Why the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy is a Good Thing
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York.
Known as “a leader’s leader,” Joseph is also a virtuoso on the guitar. He has received formal education in Kingsborough Community College, Elohim Bible Institute, received ministerial training from The International Christian Center, and has received an honorary diploma from Zion Bible Institute. Joseph earned a Doctor of Divinity from the Christian Leadership Seminary, participated in BILD (Biblical Institute for Leadership Development), successfully completed a one-year certificate program with the Wilberforce Forum, and has earned a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University, with a concentration in Biblical Worldview and Urban Ministry.Joseph and his wife Joyce founded Resurrection Church in 1984. A multi ethnic congregation of 40 nationalities, Resurrection Church has developed and sent out high-impact leadership and numerous non-profit corporations that have greatly impacted nations and the New York region, such as Children of the City (COC regularly ministers to more than 2,000 at-risk children with counseling, after school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and other holistic ministries) and The Ekklesia Leadership Institute (which held intensive monthly seminars and week-long summits with a focus of raising up the next generation of leadership with a Christian world and life view).Joseph also has hosted his own radio show “Light Your City” and a weekly cable television programs “The Ekklesia.” He is a regular contributor to Christian newspapers, and through the years has given numerous radio and television interviews and press conferences, including guest appearances on TBN. His first published book Ruling in the Gates was released in April 2003 and has already had international acclaim.
In recognition of his years of faithful service and significant influence, numerous local and national bishops and apostolic leaders consecrated Joseph to the Office of Bishop on April 29, 2006.
Joseph, his wife, Joyce and their five children live in Brooklyn, New York.
I have trained myself not to look at challenges as problems but as hidden opportunities. Hence, I presently view the controversy with the Ground Zero mosque as something good. The following are reasons I believe this.
1. It Is Causing America To Take A Hard Look At The First Amendment Regarding Freedom Of Religion And The Separation Of Church And State
Whenever the U.S. is confronted with this conversation it is a good thing because it can further solidify this essential core value of our nation and its constitution. It will cause more and more people to study the U.S. Constitution and even become constitutional lawyers and scholars. My hope is that it will also lead to a more literal reading of this founding document built upon the unalienable rights from our Creator as shown in the Declaration of Independence.
2. It Is Exposing The Ideology And Religion Of Radical Islam
I think that it is fantastic so many commentators, elected officials, and religious leaders are now studying Islam and understanding that fundamentalist followers are an ideological and political threat to our national security. This is a gift from God that will thwart the spread of Islam in the West!
3. It Is Exposing The Goals Of Silent Jihad (Dawah)
The infiltration of political structures and the building of cultural centers in a community is among one of the many ways Islam wages “silent jihad or “dawah.” The strategy is to recruit followers, form a strong base of operations, and gain powerful political and community influence which will then lead to the imposition of Sharia law. (For more information, read what is now going on in London, France and even in Dearborn, Michigan. Also, for further research read The Grand Jihad by Andrew McCarthy.)
4. It Is Exposing The Radical Views Of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
The recent audio recordings of Imam Rauf, in which he says the United States has shed more innocent Muslim blood than the Taliban, and also that America is also responsible for the attacks of 9/11, show his true colors regarding religion and politics.
5. It Will Help Curtail The Spread Of Islam In The West
As more people in Western Europe and America learn about Islam and witness the gross insensitivity and lack of concern of those attempting to build the mosque near Ground Zero toward our city and those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 (because they are blinded by their ideology), it will wake us out of sleep and motivate us to fight the spread of Islam in our communities. I feel this is actually a turning point and is causing a prophetic line to be drawn in the sand in regards to our ideological opposition to Islam. Hence, the populations of the West no longer have a benign view of Islam.
6. It Will Give True Christians An Opportunity To Befriend Muslims Who Feel Isolated And Lonely In America
More Muslims are going to feel isolated and lonely. Most Muslims in America are peace-loving and many of them have never even the read the Quran from cover the cover! (Many of the women are uneducated and cannot even read Arabic!) Christians should preach the gospel by loving and befriending these who, more than ever, will be open to a God of love who is near, who speaks, and who can assure them of salvation through the redemption of Christ Jesus!
7. It Can Show The Difference Between Islam And Christianity
History and theology prove that Islam spread by the sword while Christianity spread through the preaching of the gospel and by serving communities. Furthermore, it is the worldview of Christianity that has been shown capable of producing the greatest scientists, musicians, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, hospitals, and political leaders like Wilberforce who abolished slavery. Christianity is a religion of peace and cultural development. (Read Robert Spencer’s book Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't.)
8. It Will Give Moderate Muslims An Opportunity To Show Their Beliefs
If Muslims are peace-loving then their imams need to come out in force and renounce jihad, Sharia law, and especially name and renounce all terrorist organizations like Hamas and Al-Qaeda. If Muslims think it is unfair the American people have an unfavorable view of Islam, then they need to proactively deal with these issues or else be forever linked with those who want to ultimately dominate the world!
9. It Shows The Important Place Of Religion In Our Culture
In the 1960’s the New York Times ran a cover page regarding the death of God. The 20th century was the first century in recorded history in which nations were not dominated or classified by religion. With the Communist revolutions in Russia, China, Latin America, Africa, and many parts of the world, atheism had a chance to prove itself viable. Instead, atheism resulted in more blood being shed in the 20th century than in all of prior recorded history! (Although Pentecostalism has proven to be the most powerful and influential sociological force of the 20th century but it was mostly under the radar.)
Consequently, the beginning of the 21st century has changed all that, especially since the “religious” September 11th attacks forever changed the world. This century has started and continues to move along with a religious meta-narrative that is underpinning almost every facet of the global conversation, especially in the West and Middle East. Truly, God is not dead but will continue to remain the most important guiding force in politics, economics, sociology, history, science and the like--whether people believe in God or not!
10. It Will Further Reveal The Religious And Political Ideology Of Elected Officials
National and local leaders (like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) are revealing their true views regarding religious freedom, their willingness to fight or pander to terrorist groups, as well as their love and respect for the Christian religion. For example, while Mayor Bloomberg is passionately supporting the building of the Ground Zero mosque, thus far he has not said anything publicly about helping the Greek Orthodox people rebuild after their church building was destroyed when one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed upon it on 9/11.
Suggested readings include:
The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America by Andrew C. McCarthy
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer
The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer
What’s So Great about Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza