Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Can Osama bin Laden Be Saved?

Can Osama bin Laden be saved? As scandalous and disgusting as this sounds, the answer is: Yes. Even the worst mass murderer of our time can be saved. Even the most satanic leader of Islamic terrorists can be saved.

Does bin Laden deserve to go to hell? No question about it. He is a murderer. He mocks the true God who will judge him. He promotes a distorted view of God and humanity. He is evil to the core.

However, another enemy of God who was an unlikely prospect for salvation once reflected back on his life and wrote, "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 1:13-14, NIV). The apostle Paul could identify with Osama bin Laden in his hatred of Jesus Christ and his followers, but he was changed by an encounter with the Lord.

Osama bin Laden can be saved, but not until he submits to Christ.

So what can we do about it? We must pray for the Islamic world to open up to the gospel. Over one billion Muslims do not know the true Christ. (The one that they know about never died and was never resurrected so that their sins could be forgiven.) They need a Savior, because they have sin in their lives as much as any of us.

In addition, we must send missionaries to Islamic lands. (I know that this has been happening for years. I met a missionary to Indonesia at the National Urban Ministry Conference of the Churches of Christ a few years ago, and I heard about a former urban minister who was serving as a missionary in Pakistan. We simply need to send more missionaries, because the need is so great.) As the apostle Paul also wrote, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'' (Romans 10:14-15, NIV).

With prayer and evangelism (accompanied by a love for Muslims and a willingness to die in order to reach them), people like Osama bin Laden have a opportunity to be saved. Otherwise, it is hopeless.

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