Something to ponder…

I’m not sure why, really, but I have been exposed to so many stories about the evangelical movement that is happening in China lately. I listened to Dr. David Platt share about his travels there as he spoke at Student Life Tour back in late March. Since then, I have read articles in Youth Worker Journal, Relevant, and even some articles I have found on-line. God has really used this to bring both an awakening and a conviction to my life.
I have been fascinated as I heard Dr. Platt share about a group of about 40 men who met with him for litterally HOURS each day in a hidden place just soaking up anything he would offer them in the way of teaching. No songs, no games, no powerpoint, no entertainment–just the Word of God. In most of the articles I have read it speaks of the on-going persecution these faithful Chinese believers face on a daily basis. There have even been stories of close calls by American missionaries in the short time in which they served there.
One thing that has stuck out to me is the response of these Chinese believers to the persecution they face. One man spoke of a series of 20+ days he spent in a hard labor camp because of his faith. This old man, for whom I can only imagine how difficult this time must have been, shared about how he knew more joy in Christ during those 20+ days than he has ever experienced before in his life. He shared this, by the way, in another underground church service, where at any time, soldiers could rush in and take him away and persecute him in much worse ways. An American missionary shared about travelling with some believers for 4 hours just to attend a 45-minute worship service. Not long after this meeting, she and other church members were scattered into the night during a service because they had been identified earlier that week.
As I have been exposed to these stories, I can’t help but think of the state of the American church. One question keeps popping up in my head…If it abruptly became against the law of our government to worship God, by how much would the attendance at our church be cut? As I have thought about this, a haunting thought has grabbed my attention time and time again. I truly believe that this kind of persecution would be the best thing that could ever happen to the American church. I am beginning to believe this for two reasons.
First, it would separate the true believers in our churches. Church would no longer be a place for social advance and feel-good-religion. The only ones who would be bold enough to attend would be those who are secure in their relationship and are willing to risk all for their Lord.
Second, this persecution would light a fire under the Christians who, as Erwin McManus puts it in his book The Barbarian Way, have been “domesticated”. It would allow us to once again realize the brevity of the task that God has given us to share the hope we have in Christ with others and spend a vast majority of our time making disciples. I believe our selfishness would turn into selflessness and we would truly know what it means to edify the body and serve one another.
I don’t mean to be over-the-top here. I just can’t get past the “what if” of this scenario. What about you? If that kind of persecution were alive here as it is there, would you find yourself in a place of worship this Sunday? Would you still study God’s Word, pray and strive to live as Christ?
I pray that God would convict others in the same way He has convicted me in thinking about these things.

I Married my bride, Erin, in 2003. We have 3 children: Emma, Elijah, and Lydia. I have served full-time on staff at Westwood Baptist Church, in Roxboro, NC, since summer of 2006 as Pastor of Students & Discipleship. I am currently enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing my Doctorate of Education.

2 thoughts on “Something to ponder…

  1. Those are some interesting thoughts. It’s amazing that where we have the most freedom to grow, we’re still like spiritual babies. Wasn’t David Platt the man who spoke at Clarity? He spoke about how we should desire the Word and told us about the people he taught that wanted to be in the word for eight hours each day. That just blows my mind. Eight whole hours! That would be amazing if we desired God’s word as much as those believers did! Great message last Wednesday, btw. I really needed to hear it. 🙂

  2. This is really an amazing thought. I had just been reading and hearing about what’s going on with the Christian’s in China through a Nora Lamb organization magazine my mom had. The sacrifice and hunger for the word is just amazing there.

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