In the West we have a long history of freedom of religion. We want the world to have it. But we also want to have mangers at the state house which other faiths say hurts them. What does God want for us in Christian rights?
I live in China where total freedom is not on the table and the Magna Carta has not been passed. No one is talking about a manger at the State house here. It is like a worst case scenario for the US, but what would God think if it happened?
How does God view Christian Rights?
Jesus said something interesting to Pilate.
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
We have no sniff that Jesus wants us to seek any earthly kingdom. Jesus had total power and claimed none. How should we understand?
In the US you can share with your neighbor and post Christian thought on social media. You can start a Bible study and sing online worship songs. You can baptize and have communion freely. We do the same here in China.
In China, we cannot register a church legally or buy property in the church’s name. I cannot pass out tracks openly or preach on a soapbox. If a pastor has a church of a few hundred, he probably can lead how he wants. If he wants a bigger church, the government will get nervous.
In the 30 years I have been in China, the Church has grown from say 10M to 40M. How has it gone in America?
How does God view this?
Is our Lord more happy with what has happened in China? I think so. Does it mean He wants the government in America to be Communist? Would the number of believers rise or sink if America had such an unthinkable revolution?
In present day America we cannot dream of a four fold increase in faith. We dream instead of getting a manger or the ten commandments at the state house.
Is better freedom of religion what God wants for China and America? Is that His dream?
I think he wants to get more people saved. I think He will sometimes use persecution to get people saved.
In the New Testament, running and expecting persecution was the standard. Jesus said they would be persecuted and never told them how to stand up for their Christian rights. If Jesus thought standing up for our rights was important, He did a bad job of telling us.
In China we have fewer Christian rights and no power. So we focused on loving our neighbor and telling people the good news. The result is the kingdom grows.
We do better when we operate from a position of weakness. Jesus acted in weakness and draws in the world. When we try to make laws to force our understanding of morality, the non Christians hate us. You may also like to read An Atheist Accuses – Do We Care?
I think when we have fewer rights, that we do better.
Having more rights is more comfortable, but is it God’s main plan?
Some Rights – No Power
We do not need many rights to spread the gospel. Love is always allowed.
The Apostle Paul did not ask that they stop persecuting him. He asked that God give him strength to preach even while being tried for his life.
I think in America, we Christians confused rights with power. Christian power drives people from the Good News. God’s kingdom is not of this world. We need some cultural space to spread the good news and avoiding power plays will help a lot I believe.
When we Christians accept our kingdom is not of this world, the message grows.
When we have rights to believe and talk with our neighbor, that is plenty. Let us consider how God sees these things and be afraid of Christian power. In our vulnerability, we move people much more.