The Proper Christian Response To The Nalid Malik Husan Terror Attack: Concentrate On The Gospel!
Posted by Job on November 6, 2009
With regards to the crime and tragedy of Nalid Malik Husan’s attack at Ford Hood, Texas, where he shot at least 31 people, killing at least 12 people including women and civilians while screaming Allahu Akbar (and motivated by his desire not to be deployed against Iraq (or Afghanistan) as part of a force invading a fellow Muslim and Arab nation) allow me to propose a proper Christian response.
1. Prayer. We must pray for those wounded. We must pray for the families and loved ones of the wounded and deceased. We must pray for those who witnessed or responded to this horrific event, especially police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, nurses and doctors. We must pray for the counselors and therapists, both Christian and non-Christian, who will aid people deal with the physical, mental and emotional aftermath of this carnage. And yes, we must pray for the loved ones of Nalid Malik Husan and – presuming that he survives – Husan himself for his conversion to Christianity. Finally, we must pray that the body of Christ responds in a wise, Biblical manner to this event. We must pray that Christians discipline those who fail to respond in such a manner, and that we reject those who respond in a manner that does not honor Jesus Christ.
2. Evangelism. This is the primary way that the New Testament teaches Christians to deal with the non-Christian world, which is sharing the faith of Jesus Christ. This terror attack may cause an increase in fear, hatred and government action. Or it may cause people’s hearts to be desensitized and grow cold. With either reaction, the appropriate Biblical response is to go out and tell as many people as we can, or more accurately as many people as God leads us to, about the kingdom of heaven. Whether Jew, Gentile, Muslim, atheist, Hindu or a person involved in a false expression of Christianity, we must tell people that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who is God, that He is the only way to heaven, that His sacrifice on the cross is the once and for all payment of sins, and there is salvation in no other. This evangelism should not be event-driven, as some attempt to exploit this event or the fear that comes as a result of it. We should not indulge in the sort of “this is why Christianity is better than Islam” triumphalism, for that is a political and cultural worldview argument engaged in by people whose heart is with this world, not those who consider themselves pilgrims, for whom the world and the evils and hardships thereof are not worthy to be compared to the glory of eternity with Jesus Christ. Also, such a message is more useful to preaching to the false Christian cultural chauvinist choir than winning any converts, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. Instead, this tragedy should serve is a reminder that this is truly a wicked, fallen world that we live in, one ruled by the evil one, the prince of the power of the air who is Satan, and that evil and death and judgment are the fate of the world and the people not redeemed from it through Jesus Christ’s blood. Events like this one, wars, famines, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, oppressive political regimes etc. should all remind us of this fact, they should remind us of the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet discourse, the parables on the kingdom of heaven, his teachings on last things (New Jerusalem and the lake of fire), and serve as a burning fire shut up in our bones to go forth and obey the commandment of Jesus Christ given in the great commandments, to go and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If we go forth and keep this great commission commandment, then God will use us to save whom He will, and we will be as drink offerings poured out before God, and by our evangelism God will be praised, honored and glorified.
3. Resist temptation. For many, the temptation to indulge in an improper and non-Christian response will be very strong. Many quarters will use this as an excuse to fan the flames of hate against Muslims. Others will use it as an attempt to attack Biblical Christianity with its stand that Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven as well. However, for many the primary temptation will be a political and cultural one, the opportunity to assert Christianity’s superiority over Islam because of western culture and politics, because it is a superior worldview. Well, the west will come under the judgment of Jesus Christ along with the rest of the sinful world, and on that day the western cultural and political systems will be judged as part of Babylon and fall with the rest, including but not limited to the Arabic cultural and political systems. Further, even if the western worldview is superior, it is still a WORLDview, making it worldly, not holy, not of God, and not something that will last forever in New Jerusalem, but instead is something that will be consumed with this world when it is destroyed with fire. The western worldview will have no part in the new heaven and the new earth that Christians inherit. Further, incidents like this should remind Christians that true followers of Jesus Christ do not give themselves over to passions of revenge, hate, or reprisal. Christians are not to get involved in those things directly, nor in the indirect channels that the political debate allows us to. Where in the past, reprisal to incidents such as this may have been lynch mobs, the current political context allows us to simply demand a toughening and extension of the Patriot Act, profiling, immigration crackdowns, gun control, invading etc. While those issues may have their merits, the fact is that they have nothing to do with Christianity. Read the New Testament, especially the teachings of Jesus Christ. The church was never promised peace, prosperity or an easy time, but rather only conflict, warfare and persecution at the hands of the world that has rejected Jesus Christ. Christians have often forgotten that message by walking in agreement with the world. So Christians should reject the foolish idea that by taking political actions we can somehow make this country and world safe and better for Christians and the spread of the gospel. Take, for instance, the war on terrorism: it has been a disaster for Christians all throughout the Muslim wolrd, especially in Iraq.
So instead of trying to take revenge (or the offensive) against Muslims through political means, we should remember that Jesus Christ alone is to whom judgment was given, that God alone is the one capable of executing vengeance, and that Jesus Christ alone will conquer and rule the nations with a rod of iron, and that Christians cannot and should not perform judgment, vengeance, or rule in Jesus Christ’s place. (Of course, this does not preclude civil governments from doing what is necessary to punish crimes and defend its citizens from criminals and aggression from other nations, see Romans 13 with regards to that issue, but instead those actions are at best the just and necessary ones and should not be viewed as Christian in any sense.) Our job is not to pretend to be Jesus Christ and to usurp His place, but instead to obey and serve Jesus Christ so that He will act through us as His Body.
So in summary, the Christian response to this event is prayer, evangelism, and resisting temptation. Please realize that this should be the Christian response to all events. Thank you.