Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. – Philippians 1:27-30
How will today’s church cope when it is persecuted for preaching the truth? It happened before and it will happen again. Will the church buckle and conform or will it stand firm?
If the legal authorities in Canada go after high profile people like Mark Steyn, a conservative political writer who was tried by a “shadowy” court in Canada for writing the truth about radical religious elements, how long before christians and churches are the target? Steyn was finally found not guilty, but it was little comfort to him that it wouldn’t happen again. The costs of time, money, and intimidation should not have been suffered in the first place. Especially onerous is the apparent prejudice shown against Steyn when for months his alleged hate was trumpted, but the announcement of his innocence was more on the order of a page 12 press release at the end of a news cycle, late last Friday (a public relations trick to limit the impact of the announcement by limiting coverage). The majority will not hear the announcement but most people will remember the allegations. It is unfair. Mark Steyn hung in there and is, while bruised, able to work another day.
19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. – 1 Pt 2:19,20
But how about the church? How will the church fare when it becomes public that she preaches that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other non-Christian groups – while religious – are not saved? How will the church fare when it becomes public knowledge that she remains opposed to the notion that people are born homosexual? There is always a danger that the church’s love and concern for the Losts will be portrayed as hate. The church must pray to have courage and gentleness while opposing the lies. And if she must suffer for the truth, she must bear it well for this finds favor with the Lord.