After the events of Sept. 11, then what?

The writer is director of the Church of God UK, associated with the Churches of God Outreach Ministries (CGOM). Write the COGUK at P.O. Box 2525, Lincoln LN5 7PF, England, or

By James McBride

LINCOLN, England--Where do we go from here? The contemptible massacre of more than 6,000 innocents in the twin towers of the World Trade Center appalled the world--or most of it. The site may be cleared in months, but the personal pain will not be forgotten. The world enters a new era. No one can any longer be certain of personal physical security.

Dozens of nations, including Britain, harbor a viper's nest of terrorist cells. With vast financial resources, often state support and increasing access to destructive technology, terrorists seek to destroy innocents to further their goals. With the occasional exception, the international community has tolerated them--to ensure "freedom of expression"!

Only now is war more or less being declared. The American giant has embarked on a great moral crusade to eliminate terrorism.

Sadly, this is a pipe dream. Terrorism is a many-headed monster fueled by the desire for power by frustrated and evil men and women with no human sympathies--often sponsored and shielded by nation states and promoted by clerics.

'We will rebuild'

I listened for a call from our Western leaders for the nations to get on our knees, to fast, to entreat the God who has blessed us with such prosperity. I picked up one or two faint voices, but they soon faded in the smoke.

Rather, the cry was "We will rebuild!" The towers will go back up--and higher. There was no introspective examination of our way of life. Never mind the state-sponsored terror on the unborn or the disregard for family values or the promotion of sexual perversion or the obscene expenditure for "defense" or perverse justice or rampant crime or corruption in government and business or meddling beyond our borders or the exclusion of God from public view, even in our churches.

Apparently these don't matter. Our Anglo-Saxon nations have never approached perfection, but at one time we had higher standards. Once we respected life, punished the evil, cared for the weak, took pride in our justice, encouraged marriage for life, promoted heterosexual family values, revered personal responsibility.

Does God say build?

God's warning to ancient Israel is a powerful message to us. "You may say to yourself, 'My hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. If you ever forget the Lord your God . . . you will surely be destroyed" (Deuteronomy 8:17-20).

To forget God means false and unbiblical worship: the blending of pagan practice with biblical terminology. It means abandoning His commandments. Our nations have failed on both counts.

Ancient Israel failed. ". . . They say with pride and arrogance of heart, 'The bricks have fallen down but we will rebuild with dressed stone'" (Isaiah 9:10).

"Bigger and better" was the cry. God intervened--to send destructive forces against them to try to bring them to their senses. "But the people have not returned to him [God] that struck them" (verse 13).

Have we?

Foreign invasion followed, and both houses of Israel were swept from their prosperity into exile and slavery. It's a lesson for any nation. We have torn up the protective hedge of God's commandments.

As with ancient Nineveh, only national repentance will save us (Jonah 3).

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