CHENGDU – Persecution has become a hot topic, especially among Christians, reportedly the most persecuted people in the world. The annual World Watch List ranks countries where persecution of Christians runs high, even beyond imagination. Missions Box News has published more than 50 articles and news stories about the persecution of Christians in 2019 alone.
While we must be aware of and understand how other believers are bring persecuted, we should be careful, however, to not fall into the same sense of despair as those who are persecuted for different reasons.
Willing to pay the price
When he and 160 members of the Early Rain Covenant Church were arrested in China in December 2018, Pastor Wang Yi released a statement that
“Even if we are down to our last five, worship and gatherings will still go on because our faith is real. Persecution is a price worth paying for the Lord. We would rather live through it than to hide our faith, and we hope more Chinese churches will speak up and stand with us.”
Pastor Yi is still imprisoned and awaiting trial for his unwillingness to temper his Biblical teaching to conform to the Chinese Communist Party’s Three-Self version politically correct worship.
No one is sure where Wang is being detained, but we do know that he “is a faithful servant of God and a highly respected pastor . . . His preaching has always adhered to the principles of ‘Christ as the only Head’ and ‘the separation of church and state.”
A politic of preservation has been accepted by many churches around the world. An agenda that holds the existence of a single church or a denomination in higher esteem than an unswerving commitment to Christ’s commandments has weakened ministries more than persecution.
Although we know that the light shines brightest in the darkness, far too many Christians and Christian leaders from China to the United States and all points in between have favored compromise for the sake of building the church.
But it is Christ’s church, and He has promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. He is the Head of the Church, and all authority has been given unto Him in heaven and on earth.
The Lord told us that we would face trouble in this world. He said not to be surprised when men hate us because they have hated Him first. If the world hates the Master, it will surely hate His servants.
We bring great harm to the work of Christ when we complain about persecution but fail to proclaim what the Lord is accomplishing through us. We cannot hide our light – and God’s blessings – under a bushel and expect other believers to stand in the strength of that light. We are to let our light shine so that men will see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.
Hiding our heavenly light for our own protection may provide a sense of security. But that sense has no substance and is short-lived.
The Epistle of James is a reminder for Christians to rejoice when we suffer for Christ’s sake. Persecution helps us to grow personally. Persecution causes the church to grow. We must be willing to accept whatever abuse comes, as Pastor Wang Yi has.
We must remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].”
As the Lord told Joshua,
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God [is] with you wherever you go.”
Persecution is a price worth paying for the Lord. Fear not. He is with us.
To read more news on Persecution of Christians on Missions Box, go here.
- The Christian Post, China releases Early Rain Covenant Church elder 8 months after arrest; pastor still jailed
- CBN News, Early Rain Covenant Church Elder Released by Chinese Govt, Still No Word on Pastor Wang Yi
- China Aid, Early Rain Covenant Church Pastor and Deacon continue to face significant legal challenges
- Gospel for Asia, Photo of the Day