The view that Christianity is only a matter of belief and not the renovation of our soul has many consequences.  As we noted in an earlier blog, many people who respect Jesus’ teachings, such as Mahatma Gandhi, are of the opinion that those who claim to be Christians are nothing like Christ and therefore have little reason to consider Christianity as a viable belief system. [1]

Another consequence is the tragedy of what happened in Rwanda a few years ago.  These horrific events are detailed by Emmanuel Katongole in his book Mirror to the Church.  Rwanda was 85 percent Christian back in 1994.  Yet Christians started killing other Christians the Thursday of Easter week simply because they were of a different tribe.  Approximately 800,000 were killed over a 100 day period by their neighbors and fellow church members.  There was no technology to separate the killers from their victims; most were killed with a machete.  The victims at times call out the names of their killers.  Some killers apologized to their victims before killing them.  Christians killed other Christians in the place were they worshipped, often sparing the church building when asked but not sparing fellow Christians.  Priests handed over their parishioners to be killed.  Some priests served communion to those were taking a break from the killing.  Some priests even joined in the killing.  A representative of the Pope asked:  Does the blood of tribalism run deeper than the waters of baptism?  The answer was most certainly yes. [2]

Do we think this problem is limited to the people of Rwanda?  Most definitely not.  Western missionaries deserted Rwanda in their hour of need.  With few exceptions, Western missionaries and church agencies left and so were in no position to help stop the violence.  Why?  Is it as Katongole suggests that when Western nations can feel good about providing relief they do but when sacrifice is needed, they do not want to take the risk? [3]

And what is really sad is that secular international hotels and Muslims protected all and did not hand anyone over to be killed. [4]  How can this be if Christianity is the one true religion and every other religion (including secularism) is false?

God and Christianity obviously made little difference in the Christians who were involved in this incident.  The Rwandan Christians and the western Christians who were in Rwanda at that time read the Bible without letting what they read make a difference in how they lived their lives.  They are no different than us.  We do the same.  We read our Bible and worship without living our lives as the Bible instructs.  If we would let the Bible influence how we lived our lives, we would not have people who respect Jesus and his teachings but cannot stand Christians and we would not have had the tragedy of Rwanda.


[1]   Dibin Samuel, “Mahatma Gandhi and Christianity”, Christianity Today,

[2]   Emmanuel Katongole, Mirror to the Church (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2009).

[3]   Katongole, p. 44.

[4]   Katongole, p. 121-122.

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2 Responses to Rwanda

  1. Dave A. says:

    The Gandhi “quote” is a mis-attribution of a paraphrase of Bara Dada’s words, “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians — you are not like him.”? Source – Jones, E. Stanley. The Christ of the Indian Road, New York: The Abingdon Press,1925. (Page 114). I have written Dibin Samuels about his misquote and will publish a blog entry on the topic soon. The misquote has gone “viral” on the web in the last four years, quite unfortunately.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the correction. Correctly representing what someone says is very important to me. However, based on the quote you have provided, is not the meaning the same? What greater condemnation of a claimed follower of Jesus can there be than to say the follower is not like Jesus? Would one want to join a group that claims to follow Jesus but does not practice what Jesus teaches?

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