Joy and Mourning: Christian Reflections on the Death of bin Laden

As Christians, how should we feel about Osama bin Laden’s death?  Several articles have appeared in the last couple days, below is a sampling of some of the best.  Click on the names to read the entirety of the articles.

Tom Ascol: “My thoughts on the death of Osama Bin Laden”

That is why my emotions are mixed. I am very grateful that justice has been served. But I cannot rejoice that Bin Laden is now suffering under the wrath of God–the very same fate that I deserve but from which I have been rescued, not by my righteousness, but by the sovereign grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Denny Burk: “Some Thoughts on the Death of Osama bin Laden”

So what do we make of the celebrations in the streets? Perhaps we could all learn a lesson or two about celebrating God’s justice from Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Lincoln at once recognized the justice of his cause but at the same time was humbled by his own side’s shortcomings. And after contemplating all the misery of the war, he offered a kind of grim affirmation of Scripture saying, “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).

Albert Mohler: “The Trial that Still Must Come — The Death of Osama bin Laden and the Limits of Human Justice”

Once again, Christians are reminded of the inherent limitations of justice in a fallen and sinful world. At our very best, we can achieve only a small proportion of adequate justice. We can convict the murderer and put him to death, but we cannot bring the dead back to life. We can put an end to Osama bin Laden, but we are robbed of the satisfaction of seeing him answer for his crimes.

Christopher Morgan: “Grieving, Rejoicing that Osama bin Laden Is Dead”

I tend to think that we can rightly grieve that Osama bin Laden opposed the true and living God and will be punished accordingly. But we also can rightly rejoice in the defeat and judgment upon people who are evil–and he was clearly evil and deserving of every punishment earth can give. The dancing in the streets may not merely be American nationalism, but an appropriate response to the partial display of human justice as we await the final and perfect display of divine justice in the coming age.

John Piper: “Is God Glad Osama bin Laden’s Dead?”

God’s emotions are complex—like yours, only a million times more. Right now, your emotions about bin Laden are not simple, i.e. not single. There are several, and they intermingle. That is a good thing. You are God-like.

In response to Osama bin Laden’s death, quite a few tweets and blogs have cited the biblical truth that “God does not delight in the death of the wicked.” That is true.

It is also true that God does delight in the death of the wicked. There are things about every death that God approves in themselves and things about every death that God disapproves in themselves.

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