By Kenneth F. Pierpont
September 11, 2002
(Kenneth F. Pierpont is Kevin’s father, has pastored for over 40 years, and now pastors with Kevin at Jonesville Baptist Church.)
This morning and through the day, our television sets have given us many opportunities to hear about and relive the awful events of last year, this day. In an hour or so, our president will speak to the nation live. I want to hear him.
When I experienced the uprising of patriotism last year, which soon led us to Afghanistan, I was proud of our country. Lives have been lost and more are bound to be, as we fight terrorism around the world. If I was young and had the opportunity, I would be in the military right now. I liked the military in many ways though I griped like many others about it at the time. Having been a low ranking sailor, I was embarrassed in the Army at having to accept the courtesies extended to officers. R.H.I.P. they said when I expressed my feelings (“rank has its privilege”). I have read many hundreds of pages of military books over the years plus many, many military news reports. American patriotism means a lot to me.
Having said what I believe here in defense of my country, I now have to face the fact that, as a preacher, I must face some other facts as well. I have never been proud to be a preacher, but I am thankful for God’s call. I have not been as good at being faithful and effective in my call as I know I could have been, but I am nevertheless thankful that God called me to be a preacher. Some have said, aren’t you proud that all your children are in the ministry? No, absolutely not. I am thankful, humbled and scared to death. Satan is real and wants to ruin us all, starting with preachers and their families. Proud? No, no–a million times unworthy, yes.
The spiritual dimension is being addressed today and will be so for a few days to come, I suppose. Last night’s preview of a network offering coming up said: “Where was God on 9-11?” They are going to try to answer the question. Let’s hope they ask for the answer from good old Bible-preaching guys. They probably won’t.
A few fundamental preachers last September tried to tell the American people that God was giving us payback for not being the country we should have been. Between saying it badly and, possibly, a little recklessly and hearing it as politically incorrect, the preachers and people did not hit it off too well. My words are probably no better.
Let’s be clear on one thing, popularity and Bible truth are not kissing cousins. The Bible makes it clear that awful punishment lies ahead for evildoers. As a young Christian, President Bush knows this. From His framework of believing Scripture, the terrorists of last September have been consistently referred to by him as “evildoers.” Right he is. Most agree but there is a groundswell of popular minds that say, to some extent, “What right does he have to declare what is right and what is evil?” That is where the Bible comes in.
If the Bible is our final and only real and lasting authority for truth, we have every right to declare what is right and what is evil. But, if one religion is as good as another, what the Bible calls evil, the Koran calls commendable. “Kill the infidels” is an Islamic watchword.
Most people would rather live in peace than war. Soldiers prepare all their lives to win a war they hope will never come. An army Lt. General said this morning on television, as field commander of all our forces in Afghanistan, that he wants to kill or capture Al Qaeda. That is not because he is a bloodthirsty man but because he is an honorable peace-loving soldier. Muslim ‘ people are humans too. They are souls for whom Jesus died. The fact that they reject Him as the second member of the Trinity and the only Savior of man matters nothing in terms of whether or not Jesus died for them. They are just as lost as any others on the planet who reject Him. Nobody gets a separate savior. There is only one Savior! Yes, Jesus saves. And, only Jesus saves. That is not politically correct, it’s just correct in capital letters! Because there are Muslims who want to live at war does not make Islam bad. Because there are Muslims who want to live at peace does not make Islam good. Islam is a pagan religion because it came from idolatry, has been fostered by bloodshed and terror and is being sponsored today by mere religionists who know not Christ.
As we enter the second year since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, let’s vow one more time to be faithful to the living Christ who died for every man and wants to be the Savior of every man.
As we assert ourselves as American patriots, let’s also assert ourselves as fundamental, Bible-believing Christians. Not just on 9/11 every year but 24/7, 365!