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29 Jul '14

World conflict, the gospel and our personal response

Posted by T.J. Addington
It is easy to watch the news of the various conflicts in our world such as that between the Palestinians and Israel or Russia and Ukraine and simply think about who are the good guys and the bad guys, informed by our political persuasion or where we are from. I believe that for believers, the issues are more complex than this.

I am not naive about world realities. Those movements who engage in ethnic cleansing, the eradication of believers or those not like them (ISIS) or who simply disregard human life for their own purposes are quite simply evil and must be dealt with if we believe in the sanctity of human life. The purpose of government is to maintain peace and there are times when evil must be addressed whether the genocide in Rawanda or the Nazi aggression in the Second world War. 

Certainly I have strong feelings on many matters informed by my own world view. I am an avid reader of history and world events and see issues from the perspective of my Third Culture upbringing. As one involved in the proclamation of the Gospel, however, I have a higher interest and that is seeing the Gospel spread. Ultimately the hope of our world is not in any political system or government but it is quite simply Jesus. 

Yesterday I wrote this letter to a friend in Russia (who is ethnically Russian) who is engaged in ministry there and was pointing out atrocities of the Ukrainians against the Russians. Of course the perception in most of the west is that the aggression in this region was initiated by Russia upon Ukraine.


I am grieved about the loss of life on both sides in this conflict. I know that all of us have our personal opinions on where the most culpability lies. War is a dirty business and the innocent are the biggest losers. I believe the Gospel is the only true answer to our world’s conflicts including this one.


As I travel and do ministry abroad I don’t do so as an American citizen but as an ambassador of the Gospel and therefore never engage in public political discussions (even though I have convictions on them). I am praying for the advance of the Gospel in Russia and Ukraine. As you may remember my wife’s father was from Ukraine and most of her relatives reside there.



I also pray that Russian and Ukrainian believers will not be divided by what their governments do, good or bad. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus and He is the one who unites us.


Our world is a complicated place, diminished and wounded by sin. I grieve for the loss of life in Gaza and in Israel. I pray peace as Paul told us to pray. I pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven as Jesus taught us to pray. I know there are aggressors and I know that many innocent people are caught in the crossfire.

If we look at the situation in Israel there are no simple answers either. Both Israel and the Palestinians have been involved in horrific actions against one another and there is enough blame to go around and neither government is righteous and no government will be until Jesus returns. Jesus died equally for the Israelis and the Palestinians. He cares about justice and mercy and walking humbly before God and that applies to nations and individual.

I am often asked in third world countries about the politics of America and the perception that Americans are all about wars, drones, bombs and aggression. My standard answer is that I am not here to represent any government and there are no righteous nations. The hope of the world is Jesus. I do have political opinions but they have never appeared on this blog in my role as one involved in world missions. I leave that to others and my government does not necessarily reflect my convictions. 

There are people called into the political arena (Daniel in the Old Testament was one). I pray for them and I pray for righteous decisions to be made in a complicated, broken and often brutal world. My role is to champion Jesus.