I’d like to piggyback on the last blog post that I wrote. Can I do that? I guess I can. It’s my personal site anyway, so it’s not like anyone is going to tell me “no.” Besides, I wouldn’t really care if they did.
As most of you know, I recently penned a few thoughts on the horrific shooting that took place at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Sunday. In that piece, I specifically went after all of the asinine Internet trolls who seemed content to kick back in their living room recliners and mock God, Christianity and prayer while they also simultaneously suggested that this tragedy would cause Christians to develop a “persecution complex.” Of course, I berated them for this disgusting behavior and went on to explain that, yes, an atheist shooting up a bunch of Christian worshippers in a sanctuary is inarguably tantamount to persecution. One would think this would be obvious.
Since writing that post, I’ve had another subsequent thought (a sequel of sorts) that I believe needs to be fleshed out here: The Church — and its message of redemptive grace and the Gospel of Jesus — will never be silenced or intimidated by those who would attempt to squelch, condemn, insult or persecute us. A simple look at history should’ve proven this to the deranged gunman in Texas. (Not to mention many of today’s liberal progressives.) From Emperor Nero and the Roman Empire to Kim Jong Un and North Korea, no leader or nation has ever successfully snuffed out Christianity. No tyrant has ever rid the earth of Jesus’ legacy or His followers. Why not?
Well, perhaps it has something to do with those early followers and disciples — many of whom were subsequently scattered across the globe — returning to their hometowns and native regions to proclaim that they had seen the once crucified Christ alive. Of course, this would eventually result in a worldwide spread of the Gospel as hundreds of thousands of people joined a movement that was sure to result in intense suffering and affliction. But, they joined it nevertheless. (Besides, death was no longer a defeat; it was a victory.) Some of them, like the Apostle Paul, were even former persecutors who were so radically transformed that they would go on to change their identities in order to spread the Good News to the farthest corners of the Earth. Something about Jesus’ message must have been real if a former killer of Christians could become one of the most passionate defenders of the faith.
See, the Texas gunman — much like the Roman soldiers of old or the Islamic terrorists of today — had a fundamental misunderstanding about how Christianity works. It’s the same misunderstanding that many atheists and modern liberals have. They mistakenly assume that if they can just slaughter, silence or bully enough of us, then we’ll all just run and hide in fear. They assume that we’ll stop declaring our faith. They assume that we’ll stop sharing Gospel tracts with the drive-thru girls at our local McDonald’s. They assume that we’ll stop saying really rude and controversial things like, “Men shouldn’t marry other men” or “Abortion is murder.”
But, these people are all wrong. Christianity doesn’t tremble when confronted with oppression. It doesn’t run when challenged by differing opinions or viewpoints. And it certainly doesn’t cower in the face of death (especially since death has already been overcome anyway.) Those who give their lives as martyrs for the faith have actually conquered death and are ruling and reigning with Christ in Heaven even as I type this very sentence. There’s no defeat in that. There’s no loss. There’s no setback. What an incredible thought. In fact, the Scriptures tell us in Hebrews 11 that the world is not even worthy of such men — so much so that God may just choose to bring them home in a way that will allow the whole earth to see their faithfulness and His glory all the more.
The truth is that if these murderous atheist lunatics actually had any real desire to exterminate The Church in America, they would be sowing seeds of apathy, disillusionment, laziness and worldly pleasure among believers. Instead of firing bullets into a sanctuary, they would be handing out free porn to Christian husbands, fathers and pastors. They would whisper lies into our ears about what we should and shouldn’t watch on Netflix. If they were truly hellbent on taking out The Church, they would do it by making us so apathetic that, eventually, we would grow comfortable in our sins and forget to whom we belong.
That might be the end of the Church.
But death? For the Christ-follower, death is simply an entrance into Eternal Life with Jesus.
And good luck trying to defeat that.