Militant Religion Is On The March!

There is a very lovely and encouraging passage in the Bible’s book of Isaiah, it says this -

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no-one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint - Isaiah 40: 28 to 31

This passage of Scripture has brought comfort and encouragement to many throughout the centuries, and it is especially relevant today as the world clearly approaches the end of the age (Note: not the end of the world, but the end of the age) Militant religion is on the march, both the false and the true, and the New Testament of the Bible shows us the difference between the true and the false - Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Where you see any religion killing, maiming, committing atrocities in order to advance its dominion and power you can be assured that it is false. Much of Christendom, sadly, did this in the past especially during the Middle Ages, killing, and torturing, and forcing baptisms, but when it did, it was going utterly and completely against all the teachings of Jesus Christ; as the New Testament says -

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good - Romans 12: 17 to 21

Heaping burning coals on an enemies head, means that he may be made to burn with shame at what he is doing, and turn to Jesus in repentance and be saved, and as a Spaniard would say, change from ‘enemigo’ to ‘amigo’. 

Legal obligation, persecution, or coercion should never be used to intimidate people and try to make them follow the majority religion of their country. Freedom of religion should be considered a basic human right, and although many countries pay lip service to it, the reality is very different.

Some countries consider religious liberty as permitting foreign residents to follow their religion without harassment but not the natives of the country, they must follow the official religion of the country or be looked upon as unpatriotic- that is not religious freedom!

Others consider witness and evangelism as proselytism and ban it. But freedom of religion means the right to propagate and share what one believes - that is true freedom of religion!: That is democracy!

Many Western nations grant full freedom of religion to all although their culture is Judeo-Christian, but some nations who enjoy and exploit that privilege do not grant it in their own countries, but restrict, harass and persecute Christians there.

We are told that religion causes conflict, but so do many other things - national pride, ethnic conflicts, unfair international business competition, border disputes and many other things.

It is true that the claims of Christianity is ‘exclusive’ in its claims, Jesus declared - "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father (God) except through me" - John 14:6

And the Bible teaches that - God our Saviour who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all men - 1 Timothy 2: 5 & 6

But in its outreach the Christian faith is ‘inclusive’ it appeals to ‘all men’ there are no exceptions. However, the Bible also teaches very clearly that violence, coercion and intimidation are to be avoided - Let our attitude be the same as the apostle Paul’s - Though I am, free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jew I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law (the Jews) I became like one under the law. To those not having the law (the gentiles) (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that be all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the gospel that I may share in its blessings - 1 Corinthians 9: 19 to 23

Jesus’ attitude was tender, loving and non-threatening - Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light - Matthew 11: 28 to 30

It is true that the Bible says that a minister of Christ must be prepared to teach "the whole counsel of God" but the idea that preachers in the past have delighted in what is known as "Hell fire condemnatory preaching" is greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, a preacher would be unfaithful if he only taught what he thought people would like to hear; the Bible speaks both of God’s love and God’s judgement.

The apostle Paul makes that very clear when he said goodbye to the elders of the Church at Ephesus saying - And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, will see my face no more. "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God - Acts 20: 25 to 27

The John’s gospel sums it up for us with these well known words - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son" - John 3: 16 to 18

God does not delight in the destruction of the wicked - Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live - Ezekiel 18: 23

The Cross of Jesus Christ shows us the measure of God’s love for sinful humanity. It is God’s wish that you live eternally in unimaginable happiness and security, and even in this life to have your strength renewed, to walk forward into the future with confidence and without weariness and even death will lose its horror and its fear.

Come to Jesus now, he will forgive the misdeeds of the past, save your soul and give you eternal life through the Holy Spirit. It will be a challenging life, but he promises to never forsake those who love and obey him.

He says - "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" - John 14: 23

Many Blessings!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess

Facebook: Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd