THE WOOLWICH TERRORIST ATTACK – A BIBLICAL RESPONSEBY REV. PATRICK BAKER
2 Corinthians 10:4,5
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The Woolwich terrorist attack was of such a nature that words are insufficient to describe the monstrous barbaric murder. Lee Rigby, 25 and from Middleton, Greater Manchester who had been in the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was run down by a car and then mercilessly killed and dragged into the streets. Islamic chants of Allah is Great were heard and of course the infamous video shows one of them making political statements. They wanted to be seen, they wanted to be heard. It is not my desire to investigate the religion of Islam upon this tragic happening. It needs only to be said that according to the Word of God it is a false religion and the basis for making that statement is that the Lord Jesus Christ is according to Islam not the Eternal Son of God and God’s salvation is not found through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
However, there must be, a Biblical reaction and response. This response must not follow in the same knee-jerk reactions which we have witnessed since the incident. Several bodies of opinion have been found circulating around social networking sites .There is a danger, however, of overlooking other acts of wickedness simply because this attack involves the theme of terrorism, Islam and the threat of further danger. Several elements contributed towards the shock of Wednesdays happenings: it was the murder of a soldier in a ‘Help for Heroes’ t-shirt; it took place during the day and in front of people passing by; it was of a most savage nature; the political statements recorded by the man with the blooded hands holding weapons will unfortunately live long in history. That is why we cannot forget what happened. However, before this and long before any kind of terrorist activity in our own country there have been and shall be acts of wickedness of varying nature or circumstance. It doesn’t just begin and stop at a terrorist act in Woolwich it starts with each and every one of us – that is where the Biblical response must always begin…….
Call to mind the instance in the Gospel account of Luke 13. Some came to the Lord Jesus Christ with hard questions and deeply sensitive matters: the murder of the Galilaeans by Pilate, were they wicked because this happened to them? That tower which fell and killed eighteen people were they worse than others? The Lord redirects the thinking on this occasion and emphatically says: except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Instead of trying to work out who was worse and why, they were to consider their own sin and accountability to God.
It is right that there is a public outcry against any form of terrorism and any display of human wickedness especially the taking of a life. It is also right and required by God that we look at the bigger picture. Such atrocities happen because man is fundamentally alienated from the true and living God. All outward workings of depravity are symptomatic of a sinful depraved heart that remains in need of cleansing and pardon. Some sins are more heinous than others, yes, but all sin is heinous in the sight of God.
Our country is a broken society that manifests itself in varying ways of wretchedness. It doesn’t need to just be murder and terrorism but also unfaithfulness and deceit. A broken society is made up of broken people. A broken person, which simply is you and me, is one who must consider his own soul. The question that we must ask ourselves after we have recovered from the shock of the Woolwich attack is, what about where I stand before God?
The people of God must stand with those who suffer in such times – we shouldn’t distance ourselves from the broken hearted and confused. Bitterness, anger, confusion and disarray inevitable follows; a hatred for God, for religion, for politics will enflame once again as too racial hostilities. The follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, wherever they are from and whatever their background must respond not with a carnal approach but spiritually. In such times the power of God is needed. The proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains our primary response because it is after all the only response that we know which God is pleased to bless.