Monday, December 14, 2015

advancing by scattering

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Acts 8:4

Persecution never hurts the gospel. In fact, it has the opposite effect, as shown in this simple statement from Acts. It was the persecution of Christians that sovereignly mobilized the church into a highly effective small team strike force with the gospel at its center. Men and women dragged off to prison? No problem for the church because the liberating gospel is not ever chained. Christians run out of town? It's a God-given missions trip because nothing can stop the power of God for salvation in the gospel. Scattered Christians sowed gospel seeds everywhere they went and the church sprang up in the fertile fields watered by the blood of martyrs.

I believe that the result of "easy" times for Christianity is a mild apathy at best, complete gospel abandonment at its worst. It was the concept of "Christendom" (a secular embracing of a Christian state) in Europe that pacified the church into a stupor and led to the unprecedented rise of scripture-denying, gospel-abandoning theological liberalism. And then the church sanctioned practical unbelief in the authority of scripture, the veracity of the gospel, and the power of God. This resulted in a powerless church. Travel Europe today and the churches that used to be the center of public life are now museums.

In the places where the church is persecuted now in the world, she is faithful to the gospel in its biblical simplicity, and to the call to spread the good news. I've met believers from persecuted places. They have a passion for Jesus that convicts me and admonishes me. How I need to take this principle of effective scattering to my heart! Preach the Word when it is maligned and Jesus will be known in this world! 

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