Criminalizing faith

I read a couple of entries (here and here) on Al Mohler’s blog today about a man in Britain who was arrested for (evidently) peacefully passing out leaflets with the KJV text of verses condemning homosexuality. He was passing them out at a rally or event promoting homosexuality or other alternative sexual lifestyles. Mostly, the entries are just commenting on the event and lamenting the decline of the influence of the church over the government. But the news recalls another story I recently heard. I believe I heard it from one of the missionaries that our church sponsors. This person said that they were talking to a friend from China and mentioned how we in the West pray earnestly for the relief of the persecution of the underground Christian movement in China. According to the person telling me, the Chinese individual replied (at least to the effect),

Oh don’t pray that! We here in the East are praying for the churches in the West, that their persecution would begin soon. It is the persecution that keeps our faith strong and vibrant.

We Christians have become so lackluster in our faith. We have become so cozy. So comfortable. We forget the words of Jesus when he said,

Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In the following verses Jesus goes on to talk about being a light and salt not losing its saltiness. Maybe, by some miracle of God, the Western church, and particularly my own experience of the American version of it, can regain its saltiness and impact on the world. We have given up so much in the last century. Perhaps it would do us good if the Chinese prayers were answered and Christian faith did become criminalized. It would loosen the cultural bonds that we have allowed to be placed on our Passion.

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One thought on “Criminalizing faith

  1. Absolutely true. Not that I want to ask God for persecution for anyone (that doesn’t seem quite right to me). But isn’t it odd that the Church seems the strongest – the most Spirit-driven, the most alive – when in times of persecution and difficulty? This is true both on a macro level (the Church) and a micro level (the individual). I remember coming to the realization, even when I was a young Christian in high school, that my faith would never grow unless it was challenged. After all, what is faith in a God who provides for our needs if we have everything we need? What is faith in a God who protects and delivers when we have no need of deliverance?

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