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MichaelLiao
Member



Joined: 2011/4/24
Posts: 210
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 A Letter to the Persecuted Church (Persecution Complex)

Dear brethren,

Greetings from Canada to all of you who are followers of Christ. I have heard of your triumphs of faith in the midst of dark persecution and suffering. I recognize that here in North America, we are not prepared for such waves of darkness to assault the Body of Christ. Many of us are consumed with such material-gain that our ears are shut to what is truly important - Eternity!

I write to you for several reasons:

1. We’re sorry to even claim persecution in our world
2. Pray for us
3. I have an encouragement for you

I am so happy that I can share in my sufferings with you as a believer. For one, when I came to faith in Christ, it was not smooth sailings at all. In fact, it felt like my own parents disowned me for following my newfound faith. My father exploded on me at the dinner table; telling me that if I continue down this road, he’d take my mother with him to go back to China and threaten to leave me here. He’s even said that if I go to school and I get a good job in the future, I’m a good son. If I’m going to church and getting baptized, then I’m not a good son. Of course, I wondered, “why can’t I do both?”

I’ve never experienced such verbal assaults in my life. I’m sure for some of you, what I experience seems trivial compared to the physical and psychological torture you go through on a daily basis. You’re probably in a dark jail cell dreading the next interrogation the guards will put you through. But, the threats, the pain, the fear, I experienced all of it from my loved ones. I can truly feel the extent of what you go through. I pray that this letter will be a channel of God’s comfort to you.

Illegitimate Claims

There is something that bothers me in our Western society. Well, Western Christianity in general. I don’t know how familiar you are with our current situation, but in our world, the word “entitlement” rings a bell everywhere we go. This doesn’t only apply to the average North American, it applies to churchgoers every Sunday.

For some odd reason, Western believers are claiming to be victims of persecution. Yes, the average WASP (White Anglo-Saxan Protestant) is saying this. Apparently, 50% of them believe that they are being treated worse than Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, and Atheists. It’s quite ironic when they’re the ones with churches on every block and have all the privileges in the country. Yes, over 70% of America are professing Christians. You, however, in North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Iraq, Syria, Egypt - you guys are the minority from what I understand. You guys are getting killed for your belief in Christ. Over here, we take people to court if our religious rights seem slightly violated. We’ll invoke the first-amendment! You don’t even have that privilege......

We’ve had a cultural clash recently. The U.S. just passed on Same-Sex Marriage, allowing gay and lesbian couples to finally tie the knot. Of course, the Evangelical community freaked out in our part of the world and immediately shouted that “the greatest persecution against the church has yet to come!” By the way, we’re very good at making apocalypse-like movie trailer statements if you hadn’t noticed.......

Furthermore, Evangelicals here overlooked the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States gives us the right to not marry a homosexual couple. They respected our beliefs enough to say that in the ruling. We just can’t seem to get the fantasy out of our heads that we’ll be forced to marry a gay couple in our church buildings. “The left-wing/liberal government is out to get you. Run for your life!”

What I’m saying is we have a problem. We have a big persecution complex in our heads. I don’t know if it’s something that is “in” or “hip” when we think of martyrdom, but I’m sure you find what we go through insulting. I find it insulting too considering the pain I endured when I was genuinely being threatened for my faith. You’re being fed to the wolves daily. We’re being fed food, water, money, nice jobs, good tax returns, and nice comfy church pews that we can sit on. Somehow, we still have the nerve to say we’re being persecuted by the secular world.

It feels powerful to believe that we’re victims over here. We claim persecution, but the reality is we’ve heavily persecuted the LGBT community. The fact that they retaliate against us comes no surprise. And yet, we interpret that as discrimination against us. Go figure!

We want prayer and the Bible back into the school systems. But, because those things have been taken away and society has become more secular, ‘we’re being persecuted’. Well, we’re not smart enough to consider that there are other students of different belief systems and our North American world guarantees their right to believe whatever they want. Imposing Christian values upon non-Christians would be a violation of their rights. What about their first-amendment rights?

Worst of all, we had a movie called “God’s Not Dead”. Worst piece of cinematic history I’ve ever encountered. They make atheists look like crooks and that Christians are the victims of their evil. By the way, I have friends that are atheists; they’re really nice people! They’ve stereotyped every other people group and make us look like the good ones. We’re not being persecuted because we’re like Jesus, we’re being persecuted because we’re jerks. Now, they’re coming out with a second one - God’s Not Dead 2. This time, they’re really focusing on Christians supposedly losing their rights in the United States.

All I ask is that as we pray for you in your time of suffering, pray for us that God will break through to our thick skulls that we’re not really suffering persecution. Pray that we will be given a sane mind to know that we’re not going through what you’re going through. To be frank, we’re the real persecutors here. The Evangelicals here don’t just want rights for themselves, they want a Christian nation. A Theonomy! It seems like if we don’t get our way in society, we play the “persecution card”. We feel we have a sense of entitlement, when really if we look at our Lord, He lost all His rights. There was no first-amendment to get him away from the Cross. He went on it gladly!

We’re sorry to even claim persecution. We’re not even dying over here. If persecution was real over here, Canada and the U.S. would be on the list of Open Doors International.

Encouragement

Finally, I want to extend my hand of love and support to you all who are suffering for our Lord. You are all true martyrs of the faith. Truly, you have all seen Christ as a treasure that you are willing to give up your life for what you believe. I can honestly say that your faith puts me to shame.

Your pain is great and I have yet to experience the trials that you are enduring. Some of you have been beaten, thrown out of your homes, you’re in jail. Some of you are facing death.

But, when the day comes to meet your Lord, know that He who calls you to obedience also supplies. Christ says to you, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness!” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

I am not surprised if many of you have had such communion with Christ in your time of darkness. I’ve noticed in my Christian life that when weakness seems to prevail, that’s when God is the closest. You are in the best place because you get to experience the greatest union with Christ in weakness. We have yet to experience such communion over here. Such deep intimacy with our Lord. You have touched eternity. I encourage you to keep seeking rest in Christ. Don’t endure these trials in your own strength, you will only fail. Seek His face and let Him reveal Himself to you in His time and in His way.

The only way you will endure is if you are captivated by the beauty of Christ. I think one glimpse is enough to set your heart aflame. They can kill your body, but never your soul. Your heart belongs to the King and He has you in the palm of His hands.


May our Lord bless you as you are one step closer to eternity,

- Amen!


_________________
Michael Liao

 2016/3/11 16:32Profile
bible4life
Member



Joined: 2009/1/21
Posts: 1564
Locport, Illinois

 Re: A Letter to the Persecuted Church (Persecution Complex)

Amen brother. Never thought of it like that brother. Good to hear from you. I have actually been quite fearful about persecution because I dont want to be the one who freaks out. I have always struggled with panic attacks and worry if i am locked up or put in a van or handcuffed that i wont be able to handle it. I definitely will need his strength to overcome.


_________________
John Beechy

 2016/3/12 15:49Profile
MichaelLiao
Member



Joined: 2011/4/24
Posts: 210
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 Re:

Thank for your response brother. There's a big persecution complex in American Christianity that is just deplorable. One small thing and we start shouting, "We're being persecuted! We're being persecuted!" I mean, over 70% of America claims to be Christian. There's a church on every block. They are the majority. If we are really being persecuted in this part of the world, then Open Doors International will have to put Canada and the U.S. on the list. And of course Open Doors will never do that, because we're not being killed over here.


_________________
Michael Liao

 2016/3/12 20:22Profile
MichaelLiao
Member



Joined: 2011/4/24
Posts: 210
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 Re:

Another thing I'd like to address brother is don't focus on the fear of being persecuted. Focus on what God wants you to do right now. At this moment, what does the Lord require of you. Whether persecution happens in the future is another matter and you can worry about that later. Focus on Christ now. You are not being persecuted at this moment, especially considering you live in America out of all places. You are not in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, etc. Enjoy your freedom in your country.


_________________
Michael Liao

 2016/3/12 20:27Profile
JFW
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1450
Dothan, Alabama

 Re:

Brother Michael,

That was a thorough expression you gave and your points are well taken:)

Having said this, I would like to inquire of you for clarification;
Considering that none of the other nations where "real persecution" is taking place that you mentioned have in their binding documents or on their monies, the invocation of God (namely the Holy one of Israel) do you feel that the USA (having these) is "slipping away" from a place where God was honored in a more public way? And if so (which it's an easily documented phenomenon) then wouldn't this be a cause for concern?

Brother I'm in no way condoning the politicizing and subsequent pandering of our faith, nor the pontification of some who think they're right, and while I would think the responsibility of these things happening falls on our slackness as believers in carrying out the mandate of advancing the kingdom it nonetheless seems to me that when street preachers are arrested for proselytizing then our religious freedoms (namely faith in Christ) is being eroded away and this is happening both socially and politically by way of new laws which restrict Christians in their exercise of faith and by the stereotyping,marginalizing, and vilifying of those whom walk in obedience to Christ and encourage others to do as well.

As for the movies you mentioned, I haven't seen either of them but it seems strange to me that you find (as a follower of Christ) offense in these films, which by their respective titles seem to be encouraging people to come to Him in faith?

Brother forgive me if I've misunderstood or mischaracterized your thoughts as it's certainly not my intent, but I am hoping you will indulge this inquiry for clarification sake:)


_________________
Fletcher

 2016/3/12 21:29Profile
MichaelLiao
Member



Joined: 2011/4/24
Posts: 210
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 Re:

Hello JFW,

Thank you for your concern in what you're saying. Yes, I think a street preacher being arrested is a problem. However, a lot of times I think these laws are passed in response to the hurt that the LGBT community has faced from Christians. They're hitting at us because we essentially hit them first. Of course, retaliation should never be justified, but we as the Church of Jesus Christ have much to apologize for. I was a homosexual, but it was the love of a Christian that brought me to Christ and set me free; which of course made me see that not all Christians are hateful bigots. But, much of what the liberal/secular world says about us is true - we do have a level of bigotry and hate in the church where we marginalize the gay community. We treat their sin as if it's worse than any other sin.

I find that when preachers in America get up in the pulpit and say "God's Judgment has fallen on America because of Same-Sex Marriage", it's utter hypocrisy because the United States of America has issues of racism - black kids getting shot up by police, teen pregnancy, gun-violence where tens of thousands of Americans die each year, has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, Republicans calling themselves pro-life while they take the lives of others in war, has the highest military expenditure in the world - spends more money on military than all the next 26 countries COMBINED, killed four million people in Vietnam and an estimate 1.2 million in the recent Iraq War, and we think that Same-Sex Marriage is the one that tipped God off?

You see, people "persecute" us not because we're like Jesus, they attack us because we're jerks and intellectually dishonest about a lot of issues. They pass laws against us possibly because we never treated unbelievers properly. We don't know how to love them.

Sure, we can preach the truth of God's word, but we do so more than we love that person. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of grace and truth. Both are manifested in His ministry. I think if Jesus were to come down to this earth and hung out with the gay community, many of them would follow Him. We are doing something wrong here.

As for the movies like God's Not Dead, I do find those movies offensive simply because they villify and stereotype people of different beliefs. There's a smugness to these movies where the Christian is the good one while the atheists are these evil crooks out to get Christians. They stereotype atheists. I have friends that are atheists and they're really nice people. If I showed them this movie, they would be offended at how Christians think of them. How does that glorify God in any way and would that draw an atheist to come to God? I think it drives them away.

You mentioned that people are vilifying, marginalizing, stereotyping Christians who walk in obedience. Well, we've been vilifying, marginalizing, stereotyping people in the world as I mentioned in the above paragraph. I don't think that's walking in obedience. That's walking in ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, and simply judgmental.

I just think people are sick of us.

Thank you for your question and concern,

- Michael Liao


_________________
Michael Liao

 2016/3/12 22:01Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5638
NC, USA

 Re:

Michael-

I agree with you on Gods Not Dead. The atheist professor was depicted as an ass(excuse my French) and he tossed up softballs for the Christian student to knock out of the park. For me at least the movie was dishonest and lacked credibility.

I don't agree with everything you said, but I do agree with that.


_________________
Todd

 2016/3/12 22:39Profile
JFW
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1450
Dothan, Alabama

 Re:

Brother Michael,

I love your heart for Jesus:) it's comes through clearly in your writings...

I can in many ways relate to what you are sayin as I am a hairdresser and have over the past 25+ yrs had many associates and colleagues and clients that were/are practicing homosexuals. I've never denied them service because of their choices but rather see it as an opportunity to share the love of Christ with these people for whom He shed His blood.
And I can agree that many who claim His name are not (in my experience) reflective of the love and virtues that His life so clearly expressed. For indeed He is faithfull to receive those who come to Him and cleanse them of all there sins as they walk in the light with Him.
Having said this, the advancement of the kingdom as modeled by the apostles in scripture would necessarily predicate a solemn and sobering call unto repentance and subsequent obedience of the truth. So when you say you know atheist who are "good people" I have a red flag that pops up.
I too know professing atheist that could also be characterized as such but the truth of the scripture is that none are good,... No not one!
While I can respect their intellectual honesty in observing the hypocrisy of the church, I cannot so easily dismiss the scriptural command of my Lord to repent, or as our brother Paul said on Mars Hill; in sundry times God overlooked our ignorance but now calls all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. This (for me) is a license to proceed in presenting the gospel unashamedly and to do so in a kind, considerate, gentle and loving way with all the same patience and mercy that God Himself showed me.
While this is my mandate, my ministry of reconciliation, I cannot ignore that (even tho it's because of our reluctance) our ability to do so is being impaired and those whom are pushing this are not satisfied with impairment but want it extinguished. This (as I understand it) is not a war of flesh and blood but is in fact wholly demonic and spiritual in nature and my Lord calls me to stand against this, being as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.

So while I can feel the burden of your heart for the lost and can relate and share in your love for them, I cannot wholly agree with your characterization of the situation as for me (in my understanding) being "good" is not the measure in which men will be judged and His word says all are without excuse...

Blessings and peace upon you brother and may the Lord use you mightily to bring many to Christ+:)

In faith,
Fletcher


_________________
Fletcher

 2016/3/13 0:15Profile
MichaelLiao
Member



Joined: 2011/4/24
Posts: 210
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 Re:

Dear Brother Fletcher,

Thank you for your correction. Repentance is a message that cannot be neglected. Our Lord does command all to repent and believe the Gospel. For sure, I understand that my atheist friends are in sin and need to repent. Even the homosexual needs to repent. No one is good, no not one. Amen, brother! However, I'm just saying that not all atheists are like how the movies portray them, or how we stereotype them. But, yes repentance is a message in the Gospel. There's no other way to be saved than through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Your Servant in Jesus' Name,

- Michael Liao


_________________
Michael Liao

 2016/3/13 0:49Profile









 Re:

So if you have ever read Pilgrims Progress, was "Mr Worldly Wise" a disdain to nice atheists everywhere too (in your eyes/estimation)? Or Obstinate? Or Pliable? Just curious..
God Bless,
Jeff

 2016/3/13 0:56





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