October 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Blasphemy and Persecution

Dear Friends,

Not many of us think of blasphemy and persecution in the same way, but I am beginning to suspect that blasphemy, if not a kind of persecution, is clearly the precursor of persecution

I was forced to think about this last week when I picked up World Magazine and found an article titled "Theater of Blasphemy." The writer, Gene Edward Veith, revealed that a new play is in production in New York that presents Jesus as a homosexual and "the twelve disciples as his traveling harem." The play will not appear in some obscure, out of the way theater, but in the Manhattan Theater Club, one of the most important off-Broadway theaters.

Veith allowed that "America's cultural elite has no conception of how monstrously offensive such a portrayal of their Lord and Savior is to Christians." I disagree. I think they are aware. In fact, I think it is a calculated insult.

For a long time, there has been a quiet war between some in the Christian community and some in the homosexual community. Not many Christians have gone so far as to engage in actual "gay bashing" but there has been plenty of verbal invective. Homosexual artists have responded with works that portray Christ or Christianity in an offensive or downright blasphemous light. Christians have portrayed homosexuals as sinners above all sinners. No one should really be surprised that the "cultural elite," especially the homosexual wing of that elite, would attempt to outrage the anti-gay Christian activist.

Apart from the obvious "sign of the times" implied in the article, it occurred to me that persecution does not begin with a rock through your window. Historically, persecution begins with the demeaning, demonizing, and dehumanizing of a people. Only then can the rock throwing begin without creating sympathy for the persecuted ones.

Persecution of Christians is on the increase in the world at large and is becoming shocking in some countries where there is no protection for minorities. Christians are routinely jailed, beaten, and enslaved, and for no other crime than calling themselves Christian.

I decided to do a special radio program on the subject, entitled: "Christian Persecution." One question I asked in the program was "What should we do about insults like those presented in this play?" There are already threats being made against the theater, including a threat to burn it down, and there are sure to be demonstrations when the play opens.

I allowed that there were several possibilities for Christian action. One is political. We could write our congressman (tax dollars are at least indirectly involved) or protest to officials in New York. Another possibility is confrontation, with pickets, and people praying on the sidewalks outside the theater. Regrettably some will respond with violence.

But there is another alternative. We could respond like Jesus told us to respond to offenses and insults. That should make the news, if for no other reason, because it has been so rarely tried. In the program, I outline the things a Christian should do and should not do in response. I would like to send you a cassette take of this program.

On the reverse side of the tape is another special entitled "Jesus: Liberal or Conservative?" I felt that in these times when the religious right and the religious left are both involved in political action, it was time to ask the question. One of my greatest concerns is that if we allow ourselves to be identified with either political party or with political labels, we compromise our mission.

These two programs (on one cassette) are yours, free for the asking. Just write to:

Christian Educational Ministries
P.O. Box 560
Whitehouse, TX 75791

and request a free cassette entitled "Christian Persecution" (98CP)
    Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

With love, in Christ's service,

Ronald L. Dart

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