In 2002 and 2003 the United States marched forward toward war in Iraq. While the war was about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction for some Evangelical Christians the Iraq war meant something else. It meant that the end times could come about. As such war was looked upon with awe and wonder because pretty soon Jesus would be coming back on a white horse and the rapture would take place. Today I shake my head in disgust when I consider what I was involved in.
“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
George W Bush
“The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks or five months. But it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.”
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. 12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself.
Revelation 19:11-12 NIV
flowers on the 9-11 Memorial in New York City
September 11, 2001 became one of the darkest days in American history. On that day terrorists who trained in Afghanistan turned commercial jetliners into missiles who then targeted national landmarks. The images of smoke hemorrhaging out of 1 and 2 World Trade Center and the Pentagon is carved into this nation’s conscious as much as the images of the burning U.S.S. Arizona after Pearl Harbor. Between multiple states close to 3,000 people were murdered. The September 11 attacks also led to another discussion in the United States. What should be done about Iraq and their weapons of mass destruction program?
A Nation is Wounded on September 11, 2001 and Should We Go to War in Iraq?
The United States after September 11, was hurting. It had experienced attacks on its own soil. Thousands of people were killed, and the threat of terrorism loomed large. The shift to Iraq began after a State of the Union speech in January 2002 in which President Bush declared Iraq to be a part of the Axis of Evil along with North Korea. In late September of 2002 the British publish a dossier that deals with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program. From November of 2002 until March of 2003 the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission fails to find evidence of Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction. In February of 2003 Colin Powell gave a speech before the United Nations making the case that Iraq had maintained its Weapons of Mass Destruction Program. The Iraq War would commence on March 20, 2003 and the main players would be the United States, British and Spain. Operation Iraqi Freedom started and with that the United States would become involved in a deeply unpopular war.
The Lusting For War in the Middle East by Some at Wooded Hills
During the lead up to Iraqi Freedom I was involved in a small third wave, charismatic church outside Milwaukee called Wooded Hills Bible. Today it is known as Wooded Hills. Wooded Hills had such colorful personalities as Trish Stern, Kay Bong, Bryan Habeth, Bob Hennes, Bill; and Laurie Lonski and more. While the growing worry about war with Iraq became fodder for discussion in American society, at Wooded Hills it was different. Wooded Hills was a very charismatic church that was caught up in organizations like The Elijah List, Rick Joyner and the Kansas City International House of Prayer. Some of the “prophets” had started to talk about how the world could enter the end times when the United States invaded Iraq. At Wooded Hills a number of people were cautiously excited about the prospect of war. It was a stark contrast between some people in the charismatic end times crowd vs, regular Americans. As the Iraq War drew closer a number of people became more excited. There was some talk about preparing for the end times. Occasionally when people prayed they prayed for the war to lead to Jesus’s return. It is odd to talk about this today some 16 years after the Iraq War. But as the war kicked off some of the evangelicals at Wooded Hills were excited and happy. Any day now in the minds of a number of people at Wooded Hills you would hear that trumpet and see Jesus returning. Going to war in Iraq was a blessing.
What was I Involved In?
Today all these years after all this I look back at Wooded Hills and ask myself what was I involved in? Who in their right mind salivates and lusts after war? War, any war, brings about death, loss of life, civilians caught in conflict, destruction and more. Who in their right mind when they think of the costs of war would be excited about it? Why is it that some of the charismatic world get so excited about such war in the Middle East? I look back at some of this and ask myself, what kind of cult was I involved in at Wooded Hills? Today I look back and shale my head in disgust that I called Wooded Hills Bible. Yes, I drank the Kool Aid and I should have seen it better. In that context I am embarrassed. But speaking of embarrassed here is another question. How many times was the rapture supposed to happen these days? I recall people talking about the end times when the United States was involved in the first Persian Gulf War of 1991. How can evangelicals of this stripe be wrong so frequently and how do they save face? How many times in the past four decades was the rapture supposed to happen? And well…has it? If you are from Wooded Hills and you are reading this post this tells me that not only is your theology bad, but the rapture still has not happened.