A renowned apologist is urging the Western Church to spurn comfortable Christianity and instead emulate the prophet Daniel, who made several key decisions to avoid becoming corrupted in a deeply evil society.
Ravi Zacharias noted on Friday at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians that his calling is to hostile audiences, often like those one finds on secular university campuses. Addressing victims of persecution and their advocates was a bit unusual for him, he said, even saying he felt it was “audacious.”
But his calling and this particular subject and speech Friday presented an irony.
“Who would have ever thought that of all the nations in the world now I have to go with security on the campuses of the United States?” the apologist asked.
Zacharias said he received threatening letters from “strongly atheistic groups,” noting that he recently spoke at an Ivy League school with body guards present. He even heard from a Christian friend in Jakarta, Indonesia, who wrote him that morning saying that he and fellow Christians would be praying for him.
“Things have changed,” he noted, highlighting the challenges of the day which come “in many garbs because of the resistance to the absolute claims of the living God.”
“They will mock you, they will ridicule you, they will try to throw division in the ranks, and when all else fails they will use force.”
Such was the case for the prophet Nehemiah when he tried to build the wall, he said.
Yet the resistance to the claims of God is not new and cunning leaders have strategized to erase them. But over time those whom God has marked for His purposes have prevailed.
Zacharias mentioned the genius of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia in 605 BC, in choosing the brightest minds from among Israelite captives and how he effectively reprogrammed them in the language, literature, and philosophy of Babylonians.
“Language is what you communicate with, literature is what you illustrate with, philosophy is what you think with,” he explained.
In taking those three disciplines and retraining their thinking in this way, Nebuchadnezzar influenced these minds through the back door of their popular imagination and not just through the front door of their reason.
To resist the opposition in culture today, the church of Jesus Christ must adopt the approach of Daniel, who although captive in Babylon was more shrewd than King Nebuchadnezzar. In refusing to eat the king’s food, they were rejecting the comfortable life, he said.
Daniel was even more brilliant than Nebuchadnezzar, a man “who could see through the scam” and “look beyond the mist and understand exactly what was going on,” Zacharias said, adding that Daniel made several decisions in his life that Christians today would do well to make.
“Number 1, [Daniel] drew his line of resistance by training his appetite,” Zacharias said.
“We must train our hungers and our longings if we are going to be in this world and not of the world,” he exhorted the attendees.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post