Last night my Cell Group viewed a short presentation by Ray Vander Laan from a former Crusdaer fortress in the Holy Lands. It was a powerful depiction of what Ray called “Misguided Faith”, the belief that we can turn Jesus’ command to love our enemies into a program of death and destruction.
While it is not possible to accurately estimate the number of people killed in this series of wars launched by Europeans to reclaim the Holy Lands from Muslims, a million deaths seems to be an average guess.
This morning I read about an atrocity committed against Christians in a Muslim country and someone responded that Christians need to get smart and retaliate “like the Buddhists.”
I can understand the motivation for such a statement, but it isn’t a christian attitude.
I get angry and I want to lash out at times. If a group of people attacked my church, my friends, my family I would want to retaliate.
Jesus dealt with the sin of the world- which at its heart is a violent attack on the sovereignty of God- by showing love not retaliation, by dying not killing, with grace not war. There will be judgement, but that is God’s last resort, not the first option.
To be clear, I’m not talking about self-defence here or protecting your family in the face of a real danger. This is about wanting to use the weapons of the world to achieve the goals of the Kingdom of God.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)
In relation to the Crusades, these acts of warfare 1000 years ago in the name of Christ are still a stumbling block to talking to people about Christ in the Middle East.
When we seek to do Christ’s work in ways that are not Christ’s the long term effects are always disastrous.