Welcome to A Christian Manifesto Today episode #56. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Torch Leadership Foundation.
Pastor and Christian philosopher, Francis A. Schaeffer, warned us and created the war plan that we as Christians need today to deal with a society that is increasingly moving away from God, the Bible, and moral principles. He wrote “A Christian Manifesto” over 33 years ago and its words are just as relevant today as they were back then.
Our Christian Manifesto Today Passage from the Word of God today is Exodus 1:15-21 which reads: “And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.”
Our Christian Manifesto Today quote today is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He said: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
In this podcast, we are using as our text: “A Christian Manifesto” by Francis A. Schaeffer.
Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer writes in “The Use of Force” (Part 3):
Second, it is frightening when we realize that our consideration of these things, and this book, will certainly get behind the Iron Curtain and into other tyrannical countries where Christians face these questions in practice every day of their lives, in prison or out of prison. Their position is very different from ours. We have freedom from physical oppression and they do not.
The early church carried out their civil disobedience in the only way available to them. They came to the clear issue of worshipping Caesar or not, and rebelled in refusing to do so, though they knew the cost.
It seems to me that in most of the Iron Curtain countries the Christians are in about the same position as the early church. They are not in a position to change the system because of their low numbers, because as Christians they are systematically shut out of places of influence, and because of the iron control. Thus they must resist, in the manner the early church did, when they are commanded to disobey God. An illustration would be the state’s command not to give their children religious training. To do so is considered an act of civil disobedience under the Criminal Codes of the Soviet Union. Jan Pit in Persecution: It Will Never Happen Here? writes about one of the restrictions on religious freedom in Iron Curtain countries: “Christians are forbidden to teach religion to children; therefore Sunday schools and youth gatherings are not allowed. Even within the home, Christian training is not to take place.” That clearly disobeys God’s commands—as well as the parents’ deepest longings if indeed the parents believe Christ is the way of eternal life—and the law would have to be disobeyed. Civil disobedience in that case would be continuing the instruction and, if apprehended, paying the price of being sent to the labor camps in Siberia, which at times still means certain death, and certainly great suffering. The labor camps take the place of the lions.
In the communist countries and in other countries in Africa, etc., God’s leading might be to further action as in Poland at the present time—or at some point to an even more violent action.
With their idea of the “Perfectibility of Man” the Soviet leaders expected the “New Man” to be brought forth by changed economic conditions. This, of course, has not happened. The Christians have the opportunity to show that Christ, and the Christian understanding of reality, can, and do, bring forth the “New Man”—not perfectly of course until Christ returns, but still in a substantial way, whereas the Soviets have failed. In order for Christians to show forth the New Man they must demonstrate a positive practice and exhibit a caring Christian community in the group and care beyond the Christian group. But showing forth the New Man also means a standing against the law of the state which would destroy the very things Christians should produce in society. The civil disobedience forced upon them by the tyranny of the state is an essential part of being the New Man, because to obey would destroy both what Christians should be and also what they should be producing in society.
Three things must be stressed for those in all totalitarian countries:
A platonic concept of spirituality which does not include all of life is not true biblical spirituality. True spirituality touches all of life, including things of government and law, and not just “religious things.”
We who are outside of such countries must allow those in these countries to know what “the appropriate level” is in their time and place. We in our place of lesser physical danger must not heap guilt on them. That is not to say that some of them will not compromise, but that is their responsibility before God.
They should understand that there is a bottom line of civil disobedience on the appropriate level. They should recognize that this is biblical because any government that commands what contradicts God’s Law abrogates its authority. It is no longer our proper legal government, and at that point we have the right, and the duty, to disobey it.
Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.
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Dear friend, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how:
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Until next time, my friend, continue to stand for the Lord and his Word. God bless you!