Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A Muslim Lent?
In an effort to gain a greater understanding of the Islam faith Reverend Steve Lawler decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for the 40 days of Lent. This involved him performing “salah” by praying to Allah five times a day, as well as studying the Quran and following the Islam dietary laws. In response to Lawler’s decision Bishop George Wayne Smith informed him that if he continued he would be defrocked, thus giving up his priesthood. Smith asserts that by involving himself in both religions he is adhering to neither and is not acting as a proper example to his followers.
Lawler did not plan on embracing one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which consists of declaring the belief that Muhammad was God’s prophet, and stated that he could participate in these rituals while still maintaining his episcopal views without any confusion. But by participating in the rituals of Islam he is paying homage to that faith. He is bowing to Mecca five times a day and following the laws set forth in the Quran. Scripture states that we are to bow to no other God but the Lord of Abraham and Isaac. Thus he is bowing to another God and disobeying the covenant that he has with the Lord.
Aside from the spiritual warfare that he is inviting into his life, he is quite possibly leading others astray and becoming a stumbling block for his congregation. In class we discussed the possibility of bringing spiritual warfare into the lives of clients simply by praying for them. How much greater must the consequences be for he and his followers when he spiritual discernment and instruction is influenced by his involvement with another faith? There is nothing wrong with him wanting to gain a greater understanding of the Islamic faith, but by directly participating in it he is practicing the faith, not learning about it.