Unless you got this in your inbox on Thursday too- then Happy Thursday as well. Ive changed nothing in how I send emails or write them but its started to send out two emails again. Bear with me, I'm already yelling at support. At least thats what I'm tellin you lol
A year ago March I wrote a short post on the loyalty we have to our faith (click here) when it seems easier and better not to stand with God's standards.
It reminded me of a story.... As it goes, the senior pastor of a large church is not sitting in his pew one Sunday morning, nor are the head elders about. Partway through the service, they do show up-- but with guns and disguised as criminals. One declares that they are going to take anyone that admits "belief in this 'god'" in a separate room and shoot them dead.
The story ends that only a few went into the room, confirming that many people there were not really willing to live out the faith they claimed.
Of course, I am in America and this seems all sorts of crazy: To be actually at risk of death for your faith? Hogwash! Yet for others, persecution is very real. I want to talk about that today and how embarrassing it is that Christians in America are so casual about everything.
Baptism is something that (although it doesnt earn salvation for a person) lines up perfectly with a person wanting to follow God and his teachings for the rest of there life. Something totally irrational for those that dont believe.
(I am a believer in "believer's baptism" or a person making a choice to announce themselves a Christian. Its sort of like "coming out" that there is something counter cultural and different about how you will live your life now.)
This sort of baptism in other countries is a very big announcement.... and meanwhile in America, its easy to forget that the Bible is outlawed in many countries.
Possession of one in a place like North Korea alone might mean being arrested because they outlaw all religion. Other places refuse public display of Christianity, the publishing of Bibles, or Bibles available in the native language. You migh lose your job, your home, and even your family to be open about your faith. ISIS has captured many Christians, only some of which live through imprisonment. Some of these places are mentioned in the video below.
The closest thing I can imagine personally to all this is the for-entertainment-attacks by the Romans of the early Church, which I have learned about at school. I read this passage online "Christians were executed by the boatload during that time, often in cruel and unusual ways, with animals regularly playing a role. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, wrote letters en route to execution in Rome predicting he’d be thrown to the beasts. (The beasts in question included dogs, bears, boars, and lions) ... Roman executions typically were considered a form of public spectacle. When coinciding with a game day, they usually took place during the midday break between the morning animal hunts and the afternoon gladiator matches. A favored method was exposing an unarmed criminal to lions or bears. The entertainment value of executions was apparently low due to their sheer number — many people found them boring, either leaving for lunch...."
Ignatius, d. 107 AD, refused to worship Roman gods according to my research. Why dont we ever hear about people like him?
Its so interesting to me, that Christianity in America is just another club pretty much to claim membership of; yet in other countries people face all sorts of real and terrible reactions. It makes me wonder what its going to be like as America becomes less and less Christian. It makes me wonder if we will stand like Ignatius when already people are conforming to anti-biblical ideas.
The thing is, I think it would be totally beautiful if Christians would stand "come what may". I read The Faith recently, and the author opened with a message that you dont die for something you only partially believe. He talked about the Amish girls who were killed, early church's disciples/apostles, and countless others like Irish monks and cathedral choirs that have shown that what they believe is very real. Called us to remember the 11 who never said anything about a conspiracy- They died without muttering anything of it being a lie when that would have made everything so much easier- and Paul whose entire life is a great example of Biblical transformation and belief.
He talked of how it has been outlawed and watered down because if offers meaning, something else, and talked of how people run because they dont want to live with it. Most impact of any book ever? Its truth is confirmed with textural integrity, historical accuracy, biblical authority. This Christianity moves people to act. transforming. sight to blind, etc.
(From my notes I also have written: When the texts were being written and collected, almost all done by second century. AD 150 Complete NT, AD 382 translated to Latin as we have it today. We look at records for North American peoples in 400 BC in North America and there is nothing to support Mormon theology.... but this is supported historically and archaeologically. Also: '"Jewish tradition provides one answer: According to Hebrew practice, only eyewitness testimony was accepted; and when copying documents, the Jews would not drop one letter of a word or the entire document would be scrapped. "')
The author made a claim that the only reason that education, science, enlightenment ideas, capitalism, and democracy exists is because of the Bible; and coupled with a message that God pours out unconditional love (the only King to die for subjects ever!) he explained how it contrasts nations today greatly. Places *have to* restrict the Bible to prevent overthrow of the Government and exposing faults they prefer to maintain.
What do you think?