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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Facts and figures

Pastor John was speaking about end times on sunday night, and mentioned some statistics that shocked Me:

there have been an estimated 70 million martyrs since the time of Christ, and approximately 45 million of those have been martyred since the beginning of the 20th century, which from memory works out to around 170 000 per year.

so, two questions for those whe are still reading my little Blog:

1. What are your thoughts on martydom, as it relates to you?

2. When listening to teachings on end times and the return of Christ, what are you immediate thoughts - not relating to the specific theology, but how it relates to you personally.

please do take the time to consider these questions. If you want further clarification, or to reply privately, please either comment or email Me.

I was in my "Themes in Christian History" class, and Mark Hutchinson the lecturer mentioned that: The Persecution and Martyrdom of Christians started with the Roman acceptance and establishment of the concept of Religious Tolerance. Within 50 years of the legislation of religious tolerance, Christians, who would not capitulate and tolerate other religious truth claims, then became enemies of the societal order. They became the 'Most likely to become Terrorists' bunch.

Basically put, he stated that we here in the West are within 20-30 years of mass persecution. It's not the developing world that is the worry, it's the West.

Kind of a scary thought..Not that we should be marturos (lit: witnesses) but that we would be unprepared for that.

Martyrdom never used to mean 'Dying for the faith' and in Christian usage, it didn't. When the Church fathers used the word, they were referring to the fact that those who were being tortured and executed in the coliseums and arenas, WHILE they were being tortured, they testified that they would not renounce and reject Christ. They were WITNESSES.
They would not reject the torture and worship the Emperor, thereby restoring the social order, and the basis of Roman Society.

We have a great Christian tradition, and a Biblical tradition which teaches that those who suffer for Christ's sake , are in fact being blessed, and even 'counted worthy'. My prayer is that I COULD (not would, but could) be 'counted worthy'. That my life would be found hidden in Christ, so much so, that I COULD be tortured with the worst types of torture, and not reject Christ.
It's these sorts of things that should surely make us rethink the kind of theology that says God wants us to be constantly happy with lots of material 'blessings'.

We like to overlook the hard things of our faith and yet they are right throughout scripture and throughout Christian history.
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