One of the BBC reports on the October massacre in a Iraqi Catholic church set me thinking on two counts. I’ve already given a few thoughts on the dilemma Christians face of staying or leaving Iraq, so now I want to pick up a completely separate quote from the same article. Ignatius Metti Metok, who believes Christians should stay in Iraq, commented:
Before the change of regime seven years ago, we didn’t have massacres like this.
I recently heard a Mark Dever sermon entitled Jesus paid taxes, and he made the point that any government is better than anarchy, because it reflects God’s authority and justice, even if only poorly. There are many reasons why Saddam Hussein’s government was not ideal, but it was government. Maybe not good government, but government nonetheless. It was raised up by God for the good of the Iraqi people. Now Iraq is in the unenviable position of having recently set the world record for the longest period of time to form a government, and it was during this period that the infamous attack occurred.
I wonder how often Christians are thankful for the governing authorities there are over us, especially when they do things we disagree with? They may not support the spread of the gospel, they may even try to curb it, but they are a sign of God’s mercy in giving us some degree of order.
An interesting point that Dever raised in his sermon was that the government both Jesus and Paul commanded civil obedience to was the same Roman empire that killed both the Messiah and the majority of the apostles, then persecuted Christians for centuries. If this authority is to be obeyed as stewards of God’s authority, what government isn’t?