To Love a Terrorist?

As I write this post, the news channels are inundating our senses with the latest on the suspects from the Boston Marathon bombing. Ever efficient, reporters from every media outlet have descended on the Boston, Massachusetts area, in order that we might know every single gritty detail of the tragedy making front page headlines.

On my part, my heart goes out to those who were injured and the families who are also in the process of planning funerals for their loved ones.

However, there are a few things with which I am struggling. Please bear with me as I point out some deficiencies in what we are seeing and hearing played out in front of us. This article is not meant to demean the suffering of those injured or the grief of the families of those killed in anyway.

BeslanrosesFirst, let’s consider a little history lesson. The media has already found out that the suspects are of Chechen heritage. During the breakup of the USSR in the early 1990’s, Chechnya became its own self-proclaimed republic, but during the second war with Russia, it was brought back under control of the Russian Federation. The predominant religion of Chechnya is and remains Islam. Down through the last twenty plus years of fighting between Chechnya and Russia, we have heard of the extremist and separatist movements within the country as well as the acts of terrorism that have been perpetrated upon neighboring countries. The most notable was when a group of terrorists (which included Chechen nationals) took over an elementary school and eventually killed 334 children and staff before being killed.

Secondly, many within the Muslim communities of America are frightened right now because they fear that this will reflect on their heritage and their so-called peace-loving religion. In fact, before the media even found out about the current suspects, they were interviewing members and leaders of the Muslim community, who in turn stated that as soon as they heard of the bombing that they were hoping that the bombers were not of the Islamic faith. This is always of great interest to me because the Quran (Koran, etc) allows for the subjugation and killing of infidels.

I found it interesting that the media was able to find the father of the two current suspects overseas. In a recorded interview he commented that if his sons were killed in the manhunt that “all hell would break loose” upon those who killed them. Hmmmmm, doesn’t sound very peace-loving to me?

Why would the Muslims be afraid that a follower of Islam would seek to follow the dictates of his conscience and of what are considered to be the holy writings of this religion? Islam has long built a slavish following by the use of a bloody sword across great swathes of Asia and Africa. Many in the media and our government would have us to believe Islam a peace-loving religion and that extremists, separatists, and terrorists are a rare breed that just uses the Quran and Islam as a means to justify their killing and mayhem. Yet, this is not rare.

TROPIslam enslaves over a billion people in the world. Women live in fear and bondage across many countries in Asia and Africa. Christians are being slaughtered in a vain attempt to stop the growth of Biblical Christianity from spreading in many countries on these two continents.

Third, despite the fact that the current suspects are Muslim, I have yet to read of any Muslim leaders giving interviews condemning the killing of innocent civilians. In fact, I cannot recall any interviews given by Muslim leaders living here in the “Great Satan” called America casting condemnation against the brutalities of their fellow brethren around the world. While they sit here and enjoy every privilege and protection afforded natural-born US citizens, their caustic and hateful rhetoric against America continues to grow month after month.

It is to the point now that our government finds itself in a similar situation to countries in Europe that have a new breed of terrorists – home grown ones. These are people who were born here, raised here all their lives, sound just like us, played American sports, gained great educations, lived the American dream, etc.

Why is this? Very simply because their religion permits whatever means is necessary in order to enslave the people of the world to the dictates of Islam. If you don’t believe that this is the underlying intent and purpose of the religion of Islam, then I invite you to take a trip over to Africa or Asia. Proclaim at the border of a country whose laws are based on the religion of Islam that you are Bible believing Christian and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, just wait until you arrive at a local marketplace. Stand and proclaim boldly that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to heaven and find out what happens.

Another reason you will not hear any condemnation and that we will continue to see an increase of terrorism is that those who adhere to Islam are not Americans first, they are Muslims first. This is not surprising for this is the way of many religions. A Catholic is expected to give allegiance to Catholicism, a Buddhist to the tenets of Buddhism, and a Hindu to the teachings of Hinduism. Even true biblical Christianity believes and teaches this. We sing, “This world is not our home and we are just passing through.” We claim that we are but pilgrims and sojourners passing through and that our primary allegiance is to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The difference though is that biblical Christianity cannot and NEVER has been able to gain converts through the use of force. A person does not become a true believer in Christ at the point of a sword.

Sadly, I am not convinced that we have seen the end of terrorism here in America. I believe it will continue and we may very well see more acts of terror and in larger scale. As long as our country fails to admit the realities of the ideologies that separate many Americans from those in the Muslim faith, no direct action will ever be forthcoming. Muslim terrorists will continue to infiltrate our country and civilians will lose their lives while the media and the government attempt to put whatever spin they can on the situation in order to keep the gullible public from knowing the truth, and also to keep them from thinking that there is an enemy that has been permitted to reside in our midst.

Now, having stated a few facts about Islam, the question for us is what can we do about this problem? No, I am not referring to picking up guns or swords and beginning another crusade against all foreigners who hold to Islam. The problem is much larger than winning a few battles, and it will not end even if all the current haters of America were killed by our troops and bombs overseas. Another batch of haters would soon arise and the war would begin again.

The biggest issue by far is how we we as true Christians approach these people who are our neighbors. Do we ignore them and hope they will one day “go back to where they came from?” In a recent post, I shared a few thoughts about who is our neighbor, and I am convinced that Muslims are also our neighbors. We should go out of our way to not only see them as a neighbor, but to also seek to show them the grace and love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts.

Reality hurts when we realize that we are not that far removed from those who seek to use terrorism to further their cause. Currently, we have troops in several different countries. They have been killing enemy forces but there have also been many confirmed civilians killed by our forces. If we had enemy troops here in America who were killing innocent civilians, I am certain that we would also probably revolt against such invasions of tyranny. Yet, our government somehow thinks that it is above the laws and protection that it imposes on its own people yet denies to the civilian populations of other sovereign countries.

Regardless of what our government is doing and the anger that they fueling in other lands and in the hearts of those who hold to a religion other than Christianity, again, the question is – what are we doing?

Do we fuel our minds on the news that talks about how “at least 3 dead” but fail to give one moment of concern for the killed civilians in foreign lands who are going directly to hell without having heard the gospel even once? These were husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters of somebody just as were the victims of those in the Boston Marathon bombing. We weep for those we do not know because they were Americans, but fail to weep for those killed because they are lost and bound for a Christ-less eternity.

Few probably wonder what difference it might have made if those who came here looking for a new life of freedom had found the open arms of biblical Christians waiting to welcome them. I myself have to wonder what difference it would make if I spent as much time not only praying for their salvation but also showing the truth of John 3:16 instead of fueling the depravity of my own heart with the gory details of how one more Muslim killed some civilians. Again, this is not meant in anyway to demean the heartache being suffered by the families in Boston.

This post is simply an attempt for us who are Christians to give some consideration as to what should be our priorities. Either we believe that Christ came into the world to save sinners, or we believe by our actions that He only came into the world to save Westerners and especially white Americans!

Yes, without a doubt, Islam is a bloody religion. More will continue to die and some will sacrifice their own lives in order to obtain a reward that is not going to be awaiting them. However, Christianity is a religion that should be showing forth that Christ has provided forgiveness to our own hearts. We as true believers should be spending much time showing to the world that we are able to forgive those who do wrong against us, that we are striving each day to learn to love our neighbors, and that our goal is to fulfill the second greatest commandment given by Christ.

We must stop hating people because they hate the policies and practices of the American government. We must show them that the real reason we can love them is because we have been forgiven for our sins that are no less or no greater than the ones they have committed. Our faith, not the flawed policies of our government, must dictate the direction of our hearts and our actions. If this world is not our home, then our marching orders proceed from our Commander-in-Chief through the pages of the Holy Scriptures.

Loving those who come from a background of terrorism will never be easy, but the real enemy is NOT Islam. The real enemy is not an Iraqi, an Iranian, or an Afghani. The real enemy is the enemy of our souls – the evil one, Satan himself. As long as he blinds the hearts and minds of unbelievers (either American or foreign), there will be no peace. However, when the Holy Spirit makes a man or a woman a new creation in Christ, all the old things will pass away and all things will become new.

To conclude, I am saddened not only for the families who are suffering, but also for the families of the suspected terrorists. They will never have the hope of hearing their loved ones have placed their faith in Christ. Yes, they chose their own deceptive path, but the reality of hell still awaits them. Judgment Day has arrived for them when they take their last breath. In the meantime, I have to wonder how many true believers these men may have met, and further, how many of them spent time praying for these individuals or even seeking to show them the love of Christ.

Operation Nehemiah

A few weeks back, Voddie and I were at a conference where he was speaking. We met a man from South Sudan who was on fire for the Lord, biblically sound, and earnestly seeking to spread the imag001Gospel in a country ravaged by war – both political and spiritual.

In cleaning out my briefcase, I found his newsletter and took a look at the web site. I recall his plan and burning desire to use a transportable radio station (less susceptible to gorilla attacks and economical, thanks for some smart engineers). Here’s a look at their “What We Do” page.

What We Do
Our Mission
      The primary Mission of Operation Nehemiah is to rebuild & restore the Biblical family and the Church in the republic of the South Sudan which is recovering from the ashes of war & Islamic persecution through the preaching of the Gospel, promoting sustainable & Biblical stewardship. As Nehemiah 2: 18 Says. ” “let us rise and build, so they join their hands together for this good work.

Our Values
The compelling force driving our work is promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which brings people to repentance and eternal salvation. This serves as the criteria for the success of any of our efforts. We believe that a person’s dignity is enhanced through meaningful work, education and discipleship. The main focus of Operation Nehemiah Missions is to promote the Gospel of Yeshua that brings people to repentance and Eternal Salvation. We stand on this scripture “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Yeshua Hamashiach. We are ministering to the body, soul, and spirit. Jesus said “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4) We believe that the Bible is the only infallible and authoritative Word of God. We recognize its divine inspiration and accept its teachings as our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
We are disciplining men, women and children in the South Sudan to have a loving relationship with Aba God, and Savior Yeshua the Messiah. This is our Eternal hope & destiny:we disciple new believers to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” All these things integrate together: God, family, work, and ministry—and do everything as unto the Lord.
Our Distinctive
We are primarily an indigenous mission. 98% of our staff is South Sudanese Christian nationals. Our staff has a burning desire to take an active role in the rebuilding of their nation and to establish a “City on a Hill” in the New Sudan. We believe that self reliance is best promoted through indigenous leadership. We trained and established skilled and transparent indigenous Field Management Team with a shared long term vision and commitment. Our vision is to equip and empower the indigenous Christians to manage and account for the investment which God has entrusted to them with and through the benevolent gifts of the fellow Christians in USA. Our goal is to build trust and faithfulness with the leadership on the ground to deal with UN incursion and the remaining element of Islamic encroachment.  Nehemiah strives to archive genuinely sustainable indigenous operation. Our objective is to reduce the resources coming from outside by increasing the resources generated from within South Sudan.
Our Focus
Our primary focus is to prepare Beth Israel, a village in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, and South Sudan for the return of people who were displaced by the war. We are taking one village and one family at a time. We are intent upon establishing a community that will provide people with the opportunity to rebuild their communities, their families, and to grow in their fait and to build a Godly  city upon the Hill that can not be hidden. We train  and  disciple women to embrace God,  family & motherhood. We train and disciple  fathers to demonstrate the impact of a gospel-centered home.  In  Genesis 18:19,  God approved of Abraham, because he commanded his children to keep the way of the Lord. God does not entrust the raising of children to the institutions of the state nor to the church, but to the family. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to disciple parents to teach and disciple their own children in the word of God. Homeschooling is the only means by which we can hope to do this.
Our Outreach
We endeavor to implement our vision and mission through indigenous church planting, Pastoral discipleship training, medical relief clinics, gospel radio broadcast, agricultural development, micro business start-up, polytechnic training, and repatriation assistance to families returning from exile. Our goal is to reduce dependence upon imported food and U.N. feeding programs by encouraging the local farmers in entrepreneurial organic farming, producing both healthy food and a stable local economy, thus raising the overall standard of living.

More information here, on their web site. http://operationsnehemiah.org/

Conrad Mbewe: “Africa’s rural areas are in desperate need of the true gospel.”

An excerpt from Conrad Mbewe’s article, Africa’s rural areas are in desperate need of the true gospel.

“What struck me the most, however, was that while in Lusaka we are falling over each other to plant more and more Reformed Baptist churches, our trip in rural Zambia showed an almost complete absence of any evangelical witness, let alone any Reformed Baptist witness. Apart from one Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, the only “churches” we found in the whole area were Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, and New Apostolic churches. Inevitably, therefore, in all our conversations with the people in the villages the universal answer to the question of salvation was law and works. This was a very sad state of affairs. How could we be so negligent of the souls of our brothers and sisters in rural areas like this? Whole regions believe in a salvation by works. . . . I have said before that the price tag we place on a cause can best be seen by the price we are willing to pay for it. Missionaries sailed bloody seas in order to bring the gospel to Africa at a time when there were no modern conveniences at all on the continent. Many of them died soon after arriving due to the malaria parasite. That is how convinced they were of the value of our souls and the value of the gospel. Even today, missionaries such as the Reeces, are still willing to leave the comforts of the West to spend and be spent for the cause of the gospel in the villages of Western Province. What about us? Is the gospel not precious enough for us to relinquish the comforts of our towns and cities to take the gospel into rural Zambia and rural Africa?”

What receiving the Bible in your native tongue for the first time looks like.

Rejoice with me and be greatly encouraged (and deeply convicted) by watching this video of the Kimyal tribe receiving the New Testament in their language for the first time on March 16, 2010.

Quote from the video:

“We [in the West] have no idea. We have had the Word of God for so long. We have taken it for granted. We have resources, we have translations . . . and we don’t cherish it. We don’t realize what a precious gift we have and hold in our hands.”

Find out more about the Kimyal tribe of Indonesia here.

HT: The Gospel Coalition

Apologizing for believing a lie.

According to this article, an African pastor has apologized for believing and furthering Harold Camping’s false prophecy:

A pastor in Kasese District, who claimed the world would end on May 21, has apologised to residents. Pastor Isaac Muhindo, who has since early last year been moving around the district, spreading his doomsday massage, [sic] said he was ashamed of his act.

“I want to apologise to the people of Kasese and whoever heard my messages about the end of the world. I am very sorry for the inconveniences because I followed false prophets,” Pastor Muhindo said on Wednesday in his message sent to the media.

Many people in the district and the country at large spent the whole of Saturday waiting for the end of the world as presumed by Pastor Herold Camping, a California-based evangelist.

Camping’s followers had told people that at 6pm there would be an earthquake that would cause the world to end and usher in Judgment Day.

Repentance
Pastor Muhindo said: “I am ready to go back to my church and repent for misleading the people of God and I am now going to follow the scriptures seriously without wrong interpretations.”

Last year, Pastor Muhindo was denied airtime at most local radio stations in Kasese to preach his alleged end of the world on May 21.

Panic gripped some people in Kasese after the predicted doomsday was characterised by a heavy downpour that started at 2pm and ended after 7pm.

Ms Gertrude Masika, a shopkeeper in Kasese town, said she did not open her shop on May 21 out of fear that the world would end.

“I thought even customers could not come on that day and I decided to remain home because customers were unlikely to appear as they waited to see the end of the world,” she said.

Sadly, America has exported many of its homegrown cults to places such as Africa, and Harold Camping is no exception.

Thanks to the Africa Center for Apologetics Research for keeping us apprised of this news.

What Happens If……?

There are many mission organizations in the world today. In fact, we are currently visiting the Colorado Springs area where there are several hundred para-church organizations based. What is the purpose of these groups? They are involved in medical work, education endeavors, humanitarian aid, etc., etc., etc., but are they truly accomplishing the Great Commission? What happens if they are not?

Lives are being spent across the world for many causes. People have been willing to leave the creature comforts that they have been used to all their lives and continue to move to the far-flung reaches of the world. They are involved in many different mission endeavors, some maybe more questionable than others. Are these “missionaries” truly accomplishing the Great Commission? What happens if they are not?

Churches are spending portions of their general and mission budgets to support the works that are spread across 6 of the 7 continents. Seeking to fulfill their part of the Great Commission, their money is being given and being spent with the purpose of supposedly reaching 7 billion people, the vast majority of which have never heard the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are these churches truly accomplishing the Great Commission? What happens if they are not?

Part of our problem is seeking to define exactly WHAT the Great Commission is. When the Lord Jesus Christ left His disciples, His command was to “go into all the world and PREACH the gospel to every creature.” After they have been PREACHED to, they are to be baptized and discipled in all the things that the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples.

So, our next questions should be – What part of the Great Commission have we failed to understand? What part of “preach the gospel” have we failed to comprehend as being a command from God?

By no means do I seek to demean the work being done in the name of Christ, but it is important that we give due diligence and see if the work being done in the name of Christ is actually what Christ commanded us to do!

For example, there are many who would throw verses from James around as though it is our responsibility to alleviate the poverty of the world. Verses from Deuteronomy or Isaiah somehow are twisted out of context to show how it the responsibility of every Christian and every church and every pastor and every missionary to “do their part” to rid the world of the evil blight of this disease called poverty that racks our world.

So, what happens when we provide clean water, solid nourishing food, a basic education standard, improved medical conditions, new buildings, properly built homes, good sanitation systems, commercial endeavors in the area of agriculture to all the nations of the world – yet fail to follow the Great Commission to PREACH the gospel?

1) We will have raised the living standard of the poor around the world.

2) We will be able to feel better about ourselves.

3) We will have raised the self-esteem of those who do not have the “privilege” of living in our exalted conditions here in the West.

4) We will be able to sleep better at night knowing that we have “done our part” in making the world a better place.

BUT ———

1) We will have forgotten that the root of the problem is NOT poverty.

2) We will have turned a convenient blind eye to the depravity of mankind.

3) We will have failed to understand that this world is NEVER going to get better until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and establishes His forever kingdom.

4) We will have missed the cry of the damned as they pass into eternity with full stomachs, nicer houses, educated, and in good health.

This will be information for a later post, but I would like to encourage our readers to give Biblical consideration to the message of the Gospel as well as to the purpose of the Gospel. People who live in a stone age existence continue to die, but those in poor villages who die without all the conveniences that we insist they MUST have but who have heard the gospel and accepted Christ as their Saviour die rich beyond compare.

What happens if….you could ask those in hell whether they are happy because they received medical support, a longer life expectancy, good education, better food, clean water – ALL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GREAT COMMISSION??

The Great Commission is NOT a social gospel. It is a gospel that proclaims Jesus Christ came to a sin-cursed world to atone for the sins of mankind. He left His throne in glory not to make this world a place with better living conditions. He came because the wrath of God had to be turned aside and because sin’s penalty had to be paid. He came to redeem us from the bondage of sin, and one day He is coming back for His spotless Bride.

Everything else is but a facade covering the face of the broad road to destruction in hell if it is done at the expense of the Great Commission. Selah!

Get good books into the hands of African pastors.

Want to help get doctrinally sound theology books into the hands of pastors in Africa? Here are two ways:

1). There’s the Portuguese Adopt a Pastor program for Mozambique, Africa (along with video introduction) here.

2). You can also support indigenous pastors in Liberia, Africa with books and other resources and learn more about the work of Village Church Planters by visiting their website here.

Not only are they desperate for help in sound doctrinal teaching, and not only are they in a spiritual battle against native pagan religions and the spread of Islam, but they also have the proliferation of cults to tend with (for more on cults in Africa see the Africa Center for Apologetics Research). These pastors are poor and can’t afford to attend the conferences that pastors in the West attend, nor can they afford to purchase the theological books that line our bookshelves and that we take for granted.

Will you consider helping the saints today?