Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
Yesterday I watched an online news report via CBN about refugees flooding into Europe from North Africa.* Men, women, and children, fleeing ISIS. Some have walked (walked!) across multiple countries to get to escape the terror. Many die in the journey.
The reactions of Europeans is mixed. Some responses mirror early civil rights protests in the 1960s in the American South in their violence toward the refugees. Hungary is building a wall on its border with Serbia to keep refugees out. Italy has built camps to accommodate the influx. Right wing parties hoping to stop the influx are growing all over Europe.
There is another reaction. There is admiration for the heroic quests of pregnant women. Envision another women “great with child” on a long journey. There are mothers of newborns. Imagine giving birth during an escape and continuing onward. There are men with their wives and little children. Imagine trying to protect those you love the most.
There is no limit to what some people will do to find safety and freedom for their children.
There is also no limit to what some people will do to commit terror. Infiltrated among the refugees are ISIS soldiers.
The leader of an Italian right wing party has a chilling and reasoned concern. Claudia Bellochi fears the ISIS radicals coming with the innocent escapees.
“There are people who are coming because they are fleeing war, and we agree that we have to help them. But criminals are coming, too. They form terror cells here in Rome. Some are ISIS.”
Terror cells in Rome. ISIS didn’t pick Rome because of its history or the wonderful food. They perceive Rome to be the heart of Christianity. Their goals? To kill those who do not hold to their form of Islam and to destroy everything that is not Islamic.
What they did in Nimrud in Iraq is what they want to do in Rome, in the Vatican.
For decades, perhaps more than a century, many evangelical Christians have disparaged the Church of Rome. They concluded that the Roman Church would be the whore of Babylon in the prophetic scriptures. It would lead many astray with its false gospel. Perhaps we looked at Rome and thought we saw the future. Perhaps we were wrong.
While the ISIS invasion of Italy has been reminiscent of the parable of the farmer whose enemy sowed tares among the wheat, ISIS has made it clear that “the nation signed with the blood of the cross” is in its crosshairs. Italy is marked for terror.
The ‘invasion’ of Rome by ISIS terrorists is a cause for fear in many Italians today. Instead of fearing and criticizing Catholicism, evangelicals should fear for our Catholic brothers and sisters. They uphold the name of Christ, His deity, His death and bodily resurrection, His future return. They may soon be on the front lines of ISIS’s efforts to terrorize the world.
We need to pray for those who suffer persecution today. We need to pray for those who may suffer it tomorrow.