Why the war is worth it

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This is why it is all worth it. The Great Commission is God's first priority, and PTL the door is open. If it takes a war to open the door, so be it!

THIS IS WHY SATAN IS ON THE ANTI-WAR SIDE! He's trying to stop Christianity from taking root. The anti-war movement is wholly satanic, and Christians who are part of it are blind to who they're promoting.

Washington Post May 16, 2004 Pg. 24

Christian Missionaries Battle For Hearts And Minds In Iraq

By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post Staff Writer

There's no sign on the rickety white storefront in central Baghdad, but for Iraqis who live nearby it is already a familiar landmark. Word spread quickly that those who enter the 1,500-square-foot expanse full of clothes and toiletries donated from overseas can expect to find bargains -- as well as answers to their questions about faith from the Christian staffers manning the counters.

"We want to be respectful to the local religion," said the Rev. Sekyu Chang, 45, of Light Global Mission Church in Vienna, who helped set up the charity thrift store. "There is nothing outwardly Christian about the shop, but most of the workers are Christian. They are going to share their personal faith when there are occasions."

With a population estimated to be more than 95 percent Muslim and outbreaks of violence in the name of Islam occurring on an almost daily basis, Iraq is not a place where Christian missionaries can openly evangelize on street corners, hold community prayer meetings or hand out stacks of Bibles. Many say they entered the country as businessmen or aid workers, roles that let them establish relationships with Iraqis about something other than religion.

Over the past year, Christian aid groups have played a significant, if unofficial, role in the reconstruction, helping with various projects: repairing water purification facilities, building a book-bag factory to create employment and holding classes to teach people English. And some have drawn criticism that they endanger the lives of secular aid workers and the military because insurgents may associate Christianity with Western domination, or because they disguise their intentions.

Even as the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and large numbers of contractors have pulled out of Iraq due to escalating violence, many Christian groups have chosen to remain.

Some call it bravery, others naiveté. More than a few of the missionaries say their willingness to stay the course is about faith. Volunteer Doug Wells, who went to Iraq this winter, for example, told a Christian newsletter that God led him out of some "sticky situations" that showed "us His faithfulness."

In sermons at mosques and in proclamations in newspapers, many Islamic leaders say Iraqis should welcome the assistance of the Christian aid groups. At the same time they have called for Christians to be banned from proselytizing in Iraq -- as they are in many other Middle Eastern countries. They say they remain suspicious that some aid workers have other motives, both religious and political.

"There is no objection to the work of Christian organizations if they are not backed up by the West. There is a condition to their work here, which is to bring aid to Iraqis and help them financially only if they are not politically supported by U.S., Britain or Israel," said Fuad Turfi, a spokesman for Moqtada Sadr, the 30-year-old Shiite Muslim cleric who in recent weeks has unleashed a violent uprising against the U.S. occupation.

As June 30, the planned date of the turnover of limited authority to Iraqis, draws closer, some missionaries worry that they will be kicked out of the country by more-conservative Islamic leaders.

Until recently, Christian groups in Iraq have operated in relative anonymity. But as shootings and kidnappings of foreigners have multiplied in recent weeks, their presence has become a source of tension in efforts to stabilize the country. Politically, the work of missionaries has been difficult to explain, with insurgents trying to characterize the violence as part of a holy war between Muslims and foreign Christians and U.S. authorities asserting it has nothing to do with religion. Practically, the occupation has had to scramble to rescue missionaries who have been attacked.

In February, four American pastors were traveling in a taxi near the capital when gunmen opened fire, killing one of them. In March, five Southern Baptist missionaries were ambushed in the north; four died and the other was seriously wounded. And in April, eight South Korean ministers who had just entered Iraq from Jordan were kidnapped. Although they were released unharmed, their abduction prompted the Korean government to evacuate all but a few of their compatriots.

The Rev. David Davis, 53, of Grace Bible Baptist Church in Vernon, Conn., was among the four pastors ambushed in February on the road from Babylon to Baghdad. A friend died in the seat in front of him, and he was shot in the left shoulder. Still, Davis, who was in Iraq to open a new church, believes that most Muslim Iraqis harbor no hostilities toward foreign Christians. He stayed on after the attack, performing a baptism a few days later. And though home now, he said he is eager to return.

"I believe Christianity is the one true way. I am willing to [preach] the gospel anywhere I can," Davis said.

Saddam Hussein's Iraq was largely a secular state, and while Christians were allowed to worship freely, there were only a handful of churches. When the war ended, however, the country was flooded with foreign missionaries, whom some estimate to number in the thousands.

They bought houses and hoisted crosses on the facades, opening up what is estimated to be eight to a dozen new churches. Others set up projects to help rebuild Iraq. In the Baghdad slum of Sadr City, Christian aid workers started a soccer team. In the northern city of Mosul, they built bathrooms in schools. All around Iraq, they gave out food boxes.

Chang traveled to Baghdad last June with several others from his Northern Virginia church, which is affiliated with the Richmond-based Southern Baptist Convention. The goal, as he put it, was "to share the gospel with Iraqi people."

When he arrived, however, Chang concluded his mission should be more humanitarian than religious. After speaking with Iraqis, he saw how closely people associated colonialism with missionaries, and he learned how angry some people were about comments Christian leaders in the United States had made about Islam and violence. Chang didn't want to appear to insult his new friends by aggressively proselytizing.

So he joined representatives from about a dozen Korean churches and aid organizations from all over the world, raised $300,000, and decided to use the money to open a store they called the Oasis of Mercy. It would be stocked with donated goods, and it would offer basic items at rock-bottom prices in the name of helping poor Iraqis.

Officially, the thrift store would be non-religious. There would be no pictures of Jesus on the walls, no evangelical pamphlets. But Chang knew many of those who had volunteered to help with the venture were involved only because they were interested in speaking about Christianity with Iraqis. The workers would be able to share their stories, but in a discreet way.

After months of preparations, the store hopes to hold its grand opening in a few weeks.

Mark Kelly, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board, which has sent numerous representatives to Iraq, said that while Christian aid workers have tried to keep a low profile, they have been honest about who funded the programs. When they distributed food, for instance, they made sure to get the support of local mosques' leaders.

They also made sure recipients were aware it came from "Christians in America."

"While there may be some who predict that that's going to cause a problem, in the real world people who are hungry are grateful that other people are generous enough to send food. All our projects are done as relief efforts and not evangelistic projects," Kelly said.

As Hal Newell, from Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., went door to door in Baghdad in late October handing out coupons for food baskets, he recalled recently, he always introduced himself this way: "Hi, I'm Hal and I'm from America. I represent the Baptist Church."

Newell, 56, the owner of an engraving company, said most everyone was curious and would invite him in for tea. Many told him about their suffering under Saddam Hussein, and afterward he would ask, without mentioning to which god, whether he could say a prayer for them.

He ran into possible trouble only once, he said, when he was helping distribute the food in a mosque, and restless crowds began to gather at the gates. One of his five co-workers worried there would be riots. So the aid workers began to belt out "Amazing Grace" and ran for their car. Their guard shot a few rounds from his AK-47 into the air.

Newell believes the Iraqis knew he was singing a Christian song, but didn't find it disrespectful because the song expressed reverence toward the "Lord Jesus Christ or whoever god you serve, whether it's Allah or whoever."

The capture of the South Korean ministers became a flashpoint for the debate over the role of Christian aid workers in postwar Iraq.

After foreign service representatives in Seoul, Amman and Baghdad begged them not to come, they still entered what was essentially a war zone. They told their captors they were doctors and nurses on a humanitarian mission, even demonstrating a therapeutic sports massage on the insurgents. In reality, they were in Iraq for the opening of a missionary school.

Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, associate professor of world Christianity at the Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, said some missionaries compound the tensions in Iraq because they enter with a sense of "victory and triumph."

"They come with here's an opportunity for Christianity to grow and because the U.S. is the occupier and the U.S. is a Christian country. That's pure ignorance," Orlandi said.

"The word 'missionary' carries with it a lot of baggage. It's tainted with notions of Western hegemony and the seeming need to establish political, economic and religious domination," said Jonathan Bonk, editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, which publishes scholarly articles on the topic.

Salah Aboud, who owns a grocery store in Baghdad and is Muslim, accuses Christian groups of offering help in an attempt to buy people's religion.

"They are not humanitarian aid workers. They came here for business. They are trying to gain people using money so that they'll win them to their side," said Aboud, 49.

Other Iraqis, however, have accepted the assistance with gratitude and associate the presence of Christian missionaries with democracy and freedom of choice.

Zainab Badran, 36, a pharmacist, said one missionary gave him a Bible.

Although he has no intention of converting from Islam to Christianity, he read it out of curiosity and said it was nice to learn about other religions. He believes Christian aid workers should be more open about their aims.

"I can hear their thoughts and this won't harm me," he said. "I can accept them or refuse."

Staff researcher Richard Drezen in New York and special correspondents Omar Fekeiki and Hoda Ahmed Lazim in Baghdad and Saad Sarhan in Najaf contributed to this report.

-- Anonymous, May 17, 2004


By the way, I certainly hope the AME has initiated some type of missionary activity in Iraq while the door is open. It's one of the primary reasons your denomination, and every denomination exists!

-- Anonymous, May 17, 2004


You and your kind are the devil incarnate. Satan will not have his own until he claims you. War is hell! It is evil! It goes against the very teachings of Jesus!

I rebuke you and your hypocrisy!

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

For crying out loud Mary - where is your love? Where is your peace? Where is your joy?

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004


I've got my joy right here with me and it never leaves. The peace is here as well! I still call a spade a spade and a devil a devil! There are certain subjects that the truth cannot be withheld.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

Dear Sister,

What is the offense? How have you arrived at such a damning opinion?

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

Some observations:

RP asks a very important question: What ARE we doing in the face of this conflict? Jesse Jackson, like him or not, went to the Middle East to bring some of our soldiers being held hostage home. Are we afraid to go to Nineveh and preach the Word?

War, unfortunately, will always be here as long as mankind is here. I suggest you locate and read a copy of the "Iron Mountain Report". It spells out the "positive" benefits of war.

Then read James. Why is there war and conflict? Because we want what we can't have, so we fight whoever has it.

Why are we in this war? The two sources I mentioned will provide the answers.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004


Read the e-mail I just forwarded to you.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

Mary -

What prima facie evidence do you possess which points to RP as the "devil incarnate"? He asked a question and the reponse is more deserving than just engaging in pointless name calling. It's interesting how some of us lecture on the virture of tolerance yet when someone else has a different opinion we convienently forget the principle of tolerance. QED

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

It is not pointless! A devil is a devil!

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

I can't beleive that any christian would think this war is justified. A lie was told to start the war. Our young people are dying for OIL people. Bush is a devil. WAKE UP!!!!

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

"It is great wisdom not to be hasty in one's actions; and not to be too obstinate in holding one's own opinion." Gerard Groote, Following of Christ

Sister Steverson,

Would you agree that there is likely more to reality than meets the eye? All people abhor war, Christian and otherwise. Yet, despite our distaste for it, war rages from age to age. There are as many reasons for war as there have been wars. So what is the reason for this one? Don't let your eyes deceive you.

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

One of the things people have said about me, is that I look at life through rose-covered lens. The truth is, I don't. I indeed know that it is ugly outside in our world. But I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and hate to draw negative conclusions about a person.

I say all this to say, as much as I disagree with some of the things RP says, I honestly believe he believes everything he says and stands firm on his beliefs. I choose to believe he is a God fearing man, who sees things in "black and white", and no middle ground. I do not feel that those who support this war, and the actions behind it are "devils", although I can't, in my heart, believe the motives are justified.

So after reading everything over again, a song came to me and I will share the fifth verse of it. Verse 5 Temptations hidden snares Often take us unawares And our hearts are made to bleed For some tho'tless word or deed And we wonder why the test When we try to do our best But we'll understand it better by and by

Chorus By and by when the morning comes When the saints of God are gathered home We will tell the story how we've overcome For we'll understand it better by and by

Truth is we really don't understand what is happening. We are free to share our opinions, and must remember to do so as Christians. There are things that must take place, if we believe the scriptures. God will accomplish his plan. War is ugly, but we know from scripture that there were times when God allowed the enemy to overtake His Chosen at one time, but also avenged His Chosen at another time.

Is God in this? Psalms 11:3-5 Psalm 11 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? 4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth

We don't have to agree, but we are called to love one another.

In Christ, Carmen

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

Amen Carmen, and we do agree.

In Christ

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

For a board which bears the name of the Church of Allen, this board makes me nauseatingly ill. For there is hardly anything akin to Allen left on it; nor James Forten, Prince Hall, Turner or Payne; nor Bearden, Jordan, Rosa Parks or Hildebrand in our own day.

To have so many on this board justify and patronize the very things for which Allen left Saint George’s Church more that twenty decades ago; for which he fought twenty-five years more to free his people and church, in my opinion is revoltingly disgusting and repulsive to say the least.

AMEs on this board need to wake up and get a grip. Or perhaps, someone needs to turn over your tables and easy chairs, pull down the curtain cords and make a whip.

How on earth can someone who has not known your struggles or where you have been, define your agenda for you, telling you where you should, could, would and ought to go?

By their fruits you shall know them, Jesus said.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit”.

A case in point: When Reverend Jerena Lee informed Allen that she was called to preach, he said to her that another woman had made a similar request but Methodist Doctrine knew nothing of it. The other woman was a white English Woman named Dorothy Ripley whom Allen allowed to address the congregation at Bethel in 1803.

Mrs. Lee’s reply to Allen was, “Did Christ not die for the woman as well as the man?” Allen response to Mrs. Lee was simply, “Indeed He did”.

The rest is history. For in one year alone with Allen’s help, Mrs. Lee traveled 2,325 miles preaching 178 sermons leading countless others to Christ.

I am so glad that God is the Father and Creator of us all and that Christ has not just died for White Anglo Saxon Protestant American men. He also died for men and women in Istanbul, Timbuktu, Chanchow and Iraq. God is God all by himself “where’er the sun does his successive journeys run”.

Just as God spoke a pagan king named Nebuchadnezzar in what is now Iraq to bring him against the lying prophets and nations claiming to be of God. God still has no limitations on whom He chooses to speak for Him or uses to do His will. My Bible tells me He even used a donkey to speak the truth, because the prophet would not hear.

If you think you have a monopoly on God think again.

“When the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy”, where were you?

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2004

Wow Brother Matthews!

That was some rant! I have a suspicion that I know what you said, but could you be a little more succinct?

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2004

After Reading Bro. Matthews' last post, I agree. Richard Allen didn't make excuses; he made things happens. So let's pose 2 questions, and thn take you down memory lane.

Question 1: What can you, your church, your conference, or your district doing to further the Word and ministries of God?

Question 2: What ARE you, your church, your conference, or your district doing to further the Word and ministries of God?

Question 1 has been asked before. Question 2 is being asked in a roundabout way with our recent posts.

On February 08, 2000, Rev. John Fisher started a thread titled "How can the A.M.E. Church be a better vechicle for liberation and salvation today?". It read thusly:

"A wise supervisor at work once told me, many people can air complaints but few have the knack for rendering solutions.

Often times, as Rev. Joe Darby reminded me, we use discussion to air our dirty laundry and to complain about the state of the church and its policies. But how often do we approach this same church from the other angle...and suggest ways it can be even more effective a tool for evangelism, social change and salvation.

The A.M.E. Church has a bedrock foundation. There are no excuses for it not becoming strong as it grows older. How do you feel it can become even more effective.? " There were only three responses. Here they are:

"I believe our church has to return to its Evangelical roots. We have to be a church that is on fire for the Lord. We have to hold strong to the belief that the Word of God is the only way that man can come to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have to stick to the biblical teachings about Holiness and live by them. We have to become more inclusive as a church and realize that God calls us to minister to all people and that we have to be aggressive in doing this. "

Rev. Kenneth Young

"If the AME Church is going to be an effective vessel for liberationa and salvation it needs to first of all have an critical and independent assessment of its current organizational structure. By this I mean, we should have a top-rated management consulting firm like McKinsey & Co. or Andersen Consulting look at this denomination thoroughly, recommend changes and make swift implementation. Currently the bureaucratic, top-layer structure is an impediment to achieve the goals you cite. The realignment of Episcopal Districts is a good first step but more is needed to increase membership. There are over 30 million black folks in the US yet barely one million are AME's? Am I the only one who see something fundamentally wrong with this picture. The fastest growing cities in the US are west of the Mississippi River [Albequerqe, NM, Pheonix, AZ, Denver, CO, Las Vegas, NV]. Whay are there no aggressive recruitment campaigns to add churches in these places? As the previous poster correctly noted absent evangelism as a centerpiece of our theology the result will only be lethargic growth and churches full of holes not full of the Holy Ghost!!! "

Bill Dickens

"From an historical stand point, our denomination had a vision and mission and a purpose. What is our purpose? It wasn't just about saving souls for Richard Allen. It was more than that. From an historic perspective we were on the the cutting edge. The civil rights movement was not started in the late 50's or 60's, it was started when a group of freed slaves decided to be self determining. From that move, schools were built,churches were built, book concerns were established, newspapers where founded, distribution networks were formed, mission work was done in foreign fields and in the U.S...This was all done before the 20th century. Collectively, our founders has less resources and did more. They acted as a "WE" with a joint vision and mission... Look at our progress after 1930. It is my contention, that is the historic moment in our history that we stopped working from the perspective of "WE" and move to the perspective of "I". NO longer was the mission and vision collective. It became a lot of individual visssion and missions...Look at your history. When was the last time that we look at it collectively as a topic of discussion. The Mission and vision of the A.M.E Church isn't known in the hearts of its membership and leadership. It is simply relegated to the pages of the dicipline, where it has become lifeless verbage on a page. Mission and vision are organic i.e. they have life, they evolve, and they die. But death of vision and mission is directly related to how they are nurtured and maintain. I ask again, when have we look at the mission and vision of this denomination and made it a collective topic of discussion? "

Rev. Carl F. Hunter II

In 2004, we are asking the SAME questions. Are we a church on a mission? What is that mission? What do we stand for? What do we believe? How can we better ourselves?

And now we have added more issues: The war in Iraq, gay marriages (March 14, 1998), the problems in the 17th District.

I pray that we won't be asking the same questions in 2008. It is no longer a time for doctrinal or biblical rhetoric; It is a time for action. We cannot be afraid to stand up for what our church believes in. We cannot be afraid to call sin sin. We cannot be lukewarm any longer. To ask a question posed by Vernon Byrd August 4, 2000, "Which of the 7 churches in Revelations best describes AME Church?"

P.S. I will post this as a new thread as well.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2004

Oh good grief. I take a break for a few days and look what happens. I got called an agent of the enemy. Well, it happened to Jesus so I guess I'm in good company.

We did break new ground though. I've been on the board since 2000 and no one has ever asked me to leave until now. I actually expected it long before this, so I guess that's good.

The answer I've had prepared for a long time I'll give now: We're to submit to the authorities over us. The authority of this board is Rev Harper. When he asks me to leave, I will. I'm not concerned about anyone else's input.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2004

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