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Things are pretty difficult for American Christians. Compared to the recent past when wokeness hadn’t fully penetrated many if not most churches in this nation, we had a reasonable expectation to hear the Word of God on Sundays, at least in part. As we covered in yesterday’s episode of The JD Rucker Show in my interview with Pastor Cary Gordon, the enemies of the church and this nation lie within the church itself.
But here’s the thing. We don’t REALLY have it that bad when compared to other nations. In fact, our problems seem negligible when we see what Christians must face in nations like Nigeria. While we complain because some churches are embracing homosexuality in the name of “inclusiveness,” churches in Nigeria are being burned to the ground. While we complain about getting yelled at on our way into church, Christians in Nigeria are beaten, kidnapped, raped, or even killed on the way to their churches.
I’m not trying to downplay the issues we face as Christians in America. They’re real and we must deal with them accordingly. But it greatly concerns me that so many seem to be falling away from the faith due to the minor attacks against us. What if things get half as bad here as they are in China, North Korea, Nigeria, or other nations where being a Christian means risking your life? Will American Christians stand up for the faith, or will most crumble in the face of adversity?
I vividly remember a few years ago watching as Coptic Christians in Egypt were beheaded by ISIS terrorists because they wouldn’t denounce their faith. All these men had to do was say they did not believe Jesus Christ was their Lord and Savior and they would have been allowed to keep their heads on their shoulders instead of suffering through gruesome executions. Most of them — I don’t recall the exact numbers but it was something like 20 out of 30 — would rather die as martyrs than live as slaves and liars.
Would we do the same? Would you? Would your family? I made it a point to talk to everyone in my family about the very bad scenarios that we may face someday. It was an uncomfortable series of conversation, especially for my teen children, but it was necessary. As I told them, it doesn’t matter what anyone in the family faces. They were to NEVER denounce their faith.
“I don’t care if they have swords to our throats and you could save us by simply uttering some words against Christ, you do NOT do it,” I told them. “Let us die. Let your siblings die. Let yourself be killed. NOTHING is worth denouncing Jesus Christ.”
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Some will call me a zealot for saying such things to my family. Others will justify not letting themselves or loved ones die because Jesus Christ’s blood washes us from such sins. Still others will say that it’s okay to say the words if you don’t mean them or that God wouldn’t want us suffering such misery for His sake. I don’t know if any of the criticisms I’ll receive on this topic are right. Maybe I am a zealot. Maybe it really is okay because sin is sin and we’re covered. Maybe if our heart defies the words we speak out loud that it’s all good.
Maybe. But since we’re talking about eternity, I can’t deal with any uncertainty. I know that dying as a faithful martyr is not going to harm my salvation, so I’ll take that road if that’s the circumstance I face. If that makes me a zealot, I’ll wear that label along with everything else I’m called such as conspiracy theorist, election denier, anti-vaxxer, and snappy dresser.
Some will say that we won’t have to deal with such things in America. I might have thought the same thing a couple of years ago, but the current trajectory of the nation leads me to strongly believe we WILL face something similar. Will it be next week, next month, or next year? Probably not. But I do believe that many who are alive today will see a Christian church that is persecuted to the point that the faithful must fear for their lives. I pray I’m wrong, but I’m pretty certain I’m right.
All of that was the setup for today’s guest on The JD Rucker Show. Judd Saul is a film director and a leader for Equipping the Persecuted, a non-profit that focuses on helping those in Nigeria who suffer through unfathomable fear and abuse just because they’re Christians. To be fair, I’m not sure what I’m going to ask him because I’m certain his stories are going to tug at the heartstrings and reveal truths we all need to hear. Sometimes I try to ask the right questions. Other times I just sit back and listen. I have a feeling that today’s interview will be the latter.