Manspeak


Our Response to Christian Persecution by Justin Day
August 20, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

thoughtintiative

by Justin Day

I recently listened to a short podcast by philosopher William Lane Craig about Christian persecution in Iran. A lot of thoughts ran through my head after meditating on it. Listen to the podcast, titled “Justice in Iran,” and see what you think about it.

1) How does this make you feel about your brothers and sisters in the East? And how does it make you feel about your current situation, living in the West?

2) What do you think the correct course of action should be for American Christians since we have the knowledge of and (possibly) the means to prevent global persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ?

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I have not heard this podcast, but I do keep up with http://www.persecutionblog.com, so I have had similar thoughts/questions to those offered by Mr. Day.

1) Heb. 10:32-34, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” Similarly from I Cor. 12:26, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
Anyone united to Christ and hearing the stories of these trials will have some level of sympathy – what gets confusing, then, is how to respond to that (addressed in question #2). An excellent start is praying for believers that are so harshly persecuted, and to pray to God with His own promise that His Kingdom will triumph over every earthly power.
As for us in the West – it ought to be a challenge and an encouragement to stand up for faith. A lot of people get riled up over whether our rights are being fiddled with when some judge takes down a display of the Ten Commandments – but does that stop the witness to the Gospel of Christ crucified? It sure doesn’t in the lives of people I feel not at all worthy of calling brothers and sisters throughout the ages and across the world today. In a manner of speaking, we need to worry less about lambasting a system of government until it makes it easy to preach the Gospel, and just get on with preaching that Gospel.
For my last thought on this question, I turn to Heb. 11:24-27 about Moses’ faith compelling him to leave a life of luxury in Egypt to lead God’s people through a desert. Is that an example for us to follow?

2) Can persecution be prevented? At persecutionblog.com, they make available such things as signing letters or petitions to governments to release people imprisoned for their faith, as well as sending letters to the imprisoned believers themselves. As the verse in Heb. 10 states, it is good and worthwhile to care for those imprisoned for standing up for the faith.
We have the promise from Jesus Himself that persecution will come (John 15:18 – 16:4, for example). That does not mean that the act of persecution is not evil, or worthy of public denunciation/political condemnation by those in a position to do so. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, there’s a section on the Christian’s response to suffering evil from another person – we have no Biblical mandate to fight back (rather to turn the other cheek) nor to incite revolutions against unjust regimes, but to let the evil of the situation be apparent by not responding in kind. After reading the first whole 12 chapters of Romans, come to Romans 12:21 – “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Of course, that good is not throwing the most humanitarian aid to the country that has the most Christians in prison – rather, that good is the Good News that Christ came to seek and to save the lost, and He bore our sins in His body on that tree that we may live a new life in Him. We trust that promise to the point that we know that the very worst these earthly powers can do is kill our bodies – we trust our Lord Jesus with our souls.
I worry that that’s “easy” for me to say from the confines and comforts of an office in America – when my number’s called, will I be saying the same?
In the meantime, keep your brothers and sisters in Christ, who are enduring troubles we cannot imagine, in prayer to the God who keeps us all secure in His great and precious promises. When an opportunity comes to provide materially or spiritually, take it. And when the time is right, stand beside them on the rock-solid foundation of Christ and His salvation alone.

Comment by JDM

Man, you guys have let this blog die…

Comment by David Wells




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