• 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

    1. The Southern Baptists
    2. The Assemblies of God
    3. The Jehovah’s Witnesses
    4. The Mormons
    5. The Homosexuals
    6. The Muslims

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.