That assertion is the basis for Albert Mohler's recent post, Islam—The Great Challenge to Christian Evangelism of Our Time. In his essay Dr. Mohler makes some very helpful statements, especially his refutation of those who criticizes President Obama for stating that...
One of the great strengths of the United States is . . . we have a very
large Christian population—we do not consider ourselves a Christian
nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation.
That is one of the few public utterances by President Obama that I agree with wholeheartedly even though many Christians undoubtedly took great umbrage to his statement. What caught my interest was the title and premise of his essay, the notion that Islam is the greatest challenge to our evangelistic mission in this era.
Is that true? Is Islam the greatest challenge to our evangelistic mission and efforts? That certainly is the popular narrative. Islam, a religion that to a great many people is synonymous with the dread "other" and the threat of Islamist terrorism and instability in the Middle East, is the convenient enemy of the day and gives us a tangible opponent. Certainly from a civilization standpoint, Islam is a grave threat although the reason it is a threat has more to do with our self-driven cultural disintegration. But from a Great Commission standpoint is Islam our greatest challenge?
In a word, no.
Not when the vast majority of Christians are neither equipped nor encouraged in a tangible way to make disciples, preferring instead to make going to church as convenient and comfortable as possible.
Not when professing, sincere Christians ally themselves with groups that deny the Gospel with the excuse that they share certain cultural moral positions in common.
Not when churches invest untold millions on buildings and staff to cater to the needs and whims of church attenders.
Not when Christians see our enemies as people to be feared, controlled and even killed to protect a certain economic and socio-political lifestyle.
But while it is easy and perhaps perversely satisfying to despair, a trap I fall into over and over, it is also true that God's chosen tool is His church, His people. Flawed, prone to wander, often distracted, a foolish people preaching a foolish message about a foolish cross. God has indeed chosen the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). While we are not only not up to the task but often are our own worst enemy, our message is inextricably linked to the sovereign power of our Creator God. If by a mere word He can speak the universe into existence He certainly can use a flawed sinner such as I to accomplish His eternal purpose in calling, regenerating, saving and redeeming a people for His own possession.
We need to worry a lot less about Islam and a lot more about ourselves but we should also not spend all of our time wringing our hands and instead putting those hands to work, each and every one of us, in our foolish and weak service on behalf of our glorious and holy Lord.