Christianity Thrives In Times Of Persecution

August 3, 2012

Christianity Thrives In Times Of Persecution

      “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).

We live in a day when most Christians we know enjoy the benefits of nearly all the comforts and conveniences the world has to offer.  Our churches have central heating and air conditioning.  Hymn books are in the pew in front of us.  In some churches the words of the hymns are projected on a giant screen.  We have ample access to good Christian books.  Many are now available as electronic books to be read on computers or electronic readers.  We also have access to Christian telecasts and radio programs

I have often asked myself “What would happen to our Christianity if all these comforts and conveniences were taken away?”  Could we go on living the Christian life without them?  It would certainly be a test of the strength of our Christianity.  I’m not suggesting that we eliminate all these facilities, but I do wonder if it’s possible to become too dependent on them.

It’s not wrong to take advantage of these conveniences and comforts, but our relationship with God should be sufficiently vibrant that, if necessary, we could live without them.  Our forefathers managed to pass genuine Christianity on to us, even though they didn’t have these things.  Believers in some parts of the world today are deprived of them.  Some of them don’t have pastors because their pastors are in prison or have been killed.  They don’t have freedom of religion.  They have underground churches and are in danger of being imprisoned if they attend them.  One would think that this would put an end to their Christianity.  To the contrary, history testifies to the fact that Christianity often thrives under persecution.

For many years Christians in Chinahave suffered persecution under Communism.  In 1950 there were approximately one million Christians in China.  Forty years later their number had increased to between 30 and 70 million.  These facts were taken from the book Bold As A Lamb, back cover, written by Ken Anderson.  This growth took place in spite of the persecution they suffered.  Little house churches have sprung up all overChina.  Many pastors have been imprisoned; some have been killed.  Faithful believers have not given in.  They go on witnessing to their neighbors, knowing it may mean they will be arrested,  imprisoned; maybe even killed for being traitors to the government.

It’s true that persecution will eliminate Christian institutions.  By that I mean organizations that facilitate the advancement of Christianity i.e. denominational headquarters, Bible colleges and seminaries and mission boards.  Most likely there will be no more Christian radio or television.  There will be no more Christian magazines and free circulation of Bibles and Christian books.

Could Christianity still thrive without these things?  It has inChina.  That’s not to say we should do away with these things, but we shouldn’t be so dependent on them that we think we couldn’t go on without them.  Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ shouldn’t depend on them.

It to our advantage to give thought to the rapid advancement of Christianity in the first century.  They didn’t have any of the organizational structures that we have today.  They had a few dynamic leaders like the Apostle Paul who went about starting churches, but the bulk of the work was done by day laborers who testifies to their faith in Christ.

We would like to think that we will always have the present structure of organizations and modern conveniences.  Those of us who are aware of what is going on in the world see the writing on the wall that says “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting” (Daniel 5:27-28).  So called Christian nations are plagued by increasing indifference and a decline in moral standards.  Islamic nations are ascending because they use the power of the sword to propagate their religion.  They give Christians the option of either converting to Islam or death.  Nominal Christians don’t have what it takes to refuse to bow.

We should use to the maximum the religious liberty we have.  Yes, we should keep on using the facilities we have at our disposal, but we shouldn’t become so dependent on them that we couldn’t go on living the Christian life without them.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It’s by the power of Christ that we can do all things, not by means of the comforts and conveniences we have at our disposal.

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