“You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before my God.” – Revelation 3:1-2 (HCSB)
Like ancient Sardis, many churches today have a reputation for being spirit-filled, but their core is “full of dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27). Their faith, hope, and love are almost dead (1 Corinthians 13:13). Last Friday’s Paris attacks brought these spiritual truths into the open. Some Christian friends prayed for victims, changing their social media icons to the French flag. Others asked what Paris had to do with them; they couldn’t see beyond their myopic American vision. But this event pales in comparison to Christian reactions to the ISIS and refugee crises this week. Few have shown compassion. Most have responded in fear or anger. Instead of loving strangers in their midst (Deuteronomy 10:19), Christians want to stop taking Syrian refugees, accept only Christian ones, or send back those already here. Instead of loving their enemies (Matthew 5:44) or waging spiritual battles in prayer (2 Corinthians 10:3-4), Christians want to kill members of ISIS. See below for a sample of responses.
- Hall of fame: D. Glenn / David Crabb (Desiring God), Christianity Today, Happy Sonship, Relevant Magazine
- Hall of shame: Franklin Graham, AFA, Kevin DeYoung (Gospel Coalition), Patheos, Regie Hamm
The American church isn’t viewing this crisis and its victims through the lens of eternity. She isn’t seeing potential Ruths in refugee widows or potential Pauls in ISIS fighters. Where are the church’s faith, hope, and love? Why is there so much fear and anger? ISIS – radical Islam – isn’t the epitome of evil. It isn’t our enemy either. Sin and Satan are. The human heart is deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:11), and we’ve all fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). So anyone is capable of ISIS atrocities. Anyone can also hear the gospel and be saved. Where is our faith?
A great crisis has come to America in the form of ISIS fighters and Syrian refugees. Regardless of public policy, the church must respond – united – in love. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Let us strengthen our faith, hope, and love before they die and we have nothing left to give.
- Jesus to Muslims (donate)
- World Relief (refugee resettlement)
- Behind the Veils of Yemen: A Journey into the Heart of God
- Nationalism: The Stranger
- 9/11: The Million Muslim March
 New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted