Saturday, June 11, 2011

Moscow Suicide Bomber Kills 35

A blast ripped its way through Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, Russia late last night, killing a total 35 human beings and injuring 130. The reports this morning are everywhere; from The Globe & Mail to The National Post to Al Jazeera, multiple viewpoints continue to pour in and report this latest act of terrorism. While the suicide attacker has not yet been identified -although the head of the suspected bomber has been found- most suspect that it is a Islamic militant from the North Caucasus region.

How the Bible Helps Us Understand

In the face of tragedies like these, we need to be in our Bibles. We need to think about these events through the lense of theological truth. If there was ever a time when the truths of the Bible mattered, if there was ever a time when the doctrinal beliefs of our people had any meaning, if only for one lingering moment, it is at times like these in the wake of utter devastation when we need them the most. Some truths to remember:

The Imago Dei (Image of God) reminds us that the deceased had importance as human beings; Total Depravity makes sense of these acts of terror by reminding us that sin has come into the world; Providence gives us the knowledge that God is still in control and that all things work together for the good of His creation; the doctrines of heaven and hell give us hope that God has a home prepared for Christians who are murdered in these kinds of events and that He will visit justice upon the perpetrators of these crimes. Righteous suffering reminds us that disaster happens to both the wicked and the righteous, and that not all tragedy is punishment for sin. What we believe here makes a difference.

The Reaction: Forgiveness and/or Capital Punishment

Now, as for our reaction to the Moscow Airport Bombing: On one hand, Jesus told us that instead of an eye-for-an-eye approach to justice, we should not resist the one who is evil and we should also love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Gospel of Matthew 5.38-39,43-45). But that is our individual responsibility as Christians. Our governments have the responsibility to uphold justice and to keep its people safe. On this other hand, then, we should remember that God decreed that "for your blood I will require a reckoning... From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image" (Book of Genesis 9.5-6). Taking these two together, we should forgive the group behind this bombing on an emotional level but also seek -and enforce- justice for the sake of the safety of our fellow human beings in Moscow and around the world.

The Gospel: Repent, or Ye Will Likewise Perish

We also need to take a solemn lesson from this horrible story. And it's not what you might think. When he was told about the tragedies of his day, meek and mild Jesus Christ had a message for his listeners: 'unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.' When a harsh dictator slaughtered Jews from Galilee and mingled their blood with their sacrifices, or when the Tower of Siloam fell and killed 18 in Jerusalem, Jesus said 'Do you think these people were worse than all others? No, I tell you, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish' (Gospel of Luke 13.1-5). Those who died in Moscow last night were not worse than all the other people from Moscow. These were not worse than all people from Canada, or the United States, or Europe. But, like Jesus would have, I feel it's necessary to point out that unless you repent and follow Him, you will all likewise suffer too, in conscious eternal torment in Hell. To leave that out would be unfair to you. If you are a non-Christian, please reconsider your position. If you are a Christian, let terrorist acts like these remind you of the urgency of the need to evangelize: the need for the Gospel is real, life is short, and death comes suddenly.

The Gospel that you are asked to believe -both non-Christians and professing believers- is that you are sinful in God's eyes and that Jesus died to take your punishment; that He was resurrected on the third day; that He is the only way to God and the only way to be saved from the justice of God's anger; and that this has been done for you because your Maker loves you and He asks you to turn around and come back to Him. Here is the Gospel as it is laid out in St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, chapter 5:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. -Romans 5.8-11
Let this Gospel be your warning and your hope as you read through the news today. God bless.

1 comment:

  1. It's way too easy to see theology as, "That's for scholars - I just want to live a good life." But theology is a worldview; when we react to tragedy, we react based on what we believe about it. This just puts some meat on that belief: WHY do we think humans have value? WHY do we choose to punish, or not punish, groups who bomb airports? WHY does God allow these things to happen? WHY, if He allows these things, do we believe that He is still a good God? That's all theological questions. Super practical, universal, theological questions.


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