By now the whole world knows about the terrorist attack in Paris- how teams from ISIS carried out three simultaneous attacks, resulting in over 120 deaths. Over 350 more were wounded, nearly 100 of them critically.
Almost everyone began asking the same question- “How could this happen?” Extolling the virtues of French national intelligence, pundits were aghast, unable to explain how such a plot escaped their notice.
The truth is that there are political and spiritual explanations for what happened. And this is important for us to understand- because America is heading down this same wrong road.
The first issue is one of open borders. The European Union has borders that are open. Anyone can go anywhere for any reason with little scrutiny. This makes it easy for terrorists to infiltrate European societies.
We essentially have open borders in America as well, and it puts our lives at risk. Our problem is not Mexicans looking for work- we would do the same in their shoes. Our problem is that, in their quest for inclusiveness, politicians have resisted limiting the openness of our borders- putting us at risk from Muslim extremists. Even our northern borders are not secured like they should be.
Similar issues are addressed in scripture. When outsiders posed a risk to their way of life, Nehemiah protected the borders of Jerusalem:
And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” (Nehemiah 7:3, ESV)
To keep our nation safe, we must protect our borders. Yes, we ought to show kindness to the stranger and foreigner. But we must also insist on border control and support those who will make our nation secure.
The second issue is an unarmed citizenry. France has very limited gun ownership- few own guns, and only with very special exemptions. This has not made them safe. It has made them targets.
In our country, politicians and special interests have diligently tried to eliminate second amendment rights. They have created “gun free zones,” which are almost exclusively the sites of mass shootings in the US. They seek to limit gun ownership and regulate ammunition.
Those that dare stand in defense of our rights, like the NRA, are demonized and vilified. They have even tried telling us that it is un-Christian to take a stance that supports self-defense and the second amendment, misapplying scripture:
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. (Luke 6:29, NIV)
We are not to be vengeful, seeking eye for an eye. We must be willing to endure abuse and dishonor for the sake of Christ. But it is our God given right and responsibility to stand in defense of our families and of one another.
We again see this principle demonstrated in scripture. Nehemiah armed the people of Israel for self-defense:
15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. 18 And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. (Nehemiah 4:15-18, ESV)
Jesus’ disciples carried swords with them for self-defense, with Christ’s knowledge and without His correction or rebuke:
36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:36-38, ESV)
In our country, we are guaranteed the right to bear arms by the second amendment to the Constitution. This amendment reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
When bad things happen, we are the first line of defense. We ought to own guns and ammunition. We must arm ourselves. Train ourselves. Carry and conceal. Defend our homes. Our communities. Our churches. And we must stand against those who would limit or eliminate our right to do so.
The third issue is one of political correctness. France can be hostile to religion, to be sure, but they are equally hostile to all religion. They cannot and do not target any specific belief set for national security.
We face this same problem in America. Politicians and pundits alike are unwilling to recognize who this fight is against: Islam. I do not say this because I am a Christian- or else I would say they same about Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and other belief sets. While I believe their belief sets are flawed, I don’t believe them to be dangerous. Islam, on the other hand, is inherently dangerous.
While in times past Christianity was used as an excuse for conquest, it is a religion of peace if you know the scriptures. The revealing of the scripture to the common man during the reformation has consistently drawn the Christian faith away from violence.
Islam, on the other hand, is a religion of peace if you don’t know or explain away the Koran. Its adherents are drawn to violence the more they understand Muhammad’s teachings. Central to Islam is world conquest and death to the infidel. Islam is a threat to the world. But no one wishes to recognize it.
They refuse to profile Muslims, instead searching little old ladies, children, and all-American men at the airport, confiscating shampoo and water bottles. Daring to call out Islam as the problem results in being labeled as an intolerant bigot and dismissed.
Ben Carson, for example, was attacked for his comments about not wanting a Muslim president- mostly by people who don’t want a born-again Christian to be president. These same people use terms like “extremist” so they can focus less on Muslims- and turn the focus against Christianity! For those who think this is an exaggeration, take a look at their perspective:
“Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.” (Rosie O’Donnell)
In fact, CNN aired a six hour mini-series in 2007 called “God’s Warriors.” This documentary portrayed Christians who pray or demonstrate in front of abortion clinics and Jews who settle in Israel as posing as much of a threat to America as Muslims who preach hatred and recruit their own children as suicide bombers.
We need to stand up and speak the truth, even when it is considered bigoted or intolerant. The world loves a lie, but only the truth brings freedom:
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, NIV)
The fourth issue is the rejection of national morality. The French, like us, have grown to tolerate immorality. We have drifted from God’s standards, and in doing so invite disaster upon our nation.
Looking to scripture, Israel- the people of God- were punished for their moral standards as a nation. Their nation was conquered and dismantled because of their sinfulness:
“And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God… Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight.” (2 Kings 17:16-18, ESV)
Our morality has wandered so far that it would be no wonder if God allowed judgment to come on America: Gay marriage. Co-habitation. Abortion. Drugs. Drunkenness. “Tolerance”… for everything except righteousness. We have become an amoral country, but the moral atmosphere of our nation is essential to its survival:
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. (John Adams)
God will, as he has in the past, raise up one ungodly nation to punish another. This is what the Lord did with Cyrus, king of Persia, on behalf of the people of God:
“I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:6-7, ESV)
We must warn others of the reality of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We must stand for what is right and oppose what is contrary to the Word of God.
17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-21, ESV)
The final issue that we face is the rejecting of God by a nation. Nations rise or fall on their faithfulness to God:
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. (Proverbs 14:34, NIV)
France is proud of its status as a secular nation. This sets a spiritual landscape where their country no longer enjoys His divine providence. Unfortunately, our nation is drifting away from God as well. Politicians are racing to renounce our status as a Christian nation:
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least not just; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation and a Buddhist nation and a Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.” (Barak Obama, 2006)
The truth that few acknowledge is that our nation was established on Christian principles and has so enjoyed God’s favor. Many of the founding fathers expressed the importance of faith in Christ to the health of the nation:
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. (John Adams)
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see. (Benjamin Franklin)
Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement. (John Hancock)
Righteousness alone can exalt [America] as a nation…Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others. (Patrick Henry)
[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society. (Daniel Webster)
[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government. (Noah Webster)
The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country. (George Washington)
In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity. (John Quincy Adams)
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. (John Jay)
When Israel faced trouble, Nehemiah recognized that it was because his nation had sinned against God:
6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. (Nehemiah 1:6-7, ESV)
When our nation rejects God, we refuse his favor and protection. The blessings of heaven and the divine providence we have enjoyed will not endure if we do not remain faithful to Him. The success of a nation is not found in their own might or wealth, but the power and provision of their God. We must get on our knees and pray for our nation.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV)