A Christian Missionary's Conviction

Jul 07, 2004 03:34 PM EDT

Last month, German television magazine "Panorama" reportedly denounced Southern Baptist missionaries in Iraq as “America’s Holy Warriors,” comparing the spiritual and humanitarian activities of Southern Baptist missionaries with Islamic terrorist attacks.

Panorama quoted Baptists saying that they were prepared to die for their convictions. The program, shown on a major German television network June 24, caused numerous Christians to call up the station in protest.

German Baptist Union spokesman Friedrich Schneider pointed out that not only American but also Arab Baptists have been active in Iraq for a long time. Schneider said that while Arabs choose a more "sensitive" approach than the Americans, it was irresponsible to put conservative Christians on the same level with Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists.

Panorama journalist Volker Steinhoff--who insisted that the report contained no factual error--said the report had concerned the Southern Baptists, not all Baptists. "There could be no doubt that their activities had caused much alarm and even hatred in Iraq," he claimed.

While the presence of Christians have been known to receive opposition in foreign countries as well as their own, their efforts certainly do not generate the same concern that Islamic terrorists do. Terrorists such as Osama bin Laden have issued religious edicts such as "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies, civilians, and the military, is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it." Christian missionaries, on the other hand follow a different edict--that is, to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20)

And while Islamic terrorists and Christian missionaries may have the same degree of conviction for their respective causes, the methods by which they carry out their convictions are drastically different. Islamic terrorists are the ones willing to die to bring death to their enemies. Christian missionaries are the ones who are willing to die to give life through the Lord Jesus Christ. One lives by the sword, the other by the Book.

Also, while Islamic terrorist are driven by hatred and vengeance, Christian missionaries strive towards love and forgiveness. And by that love, they are willing to make the same sacrifice that first brought them life--the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For as Jesus had said, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Panorama's viewpoint is clearly distorted.