Calvary Road Baptist Church

TEN YEARS AGO

 Ten years ago today four commercial airliners were hijacked by al Qaeda operatives who used box cutters to subdue the crew and take control of the aircraft. Two of the airliners were flown into the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan, one of the airliners was flown into the Pentagon building, the headquarters facility of the United States armed forces in Washington, D. C., and the fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania. It seems a passenger on the fourth plane used one of the GTE Airfones the plane was equipped with in the headrests of the seat in front of him when he realized the plane had been hijacked and may have learned from the call of the attacks in New York City and Washington, D. C. Realizing that the plane they were on would also be used as a flying bomb, several passengers rushed the hijackers and their struggle resulted in the plane crashing away from any population centers. We now know that his name was Todd Beamer. For 13 minutes, he spoke with Lisa Jefferson, a customer service supervisor at GTE Airfone’s Chicago call center. He explained to her that his plane had been hijacked, and, assisted by a flight attendant sitting next to him, provided details about the flight. He also talked about his pregnant wife and two young sons. Being a devout Christian, he asked Jefferson to recite the Lord’s Prayer with him, and then recited the 23rd Psalm. Before declaring his famous last words, Beamer said some of the passengers were going to try to seize control of the plane. At around 9:58 AM, he put the phone down and was heard saying to someone else: “You ready? OK. Let’s roll.”[1]

When we look back on the events of 9-11, we realize a number of shocking things: Not a single national or state agency charged with protecting the public succeeded in discharging their obligation that day. The military did not scramble a single plane that arrived in time to do anything to stop the hijackers, and at no time for the rest of the day were fighter pilots provided with rules of engagement to stop such things from happening again. Though field agents of the FBI had tried to call attention to suspicious student pilots interested in learning how to take off and fly but having no interest in learning how to land big jets, no one at the FBI in Washington acted on their warnings. The highest-ranking FBI agent who had been trying to sound the alarm about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for years had been transferred to the New York City field office from headquarters, and finally forced to retire. At the time of the 9-11 attacks, he was in charge of security for the World Trade Center complex and died in the attack. In addition to the FBI’s failure, there was the failure of the CIA (the Central Intelligence Agency), the NSA (the National Security Agency), the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration), and every other national agency tasked to protect the public. Those who were responsible for maintaining security at the Boston Airport the terrorists departed from did no such thing. As a matter of fact, the only agencies that responded in time to do some good were the local first responders, the New York City Fire Department and the New York City Police Department, and they could only react once the attacks had been carried out.

Look back over the events of 9-11. Investigate by means of books, web sites, and videos that are available. My hunch is that your investigation will reveal to you that the only response we know of at the time the attacks were mounted was the response of civilians aboard the plane with Todd Beamer, who stormed the cabin to prevent the hijackers from crashing into a populated area. Thank the good Lord they did not follow orders to quietly remain in their seats as sheep headed for the slaughter. In the ten years since 9-11, our country has significantly changed. Everyone who flies is now subjected to invasive and embarrassing searches that simply do not work, if the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a plane three months after 9-11 is any indication, and if the Christmas 2009 underwear bomber from Nigeria who smuggled explosives aboard in his underwear is any indication. Security personal did not discover or stop their attempts to blow up the planes they were on. Passengers, private citizens, foiled their attempts. According to a television special broadcast on PBS several nights ago, the United States intelligence community now employs one million more people than it did ten years ago, with a significant number of them reported as being unable to articulate what it is they do because they simply do not know. Should it surprise anyone that the intelligence community does not really know what they are doing, in light of the fact that despite the fact that all of those who have attacked the United States over the past few years have been Muslims the politically correct must always carefully refer to Islam as a religion of peace?

Rather than ranting and raving against Islam, which is a false religion, I would like to provide you with a Biblical context into which the events of ten years ago are more clearly understood so you will know what your response should be:

 First, WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENTS AND RELIGIONS

 It is beneficial to recognize that in the beginning of God’s creation there were neither governments nor religions. God created Adam innocent and able to live within a loose set of prohibitions and boundaries, which required no government and relied on Adam’s personal relationship with God. Alas, Adam sinned and became a creature incapable of the kind of submissive self-government God originally intended him to exercise.[2] The result was that wickedness abounded and mankind eventually descended to such a pathetic condition that God determined to judge all mankind by means of a worldwide flood.[3] Only Noah’s family survived the flood, with his three sons and their wives being the founders of a new population, though it was a race that remained unchanged from those who had perished in the flood. Drunkenness on the part of Noah, dishonorable conduct toward Noah by his son Ham, and a curse pronounced upon Ham’s son, Canaan, was not a good beginning after the tragedy of the flood, despite the rainbow’s promise that God would never again judge the whole world by means of a flood.[4]

Governments and religions first arose in the history of mankind in connection with a man named Nimrod, to whom can be traced both government and religion. God’s plan was for men to scatter and repopulate the earth, while Nimrod’s ambition was to gather men around cities in order to consolidate his power over them.[5] What proved useful to Nimrod’s goals was the development of an organized religion, centered on the Tower of Babel, by which means he could more effectively control the population he subjugated. Though God thwarted Nimrod’s effort by confounding the language of men so they could not understand each other and began to disperse, the dye was cast and government and religion were forever wed as instruments useful for controlling men.[6] When did kings not use religion to control the subjects of their realms? Did not Egypt’s Pharaohs represent themselves as gods on earth? Assyrian and Babylonian rulers did the same. In the Americas, be they Mayan, Inca, or Aztec, the rulers all pretended and all the people believed them to be gods on earth.

The pretense of deity in order to rule was not always uniformly successful, however. No Greek citizen would have fallen for any city’s leaders being any more like a god than he was himself. So too the Romans, until Julius Caesar arrived on the scene. With military genius and political savvy, his legions ensured dictatorial power over the Roman senate, bringing to an end Rome’s republic by combining with his military leadership, his position as Rome’s highest political officer holder, and also the title Pontifex Maximus as the holder of Rome’s highest religious office.[7] Be it the emperor of China, the emperor of Japan, the collaboration of the Roman Catholic pope with the Holy Roman emperor, the subjection of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Russian tsar, or even Henry VIII’s marital difficulties that led to his declaration that he was the head of the Church of England, the combination of governmental and religious authority has been effective to rule nations.

What about communist rule? Communism is a religion, the religion of state-sponsored atheistic socialism, so useful to V. I. Lenin, to Mao Tse-tung, to Josef Stalin, and to the father and son rulers of North Korea, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Hitler’s National Socialism, the Nazi party, and Benito Mussolini’s fascists were of the same essential stripe. Look at film of their pageantry, their stirring spectacle, how they set themselves apart from the citizenry as being so superior, so godlike.

Government was invented by Nimrod, and not God, and has been combined with religion to use against God’s people more often than not down through history. Take careful note of Romans 13.1-7. That passage does not suggest that God created government, but that in His providence and His power He makes use of government to graciously bring order in society that can be beneficial to our service to God. It was this understanding that explains why our nation’s founders saw government as no friend of the populace, but as a necessary evil that should be kept under the strict control of an informed and determined citizenry.

 Second, WITH RESPECT TO JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY

 While other nation’s rulers portrayed themselves as gods in exercising theocratic rule over their people, God did in fact choose Abraham and grow the Jewish people descended from him into a nation and then instituted theocratic rule over them. Theocratic rule refers to the direct rule of God. God gave the Israelites Moses to lead them out of Egyptian slavery. He then gave Moses the Law atop Mount Sinai. Over the centuries, He gave them a succession of kings, priests, and prophets. However, it must be understood that God ruled Israel directly for very specific purposes, to achieve definite ends, and to foreshadow the rule of His Son, Jesus Christ, over all the earth at the time of His second coming, when He would establish His millennial kingdom.

The direct rule of God over any so-called Christian nation before the second coming of Jesus Christ is not taught in the Bible and is not anticipated, expected, or desired by Bible-believing Christians. Jesus Himself said that His kingdom was not of this world. Standing before the Roman governor, Pilate, Jesus asserted, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”[8] Let me read that last phrase again: “but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Though His kingdom is not presently of this world, such will not always be the case. His kingdom will be of this world when Jesus Christ comes again, in power and in great glory. However, not before then. Thus, those times in Christian history when governments used distortions of Christianity to advance their own ends were aberrations. The Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, and certainly was not Christian. The conquistadors sent forth from Spain to the New World were not Christians and they did not Christianize anyone, except to force natives to embrace one form of paganism at the expense of their native religion. May I also point out that the Crusades were hardly Christian ventures? True, Islam did over spread by warfare regions that had been predominately Christian, the Middle East, what is today Turkey, and North Africa. Thus, professedly Christian nations in Europe felt justified in restoring by force territory that had been seized by force. However, let us not forget that Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

Though major Christian denominations have at times been designated state religions, be they versions of the Orthodox faith, the Catholic faith, or the Protestant Christian faith, any alliance of government with a religion is by definition an unholy alliance. It was Nimrod, the original idolater, who created both government and religion and married the two to exercise unauthorized control over men. Christians, real Christians, right-thinking Christians at any rate, and certainly Christians of the Baptist variety, have never sought to align with government to control the consciences or actions of anyone. Thus, the scare tactics that are used by the political liberals about right wing Christians wanting to transform our country into a theocracy is simply that. It is a scare tactic that does not in any way reflect the agenda of informed Christians. Do we want to influence our government? Yes. Do we want to control our government? That would require a marriage of the type we should find repugnant to our sensibilities as Christians.

 Third, WITH RESPECT TO THE RISE OF ISLAM

 Whereas God’s Word shows government to be the invention of a wicked man named Nimrod, which God mercifully exercises providential control over for man’s benefit, Islam is a false religion that sees religion and government as inseparable. What was installed shortly after the death of Mohammed was a combination of government and religion referred to as the caliphate, with Mohammed’s successor (caliph) presiding over the territory occupied and controlled by the Muslim faithful. Most Muslims these days see their goal as the eventual reestablishment of the caliphate. That is what Shariah Law is all about.

What is the most prized rallying cry of the secular humanist political left? Separation of church and state! However, those who so energetically advance their notion of the separation of church and state (which is actually a code phrase for silencing of all voices that are Christian), are paradoxically sympathetic to Shariah Law, which is foundational to the return of the caliphate, the absolute union of Muslim government and Muslim religion. Is it any surprise to you that a Muslim democracy exists nowhere in the world, even in countries that have been Muslim for 1400 years? Is it any surprise to you that the only democracy in the Middle East is Israel, and that Muslim countries surrounding Israel are determined to see Israel annihilated? The caliphate is a concept of government by the dictatorship of so-called holy men. The Ayatollah Khoumeini’s rule in Iran was a half step away from a caliphate, and what freedoms existed under his rule, or exist at present in Iran?

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Muslim Turks strapped dynamite to little children to blow themselves up in order to advance the political agenda of Turkey. In the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranians sent children with explosives strapped to their bodies into the lines of Iraqi army soldiers to try to turn the tide of battle. Even now, we see Muslim children being propagandized to blow themselves up to achieve the political goals of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Hezbollah. These are examples of governments and quasi-governments using religion to achieve political ends. Islam is the very epitome of the marriage of a non-democratic form of government to a form of religion for the purpose of controlling the citizenry, of controlling the devotees, of controlling the faithful. But for the secular humanist left’s hatred for this country, they would see the danger of Islam. However, they are friendly toward those they see as our enemies.

Ten years ago, men seeking to advance progress toward reestablishing the Muslim caliphate attacked the United States of America. However, in the minds of Muslim terrorists, and in the minds of most Muslims, there is no real distinction between governmental rule and religion. Thus, Muslims see the United States and Americans as not only a country, but also as a religion. In their minds, in their thinking, according to their worldview, one is either a Christian, a Muslim, or a kafir (their word for black Africans, or worshippers of many gods such as Hindus).[9] Therefore, by attacking the United States, they were in their minds striking against Christianity. That is the nature of Islam.

 Finally, THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF CITIZENS AND CHRISTIANS

 Though the concept is not fully grasped by Muslims, or even by Christian expressions that exist in the form of state religions, such as Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Congregational, and other denominations, Baptists have always recognized and insisted upon the absolute separation of church and state. They are two entities, with the Christian faith being other worldly and any and all forms of government being entirely institutions of this world.

Romans 13.1-6, which I referred to earlier, speaks directly to the Christian as a citizen:

 1      Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2      Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

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:

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.

5      Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6      For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

 Though we cannot spend much time on this passage, note in verse 1 that the Apostle Paul calls for subjection to governmental authority, on the basis that God has chosen to make use of those institutions. Do I need to point out that Nero was emperor at the time this was written? Verse 2 reminds the reader that there are penalties associated for failure to cooperate with government’s laws and requirements, and that, generally speaking, verse 3, governments generally look well on citizens who comply with the laws of the land. Verses 4-6 inform us that rulers are servants of God. Do rulers always treat citizens correctly? No. Do rulers always treat Christians correctly? Again, no. However, this passage clearly shows us that God’s will is for believers to be good citizens, though the totally of scripture clearly shows, such as in the case of Daniel, that we are sometimes called on to engage in acts of civil disobedience, for which we are certainly willing to pay the price exacted of us. Most important for us today, however, is the recognition that our governments are authorized by God to protect us from attackers and to punish those who attack us, Romans 13.4-5. Read the book of Acts and you will see that though Christians are supposed to be good citizens in the main, there are times when conflicts arise between our duties as citizens of our nation and our duties as Christians. It is clear that our Christian duty supersedes our duty as citizens. Peter and the other apostles summed up the principle in Acts 5.29: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

How do these passages tie in to the challenges that face us in the world we live in, especially on this tenth anniversary of 9-11? In two ways, if I understand the situation correctly in light of God’s Word: First, as citizens of the United States of America, we have a duty to not only submit to our government, but also to cooperate where we can to preserve the integrity of our governments, national, state, and local, as it protects citizens and punishes those who attack us. I am convinced that when I am personally assaulted for my Christian faith, my response should be to turn the other cheek. However, I recognize that is not the proper response of my country’s government. God charges my country’s government with protecting me and retaliating against those who seek to do me harm. I fully support that effort. However, I am also a Christian, blood bought and blood washed. I have a higher duty to God than I do to my country. I am first a Christian, and then an American, with that priority never reversed. Moreover, my first and highest calling is to evangelize the lost for Christ’s sake. How should a Christian rise to the challenge of 9-11? By seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and seeing to the reaching of the lost for Christ’s sake.

 I have no idea how much longer our country and the rest of the West will live under the delusion that Islam is a religion of peace, or the accompanying delusion that it is possible for a Muslim to embrace the concept of religious freedom and toleration while their religion demands the subjugation of those who are not Muslims and the annihilation of those infidels who refuse to be subjugated to second class status. I do know this: Christians can and should understand that conscientious Muslims are the mortal enemies of all who are not Muslims, and that the way we should deal with them individually is to befriend them, to love them, to patiently seek opportunities to witness to them, to never attend any of their religious services or in any way compromise our Christian convictions, and pray that we might somehow bring them to Christ. On the other hand, as a United States citizen, I am convinced that no one who is a Muslim should be allowed to live in the United States, should be granted citizenship in this country, should be allowed to serve in any uniformed branch of public safety, law enforcement, or the military, or should be licensed for an occupation that is related to upholding or enforcing the laws of our national, state, and local governments. Do not mistreat anyone, though I am convinced visa should not be granted to Muslims by any means.

Why so? I am convinced by God’s Word, I am convinced by what I know of the Muslim religion, and I am convinced by the missionaries we support who know Islam, that Muslims cannot in good conscience and without deceit swear allegiance to our form of government. We Christians know that government is useful to God but should never be married to any religion. Muslims, however, have the conviction that religion and government should be one and the same in the form of an Islamic caliphate.

Will this controversy be worked out to the mutual satisfaction of Christians and Muslims? Certainly not. How can it be so? Muslims deny that Allah had or can have a son, though we know Jesus to be the eternal Son of the living God. Muslims deny that Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, though we recognize that Christ’s resurrection from the dead after dying on the cross is fundamental to our faith. Jesus taught that His kingdom is not yet of this world, though Muslims have 1400 years of treachery and slaughter as tool to advance their cause.

I do not recommend hatred or mistreatment of any Muslim. I only recommend that our government take whatever steps are necessary to deny immigration into our country by any Muslim and recognize that a Muslim is as potentially subversive to our government and our way of life as was any communist spy serving the Soviet Union during the cold war. Until that happens (and I do not think any of our leaders will ever be so courageous as to protect us in this way), I advocate friendliness toward Muslims, kindness toward Muslims, generosity toward Muslims, and engaging in whatever things you can to show the love of God in Christ in an effort to see them converted to Jesus Christ.

Toward us, they are engaged in jihad. How should we respond to this unique form of warfare? As the Apostle Paul responded, in Second Corinthians 10.3-5:

 3      For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4      (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5      Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

 In other words, we attack wrong notions and not people, false ideas and not people, and erroneous misconceptions with a loving and tender presentation of the truth. But then, we should deal in that way with everyone, not just Muslims. Amen?

I realize that much of what I have said to you this morning is startling, and perhaps even shocking. I suggest that you memorialize this tenth anniversary of 9-11 by watching a movie titled, “Islam: What The West Needs To Know.” The movie presents the realities of Islam by former Muslims in a way that will enlighten your understanding of the only religion in existence which calls for violence against anyone who is not of their faith.



[1] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002, pp. 198-200 and 203-204; Wes Smith, “Operator Can’t Forget Haunting Cries From Flight 93.” Orlando Sentinel, September 5, 2002.

[2] Genesis 3.6-24

[3] Genesis 6.5-7

[4] Genesis 9.11-17

[5] Genesis 9.1; 10.8-10

[6] Genesis 11.1-9

[8] John 18.36

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org