I’ve hesitated to write this article for some time now. I have stalled releasing these words because I know the opposition I will receive. But, it is deeply set in my soul that this truth must be said for the sake of the Church and of the conservative community.
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is unique in that it is the first European conflict during the age of social media. War propaganda is very common in times of chaos and conflict — but I never expected to see fellow Christians feed into it.
Across the stratosphere of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — a growing narrative has been brewing:
“Russia is doing God’s work.”
“President Vladimir Putin is invading Ukraine to purge their government of corruption.”
“George Soros is funding campaigns to move Ukraine into the New World Order and Russia sees that, and wants to stop it.”
“Hunter Biden is deeply embedded in Ukraine and Russia is attempting to expose the Biden family.”
“Mainstream media has demonized Russia and championed Ukraine, so it must be the antithesis.”
These statements, while deeply concerning, are not surprising in a culture and atmosphere that salivate at the sight and sound of a conspiracy theory. The Evangelical community has become so untrustworthy of institutions, media, and government — with good reason — that they have rejected any narrative, message, or evidence provided by those institutions.
I sympathize with the frustration over the corruption seen in our government and media institutions. I really do. We’ve witnessed the unraveling of truth and the depravity of institutions that we’ve trusted for years. But, we must be careful that we do not lead ourselves to an anarchist mentality. I want to provide some clarifications that are rooted in history, geopolitical realities, and Scripture:
First, know that the Russian government is using social media to spread War propaganda to justify violence. Putin was a former KGB member and envisions the resurgence of the Soviet Union. Under the communist regime, In total, no fewer than 20 million citizens were killed as a direct result of its repressive policies. Since Putin took power two decades ago, hundreds of journalists, people of faith, and dissidents have been murdered as a result of this vision. The USSR was and is antithetical to everything we as Christians believe in.
No, contrary to what you hear — Vladimir is not a conservative, but an authoritarian and leads one of the most oppressive governments in the world.
The United Nations recently took a vote on a resolution to condemn Russian aggression. North Korea, Syria, Belarus, Russia, and Eritrea voted against the Resolution, while countries like China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Cuba, and others abstained from the vote. This should ring alarm bells in the ears of believers.
Only the most repressive, anti-God, anti-democracy states have sided with the justification of Russian aggression.
Second, as Christians, we have a responsibility to make sure the words we say are full of truth. What is so concerning is seeing Christians feed into and affirm Russian justification. In Isaiah 8:12, the prophet says “You should not say ‘It is a conspiracy,’ concerning all things…”
Spreading a conspiracy that has no evidence is considered, from a Biblical perspective, as Slander. The Bible makes it clear God hates slander (Prov. 6:16, 19). Paul lists it as a behavior of those who hate God (Rom. 1:30), and James calls it demonic behavior (James 3:15–16). We must not slander even our enemies (Matt. 5:43–48).
Now, don't get me wrong: there were a LOT of things that took place during the pandemic that, what legacy media called conspiracy, ended up being fact. I am a staunch supporter of questioning the establishment, thinking critically, and coming to conclusions yourself. But, let’s make sure that we do so from a position of wisdom, truth, and discernment.
The conflict in Europe is a complicated one. As Christians, we must be wise as snakes and as innocent as doves as Scripture tells us. I am not anti-Russia. There are millions of Russian citizens who see behind the veil of their leader and are speaking out against the injustice and atrocities Vladimir is committing. I am also not a sympathizer of the Ukrainian government. Like all governments, there are levels of corruption and deceit that must be dealt with.
There is no New Testament reality in which the invasion of Ukraine by Russia can be defended.
If you are offended by my words, I would encourage you to pray and seek what God says on these matters. I personally know individuals who are in Ukraine who are terrified for their families, for their church, for their community. They are looking to fellow believers to support them, embrace them, and defend them.
As a Christian, I will do just that.
In Luke 12, the Apostle says “The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”
The truth will reveal itself. As a believer of Jesus Christ, let’s make sure we’re speaking it.