Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Voice of the Martyrs is a criminal organization

Imagine the scene.

You are at an illegal house church meeting. You are standing in front of a dozen believers, reading from your Bible. Suddenly, four secret police officers burst into the room. One of them points a gun at you and snaps,

"Throw that book on the floor - do it now or I will shoot!" Do you:

A. Obey the officer

B. Politely refuse

C. Do nothing

In 2001, armed Muslim extremists burst into a church service in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. One gunman ordered Pastor Emmanuel to throw his Bible to the ground. The pastor clutched his Bible to his chest, and said, "I will not." The gunman shot and killed Pastor Emmanuel in front of the congregation and his family.

Why didn't Pastor Emmanuel drop his Bible? He knew that in the eyes of the Muslim extremist, throwing down a Bible was a rejection of Christianity. Pastor Emmanuel loved God's Word and didn't want his last action on earth to disgrace what was so precious to him.

At Easter, we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus - how He was arrested on false charges, beaten, sentenced to death and executed as a common criminal. Jesus Himself taught us that "A servant is not above His Master" (Matthew 10:24).

rw_jail The Voice of the Martyrs works with criminals - our founder, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years in prison for witnessing in Communist Romania. He was declared a criminal for obeying God.

In many restricted countries, becoming a Christian means becoming a criminal. Owning a Bible, being baptised, planting a church, evangelising the lost - these are all illegal activities leading to hefty fines, imprisonment, torture and even death. We cooperate with such criminals every day, unashamedly.

Would you still follow Christ if it meant being labelled a criminal? Are you prepared to identify yourself as the friend and supporter of criminals? As the follower of a criminal?

In the words of one criminal, "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God...." -2 Tim. 1:8 (ESV)


*Thanks to my Australian colleagues for helping plant the seed thoughts for this blog in a publication of theirs that I received in the mail today. The wording at the beginning is largely theirs. If you are from Australia, make sure that you are on their mailing list! They do good work for the persecuted!

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