ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – Is one of the most famous showdowns in Bible history about to be re-enacted?
An American Christian pastor is taking on the head of the Islamic State terror group known as ISIS, urging him to convert from Islam to Christianity, or take part in a modern-day “whose God will answer by fire” showdown reminiscent of the ancient prophet Elijah’s challenge to prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel in the Old Testament.
“It is time someone is calling these evil tools of Satan out, instead of cowering in the tent as the army of Israel did when taunted by Goliath,” Rev. Bill Keller, founder of Liveprayer.com, told WND.
Keller sent a personal video message to the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, encouraging him to renounce Islam and accept Jesus.
Watch Bill Keller’s challenge to the head of ISIS:
"As an evangelist, my life's work and desire is to lead lost souls to faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says it is God's desire ALL come to repentance, that none be lost. The fact is Jesus died for the sins of ALL men, even Mr. al-Baghdadi," Keller said.
Al-Baghdadi, 42, recently stepped into the role of "caliph," saying he would be a "leader for Muslims everywhere."
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But if the ISIS chief does not have a come-to-Jesus moment, Keller says he's ready for a public demonstration of divine power.
"I will come to Iraq, Syria, any location you desire," says Keller. "We will each take an unblemished animal, cut that animal into pieces, put those pieces on wood, but not set fire to the wood. Once prepared, you have one hour's time to call on Allah to rain down fire on your offering. If at the end of that hour Allah has still not answered your pleas, I will call upon the one true God of the Bible ... not just to bring down fire on my offering, but yours as well.
"If your god Allah does not answer you ... you will resign as the leader of ISIS. You will retire from your life of terror. You will encourage your followers to live in peace and I will be free to return to the United States.
"If your god Allah answers your pleas by fire [and] my God does not, I will renounce the Christian faith, and you're free to kill me or do whatever you like."
Keller's challenge is based on a similar event recorded in the 18th chapter of the Book of 1 Kings, as God's prophet Elijah took on 450 prophets of the pagan sun god Baal, telling the people of Israel, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)
When the prophets of Baal received no answer, Elijah actually made fun of them, sarcastically saying, "Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked." (1 Kings 18:27)
The story culminates with the God of Israel answering Elijah's prayer by sending a consuming fire, the people acknowledging the true God, and the heathen prophets of Baal being slain.
Watch an animated version of Elijah's battle on Mt. Carmel:
In Keller's video challenge, the pastor was unrelenting in his attack on al-Baghdadi and the entire Islamic faith, saying:
You will always be known as a thoroughly evil man whose life was about terror, hate and murder. You follow the same path as the false prophet you put your faith in – Muhammad – who history has correctly recorded was nothing more than a murderous, polygamist pedophile, who's led the souls of billions of blind followers throughout 1,400 years to eternal damnation with the false religion he created.
Islam is a 1,400-year-old lie from hell, born out of the voice of Satan, literally. Muhammad was correct when he said it was Satan who initially spoke to him. He dreamed up his own god, Allah, a non-existent imitation of the God of the Bible, and inspired his own holy book, the Quran, a cheap imitation, often plagiarism of the inspired, inerrant Word of God found in the Bible. Mr. al-Baghdadi, I hate to break this to you, but the religion Muhammad dreamed up, Islam, the imaginary god he created, Allah, the book of lies he inspired, the Quran, are all simply that, lies from the pits of hell.
Keller initially sent his video message in July, but did not hear from anyone at ISIS by the end of the month, which was his original deadline. He says he's still reaching out to them and the challenge still stands.