I have been involved in a discussion on our Seminary message board concerning all that is going on in the Middle East. Though I understand the frustration of hearing continually about how radical Islam wants to destroy Christianity and the West, I am afraid that the responses I am seeing by many of my peers are much more frightening, because these responses lack any resemblance to the attitude of Christ, or the message of the Gospel.
I understand and agree with our right to protect ourselves, even if it means going to war. I have written extensively on this, and even began this blog two years ago with a post on Just War Theory. However, the move toward violence should be the last resort, not the preemptive norm.
I believe that vast segments of the Evangelical Church of America have bought into two gross lies; (1) that Christianity = America and vice versa, and (2) that American Christians are being persecuted on a massive scale by Radical Islam. Both of the lies must be dealt with if we are to stop the perpetuation of viloence in the world, and particularly the Middle East.
Though I defend our right to self-preservation, and support our troops wherever they are in the world, this does not give me, or anyone else, the right to demonize an entire culture or spew hate-filled propaganda. In fact, if anything, it should bring about a greater degree of humility in me. The sort of humility that drives a person to their knees in a prayer of petition before the one and only Power who is capable of fixing this mess.
Lets not forget that our mission is to minister to the world. Yes, even the Muslims. This simply cannot be done with hatred in our hearts.
Should we protect ourselves? Yes.
At the expense of the Gospel? NO.
Pray with me for peace, not only in the Middle East, but also in the hearts and minds of professing followers of our Merciful Christ.