(Photo: REUTERS / Zohra Bensemra)
Muammar Gaddafi's death should send a signal to other tyrants that they are likely to lose their power the way they obtained it – by force, says one evangelical leader.
"We've seen this story over and over again," Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a podcast Friday. "Tyrants tend to gain their power only by military means and they tend to lose their power only by those same military means."
Gaddafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years, was killed Thursday after being captured by troops from the National Transitional Council in his hometown of Sirte. It has not yet been confirmed how exactly the events leading to his death unfolded, but CNN reports that he was shot as his captors tried to load him into a vehicle and drive away.
According to Reuters, Gaddafi, 69, had a bullet hole in the head.
Libyans are celebrating the dictator's death and the start of a new era.
As Mohler described on Friday, "The death of Muammar Gaddafi brings to an end one of the most villainous lives of our time."
The day of his death not only belongs to the Libyans but to the world as well, he added, noting that "the world is rid of one more tyrant."
As graphic photos reveal Gaddafi in his last moments with blood on his face, Mohler noted, "Morally speaking, he had a great deal of blood on his hands."
"'Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.' Proverbs 28:15 Muammar Qadhafi, June 7, 1947-October 20, 2011," the evangelical leader tweeted Thursday.
The fall of Gaddafi has emboldened protesters in Syria who are also looking to bring an end to the tyrannical rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
While the Libyan leader's death should send a signal to dictators like al-Assad, Mohler noted that they will not necessarily draw the lessons that the rest of the world does.
"Even as the world is drawing some sense of moral satisfaction from the removal of one more tyrant from the legacy of the moral horrors of the 20th and to now the 21st centuries, you have to wonder how other tyrants are viewing this, not only from Syria but also from places like North Korea," Mohler stated.
But history has made it clear: "Tyranny is self-sustaining [and] it only holds itself in power by military means, coercion and fear."
If al-Assad holds out until the end, he may find himself with a similar ending as Gaddafi, Mohler predicted.
"Even dictators know not their time. Ponder the coming judgment of God over all humanity in light of the death of Muammar Qadhafi," he tweeted.
With many challenges still ahead as Libyans transition out of four decades of dictatorship and toward a more democratic future, Christians are calling for prayers.
The secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, stated, "Our prayer is that this new chapter will improve the welfare for all of Libya’s people as well as create new freedoms of religion in the country.
"On this kind of foundation families, communities and the nation of Libya can flourish. It is also our prayer that other conflicts in the region will be resolved in a more peaceful manner and all people will be given the opportunity to find genuine freedom."
The National Transitional Council estimates it will take at least eight months before elections are held and a new constitution is drafted.