Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Persecution is not a social justice issue, Part 1

Our sister-mission VOM Australia has launched a youth initiative called Thirteen Three. The name refers to Hebrews 13:3 and the words “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”

Recently, Thirteen Three ran a series of blog posts about how persecution is not a social justice issue.

We’d like to share the 5-part series with you here.

Persecution is Not a Social Justice Issue, Part 1

“We are the generation that can end poverty!” Have you heard someone say this before?

Our generation loves social justice, doesn’t it? We genuinely believe that we can make an impact by righting some of the wrongs we see in the world today. As Christians, we are called to work for equality, freedom and justice in the face of oppression, evil and corruption, to care for the poor, the oppressed and the needy.

You might assume that persecution falls into the poverty/justice category. But persecution is not a social justice issue. Let me tell you why.

1. Following Jesus is about dying

“As a pastor, I believe Christians shouldn’t have to die for their faith.”
I read this quote from a well-known Australian pastor recently, and I immediately thought, “This guy has missed the whole point of following Jesus.”

Compare this with Pastor Trung who I met in Vietnam. Trung had been in prison for six years for sharing the Gospel and he told me, “I die with Christ every day!”

By definition, being a Christian is about dying—dying with Christ, dying to sin, dying to self, dying for Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor-theologian who was killed by the Nazis, said it best, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”

There is a cross to carry, but this pastor missed it. He’s missed Jesus’ call for His followers to deny themselves and take up their cross.

Over the next week we’re going to be looking at three more reasons why persecution is not a social justice issue. I hope you can join me for the ride!

Thirteen Three (13:3) is a youth initiative of Voice of the Martyrs Australia. We are committed to mobilising a generation of passionate youth to be bound with their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Find out more here.

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