Prooftexting the Bible to find an Islamic presence in the “end times” is not new, but I did find an interesting twist in Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Bible Prophecy Says About World Events Today (Worthy Publishing, 2015) by Michael Youssef, head of the Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef ministry and pastor for The Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia. In this book, the author connects the premillennialist expectation of a coming “Antichrist,” a tyrannical political and religious leader who subjugates the whole world, with the Muslim expectation of a coming Twelfth Imam (or Mahdi, according to some Shia Muslims), who will save mankind. Youssef sees the development of Islam as having been purposely guided by Satan so that Muslims are preconditioned to accept the Antichrist as someone sent from God and on the same side as Jesus, so to speak. Instead, however, he’s predestined to be everything Christ isn’t: the ultimate enemy who is defeated only after persecuting Jews and Christians worldwide.
Although in summary the argument might look plausible, Jesus, Jihad and Peace fails to convince, resorting to sloppy exegesis to make the associations between the Bible and the present work. I got the impression that promoting a particular anti-Muslim agenda was more important to the author than presenting a biblical eschatology. As a Christian, I can only say that the end result was really embarrassing. Youssef carefully selects passages from the Bible and the Koran, picks and chooses what he likes from history and current events, and judges the two religions by different standards. He does this so that he can present the least offensive view of Christianity and the most offensive view of Islam and call them both “genuine.” I suspect that he does this out of personal motivation, as a native Egyptian raised Coptic Orthodox, who has likely witnessed if not actually experienced oppressive elements of Muslim rule. Whatever he reasons, they unfortunately led him away from his main responsibility as a pastor: setting aside his own biases and engaging in sound hermeneutics so that he can present what the Bible actually teaches rather than what he wishes it taught.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a First Reads giveaway winner on GoodReads.com. There was no obligation to write a review.