We are made to resist...
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. Acts 4:20-21 (KJV)
Resistance is a fact of life…
Terry Dashner………………Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
“He had the kind of physical courage that allowed him to stare down and armed assassin and the kind of mental courage that allowed him to keep the secret of the general’s plot against Hitler from even his own closest advisers” writes J. Bottum in his essay entitled, “Pius XII and the Nazis.” Bottum continues, “He was a saint and a failure, a success and a sinner, a man designed by nature to be the finest wielder of the delicate tools of civilized diplomacy the Vatican had ever know—and confronted during his papacy with only blind, monstrous barbarity, like a fencing master forced to duel a panzer tank.”
Bottum is referring to Pope Pius XII who ruled over the Roman Catholic Church during the rise and fall of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Why do I bring up his memory? I do because he is either despised or adored by historians. Again Bottum writes, “Whenever the topic of his pontificate is raised, Pius XII is either unreservedly lauded as the only significant resister of Hitler to survive on the European continent, or unrelentingly denounced as a cowardly failure who passively or even actively participated in the Nazi’s destruction of six million Jews.”
I write this not to bash the pope’s memory—no one can effectively say that Pope Pius XII was negligent in allowing Hitler to exterminate six million Jews or brilliant in saving more than 700,00 Jews who probably would have been killed in Nazi death camps—but to raise this question. Why is it that the world, who shares the blame and guilt of allowing Hitler to rise to power, questions Pius XII in the first place? Was the Roman Catholic Church the only religion in the world in 1939? No, it wasn’t. But the Roman Catholic Church—Christians in general—is castigated by the world in regards to the world’s violation of human rights because the world expects Christians to resist evil. Always.
I find it odd that no one holds the Muslims, the Hindus, or the Buddhists responsible when morality wanes and human rights are violated. It’s always the Church of Jesus Christ. Why? Because the world may not like the ostensibly “moral smugness” that besets the church, but it expects the church to speak out, even if the world says otherwise. The world wants us, the world needs us to resist evil. If we don’t, who will?
Stephen L. Carter in his essay published in the book, The Best Christian Writing 2001, (Harper San Francisco 2001) and entitled, “Religion, Resistance, and the Curious History of America’s Public Schools” writes some interesting things about the Church’s role as the resister. Says Carter, “Religion is, at its best, subversive of the society in which it exists. Religion’s subversive power flows from its tendency to focus the attention and, ultimately, the values of its adherents on a set of understandings often quite different from the understandings of the dominant forces in the culture. The larger culture will always try to impose a set of meanings on all of its subcultures; of all the subcultures in a society, religion is almost always the one best able to resist. That resistance, in turn, is the source of diversity, of dialogue, and, ultimately, of change.” So, the Church should rejoice when it is persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Jesus told His disciples that if the world persecuted Him, they could expect the same. We should be encouraged when the world attacks us for our stand on morality. We should never cower and run away in the face of opposition. We should always stand up and stand against evil. Our resistance is good. It is necessary.
Again Carter says, “The culture may press the religions to change; but the religions, at their best, press back, often in surprising places. And they press back in a way that no other force does, for the transcendence of religious belief proposes an answer higher than mere human striving. The Western religions in their traditional forms all share the model of transcendence: the answers to the most profound questions are found not in human argument, but in the will of God, which exists in the world in written form and sometimes in an oral heritage as well.”
Never waver in the great commission to tell the story of Jesus Christ. He is the light of the world, and darkness will never overcome the light. Jesus told us that we are the salt of the world. Salt will always sting when it breaks through to the lesions of filth and corruption. Nevertheless, salt is necessary for flavoring, and we add the flavoring by our stand against the insipid tastes of indifference. Stand up and be counted. Speak out against the status quo. Remind the world often that Jesus Christ came to heal the world of its sin. Jesus is alive to lift the world higher. Jesus is coming again to judge the darkness and reward the light. Stay the light and salt of the world. Resist the evil.
You were made to resist the darkness…
Keep the faith. Stay the course. Jesus is coming again.
Pastor T. dash.
About the Author
Pastors a small church in Broken Arrow, OK.