If You Build it, They Will Come
By William Wagner
One major emphasis today in Evangelical Christianity is on the simple
church. Many church planters want to get away for owning and building big
and expensive church buildings. They say that it is better to meet in
house groups and see them multiply. There is much positive in what they
say, but it is very interesting that some of the fastest growing religions in
the world takes a totally different stance. Several years ago I decided
to study six groups that were growing in the world. They were
The Southern Baptists
The Assemblies of God
The Jehovah’s Witnesses
I was amazed to find that two of the fastest growing of the six, the Mormons
and the Muslims place a great amount of value on the physical building.
All but the homosexuals seem to value a good building.
Islam places a great importance on the building of Mosques. Today they
are spending literally billions of dollars in erecting new mosques in almost
every major city in the world. They do this for several reasons:
Muslims feel that the building visually represents their religion to the
world thus when new Mosques are built this is a sign that Islam is
growing. On the other hand they see the deterioration of church buildings
as a sign that Christianity is decreasing in influence in the world.
While driving on the roads in Turkey one can see many ruins on hills
overlooking the countryside. In asking what they used to be it is said
that they are ruins of Armenian churches. You are then told that the
ruins must stay as a constant reminder to the citizens of Turkey that Islam is
living and growing while Christianity is decreasing and dead.
They see their Mosques as a form of intimidation. One Egyptian
scholar from Cairo, Egypt even states that intimidation is from the
Koran. Most are aware that intimidation is a successful tool
in terrorism, but have failed to see this being used in the building of
Mosques. When Muslims build close to a church or a temple then the new Mosque
must be larger or taller than the next place of worship. Again showing
the dominance of Islam over the other religion.
They have the finances to do it. Oil money, for them, is a gift from
God. Thus they must use it to further Islam until the whole world
is Muslim and there is only one Islamic government, something they think they
will accomplish by the year 2080. Consider their finances. In Saudi
Arabia alone, they pump ten million barrels of oil a day. They receive
about $70 dollars a day for one barrel and it costs them a little less than one
dollar to pump the oil out of the ground. . This means that they
receive approximately 690 million dollars a day only from oil. I have
discovered that they give over one-forth of their petro-dollars to the
furtherance of Islam in the world. This means that they have about 170
million dollars a day to use. The yearly budget for the International
Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Evangelical
mission sending agency in the world) is less than 300 million. Islam
received the entire IBM budget in only two days. I am convinced that
practically every Christian in the U.S.A. contributes more money for the
extension of Islam than they give to Christian missions. They do this by
only heating their houses and driving their cars.
In the near future every small city of over 50,000 population in the West
will have a new Mosque while cities in other parts of the world will see their
church buildings destroyed. When you read about some disturbance in a
Muslim area between Christians and Muslims then the report will usually end by
saying that some Christian church buildings were either bombed or burned
down. The latest report is that over thirty churches in Iraq have
recently been destroyed since the beginning of the war.
The physical presence is very important to Islam, and they will do all they
can to better Christians in the area of buildings. They take great pride
in their success in this area. They see that the Mosque represents the
success of Islam in its goal to take over the world. It is of interest to
note that while Muslims can readily build new Mosques in the West it is
forbidden to build or even renovate Christian churches in Muslim countries…
Once when I was leading a revival in the Baptist Church in Cairo Egypt I was
discouraged to see the poor condition of the church building. I offered
to bring teams from the West to help clean up the church. I was told that
the government forbade it. Two days later I visited a small Baptist
Church in Southern Egypt and saw a large three-foot diameter hole in the front
brick wall. "Why", I asked. I was told that two months earlier the
pastor had painted the wood window frame and the police found out about it and
tore out the window and forbid the pastor to repair it.
However it should be stated that the greatest fear of the Muslims is the
spiritual strength that they see in the lives of Christians. They
understand that each Christian is a temple of the living God and they do not
know how to counter the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
Maybe we need to reconsider the value of our church buildings in regard to
our mission. Certainly we need to defend what is ours and even seek to
build what we need and what God ordains. We as Christians have the power
of God to overcome all who flight against us and that includes Islam.