The rise of genocidal Islamic terrorism – especially when coupled with largescale governmental inaction against such a worldview – is creating a stunning humanitarian issue throughout the Middle East and much of Africa. Because of this, earlier this year we at Calvary Chapel Fallbrook began dedicating the proceeds of our recycling program toward helping those directly affected. Renamed as Support the Defenders Recycling Program, it is designed to do more than just aid in housing, clothing and feeding the refugees created by these terrorists. Please let me explain.
Whenever there is a refugee issue, Christians are almost always the first ones to bring aid and comfort to those affected or displaced. This is good, wonderful and in keeping with the principles of our faith (Luke 10:37; James 1:27), especially when done in response to natural disasters. However, when this is our only response to refugees of genocidal aggression, I believe we are entering dangerous territory.
What I mean by this is that Christianity tends to create an understanding with the bad guys: you make the refugees, and we’ll take care of them. If we do this without simultaneously trying to help stop the bad guys, we are essentially enabling them, and the situation will only worsen. The first rule of dealing with bullies is to stop them, or they’ll end up taking over everything.
To this end, we are proud to donate the proceeds from Support the Defenders Recycling Program to All Things Possible Ministries, who directly aid those groups suffering this genocidal rage and who also help them to stand their ground and survive. Some of these groups we’re aiding share our faith, but most of them do not. What they share is our humanity, and if we do not help them withstand this evil, we will surely share their fate in due course.
Let me horribly paraphrase Martin Niemöller (a German pastor who wrote of the consequences of his initial inaction during the rise of Hitler and his Final Solution): When the terrorists came for the Chaldeans, I did nothing; I was not Chaldean. When they came for the Shia, I did nothing; I was not Shia. When they came for the Yazidis, I did nothing; I was not Yazidi. When they came for the Kurds, I did nothing; I was not a Kurd. When they came for the Africans, I did nothing; I was not African. When they came for the Europeans, I did nothing; I was not European. When they came for us, there was no one left who could help.
Please consider beginning such a recycling program in your community or at your church today. At Calvary Chapel Fallbrook we are only one small church, but the support for this cause has been both wonderful and overwhelming, and I can only imagine what a difference would be made by a hundred or a thousand churches or groups doing the same thing. Or if you’d prefer, you can donate online at Calvary Chapel Fallbrook (if you do, please let us know that your gift is for Defenders). But I would much rather see many more churches or groups operating their own programs in their own communities.
Now to the obvious question that arises concerning me and the stance I’m taking. Do I hate ISIS, Boko Haram and their kind? Admittedly I do, and very much so, for their ideology is as much the personification of evil as I have ever seen, and am likely ever to see. Such an ideology must be opposed if anything of honor and nobility is to survive upon Earth. I would assume it would be expected of me to hate the ideology of the Antichrist. This is no different.
But at my church we operate by this principle: If it’s your idea, it’s your ministry. You do it; you lead it. Well, this one was my idea, and so I lead it and I do it. Every Sunday I park my truck in the church lot, and everyone piles their recyclables in and around it. Early in the week I take all of the recyclables to the recycling center and sort each can and bottle. And as I do so it is a wonderful opportunity for me to pray for each victim of this insidious evil – every victim of forced conversion, kidnapping, rape, sex trafficking, murder, beheading, immolation and genocide. But the Bible also tells me to love and pray for my enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5:44), and so I do that too. I pray that each one may be touched by the beauty of the nature and love of Jesus Christ – so very, very different from the nature of the callous god who envelops them with his tentacles of darkness and hatred. And I pray for their utter defeat at the hands of those who bravely oppose them.
Thank you, and God bless.
Pastor Barry Mahler