"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Suffering for Christ

      I had a peculiar reaction to this Our Daily Bread. Though the essay is about suffering for the cause of Christ, it seemed to mention as a positive thing that Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. That, after Nero's vicious persecution of the church.
      Superficially, the church's becoming popular and influential in secular government might seem the best thing for God's kingdom. But even a passing look at history suggests quite the opposite. Not long after Constantine, the church apostatized into Roman Catholicism, eventually becoming a far fiercer persecutor of Christians than Nero.
      More recently, we can observe the unholy union of liberal denominations in the National Council of Churches, and its World Council counterpart, as the most bitter opponents of Biblical Christianity since the Roman inquisition. And each successive anti-Christian movement becomes better at counterfeiting the real thing, effectively diluting authentic Christian influence in the world.
      The tragic truth is that most Christians don't realize the correlation between official or popular acceptance for Christianity, and its corruption into merely human institutions. Will we never learn the lesson that first Herod, then Nero, then Constantine taught us? That the best way to grow God's kingdom is to attempt to chop it up into little pieces. We must never rejoice in acceptance, but rather in persecution for the cause of Christ.

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