Resolve

soldier.gifThe President of the United States spoke to the nation last night on the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, prompting the War on Terror in which we are now fully engaged.  I agree with Osama Bin Laden and Newt Gingrich that this is indeed the beginning of a Third World War.  Is it winnable?  I don’t know.  The theologian in me says “no.”  As long as human depravity exists, men will “wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  Can we truly rid the world of terror?  I don’t think we can. However, as an American citizen, I am proud of the resolve of my President who is trying to fulfill the biblical obligation he has to protect this country and its citizens.  Obviously, many mistakes have been made in this new war, particularly in Iraq.  The weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam Hussein once possessed, have not been found–at least in stockpiles.  We definitely underestimated the post-war scenario in which we now find ourselves.  We should have finished the job during the first war with Iraq.  We probably should have used more troops initially and throughout the early stages of the war. That being said, the liberation of 50 million people from tyranny overshadows, at least in my mind, the military and intelligence mistakes which were made.  Despite the hardship and ongoing loss of American life, Iraqis turned out by the millions to vote for their own democratically-elected government and constitution. Last night, the President said,

Since the horror of 9/11, we’ve learned a great deal about the enemy.  We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy — but not without purpose.  We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam — a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.  And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations.  The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict.  It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.

The two highlighted statements in the selection quoted bear some clarification and discussion, in my opinion.  The first statement, I have doubts about its validity.  Islam has not been historically, as the President would suggest, a peaceful religion.  At the same time, I know that many Islamic scholars will object to a characterization of their religion as violent.  They will point to our own Bible and show that God commanded Israel to stone adulterers and rebellious children and homosexuals much like Allah commanded his followers to kill idolaters.  They will then will ask us if we believe our religion demands contemporary adherence to Old Testament law.  We must be careful about characterizing Islam in an absolute sense as a violent faith.  While there are Muslims who do not embrace the radical side of the religion, we must all agree that radical Islamic extremism is alive and well in the 21st century.  In 2001, Dr. John MacArthur wrote:

War is a language Islamic radicals understand, and every war they wage is a holy one, a jihad.  In Algeria over the past two years somewhere between sixty thousand and eighty thousand people have been killed because Islamists are waging war in order to turn Algeria into an Islamic state.  Islamic fundamentalists there have executed scores of women just for being unveiled, and they vow to kill more…Throughout history, the violence of Islamic jihad has been focused against Christians in many lands.  From 1894 to 1918, Muslims in Turkey persecuted Armenians–killing several million–in what remains history’s greatest atrocity against Christians.  The current Islamic regime in the Sudan has been systematically committing genocide against Christians for more than a decade, killing as many as two million people.  Under most Islamic governments, conversion to Christianity is a crime punishable by death.  And in some places, such as in Afghanistan, executions are carried out in public arenas, as if the beheading of infidels were a spectator sport…Islamic violence is certainly nothing new. (Terrorism, Jihad, and the Bible, p. 49-50)

So, consider me a skeptic regarding the peaceful characterization of Islam.  The second statement from the President is, I believe, right on the money.  There is no doubt that we must face terrorism and defeat it if we are to maintain our own national security.  September 11, 2001, surely taught us this if nothing else.  There are people who want to kill us, and we must strike first if we are to survive.

I am proud of the steps our government under this administration has taken to try to effectively combat terrorism.  We obviously have a long way to go, and bureaucratic red tape must be cut in order to make the real changes necessary.  The 911 commission’s final report gave grades of “D’s” and F’s” to our government in several areas.  We must do better.  However, consider these accomplishments as touted by the White House:

  • Created the Department of Homeland Security;
  • Torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information;
  • Tightened security at our airports, seaports, and borders; and
  • Created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls.

I happen to think these are good and proper actions.  The administration can be thanked for having thwarted numerous threats since 9/11 and striving to keep us safe.  I am all for securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws.  There is much more to do.

Here’s the moral of the article: if I were to have as much resolve for winning souls to Christ as our President has for defeating terrorism, I wonder how much more effective I would be as an evangelist?  Sometimes, as citizens and patriots, we can become passionately embroiled in political debate regarding truly serious issues of our day and yet at the same time neglect the higher calling which we have been given as followers of Jesus Christ.  What are we doing to reach Islamic extremists with the Gospel?  Is there not a cause?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by todd wood on September 12, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks.

    Brother, I enjoyed the President’s comment on being brought to our knees in a way the enemy didn’t expect.

    My resolve – more humble, broken, utterly dependent prayer. Watching past clips of 9/11 only drives me on in my resolve.

    Reply

  2. Thanks for reminding me of that quote, Todd. It was good. Here it is in context:

    “The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did, but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer, came to the aid of neighbors in need, and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word. The spirit of our people is the source of America’s strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose, and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.”

    Reply

  3. Posted by fishon on September 13, 2006 at 10:45 am

    Is it [3rd World War] winnable you ask? I don’t believe it is for us [America] as the Political, Patriotic, and Spiritual climate is at the moment in this country.

    Politically, we are polarized as a people, and primarily because our politicians are self-absorbed, power hungry, and most do not understand the foundations on which our Nation was founded.

    Patriotically, we, collectively, do not have the will to win the 3rd World War. Americans have forgotten what it takes to win a war. Collateral damage [how awful]is the cry on many today. But it is a fact of war. More civilians were killed in WW2 than all the military combined. It would have been impossible to win WW2 without terrible ‘collateral damage.’ That is why war is so awful, and we should avoid it if at all possible. When we go to war, we need to realize the price that must be paid to win — countless deaths of the non-combatants on both sides, and be willing to pay the price; if not, do not go to war.

    Spiritually, I believe we were once a Christian nation, though many will disagree. As a Nation, we have turned from God, and as Christians we have become cowards. Ok, ok, maybe not you who read this, but the vast majority are I am afraid. Just like in the days when Hitler was on the rise, very few Christian leaders would speak out against him, and that was before he started killing the dissenters. Where are the Christian voices when Franklin Graham was vilified for calling Islam evil? I heard to few voices rise up in support of Pat Robertson when he called Islam evil. No, we Christians are to worried about what we don’t agree with them about to support their positions based on the Bible: Any other religion other than Christianity is evil.

    I am a pessimistic optimist. America is going to lose the 3rd World War because we are not going to repent; however, as a Christian American, I will win because Jesus is coming back.
    fishon

    Reply

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