Thursday, October 22, 2009

From the pen of the persecuted: The Role of a Christian in a Given Society

gudina Gudina Tumsa was the General Secretary of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus when he wrote a lecture in preparation  for the church’s 11th Assembly entitled “The Role of a Christian in a Given Society”.  One week later on July 18, 1979, he was abducted by Ethiopian authorities.  Though his whereabouts were unknown at the time, the lecture was still read. Later, believers were to learn that Gudina had been martyred the night after his arrest by the Marxist government. This is the conclusion of the lecture that many have called his enduring legacy. [click here for the full text]

It must be crystal clear to the Christian that he/she has a double purpose to live for:

a) As someone has said, when a person is called to follow Christ, that person is called to die. It means a redirection of the purpose of life, that is death to one's own wishes and personal desires and finding the greatest satisfaction in living for and serving the one who, died for us and was raised from death (2 Cor. 5:13-14). In other words, the Christian has been crucified with Christ and has no life which he claims to be his own. The life the believer leads is a life of faith and the risen Lord lives in him (Gal. 2:19). It is a life set free from the power of sin and it is beyond the capacity of death to destroy it. Because it has its source in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, that resurrection life is at work in the life of the believer. Being in Christ the Christian is already the possessor of eternal life by being placed in a new order of existence where the law of life is the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:13). And where the power of the resurrection of the Lord is at work, and the life of the Christian is a life of witness to the risen Lord.

b) It has been stated that a Christian is a citizen of a given country and as such under the laws and policies of that country. Because he is under the laws of the country of which he is a citizen, it is his duty to pray for the peace of that country and co-operate with his fellow-citizens for its well-being. The only limitation to his co-operation or obedience to the laws of his country is if he is commanded to act contrary to the law of God (Acts 5:29).

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