Sometime in the early 1980s, I recall seeing an episode of a Jimmy Swaggert TV broadcast in which he spoke about the rise of antichrist and a one world government. The thing that MOST struck me at the time, and has remained in my memory, is that his main fear about antichrist and his government was that the US would lose its sovereignty as a nation.
That US-centric concern is clearly not an isolated opinion of a televangelist who was soon to be disgraced by the exposure of his sexual infidelities. And it is not a mindset now faded into the history of US evangelicalism.
The revering of nationhood and national sovereignty continues today among evangelicals, (not only in the USA), at the expense of the work of the gospel, and the risk of misrepresenting the heart of God.
And here is an example. I’m REALLY finding it difficult to find the slightest trace of the heart of God reflected in the following:
For the price of settling a thousand disgruntled Muslim refugees in the (despised) West, Trump knows that you could settle 120,000 Muslims in “safe places” in the Middle East, establishing comfortable homes and safe, temporary communities in places much closer and much more agreeable to the refugees, saving the West millions of dollars ,countless rapes and murderers of its own citizenship and the serious destabilization of our once blessed nations.
It’s quite painful to even think of addressing this in detail, but here are a few objectionable points:
1) “Disgruntled Muslim refugees” –
I think having one’s who life ripped apart, family members killed, homes and livelihoods destroyed, would take a person far beyond “disgruntled. More like desperate. Devastated. Destitute.
2) Settle Muslims in “safe places” in the middle east, establishing comfortable homes…etc.
Didn’t they HAVE “safe places” “comfortable homes” in the Middle East – until the area was destabilised by Western military involvement?
3) “communities…much more agreeable to the refugees”
Much more agreeable in nations where access to the gospel is severely limited? Much more agreeable to keeping them separate from the gospel?
4)”saving the West millions of dollars”
Now THAT seems to be closer to the real heart of the issue.
5) “saving the West …countless rapes and murderers of its own citizenship and the serious destabilization of our once blessed nations.
What are the comparative figures between “home grown” rapes and murders and those alleged to have been carried out by refugees? That statement seems much more like fear-mongering than anything with the slightest relationship to truth. Trying to stir fear is NOT the work of Jesus who many times commanded his followers to “fear not”.
The latter part of the statement reflects the REAL agenda of those who see these views as valid. The real agenda relates to “our once blessed nations”. It does NOT relate to the Kingdom of God and God’s agenda – it does NOT relate to improving the chances of bringing more people (Muslim refugees) into the Kingdom of God, by welcoming them, loving them, and giving them an increased access to the gospel of Jesus Christ at a time when they have most reason to be disillusioned with their traditional religious background.
I am about half way through a book about the rapid growth of house churches in Iran – a growth due to an increasing number of Iranians leaving Islam to follow Jesus.
The author looks at the history of the past 40 years to show how successive corrupt Islamic regimes helped damage the religious foundations of many people’s lives. Through the teachings and actions of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and later President Ahmadinejad, both of whom claimed to have Allah’s approval to carry out his will in Iran, many had their eyes opened enough to question the kind of god at the heart of a religion represented by those men.
Already by 2005 many were rejecting Iran’s religion because of what had happened in Iran as a result of Khomeinism. Now a new generation was presented with its child, Ahmadinejadism. Again they were being asked to make a decision about their national religion. And again many decided that since Ahmadinejadism belonged to Islam, they were unable to equate this with God. The shadow between the rhetoric and the reality was too dark. Hence the impact of Ahmadinejadism on Iran was to widen the wound that already existed between her people and her religion”
(Too Many to Jail, Mark Bradley)
In this is a caution that Christians can heed – the dangers of aligning themselves to political movements and candidates, especially those displaying characteristics clearly divorced from any degree of Godliness.
The book later details how an increasing number of those disillusioned by Islam were drawn to recognise Jesus, becoming His followers despite the institutionalised threat of persecution, jail, or in extreme cases murder. This was made possible through an encounter with the real gospel and with committed Christians showing them the love of Christ.. willing to take risks to welcome the newcomers into their homes and lives – despite the risks of potential betrayal.
Now consider again the quote near the beginning of this article related to Muslim refugees. What kind of Christian witness is given in that quote and in its attitude to the refugees?
In an earlier post I asked whether [ Western] evangelicalism was so weak that it can’t cope with an influx of foreign refugees ripe for the gospel and suggested that the truth is that [Western] evangelicalism has NO gospel to preach to them. It has been replaced by a form of religious nationalism.
The quote above ends with a statement about Muslim refugees causing “serious destabilization of our once blessed nations”.
More than ever, I’m increasingly seeing that the assumed blessings Western nations have experienced (that the above writer clearly wants to maintain) are in fact the thorns and weeds that choke out the fruitful of the word of God in our lives.