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May 25, 2007

The Real War

So, John Edwards says there is no "war on terror" and that we need to back away from this phrase in order to restore some sanity to our foreign policy. OK, I'll let him dump that particular phrase if he feels so inclined, but I won't let him get away with the idea that there is no ideological battle going on between radical Islam (the sponsor of worldwide terror) and the West. Lest we forget, here's what we're up against (both quotes are from a newsletter published by the Trinity Forum called "Civilization's Fight").

V.S. Naipaul -- Nobel laureate for literature in 2001 -- had this to say about what is at stake in America's and the world's struggle to undo the terrorism: "We are within reach of great nihilistic forces that have undone civilization. Religion has been turned by some into a kind of nihilism, where people wish to destroy themselves and destroy their past and their culture ... to be pure. They are enraged about the world and they wish to pull it down." 

Charles Krauthammer wrote in response to Naipaul's speech, "We tremble because for the first time in history nihilism will soon be armed with the ultimate weapons of annihilation. For the first time in history, the nihilist will have the means to match his ends. Which is why the war declared upon us on September 11 is the most urgent not only of our lives, but in the life of civilization itself."

Whatever Mr. Edwards chooses to call it, the battle is real on both the physical front and the spiritual front. As Christians, we should be praying for the salvation of the people trapped in Muslim lands, but especially for those in Afghanistan and Iraq where American forces are currently deployed. Why? Because some of those soldiers are also Christians, and they can be used by God to get the gospel to people who are starving to know real freedom -- the spiritual freedom found only in Christ. 

Several months ago, I heard a report from a pastor friend who had gone to Vietnam to minister to the underground church there. The Vietnamese Christians said that they pray for the people in Iraq, for them to come to know Christ. In their mind, even though America "lost" the war in Vietnam, that war was the best thing that had ever happened to their country -- for with the soldiers came the gospel. 

We need that same spiritual perspective now. I have no idea whether we will succeed in bringing democracy to Iraq; in fact, I have no idea whether democracy is even possible in a Muslim nation given the totalitarian nature of Islam. But I know there are people in Iraq and Afghanistan who may one day be in heaven because, for a short time, this war gave them the opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. 

So, pray for the gospel to spread like wildfire in Iraq and Afghanistan -- through native Christians and through American and coalition soldiers who see the "big picture" that Mr. Edwards misses.   

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Michael Snow

Remember, there ARE Christians in Iraq and half of them have had to flee for their lives.

As for soldiers being missionaries: an educated guess would be that, in this day and age, they are explicitly forbidden by orders from engaging in such activity.

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