The following article does not in any way suggest that Covid 19 is not real or life-threatening for many persons, and have actually caused some to die as a result of its onslaught. Neither is it intended to be blaming politics, though there are political implications that cannot be ignored. The forces at work are deeply spiritual; dark against Light, as we shall see. I intend to speak to a peripheral situation which may or may not be directly related to the pandemic we are locked into in these months.
¶I have been forewarning Christians of a coming persecution against the Church in America since 1988. It has also become a strong component within my prayer seminars presented to churches. My eyes became widened to awareness when reading a manifesto of the gay agenda in that same year. Written within were goals of intention for that which was becoming a financially powerful movement in our Nation. Among the reach with the indoctrination of very young school children to the acceptance of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle through our school systems, was also the planned agenda of targeting Christian churches with the ultimate course of weakening and destroying them because of discrimination against their immoral lifestyle.
I have been in non-registered or underground churches in Russia, China, and Vietnam, plus, a Catholic harassment against protestant churches in Mexico, especially in remote villages. For example:
On April 26, 1986, Chernobyl was a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that was the site of a disastrous nuclear accident. Reportedly, a scheduled test at the plant went dreadfully wrong, and two enormous blasts blew the massive covering off one of the plant’s reactors. The result of the blasts released 400 times more radiation than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Many died in the accident. Eventually, thousands of people would show signs of health effects—including cancer—and even massive birth defects from the fallout.
The Chernobyl meltdown not only stirred up fears over the dangers of nuclear power plants, but it also revealed the Soviet government’s lack of honesty to the Soviet people and also the international community. The meltdown and consequences of it exhausted the Soviet Union of billions in clean up costs, and led to the loss of a major energy source and caused international embarrassment when the radiation was detected traveling in prevailing winds over Norway, Sweden ,and Finland. However, their need for international help to clean up this disaster led to an openness of borders and easing of restrictions of travel into the CIS.
Mikhail Gorbachev, then Soviet leader, would later say that he thought the Chernobyl meltdown was perhaps the major cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later.
When things began to open up, and even an acceptance of evangelistic crusades where multitudes were being saved, I started longing to go to Russia and the surrounding areas to be a part of the massive harvest of souls. But my God had other plans for me. Every possibility I saw for going was hindered in many ways, so much so, I stopped attempting to go.
In 1995, God opened the way and called me to go as part of a team to train pastors of unregistered churches in ministry and to provide them with much needed church and Sunday School supplies. This would be my first direct connection with untrained pastors in nations where churches which felt the openness to the Gospel would be short lived. Their testimonies were heartrending, yet powerful. I attended and preached in many such churches. I saw a hunger for God and His Word there that I had only longed for in America. Their members would likely walk for miles and be at least an hour early in the hopes of getting to sit rather than stand.
The following year, I was enlisted to be a participant in a Prayerwalking Team throughout China with the Every Home for Christ Ministries under the Presidency of Dick Eastman. C. Richard Smith was our team leader on the trip. That was a very exciting and intriguing month-long journey in a vast land that had animosity against the Church of Christ Jesus; Communism was the strict rule. While there, we had some very discrete encounters with underground/house-churches and their pastors. Persecution was strong and always a threat to the safety of the church, possessions, and members; leadership was a major target to hinder or end the life of the church. Execution, beatings, or prison could be expected at any moment of any day.
Every Christian I spoke with in these churches I asked, “How may I pray for you and your church?” The answers were nearly the same words: “Do not pray that persecution ends; the church is rapidly growing in persecution!”
Yet another two years, and I was recruited, by Tom Cox Ministries and the International Mission Board of the SBC, to build and train a Prayerwalking Team to spend about a month in my former place of residence, Vietnam. As in China, again, Communism; again persecutions against Christian churches.
There were too many miracles and blessings to list here, but I will say there are many strong believers in that land. We saw approximate 250 persons saved under the careful watching of the Communist Catholic Bishop. And prior to our flight back home, we were invited by the father of our month long interpreter. He had heard that there were three US Vietnam war veterans that his daughter was interpreting for, and as a high ranking South Vietnamese Military Officer, he wanted to meet us and ask a question.
The father’s question was, “Tell me about this Jesus my daughter has heard you speaking about.”
We slowly shared Christ with our new friend, and he was saved. After a few minutes of celebration, we asked his permission to share Jesus with his wife, who had been in another part of the home. He agreed, and after several minutes of revealing the Good News to her, she was saved. One by one, the whole family received Christ. The father’s last words to us was to explain that because of who he was and how he had serve the military of the South in the war, he nor his family could ever worship with other believers because of the threat of death would be on the entire household.
Persecution; –Jesus had warned us that if they persecuted Him, they would certainly persecute us. And His words have proven true throughout these 2,000 years in nearly all parts of the world . . . except, the “New World,” America.
Fast forward to 2020 . . . Covid 19 . . . “Safe at Home” isolation . . . closing of schools and businesses . . . closing of places of Worship, our churches. Many churches went to online services, FB live, You Tube, and later, parking lot service with FM transmission into the cars. At some point, churches were allowed to resume in-church services with many extreme restrictions, including masks and social distancing, limited number in attendance, plus disinfecting everything often.
Here in California, the governor banned all singing and chanting in Worship while Walmart , protesters and other large groups continued with little to no restraints. Then finally, also in California, the governor once again closed churches with a ban, indefinitely, on indoor public gatherings.
America is in trouble from all sides it seems. No secret here; there are forces within America trying to belittle, divide, and hold captive true Patriots. These forces are working overtime, having huge financial and political backers, to promote protests, and rioting using violence, murder, looting and arson. They are striving to destroy any memory of unity, though fragile at best, among our citizens. Racism is, and always has been, an ugly word; more than an ugly word, it is an ugly action against one another. It should not be in our world anywhere, between any peoples, but it is here. No disrespect to anyone intended, but it seems we are moving toward becoming the world’s largest concentration camp.
So, the question: “Is the Church in America experiencing persecution at this present time?”
Immediate Answer: Not the same extent that the rest of the world has experienced for thousands of years, but that door is certainly open. I have known we would at least taste what they have experienced for decades. I try to resist the “I told you so” approach, but something must finally awaken the church in America. We somehow need to understand, now that it is here, how do we function?
The Church is spending more time and energy crying out, complaining, more to one another through social mediums, about and against those who are inconveniencing her, than they are crying to the One Who can set her free!
What are we to do? What are the church’s options? Is this the “New Norm?”
Those are big questions having many answers which may not be seen or known at the moment, but here are some starting points:
Pray! Listen! Pray! Listen! Be aware! Prepare! Remain faithful! Stand up! Speak the Truth in love, firmly! Plan, prepare, seek methods to continue gathering in Worship, the Word, fellowship and encouragement, knowing full well the possibility of a hidden, underground movement may be near unless the LORD intervenes.
In any event, do not stop being who and Who’s you are! Anticipate the Rapture! “Even so, Come, LORD Jesus, Amen!”
Come Alive, Church, Pray On!