What to say after the brutal and terrible mass-murders in Paris last week?
First, I want to try to have a Christian mind on these issues. So:
And a brilliant essay by John Piper, written after the 2006 Danish Cartoons episode. It is the essence of Muhammad’s work to be honoured, he says; and the essence of Christ’s work to be mocked.
Second, while the events in Paris are very much ‘on our territory’, I want to make sure I remember those who suffer daily at the hands of those seeking to establish an Islamic State in Iraq, Syria or north-east Nigeria, where thousands have died brutally at the hands of Boko Haram. Christian organisations like Barnabas Fund are great at providing support.
Finally, I want to remember France, a country I love. Its historic Roman Catholicism has often been sacramental to the point of superstition. Most French Catholics are now purely nominal, and recently the Catholic church has been in dramatic decline. Secular humanism is the order of the day for an increasing number. Meanwhile, France has developed the largest Muslim population in Western Europe. Violent anti-semitic attacks are on the rise, and many Jews are simply leaving the country.
All told, it is a phenomenally needy mission-field. And while the evangelical church has grown significantly over the past generation, evangelicals are reckoned to form only 1% of the population. Organisations like France Mission have done great church-planting work, and are well worth supporting.