by Ben Kinchlow
       The young man, with tears in his eyes, approached me in the lobby. The horrific events of September 11, 2001 were unfolding around us. "Ben", he asked,

        "As a Christian, how should I react?"

        "Should America respond?"

        "Why did God allow this?"

       Let me answer these in reverse order:

        "Why did God allow this?"

       God is not a "cosmic cop", so He does not prevent such acts committed by His "federal head" - Man. Man is a sovereign immortal, who is a free moral agent acting of his own accord. As a sovereign immortal, man, by design, by office, by nature is free to act as he chooses, when he pleases, without Divine intervention. The difference between man and animal is, animals act by instinct, and man with the knowledge that consequences are attached to his choices.

        (2) "Should America respond?"

       Man is a sovereign and, therefore, any attack on a fellow sovereign must be considered an act of war. God's plan is for man to be secure in his person. God insists on this security. This principle was established with Noah... "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." Genesis 9:6

       God intended an appropriately equivalent response to any attack on man. "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. Exodus 21:22-25

        "But, Ben, we are not under the law." We must rightly divide Scripture.

        "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers...." 1 Tim. 1:8-9

       Furthermore, the government is not the church, and should not be expected to act as such. The reason the government strikes back is because it is tasked with the protection of its citizens.         "...rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." Romans 13:3-4

        "As a Christian, how should I react?"

        "Ben, Jesus said we should not be angry." No, here's what Jesus actually said.

        "... I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment..." Matthew 5:22a.

       Scripture corroborates, "... be ye angry, and sin not". Ephesians 4:26a

       We, as Christians, have a right to be angry for cause, but not degenerate into hatred, nor seek individual acts of vengeance. Vengeance is in the province of God, justice is in the province of man. He that hates, like the terrorists, is a murderer. We should not react, but respond. We should be pro-active.

        "... supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. " 1 Tim. 2:1-2

       Just as the government is not the church, the church is not the government. The government should act like the government, and the church should act like the church.

       Pray that our leaders will act with wisdom, courage, and boldness. Pray for speedy resolution and swift justice. Pray for solace and comfort for those who mourn. Pray.... and,

       ...don't blame God.