July 15, 2015
For many, the Crusades started in 1096 A.D. when the first Christian army began its march. This is equivalent to reducing World War II to America dropping Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, disregarding the entire war up until that event, including the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. (see and ) The complete record of events must be studied leading up to the bombings to understand the entire context of the attacks just as the Muslim history in the Middle East before 1096 must be examined to understand the Crusades.
Even under persecution and threat of execution from the Roman Empire, Christianity spread throughout the known world in the first few centuries not by force, but by the simple teaching of the Gospel. As stated by Norman Geisler, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary, “While early Islam was spread by the sword, early Christianity spread by the spirit, even while Christians were being killed by Roman swords.” By the end of the 2nd century, Christianity had reached Northern Africa where twelve natives of the Roman province of Scillium were executed on July 16th, 180 A.D. just for being Christians.
Around 325 A.D. Emperor Constantine I, the first major Christian Roman ruler, made Christianity the state religion of Rome and ordered the building of a Christian Church in Jerusalem. (see ) In Life Of Constantine, Eusebius Pamphilius records that during the excavation for the church, a tomb exhibiting “a clear and visible proof” of Christ’s burial place was discovered. The locations of Jesus’ death and resurrection were drawn into the design of the church. The True Cross, believed to be Christ’s cross, was also discovered and housed at the new church. After construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Christians from all over pilgrimaged to its site every year to worship and see the precious settings of their Savior’s victory.
The Christian church continued to grow and spread until the 7th century when Mohammad wrote the Quran. Many Christian cities and churches were conquered and destroyed by Muslims in their quest to convert the world to Islam by force. They attacked and overthrow Jerusalem in 637 A.D. The new Muslim ruler allowed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to remain Christian and protected Christians as well as allowing Jews to return to the city after years of exile.
Over the next 700 years the church was damaged and eventually totally destroyed in 1009 along with other Christian churches in the city. After Caliph Ali az-Zahir came to power, he agreed to allow the rebuilding of the church which was completed in 1048. Christians were again permitted free access to visit the site. After the Seljukian Turks, Sunni Muslims who were considered “zealous followers of Islam”, gained control in 1071, they began persecuting the Christian Pilgrims and massacred 3000 of them in Jerusalem. The rebuilt churches were again destroyed or turned into items such as stables. Because of this and the threat to the church in Constantinople by the Turks, Pope Urban II delivered a sermon at the Council of Clermont in 1095 calling for a Crusade.
For a year, the Pope along with the notable preacher Peter the Hermit, delivered sermons building support for a Crusade. Their main goal was to reclaim the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On August 15, 1096, a band of soldiers departed on their journey. The Crusades had begun.
It is at this point that most uninformed pundits, along with President Barack Obama, begin their history. Completely ignoring the invasions, attacks, destruction and bloodshed of Muslim empires, Christians are condemned for starting a war against Islam.
Over the course of three years, crusaders reclaimed Nicaea (1097), Dorylaeum a few days later, and Antioch (1098) from the Turks. On July 15, 1099, the crusaders obtained their goal by taking back Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On the 150th Anniversary of this event, the reconstructed church was consecrated in Jerusalem.
Crusades continued throughout the Holy Land for nearly two decades as Christians tried to reclaim territory lost during Muslim invasions. There were times throughout that period where the current Pope did choose to wage an unjust offensive. At these times Crusaders attacked anyone of non-Christian faith, including Jews and on at least one occasion, other Christians. Once the Christian church transformed due to the Reformation, the power and hold of the papacy diminished. (see , , and ) The authority of the Catholic Church was greatly reduced as Protestant churches gained followers.
As the Pope’s grip over government leaders died, so did the call for crusades. So while the Christian church refreshed their commitment to Jesus Christ and peace in the 16th century, the Muslim faith continues its pursuit of domination throughout the Middle East and the world with terrorism and death. Furthermore, the Catholic Church is still rebuked for its Holy Wars of 1000 years ago while Muslim jihads happening right now are virtually ignored. (See )
Many excuse the current radical brutality of ISIS on two fronts. First, they reference the Christian Crusades as if to give Muslims the right to their radical, savage behavior because of these Holy Wars that occurred almost a millennium ago. Second, they claim the Islamic extremists are not following the teachings of Mohammad while others believe Muslims are fighting in self-defense, which is approved by Mohammad.
With just a little natural curiosity and minimal research, one can easily discover a more accurate truth. Mohammad himself led attacks on cities claiming them for Islam. In the historic biography of Mohammad by Ibn Ishaq and edited by Ibn Hisham, they give proof that Mohammad waited to see if a town had a call to morning prayer before deciding to attack Khaybar. “When the apostle raided a people he waited until the morning. If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked. We came to Khaybar by night, and the apostle passed the night there; and when morning came he did not hear the call to prayer, so he rode and we rode with him.” They continued, proving the townspeople were not prepared for battle. “We met the workers of Khaybar coming out in the morning with their spades and baskets. When they saw the apostle and the army they cried, “Muhammad with his force,” and turned tail and fled... The apostle seized the property piece by piece...” (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 757) This is not the action of a peaceful man responding in self-defense.
The 9th Sura of the Quran clearly spells out Mohammad’s plan to convert. “Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except to those idolaters who have honoured their treaties with you in every detail and aided none against you. With these keep faith, until their treaties have run their term. God loves the righteous. When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.” (Quran 9:4-5) There is no self-defense angle in this passage either. Mohammad himself preached and practiced conversion by force.
It is with these precedents and directions that Muslims attacked and conquered major Christian cities, as well as vast territories of the area, destroying ancient churches and buildings.
When people dismiss ISIS and the Muslim uprising in the Middle East, excusing it because “Christians did the same thing in the Crusades,” they are showing their complete ignorance of history and the Quran. They are being manipulated as useful idiots. The Crusades did not happen because some Christians out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Muslims. They were responding to deadly attacks made on them by a zealous group of people, not unlike those of ISIS today who are invading people’s homes, demanding they convert or die, and carrying out that threat in videos posted on the internet.
Liberty, this is why knowing history is so incredibly important. ISIS is not a movement that just started in the last few years because President Bush went to war with Iraq after September 11th. (see ) September 11th happened because Muslim leader Osama Bin Laden was already at war with the United States for two decades. In fact, this war was waged when Mohammad declared himself a prophet of God. But before that, it’s a war that begun the moment Satan convinced Eve and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. (see )
Just this week, the Obama Administration announced a nuclear deal has finally been reached between the superpowers and Iran. The problem is Obama did not get any of his conditions he promised would be in the deal. In fact, he didn’t even try to get four Christian American prisoners released that are detained in Iran and beaten repeatedly because they refuse to denounce their faith. Where the crusaders at least stood up to the tyrannical Muslims, Obama bowed down and complied to Iranian leaders while they chanted, “Death to Israel, Death to America.”
Liberty, this letter is one for the history books as we are repeating the beginnings of another World War. The Obama Administration is claiming peace through diplomacy and honestly believes Iran, the leading supporter of state-sponsored terrorism, will soften and learn to live along side infidels without even one incentive to do so. It is the 1939 Neville Chamberlin Munich Agreement with Adolph Hitler all over again. (see ) Chamberlin declared it “Peace in our time.” As history shows, Hitler signed the document and used the period of “peace” to build his army and destroy his German enemies. Within two years the World was at war.
Because Progressive ideologues refuse to understand history, they continue to believe that their intellect will affect and change those hearts and minds that seek death. (see) They excuse and pander to the terrorists while blaming and lecturing the victims, primarily Jews and Christians.
The actions and behavior of ISIS in the region is no different from that of the Seljukian Turks. Christians are being massacred, churches are being destroyed, women are raped and Christian girls are sold into sex slavery. But God is still in control. Many of these victims are peacefully facing their death because they choose it over denying Christ and converting to Islam. ISIS is going as far as throwing homosexuals from buildings and killing other Muslims because they are not radical enough.
Christ said we would suffer for His name. While my sinful self wants desperately to personally destroy those persecuting and killing my fellow brothers and sisters, they are providing a much stronger witness with their actions of peaceful resistance. Their families are comforted that their loved ones are in Heaven with Christ as they chose to cling to Him instead of cowering to the demands of the terrorists. Those that have complied with their captors’ ultimatums should be held in our prayers as they are facing a daily decision I don’t know I would be strong enough to withstand.
That being said it is the responsibility and duty of the government of this country and governments of all countries to stand up and confront this kind of radical ideology. It is here that action should be taken and Obama, along with the other superpowers, are stepping aside and allowing this abomination against humanity. Where the crusaders justly tried to end the barbaric actions of the Islamic terrorists, today’s leaders are passively allowing it. Because of his refusal to see true history, Obama has convinced himself he doesn’t need guns or force to defeat ISIS, he can do it with words and ideas. While he is busy talking though, thousands of Christians are being slaughtered and enslaved throughout the Middle East while hundreds of thousands are forced to flee for their lives.
As from the time of Christ, His followers have been targeted and persecuted by non-believers all over the world. Satan uses these people to try to force believers to abandon Christ through fear. There really is not much different now than at the time of the Crusades except Christians are not calling for a Holy War against their attackers. They are peacefully and proudly accepting the cross they must bear, including dying for their Lord. Non-believers are turning to the Christian church in the Middle East and converting even at the threat of death. The church is growing, just as it did in the first centuries under Roman persecution, because it offers something they can’t find anywhere else; the Hope we have and Change of heart we receive through faith in Christ.
We must follow in the footsteps of the original church and continue the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel through love and peace.
That’s my 2 cents.
A CRUSADE FOR