Great Stuff — Mark’s thoughts: What you can do for the persecuted Church

Another great post found over on Pr. Surburg’s blog:

 

burned church EgyptThe apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV).  He teaches us that through baptism Christians from every different background are joined together in the Body of Christ.  Near the end of his discussion about the Body of Christ and what it means for Christians he went on to add, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV).

We live in a time when the Body of Christ is suffering in numbers and in ways that we have never seen before.  The Church experienced tremendous persecution from Communist regimes during the Cold War.  Authoritarian regimes that are holdovers from this period such as China, Vietnam and Cuba continue to persecute the Church. However the emergence of an ever more aggressive Islam is subjecting the Church to violence that seeks to exterminate her in places like Iraq, Syria, and Egypt.  Islamic nations subject the Church to intense persecution around the globe (see this link for a description of persecution in different nations).

The mainline media has given almost no attention to the persecution that Christians are facing. This is not surprising, since it runs counter to its prevailing attitude which seeks to give a positive view of Islam while considering Christians to be oppressors.  However, what is troubling is that many Christians seem to be overlooking it as well.

The internet and social media allow information to be rapidly shared, and Christian groups have used these to means to alert the world to the persecution that is now occurring. During the last year I have watched this with increasing frustration as persecution has taken ever more extreme forms.

Naturally, I have long prayed for the persecuted Church.  I have been doing this daily as an individual Christian.  In my vocation as pastor, I have made the persecuted Church and individual Christians who are imprisoned a weekly element in the Prayer of the Church at my congregation.  This is crucially important and is the place to start.

However, faith is active in love (Galatians 5:6); it is a living, active, and busy thing.  So the question then arises: What else can we do for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

The next thing is to make the issue known.  We need other Christians to know about what is happening.  We also need non-Christians to know about the evil that is being done. Social media provides a powerful tool for this.  As you see news items on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, share/retweet them.  Make this a regular habit.  “Like” The Voice of the Martyrs Facebook page so that you can receive regular news items about the persecuted Church and share them.

I have found Persecution.org to be an important resource.  This organization encourages us to live out our vocation as citizens by contacting our legislators.  What should we tell them? Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett, chairman and vice chairwoman forthe U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, urge us to tell them to promote U.S. government policy that presses foreign governments to bring to justice those who assault religious minorities. In addition, tell them to promote U.S. policy that urges these governments to cease punishing the innocent through blasphemy law. There is alsospecific legislation the needs our support.  We can contact both our legislators and also those of other states who play an important role in this legislation.

It is, perhaps, easy to feel cynical about what such action will accomplish.  Yet as Christians we remember our Lord’s words: “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28 ESV).  We are called in Christ to lives of humble service and sacrifice which do not calculate things as the world does.  Instead we, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 ESV).

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — Mark’s thoughts: What you can do for the persecuted Church — 2 Comments

  1. Good article and great resources. Pray for the persecuted and exercise our American freedom for good. On a related note, there are many Christians – I hope not Confessional Lutherans – who see this persecution in eschatological dispensationalist themes. Islam represents various parts of Revelation, Russia and China are Gog and Magog, and we’re now in the Great Tribulation which means Christ is returning, say, next Thursday. We should support our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, without falling into the trap of man-made doctrines, and assist other Christians in a correct understanding of the End Times.

  2. It can be frustrating to hear about persecution, because on the one hand we want to help, but on the other hand there really isn’t a whole lot physically we CAN do to help. We write legislators, yes, but at times that seems to fall on deaf years. And yes, we do pray, and we rejoice that it is the coming Eternal kingdom, and not current earthly kingdoms, in which we will live forever regardless of what happens here.

    But sometimes the rhetoric to help leaves us helpless. I remember hearing talk about the sex trafficking problem that occurs in the world, and the way the speaker talked about it he gave me the impression that I was supposed to go find myself a machine gun, hop on the first plane I can, and start taking these guys out (Not that he was suggesting reckless vigilantism per se, but he made it sound as if we were bad people for not being “more involved,” whatever that meant, and that).

    I do appreciate articles like this one bringing it to our attention. We forget often that the rest of the world does not have the understanding of freedom that the United States does, and that our brothers and sisters elsewhere at times fight for what we are handed liberally every day. And certainly we are to help in whatever way we can. I just want to see realistic help and and realistic options brought forth, and you do this well in what’s laid out. We do what we can, but realize that it’s in God’s hands.

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