Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Carson, Mohler, & Horton on Osama

Here are D.A. Carson’s reflections on Osama bin Laden from 2002, which I believe are some of the most balanced and biblical comments I've seen: 
“He is an evil man, and he must be stopped, but he is a man, and we should take no pleasure in destroying him. Vengeance is the Lord’s alone. Do not offer the alternative, ‘Should we weep for Osama bin Laden or hold him to account for his genocide and prevent him from carrying out his violent intentions?’ The right answer is yes.” —Love in Hard Places, (Crossway, 2002), 143 
Al Mohler, who said Christians should greet this news with "sober satisfaction", also commented on his blog: 
All people of good will should be pleased that bin Laden is no longer a personal threat, and that his death may further weaken terrorist plans and aspirations. But revenge is not a worthy motivation for justice, and celebration in the streets is not a worthy response. Should we be glad that forces of the United States military have the means, the will, and the opportunity to remove this threat? Of course we should. Should we be hopeful that such an action will serve as a warning to others who might plan similar actions? Of course. Should we find some degree of moral satisfaction in the fact that bin Laden did not die a natural death outside the reach of human justice? Yes, of course. But open patriotic celebration in the streets? That looks far more like revenge in the eyes of a watching world, and it looks far more like we are simply taking satisfaction in the death of an enemy. That kind of revenge just produces greater numbers of enemies.
Michael Horton has written perhaps the best detailed response.  I'll highlight one of his comments, but urge the reader to look take a look at the more nuanced original article
We cannot rejoice in the death of the wicked any more than does God (Ezek. 18:23). We may take satisfaction that temporal justice has been served, but Christians should display a sober restraint. When Christ returns, bringing infinite justice in his wake, his saints will rejoice in the death of his enemies. For now, however, he calls us to pray for our enemies, even for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). This is the day of salvation, calling sinners to repent and believe the gospel.

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