One of the many forms of persecution is economic persecution. For every professing-Christian business owner and employee that refuses to obey the immoral laws of man, even though there may be dire economic consequences – how many are there that rationalize disobedience to God to avoid economic catastrophe? Let us not judge harshly if we, the church, and the local congregation, will not stand with them and open our financial resources to support them.
If we will not engage in basic witnessing in the marketplace, rationalizing away our disobedience to the command of Christ to make disciples of all peoples, how can we hold our brothers and sisters to a standard of obedience higher than our own disobedience?
We need the church, the communion of saints, the local (and beyond) Body of Christ, to strengthen us and our families in obedience to the Gospel. We need one another – we need the support, and reassurance, and comfort of one another. We need to know that we and our families do not stand alone. It takes a church to foster and sustain faithful witness to Jesus Christ.
This entails cultivating an identity as the people of God, an identity that transcends the present age and the things of this world. It entails being members of one another in our resources as well as ourselves – for the two cannot really be separated; how can I say I give you my love if I do not give you my pocketbook? It means that the Gospel Mission and the edifying of the Body of Christ is our individual and familial purpose in life as members of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Do the members of our congregations trust the church to walk with them through economic persecution? Through job loss or the loss of a business due to obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ?
We are so individualistic (and I fight this in myself) and we are so geared to place our economic well-being before most other considerations, and we are so accustomed to rationalizing away obedience to Jesus and sacrifice for others, that I doubt the church in the United States is much of a threat to those forces opposed to the true and living God. We need to be a distinctive people in Christ to oppose the forces of darkness, a people with a monogamous relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps we will come to be that. I don’t know.