- October 22, 2008
‘Immoral & unnecessary’
I am mystified by the recent discussion of torture in the Baptist Standard. I’m glad David Gushee and others now recognize that torture is unethical and anti-Christian (Sept. 29 ). They’re right, but since when is torture a greater crime than murder?
Our government’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal, immoral and unnecessary. It was based on lies and deceit. It was conducted on the same moral and legal plane as the German invasion of Poland that began World War II. A Johns Hopkins University study indicates this war has caused more than a million civilian deaths—mostly children—plus more than 4,000 American servicemen.
We can’t blame our soldiers. They did what they were trained to do and what they were ordered to do. They were lied to, as well. But the generals, admirals and civilians above them are without excuse.
I and others warned the Baptist Standard about our government’s war plans eight months before the attack, in August 2002. Jimmy Carter warned this was not a just war.
Yet even now, six years later, Baptist ethicists appear to remain silent on one of the greatest evils in modern history—strongly supported by Baptists.
Thanks for the article highlighting the work of Bethel International Baptist Church in Frankfurt, Germany (Sept. 15 ). Bethel is part of the International Baptist Convention.
The opportunity for reaching international English-speakers continues to grow. Expatriates continue to be mobilized by governments and international businesses.
I visited Prague, Czech Republic, a few weeks ago and was amazed at the number of university students from around the world in the IBC church there. Many students will return as business people, teachers, scientists and other influencers in their home countries. Many of those countries have laws prohibiting missionaries, but these Christ-followers will return as dynamic witnesses.
A group of Iranians came to Christ through an IBC church in Sofia, Bulgaria. They have now moved on to Athens, Greece, where they are reaching Farsi-speaking people not only from Iran, but also Afghanistan and other countries. Many would not be open to a gospel witness in their home countries. They are willing to listen to the gospel message, and are responding.
The common need for encouragement, vision, ministry and missions unites international churches. The IBC’s future lies in its ability to assist these churches.
Fifty years of history lie behind us; the next 50 years of opportunity, if the Lord tarries, lie before us. We are currently in 25 countries, and growing.
There is a great need for leaders who will risk all to serve Christ in reaching a mission field with global gospel potential.
Jimmy Martin, general secretary
International Baptist Convention