To my Christian Brothers and Sisters:
Having recently studied through the book Radical by David Platt with our life group, I was challenged to consider what I might do under true persecution – how I might react. Would I remain faithful to my Lord? I wasn’t sure, to be honest!
As we’ve continued to reflect on the theme of persecution, Jodi and I have been reading through the book The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. In the portion where he describes his time with persecuted believers in China, Ripken recounts the common reactions to persecution he found among the Chinese house church members. These amazing responses blew me away … and gave me courage and hope that I too will stand when the time comes. I hope they will encourage you as well!
Ripken writes, “I asked whether, when and how the oppressed could truly threaten a totalitarian oppressor. They [Chinese house church leaders] offered this scenario in response:
The security police regularly harass a believer who owns the property where a house-church meets. The police say, “You have got to stop these meetings! If you do not stop these meetings, we will confiscate your house, and we will throw you out into the street”
Then the property owner will probably respond, “Do you want my house? Do you want my farm? Well, if you do, then you need to talk to Jesus because I gave this property to Him.”
The security police will not know what to make of that answer. So they will say, “We don’t have any way to get to Jesus, but we can certainly get to you! When we take your property, you and your family will have nowhere to live!”
And the house-church believers will declare, “Then we will be free to trust God for shelter as well as for our daily bread.”
“If you keep this up, we will beat you!” the persecutors will tell them.
“Then we will be free to trust Jesus for healing,” the believers will respond.
“And then we will put you in prison!” the police will threaten.
By now, the believers’ response is almost predictable: “Then we will be free to preach the good news of Jesus to the captives, to set them free. We will be free to plant churches in prison.”
“If you try to do that, we will kill you!” the frustrated authorities will vow.
And, with utter consistency, the house-church believers will reply, “Then we will be free to go to heaven and be with Jesus forever.”
-Nik Ripken, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), pp. 262-263.