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Thursday, July 16, 2009

African Brother's Perspective-True Christians

The True Faith of the Persecuted Church


By Arthur Owiti July 9, 2009 Why do we hear of burnt down churches, tortured pastors in parts of Asia and Africa, but not in the Westernized world? Why is it we hear of Christians in China being arrested yet there are “State Churches”? And the killing of Indian Christians yet we hear of Prosperity Evangelists holding crusades there? These terrifying events are a testimony of true faith in Jesus Christ, its price and effect.



The early church was no stranger to death and persecution. A read of the New Testament Epistles and secular history show that suffering for Christ and tribulation with death were the main themes of the life of the Church. It thrived when believers were slain. To their murderers, what was their 'crime' or death warrant? A living faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Faced with many accusers like the Roman state, unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, the church, both Jew and Gentile, were united in faith in Jesus Christ. In the end as they were exhorted to care for one another they loved not their lives unto death. It is because of their death that Christianity is still mentioned today in the world, yet naturally people kill 'criminals ' to try and reduce the crime rate; not so for biblical Christianity that grows in adverse times.



This is still the price of faith in Jesus Christ -death and persecution. To be a Christian is like enlisting to the death row list or prisoner roll when persecution arises. Like Jesus did when he bore his cross, we shall face rejection and hatred from this world because we choose to take up our crosses and follow him. The mantra of this world is, "to be in this world, you have to be of the world or face elimination". True Christians in the world; know that their faith ultimately leads to elimination. This because we are of Christ and not of this world though we are in it. Our hope is not in this world but with Christ the hope of all glory. This is the difference that marks true faith in Jesus. Sadly, Westernized Christianity for a long time has ignored this difference and rejected the price of faith. All this is because of the love of the world, the desire of peace, success and safety in the present dying world, not in Jesus Christ. The result of this love of the world has been evidenced by false doctrines, faith without works, denominations and sin's dominance which all make up Westernized Christianity. No wonder churches have gone empty in the West and sin, greed, fornication, power tussles, schisms, scandals and crimes have rocked Christendom worldwide!! The true foundation, Jesus Christ and his sayings were rejected; the price of faith was ignored .Hence no living waters can flow to the thirsty soul-- no savor of life.



Hence no threat to the world because the Christian looks like the world thus, no need to eliminate or reject, only tolerate-- no savor of death. Not so for today's persecuted church of whom we only hear about--faith, death, persecution, fervent devotion and fellowship. We don't hear about worldly success, Christian CEOs and Celebrities. Nor do we hear of scandals and sin's dominance because-- Christ is all they have got for survival. He is their life. He is their anchor in the midst of the storms of trials and tribulations. They are a savor of life unto those who fellowship with them and want life in Jesus; ministering to one another in truth and deeds. They are a savor of death to those who hate the name of Jesus thus have to face death and persecution for his sake. The truth for Westernized Christianity is that we have to suffer those same storms for and with Christ, to be glorified with him. No suffering, no glory, No carrying your own cross, no glory. The new wave of antichrist attacks in form of false doctrines and false prophets in the church and hatred for biblical Christianity and anti-Semitism in the world is a clear sign that the accusers are rising to eliminate those who call on the name of Jesus.



We should however endure like those who are being persecuted today worldwide .Their attitude through out their ordeals is that suffering for Christ purifies one’s faith just like fire purifies gold. The dim gold of the Westernized church has to be purified by fiery trials if she wants Jesus as Lord, Savior and King. As we pray for one another especially those who are suffering for Christ's name let us also know that we have the same calling --to suffer with him, to be glorified with him, if we endure to the end. In Christ Jesus, Arthur Owiti
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