Before I return to my series on living biblically, I would like to share a thought that has been running through my mind since the 39th General Assembly of the EPC. We were blessed to hear from missionary and former Turkish prisoner Andrew Brunson. And his message to the body was this: we need to prepare ourselves for coming persecution. He meant right here in the United States. He taught that persecution is coming because Jesus told us to expect it. You can see the video above. Seriously, stop reading this and watch it!
My basic thought is that one of the greatest tests of true Christian unity that we will ever experience will be whether we are willing to suffer with and for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In our congregations, will we suffer with and for sisters and brothers? Even the ones that we don’t always get along with?
And what about the wider church? Will mainline Christians suffer with and for evangelicals? Will evangelicals suffer with and for fundamentalists? Will Presbyterians suffer with and for Pentecostals? Will Protestants suffer with and for Catholics? Though I certainly don’t want to suffer, I can’t help but imagine that the surprising configurations of mutual consolation and encouragement born out of persecution could be one of the greatest testimonies to the vitality and beauty of the Christian faith that our nation has yet seen.