The Product of Persecution

Being hanged to death! I accept it, yes I do, but I am not an infidel as I am branded and I am not an apostate. I am a Jesus Follower (Christian). –Abdul Rahman

Much has been written the last two days about the pending fate of the man who made this statement to Afghani authorities when threatened with hanging if he does not recant his Christian faith. I and many others have written passionately about what we should do to try to keep this from happening. I still believe that we should try to stave it off with every resource at our disposal.

Jesus never promised, however, that if we followed Him, we would not be persecuted. In fact the opposite is true. He told us that if the world hated Him, it would hate us as well. The Sermon on the Mount pronounces a blessing upon those who suffer for the sake of Christ. We should realize that this world, corrupted by sin, strangely resists the One who is capable of forgiving sin. In that resistance, the anger of the world is directed at those who identify themselves as believers.

The simple fact is, the Gospel is offensive. Because of its proclaimation that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, it grates against the pride of those who are trusting in mere religion. In that it denies the ability of man to justify himself before God, it declares all men as lost and on their way to eternal damnation.

We should not be surprised when this leads to violent persecution. This does not mean that we should develop a “martyr’s complex” or seek after persecution, but it does mean that we should face it with the grace and peace of God filling our hearts. With the apostles and countless persecuted brethren since, we should count it a joy to be considered worthy to suffer with Christ.

At the risk of sounding calloused, this is a win-win situation for Bro. Rahman. If his life is spared, then he has additional opportunity to serve God. If he dies, he enters into victorious, eternal life. If the Afghan government relents and releases him, this may open the crack in Afghanistan just a little wider so that the Gospel may take a little stronger foothold. If he dies for the sake of the Gospel, others will be drawn to Christ. History has proven that this is the product of martyrdom.

In all of this, the question has come to me, “If I were in a country that placed a capital sentence upon being a Christian, would I be considered enough of a Christian to warrant persecution?”

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8 responses to “The Product of Persecution

  1. Gordon, your are right it is a win-win deal, so may think it is callous,but it is the truth!

    and as for for the ? you wrote at the end of this post, to tell the truth I don’t know?

  2. In addition, even if he is put to death because he stands firm for Jesus, he becomes a martyr. A true martyr, not like those who are mad enough to take their own life (and the lives of others) for a capricious Allah.

    You and I both know that the church has always grown stronger under persecution. The Afghan government really doesn’t realize what they’re messing with here.

    If he is put to death, may it spark a flame in the middle east that quickly become uncontainable.

  3. Yes from the christian perspective there is peace even in the great tribulation that Mr Rahman is going through. (“The peace I give you is not of this world”) And we have the promise that the Lord is working this event for good to those called to be separate in this country.

    From Americas perspective it reads like this:

    “America is the minister of God to Afghanistan for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”

    Is this not already happening. America is building schools hospitals, sustainable farming etc and bringing in social workers etc for Afghanistan’s good but if this evil is committed against the Lord Godly ones he will not let it go unpunished.

  4. I agree Gordon….it is a win/win situation. I just pray that we could face it as well as that man is, if and when they come for us.

    Do I think that would happen in this country? Yep, I do!

  5. I agree with you and the comments by the others.

    I heard somewhere that we should not pity missionaries but to envy them. I think that applies very well. Our God who loves us beyond our wildest comprehension in Christ will give our brother Abdul Rahman abundantly more than he can ever ask or think in this life and his life to come.

    What sobering insight & blessing even to us who are believers to see the reality of war in the heavenly places played out before out very eyes, when the world has no idea and is blind to what is taking place.

    I am a first visitor Gordon….do I get a free burger or something.:)

  6. Good post. I remember once reading of a martyr who was standing before his executioners and they told him to renounce Christ. He looked them in the eyes and said I will not, my God can set deliver me, but even if He does not you will only be a tool in His hand to further His purposes. Either way He will be glorified.

    Good Post!

    Doug

  7. Janice–I certainly hope that would be the case with me, but the question has certainly challenged my level of “comfort” with what I have been doing for God.

    Jeff–Good thoughts. Nero thought he could stamp out the Roman (not the catholic) church. His persecution merely fanned the flames of Christianity.

    PB–I pray that you are right about America being the minister of God for righteousness. To whom much is given, much shall be required. God has indeed blessed America, so we should be willing to share those blessings to the glory of God.

    Bonnie–it is disturbing to think about the possibility of this happening here, but I think you are right that it could.

    Kris–good thoughts. Welcome to the discussion. Would you like fries with that burger?

    Doug–thanks for the comment. I have always been blessed and challenged by the testimonies of martyrs.

  8. Congratualtions Gordon, I have watched you go from outraged American Christian to one “hoping for the best” to the position of a true follower of Christ, that is, a place of not knowing what is “the best”. Only our Lord knows what outcome will serve His purposes more, and frankly all He is concerned about are His purposes not our democracy attempts. As for the question….I pray we find ourselves true of heart always. We cannot, in own strength, stand but if tested, I know that His grace will supply. As He is now suppling our Brother in Afghanistan.

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