I did a double take when I saw headline: ISIS drives displaced refugees to Christ. I saw this on John Piper’s Facebook which contains a load of Christian cliche responses ranging from discussion about God’s sovereignty to God’s mysterious ways. Here’re the sample responses I’ve read that have the most “likes.”
– Praise the Lord! To hear of how the Lord is using even this terrorist organization to drive out the Yazidis from their hard to reach homes so that many of them might hear the gospel of Christ and believe – that is good news indeed!
– Praise God for His beautiful paradox in growing life out of death!
– My hope is that ISIS will spark a huge spiritual revival in America and around the world. One thing I know for sure: Jesus is building His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
– God is good!
– The failures of ISIS? Appears to be the Creators gain.
– Everything that happens is in the end all for the glory of the Lord…
– “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Gen 50:20
– When Stalin displaced Koreans into parts of Central Asia, he thought he was being clever, but you see God is over all. Those Koreans became some of the most on fire evangelists in all of Central Asia. Glory be to God.
Let’s now turn to the article itself. The article talks about all the work being done to help the Yazidis who were being driven by ISIS to flee into the border of Turkey. The Christian aid workers set up tents for church and camp for residence for these unfortunate souls. The result is the conversion of many Yazidis. It’s a good story of Christian action, but then you have this headline. It’s hard not to read more theology into headline simply because it’s so amazingly theological. The logic applies to any disaster, whether it’s natural or manmade disaster. It goes something like this, “Since X disaster happened, this many came to Christ. Therefore, we praise God for using disasters to bring people to Christ.” Essentially, we’re praising God for lost lives so that we can generate global conversion numbers. If we turn that logic around on these mostly Western church organization and say, “Thank God 911 happened because it drove so many people to church,” I wonder how they would feel. Of course, THIS is different. It’s American. However, if it’s the Yazidis or the South Asians who lost lives in the Tsunami, it’s OK to use that logic. Apparently, even God’s sovereignty favors the West. Surely, we must be joking.
When some people do mission these days, it’s more about numbers than compassion. These are real victims here, people! Have a heart! What’s the problem? Our doctrine of God’s sovereignty has completely vanquished our compassion. Those of us who teach and preach in our churches need to take serious responsibility to educate our people about the real expression of Christianity through compassion. People shouldn’t know us by our warped religious logic in the guise of doctrine. People should know us by our love and compassion.