The Testimony of Persecution

On no other point is the Chinese church and the Western church more different than the theology of persecution. The Chinese house church has even asked the Western church not to pray for an end to persecution, because it is the purifying fire of the Lord.

They have a point, actually. Not only do we see Jesus here in Luke 21 preparing the disciples for persecution to come, but within a few months it was already starting, and we see Peter and the apostles "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name" (Acts 5:41). Not only is it purifying fire, as the Chinese church states, but Jesus says here that persecution "will be your opportunity to bear witness".

Persecution is far from the minds of most of us. We struggle to even know how to approach the topic. Yet, many of the Dong are "hated for my name's sake". How can we pray for them? If we do not pray for an end to persecution, what do we pray for? Jesus himself gives some prayer pointers.
"Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict." Let us pray they will place their trust in the Lord and wait for him. Pray they will see the uselessness of answering in their own wisdom, but rather to trust in the powerful work of the Holy Spirit to change lives and demonstrate the wisdom and strength of the Lord.

May it also be said of the Dong: "when they saw the boldness of [the Dong Christians], and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished" (Acts 4:13).

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