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The Debate about Shouwang Church

Here’s an interesting article about what is taking place in China: “The Debate about Shouwang Church.”

I have a proposition, then a question prompted by the article, then brief thoughts on Paul’s response to such situations:

Proposition: The Chinese government is wickedly persecuting Christians and opposing God and his gospel. May God break the teeth of the wicked (Ps 3:7).

Question: Did the Shouwang Church need to force this issue? Maybe so. I really don’t know. From the article linked above, it appears that the church could have continued to worship had they been content to do so in smaller numbers in private venues.

Thoughts on Paul: On the one hand I can imagine Paul saying that the public confrontation will result in more people hearing the gospel (Phil 1:12–21). On the other hand, there were times when he did not take on the confrontation with the overpowering government, fleeing from King Aretas (2 Cor 11:32–33), and though he wanted to take on the crowd in Ephesus the other believers wouldn’t let him (Acts 19:30).

No doubt more information about the situation in China would be helpful.

What do you think? Should the Shouwang Church have forced the issue or stayed underground?

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The Messianic Woes in the Old and New Testaments: Limited Time Offer

As noted earlier, Crossway is allowing me to post some Tables from God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology.

This is the third of the five that will be posted here, and it seeks to provide background for statements like the one in Colossians 1:24,

“Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church . . .”

In what sense is Paul “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”? Well, there are passages in the OT that indicate that the Messiah will suffer and that before his kingdom is realized his people will suffer, too. On the basis of this strand of OT prophecy, there are many texts in the NT that point toward afflictions for God’s people before they receive the kingdom. Acts 14:22, for instance: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

This Table seeks to gather the texts in the Old and New Testaments that speak of the affliction and tribulation that the Messiah and his people will fulfill before kingdom come.

This is being posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011, and it will be removed at the end of the day Saturday, April 23, 2011. Here it is: “The Messianic Woes in the Old and New Testaments.” [Link Removed]

This table gives the relevant language from the passages it cites rather than simply the references. I think it would make for a healthy time of meditation as we approach the celebration of the resurrection this Easter Sunday. The statements in these passages will also explain to us the persecution that Christians are facing around the world and that may be heating up here in our culture.

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Recommended Book: The Flames of Rome by Paul Maier

On the strength of recommendations from Justin Taylor and Andy Naselli, I bought and read Paul Maier’s novel The Flames of Rome, and now I’m adding my voice to the chorus of recommendations for this book.

Maier begins in the reign of Claudius and takes his reader to the end of the reign of Nero in this “documentary novel.” All the names used are authentic, and at no point is the actual history violated. Maier fills in details that we don’t have to create a story that keeps the pages turning, and he documents each chapter with thorough notes referring to primary sources where the facts can be found.

Maier is a good storyteller, and the history related in this novel is important for anyone interested in the New Testament, as Maier has documented the late AD 40’s through to the late AD 60’s, the years in which the Apostles were on mission and many of the books of the New Testament were being written.

Do you want a window into a world previously unaffected by the good news of Jesus Christ, a glimpse into the growth of the gospel in its earliest years?

The Flames of Rome is a story worth reading in its own right, and it comes with the added benefit of accurately depicting this period in history, giving you the background of the New Testament. So the book is a pleasure to read, and it’s good for you too!

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Gay Rights Prevent Christians from Being Foster Parents in the UK

Faithful Christian grandparents who have fostered 15 children already have “were told by a court yesterday that gay rights ‘should take precedence’ over their religious beliefs.”

And the video below shows an interesting discussion on the issue. The first speaker tries to link opposition to homosexuality and racism, and then a man who claims to be a gay atheist warns that the state could introduce a new version of morality that could turn out to be oppressive and tyrannical:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctrua5c-AYU]

HT: Dan Phillips

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