Showing posts from January, 2015

Are Jihadists Muslims?

A great debate going on at the moment is whether the Jihadists such as those from Al Qaeda and ISIL, or the independents such as Man Monis are Muslims or not. Some claim they are Muslims, and others argue they are not, as they violate Islam. 
Looking from the outside in, it would seem to me that the answer is decidedly that these people are Muslims. A Muslim holds to the six articles of faith—belief in Allah, angels, the prophets, the revelations of Allah especially in the Qur’an, judgment, and the will of Allah. A Muslim lives out of the five pillars which affirm the exclusivity of Allah and Muhammad as his messenger, the five-fold prayer ritual, almsgiving, Ramadan fasting, and pilgrimage (see 
It would seem to me from what I have heard and observed about the Jihadists of various persuasions, that they would uphold these with great discipline – indeed many of them believe they hold to them as all Muslims should. Further, they d…

The spirit or the Spirit

I am somewhat perplexed at the way many contemporary Christian writers whose works I am reading who are longer using a capitalised S in their references to the Spirit. One that does this rather surprisingly is N. T. Wright, for example in his recent tome on Paul where he constantly refers to the Spirit as spirit. One of my colleagues at Laidlaw recently published a book and followed the same pattern. Why are these writers doing this? I am intrigued. What does this say about their view of the Trinity? Or am I missing something? Is there a nuance here I have not discerned such as sometimes they capitalize and sometimes they don’t? If there is, it is interesting because when God is mentioned whether it be as Lord, the Almighty, etc, most use the capital. Similarly, when Jesus is mentioned by name or as Christ, or Lord, or even Saviour, most use the capital. I must say I don’t like this new trend, I find it irritating and cuts at the heart of belief in the Trinity.

Do Not Sit in the Seat of Mockers

Don’t get me wrong as you read this. I deplore the recent terrorism in France (and Australia, Nigeria, etc). It is tragic and unacceptable; it is evil. It is the very thing Jesus came to call humanity away from. My heart goes out to the French nation for what they and the rest of the world are facing.
Yet, I have to admit to being uncomfortable with the whole rhetoric around freedom of speech that seems to lie at the heart of the western narrative of response. Freedom of speech is great, as long as the free are singing your tune. How far does freedom of speech take us when it includes the “right” to mock anyone for their race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion, etc.? We may like freedom of speech, but it haves consequences.
One of the reasons that these terrorists are rising up, whether it be North Korean hackers, or Jihadists in Sydney or France, is the flippantness of the west. Freedom of speech supposedly means you can mock Muhammad (or any other religion and political sys…