The Law of unintended consequences in Iraq – A tough question for Christians

Read Dr. Jim West, here:

I believe that one can make a fair case that Bush’s war in Iraq brought the dreadful law of unintended consequences with a vengeance if we think in terms of Christians and the History of Christianity. There is a tough question for Christians though:

Should Christians be complacent, with murderous dictators because their demise may ultimately result in the destruction not only of Christianity, but also Christian History and even the survival of Christian people, as it is happening in Iraq?

This is a tough question! It is tough because many Arabs I know, and one in particular who is a Christian, tell me a known fact that when Assad is gone, Christians and Christianity will disappear from Syria! How can you answer to this question?

Are we as Christians called to such self-sacrifice that we support the ousting of these murderous dictators, as Bush did in Iraq, and risk death of everything is dear to us, or do we simply give a blind eye for their atrocities so we can survive as Christians, our brethren in that area of the world can survive as well and the History of Christianity may be preserved?

Tough question indeed!

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4 Replies to “The Law of unintended consequences in Iraq – A tough question for Christians”

  1. Such a difficult and heart-rending situation…there are not easy answers here, admittedly. Nevertheless, this is not the first time believers have faced godless dictators and had to respond–and to wait for God to respond. When one reads Revelation, the seven churches in Asia Minor faced similar circumstances. Jesus did not sugar-coat or back away from those perilous times…”be faithful unto (i.e., even if it cost you) death, and I will give you a crown of life.” Knowing that there are martyred souls pleading with urgent prayers like incense before God on behalf of those in dangerous situations, and knowing that God’s sovereignty –though hidden from most–is still intact, and knowing that ultimately all of this will be made right in some way via our Conquering Savior should help build faith and hope and offer confidence and guidance as decisions about life and death are made. I am well aware that it is much easier to reflect on these matters behind a keyboard in safety than in a place where my family is in constant danger of losing their lives. To know that I have a part of my faith family on the front lines compels me to do my part in intercessory prayer daily, waiting–not in complacency but in expectation for God’s intervention in whatever way He thinks best, on behalf of His kingdom and for purposes from eternity that are far beyond my comprehension.

  2. Joel, you’re quite right to look at the issue in the context of the history of Christianity – that ought to give grounds for hope, even in the face of utter darkness. Steve has referred to the Book of Revelation: it was written to encourage Christians facing the threat of the first Empire-wide persecution, threatened by Domitian. The Book suggests that if he were to declare war on God’s people, this is what would happen. In fact, it was simpler than that: Domitian died. (God’s vote? Who knows… There are numerous stories and testimonies of dark times through which the Church has come. One of my favourites concerns Japan. Jesuit missionaries arrived with the Christian faith in the early 17th C, and were given permission to build churches and evangelise. Some time later, the Shogun tried to take charge of some issue, to be told that it would have to be referred to the Pope in Rome, as the head of the Church. He was furious, refused to countenance any foreign authority in his lands, and ordered the complete extermination of the Christian Church in Japan. Thousands were crucified, churches were burned, and the Church disappeared. Japan became a closed society – even shipwrecked mariners would be executed. In the mid-19th C a squadron of US warships turned up to ‘persuade’ the Japanese to open up to trade. The first trading harbour was the great port of Nagasaki – and among the first to greet the American traders were Japanese Christians. The faith had been passed in family and friendship groups, in close secret, for over a century, and had survived. God had not abandoned his people in their need.

    I am deeply concerned about Islamic fundamentalism, and the extremist sects which it is propagating. I think there are troubled times ahead, and we might already have begun what future historians will call the Third World War. However, in the context of our whole history, I suggest that after the night will come a new day, the faith will survive, and will return to its historic cradle as well as continuing to grow and develop over the whole world. Yes, that is solely a matter of faith and trust, but tghat is tghe nature of faith and trust: to “praise him for all that is past, and trust him for all that’s to come.”

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