Sunday Morning Terrorism
Terrorism is on the minds of many people. I’ve been reflecting on some teachings that have caused believers to be fearful. According to many experts, 2012 was the year that should have brought an end to planet earth. It’s been taught that certain events in America’s history served as harbingers of divine judgment. And some taught that there were signs in the moons that foretold perilous times ahead. The prophesied events have come and gone and here we are, living in relative peace instead of the disasters that were prophesied.
Many people thought President Obama was the Antichrist. Now, some are teaching that it’s Donald Trump. If your worldview teaches that we’re living in the last days, you’ll look for reports that suggest the end is near. That’s how confirmation bias works. Every President is suspected of being the Antichrist. When they’re proven not to be, another theory about the next President will be put forth.
The goal with all of this is to create fear and pessimism. Who wants to wake up every morning with the hope of advancing God’s kingdom and making the world a better place?
Terrorism in the Church
Terrorism isn’t about killing. It’s about fear. The goal of religious terrorism isn’t killing people who oppose your views. It’s creating fear in their minds. Killing is one way to create fear but there are others. Terrorism can be waged with words as easily as bombs or bullets.
Terrorism (the creation of fear) is being used as a tool in the church. Instilling fear in believers serves a couple of purposes: It creates a feeling among the sheep that they’re ignorant of important events, which necessitates an expert who can explain things to them (creating spiritual dependency). Fear sells books. And it can make people scared enough to give their lives to God.
Terrorism may be useful to church leaders, but God doesn’t use it to advance His kingdom. He’s not a terrorist. His kingdom consists of joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. His message is love. His motivation is hope. His agent of change is spiritual transformation. There is no fear in love. Anything that can be accomplished through fear can be accomplished through hope and faith.
Fear of living through the great tribulation scared me into a life of religion but it never got me close to the kingdom. It was only when I considered the possibility that my kids and grandkids might build on the things my friends and I are doing that hope came into my life. Now that I’ve found it, I’m not giving up my hope.
I’m ready for our glorious hope—the return of Jesus. But I’m prepared to hand over to the next generation a better understanding of the kingdom if He tarries.