For many years I have been a fairly rapt and consistent student of the persecuted church. One thing that has constantly amazed me is their innovative approach to sharing the gospel. Its members are brilliant at seeing opportunities and making the most of them. No wonder their persecutors fear them. They stand opposed to the One who says,
“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
And they see this in action. Literally, in the following case.
Watchman Nee was a Chinese Christian whose theology was problematic, indeed – infused with much mysticism. But who can not be astounded at the way he handled the following situation?
He was due to speak at a meeting of believers that was being surveilled by police. He knew that if he spoke of the Bible he would be promptly arrested. So he delivered a sermon understood only by believers. And without words!
Randy Alcorn, in his book, “Safely Home”, has a character reenact that famous sermon:
“The slightly built, hunched-over man stood behind a roughly hewn table with a single glass of water on it…. Suddenly his face looked furious. He picked up the glass and stared at it, squeezing hard, shaking it, and spilling water…..
He threw the glass to the ground….then stomped on it, breaking it into pieces….A look of glee on his face, the man crushed more glass under his heel, marching around in a circle, celebrating. He looked around smugly.
Now the man peered down in the dust and saw something. He stooped to pick it up. It was a shard of glass. Then he found another shard, and another, and slivers here and there. He stomped on them again, creating more glass. He walked across the (room) then looked on the bottom of his sandals and picked off glass from them. The more he stomped on glass, the farther it spread. Now he tried frantically to reassemble the glass, as if piecing it together so he could hold it in his hand again. But it was impossible. Finally, he threw the pieces to the ground again in disgust….”
Yes, he meant exactly what you are thinking he meant.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
And that is a likely place to end this post, but I want to add one more thing.
My daughter was speaking with an unnamed family member about a Voice of the Martyrs conference she wants to attend. Our beloved space cadet answered, “Will there be any martyrs speaking there?” (!)
You know what? Really, there will be. Their stories continue to speak to Christians.
And to their persecutors.
And especially to the God who hears their blood crying out to him day and night.