In a recent article, (fairly short and very enlightening) a moderate Muslim (Abdullahi Ahmen An-Na’im) opines about some of the reasons many in Islam are unable to counter the efforts of ISIS or any other radical Islamic entity. As I read the article, I was struck by a statement this gentleman made concerning the power that some Muslims take upon themselves in proclaiming jihad.
A related difficulty in this whole discussion is that according to Sharia, jihad can only be launched by a legitimate state authority.
ISIS claims to have Islamic legitimacy, but what is the basis of that secretive claim? Who nominated them, and why and how should the Caliph of ISIS have authority over the global Muslim community?
Since this authority is based on an entirely open and free process of individual choice, ISIS’ claim may succeed to the extent it is supported by a critical mass of Muslims.
|Mohammed receiving his first revelation from|
He seemed to be saying that those who follow the Prophet Mohammed are doing the best they can but without (for the lack of a better word) certified leadership in the religion, it is impossible to find consensus on doctrine in their faith.
So, here we have a violent off-shoot of a worldwide religion that has taken upon themselves the authority to interpret the doctrines/principles of their faith – many times in direct contradiction to the writings of their founder – and other times against the majority of adherents. The end result being that those who would like to see a more peaceful application of doctrines and principles are left to shake their heads and wring their hands because they CAN’T dispute the interpretation of the minority.
I imagine Paul was thinking about this predicament when he said:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
Paul also said this:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Without the foundations of Apostles and Prophets, the standards, principles, doctrines, and beliefs of a religion will not survive. They will always be affected by the reasoning of man, without the inspiration of God.
Many religions have leaders of great strength and capability. I am always impressed by the Pope and his caring nature that guides his people, and many of the world. He is a good man and may have some prophetic qualities. I will leave the judgment of his calling to God. Much the same can be said for other religious leaders but, again, their position with God is difficult for me to assess.
What I do know is that we have 15 living prophets on the earth today. They are called of God and are men who are trying very hard to listen to the word of God.
But they ARE men!! And, for the most part, they are old (at least by worldly standards).
So how do we know they won’t do what ISIS has done (not literally, but you know what I mean)?
Because they are not just ONE person. Nor are they just ONE part of the faith. No one of them has any more sway in the decision process than the other.
These are 15 experienced men who have served faithfully for the majority of their lives and still serve God and Christ. They have been presented to the body of the Church (no secret members or surprise ordinations) and have been accepted in their roles.
And nothing happens until they all agree unanimously in their decisions. If only one is undecided or against the proposition, it is tabled until agreement can be found.
No harboring animosities.
No political posturing.
No pouting or name-calling.
The process makes for decisions that come a little more slowly. Nothing rash or hurried in deciding what to do or teach.
It also makes for sound, consistent doctrine and teachings that give a solid foundation for those who believe. There is no question when it comes to the basic principles and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Wait, I know there are some who will dispute that last statement. We do have questions about basic things pertaining to the gospel/Church. But the final arbiter for what is correct is always found in what the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve teach as they speak.
As an individual member, I can interpret the doctrines as I desire, but if my interpretation contradicts that of the 15 men who lead, I need to reconsider what I believe. And as I interpret by the power of the Holy Ghost, I have discovered that my understanding will be more correct and in line with the prophets.
There must be consistency in the doctrine of any faith to maintain peace with God. Otherwise, the results will eventually be something like what is described in the article. Man cannot account for all the challenges that will confront religion as the world continues to spiral.
|The First Presidency|
|The current Quorum of the Twelve|
The comfort of Prophets helps soften many of the challenges of the day. Without Prophets, ISIS and all other ungodly entities will continue to propagate. There is peace where there are True Prophets of God and where the people listen to their counsel.