Encouraging Faith Under Persecution

You can sit in a Buddhist temple and call on the Lord Jesus Christ.

There’s a wave of fresh persecution against organized Christian religion in Asian countries this year. Although China gets a lot of ink on that issue, it’s all over. Church members are harassed, arrested, and forced to sign pledges to be less distinctly Christian. That is, forced to be less Christian in Western terms.

Western churches haven’t done a good job with this. From organized Christian religion in the West, the push-back against Asian governments is in terms of globalist “democratic values.” Nobody wants to offer the Asian believers a way to live with this oppression; they want to use them as pawns to carry on a political battle. Asian governments are well aware of the political influence soaked into most organized Christian missionary religion.

On the one hand, I offer a very distinct outline of faith and belief on this blog. On the other hand, there’s a background of free-form DIY religion. I won’t tell anyone they have to do things my way, but that they should tolerate my weirdness while visiting this blog and participating in the forum. If you examine the Radix Fidem covenant guides (pamphlet and book), you’ll find they say precious little about how to do religion, which is how you can get into trouble with persecuting governments. Instead, there’s much about how to approach religion.

In particular, we refer everyone to their own faculty of faith, their own heart of convictions. This is where God directly communicates with you. We call this “heart-led” because we believe we have accomplished nothing at all unless we can help you find your own direct connection to God. Once that happens, you and God can take it from there. You don’t need us any more.

But if you want to hang around and make sense of the example we try to offer on how it should look in your individual life, then you’ll have to at least tolerate my language and cultural background. But at no point would I suggest you imitate any of that, unless you have no other sense of direction. In other words, it’s a matter of copying me until it no longer helps. You should be seeking your own God-given identity in Him, not in me.

So if you live in any of those Asian lands where the government actively oppresses traditional mainstream Christian religion, feel free to get very creative in avoiding all the hassle. You don’t need my permission to worship in ways that don’t get you in trouble. What you need is the Creator’s own guidance; He always makes a way for His children. He speaks through your convictions to you alone, and His plan is for His glory. You can worship Him anywhere He leads you, and He will honor that.

If your heart leads you to worship Him in a Buddhist flavor, follow that drive. Do you feel more comfortable with Shinto rituals? Pentecostal, Lutheran, Catholic, Islamic, Hindu or simply out in nature itself? Trust your own heart. You have to find peace with God first and foremost.

Granted, there is a wealth of benefit from worshiping with other heart-led believers, but that’s not always possible. Indeed, most of us associated with this blog are quite fortunate to have even a single person who shares our faith in the human space near us. This is why we do things like organize a time of virtual prayer communion: We agree to “meet” via cellphone text messages and synchronize a time of prayer every Wednesday at 5PM Eastern Time. And we all agree that our hearts can sense each other across many miles separating us. It’s not the same as meeting together in the flesh, but it’s as close as we can get right now.

To the degree some might see a compromise here, it’s compromise in form, not in substance. This world is a big lie in the first place, so everything tangible and visible is merely a tool for His glory, but otherwise disposable. Fight your government if you feel led, because we teach you shouldn’t be too worried about the fleshly body. But if you feel driven to fly under the radar, adapt on your own terms. This isn’t Gnosticism where it makes no difference what the flesh does, but we deny that it’s possible to create uniform rules for each other to follow. Your first duty is to find peace with God. I’m not Him, nor am I there with you to experience what He leads you through.

Paul said things devoted to idols are really nothing to worry about; what matters is that you glorify God in the context where you live (1 Corinthians 8).

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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2 Responses to Encouraging Faith Under Persecution

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    I had a friend who visited China, more than a decade ago. From his experience, he didn’t encounter any of the persecution (he was there for religious reasons). There’s a strong sense of bureaucracy there, and as long as you tick the right boxes, you’ll be fine. Granted, he was there “officially,” so he was approved to do his thing, almost encouraged/treated nicely by paper pushers. It kinda makes me think those who are persecuted have something else going on that’s agitating the state.

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  2. Ed Hurst says:

    Well, that was then. It would take some digging to explain, but some provinces have seen a major fresh crackdown this year. Enforcers have descended on some churches and torn down crosses, confiscated Bibles, etc. A new Chinese national policy paper asserts that there really is a big need to make all things more Chinese, and Christian religion is singled out as not Chinese.

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