The Reformed Bibliophile blog shares a timeless truth from Horatius Bonar:
Our Reformers, following Scripture, abhorred error. They regarded it as sin, as in itself evil, and as the root of almost every evil. They loved truth, upheld it, sought to spread it. They eschewed error as poison; they prized truth as medicine, containing in it the world’s true health. They knew that men might have it and yet not use it, that they might abuse it, that they might ‘hold it in unrighteousness;’ but they loved it still…
From chapter 2 of The Gospel Is for Christians (pg. 33-34), Mithcell Chase writes,
Sinners who believe in Jesus are acknowledging his lordship, but Jesus is Lord whether or not they ever believe in him. We cannot make Jesus anything, much less Lord…That Jesus is Lord over believers is not new information, but the lordship of Jesus over unbelievers merits our reflection. If Jesus is Lord over everything and everyone, the sphere of his sovereignty logically includes unbelievers. This is not good news for them. In fact, the lordship of Jesus over unbelievers is a terrifying reality. His lordship means that unbelievers are accountable, that they are inescapably bound for judgment if they do not repent and live by faith in him under his lordship. Unbelievers should believe in Jesus because he is Lord of their lives.
Jesus is both Lord and Christ. Sinners will either reject his lordship and gracious work on the cross as God’s deliverer, or they will live under his lordship by receiving him through faith as their only true deliverer. So let’s cast aside phrases such as If you received Jesus as Savior but not as Lord, make Jesus the Lord of your life today. This phrase is misleading and unbiblical. More accurately, and certainly more biblically, we should tell unbelievers to surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ (emphasis original).
Indeed, the only difference between the unbeliever and the believer is that the believer has, by the grace of God alone, surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ, whereas the unbeliever continues to deny and reject His lordship. Any gospel message that teaches anything less than the sinner humbling themselves before God in the fear of the Lord, crying out for Him to save them from their sins and from the wrath of God, to receive eternal life through repentance and faith based on the merit and person of Lord Jesus Christ alone, is an inadequate, or worse, false gospel.
Please listen to this message on the lordship of Christ from Steve Lawson: It Will Cost You Everything
Here are a few Kindle deals that may interest you. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart is down to $3.99. This is an excellent book and something of a classic in its field. Remember that Paul Miller’s A Praying Life is down to $1.99. Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage is down to $3.99 (I haven’t read this one so can’t comment a lot). Modest, a book I wrote with R.W. Glenn, is down to $2.99.
Kindle Fire – If you’re in the market for a Kindle, the 8.9” Kindle Fire is on sale today only. Use code FIREHD89 and save $50!
Raising Kids the World Will Hate – Here’s something every Christian parent needs to ponder: “if God answers my prayer for my son to be a follower of Christ, people will hate him. People will absolutely, unquestionably be repulsed by my son.”
God Doesn’t Love Us Because We’re Lovable – There’s an important truth of the Christian life and one we tend to forget time and time again.
The Gospel According to Christopher – This article gives some of why even many Christians admired Christopher Hitchens: He had honesty and insight that was lacking in many of the other new atheists.
Good Grief – Clint Archer offers 5 ways your grieving can glorify God.
The Year in Photos – The Atlantic has a massive three-part series of “2012: The Year in Photos.”
Sin forsaken is one of the best evidences of sin forgiven. —J.C. Ryle
“No room.” Those shameful words describe more than the inn in Bethlehem. They apply just as aptly to today’s world. Sadly, in all the busyness of our Christmas celebrations, people still make no room for Jesus. Without even realizing it, they miss Christmas, just like most of the people in and around Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born.
Did you know most people miss Christmas every year? That may sound rather silly, especially in North America, where we drown during the holidays in a sea of Christmas advertising. Still, I’m convinced that most people miss Christmas. They observe the season because culture says it’s the thing to do, but the masses are utterly oblivious to the reality of what they are celebrating. So much fantasy and myth have been imposed on the holiday that people are numb to the real miracle of Christ’s birth. The legitimate emotion of the holiday has given way to a maudlin and insincere self-indulgence.
A newspaper I saw had a two-page spread featuring some man-on-the-street interviews where people offered their opinions of the real meaning of Christmas. The views ranged from mawkish to irreverent. Some were sentimental, saying Christmas is a family time, a time for children, and so on. Others were humanistic, seeing Christmas as a time to celebrate love for one’s fellow man, the spirit of giving, and that sort of thing. Others were crassly hedonistic, viewing Christmas as just another excuse to party. Not one person made mention of the incomprehensible miracle of God’s birth as a human baby.
What a mess Christmas is! We have compounded the holiday with so many traditions and so much hype and hysteria that we miss the utter simplicity of Christ’s birth. It is ironic that of all holidays, this one has become the most complex. It is no wonder so many people miss Christmas.
Yet one thing hasn’t changed since the time of Joseph and Mary: nearly everyone missed that first Christmas, too. Like people today, they were busy, consumed with all kinds of things—some important, some not—but nearly everyone missed Christ. The similarities between their world and ours are striking. Every one of these people has a counterpart in modern society.
Scripture doesn’t specifically mention him, but that night in Bethlehem, an innkeeper was confronted by a man and his pregnant wife. He turned them away saying he had no room for them. And so he missed Christmas. Not only did he turn Mary and Joseph away, but he apparently did not even call for anyone to help a young mother about to give birth.
Luke 2:7 sets the scene: “And [Mary] gave birth to her first born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
That verse is explicitly concerned with a lonely birth. There are no midwives, no assistance to Mary at all. The Bible doesn’t even mention that Joseph was present. Perhaps he was, but if he was typical of first-time fathers, he would have been of little help to Mary. She was basically on her own.
Such a birth was far from typical in the first-century Jewish culture. These were not barbaric people or aboriginal tribes that sent their women off into the jungle to have their babies alone on a banana leaf. They were civilized, intelligent, educated, and, above all, hospitable people who cared deeply about human life. It would be highly unusual for a young woman about to give birth to be turned away from an inn and left to give birth alone in a stable.
Yet that’s what happened. Mary brought forth the child, she wrapped Him in swaddling cloth, and she laid Him in a manger! Where usually a midwife would clean the baby and wrap him, there was no one. Mary did it herself. And where usually there would have been a cradle or basket for the baby, there was none. Mary had to put Him in a feeding trough.
G. Campbell Morgan wrote:
Think of the pathos of it. “She brought forth”; “she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.” It is very beautiful, but oh, the pity of it, the tragedy of it, the loneliness of it; that in that hour of all hours, when womanhood should be surrounded by the tenderest care, she was alone. The method of the writer is very distinct. She with her own hands wrapped the Baby round with those swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger. There was no one to do it for her. Again I say, the pity of it, and yet the glory of it to the heart of Mary (G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According to Luke [Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1929], 36).
As I said, the innkeeper is not specifically mentioned. In fact, Scripture is not clear about what kind of inn Bethlehem had. The Greek word translated “inn” is kataluma. That can mean “guest room,” “hostel,” or simply “shelter.” So the inn could have been anything from a full-fledged precursor of the modern bed-and-breakfast lodge to a lean-to on someone’s property that was built to house both people and animals. Scripture gives no clue beyond the single mention of an inn. In any case, whatever hospitality Joseph and Mary sought, it was unavailable to them. They were turned away.
The innkeeper may have been a landowner whose property included an informal shelter, or perhaps he was the host of a boardinghouse. Whatever the case, an innkeeper in Bethlehem missed that first Christmas. The Son of God might have been born on his property. But he turned away a young mother about to deliver a child, and so he missed Christmas.
He missed it because he was preoccupied. His inn, or his guest room, or his lean‑to shelter was full. It was census time in Bethlehem, and the city was bulging with everyone whose ancestry went back to the little town. Bethlehem was the city of David, so every living descendant of David would have been there, along with every other family whose roots were in Bethlehem. The town was crowded. The innkeeper was busy. There is no indication that he was hostile or even unsympathetic. He was just busy.
Exactly like millions of people today. Their lives are consumed with activity—not necessarily sinful activity; just things that keep them busy. At Christmas, people are especially busy. Shopping, banquets, parties, concerts, school activities, and other things all compete for attention. And in the clutter of activity, many preoccupied people miss the Son of God.
(Adapted from The Miracle of Christmas.)
Any Christian discussion of holidays must begin with the recognition that we observe them in the absence of any biblical requirement. Does this mean that it is wrong to celebrate holidays? Not as long as the holiday is simply a focused instance of something that Christians have a biblical obligation to do anyway. Christians ought to ponder the incarnation, so it is not wrong to have a day or even a season regularly set aside for that purpose. Christians ought to exult in Jesus’ resurrection, so it is not wrong to set aside a day to focus especially on that event. Observances such as Easter and Christmas are allowable as matters of circumstance, but they must never be treated as required elements of our worship.
What complicates the discussion is the large number of cultural and commercial accretions that tend to attach themselves to the holidays. Holidays can even become occasions of vice. Something like this has happened within American Christianity. Evidently, the liturgical calendar of modern America includes seven principal holidays, each of which is devoted to the pursuit of a deadly sin: Thanksgiving (gluttony), Christmas (greed), Valentine’s Day (lust), Easter (envy), Independence Day (pride), Labor Day (sloth), and Halloween (vengeance).
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Last week we looked at five ways the pursuit of self-glory shapes your ministry. Here are five more warning signs for you to consider in an effort to pursue wisdom and holiness. May God use these additional signs to expose your heart and to redirect your ministry.
Self-glory will also cause you to:
6. Care too little about what people think about you.
If you think you’ve arrived, you are so self-assured that you simply don’t think others should evaluate your thoughts, ideas, actions, words, plans, goals, attitudes, or initiatives. You really don’t think you need help. You do alone what should be done in a group. And if you work with a group, you will tend to surround yourself with people who are all too impressed with you, all too excited to be included by you, and who will find it hard to say anything but “yes” to you. You have forgotten who you are and what your Savior says you daily need. You live in a place of both personal and also ministry danger.
7. Resist facing and admitting your sins, weaknesses, and failures.
Why do any of us get upset or tense when we are being confronted? Why do any of us activate our inner lawyer and rise to our defense? Why do any of us turn the tables and remind the other person that we are not the only sinner in the room? Why do we argue about the facts or dispute the other person’s interpretation? We do all of these things because we are convinced that we are more righteous than the other person. Proud people don’t welcome loving warning, rebuke, confrontation, criticism, or accountability. And when they fail, they are very good at erecting plausible reasons for what they said or did given the stresses of the situation or relationship.
Are you quick to admit weakness? Are you ready to own your failures before God and others? Are you ready to face your weaknesses with humility? Remember, if the eyes or ears of a ministry partner ever see or hear your sin, weakness, or failure, it is never a hassle, never a ministry interruption, and it should never be viewed as an affront. It is always grace. God loves you, he has put you in this community of faith, and he will reveal your spiritual needs to those around you so they may be his tools of conviction, rescue, and transformation.
8. Struggle with the blessings of others.
Self-glory is always at the base of envy. You envy others’ blessings because you see them as less deserving than you. And because you see yourself as more deserving, it is hard for you not to be mad that they get what you deserve, and it is nearly impossible for you not to crave and covet what they wrongfully enjoy. In you envious self-glory, you are actually charging God with being unjust and unfair. In ways you may not be aware, you begin to be comfortable with doubting God’s wisdom, justice, and goodness. You don’t think he has been kind to you in the way you deserve. This begins to rob you of motivation to do what is right, because it doesn’t seem to make any difference. It is important to recognize that there is a short step between envy and bitterness. That’s why envious Asaph cries in Psalm 73:13, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.” He’s saying, “I’ve obeyed, and this is what I get?” Then he writes, “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast before you.” What a word picture—a bitter beast!
I have met many bitter pastors; men convinced they have endured hardships they really didn’t deserve. I have met many bitter pastors, envious of others’ ministries, who have lost their motivation and joy. I have met many pastors who have come to doubt the goodness of God. And you don’t tend to run for help, in your time of need, to someone you have come to doubt.
9. Be more position oriented than submission oriented.
Self-glory will always make you more oriented to place, power, and position than in submission to the will of the King. You see this in the lives of the disciples. Jesus hadn’t called them to himself to make their little kingdom purposes come true, but to welcome them as recipients and instruments of a better kingdom. Yet in their pride, they missed the whole point. They were all too oriented to the question of who would be greatest in the kingdom.
You can never fulfill your ambassadorial calling and want the power and position of a king. Position orientation will cause you to be political when you should be pastoral. It will cause you to require service when you should be willing to serve. It will cause you to demand of others what you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. It will cause you to ask for privilege when you should be willing to give up your rights. It will cause you to think too much about how things will affect you, rather than thinking of how things will reflect on Christ. It will cause you to want to set the agenda, rather than finding joy in submitting to the agenda of Another. Self-glory turns those who have been chosen and called to be ambassasdors into self-appointed kings.
10. Control ministry rather than delegate ministry.
When you are full of yourself, when you are too self-assured, you will tend to think you’re the most capable person in the circle of your ministry. You will find it hard to recognize and esteem the God-given gifts of others, and because you do, you will find it hard to make ministry a community process. Thinking of yourself more highly than you ought always leads to looking down on others.
Personal humility and neediness will cause you to seek out and esteem the gifts and contributions of others. Pastors who think they have arrived tend to see delegation as a waste of time. In their hearts they think, Why should I give to another what I could do better myself? Pastoral pride will crush shared ministry and the essential ministry of the body of Christ.
Personal Grief and Remorse
It is important for me to say that I have written these cautions with personal grief and remorse. In shocking self-glory I have fallen, at some time in my ministry, into all of these traps. I have dominated when I should have listened. I have controlled what I should have given to others. I have been defensive when I desperately needed rebuke. I have resisted help when I should have been crying out for it. I have been too full of my own opinions and too dismissive of the perspective of others.
I am saddened as I reflect on my many years of ministry, but I am not depressed. Because in all my weakness, the God of amazing grace has rescued and restored me again and again. He has progressively delivered me from me (a work that is ongoing). And in being torn between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God, he has miraculously used me in the lives of many others. In love, he has worked to dent and deface my glory so that his glory would be my delight. He has plundered my kingdom so that his kingdom would be my joy. And he has crushed my crown under his feet so that I would quest to be an ambassador and not crave to be a king.
In this violent mercy there is hope for everyone. Your Lord is not just after the success of your ministry; he is working to dethrone you as well. Only when his throne is more important than yours will you find joy in the hard and humbling task of gospel ministry. And his grace will not relent until our hearts have been fully captured by his glory. That’s good news!
Today on The Briefing:
Story 1 – The Supreme Court takes on same-sex marriage nationwide – a culture-shaping story
Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices Into Overdrive, New York Times (Adam Liptak)
Justices to Hear Two Challenges on Gay Marriage, New York Times (Adam Liptak)
George Will: ‘Quite Literally, The Opposition to Gay Marriage Is Dying’ ABC News (George Stephanopoulous)
High Court Will Rule on Gay Marriage, Wall Street Journal (Jess Bravin)
Next Civil Rights Landmark, New York Times (Editorial)
Worry Tempers Joy Over Gay Marriage’s Moment in Court, New York Times (Adam Nagourney)
Story 2 – Morsi’s cold political calculation
Backing Off Added Powers, Egypt’s Leader Presses Vote, New York Times (David Kirkpatrick)
Opponents of Egypt’s Leader Call for Boycott of Charter Vote, New York Times (David Kirkpatrick)
Story 3 – The Israeli experience – how should we expect Israel to act?
Chemical Weapons Risk: Syrian Missiles and Shells, Associated Press (Kimberly Dozier and Robert Burns)
The West Must Intervene to Remove Assad, Financial Times (James Dobbins)
The Full Israeli Experience, New York Times (Thomas Friedman)
Story 4 – Is Hamas’s desire to wipe out Israel just a ‘long standing principle’?
Leader Celebrates Founding of Hamas With Defiant Speech, New York Times (Steven Erlanger)
In other news…
Science vs. God: Does Progress Trump Faith? FoxNews.com (Wynne Parry)
Why I Don’t Want to Be a West Point Graduate, Huffington Post (Blake Page)
Let’s Call a Truce in the War on Men, FoxNews.com (Suzanne Venker)
Former Minister: ‘We atheists love this time of year like everyone else’ Washington Post (Dan Barker)
The U.S. State Department recently hosted a three-day, closed-door conference in Washington, D.C. to advance a diplomatic initiative that would make it an international crime to criticize Islam.
Also known as the Istanbul Process, the initiative aims to enshrine in international law a global ban on all critical scrutiny of Islam and/or Islamic Sharia law.
The effort is being spearheaded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an influential bloc of 57 Muslim countries.Based in Saudi Arabia, the OIC has been pressing the United States and the European Union for more than a decade to implement a “legally binding institutional instrument” that would impose limits on free speech and expression about Islam.
Because previous American administrations resisted OIC efforts to criminalize so-called blasphemous speech due to concerns about U.S. Constitutional guarantees of free speech, the OIC changed its strategy in early 2011.
Rather than seeking to limit speech that involves the “defamation of religion” as before, the OIC is now engaged in a multi-pronged diplomatic offensive to persuade Western democracies to curb any speech that can be viewed as “incitement to violence.”
The cornerstone of the new OIC strategy is United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16/18, formally titled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”
HRC Resolution 16/18, which would criminalize any speech that “incites violence” against others on the basis of religion (such speech is all-encompassing and ranges from cartoons depicting Mohammed to Christian sermons and literature critical of Islam) is widely viewed as a significant step forward in OIC efforts to advance the international legal concept of defaming Islam.
Resolution 16/18 was adopted at HRC headquarters in Geneva on March 24, 2011. However, the HRC resolution—as well as the OIC-sponsored Resolution 66/167, which was quietly approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011—remains ineffectual as long as it lacks strong support in the West.
The OIC therefore scored a major diplomatic coup when the Obama Administration agreed to co-sponsor the first meeting to advance Resolution 16/18 in Istanbul in July 2011, and then to host a three-day Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC on December 12-14, 2011. By doing so, the United States gave the OIC the political legitimacy it has been seeking since 1999 to globalize its initiative to ban criticism of Islam.
Following the meeting in Istanbul, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We are pursuing a new approach based on concrete steps to fight intolerance wherever it occurs.”
But Muslim officials insist that although the approach has changed, the objective remains the same, namely the criminalization of criticism of Islam.
According to Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Zamir Akram, the OIC will not compromise on “anything against the Koran, anything against the Prophet [Mohammed] and anything against the Muslim community in terms of discrimination.”
OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that passage of Resolution 16/18 “clearly demonstrated that, as a mature international organization, the OIC was not wedded to either a particular title or the content of a resolution. We just wanted to ensure that the actual matter of vital concern and interest to OIC member states was addressed.”
He added: “The adoption of the resolution does not mark the end of the road. It rather signifies a beginning based on a new approach to deal with the whole set of interrelated issues.”
The OIC now wants to develop a legal basis for Resolution 16/18 that will “help in enacting domestic laws for the countries involved in the issue, as well as formulating international laws preventing inciting hatred resulting from the continued defamation of religions.”
The OIC is, of course, referring to countries in the West, not the Middle East; the OIC blasphemy initiative does not foresee guaranteeing the rights of Christians and Jews in the Muslim world.
Says Akram: “Resolution 16/18 was driven more by the kind of discrimination in Europe and the West in general against Muslims. I don’t think any country in the Muslim world is deliberately discriminating against minorities.”
Ihsanoglu concurs: “The Islamic faith is based on tolerance and acceptance of other religions. It does not condone discrimination of human beings on the basis of caste, creed, color, or faith.”
Now that it has secured the support of the Obama administration, the OIC is focusing its attention on the 27-member European Union, which has promised to host the next meeting of the Istanbul Process.
Many European countries lacking First Amendment protections like those in the United States have already enacted hate speech laws that effectively serve as proxies for the all-encompassing blasphemy legislation the OIC is seeking to impose on the European Union as a whole.
In Austria, for example, an appellate court recently upheld the conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for “denigrating religious beliefs” after she gave a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam.
Also in Austria, Susanne Winter, a politician and Member of Parliament, was convicted for the crime of saying that “in today’s system” Mohammed would be considered a “child molester,” referring to his marriage to six-year-old Aisha. Winter was also convicted of “incitement” for saying that Austria faces an “Islamic immigration tsunami.” Winters was ordered to pay a fine of €24,000 ($31,000).
In Denmark, Lars Hedegaard, a journalist and historian, was found guilty of “hate speech” for saying in a taped interview that there was a high incidence of domestic violence in areas dominated by Muslim culture.
Hedegaard’s comments violated Denmark’s infamous Article 266b of the penal code, a catch-all provision used to enforce politically correct speech codes. Although Hedegaard was ultimately acquitted by the Danish Supreme Court, it was on a legal technicality; in its ruling, the Supreme Court stressed that the substance of the charges against Hedegaard—public criticism of Islam— is still a crime punishable by imprisonment.
Also in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a politician and Member of Parliament, was found guilty of hate speech for saying that honor killings take place in Muslim families. Langballe was denied the opportunity to prove his assertions because under Danish law it is immaterial whether a statement is true or false. All that is needed for a conviction is for someone to feel offended.
In Finland, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, a politician and well-known political commentator, was taken to court on charges of “incitement against an ethnic group” and “breach of the sanctity of religion” for saying that Islam is a religion of pedophilia. A Helsinki court ordered Halla-aho to pay a fine for disturbing religious worship.
In France, novelist Michel Houellebecq was sued by Islamic authorities in the French cities of Paris and Lyon for calling Islam “the stupidest religion” and for saying the Koran is “badly written.”Meanwhile, the actress turned animal rights crusader Brigitte Bardot was convicted for “inciting racial hatred” after demanding that Muslims anaesthetize animals before slaughtering them.
Also France, Marie Laforêt, one of the country’s most well-known singers and actresses, was forced to defend herself in court against charges that a job advertisement she placed discriminated against Muslims.
The 72-year-old Laforêt had placed an ad on an Internet website specifying that “people with allergies or orthodox Muslims” should not apply “due to a small Chihuahua.” Laforêt claimed that she made the stipulation because she believed that Muslims view dogs as unclean animals.
The pro-Muslim group Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) lodged a criminal complaint against Laforêt, whose lawyer said she “knew that the presence of a dog could conflict with the religious convictions of orthodox Muslims. It was a sign of respect.” Muslims rejected her defense.
In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders—the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party who had denounced the threat to Western values posed by unassimilated Muslim immigrants—was recently acquitted of five charges of inciting religious hatred against Muslims for comments he made that were critical of Islam. The landmark verdict brought to a close a highly-public, two-year legal odyssey.
Also in Holland, GregoriusNekschot, the pseudonym of a Dutch cartoonist who often mocks Dutch multiculturalism, was arrested at his home in Amsterdam for drawing cartoons deemed offensive to Muslims. Nekschot was charged for eight cartoons that “attribute negative qualities to certain groups of people,” and, as such, constitute a hate crime according to the Dutch Penal Code. Nekschot said it was the first time in 800 years of satire in the Netherlands that an artist was put in jail.
In Italy, the late OrianaFallaci, a journalist and author, was taken to court for writing that Islam “brings hate instead of love and slavery instead of freedom.” A judge in Switzerland, acting on a lawsuit brought by Islamic Center of Geneva, issued an arrest warrant for Fallaci for violations of Article 261 of the Swiss criminal code. Fallaci died of cancer just months after the start of her trial.
In the United States, the OIC is pressing the Obama administration to impose restrictions on free speech that are similar to those already in place in many European countries.
Christians in the United States and abroad should be aware that Resolution 16/18, if fully implemented, would restrict what they can say regarding Islam. This would encompass any critical examination of the beliefs or practices of Islam. If taken to its logical conclusion, it would also include the proclamation that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” since this is considered blasphemy within Islam.
Mathias Kern teaches international relations at the Master’s College. 
 Dave Jordan, M. E. Pulpit Magazine October 2012 Vol. 01. No. 1.