David Jonsson combines ancient history, commentary, analysis, and brilliant flashes of insight in The Clash of Ideologies. Jonsson's goals for the book include: (1) to explore the history of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, including their destruction; (2) to prove that "many of the heresies addressed by the early ecumenical councils became fundamental tenants of Islam”; (3) to analyze "history, biblical teaching and Qur'anic teaching for the reader's evaluation"; (4) to encourage "studies of the integrity of the Qur'an and the origins of Islam”; (5) to "help both Christians and non-Christians to clarify their own values as they compare the scriptures of the Bible and the Sura of the Qur'an...as they witness the 'Clash of Ideologies' between the worlds of Christianity and Islam”; and (6) to test whether the proposition that Muhammad learned much of his stories in the Qur'an from the people around him.
Jonsson has done a vast amount of research on the history of Asia Minor and on Islam. His role as a physicist has taken him to over fifteen Muslim countries and has exposed him to Islamic ideology. He shows insight into the reasons for much of the conversion to Islam over the years: secondary status versus financial gains and doctrinal weaknesses. Jonsson shows a link between today's terrorism and Islam's apocalyptic views. He includes a good section on attributes of God versus those of Allah, and a dialogue between the Apostle John and Muhammad based on their writings. He also points out some of the internal Qur'anic failures.
Additionally, the author includes notes, maps (which he does not refer to in the text), and an index.
However, The Clash of Ideologies suffers from a lack of focus. In attempting so much, Jonsson introduces rabbit trails which divert and irritate, such as his research on the different types of tombs in Lycia. Then he jolts you off the rabbit trail back to his main point with little transition.
He repeats stories and information, such as telling of the Apostle John's reaction to being in the building with the heretic Cerinthus on both pages 79 and 81. The information in the subdivisions in chapters does not always line up with the title of the subdivision. Although I was a history minor and enjoy history, at times I found the history eye-crossingly dull, such as when he begins each history of a city with its mythical foundations, its encounters with Alexander the Greek and his successors, and its history into the twentieth century.
The most bizarre part of the book is that after warning against compromise throughout the book, Jonsson has a section in the epilogue entitled, "When Will You Deny Christ?" The next sections tell exactly how to convert to Islam, including the Arabic prayers to pray. Then he finishes with a sinner's prayer for a reader to pray to Christ.
If someone really enjoys ancient history, he would enjoy this book. If someone is studying the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, he would find parts of the book very helpful. Scattered throughout the books are startling insights on Islam that make so much sense. It's too bad that Mr. Jonsson did not narrow his focus or divide the book into two or more accounts for he would have made it much more readable and helped him structure the account internally. By attempting so much in one volume, he at times seems to lose track of where he's going and what he's trying to accomplish. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
From a global perspective of current events affecting the Church, our times are not unlike those of two thousand years ago. At the end of the first century, forces inside and outside weakened the early church. Natural disasters, persecution, and the rise of numerous heresies threatened it. Then, within the period of six centuries, a new force arrived on the scene—Islam. For most Muslims, the Qur'an is their manifesto. The “Clash of Ideologies” thus began and continues today. David Jonsson's book provides an in-depth look at the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse as a foundation for comparing the basic tenets and origins of Christianity and Islam. Today's events are seen through the lens of the Holy Bible, the Qur'an, and five thousand years of history. This comprehensive study of the setting and teaching from Revelation offers a context for understanding the making of the worlds of Christianity and Islam.