A Christian Response to New Zealand’s Darkest Day

Introduction:

Friday March 15th 2019 will go down in history as one of New Zealand’s darkest days, or as some are calling it, the day NZ lost her innocence. More people died in the Christchurch earthquakes but the hatred filled attack which killed 50 Muslim men, women and children is more personal. The trauma of the event is amplified by the fact that New Zealand has a well-earned reputation as being a safe haven; it has always been well insulated from the troubles of the rest of the world. There are a number of issues that are all bound up in this one situation. As the media have processed this event several hot topics have come to the foreground: immigration laws; many of NZ’s Muslims being refugees who fled war torn scenarios; gun control laws; an uprising in White Supremacy groups; the failure of Australia to handle its influx of Muslims; future accommodations for Muslims; interfaith relations; the character of Islam as peaceful or warmongering. I would like to share a few thoughts with you this morning that I think Christians ought to be thinking as they try to process this situation.

I would like us to consider the Biblical truths of God and the gospel as we respond. The reason for a spelled out biblical response is because we are getting used to allowing the media to shape public opinion and are not thinking through these events for ourselves from a Biblical perspective. The media has been conspicuously silent in their articles questioning traditional faith in the wake of such a tragedy. Perhaps there is fear of a backlash from Muslims, but that is not to say that questions are still not lying under the surface. The three areas I would like us to think about are God, the victims and the shooter. What does the Bible say about God’s involvement in this event? How should we of an opposing belief system view and act towards the victims in this situation? How should we view the shooter? Our responses will be different to the general public on all points.

In a secular society God does not feature in any explanation for these events, that is why the politician’s reactions revolve around gun laws and immigration laws and stamping out groups with extreme ideas. We believe in a sovereign God who has a plan in this situation, we will explore this idea. Secondly, there has been an overwhelming response of solidarity with the suffering Muslim community; both religious and non-religious groups have been very vocal and public in their support. We want to echo this support with some important qualifications. Thirdly, how should we view the shooter? Do we join with the same hatred and anger that is ready to pounce on him? How does the gospel help us respond to him as a person?

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