Israel v Gaza: taking sides

It is astonishing to find that the level of violent conflict in the world at present has pushed stories about ISIS rape and murder of Christians in Mosul down to third place in the news. Western military intervention in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan was in large part based on a narrative that as countries become … Continue Reading

Can we pray for the dead?

Andrew Goddard writes: To encourage and enable commemoration of the First World War, the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England recently produced a number of resources. They raise an interesting issue for evangelical Anglicans – what do we think about praying for the dead? It is in some ways appropriate that this centenary should bring … Continue Reading

Is God a warrior? (part 2)

(continued from the previous post here) Fourth, as we move from the united kingdom to the return from exile, the prophet Zechariah reinforces this perspective. Many people know the verse from Zechariah 4.6: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord. But what is not always realised is that the re-establishment … Continue Reading

Is God a warrior?

Events of recent weeks offer a serious challenge to our thinking about God and conflict. The video released by the ISIS group of militant Sunni Muslims fighting in Iraq included an British Muslim from Cardiff urging others to join him. In the video he makes three claims: that jihad (understood by some Muslims as a spiritual struggle) … Continue Reading

What we should do about Syria

There is one thing all agree on the subject of Syria: the suffering is appalling and intolerable. And there is one thing no-one can agree on: what we should do about it. A good starting place is to understand the complexity of the situation. One person commenting on Nick Baines’s blog cries in despair ‘How … Continue Reading

Why does God allow people to do evil?

This article was printed in the Winter edition of New Wine magazine, and is reproduced here by permission.

We are confronted almost daily with the reality of evil people at large in our world. Robert Mugabe is the latest in the long line of villainous leaders to dominate headlines. President of Zimbabwe since 1980, he has inflicted untold misery on his people—so why has he been allowed to continue? It is striking that Western policy in recent years has often appeared to be shaped by response to individuals, evil leaders who need to be toppled. So the second Gulf War in Iraq was directed specifically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. And it was seen to be a triumph of Western action that Gaddafi was deposed as leader of Libya. However evil certain systems or cultures appear to be, it is evil people that we feel the need to focus on.

Questions in Scripture

Scripture appears similarly to be concerned with evil individuals, and the challenge they offer to our understanding of God’s love and power. What will God’s response be to evil and obstinate Pharoah, oppressing and enslaving God’s people? asks the writer of Exodus. What will God do about a succession of kings of Israel and Judah who ‘do evil in the sight of the Lord’? asks the writer of 1 and 2 Kings. How can God not only allow the foreign leader Cyrus to flourish, but actually make use of him in liberating his people? asks Isaiah. What sense can we make of the tyrannical kings Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius as we face tyranny in our own day? asks Daniel. The questions continue to haunt us.

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