"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

28 November 2008

Anglican Mainstream reports: "The Archbishop of Jos, Rt Rev Ben Kwashi, reports that following peaceful elections whose results have not yet been announced, at 2 a.m. this morning crowds of Muslims burnt Trinity Church, Bauchi Road, Jos, and then moved in to Jos itself macheteing people. He reports that Christians are clearly the targets of the violence."

I think it is difficult for Christians, especially comfortable Western Christians, to realize that persecution for our faith is not something that happened once a long time ago, that it's ongoing. Every continent of the planet has a story of such hatred and violence. People still die for the Christian faith in the Middle East, North Korea, many parts of Africa, every day even in this modern age. And persecution is not just a phase that a region goes through and grows out of, as if, once it's happened here or there, it can't happen again. We don't culturally evolve past these things. These things are the product of sin, of hatred for the Gospel, and this side of paradise, we shall not outgrow an attraction to sin.

But there is good news here too. People die for the faith because they know the faith is worth dying for. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is worth living for if it's not also worth dying for. Comfortable Westernized Christians don't understand that either. We don't understand how to submit to a seemingly unscientific book, a dusty rule book from ages ago, we can't fathom living for it. What that reveals is that we really can't fathom dying for it.

But our African brothers get it! We don't understand why the African church is so conservative on so many of our hot-button issues, but that's because we don't know their story. How, in their eyes, can we call ourselves Christian and say that homosexuality is acceptable behavior? After all, in their not so distant history, thirty two young boys were martyred because they had become Christians, Christianity had taught them that homosexual behavior was wrong, and the king was a homosexual who wanted to have a relationship with them. In faith they refused. They submitted to the mandates of only one king and were willing to die for their faith. And they were martyred for what they lived for.

The Christians of Jos have suffered frequently and bravely at the hands of mostly Muslim persecutors. The bishop himself has had attempts on his life. Bravely they remain steadfast. They share the Gospel unashamedly with others while Westerners lower their eyes and shuffle their feet, ashamed.

Since I quoted the bishop of Jos so recently below, scroll down, re-read his words. I am thankful for his ministry and I bid your prayers for bishop Kwashi and his people.

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