Judgment and Persecution
Sometimes, fundamentalist Christian are accused of being judgmental of others. That may be. But IFB sects also experience judgment. Except…IFB sects don’t really experience judgment. That’ because when they do, it’s really ‘persecution.’ And IFB’s can be ‘persecuted’ more sharply when they advocate things injurious to others. Instructive in such injurious advocacy this is Paul Chappell’s Sept 21, ’15 article on Syria and Iran.
Mr. Chappell references the iconic Aylan photo, some refugee statistics and related vocabulary. The obligatory crocodile tears shed, these matters are set aside. He expresses dismay at the ‘Iran Deal,’ and notes growing unrest in the Middle East. As Chappell sees it, stewardship of the gospel requires Christian involvement. Seemingly, our response must be put in prophetic perspective. Then this:
I don’t know how or even whether Mr. Chappell addressed the role of our government and its allies in destabilizing the Middle East. But among fundamentalist Christians, the response to the war cry against Iraq/Libya/Afghanistan etc. was pretty much automatic. Writing for the New York Times, Charles Marsh had this to say.
In addition to offering several quotes, Marsh states the following:
‘The war sermons rallied the evangelical congregations behind the invasion of Iraq. An astonishing 87 percent of all white evangelical Christians in the United States supported the president’s decision in April 2003.’
Marsh also quotes an unnamed missionary as saying that the invasion would open closed lands to the gospel. And if not necessarily supporting that, Paul Chappell’s logic feeds into it. He writes:
‘…the millions of people fleeing Syria are Muslim. Most have never heard the gospel. Many are more tender to the gospel at this moment than they have been at any other point in their lives.’
War and Refugees
The intent here is NOT to resurrect discussion over the rightness or wrongness of Western involvement in Iraq and the Middle East.
The issue is the vast discrepancy between our pre-war empowerment and our post-war impotency.
Before the shooting, sermons, prayers, speeches, activism promoted war fervor with religious devotion. Theology be damned — we want war!
After war, all we can do it call officials for ‘decisive action’ against ISIS; ‘that’s about the extent of it.’ Oh yeah — we can give them the gospel!
Sins of Omission
Paul Chappell doesn’t tell us that it is the conditions of warfare which create these human seas called ‘refugees.’ And it isn’t as if no one spoke of the consequences of Western Middle-East involvement, as this was published a fortnight before his article. Much of the mayhem was created by US made munitions delivered by us and our allies. Result?
Water, power and sewage lines are cut. Systems of transportation and communication are destroyed. Hospitals, schools, factories and homes are shelled into oblivion. The economy collapses. Hunger weakens the body and epidemics spread. When infrastructure is destroyed, what then?
Adding Insult to Injury
Mr Chappell’s answer is, his church collected an offering to split between two pastor friends who have Muslims come to them for food.
‘Invest now in gospel ministry to these very needy people.’
Oh, and contact your missionaries in Europe and ask how you can help!
‘We can’t miss our moment to share God’s love and give the gospel.’
Christian fundamentalists were not the only war cheerleaders. But they uniquely failed to make any serious theological inquiry/criticism into the events of the day. To for Christiagelical Evanjihadists to cry ‘persecution’ in the face of their double failure is inexcusable.
Paul Chappell on Peace
Paul Chappell could learn from Paul Chappell. Even if not articulating an expressly Christian conviction, Paul K. Chappell offers an alternative narrative and perspective. Lack of an alternative leaves fundamentalist Christians like Rev. Chappell and others unable to mount any resistance when the next war is proposed.
God help us all.