When Chinese police burst into a Sunday School recently where 30 children were learning about Jesus, they were in for a shock. Bristling with state authority, the police officers herded the children into police vans. They must have seen their job of intimidating babies as an easy one. They bargained wrongly. It started when one of the children began to sing. The rest of the children joined in. As they were marched into the police station, instead of sobbing and crying, the children were singing praises to the Lord. The outraged police told the children to sit down and write, “I do not believe in Jesus” 100 times. Instead the children wrote this: I believed in Jesus yesterday, I believe in Jesus today, I will believe in Jesus forever.” Exasperated, the police officers called in the parents, threatening to take the children away. Some parents, in fear, denied Christ. One widow whose twin boys had been arrested was told to deny Christ or lose her children.
“If I denied Christ, you'd have to keep the children because without Christ and his help, I couldn't raise them.”she responded. The police finally gave up and returned the children to their parents.
The bravery of these children and this widow stands out in sharp relief when contrasted with the wholesale sell-out of American evangelicals. How many times have Christian leaders sat on Larry King with a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel, and they refused? Wildly popular Pastor Joel Osteen was asked recently about Christianity on Larry King Live.
King: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?
Osteen: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know...
King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?
Osteen: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religions. But I know they love God. I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.”
King: “What about atheists?”
Osteen: You know what? I'm going to let someone—I'm going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just—again, I present the truth and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around and tell everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart...
Unlike the Chinese children, Joel Osteen denied Christ. All of his backtracking a few days later when he began to get flak for his comments didn't change what Osteen did. Denial of Christ has become a way of life for many Evangelical leaders now. Just ask Rick Warren who time and time again has had the perfect opportunity to share the message of the Gospel and he has refused. He has written column after column in Ladies Home Journal and has refused to share the message that Christ alone is the way of salvation from sin, death and hell, even though thousands of readers may have never heard the true Gospel. Those words sin, death and hell have been expunged from Evangelical lexicons these days. Too divisive. Too negative. Too restricting and too narrow.
There was no message of the cross on the lips of Rick Warren and Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals in early November as they were wined and dined at the Global Health Summit sponsored by Time, Inc. in New York. Warren sat on a panel with an Islamic Imam, an Orthodox Jew, and a member of the apostate World Council of Churches to discuss how “people of faith” could come together to cure global health woes. Faith in whom or what didn't matter. Also speaking was serial blasphemer Ted Turner , Paul Wolfawitz, president of the World Bank, and Bono, the rock star turned humanitarian. No, the narrow way of the cross is out of style among many American Christian leaders.
But didn't the words of our Lord himself tell us that the road for believers would be narrow? Where has the notion come from that the applause and acceptance of the world is a sign of God's blessing? Christ was reviled, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We are somehow better than he? Rick Warren can bask in the approval of secularist philanthropists and leaders like Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Ted Turner and still be found faithful to Jesus Christ? If Christ was spit upon, what gives Rick Warren and Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals the right to love and adoration from the secular power elite?
The Chinese children had it right. They understood in their child-like faith that they could never write, “I don't believe in Jesus”, no matter what it cost them. As these dear little soldiers of Jesus Christ went marching courageously into that police station, singing praises to Jesus, they shamed the vast numbers of powerful American Evangelical sell-outs who have traded the very best heaven could offer for a bowl of rotting pottage. The praises on the lips of those Chinese children ascended that day to God's throne and the Lord must have been well pleased.
“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2
This picture was removed on 3-12-06 in order not to endanger the lives of these joyful Chinese singers. Their faithful director was recently arrested.
Singing His praises, these Chinese youths, too, have chosen to follow their Lord in spite of the risks.
© 2005 Ingrid Schlueter
Ingrid Schlueter has been producer and co-host of the Crosstalk Radio Talk Show on the VCY America Radio Network for 18 years. She is author of numerous articles on current issues and is a regular columnist for Wisconsin Christian News. She has also authored, Parent Police: The UN Wants Your Children. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://sliceoflaodicea.com
Other articles by Ingrid Schlueter: Eternal Vigilance: The Price of Sound Doctrine
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