In The ISIS Crisis: What You Really Need to Know (2015), Charles Dyer and Mark Tobey try to unravel the current geo-political situation in the Middle East. This short Moody paperback gives a historical overview of Middle Eastern religion and politics, then discusses biblical prophecy and a godly response to ISIS. I enjoyed reading this book because I learned so much – the Sunni-Shiite divide, the rise of ISIS, geopolitical alliances, Muslim hatred of Jews, etc. I agree with Dyer and Tobey that Islamic prophecies on the Mahdi (Muslim Messiah) are a corrupt version of the Bible and that ISIS is unknowingly governed by Satan (92-93, 115-17). However, the authors have an incomplete understanding of history, from both human and divine perspectives. They’re also too American in their thinking.
Dyer and Tobey accept what the U.S. government tells them about 9/11, ISIS, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they don’t know what the CIA, G8, IMF, the Bilderberg group, and others have planned and done in secret. They also consider the Communist CFR reputable and UN interference normal (60, 64); they’re not. President Obama shouldn’t need UN Security Council approval to launch an attack anywhere (64). The authors also haven’t learned from biblical history that God is using ISIS to judge the West, as he used Babylon to judge Israel. Why don’t they plainly admit that Russia is Magog and why do they ridicule Americans reading their Bibles when they visit the Middle East (81)? Someone needs to. This region is vital in prophecy! The Euphrates is drying up, thanks to drought and dams (87-88). One day, an angel will dry it up completely, “so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12, NKJV). Dyer and Tobey didn’t even see the Malwiya Minaret in Samarra as a modern Tower of Babel (76-78; Genesis 11:1-9).
Finally, why do these authors cling to U.S. democracy as the best form of government? Other forms are just as valid, including a militarized democracy in Turkey and a Muslim theocracy in Iran. What these authors said about the constitutions of Egypt, Iraq, and other nations – “Islam is the religion of the state” – is also true of ancient Israel (72). Judaism was their religion, since they were governed by God through a king. Today, Islam is the “fabric of the state”; “religion and state can’t be separated” (73). What’s wrong with this? The secular West is abnormal!
Even Dyer and Tobey’s book dedication was disturbing. “To the men and women proclaiming the gospel on the front lines of ministry across the Middle East” sounds noble (3). Yet in the acknowledgements, they express “gratitude to the countless American servicemen and women standing courageously on the front lines for freedom’s cause in some of the darkest and most dangerous places of the world,” people “of whom this world is not worthy” (138). American soldiers aren’t Christian missionaries and I don’t think their actions in the Middle East are noble. Most Christians proclaiming the gospel there aren’t white Americans either. The sin-plagued U.S.A. also contains some dark and dangerous places. In the end, this book is too imperialistic for my taste. Its authors suffer from Western myopia.
The ISIS Crisis is a starting point in the complexities surrounding the Middle East, but it should be supplemented with other books. The authors have an incomplete, Americanized portrait of both global geo-politics and divine history.