Iraq at 10

March 19, 2013

Ethics Daily ran my latest article today, which is titled "SBC's Evangelistic Claims for Iraq War Fell Apart." With today being the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, the piece takes a look back at some claims by Southern Baptist leaders about how the war would open up evangelistic opportunities in the war-torn nation (and how these claims turned out to be drastically wrong). Hopefully Southern Baptist leaders and others will learn from these mistakes (both the advocating for the war and the misguided belief that a hellish fight could open up heavenly doors).

Reflecting back, I remember learning about the start of the U.S. bombing and invasion shortly after it started. I was at Wednesday evening activities at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, where I was serving as a pastoral intern. A senior in college, I had written against the war in the student newspaper at Southwest Baptist University, and had been planning a campus event to continue the dialogue about biblical teachings and the potential war. This was in a context where university officials and leaders of the affiliated denomination (Southern Baptist Convention) were supportive of the proposed war. So I was disappointed to hear of the war's start. But it was surreal to learn of it at church and to know that it started while I had been at church for Bible study and fellowship. And so ten years later I reflect on the tragedy of the war and the fact that its start was justified by some political and religious leaders with biblical citations.