Evangelical Christians in Bulgaria take to the streets to oppose new anti-religious laws at the end of 2018
Anti-Christian persecution in Bulgaria does not come with violence and imprisonment but by legislature and intimidation. In the 17 years since the last religious law was adopted in 2002 more than 17 attempts to introduce restrictions on religious freedom by a change of the law were attempted by various political factions.
In May last year, all major political parties proposed two highly restrictive bills which if adopted would have ended freedom of religion in Bulgaria and driven the church underground.
“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith,” says Robin David, the ADF International allied lawyer defending the pastors in court. “In India, many citizens face fierce harassment because they belong to a religious minority.”
These Christian pastors in India are being persecuted not because they are a minority but because they are Christians. While “nobody should be persecuted for their religious belief” may be a nice sentiment, the reality is that persecution occurs on a daily basis. In fact, anti-Christian irrational hatred and the resulting persecution is amply talked about and predicted in the Lord’s teachings and throughout the New Testament.
It is right and proper for us to support each other as believers and stand up against persecution and the injustice it represents. The NT teaching that Christians must be ready to embrace suffering for the name of the Lord does not constitute a surrender to the claims of evil without opposition on our side. Jesus suffered ultimately but He never stopped to assert His divine right to be recognized as the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the Savior of the world. We see the same example through the lives of the apostles and the martyrs of the faith.
Being subject to persecution should never be seen as a reason for Christians to approve of persecution, even if they gladly embrace it as a sign of their loyalty to Christ.
A British theologian challenges the teaching in the church that evangelism, when wrongly understood as simply adding souls to the ecclesiastical structures and congregations, is an adequate representation of the mission of God in Jesus Christ.
One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor, states Proverbs 29:23.
With political passions engulfing the globe one must ask if believers should stay away from politics? The answer is negative. Simply our “politics” is different. It is of the Kingdom of God, and not of the kingdoms of this world. When Christ declared to Pilate in John 18 that His kingdom is not of this world He did not mean that He is an escapist. Neither did He want that for His disciples. He meant that the way He and His followers engage in this world defies its principles of corruption and rebellion. Just the opposite, Jesus’s own mission and the one He gave to the church is one of full engagement with the Gospel with all peoples and worldly powers (Matt 28:16-18).
One may have the freedom to express oneself and that is a political and legal right in many democratic nations; however, it is the Creator of speech Who eventually has the final say on the matter. Freedom of speech is often wrongly seen as expression free from any moral limitations.
I grew up in communist Bulgaria when public false worship of the national false god was mandatory. One of the major roles of the government, and why not the main purpose, was to ensure obedience to the ideology of the ruling cult – the communist party.
The photograph o the left has recorded a so called “manifestation” of the people in Bulgaria under communism. All schools, universities, factories, and all workers had to show up for these parades and shout worshipful slogans to the communist party, the state and its leaders. The socialist utopia was at its highest frenzy. Continue reading →
The Scriptures are filled with witness of how the believers’ faith collides with the deception of ungodly leaders in government and society. One such example we find in Daniel 6.
The excellence in Daniel’s work for the king becomes a source of envy for his “co-workers” in ruling the regions of the empire. They realize that they will not be able to catch him in a work-related blunder so they decide that his faith will be the reason for his fall. The anti-religious freedom lobbyists go to the king and ask him to pass a law that will mandate that for 30 days no one will pray to any other god but him, the king. “Not a bad idea,” the ruler thought. Continue reading →
In 2010 I was hired as a legal consultant to represent a mayor of a small viallge in Southern Bulgaria. He was an evangelical Christian whose greatest issue was to have a road built for the people of his viallge. The village was in the mountains separated by 30 km (about 18 miles) from the rest of the world by a dirt road which went through private property; the owner of the property did not allow the villagers to use the path going through his piece of land. Continue reading →