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Thoughts on the Attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel

“…when congregants subdued the attacker and rescued the Bishop, the Bishop got up, and despite his many stab wounds, laid his hands on the attacker, and prayed for him.”


Just two days after the horrific stabbing attack at Bondi Junction in Sydney’s east leaving six people dead and a number injured, another stabbing attack occurred in the west of Sydney on Monday. Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel is now in hospital recovering from this repulsive attack. Islam it seems was indeed involved. The story by now is quite well-known, but one media report puts it this way:

A Western Sydney church stabbing allegedly by a teenage boy that left a Christian priest and bishop injured has been classified as a “terrorist attack” by police. Assyrian church leader Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was allegedly set upon by a 16-year-old boy armed with a knife on Monday just after 7pm as he delivered his sermon at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley, near Fairfield.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb told reporters on Tuesday morning the teen allegedly turned up at the church armed with a “possibly a flick knife” and allegedly stabbed the priest and bishop who have since undergone surgery for deep cuts.

“We’ll allege there’s a degree of premeditation on the basis this person has travelled to that location, which is not near his residential address, he has travelled with a knife, and subsequently the bishop and the priest have been stabbed,” she said. Investigators believe at this stage the boy acted alone. NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb on Tuesday morning said after “consideration of all the material” of evidence she had to declared it a “terrorist incident”.

It is said that the boy was upset, believing the Bishop insulted ‘the Prophet’ – Muhammad. It is also reported that he yelled Allahu Akbar as he attacked the Wakeley Bishop. More details will be forthcoming on all this, but it is a huge concern that radicalised teens are involved in jihad attacks like this.

While it is still early on, and more information is needed, a number of things can be said at this point. Let me offer five brief points to consider.

A popular Bishop

First, this Assyrian Bishop was very popular and greatly loved by many. He has a very large YouTube and social media following, and the fact that hundreds if not thousands of people converged on the scene just after the attack shows how very much loved and respected he is.

One can find many of his sermons online. In one he almost prophetically said that when we are attacked for being Christians, we should rejoice. He said this:

You know, when you get attacked, I know its ugly, I know sometimes it is unbearable, but in a way you need to thank God. You know why? Because if you are getting attacked, that means Christ is really very close with you, in you, and walking along with you. That’s why you are getting on Satan’s nerve. Satan will not attack someone who is lost. Satan will only attack those whom Christ is dwelling in them with mightiness. So when you are getting attacked so heavily, thank the Lord, because it is a very, very clear sign that Jesus is with you. That is why you are making Satan eat Indian hot pepper. So thank the Lord…

A short video of him speaking on persecution and martyrdom can be found here:

And he is no woke Bishop either. Jesus is always at the forefront of his preaching, and he faithfully puts the gospel message in all his talks. Moreover, he was one of the few Christian leaders to strongly resist the lockdown madness and medical tyranny of the Covid years. He was and is a real champion.

A forgiving Bishop

It was said by one political leader on Sky News last night that when congregants subdued the attacker and rescued the Bishop, he got up, and despite his many stab wounds, laid his hands on the attacker, and prayed for him. And on the church website, we read about how the Bishop is doing in hospital (“in a stable condition”), and how he is asking people to “pray for the perpetrator.” That is real Christian forgiveness and love in action.

And see this 7-minute clip of him speaking about being in Israel and Gaza and his love for the Muslim people:

Terrorism and religion

I have numerous articles on my site documenting how terror in the name of Allah is part and parcel of Islamic belief, teaching, and practice. It is enjoined and promoted by Muhammad, by the Hadith and by the Sira.

As I and others have so often said now, if a Christian kills unbelievers in the name of Christ, he clearly goes against the example and words of Christ and the teachings of the New Testament.

If a Muslim kills infidels in the name of Allah, he has the example of Muhammad to go by, and the clear injunctions of the Koran. The two religions could not be more different in this regard. While most Western Muslims may not approve of what this teenager did last night, that simply means they do not take seriously the teachings and practices of Islam. They would be nominal Muslims in this respect.

See more on this here and here.

The right to self-defence

I have made the case elsewhere as to why Christians – and all people – should have the right to protect themselves and their loved ones from acts of aggression like this. While a minority of Christians adopt a pacifist position, most know that there is a place for the use of force, and that includes the right to self-defence. But see that case being made here.

With these recent attacks, one wonders if some proper form of self-defence for ordinary citizens is needed. Even something like pepper spray for protection could be of help, but that is illegal in most Australian states. Unless we start banning knives as we have firearms, it seems we are going to see more of these sorts of attacks. And we know that gun or knife control laws simply leave the innocent defenceless, with criminals ignoring such laws.

A further point to make is this: I for one was quite impressed with how the members of the congregation rushed to rescue the Bishop and subdue the attacker. They did this within seconds after the attack commenced. I asked on the social media if such a response would be forthcoming in many of our rather weak evangelical churches in the West today.

With so much woke teaching found in so many churches, with such an anaemic gospel being presented, with so much emphasis placed on tolerance and compassion (wrongly understood), and with so many evangelicals buying into the belief that we must stamp out ‘toxic masculinity,’ I wonder how many would have rushed to the aid of their own leader in such a brave fashion had an attack taken place there. Just wondering.

Of course on a more cynical level, one could ask if some of these believers would first hold a meeting to deliberate on the issue, or perhaps just start a prayer meeting. Don’t get me wrong: we should always pray. But in some instances, immediate action is what is required. If you saw your small children being assaulted by a group of thugs, you would not sit around and ‘pray about it’ – you would act to protect them.

Pray

Be that as it may, there is one thing that all believers should agree on. And that is to do the very thing this brave Bishop has done: pray for those who persecute us. To pray for those who attack us does NOT mean we cannot also take steps to defend innocent life against violent assault. Both can and should be done.

And obviously please keep Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel in your prayers. Pray for a full and speedy recovery. And pray for those in his church and those who follow him online. Sadly some, caught up in the heat of the moment last night, turned on the police, pelting police cars, and so on. That was clearly unnecessary.

But after the Bondi knife attack, everyone in Sydney is clearly on edge. So please pray for the people of Sydney and NSW as well. They are going through some tough times right now. And clearly, Satan is having a field day there at the moment, so we need to intercede and engage in some fervent spiritual prayers against the attacks of the enemy.

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