A week after refusing post a sermon on its Web site containing remarks about speaking in tongues the administration viewed as theologically suspect, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary gave its blessing to a Sept. 6 speaker who described Islam as a religion of violence and urged unqualified support for Israel.
After reciting a litany of attacks by “Islamic extremists” against Western targets between 1979 and 2006, Florida pastor Forrest Pollock told seminarians the war against terror didn’t begin on Sept. 11, 2001. It rather has “been blazing for 4,200 years,” he said, since the story in Genesis established eternal enmity between the two sons of Abraham.
While Bible ensures God’s blessing on descendants of Ishmael, traditionally the patriarch of Arab lands and Islam, Pollock said, God’s covenant is established through Isaac and God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Israel.
“You can summarize all of biblical prophecy with three J’s,” said Pollock, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., “Jews, Jerusalem and Jesus.”
Pollock recently made news when he nominated Frank Page as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June. Some observers viewed the election of Page, a political outsider and self-labeled “irenic conservative,” as a sign the denomination’s narrowing image might be moderating.
Pollock also served alongside Page on the SBC resolutions committee, which drafted resolutions urging prayer for the U.S. president and military and engagement with public schools. Pollock’s church runs a Christian academy.
“Today the sons of Ishmael are attacking the sons of Isaac,” Pollock said. “We are seeing perhaps Islam’s last jihad. Recall jihad is what Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda have declared against Israel and have declared against us because we would dare support them.”
“Who are these Islamic extremists? Why do they hate us so much?” he asked. “You may want to put a nitro glycerin under your tongue. What I’m about to say to you has caused some to be incarcerated; just ask Heather Mercer and Dana Curry. Others have been decapitated. Salman Rushdie is still running for his life, even after many years, since 1989 after having a $5 million bounty laid on his head because he dared share the truth about Islam.”
Pollock said Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world. The religion has continued to grow in America since 9/11. Instead of being alarmed, he said, parts of the intelligentsia are “actually helping them.”
“In California, seventh graders are encouraged to adopt an Islamic name and plan a holy jihad,” he said. “At one particular university in the state of North Carolina, when you enroll in that university, you are handed a book that explains to you about the Quran.”
“Now the ACLU would squeal like a pig under a gate if Christians did that,” Pollock said. “But because it’s Islam, well it’s OK.
Pollock said “it is politically correct” and “politicians stumble all over themselves to say” that Islam is a religion of peace, but he asked, “Is that true?”
“A careful examination of the September 11 attacks reveals that 19 out of the 19 terrorists who flew the airplanes into the twin towers and into the Pentagon and attempted to blow up the White House were not quoting John 3:16. They were quoting the Quran,” he said. “They were not a bunch of belligerent Baptists or mean-spirited Methodists.”
“But some will say Osama bin Laden and his ilk are just a fringe, they’re kooks,” he continued. “Well, what does the Quran say? At the end of the day you’ve got to go to the holy book and see what it says. Surah 9:5 says, ‘Fight and slay the pagans.’ That is the infidels. That’s you and me.”
“The Bible we preach from says love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you, and the Quran says kill Christians and Jews,” Pollock said. “Now I ask you, is that a religion of peace, a religion of universal brotherhood and tolerance and inclusiveness?
“I submit to you that if indeed it were a religion of peace, that on September 11 we would have seen mullahs rising in great number to denounce those hijackers who killed so many here in the United States, and yet we saw so many dancing in the streets.
“If indeed it were a religion of peace religious mullahs would have denounced what was going on in Afghanistan, where women were brutalized, tortured. Where were the leaders of Islam who would stand up and come forward to denounce the suicide bombers, who even now are inflicting harm in Iraq? The silence has been deafening.”
Pollock said he isn’t sure, but current events in the Middle East could point to signs of a Third World War leading to the Battle of Armageddon and Second Coming of Christ. Whether or not such a conflict is imminent, Pollock said he believes such a war is prophesied in Scripture and therefore will eventually come to pass.
“Don’t fall into the politically correct trap of equivocating, finding some kind of equivalency, between what Israel does to defend herself and what these terrorists are doing to attack Israel,” Pollock advised. “The terrorists are trying to increase the body count on both sides. Israel is trying to minimize it. There is a great, great, gargantuan difference.”
He also encouraged seminarians to follow the instruction in Psalm 22 to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
“There can be no peace on earth until there is peace in Jerusalem,” he said. “And there can be no peace in Jerusalem until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, returns to rule and reign from the throne of his father David. So when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, what you are saying is ‘Even now, come Lord Jesus.'”
Controversy erupted at Southwestern Seminary Aug. 29 when the president decided to depart from a recent practice of posting video and audio files of chapel messages for free on the seminary’s Web site.
A news release said that was because views expressed by Dwight McKissic, an African-American pastor and seminary trustee, about speaking in tongues don’t reflect the views of the seminary and it would be confusing to publicly disseminate those views.
The statement also said McKissic’s opinion that Southern Baptists shouldn’t forbid missionaries from using a “prayer language” in their private devotions could be construed as criticizing trustees of a sister agency, the International Mission Board, who adopted a policy banning the practice last fall.
This week Southwestern is launching a four-day conference on “Jesus, Jews and the Last Days. “It features speakers including SWBTS President Paige Patterson and Mitch Glaser of Chosen People Ministries.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.