Debunking the popular idea that persecution is meant to cleanse the Western Church
The Ananias and Sapphira incident‚ documented in the book of Acts‚ chapter 5‚ verses 1-10‚ reveals a very “interesting” fact – fake Christians died (were judged) for their offense against God before the first martyr of the faith had died for God.
Please stop and think about that for a minute!
Here are few more serious‚ serious incidents‚ which should cause any spiritual‚ not to mention rational person to rethink our whole approach to God.
- God was looking for Moses to kill him before he used him to judge Pharaoh (Ex. 4:24-26)
- Peter the apostle says that judgement begins with the house of God. (1 Pet. 4:17)
- Judas‚ who gave into the darkest parts of his soul and betrayed Jesus‚ only to suffer a terrible and very tragic death.
All of these point to a pattern: there will be serious internal dealings of God with his own‚ before he can identify with them and face the rest of the world.
Once in a while I hear people here in the US talking about how persecution will come to the Church. And how that would be good‚ because it will cleanse the Church from carnality‚ worldliness and sin. I get their point and such scenario will of course have a “cleansing” effect if and when it happened and whether we like it or not. Lukewarm believers‚ if placed in a situation of having to choose between going to jail (or maybe getting shot)‚ and going home free‚ would have to make their choice one way or another. Phonies will choose safety over suffering and those who pass the test and choose suffering will experience the grace to suffer. And with it‚ possibly some miracles (not guaranteed however).
But the truth is that if Jesus Christ The Prophet and The Judge is given his rightful place in his own Body today and now‚ He will be speaking a cleansing word to his people on an ongoing basis‚ which will weed out the phonies even before persecution comes.
For this‚ He needs men and women of courage‚ who would have first gone through a serious personal confrontation with God‚ would have survived the cleansing‚ experienced the breaking and like Jacob and would have surrendered to God’s authority and truth.
Many mock this and roll their eyes‚ because it sounds way too “dramatic” for their liking.
Too bad. It’s the truth.
- You can’t be on fire unless you had allowed the fire to consume you first.
- You can’t be on the “cutting edge” unless the cutting edge cut you first.
- You can’t bring a word of brokenness unless you were broken first.
Waiting for the government to crackdown on the Body of Christ and whip us up “into shape” is a terrible excuse‚ as well as a very poor and very unbiblical argument to explain the current state of complacency in the Church. It’s nothing but a silly religious escape fantasy.
To release to the Church such word that would cause the phonies to be carried out of our meeting dead (or cause them to run for their lives) it would require a very radical approach to our own lives and the way we relate to God.
Until we’re ready to do that‚ let’s leave the silly religious chatter aside and not waste anyone’s time with persecution fear-mongering. No one needs that‚ we’ve got enough stress in our lives as it is.