Erwin Raphael McManus wrote:
“Domesticated Christians are far too willing to abdicate the battle for the soul of the world. Civility focuses our energy on all the wrong places. We spend our lives emphasizing our personal development and spiritual well-being….In contrast Jesus calls us to a different way. He tells us this is a battle of kingdoms….To see from a kingdom perspective is to know that there is a conflict of invisible kingdoms and that people’s lives are forever changed by what happens in the unseen. We are called to be warriors of light in dark places.” (The Barbarian Way, pp. 108-109.)
I got the above from the director’s article by Tom White in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine, Feb. 09.
I have always said that, contrary to the charge that we are only railing against homosexuality and abortion, the American evangelical churches are focused on personal piety, spiritual ecstacy in worship, feeling love for all people and that we do not like to get our feathers ruffled or our feelings riled. Hence,the move by some away from political action and discussions regarding abortion and gay rights. After all, there are angry foes on the other side defending these sins as legitimate choices. The challenge for us is the same as for the wife of a polygamous cult: Staying sweet. Never showing tempers. Always feeling love and showing forgiveness –always feeling the joy of the Lord. So, many of us avoid conflict and the resulting unpopularity. Being civil in disagreement IS Christian --no name-calling or insulting of others' intelligence. But I think being so civil as to avoid controversy is to cater to the wrong kingdom.
Many such Christians are also involved in ministry to each other, to their extended families, active in church activities/ministries and givers to charity and missions. They may be prayer warriors. So, I'm not meaning to judge those who don't contend for the faith or confront the culture openly --but to challenge us to do so.
Love over hate and temper is part of the continual battle between the kingdoms ---personal spiritual well-being would include that as described by the above author. But the director of VOM cites John, author of Revelations, who goes back into the persecuted church instead of staying in exile where God gave him the Revelation of Heaven. Instead of biding His time on the Isle of Patmos, waiting for his transport to paradise, he chose to “identify with those who carried their crosses in the steps of the Savior.” This was when Emperor Domitian infamously executed Jews, Christians and his own relatives for not worshipping the emperor.
Then White tells that the VOM has a video tape they don’t show because of the horror and tragedy of it –a video of a 12-year-old girl stoned to death in Egypt because she accepted Jesus. He then calls us to be co-participants, helpmates and encouragers to those who suffer tribulation in dozens of nations.
He notes that “Muslim converts to Islam are usually very bold; such is the liberating joy that flows out of them.” He quotes a Christian convert from Islam, “If you think there is a place you will be safe when you follow Christ, you are wrong….but Islam is cracking. The crack is becoming bigger with those who want to know Christ the Lord. This is why the fundamentalists (Muslims) are angry.”
I think this is not a day in OUR nation to retreat from proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel where people hate Christians for their doctrines and their definitions of sin and the message to repent. This is a time to shine the light of truth in dark places –to be that shining city on the hill –that light on the lampstand –where all can see it. We ought not retreat from proclamation of the whole truth –including Biblical definition of sin vs. righteousness
And just because they hate us doesn’t mean our method is wrong or that we have truly behaved hatefully as charged. St. Paul proclaimed the truth about homosexuality in ROME where it was an issue. In the U.S., it is again an issue –as is abortion. No matter how you say it, liberals want to cast you as a “gaycist” –just as wrong as racists.
Yes, if people would truly convert and follow Christ, they would all agree on the social issues. The Bible is full of preaching and teaching against the sins of the day –that we may know what displeases a Holy God. We CANNOT avoid the issue of sin in our culture –we must stand against it in public square, in government, as well as in the church. The majority of those who are calling evil good are not IN the church to hear the messages –so how will they know what it is that they should repent of, if we aren’t salt and light speaking Truth to power and to our culture –even on places like blogs?
Read more about today's Christian martyrs:
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible