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From the Pastor

From the Pastor

A few comments Patrick Lok made at the missions breakfast struck me. One was this: the Chinese churches response to the recent increase in persecution is to lay low for a while, the Chinese church has seen this before.

To my Western ears that sounds weak. Shouldn’t we stand up for the truth? Doesn’t God bless the bold? Daniel and his three friends did not bow the knee, Jesus confronts – aren’t we supposed to take a stand?

When Jesus walked the earth slavery was common. 1/3 of the Roman Empire was a slave. But neither Jesus nor Paul explicitly criticises slavery. Sexism was common, as was allowing unwanted female babies to die through exposure. None of these practices are specifically criticised by any NT author.

Yes all of them are wrong, God would be against all of them. Jesus and the early church has no capacity to change the Roman Empire by confrontation. Instead, they lay low, and adopt different practices. Inside the church, Christian slaves are to respect their masters and masters not to threaten their slaves. Inside the church husbands are to love and sacrifice for their wives. Widows are honoured and supported so they can serve the church. From early church history we know Christians rescued abandoned girls and raised them as their own.

As Western Christians we are used to living in a culture that respected Biblical values but that has changed. Not all, but many Christian values are out of fashion. When we stand up for values like modesty or self-restraint or the rights of unwanted children we are hated on.

The time is coming, I suggest, when it will be shrewd to undermine rather than confront every offence in our culture.

David Rietveld

Senior Pastor