Reality struck home today.
There are forces within the Anglican Church that are making it hard for some of our brothers and sisters to remain Anglican. There are forces outside the Anglican Church that are making it hard for some of our brothers and sisters to remain Christian.
Just recently I gave a talk in which I quoted Paul in 2 Timothy 3: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. I almost want to go back to that group of people and apologise for trying to unpack what Paul meant without any real understanding.
Having been challenged about the narcissistic indulgence of the West by Mike Ovey in a theological tour d’force, Peter Jensen then interviewed a series of church leaders who had undergone persecution from evildoers and imposters. Let me share just three snippets…
1. The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak spoke of the impact of war on the people of world’s newest nation, South Sudan, and the way churches have been targetted.
2. Archbishop Ben Kwashi from the Anglican Diocese of Jos, Nigeria, spoke of how God has built the Nigerian church despite extreme adversity. In many towns church buildings have been bombed and the Bishop himself has been attacked and threatened.
3. Andrea Williams, a lawyer from the UK who runs Christian Concern spoke of the way Anglicans in the UK will face increased persecution over the next 5 years as they are the state controlled church. This will take place specifically in regard to same-sex marriage as the law will likely require Anglicans to marry homosexuals who request them to.
It is too much to go into all the stories here. It was almost too much to hear it all except for the fact that those persecuted had a vigorous and real hope in The Lord Jesus that encouraged me no end. Nothing else keeps them going. One of our the Aussie delegates met the wife of Bishop Ignatius Kattey who was abducted and released last month. She had grown in her faith during that time and praised Jesus for his grace.
When we in Sydney talk of persecution we often mention graffiti on the church or the fact someone kicked down our sign. Perhaps we might mean a family member mocked us for trusting Jesus. Perhaps we may have even been the butt of jokes at work.
But at the end of the day, we have no idea, much to learn and many prayers to pray.