Onward Christian Soldiers!
Here follows the cheeriest, most encouraging, sentence I’ve read in a long time: “A Christian militia has liberated a village in Iraq from Islamic State.”
This victorious Christian militia bears a name with sonorous biblical resonance. They are called the Nineveh Plain Protection Units, in number about 3000 men, and they have just taken back control of Badanah in south-east Mosul. The group published video and images on Facebook of NPU fighters driving Islamic State from the village.
Praise be to God!
NPU commander Bahnam Abush told the Iraqi press: “The operation is a step towards the restoration of confidence and hopes for Christians to stay in the land of their grandparents.”
The Nineveh Plains were captured in 2014 by Islamic State who murdered many Christians and drove 125,000 from their homes. Since the Muslims took control of the area, they have used torture extensively. They also destroyed a number of historical landmarks in the area such as the walls of Nineveh and the 4th century Mar Behnam Monastery.
Well now, thanks be to God and the Christian militia, they have got their come-uppance.
Christianity has a long and noble military tradition employed frequently against imperialistic Islam. Charles Martel raised a Christian army and defeated a huge Muslim incursion at Tours in AD 732. The Knights of St John relieved the siege of Malta in 1565. When the Muslim general crucified captured Christians and floated their bodies across the strait on crosses, the Abbot rounded up 1000 Muslims, beheaded them and fired the severed heads back at the enemy from his cannons. Papal armies raised a fleet and routed the Muslims at Lepanto in 1571. And it was a Christian army under Jan Sobieski which lifted the siege of Vienna in 1683.
Now that what’s left of the European civilization created by Christianity is once again under Muslim attack, the words “Christian militia” never cross the lips of our archbishops and bishops. They prefer to appease our enemies and persecutors. You might say the policy of the church’s contemporary leadership is pre-emptive self-abasement. In Europe, the Middle East and much of Africa, Christians are being slaughtered wholesale and dispossessed on the grand scale. But all the bishops’ talk is about “Islamophobia” – in other words, don’t blame the Muslims; it’s our own fault.
Don’t hang around for Welby’s Christian militia to turn up: you’ll have to wait a very long time.
On at least four occasions in the last 1400 years, Christian militias have defeated the barbarians. This time it looks as if the barbarians are going to win. Not because we lack the resources to fight, but we lack the will. A courageous people under threat of subjection or annihilation can always hope to defeat the enemy. But once a people has lost the will to fight, has lost confidence in itself, there is no power on earth that can save it.
Things will have to get worse before they get better. When the threat became severe and critical in Iraq, there emerged that wonderful Christian militia to smite the enemy. The Muslim threat is only going to intensify here in Europe.
So we should all sing Psalm 68: “Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered: let them that hate Him flee before Him. Like as the smoke vanisheth, so shalt thou drive them away: and like as wax melteth at the fire, so let the ungodly perish at the presence of God.”
Shall we, in our extremity, produce a Christian militia too? Let us pray in the words of The Book of Common Prayer:
“O Almighty God, King of all kings and governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners and to be merciful to them that truly repent; save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; abate their pride, aswage their malice and confound their devices; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy only Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”