Osama bin Laden Dead; Christians Debate Response

Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”

Last night, like countless millions, I was glued to the TV watching the reports of Osama bin Laden’s death; it was in fact  3am when the TV was finally turned off. Though I considered posting about it then, I spent the next hour reading the different responses to the story on the internet, primarily on Christian boards and forums. Some of it was pretty ugly. Some people had their comments edited plus were openly rebuked by moderators for quoting the above scripture from Ezekiel 18:23. Others received similar treatment for expressing their discomfort at watching the crowds on TV celebrating Osama’s death. And I’ll admit that bothered me also. 

Anyway, the CPost has an interesting article posted today,

Osama bin Laden Dead; Christians Debate Response 

23 comments on “Osama bin Laden Dead; Christians Debate Response

  1. Completely agree with you PJ. They kind of reminded me of Muslims dancing in the streets when 911 hit…hmmm.

    • The problem with that logic is that the victims of 9-11 were innocent, Usama bin Laden was *not*. One can not validly compare rejoicing over a criminal act with rejoicing over the punishment of a criminal. They are simply not the same thing. They morally equate a crime with the punishment of that crime.

  2. Come on guys, didn’t the whole nation of Israel party (rejoice) after the Egyptians were killed in the Red Sea. Aren’t there many many instances in the Bible where there was great rejoicing when Israel’s enemies were vanquished. Did God ever mention that it was wrong for them to rejoice? I don’t remember any.

    Wasn’t David thoroughly rebuked (and rightly so) for not rejoicing when Absalom was overthrown.

    I think Christiandom gets confused between the national and personal. Many Christians get confused and think that scriptures relating to personal issues should be expanded to national issues.

    Come on, this is a great time for rejoicing. A God hater who has sworn to destroy anything Christian has be killed. It’s wonderful news.

    Unka Mike

    • Mike, I think we have to be careful about using Old Testament Israel as a model. They also practiced polygamy and were directly chastened by God for it. While we can learn much from the people of Old Testament Israel, we can also do better than that. Now Osama bin Laden is finally gone and we have to move on. There are still plenty of challenges ahead. Rather than wasting time in pompous celebration and gloating, we need to seriously confront the many challenges ahead.

    • Correction! I *meant* to say that Israel was NOT directly chastened by God for practicing polygamy.

  3. PJ, I sort of understand it all because, for many, this was a long awaited triumph of justice. BUT, I WAS really disturbed by those suggesting that he *should* have been tortured first. Those sorts of comments ARE over the top. We do not prevail by becoming like the enemy we abhor and great is the temptation to do just that. He died in an attempt to apprehend him and, as I understand, he was given a dignified burial at sea. And such is appropriate given that the purpose here is to protect society, NOT to exact vengeance. But many people suffered very traumatically due to 9-11 and we have to be careful not to judge their emotional reactions to harshly. Instead we have to correct them in love lest we also sin.

  4. As followers of Jesus, the real question is ‘who’s death does God cheer?’

    If under the new covenant we believe Jesus teaches us to celebrate the death of our enemies, rather than to,

    “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (matthew 5:44)

    then we’re in bad shape folks.

    As to the question, “who’s death does God cheer?”, the answer is no ones.

    “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32

    As ambassadors and imitators of our Lord Jesus Christ, for as long as we abide in this evil, broken world, we also should not react to the death of anyone lost with pleasure.

    In the case of the death of Osama bin Laden, a wicked man for sure, a sober response on the part of God’s people, seems more in line with having God’s heart.

    • Amen. I can’t say I always live up to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, but this is the verse that has been playing out in my head ever since the news about Osama bin Laden broke on Sunday evening. If the average American has identified anyone as an enemy over the last decade, it’s been Osama. So he very much qualifies as the type of person whom Jesus says to love, bless, do good to, and pray for.

      When Jesus gave this command, the main enemy for most people who were listening to Him that day would have been their Roman oppressors. Jesus really did mean for them to love, bless, do good to, and pray for even their oppressors. His words were as radical then as they are now, but as God’s children who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit we have within us what it takes to carry out this command. We have the opportunity to shine and stand out among those outside of God’s family for whom it comes natural to do the opposite.

      Speaking of the opposite, very sadly we have this:


  5. I too was disturbed by the celebrations in Washington and New York.Whilst I understand the elation of those who have waited ten years for this day, to a totally neutral observer their reactions and those of the Palestinians on 9/11 look just the same. Saying ‘we are right and they are wrong’ does nothing to minimise and everything to increase the possibility of retaliation, so who will be rejoicing then?

    Having said that, I think the US government were absolutely right to bring OBL to justice.

    Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
    Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

    It may have been preferable to take him alive and put him on trial, if possible, rather then carry out summary justice on the spot, but perhaps that was not possible due to the fact that OBL resisted arrest or the consideration that a long drawn due process would increase the risk of attack by extremists.

    I do think we can thank God that OBL is no longer in position to plot and carry out further atrocities.

  6. Amen, pj! Well said, thank you. Do we believe and obey Jesus or not? That’s the question. Are we Americans or citizens of the Kingdom whose King is a Lamb (until He comes as Lion, which He has not given His church to do for Him.)

    Because America is confused with christianity by much of the world– because it is confused with America by most christians in America– millions of non-christian and non-western people are getting a distorted and ugly impression of Christ and christianity.

    Governmnents wield the sword for justice by God’s commission, but His elect do not! Let us not confuse the two.

  7. P.S. There is much confusion among nationalistic church-goers on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. We regenerated disciples of Jesus live by New Covenant law in the Spirit, which you can find taught by the words of Jesus recorded in the Sermon on the Mount and other gospel passages.

    The Old Testament is not our guide for life because there is not a covenant nation theocracy of Israel anymore, the covenant nation now is the Church–the ecclesia. The Old Covenant was the type and shadow and school-master until the New Covenant was revealed and cut by Jesus’ blood.

    It is fine and natural that the US would rejoice at an enemy’s death. We are of another Kingdom.

  8. Speaking of the opposite…

    Adam, you’d think Mike Huckabee, who served as a Baptist pastor for a number of years, and who still continues to talk-up his Christian faith in public, would know better.

    But the bible tells us, ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ In this case, Huckabee’s words reveal his heart was bitter and vengeful.

  9. I cringe when I hear Christians make the “burn in hell” remark. That comment implies that hell is populated with the “criminals” of society, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, hell is populated with those who try to achieve their own righteousness outside of Christ. This, undoubtedly, will include criminals, but it will also include a lot of fine people many of us would not expect. To use the “burn in hell” jargon only reinforces people’s infatuation with their own righteousness and only discourages them from giving up on themselves and clinging to the righteousness of Christ.

    • Amen George.

      When Christians make remarks like Huckabee did, they seem to have forgotten that if not for grace, their final destination would be the same; hell.

  10. Good quote,

    “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.

  11. I agree with you PJ …

  12. Well honestly… i couldn’t agree more with the triumph of our country ridding the world of very evil man who killed our inocent Men, Women, and Children. The righteous are to rejoice at the death of the wicked.

    Psalms 58:10~ The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe in the blood of the wicked.

    Proverbs 11:10~ When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; they shout for joy when the wicked die.

    these biblical scriptures clearly say that the righteous should rejoice when their enemies die.

  13. Somewhere, in the quiet of it all, there is weeping, for a son, a brother, a husband and a daddy…yes he was a violent man, but to rejoice over this…we make ourselves no better than the very Muslims we are supposedly fighting.

    • This is so VERY true!

    • Correction, Revival and Reformation, the terrorist’s extended and many immediate family already disowned him. More to the point, how do you explain Isa 14, Ps 149, Prov 11:10, if the righteous rejoicing makes us no better than the terrorists?

  14. The bible says that people are in hell because they have not accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.

    Good people don’t go
    Bad people don’t go

    People who have not bowed their knee to the Savior go.

  15. Whether that is true, Lew or not, is not the main point I am making. What makes you any better for celebrating his death because of “justice” or the Muslims celebrating “one of our guy’s” death? They are both celebrating death which is wrong. Whether you think you can justify your actions doesn’t make it right. Stop using the OT as your justification, otherwise go out and slay the next Muslim you see. Go out and commit genocide against the Muslims or the east Indians. This is what the so called Christians did when they came to America and basically killed off the native Americans with their “go into the world and dominate in My name”.
    Jesus told us to love our enemies, not just our friends. The unlovable, the unforgivable…the worst of the worst. Yes the man’s in hell most likely, and that is the saddest truth of all regardless of your patriotic sediments.

  16. I am a little late, but I wanted to add my comment. I was surprised and relieved when I heard the news of bin Laden’s death. I felt that no longer would my son and other people’s sons be required to hunt him down. I don’t dance at his death, but I do feel relief that he was finally done away with. I guess I feel sort of like the Israelites did when David killed Goliath. Bin Laden is no longer the boogy man.

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