More vital thoughts on the war in Ukraine:
Two days ago I sought to lay out the case for how I view the situation in Ukraine. As I remarked, none of us have all the truth and insight on the situation. We must prayerfully and carefully seek to find the truth as best we can. Staying humble in the process sure helps. None of us are infallible here, and we should be open to course redirection if and when it is required.
But just as others have their take on this, I also have my own point of view on these matters, and I have been sharing it. Needless to say, plenty of others disagree with me – some quite strongly. Indeed, many are happily hating on me, calling me every name under the sun, and unfriending me on the social media as fast as they can. Well, it is no fun, and it hurts, but I will seek to do what I feel God is calling me to do.
Here I will look a bit further at some of the objections, criticisms and claims being made by others. A 25,000 word piece would be needed to deal with all of them. But let me focus on just a few of them. One thing often heard – usually in the form of memes and the like – is that emphasis on Ukraine is just a diversion or a distraction.
And often these memes making the rounds are being pushed by those who are more or less conservative in their views. One popular meme for example features a guy turning his head to check out a passing woman while he walks along with his own partner. The text usually speaks of the distracting woman as Ukraine, while his partner represents all the problems at home.
The message is: things are quite bad in the West, and it is somehow quite wrong to worry about or focus on Ukraine. But it is not all that helpful to imply that we either be concerned about the rape of Ukraine or the worrying statism and health fascism etc., that we have seen in the West.
I am deeply concerned about both as a Christian and I will speak out about both as much as I possibly can. It is not an either/or but a both/and. And it is not a distraction. I have challenged some friends when they have posted these things. Some have tried to say this is really only about how the media distract us and so on. Sure, the media may not be able to handle more than one big story at a time, but that is not the real issue here.
And some say the memes simply mean we should get our own house in order, and they will sometimes offer some biblical passages to reinforce this point. But the main text we can appeal to here (1 Peter 4:17) does not refer to nation states and how we should think about a just international social order.
We can seek to keep the nations we live in in check as we try to be salt and light there. But we can also seek justice in global affairs. There is no either/or here. If we wait until Australia or America first become perfect, the rest of the world will go up in flames. We should be working at both things simultaneously.
And one last point: if this is all just a distraction to keep us from dealing with the NWO, etc., just who did the invading? Um, it was not Ukraine, or America, but Putin and Russia, the ones supposedly raised up by God to save us from the NWO!
A second thing I quite often hear from some Christians is that Putin may be God’s instrument to take on a decadent West and so on. This too I see over and over again. They say Putin is somehow the virtuous savior needed to deal with a world full of vice. I will speak to this more in a moment, but let’s speak briefly about God using pagan rulers. Several things can be said.
In the Old Testament at least God gave us prophets to tell the people of God what was going on. We do not have the same thing today as such, so things are much less clear. And there is a big difference between God using a Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of judgment and a Cyrus as a means of blessing. Recall that after God used the evil Assyrians and Babylonians to judge Israel, God then went on to judge them as well!
I also find it problematic how so many are defending Putin while claiming Ukraine is somehow the epitome of evil: it is the deep state, it is corrupt, it is part of the NWO, it is decadent, and so on. They basically claim: ‘Russia and Putin are lightyears ahead of the West. They are morally and spiritually so much better.’ I have heard this over and over again. Here is just one shocking but fully representative comment presented to me:
I will take Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin any day of the week over any leader in the west, whatever his faults. I am a million times more outraged regarding having to see sodomite filth polluting the streets of Sydney once again, the millions of babies aborted in the west, the large number of deaths from the covid death jab by and large which are never reported, the hatred of the non-vaxxed, the health dictatorship etc etc than Russia “attacking” the Ukraine. Most people who are so faux outraged over Putin’s actions couldn’t care less about this other stuff and by and large support all of it. It makes me puke.
First – and of interest – some folks tell me they never hear or read comments like this. I tell them that they must move in different circles than I do – I get them all the time! But second, this is just idiocy: the idea that Putin and Russia are basically the kingdom of God on earth, while Ukraine and the West are nothing than the abode of Satan is just ludicrous. All nations are corrupt and sinful. None is perfect.
And it is another stupid false dilemma: I and many others have spoken out on things like homosexuality and other types of immorality in the West for years now. This focus on just a few things like homosexuality means they often rule out or ignore other sins. Many of these critics end up whitewashing other sins that God also cares about. But I can defend family values while also condemning imperialism and war crimes.
Killing innocent men, women and children actually angers God just as much as homosexuality does. But when we in effect just wink at all those other sins in our fixation on just one or two sins, we are not presenting the full counsel of God. We are picking and choosing what WE think is the greatest sin. Sure, homosexuality will send you to hell – no question. But so will murdering innocent people, and being a bloodthirsty tyrant.
When one runs with these anti-Ukraine and anti-West views so strongly, one ends up not only becoming one-eyed, but offering a blank cheque for the evil of Putin and others. Many of these critics who especially focus on things like homosexuality would – or should – also agree that abortion is another horrible sin that God abhors.
But wakey wakey: Russia continues to be a world leader in the slaughter of the unborn, with more than one abortion for every two live births. By the logic of many of these critics (if they would be consistent), NATO would be entirely justified to invade and wipe out the evil Russia to deal with this great sin. Indeed, it would be God’s chosen instrument to bring righteousness to the land! That is exactly how far too many Christians are speaking about Putin and Ukraine.
Sorry, but I find all these matters to be fundamentally evil, sinful and abhorrent in God’s eyes. So I will not be drawn into being forced to choose between one sort of sin or another. I will condemn both sets of sins with the entirety of my being. This is what God has called me to do. This is what my heavenly commission is all about. As such, I must seek to please God and not men.
One more thing about this. When these folks present their long lists of all the great evils in Ukraine and elsewhere, many will defend their argument by prefacing it with words like the following:
“Putin may have some issues, but…”
“He is not perfect, but…”
“I am not condoning Putin but…”
“For all his faults…”
Almost invariably these five- or six-word introductions are fully offset – if not negated – by everything else that follows from these critics. And what follows is a very lengthy and often emotive rant about how bad Ukraine and Zelinskyy are, how good Putin and Russia are, and how we must basically applaud this invasion as a way to ‘drain the swamp,’ ‘clear out the deep state,’ ‘undo the evil empire,’ and so on.
So what these folks give us with the one hand they take away with the other. All that they continue to say makes it rather clear that they do NOT really think Putin is in any way a bad dude. They DO end up fully condoning his actions. They ARE in fact justifying what he has done.
One last and related point. Christians in the area have sent back many incredible reports. One Christian missionary that I personally know of has just sent this report out:
The mayor of the city of Ternopil called our center to report that 6,000 refugees were coming in on the next trains: could they help? The funds are enabling our staff to distribute these people to churches and homes throughout the city. They are also being used to buy food for them, as well as taking food to the besieged city of Kyiv. They are also taking large containers to the few locations where fuel is still available, filling them, and taking them to fuel the vehicles that are transporting people.
As Ukraine continues to be attacked, the situation in Russia is worsening. Over the years, western missionaries have been pushed out of the country with economic and anti-terrorist laws that were gradually enacted to close down any western influence. Most western missionaries were eventually forced out. Yesterday, the last Americans were told to depart Russia and the few western team families we still had in the country had to leave. They are currently in Central Asia waiting to go back to the U.S. Churches and other groups in Russia have been sent questionnaires asking if they have any contact with western nations.
-Our team in Russia has no access to funds or help of any kind from outside. There is a lot of hurt and fear about the future and we need to pray for them.
-These next hours will be crucial in Ukraine as Kyiv is under siege. Pray for our team there. Many are in subways and basements. Some remain at our center to take in people who are losing their homes. Pray for the drivers, bravely risking their lives to transport people to safety.
-Pray for the thousands and thousands of Ukrainian refugees standing in lines at the borders. It is cold and they are mostly women and children. They are suffering greatly. Our team has built a great network of people throughout the country through the many churches they have been working with. As a result, they are in a good place to help them with food and shelter.
Thank you for your prayers and giving,
Al and the Slavic Ministries Team
All this of course stands in marked contrast to the silly claims that Putin is the Christian saviour that all evangelicals should fully support. No, he is NOT our friend, nor a friend of the gospel.
In sum, we still need some moral and mental clarity here.