On January 30, 2010 three men in Boynton Beach, Florida walked up to a young man and started preaching to him. As they were walking off the man called to them and shot and killed two of them.
On March 08, 2009 Fred Winters was standing in the pulpit of First Baptist Marysville, Illinois when a man walked in and shot him three times in the chest. The gunman then pulled a knife and started to stab himself and two other parishoners.
So why am I writing about these tragedys that happened in churches? I live in the south. I was born in Mississippi and then moved as far north as Tenneessee. This is the heart of the bible belt where you are a Christian because your pappy and gran pappy were. Too many times I see people that say they are Christians and there is no evidence or fruit to show for it.
When you tell someone about one of these church shootings, they look down, nod their head and ask, “What is this world coming to when someone would shoot someone in church?” The point is that in my area, and I believe most of America we see the church as a safe place we can go to hear the message of Jesus. When something bad happens, we can’t understand why.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we live in a country where we can safely worship Jesus without fear of persecution, but I think it has made us soft to what Jesus actually told us would be required of us. The bible tells us we will be persecuted because they do not know God. (John 15:9-21) It says we will be blessed because of persecution. (Matthew 5:10-12) Persecution is to be expected.
The early Christians suffered for their beliefs. Nero actually dipped Christians in wax and used them to as human candles to light his garden. All the apostles were murdered except John and it is recorded that he was dipped in boiling oil before being sent to Patmos. As you read through Foxes book of Martyrs you see that throuhout the church age men and women have given their lives because they would not deny Jesus.
Today it still happpens in other countries. Subscribe to Voice of the Martyr’s Persecution blog and weekly you will hear stories of murder and abuse because someone refuses to deny Christ. So why is it that in America it surprises us.
The bigger question I have is, would you still go to church Sunday morning if you knew that if the government found out about the church everyone in it would die? Would you be willing to go out and tell a lost person about Jesus if you knew they may turn you in and you would be executed? If you said yes, are you doing it now?
Click on the read more and you can access Fox’s book of Martyrs through scribed