Brother Andrew on why it’s much easier to calm down a radical than wake up a corpse
‘It’s easier to calm down a radical than wake up a corpse’. Brother Andrew tells us to wake up.
In an old interview carried out long before the days of ISIS and even more the war on terror, Brother Andrew (founder of Open Doors, Bible smuggler and author of numerous books) talks about Islam and the need for each of us to wake up and take risks.
How bad is it for Muslims turning to Christ?
Brother Andrew: It’s getting worse. Fundamentalism is on the rise, western reactions are still negative, creating more radicalism, fundamentalism and terrorism over there. Christians are not getting enough help, young people by their thousands need our help, our support and we need to know their stories so that maybe we can put some pressure on our governments to increase their protection.
It’s tempting for us to have a simplistic view of Islam and be polarized. Have you learned things that would challenge a typical western view?
Brother Andrew: My overall impression is that we know very little about Islam. When I speak with their leaders and I talk about atrocities that they commit against western churches and Christians they say, ‘but that’s not Islam’. I say what is Islam? ‘The way I do it’ they say. But it’s still increasingly difficult to be a Christian there. So we talk with their leaders and exert our influence, evangelizing the masses where we can. In their countries there’s no separation of church and state and economics and ethics and morals. It’s all one thing and it’s very hard to break into it, but I think that we can.
Is it harder working in Islamic nations that behind the Iron Curtain?
Brother Andrew: At Open Doors we talk about Communism as the good old days. It was so easy, you could find them and know what they believed (or not). But now we’re facing something that is not so stupid as saying ‘there is no God’, but instead we face the very subtle challenge of asking ‘who is God?’ To my shame I say that in the west we too often do not have an answer to that. Who is God? Who in your church or mine can say that? These days of tolerance and ecumenism have left us wondering whether God is the same as Allah or whether the Bible is the same as the Koran. We compromise right up to the point where we have no message left because it’s all the same anyway. Well that gives them fuel to expand their territory. They say ‘Islam is the answer. You have problems in the west and we are the answer.’ That’s why millions comes to our country but we have no message for them. We fear them and feel defensive. Are we willing to pay the price for witnessing to Muslims? On the whole I would say that we aren’t willing to do that, we’re not doing it. We’re scared. Then they say ‘you’re scared of us so that means we have a message.’ They’re not a danger yet, they’re a challenge.
What can western Christians do practically?
Brother Andrew: Spell Islam as I Sincerely Love All Muslims. Then may you really love them – not superficially – and want to help them; crossing the street, helping with their language, going shopping for them, helping to find a job or adjust to the new culture. If we help them we earn friendship and can begin to communicate in words, but only after we’ve earned the right to their attention.
I see every Muslim as a God seeker, and they pay a lot more in the seeking of God than we do as Christians. We all seek him casually while the Bible says only when you seek Him diligently will you find Him. We don’t like that word ‘diligently’. We want to keep things casual, take it easy, Andrew – don’t be a fanatic. And I say wait a minute, it’s much easier to cool down a fanatic than to wake up a corpse. Let’s get on with it, be radical and take some risks!
What do you say to people who are cocooned in western living and say, ‘I could never be like Brother Andrew’?
Brother Andrew: For more than fifty years people have said this to me; you’re Dutch, you’re Andrew, you’re from a socialist country. But it’s a stupid excuse for not getting involved themselves. They should not say that. Everybody can do what I do – any other nationality. You can reach the people in leadership, but where does it start? By reaching the people in the refugee camps. If you have compassion for them – and everybody can sit in the dust and dirt of a refugee camp. The guy rotting away in the refugee camp is just a precious as the president. You cannot just say that you only go to the highest up – you must also go to the lowest people, identify with the suffering.
See this article here at weareworship.