You will eventually see the hashtag on social media that says #PrayForISIS—and although I understand that we should pray and love (ἀγαπᾶτε) our enemies, I do question if this ideology is being used out of context. Christians are being asked to show empathy towards their enemies as they rape and kill our families. My hope is to silence those who are blurring the parameters that have always separated the mission field and the battle field.
There will always be those who will oppose my view on this matter, but it’s not wise if all of us live in the prosperity world of “blessings” and unicorns. Some of us are called to be sheepdogs—those with an instinctive responsibility to protect the people around us. Not providing for our families in this manner is no different than the infidels in our eyes. We are a dying breed—the only Christian men left who were not castrated at a Promise Keepers event. This article is to bring balance and assurance to those who are ordained barbarians.
Before I start I’d like to mention that this article is not political propaganda. I refuse to be yoked neck to neck with those Right-Wing radicals who are more offended when someone tampers with the Constitution of the United States than with those who preach “another gospel“. You will find these Conservatives standing alongside ISIS on Judgement Day.
And yes, there will be boneheads who will read this article and still walk away with the erroneous idea that I am against loving and praying for our enemies. Let’s not allow these dreamy half-cocked Buddha-Christian idealists to monopolize anymore of our time.
PREACHER OR WARRIOR?
The question we should be asking is why did God give David (the warrior) and Solomon (the preacher) the thrown at different times of biblical history? God didn’t ask the two kings to mix a heart of war with a heart of evangelism, so why are Believers putting this burden on us today. First, we must acknowledge that both David and Solomon were ordained for two different eras—to accomplish two different purposes in God’s will. David was placed on the thrown at a time of war, while Solomon reigned at a time of peace. King David tried to mix war and worship, but the Lord denied his request to build the temple. The king after God’s own heart had spilled too much blood upon the earth. But make no mistake about the man who said in Psalm 139:22 “I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies“, for he was justified before the good Lord to hate and kill his enemies. Nothing disqualified David from his purpose, but God saw it fit for his son Solomon to build the temple instead. And as you begin to read the differences in how these two kings operated, you will also notice the differences in how they prayed as well. For it was just as right for King David to prayed for victory as it was for King Solomon to pray for rest. The question here that should be asked is what era are we born in, a time of peace or a time of war? The answer determines if we pray through the lens of 1 Kings chapter 8 or 2 Samuel chapter 5.
A MARTYR OR CRIMINAL?
Some have asked if we should imitate Christ and become martyrs when the enemy comes against us. Well, we are speaking of two different scenarios here. One, the government was justified in killing Christ, His apostles, and our church martyrs by the law and with the law. ISIS on the other hand does not enforce any of our laws. They are an illegal terrorist group who despises our God given rights. Much like someone breaking into your home, they are not an authority that we are commanded to submit to. This falls under self-defense because the perpetrator has to break the law in order to overcome you.
Now, if the government begins to persecute us because of our Christian faith, this changes the dynamics. A new set of doctrines have to be followed when the government has to twist the interpretation of our laws in order to make us enemies of the State. This is what happened to Christ and his apostles. They were put in the predicament to either be a martyr or a incriminate themselves even more and fight against their legal authorities—their choice was made know. If our government keeps suppressing our religious rights, once we are out numbered and dismantled, some might chose to comply and die a martyr’s death.
SOCAIL ENEMY OR ILLEGAL VICTIMIZER?
When Jesus said to “turn the other cheek”, did he mean to allow someone to rape your wife and children? And to make sure you are feeling the emotion of love while they are doing it? Because this is literally what ISIS is doing. And to compare this with how we should treat those who are cruel to us at work is asinine. If a person doesn’t recognize that it is our duty to stop unlawful violence, they went to more than one Promise Keepers event. I wish these types of Christians would all just convert to Hinduism instead of shaping Christ into the image of Mahatma Gandhi. There comes a point when the Lord uses those who have no problem confronting evil for a season of peace. So what do you reach for while your wife and kids are being beaten, your Bible or your gun? Maybe it’s just like David’s and Solomon’s reign—first you pray for victory, then you pray for peace. This leaves the question, when does someone’s status change from social enemy to an illegal victimizer? We are taught that if someone is a social enemy, we turn the other cheek, but what about an illegal victimizer?
SACRIFICIAL LAMB OR SITTING DUCK?
W.W.J.D. doesn’t really translate here. The carpenter from Nazareth was promised since the 3rd chapter of Genesis to be our sacrificial lamb—to lay down is His life for us. In theological terms it’s called substitutionary atonement. Christ had a purpose for being passive, we are not expected to lay down our lives for the sins of the world. It is finished and the game as changed. Our Savior has become King and when he get off His thrown Hw will being an acting Judge. I can see being a martyr when the laws make us enemies of the State, but as long as the legal system is still in our favor, I would rather defend myself to preach another day.
BATTLE FIELD OR MISSION FIELD?
So at what point can you say that we are at war with ISIS? They are breaking our country’s laws to kill us. And if we are at war, can we please stop thinking like missionaries towards these people? The military’s chaplains during times of war are there to serve our country, not our enemies. They are to give hope and spiritual peace to our soldiers while they are under gunfire. But today, does one side have to be officially dressed in Red and the other side literally have to be dressed in Blue to declare war? The war looks different today. We no longer have military uniforms to visionally separate sides. ISIS, dressed in civilian clothes, started an urban war on U.S. soil. They are not confronting our military, instead they are, by default, recruiting civilians to the front lines by killing us.
DO WE PRAY FOR THE WHOLE WORLD?
If Christ only died for the elect, why would he pray for the none elect? He didn’t.
John 17: 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.”
Or how about the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:20 handing Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan? It’s easy to see that Paul scratched these two off his prayer list and moved on to more productive things. Remember it was he who wrote in Romans 1:24 that God gives people up to their lusts and impurities of their heart. So will prayers for ISIS change vessels of wrath chosen for dishonorable use into vessel of mercy that God will use honorable use? With the understanding of Romans 9, it just might be okay to pray once for those who might convert from ISIS to Christianity and move on. But keep in mind, unlike any war we have ever seen, when ISIS attacks us, it is a profession of faith to them. No turning back.
LOVE OR EMOTION?
Some might be asking how can you love your enemy and kill them just the same? My question in return is how can you love your family, friends or countrymen and not protect them just the same? The problem lies with how the world has confused love with emotion. Love is unconditional, meaning it’s not based on how you feel. I can feel the emotions of anger towards my children, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It also doesn’t mean I don’t disciple them. As a parent, God uses me as a form of judgement in their lives. If they refuse to repent, God will one day bring a harder judgement upon them. The same for our enemies. I can be angry with them, and through the lens of God be used to bring judgment upon them for the sake of justice. And during times of war, the wages of sin is death. If someone is victimizing people, I do not have to feel a warm emotion towards them. I am allowed to feel a righteous anger and bring them to judgement before an angry God.
Another thought before we move on, did you ever notice that Jesus never asked the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 to stop killing his enemies? He found no reason to call him to repentance.
REPENT TO REPENT.
Just like how the Lord uses police officers to enforce His laws, God might authorize others to up hold His laws as well. As many of you know the word “repent” is a military term for turing in the opposite direction—to retreat. If my own children refuse to repent of their disobedience, then the Lord will use law enforcement to carry on with His chastisement. If they continue to rebel, depending on their offenses, they will be incarcerated and possibly put to death. God used men and woman to do this job. When an enemy refuses to repent spiritually, and decides to rebel against you with force, God appointed us, civilians as well, to uphold the law and stop those who refuse to repent from their violent ways.
If Muslims refuse to repent, and take the next step, a profession of faith, to attack our citizens, God will allow anyone who is threatened to reestablish law and order. While they are still Muslims, I prayer for a spiritual repentance, but after the Lord hands them over to evil, and they decide to set their sights on me, I will kill them until I get a military repentance.
WHERE I LANDED
Personally, I believe the confusion is in trying to merge two different sets of doctrines—the doctrines surrounding evangelism and the doctrines that support justice by the means of war. Much like how the evangelical church has combined the doctrines of justification and sanctification to only distort the doctrine of “faith alone”—we could be facing the same thing here. Has the world softened us up to the point that we now feel guilty if we don’t combine the mission field with the battle field?
We should recognized when to take off our missionary hats and put on a barbarian’s helmet so to speak. We all have a particular position in the body of Christ to fill—some are the palm of the hands and some are the fists. During times of peace we expect soldiers to act civil, and during times of war we should expect civilians to act like soldiers.
But concerning those who might find themselves a threatening circumstance, trying to muster up empathy for your enemy is not wise, it dulls your senses and slows down your reaction time. I run a mission that deals with aggressive people at times, and if I were to drop my guard, I become a liability to those who are counting on my protection. I am a sheepdog.