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How to Change the World

Saint Acislus and his sister Victoria driven to their martyrdom.
Saint Acislus and his sister Victoria driven to their martyrdom. Painted by Jose Maria Rodriguez Losada. Detail. Real Circulo de la Amistad de Cordoba, Spain

There’s little question that we’re living in the time of world history that the Bible calls the ‘Time of the End.’ We can’t know for sure how much longer this age will last before God’s curtain time, but the signs are everywhere.

In this year alone, we’ve seen dramatic shifts in geopolitical alliances, a rapid decline in US influence, and growing unrest and instability worldwide. Along with this have been remarkable advances in technology, with a rush to embrace ‘AI everywhere’ and the rapid acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

All of this has the potential to significantly accelerate the world’s move toward the kind of global government and controlled commerce described in Revelation. It may seem unlikely today, but we've seen how quickly global crises can result in changes that most never imagined.

Together with these developments, we suddenly see an explosion in hatred and violence. Groups demanding tolerance and acceptance have ironically been the loudest in declaring that others must not be tolerated. Increasingly, they are setting their sights on Christians and Jews who hold traditional values about rights for the unborn, gender realities, or the sanctity of marriage.

The Washington Times reported that attacks on U.S. churches more than doubled in 2023, citing data from the Family Research Council in Nashville, TN. Incidents of arson, vandalism, and other hostile acts against U.S. churches rose to at least 436 last year, more than double the number recorded in 2022 and eight times higher than in 2018.

In just one example at Fowler United Methodist Church in Annapolis, Maryland, vandals ripped pages out of pew Bibles and hymnals, a large wooden cross was taken down, and upholstered pews were ripped. The vandals removed a Christian flag from its stand and defaced the church’s outdoor sign. The FRC report pointed out that the increase in church attacks parallels an increase in “governmental disfavoring of religion.”

The report comes on the heels of an earlier FRC report saying that persecution of Christians by Western governments rose by 60% last year. The FRC president, Tony Perkins, a former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, was quoted as saying: “The indifference abroad to the fundamental freedom of religion is rivaled only by the increasing antagonism toward the moral absolutes taught by Bible-believing churches here in the U.S., which is fomenting this environment of hostility toward churches.

What should Christians do?

Naturally, where opportunities exist for peaceful action, such as through the electoral process, Christians need to stand up to preserve religious freedom. It is increasingly dangerous for citizens of faith to simply vote for a comfortable political party without truly educating themselves on the policies they espouse.

Unfortunately, it may already be too late to stop society’s slide by political means alone. Violence can never be the course of action for Christians. Speaking out through peaceful protests or public forums may become increasingly crucial as long as these opportunities remain.

The Bible does not promise that the church will be spared from persecution. In fact, it says that "all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12). It may be that Christ's return saves us from trouble, but this is far from promised.

As the days grow darker – and the Bible predicts they will – we could find ourselves facing a world that is more like the one the Early Church faced. Their example is a powerful model for us, which eventually transformed Christianity from the world’s most persecuted religion to the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Their approach was not easy. Following Jesus’ example was anything but safe…

Early Christians didn’t change the world by going to war; they changed it by going to the Lions.

Early Christians convinced the world because they were willing to suffer for their faith. The most compelling proof of Christ's resurrection was the unyielding resolve of His disciples to embrace death rather than renounce their faith in it.

As we approach ‘the end of days’ ourselves, we must remember how Jesus presented Himself in Revelation.

The image of the victorious Christ in Revelation is not a roaring lion but “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.” (Rev 5:6)

The things that will ultimately attract others to Christ are the same things that attracted us: mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Standing strong for our faith will one day mean standing against error and evil when it’s dangerous. We were taught how to do that by Jesus Himself.

Turning the other cheek is not surrendering, but rather, it is standing without compromise despite the consequences.

Paul’s words in Romans chapter 8 have been a huge comfort to believers for centuries. They take on an even more profound meaning when we remember the context – they were written to Christians who were under intense persecution in Rome.

Here’s what Paul wrote to those persecuted Christians:

28 We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose,

31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us?

32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else?

33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them?

34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, speaking to him for us.

35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death?

36 It is exactly as the Scriptures say, "For you we face death all day long. We are like sheep on their way to be butchered."

37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.

38 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future,

39 and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

We must remember that as the world becomes increasingly hostile toward Christ, Christians will win more souls through sacrifices than skirmishes.

We need to pray for America!

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