David Pawson -- "Suffering" (c)
Thoughtful Thoughts 24.6.16
David Pawson’s “Preparing for Suffering” (c)
My thoughts on the subject of persecution...
Quick catch up: – Over the years, millions of Christians have been martyred for their faith. Christian persecution used to be as widely spread as there were Christians. The Holy Roman Empire replaced the Roman Empire in murdering so many Christians that Hitler praised them and said he would copy their model. By 1806 the Catholic church had been forced to abandon the Holy Roman Empire, due to countries taking back their independence by force. The process of breaking free of the barbarism of the Holy Roman Empire was a long slow painful process. History has come to call that period when the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ ruled Europe, “The Dark Ages”, as civilisation was dragged down to its lowest point in history. (There is too much information on that to write about it all in a “blog”).
Breaking away from Rome did not stop humans behaving badly of course, but it meant that the real Christians were no longer being tortured to death in the free countries, and so were staying alive longer to make changes for good in society. Over the next two centuries in the free countries, real change started happening with the introduction of godly laws and social welfare reforms. (For those wanting more, I will just have to refer you to Professor Robert Woodberry and his PhD thesis “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy”.) Christians were no longer being burned alive, and Bibles were no longer being burned in bonfires in London by the bishop, so they became available for people to start reading them.
Outside of those countries, Christian persecution of course continued and not just by the church. Even today, it is very real in most parts of the world…and examples of it are of Pastor Malindy in Uganda who had acid thrown in his face by Moslems…and Dr Naim Khoury, a Baptist pastor in the little town of Bethlehem, who has been fired bombed 14 times, shot 3 times, and whose congregation find it almost impossible to get jobs. Their Baptist church has now been declared illegitimate by the Palestinian Authority… (That church can be found on line at www.fbcbethlehem.com if you wish to investigate further.) These are picked as examples out of the many.
In the free countries who escaped until recently, things have been changing. The UK now required Christians to accept new anti-Christian laws, as a Christian baker found out. He was found guilty of refusing to write on a wedding cake “I support gay marriage”. We can’t go into all the law changes now, but the website of “The Christian Institute” for UK laws, and “Family First” for New Zealand laws may help.
To avoid breaking the anti Christian laws we must:-
a) Compromise our faith…
(1 Peter says that if we don’t compromise, people will hate us more. However, we are supposed to expose evil, but if we do, that holiness means we will be hated.
b) Become cowards…
(Like Peter during the trial of Jesus who denied him three times.)
Christians can now be criminalised for putting their faith into practice, whilst Moslems have been allowed Sharia Law in the areas of family, finance and civil matters.
Christians in the UK have had to stop the open air services that I used to go to as a teenager, unless they obtain a special licence.
But to end on an encouraging note, Jesus told us that as the time comes nearer for His return, we would be facing an ever increasing degree of persecution. Revelation teaches us that Jesus wins! He is coming back. Jesus said; “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?” And I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7.22).
On the day of judgement, will there be enough evidence to prove that you did the will of the Father? Matt. 7:21.
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.