Monday, December 7, 2015

San Bernardino Reponse: Border Patrol, Gun Control or the Gospel Goal

Another week and tragically another terrorist attack by radical Islamists. My heart and prayers go out to the families and victims of this most recent attack. 

These are dangerous times. The threat of Islamic State is a reality globally and now closer to home. Much prayer is needed and it is right for our leaders to call for prayer. However, the response by some Christian leaders is misguided at best. 

Jerry Falwell, Jr, president of Liberty University, is urging students to carry concealed weapons on campus in order to “end those Muslims” who might attack the campus. Promoting self-defense is one thing, Jesus did (Luke 22:35-38 ) but such bravado is another. Is this really what a Christian leader should set as an example for his young students?  How does that aligns with Jesus' call to "love our enemies, do good to those who persecute you"?

Franklin Graham called on President Obama, in a Facebook post, to close the border to all Muslims until they can be fully vetted, whatever that means. This post has received over 100,000 "Likes." Rev. Graham wrote on Friday: “Mr. President, we don’t need more gun control—we need border patrol." Of course, that misses the fact that one of the assailants was born here.

Franklin continued, "No Muslims should be allowed into this country until there’s a process in place to fully vet them. We’ve got to turn away those who could potentially pose a threat until this war with radical Islam is over.” How does such isolation align with Jesus' call to "go into all the world." or to welcome the stranger?

While Franklin called for prayer of the victims and families of this terror attack, he said nothing about the need to share the Gospel with or a witness to Muslims. That’s not to say that Franklin doesn’t think that needs to happen. As President of Samaritan's Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Franklin leads organizations that bring the Gospel to the least, last and lost, including in the Muslim world.   

It is to say, as a leading Christian public figure, Franklin ways into the political much more often than the spiritual in these matters. Doing so, Franklin is promoting an agenda other than being Good News to Muslims everywhere, including the U.S.A.. Franklin is not alone in doing so, of course. 

There is NOT a lot of public attention paid to how the Church needs to arise to the Gospel opportunity of millions of Muslims who now call the U.S.A. their home. No doubt, that very few pastors have preached a message about the need to bring the Gospel to our Muslim neighbors. Very few Christians are regularly praying for Muslims in their communities to be saved. 

What a missed opportunity it will be for local churches, if instead of getting the Good News to Muslims now in the U.S.A. we continue to focus on the political solutions. We won't win the " war with radical Islam" using conventional warfare methods. Radicalized Muslims want this war and are willing to die for their beliefs. We need to think differently than our enemies. Jesus did.

When you first saw the front-page headline of the Daily News (pictured at top) what was your initial response? Was it to emotionally bash the “Liberal Media” for dismissing prayer or for calling for "Gun Control"? Or, was it to ask the question, “what does this mean from a Biblical perspective?” I would wager that for the majority of American-Christians the response was the first. 

But the fact is that “God isn’t going to fix this”...until his people, who are called by his name, drop the fearful response, turn from our ways of expecting the government to "fix this," pray for and become people of Good News to our Muslim communities in the U.S.A.

The Lord is clear that he works in response to what his people do and how we live. Maybe the Daily News front-page declaration should serve as a prophetic wake-up call that God is waiting for his people to do more than pray after another terror attack. Could it be God is waiting for a “pre-emptive strike” - reaching every Muslim in the U.S.A., and throughout the Muslim world with the truth of who Isa is for them. Jesus is still waiting for the mandate he gave his Church to be completed, that is his first priority and it must be ours. 

As this story unfolded last week, I was at the Finishing the Task conference at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, about 50 miles from this attack in San Bernardino. I had the privilege of listening to amazing reports of what the Lord is doing in the Muslim world and the movements to Christ happening in many places we think of as dangerously Islamic. God is at work in the Muslim word bringing many to faith in Jesus. Imams involved in advancing radical Islam, former terrorist trainers, are repenting and  pledging their very lives to carry the Gospel to the remaining “Unengaged People Groups,” their fellow Muslim in their home countries.

A biblical promise we have is that the Lord will “heal our land” but that only happens as his people live in accordance to his will. Living our comfortable lives in the U.S.A. as a protected haven as we wait for heaven, is not the Lord’s first concern for Americans. It's not a safe call to follow Jesus. It's certainly not a call to close our borders and carry guns so we can "end those Muslims." 

We are called to pray for our nation's leaders and we must (1 Timothy 2:1-3). While such calls as made by Falwell and Graham may resonate in these dangerous time, we who follow Jesus are here for a higher purpose. The Church must not respond in fear calling for protection but in love calling for repentance. It is for this reason that Jesus entered our dangerous world.

Living Sent Today means our priority isn't “Border patrol” or “Gun Control” but the Gospel goal for “all nations."

No comments:

Post a Comment