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Christ called us to never fear the world1 but to always pursue the truth2. He is the truth3, but the world stands in our way. Looking back on ancient and even some modern history, there are many instances where Christians took to physical fighting because they faced fierce persecution. But there are many other times where they suffered through the persecution and God did all of the fighting for them.
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”4 The world is full of terror and suffering that seems to be repeating itself every year. To make a clear and logical statement about anything, especially the world, one needs to step back and take a deep breath. The world was made good, and then sin entered the world but from a big picture view it looks as if it is getting better. And then we zoom in.
Christians are suffering all over the world, yet that is where the gospel message is exploding. The Holy Spirit is alive in these countries. Take for example China, this nation is the largest persecutor of Christians in the world. There is an estimated 93 to 115 million Protestant Christians in China5 and this number is growing rapidly. Over 70 million of these Christians worship underground illegally. When they are found they are brutally beaten and occasionally go to jail. This an enormous risk that they take for Christ, and yet they are growing much faster than other countries that experience much religious freedom.
Other first world countries are dying spiritually, and losing Christians as fast as China is gaining them. America is a prime subject. She is one of the freest countries in the world yet when you look at it you see Satan slowly winning6. Despite many churches fighting for Christianity in America many people are losing the faith. We are becoming more interested in the world and not in God. With so much entertainment, who would want to go to church or study the Bible when you could be doing something more fun? God directly addresses this in His holy word, “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”7
Those who follow the world will die and go to hell but those who believe in the holy word of God will live forever with Him in heaven. This is exactly why we see the church in China thriving and the church in America dying. It also brings us to the parable of the sower that Christ depicts in the Bible. “3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”8
These verses in the Bible show the exact reason why the growing and declining population of Christians in two very different nations is happening. In China when a person accepts Christ into their life they know the danger that they are taking and so they hold to the faith. And all of those around them nurture the person because they have already embraced the danger and are now firmly rooted. Conversely, in America when someone becomes a Christian it is not that big of a deal in some cases. They are like the seed thrown on shallow soil. They might have only become a Christian because their friends or family were and they wanted to fit in. They see no need to become richley theologically planted because their faith is not being tested from day to day.
Now that we have the foundations set, let us ask ourselves the original question, “Should Christians ever start a revolution?” If there was ever a time to start a revolution it would be in China, now. So why has no one taken to weapons to overthrow the evil Chinese Communist Party? Naturally, to fully answer this question we need to look to the Bible first. In the Old Testament we see the Israelites rising up to slay their enemies. God in most cases told them too. For instance, when God told Joshua to purge the land, “flowing with milk and honey” of all of the heathens. Sadly, he and the following generations didn’t obey this command to its fullest. They left some nations in the land and that is what eventually led to the downfall of the Israelites.
When we look at the New Testament we see a different story. Christ was revolutionary but he never took arms against the Romans. He acted with full morality, where His revolution was made because of His blameless actions, thus causing the world to ignite with Christianity. Christ came not with a sword but with love. Not with an army, but by Himself. Christians should act as He did, and not revolt against the government with weapons of the hand, but with weapons of the tongue. “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”9
Christians should also set the world ablaze by being different. We should be in the world but not of it. We see how Christ’s very presence did this. When people saw Him from a distance they would rejoice and others cower in fear, like the demon infested man named Legion. But it will be a challenge for us as Christians seeing that the world has been taught to hate us from the beginning. “18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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. 20 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.”10
The problem with the world having hated Christians from the beginning is, as Thucydides says in his History of the Peloponnesian War, “Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.”11 Because people do not want to seek out the truth, we need to bring it to them. This is exactly what Christ did, He would go to the people and tell them the good news. Christs calls us to act like Him therefore we should be revolutionary like Him.
It looks like this method of revolution is taking a long time to work if it is even working. Why shouldn’t we take action now and overthrow China’s satanic government or America’s crumbling one. Didn’t Christ say, “34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.’”12 This belief is faulty due to one reason. We do not change the outcome of history, God does. If we go throughout the world slaughtering those who do not hold our faith in Christ, we are no better than “religious terrorists.” Our works are no longer good and pure, but evil and bloodthirsty.
The outcome of time is set, we cannot speed it up, nor slow it down. Our everyday lives should be full of striving to be more and more like Christ. He was the ultimate warrior. He came to the Earth helpless, relying on those around Him, but when He left it, everyone relied on Him. We must look to Christ as the greatest example of what we should do. When Christ became one-hundred percent God and man, His weapon was the double-edged sword of His tongue, and with it He cleaved nations in two. When He ascended to heaven He left a spark here on Earth that now is a roaring fire that is sweeping across the lands. Christians must die on every hill if that means serving Christ, but we must not die with blood on the weapons we hold; but with peace and joy, and our tongues still proclaiming the goodness of Jesus Christ the revolutionary.
1Matthew 10:28, 2 Timothy 1:7, etc.
5South China Morning Post https://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2110433/chinas-underground-churches-head-cover-crackdown-closes
6From a purely statistical standpoint one can notice the steady decline in church attendance, people who believe in a God, etc. But never give up on hope because God is “living on the inside, and roaring like a lion!” See Psalm 73.
71 John 2:15-17
11The History of the Peloponnesian War; Book 1, Chapter 20