The violence and lawlessness that has been displayed both in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown by then Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson and the Grand Jury decision not to indict him for it is evil in the sight of God. Having once been a deeply embittered young black male against the legacy of America’s racism and contempt of black lives by all of its societal agents including the police, I fully understand the anger aroused when it apparently continues. However, in coming to Christ and His Word, I have renounced bitterness toward worldly injustice and have instead embraced hope in the God of justice (Isaiah 30:18, 42:1-4; Matthew 12:9-21)!
As the Lord has taught in His Word, so, I teach males aspiring to be strong men of God in the image of Christ that we are to respect not resist the governing authorities as a general rule (Romans 13:1-7). Many of my forefathers gave this respect and were still treated unjustly. I get that. Yet, when Michael Brown reached into the officer’s vehicle to punch him, he crossed the line and invited the officer’s Heaven and earthly granted right to kill him. The only exception to God’s general rule for obeying authority is when it calls for us to disobey Him (Acts 4:13-19, 5:27-29). Even then we are to follow the non-violent example of our Lord and His apostles and prepare to suffer (Acts 5:30-42).
Unjust, intense suffering and martyrdom are being endured at this hour by the saints in many nations and soon--as is foretold--globally. Few--to include professing Western Christians many of whom are busy fighting each other over human invented doctrines and protocols--are marching in moral outrage about this! Nevertheless, as the Lord led me to warn in this week’s blog repost from 2012, global Christian suffering is moving closer to reality and we are expected to be ready to face it with the heart of a lamb like our Lord not anger, violence and lawlessness (1 Peter 2:18-23).
Originally Posted December 2, 2012
Ah, the joy of the season; Christmas is near! I am no Grinch and enjoy the holidays as much as anyone. In fact, if it were God’s will, I would want to bring you nothing but glad tidings and promises of hope for unending tomorrows of warm, holiday bliss. However, if I did so as many do claiming, “The people need hope, not negativity” I would be disobedient to our God and truly a false
prophet and teacher meriting His just punishment (Jeremiah 6:10-15; 23:30-32; 2 Peter 2:1-3).
Let the faithful saints always remember our hope is One that lives eternally and He transcends, space, time and circumstances of all kinds (1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Peter 1:3). Therefore, we possess and maintain hope regardless of what is going on circumstantially in our lives and the world. This said, we should want God’s servants to teach and tell us the truth from His written Word and mouth respectively at all times even if it spoils our temporal aspirations and activities in this life. Of course, God’s truth is never a spoiler to those who love Him and His Word!
Scripture is clear; the faithful saints of God are to understand ourselves at all times as “sheep for the slaughter,” (Romans 8:36, NKJV). While the ultimate sacrifice in martyrdom may not come at this moment, we are nevertheless to live as though it could happen and be prepared. As was pointed out in my blog entitled, Great Women Of God Martyrs under the category, Glory To God, violent persecution and martyrdom are on the increase around the world in non-Western nations.
As I have warned in my book, The Strong Man Of God and this blog, Christians in the West need to prepare for the same because though violence is at a minimum presently, hostility toward believers and the faith by once welcoming government authorities and secularists is steadily rising. This could be temporary as many worldly Christians with their heads buried in the sand want to believe, but not likely (long-term anyway) if prophetic signs the Bible gives to alert us are taken seriously as they should be.
Truly, a post-Christian West now is a powerful sign of the nearness to the end of the entire so-called “Church Age.” Western European Christians and their scattered descendants have been prominent in history after the first century and particularly the last 500 years in taking the Gospel to the rest of the earth. Even as that is nearly accomplished and many now send missionaries to the West, we are clearly moving into the next foretold spiritual paradigm of Christian apostasy along with increasing hostility toward the true faith and the faithful (Matthew 24:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-13).
This reality must not be left unaddressed by Western church leaders that wish not to alarm their people and keep offerings coming in. Unfortunately, the days that are now unfolding will expose this effort at blocking out negativity for the selfish deception it is. Indeed, the days of apostasy and increasing hostile persecution now descending upon especially Western forms of professing Christianity will expose all of the self-spun deceptions in doctrine, tradition and practice that exist for what they are.
While it saddens me that it will take this to finally strip many of their pride and arrogance in their religiosity, endless opinions and expertly devised systems of sinful human reason within Western Christianity, I am pleased that God--ever the revealer of hearts--will clearly show who was right or wrong, true or false, faithful or unfaithful and reward each accordingly (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Malachi 3:13-18; Romans 2:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19; 1 John 2:18-29; Revelation 14:9-13). Also, persecuted Christians facing the same certain end for the faith (i.e. “sheep for the slaughter”) are not likely to still be quarreling over their differences as the foretold morphs into reality before their eyes. It is all uncomfortably closer than Western Christians are ready to believe.
In following up the end of last week’s blog calling for aspiring great women of God to allow Him to be glorified in them through their submission to His calling to be helpers, the Holy Spirit led me to post again this blog from 2012. Not through the pride filled pursuit of men’s roles and responsibilities have the aspiring great women of God in the Bible or history distinguished themselves before Him, but out of the fullness of their divinely created female roles and responsibilities! The women featured in this blog are examples and so are our sisters enduring similar persecution in hostile nations today. Of course, a major difference in the blog is the persecutors were supposedly fellow Christians. I have posted this blog today to enjoy some time off. My next post will appear as regularly scheduled on Sunday, November 30th. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Originally Posted November 26, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to read a series of excellent articles on Anabaptists produced by the magazine, Southwestern News a communication vehicle of the seminary I graduated from, Southwestern out of Fort Worth, Texas.1 While I found the articles a stimulating refresher of general information I had learned about this 16th century group of Reformation Christians, I was also thoroughly captivated by details I did not know about the persecution and martyrdom they endured from State, Catholic and Protestant authorities. The latter group of professing European Christian authorities includes a major name in the Protestant Reformation of the stature of Martin Luther and John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, headquartered out of Zurich, Switzerland.
After enduring so much in the contentious and deadly at times struggle to reform the Catholic Church, Protestant officials also turned to hideous forms of violence to crush those that differed with them. Zwingli gave support to the attempted rooting out of some who were his former students and led the group that came to be called Anabaptists. One of the primary convictions of the group was that baptism is exclusively for believers in Jesus Christ which is biblical. Their male members were hunted down and imprisoned, tortured with hot instruments to get them to recant; killed by the sword, burned at the stake, drowned, starved to death and exposed to the elements when they refused. These ostensible Protestant brothers and other persecutors did not show much mercy to the wives, mothers and daughters of Anabaptist men either.
In one of the articles titled, Anabaptist Womanhood by Sharayah Colter, Anabaptist women (as most Christian women in similar circumstances since the first century) were martyred for the faith in the same wretched ways as their husbands. As one act of civility, some women were chained to their homes for the years it took to raise their children then they were taken out and put to death. Many of course, endured being raped publically as a form of humiliation. These things the women suffered in the quiet dignity of submission to Christ without hostility or threats toward their persecutors. Such things are happening to our sisters at this very hour in various non-Western nations.
In this month of remembering and praying for persecuted believers around the globe, I hold up especially our sisters in Christ who in their submission and willingness to suffer for Christ put the great woman of God I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God, on full display. I salute and admire these godly women who as those throughout history such as the Anabaptist women, fulfill the portrait of womanhood God designed in their Christ-like character and demeanor as seen in His Word (see for example Judges 11:29-40 and Luke 1:26-38). They are in complete contrast to the many Western women today that profess to be Christians but are far from the biblical model in their selfishly ambitious press to be seen, heard and walk in the God ordained leadership roles of men for this age (1 Timothy 2:8-10; Titus 2:1-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6). Pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters.
A final word to my Protestant brothers of European lineage; there is martyr’s blood on the historical hands of the movement which includes that of my Christian forefathers (slave and free). Neither you nor any other professing Christians have been commanded or taught anywhere in the New Testament to harm much less kill a brother that differs doctrinally with you or is sinning. The only recourse we have for a biblically incorrect or sinning brother after attempts to gain his repentance taught by our Lord and His apostles is excommunication, avoidance and giving him over to Satan by declaration (Matthew 18:15-20; Romans 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 1 Timothy 1:18-20). Otherwise, the Lord will surely deal with such a one (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; Hebrews 10:26-31).
Truly, how could anyone believe the God of all justice will somehow let the glaring sin of professing European Christians of the Reformation era along with their scattered guilty descendants beyond it pass that have murdered His faithful saints? He will not let them or other professing guilty Christians from any camp that murder His faithful ones escape (Isaiah 47; Jeremiah 50:8-16; Luke 18:1-8; Romans 2:1-11, 12:17-21; Galatians 6:7-8; James 5:1-6; Revelation 6:9-11, 17:5-6, 15-18:20)! And how can it really be believed that He will safely evacuate their unrepentant contemporary progeny from any form of suffering that has been foretold for followers of Christ until His return? You love the Lord? You will demonstrate it fully as all the other saints of history and our present time in days shortly to come (Acts 9:13-16; Philippians 1:27-30; Revelation 7:9-17).
1 You can view the fall 2012 magazine issue, Anabaptists: Patterns for Radical Discipleship and its articles at http://www.swbts.edu/southwesternnews/.
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