Radical Christianity

We recently sat in our church staff meeting discussing some of the disturbing news that’s a constant on our daily media outlets; ISIS, Ebola, The Middle East ticking time bomb, Russia in Ukraine, etc. Instead of zeroing in on the fear factor of it all, we talked about the many heroes of the faith on the front lines of much of this turmoil.  We noted the sharp contrast between faith in America verses faith in other, not-so-free, countries like Syria. You see, residents of Syria are caught in the middle of a civil war that’s taken the lives of close to two hundred thousand people so far. It’s truly a case of “brother against brother,” as there are three different sects of Islam all fighting each other. Syrian Christians caught in the crossfire of it all are routinely put in a position to either renounce their faith in Christ or be willing to lay down their life for Him. This same tension and struggle is a reality in many nations in that part of the world.
These heroes that routinely stand up for the Cross of Christ are simply living out Godly principals. First John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  Jesus also said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends.” These are principals that many of us have perhaps heard at some point, but have never been faced with the reality of it all. It’s one thing to read scripture and say to yourself, “Yes I would do that,” but quite another if ever faced with the situation. We don’t completely understand the magnitude here in our great nation because our faith in Christ has yet to meet that severity of opposition. Sure, we are increasingly being told to “keep our beliefs to ourselves” in our politically correct culture. Biblically speaking however, as Christ followers we can’t keep it to ourselves.  Instead, we are to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The two thoughts of “Be silent” and “Go preach” very much oppose one another.
The term radical has been used a lot in recent days, months, and years. It’s been used to describe the groups that have spearheaded uprisings, bombings, wars, and terrorism. It’s also been used negatively to describe some Christians, thus, putting evangelical Christians on the terror watch list of our very own government. Radical simply means to be extreme, or drastic.
As we continued our conversation, we pondered this thought. What if all Christians became radical; from a Biblical standpoint? What if we were equally as passionate about what our God has taught us, as these other radical groups are to what they see as truth? How different might this world be?  We are not told to kill our enemies or those who don’t believe as we do. Instead, Jesus said we are to love, bless, and do good for our enemies (Mat 5:44).  Radical Christianity declares love even in the face of persecution, whether it’s a war on terror or a war on faith in our schools and public arenas. However, our natural mindset is to retaliate or get defensive. That was not the original design, but when sin entered the world we all inherited this inner struggle (James 1:14). This tension within each of us is what we have to continually be conscientious of. Our continued recognition leads us to repentance, and thus more towards truly being radical Christ followers.
Unfortunately the rise of evil is at hand. There’s no question. There is a shaking of the nations taking place, in order to wake us up out of our spiritual apathy. Yet in some ways, the light of Jesus shines bright in these dark places of the earth, as testimonies of more heroes of the faith come out. Tyrants are being converted simply by witnessing the testimony of radical Christians, as they willingly living out I John 3:16. That’s radical Christianity. I’m not sure I’m a radical Christ follower, but I want to be.
As we hear and see some of the disheartening reports over the airwaves, we can be encouraged in that Christ is not silent. His voice is being heard through the many heroes, standing their ground in the face of darkness. Further, there are more “Apostle Paul” type of conversions taking place than we hear advertised on our liberal-politically correct media outlets. What does that mean? Paul genuinely believed he was being devout in his religious teachings by silencing Christ followers. Yet, on the road to Damascus, Christ was supernaturally revealed to him and he was changed forever. Today, there are countless testimonies of God revealing Himself through dreams and visions to those who have pledged destruction to all Christians and Jews. Many in these nations that forbid Bibles or the utterance of the name of Jesus are being supernaturally changed. God promised He would do it, and He is (Joel 2: 28, Acts 2:17)!
While the world seems to reach it’s tipping point at times, remember these famous words of Jesus, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  

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