Saturday, March 19, 2011

Persecution and Politics

Ok, so I feel the need to apologize (again!) for not blogging. It has been more than the week or two that I said I was going to take to get some thoughts in order, etc.

So lets get down to it! Over the last six months or so, I have noticed a growing trend within the persecution watchdog circles to employ the use of politicians and political systems in trying to stop persecution of Christians. Now you may be thinking, "What's wrong with that? We have governments to keep order and to stand up against injustice." Well, that is true, but are there any examples of Christians doing this in the Bible?

When the apostle Peter was unjustly held in prison in Acts, do we see the believers decrying the corrupt authorities and seeking relief through political means? No, and in fact, it says, "but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." (12:5) The modern church many times marginalizes the power of prayer. Oh we would never say that it wouldn't help or work on behalf of an imprisoned believer, but the way we run to men is very telling about where trust really lies. As a whole, do you think the church has ceased praying without ceasing for the persecuted believers?

"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body." (Heb. 13:3) We are to remember in prayer those Christians who are in prison as if we were there as well. I don't know about you, but I'd want my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to petition the Highest Power (God) for me if I was in jail for my faith. As believers, we are one body and need to, not only feel the joy, but also the pain of Christ's body of believers.

In closing, I'd like to re-quote a passage from Brother Yun's book, The Heavenly Man,

"Whenever I hear a house church Christian has been imprisoned for Christ in China I don't advise people to pray for his or her release unless the Lord clearly reveals we should pray this way.

Before a chicken is hatched it is vital it is kept in the warm protection of the shell for 21 days. If you take the chick out of that environment one day too early, it will die. similarly, ducks need to remain confined in their shell for 28 days before they are hatched. If you take a duck out on the 27th day, it will die.

There is always a purpose behind why God allows his children to go to prison. Perhaps it's so they can witness to the other prisoners, perhaps God wants to develop more character in their lives. But if we use our own efforts to get them out of prison earlier than God intended, we can thwart his plans, and the believers may come out not as fully formed as God wanted them to be." (p. 313)

When we run to politicians seeking the release of a Christian without knowing it's God's will for that believer to be released, we run the risk of working against god's plan for the person. Who knows what God can do in and through a believer while in jail? As one who hasn't had to face imprisonment in my life yet, that may seem easy to say. However, anyone who knows Brother Yun's story knows that he speaks from experience. God can work miracles, even in a jail cell!

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