Is it unfair to say they compromised their faith?
In an article I recently read online, eight Christians living in Bangladesh were kidnapped and forced to return to Buddhism by their captures.
“The Buddhists held a pastor, a church secretary, a village leader, and five members from a Baptist church in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh,” said Caroline Anderson, a well-informed writer in Asia for the Southern Baptist International Missionary Board, a major mission group.
“The captives were all forced to wear Buddhist robes, shave their heads, bow down before a statue of Buddha and clean the temple; they were also threatened with beatings and even death if they tried to escape,” she reported
Now, this is definitely a sad state of affairs, but what I read next really sent me for a loop.
“They are not allowed to pray to Jesus, nor read their Bibles, but they say they are still Christians in their hearts,” added a missionary who did not want to use her real name amid security concerns.
Full article here: http://www.persecution.org/2010/09/27/bangladesh-christians-captured-forced-to-return-to-buddhism/
I wholeheartedly recognize the sheer danger of the entire situation. I also believe that Jesus Christ has all power in heaven and in earth. After reading this article, my mind almost immediately took me to Daniel chapter 3, when the three Hebrew boys were faced with an eerily similar situation. The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, set up a golden image of gold (v.1) that replicated what he saw in his dream that Daniel had interpreted. Why? Because the king wanted his kingdom to last forever, but that right is reserved to our Lord’s kingdom only. During the dedication ceremony of the great image, the rulers of the provinces were all gathered together to witness the newest law in the kingdom (v.2-3). However, following the announcement that everyone must bow and worship the image when they hear all types of music or be subject to the fiery furnace (v.4-5), certain Chaldeans accused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because they didn’t fall and worship the image when the music was played (v.8-12). So, in his anger, King Nebuchadnezzar called for the three Hebrew boys and warned them non-cooperation with the new law would cause them to be thrown in the fiery furnace (v. 13-15). Then, he proceeded to ask them….”And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands” (v.15)? The three Hebrew boys answer is so powerful and moved by the Holy Spirit that it wouldn’t do it justice to summarize these amazing three verses:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this manner. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (v.16-18)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made it clear from jump that they weren’t even careful in how they answered the king. They didn’t contemplate another response or think about giving another answer then the one they gave before the great king of that great empire. Will we be so bold? Will we not flinch or stutter in the face of death? Unfortunately, our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh did. When faced with certain punishment, beating, torture, or death, they shrunk and accepted compromise. They didn’t have enough faith in God to declare, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, but if not, we will not worship thy gods!” Fortunately, the Hebrew boys didn’t and through God they were saved (v.23-30). Will that be true for everyone who believes on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – NO! We have plenty of examples of men, women, and children who stood firm in the face of death and experienced martyrdom for the faith. After Christ ascension, the apostles and followers were persecuted harshly for their faith by Jews and Romans alike. During the Dark Ages and the Reformation period, the horrible Inquisitions caused many Christians to be tortured and killed in all kinds of ways….AND, at the end of time, Revelations 20:4 speaks about the tremendous number of souls that will be beheaded for their faith in Jesus Christ. So, whether physically saved or not, we must be ready at all times to stand for the one who gave Himself for us.
How, you might ask, did the Hebrew boys so foolishly trust in the Lord before the throne of one of the most powerful men to ever roam this earth? I’ll tell you how. They lived a life of non-comprimisation (Don’t look it up, it’s a new word). What that means is….they didn’t compromise in their prayer life. They didn’t compromise with their study time. They didn’t compromise in keeping the Ten Commandments. They didn’t compromise in following the Bible’s health laws. They didn’t compromise in their love for the Lord. They didn’t compromise in their adherence to His voice. THEY…DIDN’T…COMPROMISE.
If we want to truly represent God in the face of death in the earth’s last hour, then we must be representing God everyday when we are the only ones around to hold us accountable. If not, then we will become Bangladesh Christians instead of the modern version of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!