The Cross and The Scimitar

Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. 21 abFrom that time Jesus began to show his disciples that bhe must go to Jerusalem and csuffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on dthe third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!1 This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, a“Get behind me, Satan! You are ba hindrance1 to me. For you care not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him adeny himself and btake up his cross and follow me. 25 For awhoever would save his life1 will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

(Mat 16:2–25 ESV)

We live in a fallen world. Evidence to this fact abounds. Case in point, is the recent mass murder in Florida. What motivated Omar Mir Seddique Mateen to kill 49 innocent people at the Pulse, Orlando’s premier gay night club? There are probably many tangential reasons why: cultural, social, psychological. But behind all of these possible reasons there is at the core a theological reason. What do I mean? Unlike the Christian faith, the institutions of church and state (mosque) in the faith of Islam are conflated where the moral line between the power of persuasion and the persuasion of power is erased. It is no accident that the primary symbol of the Islamic faith is the scimitar. This does not mean all Muslims are violent. In fact it’s the contrary; a majority of Muslims are peaceful people. However, if one goes to the “root” of the Islamic faith one will find at its historical and theological core justification for violence in the name of Allah.  The term radical means root. “Radical” Islam is nothing more than going to the “root” of Islam. The root is the symbol of the scimitar or sword, a symbol of killing in the name of Allah. This was the core motivation of Mr. Mateen.

This is in contradiction to the Christian faith. The primary symbol of the Christian faith is the cross. Like the scimitar it too is a symbol of death. But unlike the scimitar it’s a symbol of death to self. Jesus died on the cross to save sinners. And in turn a Christian is called to (as Jesus says) “take up his cross and follow [Jesus].”

How do we take up our crosses? One way we take up our crosses is to love people, not condemn people; we are to relate to people, not discount them. As Christians how should we relate to homosexuals? Listen to how philosopher/theologian Dr. John Frame says we should love homosexuals:

In general, my view is that Christians should relate to homosexuals as people like themselves, in the image of God and therefore precious, but also fallen and therefore under God’s judgment apart from the grace of Christ. We should lovingly present Christ in such a way that brings repentance from sexual and other sins, and that brings change to a godly lifestyle.

 

We live in a fallen world, but the cross (not the scimitar) is this world’s only hope of redemption.

May we lovingly present Christ that brings repentance to not only homosexuals but all sinners. For we are all sinners saved by grace, denying ourselves and taking up our crosses daily.

Soli Deo Gloria

Carl

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