Many of us are convinced that persecution of Christians is already under way–and that you don’t have to go all the way to China to find it. Here in the United States, and Canada, we find ample evidence of persecution–and a fervent desire, on the part of certain people, to have much, much more of it.
How should Christians cope with persecution? What are the things we most need to remember?
This is the only nooze I’ll report today. I haven’t got the heart for more.
When I read the line, “The latest enforcement measures have included removal of the cross from churches,” my fear was that this was happening here, in America. But no: this is the latest from Red China.
For reasons that sane people cannot understand, the Chinese communist state has decided on a “crackdown on religious practice”–and this involving government-sanctioned churches belonging to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association: that part of the Church that has committed itself to compromise with communism. It’s happening all over the mainland; and the priests in those churches are complying because they’re afraid that if they don’t, their churches will be demolished or converted to secular use.
The government has imposed “strict new regulations concerning religion,” and failure to comply can result in destruction of the church.
This is what happens when you get into bed with the devil. And so we have “teams of young people” removing crosses from the outside and the inside of churches.
The church of Jesus Christ–not a building, not a denomination, but the fellowship of all believers who call upon His name–well, we’re still here.
Look at what they’ve thrown at us in just the past quarter-century or so. Live birth abortion. “Transgender” (a delusion). “Gay marriage.” And they want to throw us in jail if we don’t “celebrate” it. And that’s just in the Western world. Elsewhere on the planet, they’re killing Christians.
They own the unelected government, the “free and independent” nooze media, the Democrat Party, lock, stock, and barrel, plus some sizeable chunks of the GOP, the public schools, the universities, Hollywood–and all of this, in all its power and wealth and influence, is brought to bear against the Church. Celebrity power. “Science.” All thrown at the Church.
And yet they can’t close the deal.
We’re still here.
Be faithful to Christ, and He will be faithful to us. As He has been, and will be.
We watched this on Amazon Prime yesterday, where you can rent it: Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018). It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Beautifully filmed and acted, this tells the story of Paul’s life, in flashbacks, against the grim background of Nero’s persecution of Christians in Rome. James Faulker, who played Herod Agrippa in I, Claudius, plays Paul–in a Roman prison, awaiting execution. Jim Caviezel is Luke, writing the Book of Acts under Paul’s guidance. Joanne Whalley and John Lynch are Priscilla and Aquila, trying to hold together the city’s Christian community.
There are in the world today places where Christians are brutally persecuted, as they were in Nero’s Rome. And yet those are the places where faith in Christ is growing.
I’m not going to write a long review here, Paul is well worth seeing for yourselves. I just want to note that, as someone who has lived his whole life in a place where, by the providence of God, neither war nor civil strife has touched for centuries, such scenes are strange and terrifying to me. I have never seen anyone beaten on the streets, publicly hanged, herded off to a gulag. I know these things have happened many times in history. I know they happen now.
But on an emotional level, I don’t want to believe that persecution, of the kind that Paul and Luke knew, can be a fact of life. I don’t want to believe it. I don’t want the world to be like that, even though I know it is. God help us peace-loving American Christians, if we ever have to confront anything worse than snarky comments and hate-contorted faces.
For thy sake, Lord, we are slaughtered like sheep…
And yet by you we are more than conquerors.
That’s what Paul said (Romans 8:36-37).
And he taught himself, and us, that only love, filled by God’s grace and the love of Jesus Christ, can survive a fallen world.