Praying for bin Laden

Brother Andrew, founder of the persecuted-church ministry Open Doors, is asking Christians whether they have prayed for Osama bin Laden today. The man is obviously a good evangelist, but he is clueless when it comes to national security.

He says,

They have a very strong belief, and they act upon it, that in the end times in which we now live, they believe that Islam is going to conquer and rule the world. And what they see—in very concrete terms in Gaza and West Bank and the surrounding countries, across Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan—is a pan-Arabic republic. No borders. No Jews. They say that literally. That’s not antagonism. That’s their faith dictating them to say so. (Emphasis mine.)

Whoa, there, buddy. Just a second. A pan-Arabic republic with no Jews. That’s not antagonism? Let’s whip out the ol’ Webster’s dictionary.

Antagonism – 1 a:opposition of a conflicting force, tendency, or principle 1b: actively expressed opposition or hostility

I don’t care whether your religion is telling you to wipe out the Jews or not. If your goal is to wipe out the Jews, that’s antagonism. He goes on to say,

So I said to them, “There’s no room for Christians. You’re going to persecute us.” They said, “No, Andrew, there will always be a place for Christians like you.” So far, my own contact, and that of the Baptist leaders and that of the Bible shop leaders in Gaza has been very positive with Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Yeah, okay. Just so long as it’s just the Jews they’re going to persecute, right? If they’re not going to persecute Christians, then there’s no reason to take issue with their plans, I guess. Please, tell me this guy misspoke.

They believe in something, and they’re going to die for it. We fight [Islamic ideology] with bombs and armies. We’re doomed to lose that battle. We have to go back to the root causes. We have to listen, we have to understand, we have to talk, and then I think we can still make progress.

Yes, of course. They’re willing to die so that they can wipe out the Jews and set up Islam as the world religion and are prepared to kill anyone who disagrees. We can make progress if we just learn to understand them, right? Give me a break.

You can still go to any place in the Muslim world and preach Christ. Any place. I want to challenge the whole world with that statement. And if that is true, then why are we resorting to other weapons that, according to the Bible, are not weapons of our warfare?

Um, this guy heads an organization for persecuted Christians and yet he is able to make a statement like this? Somebody fire him–he has no idea what’s going on in the world around him! Christians are persecuted in most Muslim countries. And don’t forget the Turkish martyrs earlier this year. I also just noticed that his own organization reports that open evangelism is illegal in Iran. If he’s saying that you can go to any Muslim country and preach Christ if you’re willing to die, then what does that have to do with anything? Of course you can go anywhere on the planet. You could also come to Japan where the population is less than 1% Christian. I assure you missionaries are needed in Japan. Preach Christ here and you’ll even get a missionary visa.

Yes, I have prayed for bin Laden. I often pray for his salvation. Imagine the good that would come about if the poster boy for international terrorism repented and proclaimed the love of Jesus Christ. The number of terrorists changing their ways would not be few. On the other hand, I also pray that he will be brought to justice. The prayers are not mutually exclusive. If he becomes a missionary for Christ, great. But he still needs to be punished for the death and suffering he has caused. God does not prohibit us from praying for justice. David was described as a “man after God’s own heart,” and yet he asked God to destroy his enemies. He said, “Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD! Let them flow away as waters which run continually…Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun.” (Psalm 58:6-8)

Some Christians emphasize the love of God and forget the judgement of God. They seem to find biblical references to justice uncomfortable. I admit that I tend to focus on the judgement of God, but we should not pick and choose the characteristics of God that we think he should have. God’s judgement is perfect, and his ways are just. Love does not preclude judgement. God loves sinners, but he will punish sin.

As Christians, it is our mission to share the love of Christ. The government’s duty, however, is to protect its citizens, not to convert the nation’s enemies. I applaud Brother Andrew for his efforts at reaching Muslims, but I think he should stick to evangelism. I think it might also do him some good to spend a little time in Israel talking with terror victims so he doesn’t forget the evil that is going on in the name of Islam.

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