Ever since September 11, 2001, I have seen a sharp increase in books about Islam by American evangelicals. Even if the titles do not include the word "unveil," most attempt to expose Islam for its theological, historical, and moral shortcomings. According to Richard Cimino of the New School for Social Research, evangelical attitudes toward Islam have hardened since the attacks, positing that Islam is an essentially violent religion. Responses to the cartoons depicting Muhammad in parts of the Muslim world have only strengthened such perceptions.

Unfortunately, too many of these evangelical polemics are historically inaccurate, theologically misinformed, and missiologically misguided. Apparently, a lot of us simply dislike Muslims (usually without knowing any).

When we critique Islam, we need to be fair and accurate. Those of us who make Muslim-Christian comparisons must do so from a position of informed engagement, as those who have worked with Muslims. When we review historical tensions between the two faiths, we must apply rigorous historical analysis. When we write about Islam, we must remember that love is the greatest apologetic.

Demonizing Muhammad

The seven titles I discuss here represent contemporary American evangelical perspectives on Islam. The worst in denigrating Islam and demonizing Muhammad undoubtedly is John MacArthur's Terrorism, Jihad, and the Bible: A Response to the Terrorist Attacks (W Publishing Group, 2001). Given his lack of expertise in Islam and experience in working with Muslims, one wonders why MacArthur is writing in the first place. His purportedly biblical response as to why 9/11 happened is reminiscent of the wildest medieval caricatures of Islam, a faith that supposedly was founded by a sword-wielding, ...

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June 2006

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