May

02

2011

Christopher Morgan|6:52 AM CT

Grieving, Rejoicing that Osama bin Laden Is Dead

 

Osama bin Laden is dead.

How do we as Christians respond?

As I watched the news reports, various passages came to mind--everything from Jesus' teaching on loving and praying for enemies, to James' forceful picture of a future slaughterhouse coming upon oppressors of God's people. The more I reflect on it, the more I realize that my internal tension is similar to another one I have felt many times before-a tension related to the biblical doctrine of hell.

As strange as it seems, hell is depicted in the Bible both as tragedy and victory. Hell is tragic, as it is awful that people rebel against God and persistently spurn the Savior. God is "slow to anger," "abounding in love and faithfulness" (Exod. 34:6-7), and does not take pleasure in the punishment of the wicked, just as he does not find pleasure in the existence of sin (Ezek. 18:23). Jesus likewise grieved and wept over human lostness, sin, and the impending judgment (Matt. 23:37; Luke 19:41; 23:34). The apostle Paul also shared this perspective, earnestly longing and praying for the conversion of his lost fellow-Jews, even to the point of being willing to undergo God's wrath for them (Rom. 9:1-6; 10:1). That sinners go to hell is tragic and should break our hearts.

Yet hell is also portrayed as God's triumph. Hell is linked to his righteous judgment and the day of Yahweh, even called "the day of God's wrath" (Rom. 2:5). As such, hell answers (not raises) ultimate questions related to the justice of God. Through the coming wrath, judgment, and hell, God's ultimate victory is displayed over evil, and his righteousness is vindicated. There is a "comfort" to hell (2 Thess. 1:5-11; James 5:1-6; Rev. 18-22), as its hard reality offers hope to and encourages perseverance in persecuted saints. God will judge everyone, and he will avenge his people; God will win in the end, and justice will prevail. And through his righteous judgment and ultimate victory, God will glorify himself, displaying his greatness and receiving the worship he is due (e.g., Rom. 9:22-23; Rev. 6:10, 11:15-18; 14:6-15:4; 16:5-7; 19:1-8).

Though the comparison is by no means perfect, and though it is on a much smaller scale, I tend to think that we can rightly grieve that Osama bin Laden opposed the true and living God and will be punished accordingly. But we also can rightly rejoice in the defeat and judgment upon people who are evil--and he was clearly evil and deserving of every punishment earth can give. The dancing in the streets may not merely be American nationalism, but an appropriate response to the partial display of human justice as we await the final and perfect display of divine justice in the coming age.

Christopher Morgan serves as professor of theology and dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University in Riverside. He is the co-editor of Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment and Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism.

  • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew Snider

    Spot on brother, I appreciate your point of view Chris!

  • Steggz

    No! The dancing is not right! No one should ever rejoice at the death of anyone. Here is someone who hasn't heard the Gospel. Yes, he's done some despicable things, but we too have done wrong yet we have received wonderful grace. There is no way I could ever condone such happy responses to anyone's death.

    • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

      ‎"When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness." - http://esv.to/Prov11.10

      • Steggz

        Really? Are all those rejoicing righteous? I would assume not. I feel like a lot of this is wicked rejoicing at the downfall of another wicked.

        And how does this then line up with loving our enemies?

        • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

          there is a difference between personal retaliation and what our government does, keep that in mind. ‎”…for rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer…” – http://esv.to/Romans13.1-6

          • Steggz

            But does that still gives us cause to rejoice in the death of an unbeliever? I'm convinced that there is no possible reason for this

          • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

            I don't know what will convince you then, I don't know how you take "...when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.” – http://esv.to/Prov11.10

            If you are convinced there is no possible reason for this then nothing will convince you and there is really no point in continuing this dialog #Presuppositions

            • Steggz

              You can't use the second half of the proverb without the first. And your presupposition that these people are righteous (and I completely reject that thought) needs to be investigated as well.

              How do you deal with the proverb Kylie quotes:
              Proverbs 24:17 “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.”?

              I don't want to get into a battle of proof-texts. I just want to say that there is another possible viewpoint.

            • JRJ

              Jason D., I think you're making a good point that we can and should support our government. But, it appears to me that the celebration is far more over bin Laden's death than it is over the US gov't's accomplishment. Also, what do you think of Eze 33:11? "Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? "

            • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

              "I think Christians are right to contemplate how jubilation (like we see on TV right now) is consistent with Ezekiel 33:11, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.” So I can understand why Christians may be asking, “If God is not delighting in the death of the wicked, then how can we?” I think there is confusion on this point because this verse is easily misunderstood. The second part of the verse is key to understanding its meaning. The text is not trying to say that God neverdelights in the death of the wicked. Rather, the verse means that God prefers for sinners to repent rather than to perish. If they refuse to repent, God delights in His own justice enough to punish them appropriately (e.g., Psalm 1:5-6; 5:4-6; 68:2; Isaiah 13:1-22; Jeremiah 18:11). We have to be willing to praise God for His justice one way or the other (Psalm 139:19-22; Proverbs 11:10; 28:28; Revelation 19:1-3)." HT: http://www.dennyburk.com/some-thoughts-on-the-death-of-bin-laden/

            • marti korpi

              You can certainly rejoice this evil man is gone from this world. You can also at the same time know that it is tragic that anyone goes to hell.

              IN ALL OF THIS, AND EVEN MORE SO, REJOICE, GREATLY REJOICE IN THE FACT THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL AND HE IS THE ONE WHO REPAYS MAN FOR HIS DEEDS ON EARTH.

          • http://patricklmitchell.wordpress.com Patrick Mitchell

            Jason, are you reading chapter 13 in light of chapter 12, specifically verses 14-21? I was waiting for the Romans 13 trumpets to start blaring, and indeed they have. Can we at least proceed with caution rather than being SO confident in our western, American reading of a single text?

            • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

              Why are you assuming I am reading just one verse? Would you like for me to quote Genesis-Revelation ;)

        • marti korpi

          I think loving our enemies is talking more about us personally loving those who hate us and not taking revenge on them...so much different than ridding this world of an evil man like Bin Laden.

        • http://awildernesslife.blogspot.com Laura

          It doesn't say that those who are rejoicing are righteous, Steggz. It says, "When it goes *well* with the righteous, the city rejoices." It's an example of antithetical parallelism:

          When (good thing) happens to (good people),(celebratory response)
          When (bad thing) happens to (bad people), (celebratory response)

    • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew Snider

      I am not sure you can say he has not heard the gospel. That is a very large assumption.

      Also I think some of what the celebration is more for Justice rather than the death of a person.

      • Steggz

        Poor word choice. Here is someone who hasn't received the Gospel.

        And is this really justice? Because if we take this retributive view of justice, his family will be entitled to kill those who killed him, and so on and so forth.

        • kathy p

          you keep saying he has never heard the gospel but how do you know that? maybe at some point he has heard it. even the devil knows the scriptures

          • Steggz

            I said the word choice was wrong. He hasn't received the Gospel. As in heard and believed. And that is something that leads me to not rejoice in his death.

    • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

      I didn't mean to get into a debate and I can understand why some would not rejoice in justice.... just know we Christians will all be rejoicing in justice on day [Rev. 14:6-13 & 19:1-4]

    • http://fb rhona davis

      We will all rejoince on judgement day when Jesus returns to call His people home. Will we rejoice? Yes. We will rejoice. We have accepted Christ as our savior and He has chosen us. Those who reject him will not be rejoicing. The Dead in Christ....they will not be in Heaven. It will be too late. It is too late upon their death if they have chosen to rebuke God. They have chosen to Deny God. They have rejected Jesus as their savior. How can we not rejoice as so many have when we cried for all those who were killed. How many have been killed. We do not need to add this worry to our hearts at a time such as this! Isreal is God's chosen people and they rejoiced. They have been persecuted. Al quida is evil. Victory over Evil is a reason to rejoice.

    • http://GospelCoalition janelle fear

      Then you have a skewed sense of emotion as it is related to justice. The old testament is full of Gods people rejoicing after His commands to wipe out Israel's enemies time and again, which included men, women and children. Israel rejoiced over their victories by singing and dancing in the streets. Do you not realize that the bible says that God sits in the heavens and LAUGHS at His enemies?

      • Steggz

        Strawman argument. There has been NO DIRECT COMMAND from God for us to wipe out these people (although I may have missed it...)

        And yes God laughs at His enemies, but it's not our place to do so, for these are people that need the Gospel. And last time I checked, laughing at people doesn't help in our witness.

    • lAUb

      "The essence of sin is, we humans substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We put ourselves where only God deserves be, God puts himself where we deserved to be" John Stott.
      LET'S STOP PLAYING GOD, TAKING JUSTICE IN OUR OWN HANDS BY KILLING UNJUSTS (such as we are) AND REJOICING ABOUT IT...

  • Colin Wolcott

    Justice is a solemn thing, and we are deserving of the same justice that Osama has recieved. how then can we rejoice? rejoice only in the fact that we are no longer on that same path due to Christ's redeeming work.

    • http://tr.im/delgado Jason D.

      We can also rejoice that our government is doing it's job:

      ‎"…for rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer…" - http://esv.to/Romans13.1-6

      • Hans Norved

        We just need to note that God has also installed the Iranian government (fake elections of not..) and given then a sword. The government the passage speaks of was the anti-christian Roman emperor...
        Be fore we get to deep into US hubris.

  • Kylie

    Proverbs 24:17 "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice."
    Justice is God's, not ours.
    I agree with Steggz. NO death should ever be a cause for celebration. How can someone celebrating this death as a victoy based on beliefs/values be any different from those who celebrated 9/11 as a victory based on their beliefs/values.
    May we never take for granted God's mercy on each and all of us.

    • Kylie

      I mean not to offend with that comment- merely to point out that we wouldn't want people to rejoice over our death or death of our loved one's, and I feel that therefore we should act accordingly.

      • Hans Norved

        Go girl - there goes any one of us but for the grace of God. - or do we think we contributed anything to our salvation???

  • Holly

    Great article.... yet I am uneasy with the pictures of American's dancing in the streets .... it's not the same as winning WWII, this was one person. Also with this enemy the battle isn't over - and this type of reaction not only begs for retaliation against our troops from radical extremists but shows us acting just like them. There IS a time and a place for war, for fighting for what is right and for rejoicing in a job well done -- just not sure this was the appropriate display (and just fyi we are an Active Duty Army family with a hubby/father downrange)

    • dell

      Thank you for your sacrifice. May God keep them safe as they Defend our very right to debate this topic.

    • http://facebook.com/madealivegathering Trev Zero

      Proverbs 24, Ezekiel 33, ....Chris Morgan, miss u in Barstow; Holly, well said; this is how I put it on FB blog: Osama 3000- American Secular Humanists and nominal Catholics and Protestants-30,000,000+. Any murder is horribly trajic, whether "legally" through murdering unborn babies or the leader of a small band of Islam. The President has it wrong, we are at war with Islam because Islam has declared war on Christianity and Judaism its predecessor. Osama, Saddam, Yasser, Qadafi, they are just devout disciples of Mohammed, as were the Barbary Coast Muslims. Likewise, Americans gloating and "celebrating" is to me a greater tragedy of one example of Christian nominalism or lukewarmness.
      I will celebrate when domestic Terrorists who use, perform, and agree with abortion are once again criminalized. Am I glad a criminal is not loose? Yes! Am I grieved that the celebration of one evil gone doesn't compare at our own tolerance of evil right around us? More so. Perhaps many just want to put a face on evil for a scapegoat of their own sin.

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  • Boilerblues

    I thought the article was very well written, balancing the saddness that comes from an unbeliever dying with the joy of seeing justice triumph.

    I agree that "dancing in the streets" may not be the most appropriate display, and I don't think that's the picture the author wanted to paint over his death. Rather, that's the attitude to have over seeing the cause of a great deal of evil brought to justice. It's important to understand that each of us has the capability of such evil, apart from the Grace of Christ, and that we should be solemn that we are "there but for the grace of God". But it's ok to be happy that he isn't going to hurt anyone else.

    It breaks my heart that people I love are currently bound for Hell. I pray for them and seek to point them to Christ for Salvation. Yet I do rejoice that some day a Righteous Judge will bring His justice, and that sin will be no more. It would be evil for me to want my loved ones in Heaven more than I would want sin to be righteously dealt with.

    One of the comforts of the doctrine of election is that we aren't capable of killing someone before God can save them. God knew when Osama would die, and He knew if Osama would repent. It is still something to be mourned that someone died apart from the Grace of God, but we aren't mourning that he died before God could rescue him. God's plan was played out as God intended it.

    To each of us there should be a tension and a struggle inside about this. If there isn't, we have a distorted view of it. God takes no joy in the death of the wicked (Ez 33:11), yet God does take joy in His justice. So it may be safe to say that God has mixed emotions about the situation, but He ultimately takes joy in that His perfect and good plan is being played out to His Glory.

  • Jennie

    But we deserve the same punishment as him. We all deserve death and it is only by God's grace that we have been saved. I don't think it's right to be 'dancing in the streets' over the death of one of God's creation. Yes, he rejected God and is now suffering for it, But God says, "Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    Romans 12:17-21

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    According to Rob Bell's Love Wins theology, does Osama Bin Laden go to Heaven or Hell after his death on earth?

    • Momma M

      Doesn't matter what Rob bell thinks. It matters what God thinks. According to the Bible, those who don't repent and come to faith in Jesus Christ do not go to heaven. Thus, Osama, being evil and believing in the muslim faith and not in the One True God, most likely went to hell.

  • Joel Smith

    Proverbs 24:17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice. Rejoice in justice.

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  • Leandro Lozada

    I think we need to step back a little.
    1) ”When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.” – http://esv.to/Prov11.10
    ????? That proverb is not telling us to rejoice when an enemy is dead... It is just describing what happens.

    2) The singing and shouting out there are not an existential expression of the death of an enemy but rather a social expected response to the death of an enemy. They are having fun out there and they will forget about it in a couple days. There are some, a minority (those directly affected by 9/11), that are indeed experiencing something real regarding Osama's death but I doubt they are dancing and shouting out there. They are probably praying or grieving about their pain and happy in a sense because some sort of justice has taken place.

    As Christians we should definitely rejoice in justice and grieve for the lack of worship in the world.... but dancing our there in the streets seems to me a rather a display of nothingness.

  • Dan

    Jason D., you're doing your best, but I believe your foes are getting the best of you here :-) I would be included in their numbers.

    Truth Divides... The Bible tells me that all men go to the grave and do not live again until the resurrection, at which point all will be judged according to the Divine Law, rightly adjudicated by Christ himself. I believe that Rob Bell is saying we should leave that judging to Jesus, and do our best to love our enemies, as Jason D's opponents above are trying to stress.

  • Mercy

    Proverbs 24:17 “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.”

    Then apparantly David disobeyed this proverb because there are several examples of David doing just that in the Psalms! Also Proverbs 24:17 is an incomplete sentence; you must read vs. 18 to get the context. It says do not rejoice because "the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him." It does say that God disapproves of gloating over a fallen enemy, but the reason you're not to gloat is because you DO want God's wrath to fall on that person!!!

  • http://www.sacredoutfitter.blogspot.com Jeff Baxter

    Thank you Christopher for your thoughtful response.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com Steve Cornell

    I understand hesitancy about "celebrating" the death of Bin Laden but (for perspective) let's remember that execution of one guilty of murder is a mandated function of human government (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1-5). Justice has been served. "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers" (Proverbs 21:15)

  • http://www.graceflow.org J. D. Coleman

    Bittersweet Justice: http://nblo.gs/hm0WQ

  • Kenton Slaughter

    I don't know about New York, but the prevailing character of the cheering at the White House was not the jubilation of those who know God's justice but the drunken reveling of those who rejoice because a murderous enemy of the US has been killed. There is a difference also between praising God and praising the military might of the US (We should give honor to the troops of course).

  • marti korpi

    I am glad that our military found Bin Laden and killed him.
    I would not usually rejoice in anyone's death and I agree hell is tragic. God is not willing that anyone should perish.

    God has given us a choice to accept or reject Him - Bin Laden made his choice.

    In all of this, as Christians, we must believe that God is sovreign, He is in control. No matter what anyone may get as far as earthly punishment, VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY SAYS THE LORD.

    I am thankful to God and our military that Bin Laden was taken out, but wonder how anyone can be so evil. Thank God that He is in control and that He will now deal with this evil man who killed innocent people.

  • Chris

    To be clear, I was not recommending "dancing in the streets" but wanting to point out it was not necessarily a problem. The sense of joy through a measure of justice is right and fitting. How that joy is expressed was not my focus.

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  • Andy Garber

    I can definitely realate to the internal tension described. Can someone please help give me some insight into verses like Proverbs 24:17-18? "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him".

  • DB

    I think Jesus would wash this guy's feet. I think the Kingdom of Heaven is inseparable from unconditional love.

    • http://thegospelcoalition.org Collin Hansen

      Indeed, Jesus showed nothing less than incredible love toward the man who persecuted him and terrorized the church. Do you think, Dan, that Scripture suggests any difference between the personal actions of Jesus Christ and his followers and the mandates reserved for governments?

      • Dan

        Actually, justice would have been served in a court of law, not an assassination that can truly never be proven or verified. This wasn't bin Laden on a battlefield getting shot, it was (purportedly) a special forces assassination. Assassination = murder. Execution = justice. So, no, I don't see this as God's means in either the Old or New Testaments.

    • Boilerblues

      While the Kingdom of Heaven is inseparable from unconditional love, it is also inseparable from justice and holiness. We can't focus on one aspect of God's character and ignore the others. The Old Testament holds many examples of God pouring out His justice on sinners (The Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc). Let's not forget Ananias and Sapphira that God struck down for lying, and the book of Revelation for your New Testament examples. I'm not saying Jesus would have struck Osama down immediately, but even the example of how Jesus dealt with the Pharisees shows us that He probably would have addressed Osama's grievious sin.

      As Christians we really have to pray for the Holy Spirit to show us how to love our enemies, and how not to enable their sin. I highly recommend spending some time with Dietrich Bonhoeffer to understand how he went from being a committed pacifist to being a part of the plot to assasinate Hitler. What is more loving, to allow a mass murderer to live and kill more, or to bring justice to the murderer so that many more may live?

    • DB

      I don't know, Collin, but I don't have any Scripture at my fingertips to back me up either. It's hard for me to understand how governments, made up of people, are exempt from the same mandates Jesus reserves for his followers. If someone says he/she is a Christian, it doesn't sit well with me when that same person does something potentially un-Christian and then is allowed to hide behind the protection of "government".

      In response to Boilerblues, I just want to say that I start with Jesus. I don't know how to fit a lot of Old Testament judgment into his approach but I know that the presence of Godly wrath doesn't simply mean we can also enact horrible judgment on people, simply because it's in the OT. I also don't think Jesus' frequent rebuke of the Pharisees is the same as actually killing someone.

      I also chafe at the notion that Bin Laden was an "evil" man, any more than I am. I don't really know how any biblically-based Christian can. Aren't we all saints and sinners? All desperately in need of God's love? This strikes me as the same old "Yeah, I did bad but as bad as THAT guy" argument which, as I recall, Jesus repeatedly and explicitly addressed during his time on earth.

      Lastly, I'm a Bonhoeffer fan but just because he tried to assassinate Hitler doesn't automatically make his actions justified. My understanding is that Bonhoeffer himself thought he would go to hell for this.

      • http://thegospelcoalition.org Collin Hansen

        Thanks for your reply, Dan. The two most relevant passages for distinguishing between personal ethics and government responsibility, I think, are Romans 13:1-7 and Mark 12:13-17. Of course, we've been working out the exact implications of this teaching by Paul and Jesus for centuries.

      • Boilerblues

        Collin referenced some relevant Scripture as far as the distinction between the action of a government vs our actions as believers. The best example is the OT where God directed pagan governments to discipline Israel, His wayward children. Judges is full of it, but read the prophecy regarding the exile to Babylon and then the conquering of Babylon by Syria. God clearly directed those governments to carry out discipline against Israel, even though they were not believers and chose to use methods that God would not direct Israel to use. Now for a believer in a government position, they are responsible to act in a Christlike manner. But a government as a whole is going to act in a worldy way, and God will use that for His purposes.

        As far as your response to me, my encouragement is to spend some time understanding Christ's work in the Old Testament. If you believe that Jesus is God (foundational Christian doctrine), then every action by God in the Old Testament is the Trinity, including Jesus. A very clear example of a theophany (preincarnate appearance of Christ) is Genesis 18-19 where God in human form (Jesus) appears to tell Abraham that He is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness. I'll encourage you to gain a greater picture of Christ through understanding His amazing Grace through the OT. I thought the OT was all judgement also, but it is overflowing with the Grace of God from beginning to end. Also, I'll note that I said that Jesus may not have struck Osama dead upon meeting him, but that Jesus would not have enabled Osama's sin. Jesus loves the victims of Osama's crimes also, and the most loving thing that Jesus could do for Osama is call him to repentance and to turn to Christ for Salvation.

        I know I'm not any better than Bin Ladin, save for the Grace of God given to me. What he did was evil, and he did need to be stopped before many more people were injured and killed. A government cannot overlook the actions of someone committing great evil. The world tried pacifism in World War 2, and it led to the death of over 6 million Jews and millions of other people. Many times we do restort to violence too quickly, but sometimes the most loving thing to do for everyone is to put an end to wickedness. Often God chooses to use a secular instrument, government, to end that wickedness.

  • T Jefferson

    I love Jesus.
    I love when the devil loses.
    I love America.

    Do you?

    • marti

      AMEN We serve a Great God and we have a great military.

  • marti

    I rejoice that this evil man is gone.
    I rejoice that our Navy seals took this evil man out.
    I rejoice in the fact that God is in control.
    I rejoice in His grace that as a sinner, He has saved me and I am kept every day by His grace.
    I am sad that anyone goes to hell.
    I rejoice that God has the final say! God is just and will do what He says in His word. God never changes and He is always faithful and always consistent.

    • T Jefferson

      Amen!

      • marti

        God is great and greatly to be praised. God is not surprised by all this. It was in HIS PLAN!! That I am sure of.

        Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that also he will reap!

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  • steve miller

    I believe the difference between celebrating correctly and incorrectly comes down to if we view this as justice being served or vengeance being administered. I delight in justice, I am glad when freedom is protected, so I am happy this evil mad man's reign of terror is ended. But I must not gloat in his defeat, I must not give in to a vengeful mindset, it is quite sad to watch even a horrible killer reap his just reward.

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  • Pat

    What does justice look like for the woman used as a human shield?
    What does justice look like for the civilian casualties caused by the US military?
    What does justice look like for the millions displaced, injured, or widowed during the War on Terror?

  • Pingback: One Christian Response to Bin Laden’s Death | hislovelycreation

  • Eric

    Keep in mind, as believers, we will all one day rejoice as God delivers justice and judgement to all wickedness and evil (Rev. 19:1-2). If you are one of the few that will give his/her life for Christ you will CRY OUT for justice and righteous revenge against murderers (Rev. 6:9-11).

    Is it not right for believers to rejoice in justice? Is this not a picture of what is to come when we all do it together?

  • http://www.growup318.com Heather Joy

    Amen, amen, and amen! Great article!

  • http://sungyak.tumblr.com John

    I'm skeptical of Dr. Morgan's conclusion because I think Dr. Morgan's language there is one of skepticism, with a hint of hidden optimism in the American justice system (and its enforcers). He's giving the current celebratory mood over Bin Laden's death the benefit of a theologian's doubt. But I myself am meeting his statement with at least as much skepticism. For the "partial display of human justice" is something I cringe at paralleling with the "perfect display of divine justice." Dr. Morgan's optimism 'may' be misguided. An enemy of the state is not an enemy of the Church.

    • http://setfreefromtheic.wordpress.com Set Free Indeed

      I couldn't agree more John... I'm not surprised though, many parallel the America with the kingdom of God, and hold idolatrous American pride.

  • http://www.fbcnorco.com Nik Brownell

    Thanks Dr. Morgan.

    This analogy is very consistent with the emotional turmoil over this man's death. I appreciate the reality check for all Christians to rejoice in justice being served while not forgetting that a sinner has just perished without repenting. While I can cry in joy for the many families that feel some sense heeling with this act of justice, I can also mourn for the tragic end of a condemned and lost soul who never received the undeserved mercy shown to me.

  • http://setfreefromtheic.wordpress.com Set Free Indeed

    There is no rejoicing in my heart, and I don't understand how anyone could rejoice that this sinner who is probably in hell right now is dead without repentance. If God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, and we are supposed to be Christlike, why are WE taking pleasure in it.

    There are some who are defending the celebrations in the streets saying the bible IN PRO 17:24 only condemns a person INDIVIDUALLY for rejoicing in the death of an enemy... OOOK. So how much more would it tick off God if a nation engaged in a behavior he condemned COLLECTIVELY? Still SMH. #excuses

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  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    In this specific situation the Obama Administration carried out social justice.

  • Margaret

    Whether we rejoice in Osama's death or not, God's wrath is just and perfect and He is perfectly able to take care of Bin Laden's soul. When I first read the headline this morning I thought I was still asleep. Having witnessed 9/11 with my own eyes, I understand the gratefulness that this man has been stopped. He has killed many people.

    But the gloating I see in the news stories of people throwing parties and waving the American flag and chanting, "USA!" does not strike me as a cry to God of thankfulness that this man's evil deeds are finishes. It strikes me as nationalism that is a product of complete removal from the awfulness of death. In the aftermath of 9/11 no one was wandering around cheering and chanting, they were horrified and sobered. And Bin Laden's death (however just it may have been) doesn't change what has happened. Our hope after 9/11 isn't in killing Bin Laden, it's in Jesus. The end of Bin Laden doesn't bring peace, Jesus will bring peace. We're crediting Bin Laden's death with far too much.

    This is not the end of a war that we can cheer. There is no real end to Al Qaeda through this death, this has only stopped one man. I don't think God is sitting in heaven cheering today, I think he is grieving. And I think that as Christians we can point to whatever verses we want to justify our reactions, but my initial feeling is still that the crass jubilation of some Americans is just that: crass.

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  • http://www.chadholtz.net Chad Holtz

    and Jesus wept.

    My take - American or Christian? : http://chadholtz.net/2011/05/01/american-or-christian/

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  • http://yahoo c

    i agree on your theory however osoma bin laden was a created being created by god and though he chose to go down the wrong path who know wheter he asked gods forgiveness b4 he died or not?

  • Jeremy C

    Osama's death is a fulfillment of Genesis 9:6. While yes, I do wish OBL would have repented and been saved, I unashamedly rejoice that God's Word was fulfilled in OBL's demise. I am totally comfortable with supporting this fulfillment of justice. My response is 100% consistent with following Christ and I look forward to giving an account to God. Some of the alternative comments border false piety.

  • Jeremy C

    Dan, we disagree. Let me say, that a court of law does not guarantee justice. In fact we can point to many cases (e.g. Roe V Wade) where the court system is anti-justice. The point is that Osama was evil until death. To try and draw an equialency between OBL and all of us is a massive misrepresentation of the doctrine of total depravity and sin.

  • firstLight

    Muslim countries are now looking at the way the "Christians" behave when their enemy get killed. Do you think they will like it? Sad to say, many are still blind and lost in our own backyard.

  • AllenD

    This is a one question I ponder: Are you and I any less evil than Osama Bin Laden was?

    • Jeremy C

      Yes. To equate the general sin nature of man with the specific evil acts of Bin Laden is a misrepresentation of the doctrine of the total depravity of man.

  • http://www.craigmccourt.com Craig McCourt

    Well said - lets not sink to their level of celebration over death.

    I shared my thoughts on this day also... http://www.godponders.org

    < Craig McCourt

  • Will

    "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
    ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  • Ally

    Ezekiel 33:11- "Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’"

    I think if Bin Laden were to turn from his evil ways, then we would have true reason to rejoice. To me, his death is reason to mourn our own depravity and the broken condition of our world. Justice has been served, yes. But thank-you Jesus that "justice served" is not the end of the story (!)... I think if we, as those saved by grace through faith, all truly understood the extent to which we reject God and don't rightfully deserve even an ounce of the amazing grace that he has gifted us, we would not think of ourselves so highly as to celebrate a man who has received what we equally deserve.

  • Ally

    **"to celebrate a man" should read --->"to celebrate the death of a man"

  • areta

    I'm glad that he's dead, not that I will dance or celebrate it. It's more because of the safety of the rest of the world population - though I'm sure a new leader of Al-Qaeda will rise. It is indeed easier to kill them than to make them understand how wrong they are. So, do we have to sacrifice other people to save them or the other way? Either way, we can always pray for them.

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  • J. Resch
  • Rejoicing
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  • http://www.beholdingglory.com Laura

    I hope we seize this opportunity to delight/rejoice in the death of Christ on our behalf and be quick to talk about it with others. A great transition to the gospel would be, "do you think he's in help right now? Why? How bad do you think someone has to be to go to hell?"

    • Jeremy C

      Bin Laden received justice. Praise God! But what sort of justice do we deserve?

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  • Dan

    The line between Christianity and American Nationalism in this case (and most others) is often thin, obtuse and sadly sometimes not there at all.

    I don't know how one can find similarity between the conduct of the US government and the teachings of Christ.

    A friend from Wales.

  • Cornelius

    I think he got what he asked for. He lived by the sword, so he died by it!

  • Aidan

    I don't get it.

    You create a bogeyman for yourselves, and then you kill him.

    I suppose it makes a good fairy story.

    Now back to sleep zzzzz

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  • George

    Just read an interesting perspective on CT from Warren Larson, director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/mayweb-only/osama-donotgloat.html

  • john-Paul Lotz

    Whether or not this is a sophisticated psy-ops, or the real deal I am disturbed at the amount of mindless flag-waving taking place. Have we really become a Reich's Church already, valiantly supporting the military and our fearless leaders in pursuit of 'justice'? Have we so quickly forgotten our history, and are we really so unsophisticated that we feed at the troth of pop-news and media hype? Beloved, we are called to higher things, especially fixing our eyes on Jesus. This side-show is a circus that is unworthy of our theological attention. But, since the average american subjects herself to 30 hrs of TV a week, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that we are shrieking 1984-style rage against the 'other'. It's a good distraction from the death of the US economy, the death of the Pacific Bio-sphere, the end of civil liberties, the decline of evangelicalism, and other more pressing issues. Maybe we can be done with such manicured tv trifles, and get back to building the Kingdom of God.

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  • Ben

    The Book of Ezekiel provides insight into God's justice that demands our attention. Through Ezekiel God speaks against his own people - their ignorance of his law, their greed, and their predilection for violence. God goes on to tell them that he will use pagan nations to punish them. However, later in Ezekiel God also confronts the very nations he has used as the instruments of his justice. What we learn is that although God's hand is at work in human acts of violence (that is, God uses the nations to punish each other), no nation that uses violence is innocent. Doers of violent acts, no matter the motivation, are culpable for those acts. Violence perpetrated by one person against another is NEVER something God delights in. Those of us who desire the mind of Christ, the love of the Father, and the will of God, may celebrate justice. However we also must keep in our sights that justice, biblically speaking, is the equitable distribution of God's gifts. As such, what we're calling justice, and what many are celebrating this week, is a distorted concept not condoned by Scripture. Human violence neither pleases nor glorifies God. We can accept it as a reality of life in a broken world. But we who are in Christ cannot celebrate it.

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  • Kristen Ferguson

    Hey Chris! We were discussing the same thing yesterday when we found out. Thanks for helping us see that there definitly is a tension. Its not all rejoicing as I have seen as the majority response. We appreciate it!

  • http://adullamfellowship.org Vaclav Vasil

    This is a call to be sober and to "repent" while we are here on the earth -

    1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke 13:1-3)

    And in "the new heavens and the new earth", in humility we'll "bow down before" God -

    22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:22-24)

  • http://jmsmith.org JM

    "The dancing in the streets may not merely be American nationalism, but an appropriate response to the partial display of human justice as we await the final and perfect display of divine justice in the coming age."

    I don't know if such response (dancing, cheering, etc.) is appropriate for any follower of Jesus THIS side of the Final Judgment. I think it's mostly a mixture of nationalism & groupthink, personally.

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  • http://www.welcometotheasylum.net Breanne Braddy

    I read the article, but found the comments to be more telling than the article itself. It quickly devolves into more finger pointing and judgment. It got ugly very quickly, just as I expected it to. And this sentiment has spread like wildfire over the interwebs. Blogs are being posted about how unrighteous it is to rejoice over our recent enemy's death, etc. Pastors are preparing their sermons on how this awful heathen "joy" is against God's will. They have verses, like my law enforcement husband has bullets. And they are prepared to shed blood with equal fervor. The only difference is that their's is a subtle thing. Not bright red and arterial, but nearly invisible in the congregations' emotions. In their ability to relate to God. Most felt triumphant that the man who single handedly brought down thousands of God's children, can no longer do any harm. Now, they're not so sure. They leave the church, or webpage, or post, not feeling in any way revived, but ... distant.

    It's just one more block in the wall between "real" Christians, those of us who can't abide by the rigid fundamentals, and the rest of the world. One more division. One more thing to separate the in, but not of, crowd ... from everyone else.

    Same stuff ... different day. Tomorrow there will be some other reason to write about what is and what is not acceptable to the Lord. So, I suppose I shouldn't get miffed over this one. It'll be forgotten soon enough.

    Yet, it does. It's discordant. Like, somehow the Jews were supposed to be grieved over Hitler's death because he never converted. Sometimes these things far outreach our limited human ability to be perfect. Yes, sure, strive to be like Christ. But, until you're deity incarnate, that's not easy.

    So please be careful how you guys approach this. My friend Carla said it nicely ... sweetly and with good intention. But this sentiment has already been honed as a weapon by other, less well-meaning people, so my advice (to whomever is listening) is to keep a lid on how riled up you get about being its champion.

    Don't forget that many, many well-known religious leaders said that those towers fell as way of God's punishment. I sat in class and heard those words at Beacon, mu undergraduate school. So now, to hear that I can't even rejoice in this single moment of victory because he was a child of an all-powerful God (who lifted his hand of protection)? Sorry. I can't do that. My flawed, imperfect spirit won't allow it, and I won't pray for it. I flat refuse to dwell on the problem of an all-powerful God and the existence of evil, which is what acknowledging Osama as a child of God does for me. Let's not get into free will argument, I took apologetics, I know the game. I'm just not willing to play anymore.

    Bottom line, this whole article, while interesting, is embarrassing to Christians ... Amazing how fast that "love" is forgotten for the sake of being "right."

  • Layanna Maiara

    You know that Jesus died on the cross for Osama Bin Laden too, don't you?
    There is a big difference between vegeance and justice. The US government didn't gave any opportunity of judgment for Osama Bin Laden. That wasn't justice, it was vegeance. And I can't rejoice over someone's death. I can't rejoice over a act of vegeance.

  • Jeremy C

    There is something very wrong with the moral compass of people who are not pleased with the justice that OBL's death represents.

    • Breanne Braddy

      Wish there was a "like" button for your comment Jeremy. I'd totally give you a thumbs up!

    • Steggz

      And there's something very wrong with the moral compass with those who rejoice that another sinner is going to hell

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  • sara long

    Let us not judge those who are rejoicing. May God be the judge of all of us.

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  • Jeremy C

    God will judge his soul. I rejoice because he will no longer be murdering thousands of my brothers and sisters. That is the morality that I look forward to giving an account to God for.

    • Steggz

      That is the worst false dichotomy I've heard in a long time. I'm glad he can't kill others too, but I know two things which either temper or cancel that.
      First, there are many others who are ready to kill people; either Westerners or their own countrymen in the name of their cause (Islamic or not).
      Second, the sin of this man (and great it may be) does not lessen the fact that this is a man who died unregenerate, unforgiven, unsaved, unredeemed.
      Regardless of who they are, shouldn't we all be sad at the death of someone who could have become a brother or sister in Christ? Or is our true belief that we don't think some are worthy of the Gospel?

      • Jeremy C

        Seriously Steggz, I think you are suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome. Why else would you have such sympathy for OBL?

        I too believe that Jesus paid the price for OBL's sins, but clearly by his fruit he rejected that. The fruit of his lifestyle also meant he forfeited his right to live. Genesis 9:6

        • Steggz

          SYMPATHY? You've got to be kidding me. From one Aussie to another, you're off your rocker if you think I've got sympathy for the man.
          I have no time for people who seem to be setting themselves up as better than others, who claim that it is good for a man to die without accepting the Gospel.
          All I have been saying through this 'discussion' is that it's not right to rejoice at the death of someone who died an unsaved man. But if (somehow?) my words seem to show sympathy for the evil OBL has committed, may I distance myself from that immediately.

  • Andrew Alexander

    In Australia we hold that a person is innocent until proven guilty before a court of law. Osama bin Ladden was never tried before a court. I understand he was unarmed when shot and could have been captured live and then tried and subsequently dealt with appropriately. If this is American justice I am fearful that we are becoming as bad as those we oppose.

    • Jeremy C

      Sometimes a court of law is the last place that justice is found.

    • JMW

      Andrew,

      I think we who live in democratic countries find it easy to whine about not letting the evil men have their day in court. We are talking about a muslim who lived in Pakastan, hidden away like the fugitive that he was, under armored protection, and would never submit to being arrested by our government our Pakastan. Not likely that we would ever get this man into a court of law. He lived by the sword and died by it.

  • David Baker

    I have to say that from here in England, the chanting of "USA, USA" really sounds quite alienating and wholly inappropriate.

    Here is what I have written for our church newsletter here this Sunday:

    Osama, Obama & justice

    How did you react when you heard that Osama bin Laden had been shot? How should we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, react? We may rightly feel relief that Bin Laden is no longer able to plot terrorist outrages or influence others. We might also feel that – even if, ultimately, a Nuremberg-style court proceeding, albeit more cumbersome, might have carried more legitimacy in the eyes of history – this is about as close to justice as we can get, given that he was never going to “come quietly” with U.S. troops.

    But while we might feel relief, and perhaps justice, it is surely not right for Christians to rejoice over the death of this man – or indeed of anyone. Each individual life is precious to God – be that the life of an unborn child, a toddler, an elderly person with dementia, a war criminal – and you as well. We might well feel deep sorrow and revulsion at a life used in the way it was by Bin Laden. However, as Martin Luther King Jr said: “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

    Many of the newspaper reports carried pretty much the same headline – whether it was The Times, the Brighton Argus or The Washington Post: “Justice has been done.” Ultimately, justice belongs to God. As the Bible tells us, “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). And as the Archbishop of Canterbury put it to Prince William and Kate Middleton in the Prayer Book marriage service words: “Ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.”

    God’s justice – his judgment – means that how we treat others matters, as Revd Rico Tice reminded us at our joint Sunday evening “Bible By The Beach” event. His judgment will also be absolutely fair: for Osama, Obama – and for us too: “Will not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

    God tells us that he is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished,” (Exodus 34:6-7). The message of the Bible is that we all fall short – we are all guilty – and yet that Jesus Christ was prepared, at the cross, to take our deserved punishment upon himself, in our place.

    So with Osama, relief, yes; a sense of justice, maybe; rejoicing – perhaps not. Most of all, reflection: for we “must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 5:10). And we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). It is only through the death of Jesus in our place that we have any hope of acquittal before that judgment seat. So, what is our attitude to Him? David Baker (Rector)

  • Steven Bailey

    I wish I could concur, but I can't. The scriptures are explicit in their cautioning us to not rejoice when our enemies fall (Proverbs 24:17-18).

    • Jeremy C

      It is not wise to build a doctrine on a Proverb. Proverbs are wise statements that are generally true. (e.g. Prov 22:6)

      • Steven Bailey

        In which case, it is generally true that the approach one should take in regards to one's fallen enemy is not that of rejoicing. Rejoice and give glory to God for his deliverance, by all means, but keep that the focus, not the fact that another one of God's children has been killed.

        And it's not simply that passage. We are encouraged by Christ himself to love and pray for our enemies. Such language is found throughout many parts of the Sacred Scriptures.

        Evil has not been quelled here. It claimed countless lives and it has now claimed Osama's. Evil came for death and hatred, and got exactly what it wanted.

        • Jeremy C

          I would agree with that

  • Jeremy C

    As an Australian, I can understand how the chants of USA can be off putting. However, understand that the USA suffered the most casulties on 9/11 and they have done most of the heavy lifting in bringing OBL to justice.

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  • David Baker

    "Sometimes a court of law is the last place that justice is found." (Jeremy C)

    Maybe... but like democracy being the least worst form of government, law courts are the least worse form of justice.

    The alternative is vigilante-ism and mob rule -- effectively a system of personal revenge, which is profoundly ungodly.

    • Jeremy C

      But this wasn't personal revenge. It was a declared war by a government. Governments have the God ordained right to punish evil doers.

  • JMW

    @Steggz,

    I could be wrong, but I understand the word of God to say that all who have lived either before or after the resurrection have had the opportunity to reconcile themselves to the God of the universe due to whatever means available; the scripture, the spoken word, dreams and visions.

    God is not so small and petty that He would send people to Hell on a technicallity of not hearing the good news through some means. We are all born with a measure of faith to seek His face and bow down or turn away. God is so much larger than our puny minds can hold, surely we cannot fathom the lengths that He goes to to woe the lost.

    So, in effect I have no doubt that bin Laden had ample choice to seek the Savior. He was not a stupid or ignorant man, just prideful and deceived and evil.

    • Steggz

      Putting words in my mouth. All I have been saying is that it's not right to rejoice at the death of a man who has died apart from the Gospel. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I am full aware of the situation as a theological student, and know that he is getting the punishment deserved for rejection of God. But I don't think we do ourselves any good by rejoicing at his demise. I guess the main reason that sits behind that is I would never want Christians to get a 'superiority complex', that we are better than those who are unsaved. We are no better, we just have received the most gracious gift possible. If anything, situations like this should be driving us to witnessing to the goodness of the Gospel message to all and sundry, all over the world.

  • JMW

    @ Steggs,

    Did you read the article in full? Chris Morgan clearly is talking about not rejoicing over the death of the unbeliever, but the justice of God being met out to one who has murdered thousands of essentially innocent people. God hates sin and murder; and I certainly don't pitty those who murder and then face judgement here on earth.

    How in His holy name can we justify not meeting out justice to those who so clearly murder and mame in His name? What was done was not a sin; it was a killing of an evil murderer, and justice for all of those whose lives were taken so brutally.

    • Steggz

      Please read what you just posted. You said murder is wrong, yet justify the murder of a murderer.

      And I have read the article, a few times now. Most of what I have been saying is in response to what others have commented. I honestly believe, as a outsider looking in on the situation (being an Australian) that most of what is going on isn't rejoicing at the death of a evil man, but gloating at how great a certain nation is. "See that man? We killed him! Yeah, USA!" That's not rejoicing at justice, that's nationalistic pride.

      It is God's perogative to mete out justice. I don't think what we have seen here is justice.

  • http://www.helpforthosewhogrieve.org Greg Wright

    Professor Morgan, I am still reeling from being rebuked by fellow Christians for being happy about the death of Osama Bin Laden. Your article provides a well balanced perspective that many Christians are not seeing. Thank you for making it available.

    • Jeremy C

      Keep strong Greg. Christians are not always right. God is.

      • http://www.helpforthosewhogrieve.org Greg Wright

        Hey, Jeremy C, your comment encouraged me. Thank you.

        • Chris

          I guess they cannot or do not distinguish between personal and church ethics and govt ethics. The two have similarities but also nuances. Rom 12:19-13:7 point out that Christians do not take vengeance and that the govt is supposed to promote justice, even with the sword if necessary.

  • JMW

    God used the word Kill in the scriptures to indicate meeting out justice for one who murders another (this is an act of sin). To kill as God has allowed in defence and justice of sin, is not sinful. It was used and still is in our society as a form of meeting out justice. Look up the word in Hebrew that was used to define murder as in "Thou shall not murder". It describes killing without out just cause.

    God also defines killing another in defense of truth and liberty as act ordained by Him (as in all of the battles in the old testament that He ordained). I would never rejoice in evil, as no Christian should and God does not. I do rejoice that God has given His children the authority and means to end the acts of evil men by killing them, not by murder (which is killing without just cause).

  • JMW

    How many innocent people have to die in order for Christians to say enough is enough? To all of those who say we as Christians should never defend the righteous or the TRUTH with killing an evil murderer, how much evil do you need to see in order to wake you up to the truth that God has given JUST men the authority to meet out that justice here on earth. Do we have to be brutallized by tyranny and see evil dicators run out country, before we can responsibly and take back the ground that Satan has stolen? What measure of oppression do we in free society have to witness, before it is time to act in defense of truth. Truth includes love and justice.

    You cannot have one without the other. Any other view is really unbalanced. Study the Word of God long and hard enough, and you will understand the absolute necessity that God will display both in His relationship with us both in spirit and in the flesh. We are here on earth to reflect the love and justice of a holy God. We cannot live one without the other. God says vengence is His, but justice must be met out by righteous men of God.

    • Steven Bailey

      How many times must Christians be reminded that Christ implored us to turn the other cheek, to accept persecution, and to love our enemies before they realize that seeking the path of destruction is in fact not what God has authorized us to do?

      Appealing to the nature of the violence enacted by evil simply won't do. It is not enough. You will have to provide something other than pointing out the evil in this world if you wish to convince others that what Christ has said is in fact the opposite of how one should act.

      Our path is clear. We do not respond to evil in the way evil has responded to us. We respond to evil with love, and we pray for those who have inflicted pain and suffering on others.

      • Jeremy C

        No one is saying that we do not pray for our enemies. No one is saying that we do not suffer or turn the other cheek. However, you are ignoring the plethera of Scriptures that authorize justice and government authority.

        • Steven Bailey

          First, JMW is absolutely asserting a course of action that is contradictory to turning the other cheek and pursuing a doctrine of love instead of destruction. This is evident in the appeals ze has made to the brutality and the violence directed towards others as a means for justifying retaliation.

          If I am ignoring a "plethora" of scripture that justifies a celebratory spirit in response to the downfall of one's enemies and dictates that our actions must indeed follow a course that is different than the doctrine of love as espoused by Christ himself, then by all means show me where I have erred and we can make a discussion out of it.

  • http://thecitygoodhope.org e_mike

    great post.

    i read something similar here -> http://www.thecitygoodhope.org/?p=4862

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  • http://www.helpforthosewhogrieve.org Greg Wright

    When I am happy or sad or want to celebrate something like our recent success over Bin Laden, I often respond with poetry or music. The song below attempts to celebrate with the same kind of God-centered focus we find in Exodus 15:1-2. You will note that it neither gloats nor expresses hatred. I hope this is the right approach. The poem is long and might get truncated.

    Praise God Who Gives Us Victory
    By Greg Wright
    (using the same tune and meter as Charles Wesley’s ‘O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing’)

    Praise God who give us victory,
    Who gives success in war.
    Bin Laden lies beneath the sea.
    He’ll trouble us no more.

    Praise God for mothers, fathers too,
    Who for our soldiers pray,
    Who trust that God will keep them safe,
    Preserve them every day.

    They know that only God above
    Can give us victory.
    In God alone we place our trust
    To keep our nation free.

    The ones who brought Bin Laden down,
    They are our nation’s best.
    Yet might alone does not prevail
    Our God must grant success.

    Praise God for mercy deep and wide!
    Let us His name adore.
    Let us repent of foolish pride,
    No longer God ignore.

    Indeed, let us with grateful hearts
    Give praise to God above.
    Who though we have not kept His law
    Still bears us up in love.

    Oh Lord revive our sinful land;
    Cause us to seek your face.
    Draw back our wandering hearts to you,
    Restore us by your grace.

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