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Going Deeper after the Charleston Murders

Evil like this calls for both anguished lament and better theology.
Going Deeper after the Charleston Murders
Image: Getty Images

Last night after one of our editors and I were emailing about the brutal Charleston church shooting, an email appeared in my inbox with the subject line, “another new church attacked last night.” My heart sank and I blurted out “Oh no!” assuming it was a copycat crime, with another white supremacist attacking another black church.

I opened the email to read, “The new Rock Church in Hangzhou (same Zhejiang province as Wenzhou city) was demolished last night.” You can imagine my relief.

But not for long. It just reminded me that evil roams this world and often sets its laser sights on the church of Jesus Christ. In America, it’s clear that evil has taken the vile form of murderous racism, and we have to deal this particular manifestation.

In the face of such evil, we first grieve. There is no understanding evil because it is ultimately irrational. But God has shown us what an initial response looks like: the Psalms of lament, like Psalm 74.

Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land. We are given no signs from God; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be. How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds ...
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Going Deeper after the Charleston Murders
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