A Christian Response to the Death of Osama bin Laden

May 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm 3 comments


Concordia’s Senior Pastor, Bill Tucker, has written a letter to the congregation concerning the death of Osama bin Laden and how the Christian should respond to such an event. My prayer is that it is helpful to you as you ponder what this event means not only in the life of our nation, but in your life as a Christian.

My Beloved Concordia Family,

The death of Osama bin Laden was reported on Sunday evening, May 1, 2011.  As news of his demise spread, people responded in different ways.  Some responded with jubilation, happy to see an enemy of our country destroyed.  Others felt sorrow:  Bin Laden’s death reopened painful scars from the events of 9/11 and losses suffered in our War on Terror.  Still others responded with concern: For the evil in this world, ultimately, will not be defeated by human action, but by Christ alone.  Perhaps you, like me, have experienced some of each.

As I have been sorting through my own personal response, there have been many from our beloved family of faith doing the same.  How should a Christian respond to the death of Osama bin Laden?  Hopefully this brief note, with some guidance from God’s Word, will be helpful in your contemplation of that same question.

From the Bible we learn that death, even the death of the wicked, is not pleasing to God, nor is it part of His design.  The prophet Ezekiel states it well:  “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)  God’s preference is always that the wicked – even Osama bin Laden – repent and be forgiven.  This does not mean, however, that God won’t execute His judgment on those who refuse to repent.  In the very next verse, Ezekiel continues, “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.” (Ezekiel 18:24)  The apostle Paul affirms, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)  God punishes evil.

We also know that God uses earthly governments to execute His judgment.  Paul writes, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established…He is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He [the governmental authority] is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:1, 4) We can conclude, in circumstances like this, God uses governments and militaries to bring judgment on criminals.  We remain thankful for our troops and their service on behalf of our nation and respect their God-given vocation as governmental officials.

Finally, as Christians, our response to the death of the wicked should mirror God’s Word.  The wise man of Proverbs wrote:  “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.” (Proverbs 24:17)  These words lead us to respond to this news without reckless jubilation, but with measured sobriety. We thank God for His judgment on wickedness.  At the same time, we keep our hearts and minds humble, so we do not slip into arrogance and sin.

In these times, it seems certain there will be more terrorist plots.  We must pray for these evil efforts to be confounded, for evil men to be brought to justice, and for peace and security to be reestablished.  However, when we pray for peace, it is with the knowledge that our hope comes from the Lord.

Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, describes the Christian’s hope for peace, even in the midst of war, like this:  “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”  May this be the prayer of us all.

God Bless You!


Bill Tucker
Senior Pastor

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Entry filed under: Theological Questions. Tags: , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rev. Kevin Jennings  |  May 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Hi, Zach!

    Do you and Pastor Tucker give us permission to forward with appropriate credit given? I’ve been wanting to do something similar, and this is really well written.

    God bless!
    Kevin

    Reply
  • 2. zachkvet  |  May 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Kevin,

    Please do share with whomever you’d like! That’s part of the reason we write these kind of things. We want to be able to offer Christ-centered, biblical responses to current events and concerns. I’m glad this is helpful!

    Blessings,
    Zach

    Reply
  • 3. Craig Mathews  |  May 4, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for allowing us to reprint this letter. I will be sharing this with my congregation on Sunday as well. It is very well written. I will give appropriate credit to Bill.

    Pastor Mathews

    Reply

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