Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Suffering and Persecution, Mission Frontiers Jan-Feb 2010 Issue

Ralph Winter

Recapturing the Role of Suffering Nik Ripken (4 pages) [This is an important article on persecution and church planting.]

The testimony of believers living in the midst of persecution challenges the church in the West, and its emissaries, to recapture a biblical missiology—a missiology that is mature enough to embrace suffering, persecution, and even martyrdom. Believers in settings of persecution, through numerous interviews, suggest that the church in the West has lost its missiological edge and that it has grown soft in the face of overt persecution.

Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ John Piper (2 pages)

More and more I am persuaded from Scripture and from the history of missions that God’s design for the evangelization of the world and the consummation of his purposes includes the suffering of his ministers and missionaries. To put it more plainly and specifically, God designs that the suffering of his ambassadors is one essential means in the triumphant spread of the Good News among all the peoples of the world.

The Other Side of the Cross: Suffering and the Glory of God Bob Sjogren (2 pages)

A contemporary worship song includes these lines for the believer to voice to Christ: "Like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me, above all."

Excuse me? Did Christ think of me “above all” while he was on the cross? The Scriptures don’t point us in that direction. Did he think of us on the cross? Yes. Above all? No. Let’s get this straight!

Just as there are two sides to a coin, so are there two sides to the cross. For generations, many in the Church have only known one side of the cross. It’s a side that can point to ease, safety and comfort. But it’s now time for the Church to grow up and look at the other side of the cross—the one that points us to suffering.

The first side we are all familiar with: Christ died for us. But there is a second side to the cross: Christ died to magnify and vindicate the glory of his Father. This is the side with which we are unfamiliar. This is the side where we are weak and need to grow deep roots.

Read the entire issue.


Daddi oh said...

Way too much emphasis on suffering as God's method for evangelism. I don't think so...suffering for evangelism's sake.
I lean toward Jesus' words himself from Jn 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my desciples, if you have LOVE for one another."
This is the basis for evangelism: Love. It's not suffering, it's love! Love for one another!

Timothy said...

Daddi oh,

I do agree, not that anyone asked, that love is what we are to be known for. But I would also say that love often provokes hatred and persecution in those who hate and even if it does not, all people in the world suffer in life (death of dear ones, natural disasters, etc). If we continue to love love in the midst of suffering, this seems to be an even greater demonstration of God's love in us. Thus the Message is magnified.