Four Ways to Think about the Persecuted Church

Posted On July 4, 2019

4 Ways to Think about the Persecuted Church from Crossway on Vimeo.

Don’t Be Overly Sentimental or Sensational

First of all, let’s not sentimentalize persecution. It’s real, it is hard, it’s our family that is suffering. Just as it says in Hebrews 13:3 that we are to remember those who are in prison as if we were in prison—on that side of the bars with them and those who are mistreated—because we are also in the body. So let’s not sentimentalize it because the bruises are black and blue and the blood is real. People die, women are assaulted, and people sometimes suffer years and years of discrimination. So I would say first of all, don’t sentimentalize it.

And don’t sensationalize it. Persecution can also be big business, it’s a way to raise money, and usually sensational stories are a good way to do that. I’ve seen that all too often. So that would be a starting point as we have a biblical, realistic, and prayerful view of the needs of the persecuted church. It’s real, it is hard, it’s our family that is suffering.

Less Property, More Joy

We can also learn from our brothers and sisters in those settings to focus less on property and on programs and focus more on fellowship and community. I remember recently being with a Ukranian church-planting family in Central Asia, and the husband was sharing with me how when he was growing up, he had the idea that evangelism was inviting people to join an organization. Come to our church and join our organization.

And perhaps because of years of working in really hardcore Muslim contexts and also having a biblical view of evangelism and the work of the gospel in bringing Christ’s people together, he said that he saw evangelism now not as asking people to join an organization but instead, inviting them to join a family. I thought that was a good summary of the fellowship and the hospitality that characterize churches—Christians—in a lot of the settings where it is very difficult.

Their joy is a powerful example to us that Christ is with his people. He’s the fourth man in the fire with them. Right now, our brothers and sisters in China are experiencing extraordinary levels of persecution—in some areas of the country that of which they have not experienced in decades. And yet a dear Chinese sister shared with me recently that there has been unprecedented joy in their congregations as they are going through these arrests and difficult times because Jesus is with them and they’re strengthened by his presence. That’s again another beautiful resurrection reminder that Jesus is alive and he’s with his people.

This is a guest article by Tim Keesee, author of A Company of Heroes: Potraits from the Gospel’s Global Advance. This post originally appeared on crossway.org; used with permission.

Related Posts

The Meaning And Purpose Of The Righteousness Of God

The Meaning And Purpose Of The Righteousness Of God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What is the righteousness of God? What you’ll hear in this episode Why the righteousness of God means that He always acts in accordance with what is right because He is the final standard of what is right. Why...

Romans 1:1-6

Romans 1:1-6

Join Andy in episode one of the By His Grace Bible podcast as he looks at Romans 1:1-6 in his series through the epistle of Romans.

The Injustice of Social Justice?

The Injustice of Social Justice?

Western culture is being shaken. It is a time of significant social instability. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police has unleashed a torrent of rage. Large segments of our society are demonstrating, even rioting, for something enigmatically...

Dull of Hearing

Dull of Hearing

Hebrews 5:11-12, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not...

The Holy Spirit and Common Grace

The Holy Spirit and Common Grace

The second volume of “Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (MLJ) focuses on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. We examined the person and the deity of the Holy Spirit in the first two chapters, now we’ll begin looking at the work of the Spirit in...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share115
Tweet13
Email
Reddit
Share