James Malm keeps saying that the major COG groups teach “that the King of the South would be a more extreme Islamic Caliphate, or Mahdi based Islamic Extremist Confederation.” When I asked him about this on his blog The Shining Light Blog, he answered (in part):
If you would prefer zealot or fundamentalist be my guest, the idea is the same and I will not split hairs over semantics. That is the more extremist faction of Islam who believes in an imminent coming of Mahdi for example Amadinejad is big on preparing the way for the Mahdi.
Well, frankly, I would prefer the term “fundamentalist”, and I don’t think it is a matter of semantics!
Wikipedia in article Mahdi states:
In Shia and Sunni eschatology, the Mahdi (Arabic: مهدي / ISO 233: mahdī / English: Guided One), also Mehdi (Arabic: مہدی English: One of the Moon) is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah / literally, the Day of Resurrection) and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.
The nod to Jesus is particularly interesting, as it leads to my main question. After all, fundamentalist Christians believe in a literal return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Does all that mean that fundamentalist Christians are extremists?
You see, words have meaning.