After bin Laden, ‘a grace mission’ continues
Ava Thomas, Baptist Press
May 06, 2011

After bin Laden, ‘a grace mission’ continues

After bin Laden, ‘a grace mission’ continues
Ava Thomas, Baptist Press
May 06, 2011


diversity of comments following the death of Osama bin Laden was evident on

most any Facebook news feed.

Some pitied him.

Some cheered for the shots fired. “This is a great moment for

every American,” one noted.

But Greg Turner* winces at the thought.

“I confess mixed feelings,” said Turner, a Christian leader in Central

Asia. “On the one hand, there is no doubt that Osama bin Laden was

a wicked man, and there is no injustice in what happened to him.”

But God says in Ezekiel 18:23 that He has no pleasure in the death of the

wicked, Turner added.

“If God takes no pleasure in this, then we can commend the justice of bin Laden’s

death, but we should never gloat about it,” he said. “Walk wisely, brothers and

sisters, and take every opportunity to share Jesus with those on their way

toward destruction.”

Drew Carson*, a Christian leader among the peoples of Northern Africa and the

Middle East, said Christians can respond in a way that makes clear who they


“As people of (God’s) Kingdom, our responsibility is not to respond like a

human being but to respond with a Kingdom response,” Carson

said. “That way, we won’t just see the moment, but through the moment to the

real issue.”

The real issue involves mission, Carson


“We should advocate for justice, but we are not on a justice mission. We are on

a grace mission. What we do and who we are is from a whole different

perspective,” Carson said. “None of

us deserves grace, but He’s giving it and wants to give it through our lives.”

It’s not that the military can’t respond in carrying out justice — Romans 13

says the government has the power of the sword, Carson

said. “As followers of Christ we want people to have justice, but our job is

more the grace job.”

Natalie Shepherd* takes that job seriously. She prayed for 10 years for bin

Laden’s salvation.

“Today I still carry a picture inside my Bible of another top terrorist wanted

by the United States

government,” said Shepherd, a Christian worker in the Middle East.

“His photograph reminds me to pray for his salvation and the salvation of his

family. And when I look at him, I am reminded that God excels in doing what seems

impossible to me. His face reminds me that my God is full of immeasurable

grace, delighting to bring even the hardest of earthly criminals into His

sheepfold even today.”

Saul is the perfect example of that, she said, explaining that if God

transformed Saul into Paul — who reached much of his part of the world with the

Gospel in his day — He could transform others for the same purpose.

“I challenge followers of Jesus to pray and fast for the salvation of people

like Osama bin Laden who are still alive today so that if and when we hear of

their deaths, we won’t party because justice was done but because grace

triumphed,” Shepherd said.

*Names have been changed.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Thomas is an International Mission Board

writer/editor based in Europe.)

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