Since the death of Osama bin Laden, there has been a lot of back-and-forth between Christians and American patriots. On that note, there has been even stronger differences amongst Christians, I feel. One of the big questions Christians are asking themselves is, “Should we be celebrating death?” I want to explore the arguments for both Christian viewpoints and discuss a Biblical view. There are highly intelligent people giving reasons to indulge in the swoop of national pride Americans are feeling, and there are equally intelligent people arguing for a more Biblical worldview. So let’s take a step back, stop shouting, catch our breath, and look into the teachings of Jesus.
First we will take the case of the “patriotic Christian”. The patriotic Christian loves his country; from unalienable rights, to our founding fathers, to the constitution, the patriotic Christian upholds his history. He raises his flag and recites the pledge of allegiance that brings him a sense of pride, honor and the freedom that God has blessed him with. He holds true that God has had a helping hand in the development of this fine nation. He supports his troops and prays they can return home safely, and is saddened when one falls. But most importantly, he believes in the Holy Bible.
The patriotic Christian views the death of Osama bin Laden as an act of global justice that brings the nation one step closer to peace and security. He found the news of bin Laden’s death to be a victorious day for America. This view comes out of a love for God and country. To back up his feelings towards injustice, he may resort to the Bible to show that bin Laden may have had this coming. For example, King David writes, “that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes…” (Psalm 68:23 NIV). Another popular scripture that the patriotic Christian loves to use also comes from the ancient Israeli king, saying, “O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me” (Psalm 25:2 NKJV). These verses emphasize triumph and victory with the help and support of a loving God. Patriotic Christians may say justice has been served, and the Bible supports this claim.
So, what about the other Christian view? You know, the view that says Christians should not celebrate the death of bin Laden. We will call these Christians “Kingdom Christians” because of a focus on Heaven as a nationality rather than American nationality. Kingdom Christians see themselves as aliens in the United States, even if they were born here. The Kingdom Christian sees the United States as secondary in terms of allegiance. They hold the words of Jesus to be true, practical, and relevant to today’s society. They may see the Christian worldview as superior to any other worldview. They find freedom in relationship with Jesus, not in the nation’s constitution. The Kingdom Christian holds the view that God’s grace is available to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus, even if they are murderers.
The Kingdom Christian views the death of Osama bin Laden as an act of anger and revenge that was acted out of a bitter heart rather than godliness. They find the news of bin Laden’s death as saddening because the Kingdom Christian realizes that a man who did not know Jesus will spend an eternity in crisis. This view comes out of the identity of a child of God. The Kingdom Christian will instantly look into the teachings of Jesus to settle his argument. He will take verses such as, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…” (Luke 6:27 NKJV). He may even quote outside of the New Testament from the book of Ezekiel and say, “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…” (Ezekiel 33:11 ESV). Kingdom Christians find the thought of bin Laden surrendering to Jesus in his final moments to receive forgiveness, ultimately enlightening. Kingdom Christians say love your enemies and the Bible supports this claim.
So where are you? Personally, I give my allegiance to the Lord before I ever consider pledging to the United States. I uphold the Kingdom Christian worldview.
Where is the line? Who is crossing it? And where is Jesus in all the friction?