I believe that Invisible Children and the Kony 2012 campaign is a prime example of a daily grievance I have with American Christianity. We’ve got a lot of Christians that seem to care, but they don’t know enough about the nature of Jesus Christ, of who God is, to do what He actually wants. The problem isn’t necessarily that American Christians aren’t practicing what they are preaching. The problem is what they are preaching, and to take it to the root of the problem, to those who are preaching to them. Too many Christians care for all the wrong reasons.
Does it not concern the American Christians that everyone from J.K. Rowling to Justin Beiber to Will Smith to P. Diddy are on board with stopping Joseph Kony, with freeing the invisible children? Or that everyone, conservative and liberal alike, is jumping on board? Don’t misunderstand me, I would hope that a Hitler-esque person like Kony would evoke the wrath of someone as vile as even Puff Daddy. I hope that Kony is executed and the children are set free. But there’s something much, much more that I hope for, and in the end, it’s the only thing that really matters. I hope for the gospel to be proclaimed to these children, yes, even Kony himself, so that if the Lord wills they will be saved. And I can guarantee you P. Diddy cares nothing about that.
And therein lies the problem. There’s nothing Christian about Invisible Children or Kony 2012 by its very nature. They seek to promote justice, but their view of justice is necessarily distorted because they aren’t setting captives free from a motivation prompted by the Holy Spirit, they aren’t coming in the name of Jesus, they aren’t doing it for God’s glory, and they aren’t informed by the gospel.
To be sure there is an injustice, on a man to man level, for these children. It is not, however, because these children have a right to life. Yet this is Invisible Children’s, likely Rowling’s, P. Diddy’s, and dare I say, quite likely most Christians’ motivation who are involved with this movement. If that were true though, God would be the most evil being in the universe. If that were true, it should be God’s head, even more so than Kony’s, that we should be calling for.
Abortion isn’t wrong because babies have a right to life. Murder isn’t wrong because humanity has a right to live. These two things are wrong because only God has a right to take life. And lest you forget, Christians, it is God Himself who speaks of baby’s heads being dashed against rocks and it is God Himself who commands the Israelites, His specially chosen people, to destroy entire nations, taking some as slaves and killing all the rest, including the women, children, and babies. I will give just two examples from Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3:
Deut. 2: 32 “Then Sihon and all his people came out against us to fight at Jahaz. 33 And the Lord our God delivered him over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people. 34 We took all his cities at that time, and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and little ones of every city; we left none remaining.”
Deut. 3: “Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan; and Og king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2 And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.’
3 “So the Lord our God also delivered into our hands Og king of Bashan, with all his people, and we attacked him until he had no survivors remaining. 4 And we took all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them: sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 5 All these cities were fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many rural towns. 6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children of every city. 7 But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as booty for ourselves.”
This begs the question of whether or not God is any different from Joseph Kony, does it not? Did not God command the killing of children, of babies even, just as Kony has done? Is God sanctioning murder? Of course not, though I would bet the people running Invisible Children would think so, I would bet the Hollywood celebrities would think so.
There is a huge difference between God and Joseph Kony. God is the Creator of all things, and as such owns all things and has every right to kill or to make alive as He pleases. He gives and takes away. “The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up” (1 Samuel 2:6).
I watched the “Kony 2012” viral video. I encourage all Christians who are on board with the Invisible Children program, who have bought into it hook, line, and sinker, to watch it again, with something in mind this time. Watch it this time and look for the reasoning given for stopping Kony and freeing the children. They say justice at one point, but they also start with the birth of a child who belongs to the man who presumably started Invisible Children. He says that no child chooses where he or she will be born. Thus his argument seems to be that these invisible children are innocent children, and by extension all mankind is born into a state of innocence, of goodness, and does not deserve to be enslaved, to be killed. But is that true?
No, ultimately that is not true. Ultimately, we all deserve to die. Christians know this, but for some reason choose to forget this when it comes to supporting secular organizations like Invisible Children. God said in Genesis that if Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, they will die. But they didn’t. God gave them mercy. And Romans 5 tells us that in Adam, all die. So Adam’s choice was our choice, it represented us. We are born sinful, spiritually dead, hating God, guilty and worthy of hell. We should be dead upon arrival, we should never be allowed to see the light of day. We should wake up in hell and suffer there forever. Such was the sin of our race, such was the sin of our first parents, and we are guilty of it and stained with it too.
Our life bears this reality out, does it not? We sin constantly against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, yes? So then, when God commanded the Israelites to kill the children and babies, He wasn’t commanding the death of innocent humans. There’s only been one innocent human being who suffered injustice, Jesus Christ, and He volunteered to give up His life to save His chosen people. The bridge from death to life, from guilty to declared innocent, is through the blood of Christ. The real freedom that we all need, including those who are forced into prostitution and Joseph’ Kony’s child army, is spiritual life. We need new hearts, we need to be born again. We need to be united by faith to Christ, covered by His blood, forgiven of our sins.
The babies that were ordered to be killed by God, do you think they went to heaven? You cannot say they were innocent, if they were, why is it that they can die? Why is it that they undoubtedly suffered pain as their bodies were severed? Now look at the invisible children. Are they innocent of sin against God? No. Do they deserve hell? Yes. When they are killed, where will they go? To hell. To hell. Oh Christian, this is the true sorrow! Set them free, but not for freedom’s sake, for their soul’s sake! Set them free and give them the gospel, for they are guilty sinners too. They need Christ’s blood every bit as much as you and I do.
Fight for freedom, fight for justice, end oppression, but fight for the reasons God says to fight. The Lord’s reasoning is likely the exact opposite of Invisible Children’s reasoning. Invisible Children fights because they believe that everyone has a right to life, because they think everyone is innocent and worthy to live. The Lord’s reasoning is that only He has the right to take life. If God had ordered Kony to kill these children, it would be altogether holy, just, right, and good for Kony to do so! But He has not. And that is the sin, that is the injustice. Kony is doing only what God has the right to do. It is God’s rights at stake, not the children’s, though as we will see later, the children too have the right not to be killed by Kony, though it is because their sins aren’t against Kony, not because they deserve to be free and live.
If Christopher Hitchens, the famous atheist, were still alive, I bet he would be chuckling at all the American Christians supporting Invisible Children. Or perhaps he would be downright disgusted, in some ways as I am. I bet he couldn’t understand why a Christian would team up with such an organization, not because he would be opposed to Invisible Children, but precisely because he would be in support of Invisible Children. He would probably say that the Christians don’t support Kony putting these children through hell, yet they believe that if they don’t trust in Jesus, their God will, and they are okay with that! Thus, he would rightly be calling out a blatant inconsistency amongst the Christians who support Invisible Children, their reasoning, and also believe in a real hell. You see, Invisible Children’s motivation, as far as I can gather, is right in league with secular humanism, with atheism, with John Lennon’s brotherhood of men. When I watch the “Kony 2012” video, I do get faint echoes of Lennon’s song Imagine:
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one
But this isn’t wicked man’s end. The Bible shows us wicked man’s end, it has the final word, and it is the Christian’s authority. Here we see God’s holy, righteous wrath displayed, and we Christians will ride to battle with Him:
Revelation 19: 11 “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[e] a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[f] followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[g] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
Our God is a killer, and it is good. Yet God also tells us to promote the cause of the needy, of the oppressed. Here is just one verse out of many that supports that:
"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4
The invisible children enslaved by Kony are no doubt weak, and many are probably fatherless; they are poor, needy, and oppressed. They need deliverance from the hand of the wicked, and the above verse makes clear that Christians are to work toward that end. This verse may even seem to contradict what I said earlier since it says that the poor and oppressed have “rights” to be maintained. The rights the verse refers to, however, would be the right not to have your life taken by another human who has no right to take your life. It isn’t that the poor, needy, and oppressed have a right not to be poor, needy, and oppressed. If that were so, we would have God commanding the Israelites to commit sin when He had them destroy other nations and all their people except for a few to do hard manual labor as slaves (Lev. 25:44-46 and 1 Chr. 5:21-22 for just two examples). It was right to execute Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, because God has given government the authority to execute justice on evildoers for their crimes (Romans 13:4). This is why the death penalty is good and valid.
What alternatively scares and disgusts me is that so many Christians are joining forces with the Invisible Children organization for the same reasons that P. Diddy and all the rest are joining. But for us Christians, as I think I have demonstrated, our motivation should be completely different. We should be about the gospel; we should see these children ultimately in need of God’s grace and mercy, not some sort of social justice. I do not want to send these children to hell with a full stomach and with the new freedom to sin against God any way they please! And that is exactly what they will do if Kony is killed and his child captives are released without hearing the good news of the gospel. They are wicked sinners, and they will use their freedom to sin, only accumulating greater wrath for themselves on the day of judgment.
I will not team with humanists, secularists, and atheists to promote their agendas. I will not support Invisible Children’s reasoning for what they are doing, though I can appreciate the potential outcome of their endeavors. I would encourage Christians who are reading this and who support Invisible Children to support it not for the reason P.Diddy et. al do, but if they must support it, for the reason Christ commands us to- for the sake of the good news of the gospel to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth, even to the poor, oppressed, weak, and needy captives. Especially to them, so that if God wills He may melt their unrepentant heart of stones and turn their wills and affections toward Him for their true salvation.