Here in America, nothing that we have suffered for our righteous stands can be compared to what precious believers in different parts of the world have suffered. Among them you do not hear the voice of hopelessness or witness the spirit of despair.
It is true that an ugly anti-Bible tide is rising in America. It is true that many conservative believers – in particular Christian – have been discriminated against, be it by the IRS or by the social media giants. And it is true that there is a growing hostility against our beliefs on university campuses and in places of business. I don’t deny that for a moment. In fact, I have been documenting it for years.
But let’s not wallow and complain as if we are helpless and defeated. Let’s not throw a big, “Woe is me” pity party. Such an attitude is unfitting for followers of Jesus the Lord.
To be clear, I believe we should continue to document abuses. We should continue to push back in the courts of law. We should continue to expose inequity. We should continue to confront intolerance. The last thing I’m advocating is retreat and defeat.
What I’m talking about here is our attitude. Do we have the attitude of overcomers or the attitude of complainers? Are we more focused on the very real opposition we are facing than on the (even more) real promises of God?
Earlier today, I was proofreading one of my chapters in a forthcoming book co-authored with New Testament scholar Craig Keener. The book – Not Afraid of the Antichrist: Why We Don’t Believe in a Pre-tribulation Rapture – is due out next March.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of a “pre-tribulation rapture,” it refers to a widely-held, contemporary-evangelical belief that Jesus will “rapture” the Church before a final period of terrible suffering on the earth. That terrible period of time is called the Tribulation (or, at its worst, the Great Tribulation), a time of unprecedented pain and upheaval and wrath. It will be as if all hell breaks loose on the planet, and many Christians believe that Jesus will spare us from the worst of it, taking us safely to heaven until He returns in triumph.
There are many fine Christians who hold to this belief, including some of my dearest friends and co-workers. (Craig could say the same.) And so, it is not an area that we divide over. In fact, it’s an area most of us hardly even debate.
But as I was responding to our editor today, reviewing my chapter on how we overcome, I was struck by the courageous mentality found throughout the New Testament writings. It is a mentality commonly found among persecuted Christians as well.
It’s an outlook that says, “Whatever Satan or the world mean for evil, God will turn for good.”
It’s a mindset that thinks, “Go ahead and kill us. The faster you cut us down, the more quickly we will grow.”
It’s a mentality that says, “No matter what comes our way, no matter the cost of following Jesus, we are victorious in Him. We died with Him, and now we’re risen with Him. Who can possibly hurt us?”
Both Craig and I have ministered among persecuted Christians in different parts of the world. Some of our friends or colleagues have been arrested and imprisoned. Others have been beaten or stoned. Some have been killed.
Yet among these precious brothers and sisters, you do not hear the voice of hopelessness. You do not witness the spirit of despair.
In the midst of the agony and mourning, there is a sense of triumph. Sometimes there is downright joy.
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SOURCE: One News Now, Dr. Michael L. Brown