Friday, February 4, 2011

Fleeing or Enduring Persecution? (part 1)

This is part one of a three part blog posting on the believer's response to persecution.

Should we flee or endure persecution? Is it irresponsible to stay in a dangerous and escalating situation or is it unfaithful to withdraw? I am not the first person to deal with this question, and as long as we wait the return of Christ and the nations rage, we will see the question pop up again and again.

If you’re on the internet reading my blog, it is hard to believe you haven’t heard about the political upheaval in Egypt (preceded by Tunisia and followed by others). A few nations, notably the U.S., Israel, and Turkey, are shipping out their citizens on chartered aircraft while the country unravels. That means American missionaries will most likely be exiting as well.

As missionaries pack up their things and board a plane, both believers and non- take note and form their own opinions. Some may feel abandoned. Others may view the missionaries as cowards or uncommitted. Still more may feel the gravity of the situation, and believe the missionaries’ lack of control over the situation justifies the departure.

Remember that most missionaries go with some kind of organization supporting them that ultimately makes the call on stay or go. I know of a person who currently serves in the Middle East as a missionary and he is in the process of relocating due to perceived dangers in the place where he’s at. As part of a larger mission organization, he didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Most mission agencies weigh in favor of missionary safety in times of revolution and targeted persecution. Additionally, when the nation orders or suggests the departure of all its citizens from a given country, the usual response is compliance.

Yet, submission to the advice of our governing authorities or the world’s conventional wisdom doesn’t always make sense biblically, and we must remember that Satan would love for a country to suffer a great drop in Evangelical presence and witness.

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