Thursday, October 20, 2011

Iraq, then and now: I told you so

So President Bush did a great and good thing for Iraq and the world, in ridding them of the bloody, terrorist-sponsoring Saddam Hussein. America liberated Iraq, they held votes, they had the reins of freedom dropped in their hands thanks to foreign liberators.

America poured billions of dollars and gallons of blood and thousands of lives into this process.

Do you remember I voiced one warning, one misgiving? It was more than five and a half years ago that I voiced my chief worry about Iraq. My chief worry was centered on President Bush's theology, particularly his anthropology and his hamartiology. The President, who attended a liberal/Methodist church, spoke often of the yearning of the human heart for freedom. Folks were good; Iraqis were good. They just needed to be freed from bad people. Then everything would be fine.

At that time I said that this was Biblically unrealistic. I said that Iraq was not analogous to America. I said that, without a Biblical framework of sin and God and man, a free society could not be born. I said that their one hope would be if Christians were free to preach the true gospel of Christ; then maybe Iraq had a hopeful future. Tales of Christian soldiers having to hide their faith were not reassuring, but we prayed and hoped.

Fast-forward to today. What do we see? Five and a half years of growing freedom for Iraqi Christians and for missionaries?

No: instead we read that "Ongoing violence against Christians in Iraq has produced an accelerated exodus of believers..." More and more Christians are leaving Iraq in fear for their lives and freedom; not fewer.

So, barring a reversal, barring an American leadership with any chance of pressing for liberties for Christian Iraqis and missionaries, color me increasingly un-optimistic.

Meanwhile, someone send President Bush a copy of WTG, for a little remedial anthropology, hamartiology, and soteriology.


Robert said...

Sadly enough, even countries that have a strong Christian population and are granted these liberties eventually fade into non-Christian majorities given enough time. just look at Europe and where they are headed...we're not fare behind ourselves. Doesn't make it any less sad to see what is happening in Iraq, though.

There is too much secular humanism in the world that pushes the thought that we all just need to be free and follow the yearnings of our hearts...because we're good people. And there is not enough reflection on Jeremiah 17:9.

Robert said...

I should add that there is a good bit of reflection on Jeremiah 17:9 in this book.

JG said...

Slightly OT, but if you haven't read "Decision Points," he talks about, as a young adult, Billy Graham coming to visit the family compound with his parents and grandparents. And Graham starts talking about salvation only in Christ, and the elder Bush points to his elderly mother and says his mother isn't a church-going person, but she's a "good" person, and isn't that good enough to go to Heaven? And according to W, Graham says essentially, yes, she's a good person who reflects the goodness of God, so she's okay. And that was one of the more formative spiritual encounters in W's life. I found that very informative...on a couple of fronts.

Brad Williams said...

It is so very sad and disappointing to have spent so much time and effort and money and blood in a country to fail to secure religious liberty for its citizens. The fact is that Christians in Iraq are worse off now than when we invaded. Afghanistan is no better either.

Just last week, I visited an Iraqi refugee Christian who lives in the community. He is a "Christian", but he is not a Christian. He is an Orthodox Christian, but knows little to nothing of the Bible and hardly a thing about Jesus. If this is the state of Christianity in Iraq, then it might be good that they are leaving. Maybe this way they will come into contact with believers who know something of Christ.

I am torn about the situation. I pray for the remnant of believers in Iraq and Afghanistan and surrounding areas. I pray that God will help them be bold, but I also pray that if they choose to flee that God will help them in the relocation, as fleeing is a Biblical option.

I'm just sad over the whole thing. It is a shamefully squandered opportunity, and I am livid that I am having to write to my Senators, President, and Representatives to step in and save Christians from imprisonment and executions in countries that we occupy.

DJP said...

Well put and good points, Brad.

Yes, anytime you read such reports about Christians, you mentally think, "Yeah, 'Christians.'"

Oh I know, the safely-sitting-at-my-desk-in-a-relatively-free-country thought I think is about how essential willing martyrdom for Jesus was to the historical post-apostolic foundation of the church and spread of the Gospel, vs. how unwilling ME Christians seem to be martyrs... well, it feels like too cheap a thought to think. But I wonder.

Rhology said...

Good thing the US military is also in Afghanistan, Libya, and Uganda. Plenty of chances to try out a secular, liberal revolution again.

Robert said...

Speaking of sad is this? This doesn't seem to be getting enough attention over here in the US where we are the defender of freedom.

It is nice to think that Jesus spoke of being persecuted for His name's sake and that we are in the company of the prophets when this happens, but we should still be bearing the sorrow for this pastor and his family. This is what freedom within a country dominated by the religion of peace will bring, by the way. It is all detailed within the Qu'ran.

Thank God that the Gospel is the power of salvation to people trapped in Islam, too.

Brad Williams said...


I understand the thought, but I do not go there. In Acts, we see that Christians disbursed over the persecution of Saul, and they aren't condemned. Paul himself also fled persecution a few times. I personally feel that this is a choice that a believer in that situation has to make for themselves. If I were able, I would help all those who wanted to flee, and I would equally try to help those who were willing to stay.

In my opinion, both motivations are noble. I admire a man who will leave everything familiar in order to protect his family. I also admire a man who will take a stand and put himself in harms way.

All that to say that I feel empathy for those who flee and those who stay, and I pray the Lord's kindness be upon both.

DJP said...

Good point; but what of those who refuse to be baptized because baptism = death?

Robert said...

Or to follow Dan's line of thinking...should Pastor Yousef repent from his conversion to Christianity?

DJP said...


MitchKill said...

I actually have two friends who are going to be heading to northern Iraq to work as missionaries among the Kurds. The liberation of the country has afforded them this opportunity, and these missionaries are hoping that this will be a base for them to start mission work throughout the Middle East. Pretty exciting stuff.

Robert said...

Yousef has supposedly been offered the chance to save his life if he "repents" from being a Christian. So he could hypthetically repent of his conversion and be freed then try to escape and practice his Christianity elsewhere.

I know that is taking your scenario of not being baptized a little far, but baptism is something that we are told to do upon salvation. At least that is what Peter told people to do at Pentecost, what Paul did with the jailer, and what Philip did with the Ethiopian.

DJP said...

OK... but how does anything I've said suggest that he should repent his conversion? I think believers everywhere should openly confess their faith, and they should obey the Lord, including baptism. So how does any of that suggest I think he should deny the Lord?

Robert said...

I didn't mean to indicate that you think he should...I was putting a real-life name and situation with what you said at 9:31. Sorry for the confusion.

DJP said...

No worries; I'm easily confused.

Robert said...

I have a thing for confusing people...I had people wondering about me being married when I was one (or thirteen) earlier in the week. 8o)

Brad Williams said...


No, he shouldn't recant his faith. But if he had left town with his family before capture, he would have had plenty of Biblical precedence to do so.


Believers should never hesitate to identify with Christ, whether by baptism or profession. However, I believe that once they do, they are free to run for their lives. :)

Aaron said...

Interestingly, I think Ann Coulter's new book Demonic makes a similar point (although it lacks the real underlying problem that you mention in your post). I think Francis Schaeffer posited a similar theory in his book, How Should We Then Live. Something about how people would allow tyranny so long as they believed it would allow them to keep personal peace and prosperity.

This stuff isn't new ground. Its just that Americans have been duped into believing that religion doesn't matter and that culture doesn't matter.

Herding Grasshoppers said...


"people would allow tyranny so long as they believed it would allow them to keep personal peace and prosperity."

Touche. And, ouch.


100 Mile Pants said...

A Captain Underpants movie?!!? BEST... NEWS... EVER...! YAY!!!

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

“I said that Iraq was not analogous to America. I said that, without a Biblical framework of sin and God and man, a free society could not be born.”

Today I saw this about Libya:

Noting these opening remarks:
“Libya's transitional leader declared his country's liberation on Sunday, three days after the hated dictator Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed.

The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the "basic source" of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified.

We are happy to see the end of brutal dictators like Gadhafi and Saddam but we know, as you have pointed out Dan, they are (were) not the source of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Our tax dollars at work...