Theology & Patriotism

Disclaimer: As I study this more I may find my views below are wrong. If/when that happens I will amend this post and re-post.

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. – D.A. Carson

I’m a Christian and an American. Sometimes those distinctions conflict, and other times they do not. According to Twitter and Facebook now is one of those times when they do. The two texts that keep coming up are Romans 13 and Ezekiel 33. American Christians seem torn between celebrating his death and mourning the fact that he more than likely died without knowing Christ. I suppose one could never say for sure anything about anyone’s eternal destiny, but there is certainly nothing that would indicate that he, in any way, is identified with Christ.

I don’t find the two things to be mutually exclusive. From my perspective it’s not an either/or, but a both/and. I can freely celebrate the job done by our military as they obeyed the orders of their authorities. I can celebrate the earthly justice that was done a la Romans 13:3-4.

I can also mourn the fact that a person died apart from knowing Christ a la Ezekiel 33:11. The ESV Study Bible says of that verse: “The Bible is clear that God will punish sin and vindicate his holiness and justice. At the same time, God feels sorrow over the punishment and death of creatures created in his image.” I can be thankful for God’s holiness and his justice while also recognizing that there is a mourning for all who die apart from Christ.

If I’m honest, that mourning is much more of a head knowledge at this point. This whole ordeal has made me realize that I view myself as a pretty good person. That mindset creeps in when I compare myself to a guy who has been responsible for so much pain and loss in this country. And it’s dangerous.

From a biblical standard all of us are deserving of eternal separation from God. I believe Bin Laden got what he deserved. I don’t get what I deserve only by the grace of God so I can’t boast. God is just and God is gracious.


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