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Christian Persecution

crossThink about this….
Public gatherings to burn bibles: Okay
Public gatherings to read bibles: Banned in some states
It is believed that modern persecution of Christians is currently at the highest levels in world history. It’s estimated that around 160,000 Christians are murdered for simply being a Christian each year. In the US this week a BLM protest in Portland that included virtually no people of color started burning bibles. What does protesting police brutality and racism have to do with burning bibles?
What realities might we soon be looking forward to in this “new normal”? We can look elsewhere on the globe where trends with the same ideas led to severe persecution. Voice of the Martyrs identifies 52 countries where bibles are (1) difficult/dangerous to obtain, (2) illegal or highly restricted, and (3) strictly illegal and only available through covert smuggling.
In North Korea owning a bible or professing to be a Christian is a death sentence. It’s estimated that at any one time there are 70,000 Christians in concentration camps for the sole reason of being a suspected Christian or a family member of a Christian. In North Korea documented incidents against Christians include being hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, and herded off bridges.
In Somalia you can be executed for just being suspected of being a Christian. Persecution can’t stop Christianity from spreading-in fact it has always led to it’s spread. Could it really get that bad in America? History has shown that once communist, socialist, dictatorships, or islamic oppression takes control of a nation and their government things spiral very rapidly. These true stories depict what Christians often face in these hostile countries.
Richard Wurmbrand
North Korean Christians
How are we to respond to persecution should it come to our doorstep?
2 Thessalonians 2:15 – So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
Revelation 13:10 – If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good Fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Relevant Biblical Arguments Against The Covid Response

cov19With so much evil and chaos happening in the world today it’s critical that Christians read and study the Bible so to know truth from error and not be led astray. The Bible is alive and applicable in our world today. What was true in Hosea’s time is true today also.
Hosea 4:6A My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..

Is Social Distancing Compatible with Biblical Christianity?

Bible

Is social distancing or other mandates such as masks compatible with scripture?
 
1. Social distancing, gathering restrictions, and forced shutdown mandates grant the government power over the church. Christ is Lord over and head of the church-not the civil government (Matt 22:21). The government is not to make rules for the church and when the church complies without a fight it emboldens and fuels further tyranny and persecution. Matt 22:21 says give to Caesar what is his (taxes, etc) but give to God what is His…the church, worship, etc. Does social distancing or any other mandate arise to the level of affecting a church body’s usefulness, integrity, fellowship, worship, and ministry. I would submit that social distancing rises to that level as outlined below. 
 
2. Long term shut down orders banning or restricting gatherings of believers cannot be followed and still be considered in line with scripture (Heb 10:25, Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46). Additionally, self isolation is not considered wise (Proverbs 18:1). 
 
3. Social distancing was not applied in the ministry of Jesus. He touched (healing, foot washing, etc). He walked with others, ate with others, and taught crowds. This is despite the fact that disease outbreaks were a threat then, too. (Matt 8:3, Matt 17:7, Matt 20:34, Luke 5:13, Luke 22:51 are a few). Possibly the only example of social distancing is scripture applies to lepers-but not to healthy people. 
 
4. Social distancing discourages loving one’s neighbor. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27). Is social isolation and distancing really in line with the ideas of loving the brethren and fellowship with the brethren in the NT? Government has been clear that what started as 15 days to slow the spread is now the “new normal” for the foreseeable future. The Bible seems to suggest the opposite of social distancing with the body of believers. 
 
5. Social distancing reinforces a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7 and Matt 10:28). The fear of catching disease can easily deter people from attending church and fellowship with other Christians. Fear of the Lord should be emphasized and what example are we setting for our children to live in such fear? God did not give us a spirit of fear-that is not from the Lord. Social distancing divides and conquers the church community. It causes us to view one another with suspicion-as dangerous disease spreaders that must be kept at a distance. 
 
6. Social distancing is social engineering. We are being trained to behave more like herd animals, easily controlled by the state. In short, we are being trained into total compliance to a godless state. However, we must only give total compliance to the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 10:5). We must not be mind-controlled; as Scripture says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a).
 
7. Social distancing is an admission of inconsistency. The churches don’t enforce social distancing for the flu or other such diseases. Why the sudden shift? We should be the beacons of truth and consistency. Bereans should not embrace whatever we are told automatically in the face of inconsistency-but should search the scriptures.
 
8. Social distancing impedes church attendance, fellowship, and impedes spreading the gospel. When interaction is minimized so are opportunities of witness and ministry. We are being trained to operate as if the temporal world is more important than the eternal things of Christ. (John 12:25)
 
9. Social distancing negatively impacts child development and creates socially stunted adults who operate more like machines than humans. We have many parental instructions as parents to raise our children with great care (Eph. 6:4).
 
10. Colossians 2:23 – These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Masks and self severity has no value-especially when there is virtually no danger (masks, social distancing). It’s dehumanizing, discouraging normal human interaction, despite the fact that God designed us in His image. Lost and hidden are positive and needed smiles, facial expressions, hugs, positive physical interactions, etc.
The more oppressive this evil system becomes the more clear it appears to conflict with Biblical Christianity.

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