Against all odds

“I’ll take ‘The most persecuted religious group in the world today’ for 800 Alex.” If that were an actual Jeopardy question, do you know what the correct answer would be? The answer in terms of sheer numbers and sheer horror might surprise you. It’s Christians. Specifically Christians living in Muslim-majority countries. I’m not talking about Christians fighting against Christmas or Easter being marginalized to simply a winter and spring holiday; I’m talking about “know your place or we’re going to kill you” persecution. And, what’s really tragic, is the Western mainstream media barely acknowledges that it’s happening.

And, don’t think for a second that the persecution of Christians and Christianity is limited to the Middle East. North Korea, China, Cuba, and Somalia are just of few of the countries that are constantly monitoring Christian activity, and like the game of Whack a Mole, stand ready with the big club, anxious to beat it back into extinction.

But against all odds, the Christian church is thriving. Underground, or above ground, new disciples of Jesus Christ are made every day, as the gospel continues to advance in the world.

Jesus explained to His disciples that this is the way the gospel always advances – side by side with every cause for pessimism is evidence for joy and everlasting hope. Maybe the best illustration of it is His comparing the kingdom of heaven, in Matthew 13:24, to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.

In his summary of the meaning of the parable, Jesus essentially says that as history moves along, evil will mature and become ever more evil, while godliness will also mature and become ever more godly, and ever more distinctive.

But, here’s the good news; though at times it seems like evil is winning the day, when God say’s “Game over!”, there will be a harvest. At that time, “the weeds will be gathered and burned, and the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Evil may win many battles, but the good news is that God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ, will win the war! Thanks be to God.

March 21, 2017 – Muslim converts breathe new life into Europe’s struggling Christian churches

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:43

Right vs Wrong

Who’s to say what is right or wrong? Doesn’t each individual determine right or wrong for him or herself? Who can say that the “morals” of one culture are better or worse than those of another?

Most Americans today are living a unique contradiction. According to recent polls, a vast majority of Americans say they believe in God and are religious, but more than two-thirds say they deny any belief in absolutes. The big question is this: Are there moral standards that are written into the universe?

In C. S. Lewis’ journey of faith, he came to question the idea of moral absolutes. However, his intellectual wrestling bouts with the subject of good and evil, right and wrong, ultimately brought him to the following conclusion; if there were no God, then there would be no solid basis to say that anything was good or evil.

If there is evil, Lewis concluded, there must be a fixed, absolute, infinite, transcendent standard by which we can judge it to be evil. He also took note of how people assume a fixed set of morals in their ordinary interactions in life. Though they might deny any absolute standard, they constantly appeal to a standard of fairness when they say, “Come on, you promised,” “That’s my seat, I was there first.”

Many in today’s generation are easily drawn to an emotional approach to their morality. They put a higher value on being tolerant of others, because they want to be considerate of other people’s feelings. By contrast, many in my generation, and anyone who understands and believes the Bible, places a high value on feeling strongly about what is genuinely right or wrong.

I’ll close with a poem that I wrote years ago, that points out – with childlike simplicity – the Biblical position on moral absolutes.

A question is asked from one to another,
What is your favorite color?
I say red and you say blue,
But which is correct—am I right or you?
Since favorite colors are one’s personal preference,
There’s no right or wrong, just tolerant deference.

Another question is asked to me and to you,
What is the answer to 2 + 2?
You say 3 and I say 4,
But we both can’t be right like the question before.

One of us is wrong—either me or you,
There’s no way out; both can’t be true.
So, am I intolerant if I don’t agree,
With those who believe 2 + 2 = 3?

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Romans 1:18