With the recent attacks in Paris, the world has been sent a painful reminder of the evil and fear that terrorism can bring.
While the political and military figures attempt to craft a plan to defeat this notorious foe in ISIS, members of the faith community are divided on how to confront the issue.
Rick Love, an adjunct professor of Islamic Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and Columbia International University, believes Christians should be saturated in prayer, regardless of the political ramifications of terrorism:
“As citizens of heaven, it isn’t up to us to determine what political forms a just response might take. But one thing is sure. The response to this attack will in all likelihood trigger a host of other responses that could either help or hinder the spread of the gospel. Thus, we should pray for a strong coalition of nations—including moderate Muslim nations—that will vow together to see that terrorism cannot continue. Strength of relationships between Western and moderate Muslim nations, rather than military might, will most likely be the key to victory in the response against terrorism.”
Carl Medlars, author of “Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism,” believes Christians should take the time to understand the enemy, even if there is mass disagreement in motives:
“‘Blessed are the eyes that see and the ears that hear.’ We need to see, hear and understand — it’s the parable of the Sower. There are reasons ISIS exists. We may not like them, and we might not want to understand them, but a mature and wise person will seek to know. Ask the question ‘Why?’ Why is there an ISIS? If you were in their shoes would you be tempted to do something similar? If you grew up in a country with no power at your disposal, no outlet for travel, economic opportunity or education — and someone handed you a gun and said,’We can take what should have been ours anyway,’ would you be tempted? It’s easy to say ‘No.’ But… are you sure?”
Greg Laurie, pastor of the mega-church Harvest Christian Fellowship in California, offered a contrast between today and the era in which the prophet Noah lived, where he offered four solutions for Christians: walking with God, working for God, worshiping God and witnessing for God.
But it’s also the remnants of terrorism that put Christians in a very complex predicament.
Syrian refugees are fleeing the premises of terror in their native land and there’s been a intense debate on whether the United States is equipped to handle such a matter.
There are some Christians, such as GOP presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee, who insist that national security serves as a prelude to humanitarian needs:
“…the Statue of Liberty says, bring us your tired and your weary. It didn’t say, bring us your terrorists and let them come in here and bomb neighborhoods, cafés and concert halls.”
But Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, sees a different approach. He views a mandate given to help those who cannot help themselves:
“Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.”
While many Christians are seeking to find footing in the balance of spiritual allegiances and typical concerns over a nation’s sovereignty, there is comfort in the fact that they are discussing among themselves solutions and a way forward, even though the complications will exist for quite some time.
Demetrius Minor is the author of “Preservation and Purpose: The Making Of A Young Millennial and A Manifesto for Faith, Family and Politics.” He is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. He serves as a pastoral assistant at Calvary New Life Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA.
In addition, Demetrius is a former conservative talk show host, blogger (demetriuspeaks.com), former White House intern in the Bush administration, preacher, and graduate of the Pentecostals of Alexandria Minister’s Training Center (POATC).
Demetrius’s writings have been featured in Independent Journal Review, The Washington Times, FreedomWorks and Downhill.