Evangelical Uses Osama bin Laden’s Death to Expose God’s View on Justice, Hell

After watching President Obama announce the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Christopher Morgan, associate dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University, reflected on some deeper issues such as the justice of God.

CP: Some celebrity Christians have denounced the praise of bin Laden’s death saying that by doing so we are mirroring his behavior. What misunderstandings do those who take this position have about God’s sense of Justice?

Morgan: Yes, as Christians we believe we are all sinners and deserve hell. But this does not flatten out sin, evil, and guilt, and some helpful bloggers have recently observed. We can humbly recognize that apart from the grace of God we too could follow a similar path.

But that does not mean we do not also take note of and stand up against obvious, outward, exceptional evil. The judge who sentences the guilty to prison is not necessarily proud, but [is] likely just doing her job. The family who lost a loved one at the hands of a murderer can rightly feel good about that murderer being appropriately punished. Neither the judge nor the suffering family should be asked to spend time reflecting on how similar they are to the murderer. They can simply be happy that some justice has taken place. Perfect justice has not, or no one would have been murdered. But given the tragic circumstances, a punished murderer is a good outcome.

Further, unless people are committing mass murder, they are not mirroring bin Laden. Unless they are dancing in the streets because of innocent people dying in droves, they are not mirroring bin Laden. To be happy that a terrorist has been brought to justice is appropriate, not a moral problem.

CP: How do the misgivings people have about praising the justice of Osama bin Laden’s death resemble the misgivings people have about the existence of hell?

Morgan: This is a complex question, so allow me to offer just one small portion of a response. One similarity is that people in both cases have a view of love that is more sentimental than biblical. In the Bible, God’s love has important nuances and does not comprehensively define God. God is also good, holy, sovereign, just, etc. Today, many forget that.

Similarly, Jesus telling us to love our enemies is important and yet not the only principle in Christian relations with enemies. Many passages address this. Further, the personal Christian ethic is not identical to a governmental ethic. A government, for example, is to punish the guilty; but Christians leave vengeance to the Lord. And both truths are found back to back in Romans (12:19-13:7)! It is all too common to focus on one truth or principle and not think through how twenty other principles relate to it and clarify it.”

The Christian Post

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