CP: How do you personally pray for the persecuted Church?Brother Andrew: Let me first tell you what I don't pray. I don't pray that God will lift the persecution because if there is persecution there is a plan that God has, otherwise God wouldn't allow it. So do we understand why this persecution? When we read the Bible, all the Bible's characters met with at least opposition. Our problem is that if we have a little opposition we call it persecution. That is ridiculous. Every Christian is tested; every Christian has and has to have opposition.How do we pray? Not for God to remove persecution, but use that to purify the Church. And it is my strong belief that the countries where there is persecution are stronger in faith than churches in countries where there is no persecution whether it is your country or my country (Netherlands). And there will come a time, maybe it has come already, where we will depend on our survival on the faith and input of the church that is now persecuted. They are standing strongly in the storm; we write and speak about them because we admire them. They have qualities that I wish we had: the perseverance of faith. They don't have Bibles often and they don't have liberty. But do we need all this liberty that we take for granted in order to function as the Church? And of course the answer is no.The Church thrives under pressure, that was the very birth of the Church. They were persecuted in Jerusalem and all over. Look at it a different way, what does the Bible say, how do I pray? That whatever happens in the world, the Church will be revived in our countries and be spared from apostasy and unbelief, but God's way may well be a good dose of persecution because that is good medicine for the soul. At the same time having said that, there can be so much persecution that the Church ceases to exist, like that happened in North Africa and in other places, but these are exceptions. The church in China is of course a glorious example of the biggest, fastest growing church in the world, but we don't know nearly as much about the church in China as we do about the church in America.CP: I want to get your assessment on how the American megachurches are doing in terms of supporting the persecuted Church. In 2009, Rick Warren held a forum on the persecuted church, and Dr. Carl Moeller, former Open Doors USA president, he was part of that. And in 2011, John Piper, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Rick Warren, and other megachurch pastors were part of a Twitter campaign to help imprisoned Afghan Christian Said Musa. So what is your assessment of how megachurches in America and their influential pastors are doing in terms of advocating and supporting the persecuted church?Brother Anderew: Let me first say, I refuse to be negative. Whatever they see as their calling, they have to pursue with all their power. It does not make me envious to see a megachurch because I don't see that in the Scripture. The church was always low-keyed, there were places where there were tens of thousands of believers, like Ephesus, and they had no building at all. And nowadays any place in your country, if there are ten or 20, or 100 members you have to have a church bigger, bigger, bigger. I don't see it in the Scripture. It's clearly not my calling, that is again not meant as criticism. God can use the church for bigger influence, provided that bigger church means more power with God, more anointing from the Holy Spirit, passion for the lost people, and not people who are in charge who are on an ego trip and just make their own name big, writes lots of books, and television and all that. All that often ends in total disaster and the church that is growing in comparison, you might say some house churches or underground churches in China are megachurches when you think of the number of members, but they have no mega building, they certainly don't have no mega salary, no mega fame, and no mega books, and all that.I think God has a different set of values and we should do well to look into that from Scripture and be humble. If people are being used by the Lord, praise God for that, and I am not envious and I wish them success. And I have been at Rick Warren's church. They gave me a special award for being old and still following Jesus. Can you think of that? So I got up for the big thank you, and I said something like you Americans are crazy, how can you reward an old man for still following Jesus? All he wants to do is go to heaven and make it. You don't have to reward him in the world. Instead of rewarding an old man who still follows Christ, you should punish all the rich people in your church who spend all their money on the bigger boat, and bigger this, that and the other. That should be the system, but don't reward an man who is near eternity because he still follows Jesus, it is the calling of all of us. What's your problem? Well, frankly, they've never invited me back.CP: Would you like to see very influential American pastors do more, speak more about the persecuted Church?Brother Andrew: Absolutely, they should exert their influences that they have with the people, with the government, with their own congregation for the good of those who have no spokesperson. And I always like to say Open Doors we speak for those who cannot speak. We have to be bold in our statement without offending the government, because our role as dedicated followers of Jesus is not political. I want to emphasize that strongly, it must be spiritual and the moment we go off the track we are wrong. It must be a spiritual ministry that we will never be ashamed of, not now before people and not in eternity before the throne of God on Judgment Day. This is what we have done for the suffering church and I believe that the measure in which the free Church, in your country, my country, will stand in the gap on behalf of the suffering Church, in that measure God will protect us.read more: http://www.christianpost.com/news/interview-gods-smuggler-on-megachurches-persecuted-christians-and-friendship-with-taliban-and-hamas-leaders-90345/
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
Brother Andrew said, "The church was always low-keyed, there were places where there were tens of thousands of believers, like Ephesus, and they had no building at all. And nowadays any place in your country, if there are ten or 20, or 100 members you have to have a church bigger, bigger, bigger. I don't see it in the Scripture."Amen. As I mentioned in the other thread, I felt the Lord whispering into my heart a while ago, "Think small." I believe what God has His heart on is small groups gathering under the lordship of the Spirit. And when they grow too large to be accommodated in a home the answer is not to go out and get a larger building, but rather to divide. Divide... and multiply.Something like that could grow pretty big.Allan
As I mentioned in the other thread, I felt the Lord whispering into my heart a while ago, "Think small." I believe what God has His heart on is small groups gathering under the lordship of the Spirit. And when they grow too large to be accommodated in a home the answer is not to go out and get a larger building, but rather to divide. Divide... and multiply.
Hi Greg. I remember being taught (back in school days) the process of cell division. It's really quite something, actually. A cell divides. So now there are two. They divide again. Now there are four. Then eight. Then sixteen... It's astonishing when you think of it. It's the miracle of life. And where there is life there is growth, and change.This, I believe, is God's way for the churches... that is, when they are being ruled not by man's order, but by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.Allan
A church cannot be judged by its size, but by the heart of its members and their impact on the world. If a person wants to gather in a closet with two more people, and are being Blessed by the gospel, I say wonderful. If a person wants to gather in building that holds 200,000 and are being Blessed by the Gospel, wonderful. How can we as Christians even begin to have opinions, as to what Blesses a man or woman in their own personal spiritual needs? People need to be in a place were they feel their own personal spiritual needs are meet. Why do we equate the value and success of our churches with size? Remember the Church are the people, not the building, so just because a large numbers of Christians have gathered in a large building, it somehow diminishes their spirituality or relationship with Christ, I say thank God whatever the size of the building or congregation is, thank God there are lovers of Christ and lost sheep being saved within the walls. There have been literally thousands of smaller churches in America, born from larger Churches, God, thank you for giving me the gift of being able to think outside the box, praise Jesus!
A church cannot be judged by its size, but by the heart of its members and their impact on the world. If a person wants to gather in a closet with two more people, and are being Blessed by the gospel, I say wonderful. If a person wants to gather in building that holds 200,000 and are being Blessed by the Gospel, wonderful.
Brother, It seems to me that it would be rare if the true Gospel would be preached to such a large crowd in America. Clearly most mega-churches are more focused on "money" then the "marriage" supper of the Lamb.
A church cannot be judged by its size, but by the heart of its members and their impact on the world.
Oracio.....One thing I feel the Lord has been showing me is the importance and urgency of getting the gospel out on the streets while there is still time. I long to find a good church where the members are continually exhorted to get out on the streets with the gospel, and where there is a leading by example from the leadership.
I believe Jesus was speaking a prophetic model when he said where two or three come together in his name, be would be present. David Platt has rightly observed that Jesus was a mini church leader. I also believe Alan is own target when he shares " think small".There is an excellent example in Beijing China of what happens when a western style mega church gets into conflict with governmental authority. The Shuwang church built upon the western model of bigger is better has been in conflict with the Chinerse government for the last two years. Because this church numbers in the thousands the Chinese government have percieved them as a threat. The church has been kicked out of several places. Yet the pastor refuses to break his church down into smaller cell groups. The church being bigger and visible makes it easy for the government to control.It is harder for the Chinese government to track the rural house churches because of their small size. These smaller groups listen to the Holy Spirit and get warning of governmental raids and shut downs. Often when the government will shut down a house church. Three or more smaller ones will spring up in new venues.So I deed we should "think small".My thoughts.Bearmaster.