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.
Who shapes our outlook on this life and the life to come? God and His Word, or the words of the culture around us, dominated by the prince of the air?
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” When we don’t want to listen to the truth of Scripture we have ways of reasoning faith away by simply ignoring the Biblical teaching or by twisting it to mean something different from what it actually means. Christians have an obligation to teach those who accept the Gospel of Christ to obey all that He has commanded (Matt. 28:16-18). The Great Commission mandate is not just to listen to and marvel at the Lord’s teachings, but to instruct the nations to obey these teachings.
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.
“The more prominent you are in Christ’s service, the more certain are you to be the butt of calumny [slander]. I have long ago said farewell to my character. I lost it in the earlier days of my ministry by being a little more zealous than suited a slumbering age. And I have never been able to regain it except in the sight of Him who judges all the earth, and in the hearts of those who love me for my work’s sake.”