesus Christ, Because They Were Wicked"

To misrepresent another religion for fear of people converting is one thing, but to do so to one's own in the hope of gaining converts is another. Christian missionaries, unable to convince the Panare Indians of the Colorado valley to accept faith in Jesus Christ took to compiling books for the natives to read in their mother tongue, this was accomplished during 1975 and 1976.[12] The compiling of the books presented certain linguistic problems, solved in the end in a very cunning fashion.

The problems arose because there are no equivalents in Panare for many words held as basic to the concept of the Christian religion. There are none, for example, for sin, guilt, punishment and redemption. Since Panare tribe lived as an isolated society in the forests for thousands of years, it is impossible to have famines, plagues were unrecorded and the wars that shaped our history were reduced to a ceremonial skirmish. The biblical dramas, therefore, were hardly more than shadow plays.[13]

It was soon realized, however, that before the Indians could be made to accept repentance and salvation - both equally obscure concepts to the Panare - one had to give them something to feel guilty about. The missionaries came up with an ingenious, yet underhand, solution - translate and re-edit the New Testament in such a way so as to implicate the Panare Indians in Jesus' death! Gone from the Bible were Judas's betrayal, the Romans, the trial, and Pontius Pilate. The text now read at the appropriate places:

The Panare killed Jesus Christ

because they were wicked.

Let's kill Jesus Christ, said the Panare.

The Panare seized Jesus Christ.

The Panare killed in this way.

The laid a cross on the ground.

They fastened his hands and his feet

against the wooden beams, with nails.

They raised him straight up, nailed.

The man died like that, nailed.

Thus the Panare killed Jesus Christ[14]

It is clear that if this could create the feelings of guilt, nothing could. Now there was a talk of God's vengeance for the dreadful deed. The re-edited New Testament continued:

God will burn you all,

burn all the animals, burn also the earth,

the heavens, absolutely everything.

He will burn also the Panare themselves.

God will exterminate the Panare by throwing them on the fire.

It is a huge fire.

I am going to hurl the Panare into the fire, said God.

.....

God is good.

'Do you want to be roasted in the fire?' asks God.

'Do you have something to pay me with so that I won't roast you in the fire?

What is it you're going to pay me?'[15]

One does not have to think hard in order to realize what payment was being demanded; namely, unquestioning submission to the missionaries' demands, the abandonment of their traditional lives and their customs, and the acceptance of Christianity. The Indians were terrified. The first Indian woman came forward and said:

".... I don't want to burn in the big fire. I love Jesus."

.... Here we had sat for almost a year teaching one believer and nothing else happening and all of a sudden WOW![16]

It seems it was a common practice among the Christian missionaries to accuse Indians of killing the Christ.

David Stoll, writing in SIL in Peru, describes a missionary teacher calling his Amuesha congregations Jews 'because they did not have faith and were killing Jesus'.[17]

From the present discussion, it would seem that the Bible will be 'translated' for the benefit of winning the souls even if it requires gross deception and misrepresentation of the scripture itself.

In the Gospel according to John, chapter six, Jesus(P) is reported to have said: "I am the bread of life." In the time of Jesus(P) at least, and probably even today in the Middle East, bread is the "staple of life", it is essential and it is available even to the poor. It is a 'relatively cheap' food. If the Bible translators would translate something like that into the tribal languages of Papua New Guinea literally, what would these people think? In these countries, 'bread' is something only the rich can afford. If they read "I am the bread of life," they would immediately think "Oh, Jesus is not for me, I can't afford to become a Christian... " and this would mean a complete miscommunication. In Papua New Guinea the staple food is sweet-potato. And therefore this verse would be best translated by the missionary standards as "I am the sweet-potato of life" as well as communion/eucharist is celebrated with sweet-potato instead of bread. This way the meaning would be "preserved" and convey what Jesus(P) "meant" albeit the original text is re-edited. It is available for all, it is life essential, since for those people a meal without sweet-potato is not a complete meal. Perhaps for the Chinese, Jesus(P) would be the "rice of life". And to win the souls of some Russian drunks, a translation of Jesus(P) being the "vodka of life" would be perfect!

This explains many of the problems within Christianity; they can't make up their mind on the translation of their scripture as much as the actual extent of their scripture. And above all the deception of any kind is exercised to win converts.

Weapons & Wine: A Case Of Tahiti

In 1795 the London Missionary Society was formed, its immediate attention focused upon the Pacific; two years later a convict ship bound for Australia put the first missionaries ashore on Tahiti. It was four years before any of them learned enough of the local language to be able to preach a sermon to a puzzled though sympathetic audience. The Tahitians built houses for them, fed them, and provided them with servants galore, but after seven years not a single convert to Christianity had been gained. The missionaries opted for a more brutal tactic and gained the upper hand by helping to reduce the local chief called Pomare to an alcoholic and then offered him backing in a war against other islands chiefs by supplying firearms (the enemy having only wooden clubs to defend themselves). But Pomare would be backed in a war against the other island chiefs on the understanding that:

his victory would be followed by enforced conversion. Since Pomare was supplied with firearms to be used against its opponents' clubs, victory was certain. 'The whole nation', Orsmond wrote, 'was converted in a day.'[18]

With their power base firmly established in Tahiti, the missionaries moved swiftly to the outer islands. The methods they employed were as before. A local chieftain would be baptised, crowned king, introduced to large quantities of alcohol and left to the work of converting his own people. Chieftains who put up any form of opposition were quickly shown the might of the missionary forces. Where no resistance was found, a native teacher supported by a half dozen missionary police would take over an island within a week.[19] What a way to love your neighbour!

Conclusion

The present discussion has dealt with in the deceptive tactics used by the Christian missionaries to gain converts. The deceptive tactics would involve imitation of the religious ideas of other faiths, gross mistranslation of the Bible even if it involves tampering with the 'word' of God and to persecute people to win the souls for Jesus(P). Commenting on the book of Norman Lewis, The Missionaries: God Against The Indians, the famous writer Graham Greene said:

In the recent years we have found it easy to laugh at the American television evangelists... but until I read Mr. Lewis's remarkable book I had no idea of the danger to human life which they represent.[20]

And Allah knows best!

WWW Sites Dealing With The Dishonest Christian Missionary Tactics

The Muslim's Guide To Missionary Tactics

Hot Times In North America

Exposing TV Evangelism

But is it only the Muslims who are saying that? Why not check out what the Jews say:

The Jewish Guide To Missionary Tactics

   Islamic Awareness Polemics Conversion To Christianity: A Missionary Deception


References

[1] Martin Goldsmith, Islam & Christian Witness, OM Publishing, Carlisle (UK), p. 113.

[2] Ibid., p. 135.

[3] Ibid., p. 134.

[4] Ibid., p. 135.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., p. 137.

[7] Ibid., p. 132.

[8] Ibid., pp. 135-136.

[9] Ibid., pp. 130-131.

[10] Ibid., p. 136.

[11] Arthur J. P. French, "The Problem Of Islam In India (A Discussion Of "Methods")", 1916, The Moslem World, Volume 6, p. 11.

[12] Norman Lewis, The Missionaries: God Against The Indians, 1988, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, p. 208.

[13] Ibid., adapted from p. 209.

[14] Ibid., p. 210.

[15] Ibid., p. 210-211.

[16] Ibid. p. 211.

[17] Ibid., p. 210, see footnotes.

[18] Ibid., p. 4.

[19] Ibid., see a detailed discussion on the missionaries' tactics from pp. 4-8.

[20] Ibid., see the review on the back flap of the book.

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