Dear Christian friends,
On the issue of the Refugee crisis from the “Muslim World” into our “Christian Countries” I have been noticeably silent. I have been troubled on this point for some time. Between researching scriptures and what God has been showing me through others, I have come to a conclusion on the matter and I feel it is time to share that with you.
Those of you that follow my articles know that I am an outspoken voice against Islam. In my writings I am clear that it is an ideology more dangerous to the world than Nazi fascism. (for more on this please check out my article entitled “If I were a Muslim…)
I have also spoken out for the defense of Christians suffering martyrdom at the hands of Islamists; advocating for military force when needed. I have stated clearly that Christianity is not a pacifist religion and defending the defenseless is within the bounds of our faith (for more on this please see my article entitled “Binding the strong man of the house)
So, before anyone discredits what I am about to say by claiming I have become so open minded that my brain has fallen out, please note that no one I know has been more outspoken on the above points in recent years than have I.
All of that said, It has become my firm conviction that Christians in “Christian nations” should be leading the way in welcoming refugees from nations torn by Islam. Please, read on with an open mind and allow me to share with you here, how I have come to this conclusion.
As one that has served in the U. S. Marines, I have a strong bent toward the ideals that “charity begins at home” and I agree whole heartedly that our veterans should not be neglected whilst we see to the needs of the impoverished from other countries. And in this modern political climate, it is easy to allow these separate issues to become one and the same when the attention span of most readers can handle little more than a quote on a Facebook meme (which makes the chances my readers will make it to the end of this article woefully slim).
I also feel strongly that we need to take precautions to ensure those coming here are ready to become Americans, and not to be a burr under our blanket. If you are going to enjoy the benefits of our blessed nation, then you must be willing to respect it; to stand when our anthem is played, to say the pledge of allegiance, to embrace the principles our nation is founded on.
But something of the knee jerk reaction from the Christian community to oppose the Arab refugees coming to America has rubbed me wrong from the start. Is it a fear of Islam taking over our countries? Is it an unconscious racism born from decades of war in Arab countries? I have been torn. And so I have held my peace.
When I moved to Washington DC a little over a year ago, I began attending and, eventually, joining the music team, of the National Community Church. A big part of that church’s outreach has been, and continues to be, to Middle Eastern refugees. I was not engaged in that ministry, but prayed that Id keep an open mind.
Also, about this time, I also met a Saudi Arabian minister that was traveling around America, sharing Christianity to refugees. She had escaped her family after accepting Christ, while they were in the UAE on for medical care. She had lived so much of her life in a burqa that she walked right passed her brother, unrecognized, because she was unveiled. A Middle Eastern version of the “underground railroad” helped her to escape through a series of countries and ultimately to America. To this day, she cannot use her real name for fear of repercussion.
Were these things placed, by God, in my life to soften my heart on the topic? As a military man, with an education in theology and a degree in Biology, I try not to let emotions, feelings or circumstances govern my ideals. To me, they must be tested and proven. And so I set about to dig into the facts and see what resulted.
I’ll innumerate how I have come to this conclusion by first showing some statistical evidence and, secondly, I will share what we should be gleaning from our Christian Scriptures on this topic.
I. Arab Conversions
The newest revival in Jihadism was as much a response to a dramatic spread of Christianity in the Arab world as it was to political and militaristic actions. My research has shown that prior to the formation of ISIS and their subsequent persecution of Christians in their regions, Christianity was spreading like wild fire, not by the “sword” but by the charity of Christians.
In the decade of the 2000’s it was estimated that more Muslims were converting to Christianity than in all the 1500 year history of Islam combined! During that decade more than 1 million Sudanese Muslims converted to Christianity, bringing that nation’s total Christian population to 5.5 million. Pakistan’s Christian population had grown to 2.5 to 3 million, with entire border villages converting to Christianity. Many of Egypt’s 2.5 million Christians were recent Muslim converts. Iraq’s “born again” Christian population grew from a known estimate of around 600 to 70,000 in the last decade. 24,000 of Iran’s 220,000 Christians in that decade were recent converts to Christianity. Even Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s holiest city, had become 4% Christian.
These mass conversions were taking place, not despite the suffering and persecution of Christians by Muslims in those countries, but because of it. It is a sad truth that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. The more darkness tries to extinguish the light of truth, the more that truth has spread. Whether or not this spread of Christianity continues, depends entirely on how we, as the the “body of Christ” respond to our current refugee crisis.
II. Prophetic times
We are living in prophetic times. But we, as Christians, are so stuck in our “Left Behind Series” theology that we are all missing what is so plainly unfolding before our eyes.
The book of Revelation prophecies of a time when Christians will be beheaded for refusing to deny Christ (Revelation chapter 6). It paints a picture of these martyrs in Heaven crying out to God for vengeance, asking
“How long How long, O [k]Lord, holy and true, [l]will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
They are, rather given white robes to replace their bloodstained ones, and troubled to wait a little longer, while more of their brethren are martyred before judgment falls on the wicked.
Because of our evangelical movies and fiction novels, we have come to expect a “One World Order” in black helicopters and black uniforms to insist on a movie like antichrist allegiance. We have these pictures in our minds of French style guillotines for all who reject this antichrist and maintain allegiance to Christ.
This has made us blind to the fact that this passage is being fulfilled before our eyes. It is hard to avoid the scenes of Christians all over the middle east being decapitated by the sword for the very reason that they will not deny Christ. Why do we not recognize “the hour of our visitation?” Is it because they are Arabs and Africans? And not westerners like our fiction portrays? Is there yet some underlying racism amongst us? These are our brothers and our sisters, martyrs nobly living faith in the face of death and fulfilling the prophecies of the Bible.
Three judgments are prophesied of in the New testament. One is the “Bema Seat Judgment” where Christians are judged. The third is the “Great White Throne” judgment where all the dead, will stand before God and receive judgment. But the second is less known. It is the “Judgment of the Nations.” This judgment determines which nations will be able to enter into the millennial reign of Christ, intact as nations.
Jesus says, in the Gospel of Matthew 25, that in the battle of Armageddon, He will separate the nations like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Again, notice. This is a judgment of nations. Not individuals. That judgment comes later.
What is the criterion Jesus uses to separate the sheep nations from the goat nations? It could be argued that He basis this judgment on how they treat refugees!
To the sheep nations, He says,
‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
The sheep nations reply,
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
To the goat nations He says,
‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
The goat nations reply,
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’
Then He will answer them,
‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
I firmly believe that that we, as nations are being judged by how we treat the “least of these our brethren.”
I can hear my detractors now. “But these aren’t our brothers, Jonathan! They are our enemies.” But so many of them are. And so many of them will be, if we only display the charity our faith teaches!
To your rebuttal I will again ask us to honestly and circumspectly examine ourselves and our motives to ensure that anti Islam has not become anti Arab. Islam is the professed enemy of Christianity. It is true. But not the Arab people. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness. These desperate families are not our enemies. The ideology that has enslaved them is.
Of course we must guard ourselves. Of course we must carefully screen everyone that enters our country. If someone isn’t willing to stand when our anthem is played, if someone isn’t willing to pledge allegiance to our flag, is someone isn’t willing to embrace the American governmental structure, then they should not be here.
Let us kill our enemies with kindness. Let us destroy our enemies by making them our brothers and sisters. Don’t allow the atheist and secularists to take the lead in the charity that has been the hallmark of our faith.
The smallest light can chase away the greatest darkness! What are we afraid of? (And I speak as one who also struggles with fear of loving like Jesus loves). Do we believe Islamic ideology will prevail? Of course not. Nothing suffers from examination but error. Let them live beside us in a republic where ideals can be openly explored and discussed, where Christianity is not persecuted. Let them see the love of Christ in us. Let us show them the grace and mercy He has shown us. And the light will continue to spread in darkness; and darkness can never extinguish light. We have a great opportunity to evangelize a people that have been shut off from us for 1500 years. Let’s not squander it.
Dear Christian friends,