Responding to Terrorism
Mike Schrage, Executive Director
Terrorism is in the news and on our minds. I’d like to share this commentary from Dr. Jim Denison, founder of the Denison Forum, as it explains well the context in which we live.
To put recent jihadist attacks in context, think in four concentric circles:
One: ISIS secured a home base of operations in Syria and Iraq when it seized land in June 2014 and declared a “caliphate” or an Islamic government.
Two: ISIS has expanded operations with military affiliates in eleven nations, so it cannot be defeated by attacks on its home base. Even if we destroyed ISIS in Syria and Iraq, we would not stop the movement.
Three: ISIS is now attacking the West. What happened in Paris could happen in any city with a handful of ISIS loyalists. The group released videos afterwards warning that it will attack Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Four: ISIS attacks are inspiring other jihadists to become more aggressive as well. The U.S. State Department lists 27 different radical Muslim terrorist organizations operating in the world. If we eradicated ISIS completely, other jihadists would step into the void.
Does the proliferation of radical Islam mean the terrorists cannot be defeated? Not at all.
We must continue to defeat terrorists through military means. As British Prime Minister David Cameron declared recently, “the root cause of this threat is the poisonous ideology of extremism itself.” He has called for a “battle of ideas” to counter “this diseased view of the world” which “has become an epidemic.”
Mr. Cameron is right. Radical Islam will continue to threaten the world so long as there are terrorists to attack us. It’s why the most important strategy to defeat ISIS and other militants is spiritual. Human words cannot change human hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can convict us of sin, save souls, and change lives.
You and I are on the front lines of this global war. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan has deceived jihadists around the world. Christians must respond with a global army of intercessors who pray daily for Muslims to see visions of Jesus, come to faith in Him, and for many to take the Gospel to those living in darkness.
This year every time you see a news report about terrorism, let’s pray for wisdom to treat all people with love and dignity. Start right now!