As three members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams walked away from harm's reach yesterday and celebrated their freedom with a cup of latte, military leaders discovered several Christians pastors who refused to leave.
Christian Peacemaker Teams(CPT) members, blended from numerous peace churches in the United States, including The Every Church A Peace Church, feel they can stem evil and sin from overtaking the planet by becoming human shields and teaching non-violence seminars.
"I never expected them to want our heads cut off or anything, gee, we went in with our songs of freedom and stuff, but we just couldn't get those guys to sit and listen to our tapes of non-violence," said a member of the Church of Misled Redemption who was afraid to give his name.
According to The CPT web site mission statement it says: "We Mennonites and Brethren in Christ are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic vigorous new exploits for peace and justice, we should sadly confess that we really never meant what we said..."
In an interview with several Christian pastors and leaders who secretly meet in homes in and around Iraq, they stated that their intentions are to bring salvation to as many who will listen to the Gospel of Christ Jesus and to have their sins atoned for by the blood of his death.
One member said he often thinks of the 23rd Psalm where David wrote, "Yea though I walk through the valley of shadow and death, I fear no evil: For You are with me.."
The soft spoken missionary continued, "Our lives are in danger every moment, but our eyes are upon Jesus. He is our higher calling."
These Christians leaders, it was observed, do not feel the need to stand in front of soldiers, sword bearing--Koran toting Muslims, but to build up and bless the local churches in Iraq.
One Iraqi woman who lost her husband in a roadside bombing last year shared a verse she read that morning in Psalms, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord. For in time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock."
"I never knew a God like that when I secretly heard men read the Koran. Now, I too can read God's Holy Word. Do you know how wonderful that is," the woman said.
The CPT follow the gospel of "Love they neighbor and thou shall not kill," which some say conflicts with their mission statement that says they are ready to die by the thousands.
"Can one continue to love thy neighbor after they kill you, then who is your neighbor and how do you preach Christ and salvation to them," the woman said.
The pastors who oversee one of the imbedded local churches said there is but one peace, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, which will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
As he leaned forward in his chair, the elderly pastor paused for a second, reached for his ragged Bible, full of book markers and dog-eared pages and read a passage from Phillippians, "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things."
"You see, we take the Bible as a whole book, written from Genesis to maps. It encompasses peace, man's hatred, God's love, the salvation offered through the death on the cross-- and the book of Revelations. Before Christ returns there will be no peace, but afterwards, when we live and reign with Christ for a thousand years, then my friend, we will have peace and then and then only will the lamb lay down with the lion."
When followers of Christian Peacemakers was asked about the pastor's statement, they just said, "Whatever, whatever, whatever, give me a bulldozer to stand in front of any day."
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