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Evangelicals and Torture June 1, 2009

Filed under: Religion,Social Issues — lifewalkblog @ 1:14 pm
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I believe that the future of any nation is in the hands of God. I believe that it is far more important to be concerned about the welfare and goals of the kingdom of heaven, where I, by grace, am given my primary citizenship, than it is to worry about the fate of earthy governments and kingdoms.

I was deeply concerned to read a recent report that stated NORTH AMERICANS WHO ATTEND EVANGELICAL CHURCHES ARE MORE LIKELY TO APPROVE OF TORTURE of prisoners of war than those who at attend non-evangelical churches, those who do not attend church at all, or even those who do not even claim to be Christians! Given Jesus’ teachings about peace and nonviolence, I have to wonder whether such places of “worship” are drawing those who are attempting to impose political views on the body of Christ. I believe that true, Christ-centered living will result in the dynamic life of Christ and his values having its way, in our hearts and minds, with the kingdoms of earthly Babylon.

 –Greg Albrecht

 

One Response to “Evangelicals and Torture”

  1. lifewalkblog Says:

    I had this article posted over on my FaceBook. Here’s some of the discussion that’s been happening there:
    ——
    This is one of the many reasons why I’ve decided to turn my back on all American politics, and preach Jesus and Him crucified… I’m not going to water down His message any more with political issues. We’re soldiers of another Kingdom, and should not be getting involved civilian matters in the land we’re occupying.
    –W.A.
    ————
    What bothers me about the topic of torture is that in Vietnam they had the Hanoi Hilton and we Americans decried the torture as we should have, then we took what we learned and made Club Gitmo and did what we said was so wrong… yet that is not the most disturbing thing to me… it is wrong to torture anyone according to most US citizens, unless they are Muslim… Why? I think it can only be that we do not believe vengeance is God’s.

    I have come a long way from where I once stood. In the past I felt if torture could get info that saved people from terrorism then I felt it justified, yet, much of the torture that seems to be taking place is just cruelty and masochism…

    So why is it OK to torture Muslims when they have no info? Why is it fine with some to put woman’s panties on some guys who is stripped naked and chained in a crucifixion position to his bunk bed? Is crime? Who knows? Forget the Koran in the toilet, how about the rape and sodomizing of prisoners? It has to stop.
    –C.S.
    ————
    Not sure your stance is Biblical, Will. In both Old and New Testaments God’s chosen people interact wth and use politics to bring Him glory. I don’t think everyone is called to be a politician, by any means, but I think to say that politics doesn’t matter is naive at best.
    –J.L.
    ————
    I was putting Paul’s thoughts together, naive or not.. I think the best example of what happens to Christians when they go political is John the Baptist. He had a prophetic mission: make way for the Messiah, announce His coming. He did it, then got distracted with King Herod, and while he sat in jail, he began to doubt his own prophecy. That’s the church today that goes political– great example: Ms. California. Her message is nulified in the eyes of most Americans because she went political instead of just centering on Christ and His work.
    –W.A.
    ————
    I think the crux of the quote is “true, Christ-centered living will result in the dynamic life of Christ and his values having its way, in our hearts and minds.” WWJT: Who Would Jesus Torture?
    The quote we’re discussing was taken from a Q and A that is temporarily located at:http://www.ptm.org/uni/resources/ptmupdate/060109/2.html
    –D.F.
    ————
    I think that is the point of this to me. When does Jesus sanction torture? If I am a follower of Jesus, then how can I justify torture? I am sure I am able to compartmentalize the idea that “it is the gov’t not me” somehow… and justify it with “someone may be safe if they torture” yet I can do that with any sin…

    I see we need to be active in the sense we should vote our conscience, yet as far as involvement I see that as “if God so calls you”. Personally I see that politics of this world often conflict with God’s politics… When I first heard “who would Jesus bomb” only a few years ago I was upset by that “liberal” view… yet it festered in me… If Jesus came to save us and not condemn us, as hard as that is for us should be not be doing the same…

    If Osama was caught, and begged for forgiveness could you forgive him as you have been forgiven by God?

    To me, that is a hard question to answer.
    –C.S.
    ————
    I couldn’t agree more, Iggy. I’m 54, and I spent most of that time as a right-wing, evangelical, republican. I did so, in my ignorance, based on moral issues. I now realize there’s a lot more to morality than just abortion and homosexuality. I truly hate abortion, but overall it seems the left is actually much more “moral” in the terms of Jesus’ teaching than the right.
    –D.F.
    ————
    David, all… yep. For once, I’ll leave it that short. And sad.
    –J.T.
    ————
    I am neither Rep or Dem… And in a way I am not moderate in my views. I see politically both sides are so far off in lala land that they make Michael Jackson seem normal. Every test I take says I lean toward Dem, and I see that there are some good ideas they have, yet the exicution of these ideas goes wrong… then I look at the “do nothing” Rep and just sigh.

    When I look at what Jesus tells us to do it makes sense… yet I confess I am a major hyocrite on many issues. I claim to be a pacifist, yet know I would kill someone if I had to to protect my family… it seems I am wired that way good or bad.

    Yet, Rep used the platform of abortion for years and did nothing. The Dems use welfare and yet we still have poverty and the economy is going south… and now the gov’t is in the car business! WT… (insert appropiate last letter)
    –C.S.
    ————
    To me gay is not “ok” but neither is any of my own sin… so to condemn and demonize one sin over others is stupid. I see it as a “human” rights issue and not a sexual orientation issue. Torture may seem to be the “best way, yet, what if we built schools and hospitals, dug wells for fresh water and help educate countries for ranching and farming practises… then instead of torture we can say that country might lose this help. Weird though the countries we might help this way have some of the richest people on earth living there who could do it. Yet, I think overall most people would see the US as loving and helpful instead of using our “power” to armstrong others to follow us.
    –C.S.
    ————
    I heard Jessie Ventura say that politics is just like wrestling: On stage, the opponents hate each other’s guts. Off stage, they’re best buds. JV said the parties are just like that. In reality, it’s all a show for us. That’s another reason we can’t let ourselves buy into all their crap.
    –D.F.
    ————
    What an interesting discussion. Of course I would love to throw in my two cents. In the O.T., GOD the Father commanded Moses to destroy all of the inhabitants of Canaan primarily because of their religious practices. (child sacrifice for one) Our Father often told his man (or woman) to completely destroy an enemy. Now in Isaiah, we are told that the Prince of Peace was to come and that He would be the Savior of the World. And it happened just the way He said it would. Now while Jesus died for the sins of the world, not everyone accepts that gift. We still have an evil world to deal with. The god of the world still controls it and those who follow him. So far I believe that most here would agree with me. Now Jesus commanded us to Love our enemies. AGAPE, which in my book means that I pray for our enemies. If I saw Osama in the desert alone and without water, I would stop and give him a drink. If that same enemy drew a weapon, he would become a martyr.
    –B.B.
    ———————
    If an intruder came into my house with the intent to harm, I would introduce him to the after life without hesitation. Does that mean that I don’t love him? Now take a terrorist. What kind of love am I showing to potential victims if I allow the terrorist to go free if I suspected him of plotting? What if one of the 9/11 hijackers had been caught on 9/01 and water boarded? How many lives might have been saved? All because we used enhanced interrogation techniques. Does “love your enemies” mean that you don’t kill them in war? Should we turn the other cheek while our wife is raped or our child is raped and then hacked to pieces? How would you as a Christian behave if you came across a violent crime being committed? Who would you “love”? The victim or the criminal? Jesus never said “thou shall not torture” nor did He say “thou shall not abort babies”. It is not an easy conclusion to reach for some while it is black and white for others.
    –B.B.
    ———————
    Remember that these terrorists are servants of Satan. They want to kill ALL who disagree with them and they will stop at nothing in order to “steal, kill and destroy”. How far should we go in order to stop them?
    –B.B.
    ———————
    I’m afraid I can’t agree with ya, Ben. We can’t justify our actions based on saying we’re doing it for “the greater good.”
    Again, I come back to “Who Would Jesus Torture?” I understand all your points, and I’m sure I would have agreed in the past. Anyway, I of course respect your right to your opinion, and I’m glad you joined the conversation. Be blesse
    –D.F.
    ———————
    Ben, I can’t disagree more…

    “Romans 5: 21 10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

    We were reconciled while we were still enemies of God… yet if God acted as you suggest, then we would not have forgiveness… we are to imitate Jesus.

    Also, “Eph 6: 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

    Are the terrorist “flesh and blood”? It is not the terrorist that is the enemy of God but the world’s system that holds them in bondage… sin. To say they are servants of Satan, misses that Jesus died for them. We cannot justify making our enemies flesh and blood when the bible states they are not.
    –C.S.
    ———————
    Thanks Dave. Please remember that we Christians are not being asked to torture anyone. And it is obvious that we no longer have a Christian nation according to our own President. So the entire conversation is mute. Much like the abortion argument. We are told to preach the gospel to all the world. But we have trouble doing that. I feel that we will be judged more on what we failed to do rather than on what we did do.
    –D.F.
    ———————
    Hi Carlos, both scriptures quoted were written to the believer not to the unbeliever. Although Jesus died for the terrorists, they choose not to be reconciled to him even though He died for them. And if we are to imitate Jesus and love thy neighbor do we “love” him when he steals from us. Yes of course. Do we love the man that is raping and mutilating a woman or child? Of course. But what do we do then if we come across such a scene and it is in our power to stop it? Do we tell the man that even though he is committing a crime he has be reconciled to God? Would this be enough to stop the man and make him stop? Or should we use brute force in order to stop such a thing? We still love them but we also expect them to suffer the consequences for such an act.
    –B.B.
    ———————
    Ben,
    I hear ya about the defending the family and I admit I would most likely defend mine to the death… preferbly the other guys. Yet, does that make it right… What if instead of many of the policies that lead to much of this we built schools and hospitals and dug wells? We used Afghanistan to drive out Russia in the from 78 till 88 and then just left Afghanistan with the mess and well armed warlords… guess what? that came back to haunt us in the form of Osama and Al Qaeda… we could have built and great infrastructure in Afghanistan and set ourselves up as humanitarians… yet instead we leaned on Saddam Hussein and armed him to keep Iran at bay… it all came full circle… so then who is the real agent of Satan? I know the history goes back farther, yet I am stating things that could have helped relations with our “enemies”…but choose to not do.
    –C.S.
    ———————
    In 1966, my step dad brutally murdered my mother in front of me. I was 8 at the time. In 1986 I realized that I needed to forgive him. It took six months for my feelings to line up with the Word but they did and I was able to completely forgive him for what he did. But I still expected him to serve out the punishment that the law set aside for him. For if I allow my own son to escape punishment for disobedience what result would I reap? This is a tricky subject and thank God I don’t have to make the determination on what is Truth and what is not.
    –B.B
    ———————
    You are right Carlos, our Non Christian Government made many mistakes. But we are building schools in Afghanistan now and the Taliban destroy them. We could go on and on and on about this. What we must work for is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The DAY is coming soon when the Prince of Peace will set up HIS KINGDOM here on EARTH. Then and only then will we have Peace.
    –B.B.
    ———————
    Actually Ben… all scripture is written to humans in need of Jesus… The passages I quoted especially the “reconciled” one is past tense… it happened at the Cross… now we can refuse to accept the finished works of Jesus… yet that does not negate that Jesus said it was finished as far as forgiveness and reconciliation at the Cross.

    We have forgiveness at the Cross and salvation through the life by the Resurrection. See Romans 5: 10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

    Many miss that in order to be forgiven the wages of sin must have been dealt with… the books were made clean… they were justified and reconciled… like in accounting. We were freely justified by Grace. (Rom 2:24) Many make justification conditional, yet the bible states it we were freely justified by Grace.
    –C.S.
    ———————
    I agree wholeheartedly with that last comment Ben = )
    Forgive me sometimes I come across a bit strong and not mean to… I have enjoyed our conversation and meant not ill will toward you.
    My heart has been broken by Jesus over and over about things like this. My gut says “fight” while I hear Jesus say it is His fight… stay out.
    peace!
    –C.S.
    ———————
    True but not all are saved or will be saved even though salvation is free to all. That said, I do treat the thief differently than I treat my Pastor. My Pastor I trust, the thief I do not. It does not mean that I don’t love the thief. Nor does it mean that I would not forgive him if he stole from me. Nonetheless, I do not offer him or her the same level of trust that I offer a believer.
    Peace and Love to YOU MY BROTHER!
    –B.B.
    ———————
    I think trust has more to do with discernment… though I know of many a pastor I would trust as much as I would a thief… maybe even trust the thief more! I hear there is honor among thieves. ; )

    Off the topic a bit I do not equate forgiveness and salvation. I see them as separate works… though all are forgiven and have the potential to be saved, not all will come to the Son for life and the “Life is in the Son”. It is in the relationship with Jesus and that not being we know Him, but that He knows us…

    Maybe another day for that can of worms. = )
    –C.S
    ———————


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