Jesus warned of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Today, many who claim the name of Christian have embraced them with open arms. With our activist efforts focused on perceived social justice issues preached by the left, our attention has been diverted not only from the gospel but also from the reality of persecution and threats to religious liberty that are happening across the world.
Few left-leaning Christians recognize that the left has allied themselves with the same rhetoric used by China, Cuba, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and other regimes that have abysmal records on religious liberty or do not themselves uphold the values of a free society. At a recent UN Meeting, these nations called on the US to fix human rights issues of systemic racism. Which, to say the least, is a colossal “take the log out of your own eye so you can see clearly to take it out of your brother’s eye” moment.
I’m not going to engage in the systemic racism debate here. Regardless of the truth of that claim, it is a laughable statement coming from China, a nation with truly egregious human rights violations. This is a power play, and Americans — particularly Christian Americans — need to wake up to that reality.
According to the UN Website, the delegate from China called on the US to fix its problems with xenophobia and racial discrimination, saying that recent incidents “reveal the United States’ long-standing systemic racism, police brutality and social injustice.”
Yet in the past few years, China has:
- Built 380 internment camps to detain and brainwash minorities, particularly Uighur Muslims. Over one million people are held in these camps.
- Started a project to rewrite the Bible to make it more Communist-friendly (they’ve already done this in excerpts used for high school textbooks)
- Shut down hundreds of house-churches and used COVID-19 as a cover for greater crackdown
- Used facial recognition technology to identify and track Christians and Muslims
- Banned anyone under 18 from entering a church
- Jailed pastors speaking up for religious liberty
- Worked to institute a social credit system that restricts travel, denies the right to purchase property, and financially ruins anyone who does not fall in line with accepted behavior
- Targeted religious liberty and harmed believers in countless other ways.
Why does China have such a problem with religion? The same reason all communist nations have in the past. They want total acceptance of government beliefs, no decent or alternate worship will be tolerated. Believing in higher values undermines the authority of the state.
China is the greatest geopolitical threat to liberty currently existing. But Western Christians have no idea, both about the threat and about the meaning of the ideologies we are aligning ourselves with — socialism, critical race theory, the pagan and Marxist organization of BLM. We are called to have discernment, yet embrace the most anti-religion ideology seen throughout human history and side with people using talking points that directly contradict our values.
Do you understand what a blessing it is to worship freely?
Historically, Christians have not had this opportunity. In the 1st Century, they were regularly delivered to Roman councils, thrown to beasts, burnt, abused, and crucified. During the Reformation, those who held to biblical beliefs were cast out of their homes, burnt, tortured, and financially ruined. Under the atheistic communist regime of the Soviet Union, millions were killed — including many Christians for practicing their beliefs.
The same things happen today. Few are aware that Christian persecution is on the rise across the world. As a sampling, here are some instances of persecution happening in other places around the world:
- In Malaysia, it is illegal to print a Bible.
- In North Korea, the Kim dynasty is idolized and worshiped, while Christians who attempt to start church networks, possess Bibles, or openly practice their beliefs face prison and death.
- In East Africa, churches are destroyed and Christians are at risk of losing their jobs and homes.
- If you think it can’t happen in the United States, protesters burned Bibles in Portland earlier this summer.
- Open Doors reports there are 260 million Christians suffering high levels of persecution worldwide, while BBC reports it is at “near genocide levels” in the Middle East.
Richard Wurmbrand, a Christian who spent 14 years in prison under communist Romania, spoke to the Western Church’s unwillingness to stand against Marxism and help Christians in captive nations in his book Tortured for Christ:
“…when I met some church leaders of the West, instead of love toward the Communists — which would have led long ago to the organization of a missionary work in Communist countries — I found their policy on the side of the Communists. I did not find the compassion of the Good Samaritan toward the lost souls of the house of Karl Marx…By their complacency, by their neglect, and sometimes by acting as actual accomplices, some Western church leaders strengthen the infidels in their infidelity. They help the Communists to intrude into Western churches and to win leadership in the churches of the world. They help Christians remain unaware of the danger of communism.”
In the comfort of the first world, it’s easy to invent social issues and feel we are fighting for justice, all the while ignoring the reality of what is happening globally and even behind the scenes of our own nation.
At a time when 47% of Christian-identifying Millennials aren’t sure if evangelism is right, it’s not surprising that we do not care to stand for the faith in our own nation, let alone learn about worldwide persecution.
Lukewarm Christianity is not an option.
Christ will have victory regardless of how we respond. But if we are to honor Christ, we must respond in action. If your heart’s not broken on hearing of these situations, maybe you need to check if your heart is in the right place. We have the unfathomable blessing to worship freely — one that has not been extended to many throughout history.
As our own nation increasingly encroaches on religious liberty by threatening churches and requiring religious groups to submit to mandates in opposition to their faith, we must not only guard our freedom — but we must also use our freedom to aid others who do not have that opportunity. Do not use comfort as an excuse for apathy. Now is the time to stand courageously on the foundation of truth that will not fail , as we are instructed in Ephesians 6: 10–18:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — ”
We don’t need the world’s approval, even when under pressure. As Charles Stanley said, “As children of a sovereign God, we are never victims of our circumstances.”
We do need to treasure the gospel, and we do need to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer daily to live it out. Minimally, that means not aiding and supporting those who seek to oppress them.