Islam isn't the problem, dead churches are.
In my circles, there has been a great amount of fervor and hand-wringing about the coming Islamic threat in recent years. We have watched the demographic shift in Europe over the last couple of decades, and we have watched the increasing boldness of radical Islam in those places as their population has swelled with immigration and conversions. We know by their own statements that the Islamic world is full of ambitious men who see themselves as the chosen instruments by which the the re-institution of the caliphs and Islamic dictatorships of centuries past will be accomplished. These men see in these demographic shifts and political vacuums the means to fulfill what they view as Islam's great mandate; the subjugation of all other faiths and peoples. People in my circles look around them and they see the same thing happening in America, and they are probably right. Through immigration and proselytization, the Muslim population in America is exploding. People in my circles in hushed tones talk about potential solutions, including deportation and anti-Muslim legislation, lest we become like Europe. Throw into the mix rabble-rousing politicians who refuse to let a good crisis go to waste, and who promise to stand for 'American values' (whatever those are nowadays) . These politicians feed off an 'us vs them' mentality, and will gladly contribute to the xenophobia if it gives them a chance to wrap themselves in a flag and claim to be the good guys.
There certainly seems to be cause for alarm. In Europe, the Muslim population increased from 30 million in 1990 to 44 million in 2010. Some of this is from immigration, and higher birth rates, but not all. Over 100,000 of the Muslims in Britain are adult converts. France reportedly has an adult convert population of almost 100,000 , most of them men under 40 in their prime child -rearing years. The United Nation claims that Islam in Europe has grown 142% since 1989. This population of immigrants and converts are reshaping whole neighborhoods as has been called a 'demographic time bomb'
Let's say it's all true. Let's go ahead and indulge all of our worst blue-eyed nightmares. Let's say that there exists, at some level , a concerted, almost conspiratorial effort to flood the western world with Muslims. Let's say the caliph-wanna-bes see our civilization as rife with moral decay, and ripe for the picking. Let's say that their intent is to establish a significant enough presence in the West to eventually, either thorough vote or conquest, propel themselves into power and subjugate everybody else. Let's say they all sit around in their caves at night and stroke their beards with glee at the prospect of a Muslim President in America, and the institution of Shirai law over the rest of us.
Is the solution borders and walls and barbed wire fences and lines drawn in the sand and anti-Muslim laws? Is the solution suspicion of everybody wearing a headdress and an stiffening of our natural dislike of everybody different from us? I submit to you that the solution is something much more intangible, yet incomparably more powerful; the solution is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You see, the rise of Islam in Europe has been attended by the decline of something else; real evangelical Biblical Christianity. For centuries Europe lead the way in having a vibrant, living church presence in which the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's life-changing power was tirelessly proclaimed publicly. Though huge swathes of Europe lived under the domination of popish superstition, there was always in existence an aggressive, confrontational Christianity, particularly in England which gave us such spiritual giants as Tyndale , John Wesley, George Whitefield and C.H. Spurgeon. Islam existed side by side with these men, but could never get a foothold because the red-hot preaching and fervent spiritual lives of these men and those that followed them held it at bay. Truth was so openly and shamelessly promoted that error could scarcely get a word in edgewise.
reasons, the church in Europe lost its fire. There are no lack of villains to blame. For whatever reason, there was a cultural shift in European Christianity. People were no longer Christians because they had put their faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. they were Christians because their parents or grandparents had been Christians. But these are just symptoms of a much larger cause. The lifeblood of Biblical Christianity has always been evangelism, and once that ceased to be the focus of the churches in Europe, their numbers dwindled, and the great cathedrals built by fervent men of years gone by became places to hold weddings and funerals. Nobody was taking the gospel to the lost, and as the population got older, and birth rates plummeted, the numbers began to decline. By the time two World Wars rocked Europe to its core, the voices that could provide hope in the face of unspeakable tragedy were fewer and fewer. Young Europeans grew up in a post-Bible society, and lived their whole lives in a dry liturgy that could no more impart life than a wooden plank can sprout leaves. Their children rejected the liturgy and believed in rationalism, and their children's children rejected the emptiness of rationalism and believed in nothing. Their great grandchildren, dissatisfied with the vacuum, are embracing Islam. In Britain, there are, according to the Pew foundation, 4 times as many Muslims attending mosque on Friday than there are Anglicans attending church on Sunday. Though biblical, living Christianity exists in Europe, it is literally being shouted out and legislated into obscurity by opponents ranging from atheists to Muslims. There simply isn't the manpower to reach the lost, and Islam has the manpower.
The solution is for the churches of Jesus Christ to become vibrant and relevant again. This isn't accomplished by hayrides and coffee shops; this is accomplished by the bold proclamation of the gospel to every creature. This work is under girded and empowered by fasting, prayer, and belief in the Bible. If that happens, the Muslim world can have babies till they are blue in the face, and jump the borders until their legs get tired. When they get here, we'll preach to them, and even if they reject the gospel, our light will hold their darkness at bay. This is more conducive to the mission given the church than the 'can't we all just get along' philosophy of the political left or the 'bomb the brown people' philosophy of the political right. These immigrants are not the enemy, they are souls, and the last time I checked souls were our business.