Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Truth About Persecution

In almost every murder mystery, real or fiction, the formula for revealing the murderer has very similar ingredients. A detective, who is skilled in deduction, is put on the case. The detective examines the evidence and the possible suspects. To narrow the suspects, the detective determines who had a motive as well as the means. Usually, if a suspect is found to be the only one with a motive and the means, coupled with fingerprints or some other physical evidence, the case is solved. And, motive almost always carries more weight than means.  A clear motive will usually expose the guilty suspect. And, it is the dead person and his or her prior relationship with the suspect that ultimately reveals the motive that identifies the guilty party. By the way, these ingredients for deduction can be seen in the spiritual realm as well.

I have been writing for several posts now examining indicators that we might be in the last days. The latest combination of events is the massacre of over 140 Christians in Kenya while the religious freedom of Christians is being rapidly eroded in the West. And, while much of the news of global persecution and extermination of Christians is discouraging, this should also serve as a veiled encouragement. The silver lining to all of this mounting, world-wide aggression towards Christians and Christians alone is that it proves that Christianity and Christianity alone is … true.  The persecutor is always motivated to target his enemy. So, what is it about Christianity that makes it open season on Christians today all over the world? The answer lies in the identity of the true guilty suspect, and it is a spiritual suspect.

The vast majority of people recognize that we are also spiritual beings. And, the vast majority of religions therefore appeal to the pursuit of ultimate spirituality. Humanity at large recognizes that there is something profoundly spiritual that transcends all that we know in the physical. There is something more to life than just the physical. In fact, life itself is spirit. There is so much more that is beyond the naked eye of what we can perceive. There is a spiritual realm mingled in and through us. And, it only serves to reason that if there is a spiritual realm, then in that realm there exists spiritual good and spiritual evil. Each religion is vying for the position of representing the spiritual good. However, the spiritual enemy will only oppose his true enemy and ignore the rest. Further, this spiritual enemy is expertly proficient in the spiritual realm as it is a powerful member thereof. Therefore, this enemy knows which religion is true and which are counterfeit. An ancient proverb holds that "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Therefore, our spiritual enemy will not waste efforts attacking counterfeit religions. The spiritual enemy will concentrate his efforts on the real and true religion. And, there is little doubt that this spiritual enemy presently manipulates humanity in doing just that.

You might be reading this and saying, “So, what is your point?” Read the prominent headlines both here and abroad and ask yourself which is the only religion that seems to be truly under rampant, even violent global attack? Allow me to help answer that question by asking a few more insightful questions. Over the past several weeks, even though many people of varying religions object to serving “gay weddings” which religion was singled out for boycott, prosecution, closure and death threats in several states? Although many religions oppose abortion on demand, which one is singled out? Although people of various religions have the same prohibitions against people of opposing faiths holding leadership positions in their campus organizations, which religion is repeatedly singled out on university campuses? Although every chaplain in the US military has a bias towards their own personal faith, from which religion are chaplains always singled out for discipline? Although many religious people oppose the use of tax dollars to fund abortions (like through Obamacare), which religion is singled out? Although ISIS opposes all religions other than Islam, from which religion are they primarily targeting members for genocidal massacre and beheadings? The answer to all of these questions is the same, “Christianity.”

So what does this prove? This either reveals that Christianity is true or it reveals an amazingly disconnected global coincidence that just so happens to cross all major cultures. Societies are spiritually blinded into thinking Christianity is a threat to all. But, Christianity is truly just a threat to one – its spiritual enemy (a.k.a. the spiritual forces of evil itself). Therefore, the spiritual forces of evil are laser focused on Christianity and her extended family. And, even while Christians peacefully defend themselves and their rights, the peaceful extension of self-defense is twisted by its bullies as hateful behavior that is worthy of physical threats and punishment. Truth becomes hate for those that hate the truth. And, therefore, the one spiritual truth is revealed in the irrational persecution universally directed at it.

Take for example Memories Pizzeria. If you are not familiar with the story, a local news station went searching for a business that is owned by Christians in the state of Indiana to confront them regarding the recent deceptive controversy over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This modern day witch hunt found its way into this pizzeria unannounced with cameras and asked the owners if they would be willing to cater a hypothetical “gay wedding.” The owners, being overtly devout Christians, explained that they are happy to serve homosexuals in their restaurant as they have always done, but they would have to decline the business to cater a “gay wedding” based upon their religious convictions on such a matter. Of course the story went viral, and the owners of the business received so many death threats and boycott notices that they had to close the store and literally go into hiding for fear of their lives. Forget the fact that there probably has never been a wedding catered by a pizzeria, why is it so wrong to decline serving a wedding but perfectly right and acceptable to threaten to kill the owners for doing so? Why the selective moral outrage over the hypothetical "gay wedding" non-catering and near zero moral outrage over the violent threats against innocent Christians? The answer is becoming more and more obvious. America, you need to take the blinders off of your spiritual eyes. Such irrational aggression represents the worst brand of hatred.

In John 10:10 Jesus says of our spiritual enemy, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Who is the "thief" to whom Jesus is referring? Well, examine the target, motive, means and available evidence. The spiritual forces of evil are marshaling resources to blindly/unknowingly do its bidding today. Our spiritual enemy is stealing life, rights and freedoms. Our spiritual enemy is literally killing faithful Christian by the hundreds of thousands every year and increasing at dramatic pace (not to mention the many more in prison for their faith). Our spiritual enemy is seeking to destroy Christian Churches while those doing its bidding cheer onward. If you are reading this, Christian or not, and you are practicing verbal or physical aggression against the Christian Church, you might want to consider stepping back to ask yourself who or what you are aligned with. I can assure you that you are not aligned with God. I can further assure you that in light of all the other religions with similar convictions who are unscathed, you are probably aligned against the one true God.

Christian, as you see these global atrocities, injustices, massacres, imprisonments, firings and overall attacks on the basis of blind hypocrisy, be encouraged. Your faith is real and true. That is why the persecution is so focused and will increase. In fact, Jesus said in John 15:18-21 just prior to His own betrayal, unjust trial, whipping and ultimate crucifixion, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” Follow Jesus and stand firm for Him no matter the cost.

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