Sunday, 12 April 2015

When is enough....enough??

Today there is justifiable outrage in the media from our academic and 'cultural classes' at the wanton destruction of archaeological treasures by ISIS in Iraq. Recent slickly produced, documentary-style online high definition video posts by ISIS have shown the complete obliteration of a number of areas deemed to be world heritage sites.

From the warped puritanical ISIS world-view, these priceless archaeological windows into the past are no more than blasphemous idols which must be destroyed.

While there is talk in the media of categorising such actions as 'crimes against humanity', the UN is already describing the destruction of Nimrud and other sites in Iraq as a war crimes.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, al-Shabab the Somali terror group stormed Garissa University College in Kenya's north-east on April 2 and murdered 142 students (148 in total died including terrorists and security forces). This was no random attack on a soft target. It was well planned and organised by individuals with local knowledge.

Most chilling of all, the terrorists separated students by religion. Muslims were allowed to leave, Christians were executed on the spot. Some of the victims had been holding a prayer meeting when murdered.

Our UK media outlets such as the BBC, SKY, ITN and the national press spent a couple of days reporting on the massacre. A very small number of leading church leaders in the UK condemned the atrocity and called for prayerful support for the victims and their families. They also made the usual general pleas for peace.

Overall however, the church once again closed its eyes to the undeclared war which is currently being waged against Christians by a minority of zealots who follow a barbaric medieval version of the Islamic faith. This is the reality of the 21st century.

Sadly most of Scotland's Christians choose to go along with this blinkered and short sighted outlook. They do so out of their own self-absorption with lives lived within the 'Christian bubble', and lacking any kind of direction from their church leaders from grass-roots upwards, they baulk at putting their head above the parapet fearing they 'might cause offence'.

Again and again, when asked the question 'how should we be supporting our brothers and sisters under threat of martyrdom', most Christian leaders at all levels usually respond with weary resignation.....'well, all we can do is pray'.

Writing in his blog David Robertson, Moderator Designate of the Free Church of Scotland, recently posted an article entitled, 'Islamophobia Phobia.....Why Church, Media and Politicians are Afraid and Spineless'.

Not unexpectedly, he received a good deal of flak from 'PC' Christians, non-Christians, secularists, humanists and politicians.

Robertson issued this challenge to the church: “Are you prophets and proclaimers of the Gospel of Christ or just compromisers with the spirit of this world?”

As a born again believer, I refuse to be part of the self absorbed, hand-wringing, 'what can we do?' brigade.

I agree we should pray fervently for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in the front lines in this 'war for civilisation'. However we must do much more, as sitting on our hands is no longer an option. Below are three possible actions. Creative believers can surely come up with more:

  • Prayer works. Let's organise weekly/monthly half nights of prayer devoted to pleading for the safety of Christians in countries which are in the front lines. This would be real 'spiritual warfare', and if organised in every locality could have far reaching positive consequences.
  • Politicians could be lobbied to review and reconfigure the UK foreign aid budget, so that states such as Pakistan which persecutes Christians, receives less aid, and states like Kenya receives more money to help protect its Christians.
  • Christians, particularly evangelicals rarely protest on the streets of Scotland. The public square as a forum for promoting the Gospel has long since been abandoned. As a result the church has little credibility. It's time for Christians to return to the streets and the public square and raise their voices.

Momentary outrage whispered from behind the safety and anonymity of the church walls is no longer an option. When will our church leaders develop some backbone, and what will it take for Scotland's believers to cry....'enough is enough!!'

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