How should American Christians be responding to the threat of ISIS? Editors and contributors of the recently founded foreign policy and national security journal, Providence, visited Regent’s Robertson School of Government to evaluate the approaches Protestant Christians have been assuming as they reconcile their faith with action.
“I don’t see many Christians thinking systematically about these issues,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute of Religion and Democracy and editor of Providence. “Too often, it’s in the moment, and in that sense, the Church is reflecting American culture and its reality TV mode. We have a very short attention span.”
Tooley says he hears Christians from the left advocating rejecting violence at all costs, and voices from the right offering knee-jerk reactions. Providence’s objective is to get American Christians back to the first principles of what God has ordained government to do, which is provide for the protection and security for its people.
“Regent is already blessed to have several really good professors who are addressing issues of global statecraft intelligently,” said Tooley. “Dr. Eric Patterson, the dean of the School of Government, is a contributing editor to Providence. We’re also looking for more writers and contributors. I’m sure there are a lot of students here who more-than qualify.”
“ISIS, compassion, evil, all of these different things that we study in class from week to week really came up heavily,” said Brent Jurmu ’17 (Robertson School of Government).
Jurmu, an online master’s of public administration student and U.S. Marine, brought an experienced perspective to the discussion. He’s trained in Arabic and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and says it’s important for Christians to consider just-war, compassion, neighborly love, and Christian principles when it comes to defeating ISIS.
“Bringing the right people into a conversation here at places like Regent and our churches, and those atmospheres, is really the only way we’re going to come up with sustainable solutions for them, and then, understanding how to pray for them and how to support them,” said Jurmu. “I think we need to reach out to them and ask the victims of these tragedies the way forward.”
“Regent potentially is a point of leadership for other Christian schools that are either not addressing these issues, or really aren’t addressing them by relying on Christian tradition, but instead relying upon modern ideology or emotions and sentiment of the moment,” said Tooley.
Students and a panel with other editors from Providence interacted in a time of questions and answers. The journal was founded in 2015 to provide a Protestant Christian voice to the area of foreign policy.