What will stop ISIS

By February 20, 2015
(Image courtesy 8thirty8/FB/e3partners)

(Image courtesy 8thirty8/FB/e3partners)

International (MNN) — Story after story of the brutality of the Islamic State has people wondering what it will take to stop them.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman says the war won’t be won by killing ISIS members…rather, give them jobs. Marie Harf’s interview on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” revealed an interest in exploring the root cause of the war and trying to get ahead of the problem: poverty.

Tom Doyle, a Middle East expert and spokesman for E3 Partners disagrees. “There haven’t been terrorist groups that have had this kind of money since Arafat did when he was leading the Palestinians. ISIS started with $1.2 billion. Al-Qaeda started with $35 million. We actually have ISIS right now selling oil to the Iraqi government.”

Doyle acknowledges that there are people who don’t have jobs, “and that’s an easy thing for them to take the money and join the terrorist group, that’s for sure. But it’s the failure of the Islamic government to develop a cohesive financial plan for their nation.” However, he says, “It really isn’t a financial issue. It’s a spiritual issue.”

Doyle compares the situation with ISIS to the story of Elisha in II Kings 6. The king of Syria came after the prophet Elisha to find out how he knew to warn the king of Israel away from ambushes and other military traps. The Syrians surrounded the city where Elisha and his servant were. “He prayed that his servant (who was afraid of the imminent attack), that his eyes would be opened. His eyes WERE opened, and he saw the chariots of fire surrounding them, and he realized that the God of Israel was on their side.” It’s striking how similar the situation seems. Doyle says there’s no hidden agenda because it’s obvious Satan is using the group. “It’s as if recently everybody’s eyes have been opened, like that servant of Elisha. We’ve been able to peel back what’s been going on and see this physical war for what it is: it’s a spiritual war that’s raging in the heavenlies.”

(Photo courtesy 8thirty8/FB/e3Partners)

(Photo courtesy 8thirty8/FB/e3Partners)

In contrast to the methods of ISIS, the Church is also growing, but it’s flourishing in private homes, face to face. “We’ve got to remember that there are believers standing firm for Jesus right in the middle of ISIS. They are losing their lives, but this is bringing the Church together to realize what we’re up against in these days.” E3 Partners is responding. “We’re sending in resources. We’re doing training, we’re helping them form underground, life-giving churches that can multiply. We want them to be sustainable. We want them to know that their brothers and sisters in the West are walking arm-in-arm with them. We’re praying for them daily.”

Photo courtesy of e3 Partners

(Photo courtesy of e3 Partners)

In fact, says Doyle, “The recent stats from the International Mission Board Southern Baptists, are saying that some of the fastest-growing churches are actually in the Middle East and Central Asia–right in the heart of Islam.”

While fear can hold people in a religion in check for a while, it can’t stop questions that are forming with each mass murder in the name of Islam. “There’s a hunger right now, because these are people that have believed they are serving God. They’re looking at what’s happening in their religion, from groups that say they’re literally studying the Quran, following the Prophet. It’s making them look at their religion and say, ‘I have a lot of questions.'”

Pray that the Christians in the region will have the opportunity to provide those answers. Keep up to date on prayer needs in the ISIS areas by joining a worldwide daily prayer vigil at 8:30 pm (Rom 8:38). You’ll find the group on Facebook at 8thirty8. There are more ways to support E3 Partners here.

5 Comments

  • Nicole says:

    Both those answers sound a bit simplistic, honestly. There are a lot of deeper issues behind ISIS. I know this article is really long, but the author does a great job of digging into it, including interviews with some of the radicals he could reach.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

  • Ruth Kramer says:

    Nicole, thanks for sharing your opinion. The issue of the radicalization is multi-faceted and economically complex. We don’t argue that. The point Tom Doyle is making is that the only thing that changes people who are part of these movements is a radical heart change. Take Saul of Tarsus, for example. He was a zealous persecutor of Christians–yet God changed his heart and he became one of the most outspoken of the apostles as Paul. For those living in those regions who are sharing the hope of Christ, they’re seeing and reporting change in people that is supernatural. He’s identifying the crux as spiritual warfare and calling all followers of Christ to pray for the hearts of the extremists to be changed like Saul of Tarsus.

  • Roberta M says:

    Nicole, thanks for sharing that link. The article IS very long, but a “must read” as far as I am concerned. We can all draw our own conclusions from it.

  • Bshaug says:

    The Atlantic article is informative and indepth but it has many unsubstantiated claims. Read the Quran and the Hadith and you will see where it is wrong in some places. This is definitely a heart issue tied to religious beliefs. We are praying for the believers there- what a horrific situation! There is no explanation for the movement’s (ISIS) growth and anti-Jewish sediment but a spiritual issue.

  • The problem with most Westerners is their over simplification of complex issues with deep spiritual implications. This attitude influences even government policies. For a nation that has been blessed like USA to take the kind of anti-God, anti- Israel and anti-Bible positions that are presented in your media is to say the least ingratitude. You did nothing special before God to be so blessed. Wake up America! We are in a spiritual battle! ISIS and their cousins Boko Haram are the devil doing overtime. May God open the eyes of the American people like He did Gehazi’s. God bless America!

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