Tag Archives: terrorist

What If You Had Known?

If you knew, pulse terror attack

Islamist terrorist, Omar Mateen, is responsible for the deaths of 49 people and the wounding of 53, some of whom are still struggling for their lives in critical condition. The Orlando community and the families of victims are in our prayers. The shooting is one of the worst acts of terrorism in American history. Law enforcement is working hard to piece together the facts.

For now, the investigation is focusing, interestingly, on Omar’s wife, Noor. Why? Because investigators want to know what she knew and when she knew it. They believe, at the very least, that she was aware the attack would take place and did nothing to stop it. In fact, a federal grand jury will likely be convened to consider bringing charges.

In America, we have several laws that require us to say or do something when we think a crime may be committed. And those laws aren’t a new idea. As far back as the days of Moses, those who had foreknowledge of a crime or witnessed any aspect of a crime, were required to tell the authorities. And they were culpable, whether complicit or complacent.

For example, Leviticus 5:1 told the Israelites, “If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.” Certainly, the “if you see something, say something” world we live in today would require us all to let the authorities know if we are aware of an impending terrorist act.

But the New Testament principle reminds us of our greater responsibility. James writes, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Knowing that mass murder of civilians is wrong shouldn’t take much thought. At the very least, regardless of radical Jihadist beliefs, one ought to know that murder is against the law!

So Omar’s wife is being investigated. And if, as it appears, she knew beforehand, she will likely be held responsible in some way. And my guess is that most people would agree that she would deserve punishment if she did know. In fact, you might get very angry at the idea that someone could know of impending doom and say nothing.

But I wonder if we, as Christians, see the larger context and implications of such an idea. What if we are aware, what if we are witnesses, what if we have special knowledge of a coming disaster that will take out millions, possibly billions of people? And what if we do nothing and say nothing?

Will God ignore our complacency? It is worthy of consideration. Let’s remember our primary mission: preach the gospel…in season and out of season…warn others and let them know of the available salvation in Christ. Like the hymn says, we don’t ever want to be in the position where someone could say, “you never mentioned Him to me.”

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Watch How You Teach!

Suicide BomberPay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:16

Suicide attacks are no laughing matter. And the loss of life is never humorous. But Iraqi citizens are sleeping a little better and enjoying a bit of irony because of an accident at a suicide bomber training camp in Northern Baghdad last week.

As reported by the New York Times, the accident happened at a terrorist training camp associated with an Al Qaeda splinter group known as “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” Apparently, a bomb exploded when an instructor was demonstrating how to make and use belt explosives to would be suicide bombers. The instructor and all 21 students died in the accident.

Now, it would be easy to laugh at their misfortune, as in, “Pay attention, I’m only going to do this once!” But based on the daily bombings that take place in that part of the world, this is merely a short-lived respite for the residents of Iraq. Sadly, there will be many more suicide bombers and more deaths.

But it is a good reminder to all of us that what we teach and how we teach are extremely important! Teachers have a special responsibility. They are charged with the task of carefully imparting knowledge to their students. And each of us will be judged by what we taught in this life.

The Apostle Paul knew this fact very well. He stressed to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16, that we ought to handle the gospel with great care. If perverted into “another gospel,” false teaching can be more damaging to a soul than a terrorist’s bomb. That is why we take great care with God’s Word.

The differences, though, are obvious. Terrorists and suicide bombers bring death, but the gospel brings life. Terrorists work with explosives that kill, but the Christian works with God’s grace that brings mercy. Hear the good news of Christ and teach it carefully to others…their lives, and your own, depend on it!

Tweet Terrorists?

Being hacked is one of the big fears that people with computers have had for a long time. But a new form of hacking is particularly nasty – using electronic accounts to spread lies.

A couple of weeks ago hackers from an electronic terrorist group calling itself, “Syrian Electronic Army,” caused the DOW to drop 145 points. These terrorists managed to do something that even the Boston bombers weren’t capable of doing…they shook the financial markets. How did they accomplish this? Was it a bomb? Was it a hostage situation? No. It was a Tweet…one lonely little tweet.

Tweets are small electronic messages (microblogs) limited to 140 characters. Tweets have become a way of life for many and they are used to spread information to millions of people instantly. Major firms are now implementing tweet based technology. The problem? What happens when reputable sources, such as the media giant, AP (Associated Press), get hacked? And that is exactly what SEA managed to do.

The terrorists from the Syrian Electronic Army sent a tweet purporting to be from the Associated Press saying that there had been two explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama had been injured. The DOW went down 145 points instantly. Markets quickly rebounded after the AP said its Twitter account had been hacked, but incredible damage might have been done to our financial markets…all from one tiny little, unsupported, piece of information.

Misinformation is a major cause of pain and suffering in this world. In Acts 21:28-40, Paul is seized by a mob due to wild accusations and misinformation. In Joshua 22, misinformation and supposition almost led to civil war. Jesus told His disciples, “see to it that no one misleads you” (Matthew 24:4). He informed them that some would claim to be the Christ (5), some would start rumors of wars (6), and others would claim that the Christ had come (23). The Christian must be very careful to listen to good information, not being duped by rumors.

Financial markets might get fooled from false Tweets, but the real tragedy would be to get fooled about salvation. The best way to avoid that, of course, is by staying in the true Word of God – the only reputable source.