In light of recent terror attacks on France, I have been reconsidering the “war on terror” and all that it means. I’ve been reading some old reports and articles on the Oklahoma City bombing which happened almost 20 years ago. I remember where I was when the towers in New York came down over 13 years ago. Then what about the bombing at the Boston Marathon? My tiny list of examples of remembered terrorist acts could go on and on. My question then becomes, “Why do these things happen in our cities?”
I suppose I could give the standard Christian answer which would be to say that it is part of living in a world of sin. Or, I could give you the “There will always be evil individuals in the world,” line. My other option would be to say that those who carry out these acts of violence and murder had horrible childhoods or something traumatic happen to them so this is the way they turned out and they are simply victims themselves. Many would point to Islam and its violent teachings. I could give any number of answers to this often asked question.
So which is true? Is there sin in the world? YES! Are there evil people in the world? ABSOLUTELY! Do some victims of horrific acts later go on to victimize others? CERTAINLY! Is Islam a violent religion? YOU BET! And I don’t care how much the American political system tries to convince us otherwise. But are these things the real cause of terrorism? Hmmm? To some degree perhaps they are but not entirely by any means. I believe that our cities would be safer if the Christian church in America was doing her job.
Let me explain by taking a moment to wax a bit theological without going too deep. In the book of Genesis we see that God commands Adam to both guard and govern the garden he was placed in (*Genesis 2:15; Genesis 1:28). And by governing and guarding I mean that God gave him the responsibility to reproduce the good that was in the garden while he guarded it from any intruders that might bring in something bad.
Adam didn’t do that given the fact that he allowed the serpent to not only stay but also have influence in his own life. Adam did not guard or protect what God had given him. Thus we have what we have today: sin, evil, murder, hatred, terror, etc. Then Jesus came, and suffice it to stay, His work on the earth put everything back in order. Therefore, God’s people are once again put in charge of both governing and guarding the earth and everything in it.
Given this Biblical truth, it is my firm conviction that the evil that terrorizes our cities falls in the lap of the church. If Bible believing Christians in America would busily guard their cities through prayer, service, and other community involvement instead of passively watching the sky in hopes that Jesus would return TODAY, then perhaps our cities would be safer, our crime rates would be lower, and our lives would be freer.
American Christianity has bought the lie that things are supposed to get worse and worse and that this is somehow a sign that Jesus’ return is ever closer. What if we stop worrying about Jesus’ return and started worrying about how we can guard our cities like God commanded us to do. I venture to say that the “war on terror” wouldn’t be much of a war at all.
* — Genesis 1:28 — God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. (NIV)
— Genesis 2:15 — Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. (NASB)