The Boston bombing, Muslim extremism and Satanic evil


Very serious things have been happening in America recently.  The most notable for the public being the tragic Boston Marathon bombing.  Evidence points to the perpetrators being Muslim extremist. Reports have been

conflicting as to whether they were part of a larger organized group, but it seems like a probable conclusion.

Of course one need not be part of a Muslim extremist group to wreak violence upon American people. Plenty of seemingly normal Americans have become mass murderers.  But this attack is significant in that it is the largest terrorist attack on American soil since 9-11.  That there have not been more episodes of intentional violence and destruction in America is stunning, especially given the fact that the USA has been stirring the hornets’ nest of the Middle East for a dozen years; and given the fact that our borders are completely open to any motivated aggressor.  

I’d like to suggest some reasons that we may not have been attacked sooner or more often.

The USA is so good at counter-terrorism that we stopped all the other attempts.

OK, our guys are good, but are they really that good?  Seriously, with our virtually unprotected borders, visa’s given to nearly anyone, and a nation that is crippled by political correctness to the point that no one may be judged or even suspected of being terrorist regardless of their religion, fashion, associations, or spending habits, are we supposed to believe that it’s impossible for the haters of America to bomb a school, stadium, or public building?

The great irony is that the US government has trampled the rights of all Americans, ignoring and demolishing the Bill of Rights in order to supposedly protect us from the evil terrorists.   Under the Patriot Act and similar legislation, along with executive orders, Americans are spied on and searched in their “persons and papers” electronically, and may be arrested and held indefinitely without trial, all in violation of the Bill of Rights.  So instead of profiling a foreigner who is not entitled to the rights of our founding documents, we have given the foreigner greater rights than the citizen, and in the process robbed the citizen of both his rights and his protection from foreign aggression – the one clear thing the Federal government is supposed to do for us.

Face the truth.  If those desiring to hurt America so desired, the Boston bombing could be repeated every single day.  America would be bogged down in such a sludge of regulation and government police “protection” that ordinary life would cease.   The economy would likely collapse, people would riot; chaos would reign requiring the government to take ever more stringent steps to “protect us”.  The light of freedom, that thing which has made America so attractive to the masses, has already dimmed but would soon go out. All of this would work to the favor of those desiring to hurt America.

So here’s the truth as I see it: either the haters don’t really want to hurt America, which I find hard to believe; or something other the US government has prevented them.  What could that be?

God protects us.

There is no doubt that God directs in the affairs of man, at times preventing men or devils from conducting their evil schemes or through providential blessing and guidance to fulfill His purposes. We have a number of biblical examples to help us understand this.

In Job we find God protecting his servant so that, though Satan desired to hurt him, he was unable until God lifted His protective hedge.   Even then Satan was limited in what he could do to Job.   When allowed by God, Satan was able to afflict Job by manipulating both men (army’s) and weather.  Throughout Israel’s history God is seen raising up kings and putting down nations.  Nebuchadnezzar, in the book of Daniel, is a great example.  God took his sanity from him so that he acted like a wild animal for seven seasons of time; then God told him:

“In order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men. (Dan.4:17)

No terrorist will ever be able to attack America, or any other nation for that matter, without God allowing it to happen.  There can be no doubt that, to some degree, God has been protecting and blessing America.  He’s not obligated to do so; and our rebellion most certainly will, or has led Him to cease, but He has blessed and protected in the past.

Satan has not allowed it.

The premise of this point is that God has already allowed Satan to afflict America for whatever reason God has in doing so.  I happen to think that God may have a number of reasons.  But why wouldn’t Satan pursue more of these Muslim terrorist attacks?

Islam is one of Satan’s religions.  I’m sorry if that offends you, but it is a fact.  I’m not saying that we should hate people who are Muslims, not at all; we should love them, pray for them, and seek to teach them the Gospel.  But as a religion, Islam was founded by Satan; it is anti-Christ, anti-Bible, and anti-morality.  I will concede that it does have a certain element of morality to it, but that is how Satan works, he mixes truth with lies.  The moral teaching of Islam that is in harmony with the Bible is offset by other teaching that is perverted, gross and anti-biblical.

Islam has perpetrated violence upon human flesh for well over a millennia.  This has often been through external aggression, using wars to win territory and force people into their vile religion.  But it has also been through the internal violence toward its’ own people, especially women.  Satan has used Islam to accomplish his goals; keeping people from faith in the true and living God, and destroying things and people which God has made.  It would seem to make sense for Satan to use Islamic extremists to attack and injure America.  This would be especially true if America were a nation that to a large degree embraced the morality of the Bible; and if there were a large number of Christians in America.

Perhaps, and I’m just taking a guess here, but perhaps Satan has not been pursuing more terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists in America because America has been on a steady path into deeper evil and immorality; and too many big scary terrorist attacks might just turn people back to God.  Seeing that he is achieving success in his goal of keeping people from faith in the true and living God, and destroying things and people which God has made, may it be that Satan knows he doesn’t need many terrorist attacks.   He’s a smart businessman; he’ll just keep doing what is working.


Practical Holiness – A Word of Clarification

This past Sunday I preached on the topic of Practical Holiness.  After looking at some aspects of God’s holiness in Exodus 3,19 and 20 we  attempted to make application focusing on:

1.            Holiness in private

2.            Holiness in public

3.            Holiness at home

4.            Holiness at church

I am concerned about effectively communicating a Biblical view of practical holiness.  I DO NOT wish to communicate a list of rules for holiness.  What I desire is to teach and (attempt) to live holiness in such a way that each person makes his own application, but that his application is legitimately in line with the Scriptural teaching about who God is, and what He desires in light of our immersion in a system of this world which hates God.

Please consider the following four points about holiness and rules in the Christian life.

1.            People who are consumed (a good thing) with the idea of God’s holiness develop specific applications of holiness for living in this world system.  We might call these “ideals” for living.  They are not things explicitly stated in Scripture and they do not automatically apply to all believers.   They are personal applications of holy living in an unholy world.   Examples from the past include things like:

  • Always carrying the Bible on top
  • Dressing up for church
  • Women not wearing pants
  • Never attending movie theaters
  • Refraining from watching or listening to certain media

2.            Out of this passion for God people pass these ideals on to others: parents to children, pastors to congregation, and schools to students.    Some learn this passion for holiness and espouse these ideals, often adapting them to their own situation and time.  Others never grasp the concept of passion for God’s holiness and reject the whole system of ideals taught to them.

3.            A breakdown occurs.

Some children, church members, or students passionately follow these ideals, now called “rules”, because of a fundamental desire to obey authority, remain faithful to their roots, or even to please God, but they never fully grasp the underlying reason for the ideals as being a personal passion for the holiness of God.   While this group is often saved, many of them stand in danger of becoming Pharisaical in their application of said ideals which have now become rules.

Other children, church members, or students rebel and make no attempt to embrace these “rules”.  They may rebel because of hypocrisy in that they’ve never been taught about true holiness, but only the rules.  This is a common and very unfortunate case because many who rebel might have been won to the cause of holiness had those teaching them emphasized the core truths of holiness more than the rules for holiness.  Of course they may also rebel out of a wicked heart that simply refuses to submit to authority, be it man or God.

This group often hurls accusations of legalism crying that “the Bible says no such thing” and “we are free from the law” having “Christian liberty”.     There is a large element of truth in these statements, but missing is too often a heart which is passionate about holiness, hates the stain of worldliness, and seeks to “flee all appearance of evil”.

4.            My passion is to teach the core truths of God’s holiness – “ideals” and not “rules”.  I want to teach people who God is, and what He is like so that as they grow in truth and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, they will make practical decisions about even the most trivial areas of life with the holiness of God in mind; they will instinctively hate worldliness and the spot of contamination from it because they are filled with the love of God and love for God.

I have no desire to be a rule maker, but I am grieved to see believers engage in so many things which must grieve the heart of God.  When passion for the holiness of God fills believers, their behavior changes.  The old man is put off and the new man is put on.

If God is in it, it is good.

This is my thought for today.

If God is in it, it is good.

This morning I read Joshua 21 as part of my devotions.  Verse 45 stands out.

Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

I’ve been thinking about how blessed the Canaanites were before the Israelites arrived.   When the twelve spies went up to see the land they found it to be overwhelmingly fruitful.   The crops were exceedingly good, the cities were well-built and walled, the people were numerous and large.   There were many indications that God (or gods in the Canaanites eyes) was blessing.   But why would God bless them when they were in such sin that God was about to destroy and kill them?

It would seem that at least part of the answer is that God was using them.  He was using them to prepare a great land for His chosen people.   The Israelites would abide in a land that was already cleared and planted; where houses were already built; where cities were already walled; where wild beasts had been driven out; where barns were full and pastures prepared.

God’s blessing on a wicked people might be construed by some as God being unjust, but viewing the situation in retrospect might allow one to see that God was simply using the wicked to prepare the way of blessing for the righteous.

Proverbs 10:3  The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

Proverbs 15:6  In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

What implications might this thought have for our personal lives?  For the church?  For America?

Just food for thought.

I don’t believe in atheists

People who claim to be atheists are a confusing bunch.  Whenever I confront one of them about their belief system they get upset with me, sometimes really upset.   I usually tell them that even though they claim to be atheists, they really are not because there is no such thing as an atheist.   What sometimes ensues is a debate where they assure me, with passion, that they are indeed atheists and I explain to them from the Bible that God has put a knowledge of himself within all of us.    A person who does not believe in God has denied the truth which he instinctively knows and has intellectually convinced himself that God does not exist.   This is the meaning in Romans 1.

Rom 1:19-20  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  (20)  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

In reality I understand that there are people who have succeeded in suppressing the “knowledge of God” with which they were born and truly no longer believe.  This is the result of sin and is also explained in Romans 1.

Rom 1:21-22  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  (22)  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Man’s persistence in sin causes God to do some things.  “God gave them up to uncleanness” and “God gave them over to a reprobate mind”.     This allows man to continue in his sin without thinking about God, without feeling guilt, and even convincing himself that there is no God.  He can call himself an atheist.   However, underneath all the sin an denial he still knows the truth.  Consider how Romans chapter one ends:

Rom 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Man is so wrapped up in his sin and the enjoyment of it that while knowing he will be judged, he still enjoys doing it.  Contrast this to Christian’s who go through periods of rebellion but later give testimony that even while living outright sinful lives, they could not truly enjoy their sin.   In their rebellion they tried to enjoy the sin, but found they couldn’t enjoy it like the person who has never come to Christ for Salvation.

I conclude with a quote from Kevin Bauder’s recent article.   The whole article may be found here , but this paragraph is particularly gripping.

This point cannot be overemphasized. We do not discover God. We already know God. The knowledge of God is hardwired into us. At the most fundamental level, no one needs to be convinced that God is and God has spoken. Every human being has this knowledge. To resist it is the epistemological equivalent of building a sand castle to conduct war against the tide. The effort is ultimately futile. One’s defenses are being constantly eroded. Through the porous ramparts seeps the constant and (ultimately) irresistible conviction that God is and that He has spoken.

How can a loving God allow innocent people to suffer?

This is a question troubling many souls.   From a human standpoint it is a good question.  We see things around us in the world that are difficult to comprehend and we wonder about the nature of God.

The problem truly is that we don’t understand God.  Many don’t know God.  They may know some things about God, claim to believe in Him, even make some efforts to worship Him, but they don’t really know Him.  Because they don’t know Him, they cannot understand Him.

There is a group of people who do know God, but in this life will never be able to fully understand Him.  These people are learning to know and understand better every day, but still have questions.

Let’s look at suffering and death from God’s side.  God is all-knowing and can see both the beginning and the end of everything.  He is able to look at my life and know exactly what I will be doing and where I will be in twenty years from now.  He knows the exact moment that I will die and all the details involved in my death.

As God looks across the vast oceans of humanity He recognizes every face and observes inside every heart.   He loves each and every soul and desires that they believe, repent, and follow His Divine Son Jesus.   But ever since the beginning humans have rejected God even while claiming to believe in Him.  They have rejected Him by being selfish, sinful, and rebellious.  They have created their own gods and called them The God.  They have invented their own ways of worship, but rejected God’s Word about worship.

Part of God’s character is that He is just.  A just God must judge sin, and an eternal God must judge it eternally.   Thus there is a place called the lake of fire (sometimes people call it hell), which God created as a place of eternal judgment for all who sin, which is everyone.

Other parts of God’s character include love, mercy, grace, and desire to be worshipped.  Because of these and other qualities of God, He desired to make a way for sinful humanity, deserving of eternal judgment, to be forgiven and accepted in to God’s heavenly presence.  He did this through His Son Jesus.   Jesus is and was God.  There is one God, but He exists in three parts or persons, the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.

The Father God sent the Son God to earth to become a man.   He never sinned but allowed himself to be crucified.  While on the cross the Father God placed the sin of the world upon Him.  He became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.

Now the free gift of Salvation is offered to all of humanity.  The problem is that most reject the gift and many refuse to even acknowledge the God of the Bible.

When God in His divine sovereignty allows or causes tragedy and suffering to happen, it very well could be the direct result of sin – of individuals, or of nations.   If people die in tragic circumstances it isn’t because God is uncaring, but it could be that God is dealing with people who have already rejected Him.   He, who knows the beginning and the end, knows that they were not going to accept Him.  They are already headed for an eternity of judgment, so by ending their life early on this earth God is not being unjust or unloving.   Everyday thousands, if not millions of people enter an eternity of judgment because they have rejected Christ.  It is not because God is unloving, He already did the most merciful and loving thing possible — it was God that was nailed to the cross for our sin.  God didn’t just send His Son, God came as the Son to suffer and die.  He only asks that we, humanity, believe with all our being and repent, but most will not and God must judge.

Even in tragedy the mercy of God may be seen.   How can this be?  Most people live without regular conscious thought of God, but when tragedy strikes God injects Himself into man’s thinking.

When Moses first confronted Pharaoh in Egypt, Pharaoh said, “Who is this God that I should obey Him?”, and what happened next were the plagues, death, and then destruction.  It’s almost like God said to Pharaoh, “Oh, you don’t know me, let me introduce myself”.   The plagues were so that the people of the earth would learn to know God.

To answer the question that is the title to this piece, “How could a loving God allow innocent people to suffer?”   The answer could be stated this way, “There are no innocent people”.    We are all guilty and deserving judgment.   There are none innocent, but just those who accept Him, and those who reject Him.

When I see tragedy today, my heart is grieved, my stomach is nauseated.  I mourn when I think of the loss of life, the sadness, and the suffering.    However I can praise God because I know He is the Almighty, and that He desires that through tragedy and suffering men will learn to know Him, surrender and repent before Him, and serve Him.   We who already know Him must be diligent to serve Him, proclaiming His name and His truth, particularly in times of tragedy.  For such a reason were we saved.