Paris’ 9/11? November nightmare? What do you think Friday’s murders in Paris by (yet again) Islamic terrorists will be called? Perhaps it’ll be called Europe’s wakeup. I don’t know what historians will call Friday’s massacre but I do know that it matters how we speak of things. Because of political correctness, certain people will not call Islamic terror what it is. Because of Leftist policies, certain people will not call Islamic terror what it is. It may be harder now for sentimentalists to pretend we can “coexist” with those who open up with weapons, screaming, “Allah(u) Akbar!” and murdering crowds of civilians.
Perhaps because America is nearing a season where voters will elect a new president, words are many and actions are few. I’m waiting for Leftists to say that France needed more gun control. After all, the Islamic terrorists would have been prevented from murdering hundreds of civilians if law-abiding French citizens had been deprived of protecting themselves. So goes thinking for Leftists. It’s sad to see that we’re almost numb to the massacres that occur with increasing frequency nowadays. Roll out the teleprompters and brace yourselves for more speeches. I can hear the pundits now: “Our hearts and prayers are with Paris…” Words, words, words. Pundits and politicians will pontificate and blood will continue to spill. What will it take?
What will it take to wake us to the war that is here? Speaking just for my little life, I hear this so often: “Well, God is still in control.” But when I hear that, it is said with a sort of melancholy defeatist air. I don’t know who the speakers are trying to convince. Yes, absolutely, I believe that God is in control. However, recognizing that God is in control is not a call to pacifism in the face of evil. Will that be your rejoinder when evil comes to your door? Are you going to roll over, turn over your family, and say, cavalierly, “Well, God is still in control”?
What if there’s a movement afoot to use Islamic terror as a means of disarming law-abiding citizenry and growing the government to such a degree that the government, rather than being the protector of citizens, is the threat to liberty? What will it take to get us to examine trees by their fruit? What will it take for thinking people to see through platitudinous speech and examine historical facts?
Few of us have to push our worldviews to their logical conclusions. Some folks know more about a coffee company’s lack of Christmas-themed sleeves on coffee cups than they do about worldviews. Paris is under curfew due to Islamic murder, folks, and it’s less than 48 hours old. When evil comes knocking at your door, will we look to pundits reading from teleprompters for solace? What will it take? Will some people resolve to combat evil with good? Will some of us rise and count the costs?
Let us be reasonable. Vigilantism is foolhardy. “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22, ESV). Wisdom and discernment are inseparable: “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14, ESV).
Have you ever stopped to ask why God has continually called out warriors throughout history? Moses, given to a temper, was used by God to serve as a leading warrior for Israel’s exodus from pagan Egypt. Joshua was used by God to destroy pagan cults in the ancient Near East and call Israel to covenant fidelity in the 1300s B.C. Samson, another deeply-flawed sinner, was used by God as a judge upon Philistine paganism in the 1200s B.C. Gideon was raised up by God to defeat the Midianites. David, old covenant Israel’s greatest king, was a warrior. He led by example. Deeply flawed? Yes (cf. Psalm 51). But repentant? Yes (cf. Psalm 51). Jephthah, Samuel, and on and on it goes, were men called out to battle. Could God have destroyed everyone and made an end of the mess? Yes, absolutely. Yet he instead called out warriors to combat evil. Why? I cannot know more than what has been revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29) but I would suggest it is one of God’s ways of leading people to repentance. Paul writes that God’s kindness “is meant to lead [us] to repentance” (Romans 2:4, ESV).
What will it take for the world to wake up to the war at our doorsteps? Historically, the church has made two errors. One is quietism/pietism. That is, believers opt to remove themselves from the fight. They retreat into pacifism in the face of evil. The other error is dominionism, where, again, the church misunderstands its role. Instead of recognizing that the church is to call sinners to repent and look to Christ, they look to establish God’s kingdom in this world through political means. (This is what Islam does; it mandates submission. This is in complete opposition to biblical Christianity, which always recognizes that genuine heart change is wrought by the Holy Spirit, not by the sword.) That’s why Jesus warned us in the New Testament, “ . . . My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36, ESV).
What will it take? Peter wrote that governments are supposed to “punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14, ESV). But what happens when that does not happen? The question is rhetorical. We are witnessing what happens when we retreat in the face of evil. Evil wins; blood flows; pundits talk; people die. What will it take?
By no means a Christian, the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, wrote in “The Second Coming” these words:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
What will it take? We are closer than ever to finding out.