I am currently in the Washington, D.C. area both visiting friends and family as well as involved in some meetings that are focused on praying for our country during this critical time. If there ever was a time to be engaged in interceding for our country, it is now. We are once again at a time where the nation seems more fragmented and divided than I can remember in my lifetime except for the 1960s.
I have been introduced to a book on the history of Christianity in China called “Jesus in Beijing.” It is a fascinating history of the rise of the house church movement that has never been officially recognized by the Chinese government. They have a recognized government supervised church called the Three Self Church Movement that is carefully monitored by the government. But there are millions of Christians who are part of the house church movement. They are willing to go to jail, to be maligned, to be mistreated in every imaginable way for their faith in God.
Some of the Chinese intellectuals recognize that the main reason for the success and pre-eminence of the West all over the world was not superior military or government or economics but Christianity. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the rise to greatness and dominance in all of these other areas. Although Chinese leadership has not been willing to embrace the power of the gospel, they cannot deny the fruit of it, even in their own country.
Why has the church in America become so weak and ineffective? Why do we not have the influence that we should have if we really believed what the Bible reported and proclaimed? Why are we losing our respect as a nation around the world?
Could it be that our faith is no longer something we would lay down our lives for? Would I be willing to go to jail to stand up for what I believe is the truth? Would I even be willing to be inconvenienced for my faith? These are valid questions we need to ask ourselves now. What if the worst case scenario should happen here in this country and not only is it no longer popular to be a true believer, but maybe even illegal in the sense of practicing our faith as we have been able to do freely in this country up until the restrictions that have been placed upon us this year because of a flu virus?
I have to say from my own personal observations that much of the so-called church in America is not prepared for persecution for their faith. I cannot imagine most American Christians would even be willing to participate in an act of civil disobedience like Martin Luther King Jr. If we continue on the path of compromise that many are yielding to, we very easily could lose many of our freedoms that we currently take for granted.
That seems to be the difference between the two so-called Christian expressions in China. One doesn’t want to “rock the boat” and is willing to compromise for the sake of not raising the ire of the government entities. The other group is willing to lay down their comforts, their possessions and even their very lives if necessary for the sake of the promotion of the gospel and the truth.
These are just the thoughts going through my head as I am reading about the price that many church leaders in China paid over the last 75-100 years for their faith. We have become so accustomed to all of the freedoms and conveniences in America that our forefathers paid for with their fortunes and sometimes their very lives. If you look at the undiluted history of our early forefathers, you will notice that not all of them were at the same place of understanding and purpose. The Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock and established their first colony, made what is called the Mayflower Compact. Recorded by William Bradford in his journal, it emphasized the need for self-governance, but remained loyal subjects to England and King James, regardless of his actions to persecute and exile the Pilgrims. They created and enacted laws, etc. that they felt like were for the good of the new colony. They wanted to create one society and work together to further it. Of top most priority was their desire to live out their Christian faith. They stated emphatically they believed in His divine guidance to lead them in their development of the new colony.
Whereas other colonies did use servants and slave labor, the Pilgrims expressed a mutual regard for one another as equals in the sight of God. The intent of our Pilgrim Fathers was to establish just and equal laws upon which would be built a truly democratic form of government, the first recorded in history. They had left England for the purpose of being able to have religious freedom, having suffered religious persecution by those less tolerant to different expressions of the church.
I believe we are in a time right now where standing strong for what we know to be truth according to the Word of God could be costly. Are you willing to lay down your comforts or be inconvenienced for what is right? Are you willing to be in the minority concerning the issues of the day? Again, these are questions I am asking myself. When I see the examples of other believers in China or the time of the establishing of our great country, it inspires me and causes me to pray and ask God to make me strong when it comes to making sure the freedoms we have are not taken from us. Join with me in your prayers that the covenants that have been made concerning this nation would be continued and fulfilled.