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Clippard creates furor with remarks about Islam Print E-mail

By Vicki Brown, Word&Way Associate Editor

Cape Girardeau — In an attempt to stir passion for evangelism in Missouri Baptists' hearts, Missouri Baptist Convention executive director David Clippard created a furor over comments about Islam in his report at the MBC annual meeting.

Using Numbers 13 as his text, Clippard addressed 1,195 registered messengers and guests in the convention's opening session at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. While trying to emphasize that Missouri Baptists have a “clear”¯ mission to evangelize the state, he pointed out that, just as the Hebrews did in Moses' day, Christians today also face “real threats”¯ from enemies.

Acknowledging that his name would “be on a list”¯ for his remarks, the Missouri executive declared that Islam is one of those threats.

Muslims have a “strategic plan”¯ to take over America, Clippard said. That plan includes targeting college students and prison inmates. He said Saudi Arabia currently funds study centers at universities across the continent, with 138 in the United States and 28 in Canada. Saudi students are “trained”¯ first before being sent to America to study.

The Saudis, he added, fully fund a professor at each institution, an attractive option for schools because they only have to supply a room for the class. The Saudis also try to build a mosque near each university.

Clippard claimed that inmates in American prisons have been recruited “for years.”¯

The executive director said Muslims want to control the U.S. government. The plan, he said, is to take over one city at a time, beginning with Detroit.

“They are trying to establish a Muslim state inside America,”¯ he said. “They are going to take Detroit back to the 15th century and practice Sharia (Islamic) law.”¯

Clippard added he believes that once Muslims take over, Christians would be forced to convert to Islam under threat of death.

According to a recent Associated Press article, the Saudi royal family is paying full scholarships for most of the 15,000 students who have taken advantage of a new educational exchange program between Saudi Arabia and the United States this semester.

President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah arranged the program as a means to help educate Saudi young people about America and to begin to develop some ties with Saudi Arabia's future leaders.

On Tuesday, Clippard asked denominational news media not to print his remarks, cautioning that mission work in Muslim countries could be affected. However, several secular news sources, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, picked up the story.

Jim Slack, director of field services and assessments for the International Mission Board's field services department, did not think Clippard's remarks would hurt missionaries.

In a phone interview on Nov. 2, Slack said that while he had not yet read the news accounts, he believed that “unless he [Clippard] named names or specific places,”¯ his remarks “probably wouldn't be a threat.”¯

He added that most of the information about Islamic activity in the West is available and that Christians do need to be aware of that activity.

“We don't want to put a lid on what we know is happening,”¯ he said. “It's a tightrope to walk between saying nothing or to try to be informative about what Muslims are doing.

“It's up to each individual — from pastors up to denominational leaders — to decide how to handle”¯ that information, “but people need to be informed.”¯

Quoted in the St. Louis newspaper, Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he is concerned about the effect Clippard's remarks might have on efforts to build relationships.

“This kind of hate-filled, ignorant rhetoric shouldn't be coming from religious leaders in our country who should instead be repudiating this kind of bigotry,”¯ Hooper told the Post-Dispatch.

Clippard used the Islamic threat to remind annual meeting attendees that “we need to wake up.”¯ The church in America, he said, is spending its time arguing about “who's doing what”¯ and “worrying about doing church their way”¯ instead of focusing on spreading the gospel.

He reminded listeners of the history and heritage behind the rebuilding of Old Bethel, the first Protestant church established west of the Mississippi River.

“The pioneers lived for a vision of eternity”¦and for the land God was giving them,”¯ he said.

Like those pioneers, Missouri Baptists today need to renew their passion to share the gospel.

Clippard said that as in the Numbers account, the Lord has commanded Missouri Baptists to conquer the land. The Hebrews' enemies were the people who lived in Canaan. Those enemies were real, and today's enemies are real, the executive director said.

“The real enemy is Satan”¦who will do anything he can”¦,”¯ Clippard said. The devil opposes and perverts God's work and hinders and discourages God's workers.

Missouri Baptists must obey God's “clear”¯ mandate and mission. “It's time to conquer Missouri and the world for the gospel. Praise God for the history”¦now it's time to make history,”¯ he said.

The executive director emphasized that now is the time to “face the giants”¯ of today, including the stem cell amendment to the Missouri Constitution, gambling, homosexuality and others.

“We're going to win the battle, not with political action, but by one soul at a time,”¯ he said. (11-02-06)

 
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