Too many have built their faith upon symbols instead of God’s word. Their foundation is in the wood, metal and other earthly materials instead of Jesus. The key to the Christian life is not the symbols we employ to help our faith or spread the gospel but in our own lives. Jesus said that ;you are the light unto the dark world…’ He did not say that symbols were that light thus we need to get rid of our dependence upon symbols and live the way Christ taught us so that when opposition comes we know how to act correctly.
The bad example is found in the following article:
and we will go through this article extracting some quotes to provide illustrations on how we should live.
Groups of hundreds of Chinese officers sent by the Communist Party demolished over a dozen church crosses in China’s coastal Zhejiang province this past week, leading to confrontations with protesters, some of whom were beaten and bloodied
These Christians would not have been beaten or bloodied if they obeyed scripture correctly. These crosses are not what brings people to Christ. While they represent that the building may be of ‘Christian’ ideology, their destruction does nothing to hinder the faith nor extinguish the Christian light to the world. The Chinese government is not hurting the true cross nor are they hurting the church by these actions. What will hurt the church and raise stumbling blocks to Christ are the protests and fighting done by the Chinese Christian.
The Bible says:
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (Matthew 5:39)
In other words we should not be fighting the government in this case because what they are doing is meaningless. The Chinese Christian should consider this as a ‘slap to the face’ and they should turn the other cheek for they should realize that the light of Christianity is not dimmed because the Chinese government decided to wreck a few crosses.
Nothing is gained by resisting the Chinese government in this situation and a lot can be lost because of the disobedience to scripture by these believers.
China Aid, which tracks Christian persecution in China, said demolitions are part of an ongoing campaign since 2014 to take down church crosses over alleged building code violations, though the group has said the targeting is specifically aimed at halting the rise of Christianity in the country
If there are building code violations or those are trumped-up charges, it doesn’t matter. The Christian church needs to abide by the laws governing buildings and other structures.There is nothing in the building codes of the world that will make Christians choose between following God’s commands and instructions and following man. God did not say to put crosses on our church buildings thus their removal is not wrong or a sin. Even if it is a secular government ordering their removal.
Although Christian protesters have been gathering outside churches to protect the crosses, police forces in response have also been growing, sometimes grouping by the hundreds, and using force to disband the Christians.
This is a very wrong act on the part of the Chinese believer. There is no biblical instruction to protect man-made crosses. The man-made crosses are not part of the faith or vital biblical doctrine thus the believer’s actions should be one of sadness but compliance as they know that destroying the cross does not hurt the advancement of Christianity.
A believer, if they have studied history at all, should realize that even the loss of a Christian’s life does not hinder the advancement of the gospel.
Several other churches saw their crosses taken down last week as well, including Fenggangta Church. One anonymous church member described the demolition, saying: “[The officers] ordered us not to resist. [They said] if we put up a fight, they would tear down the church instead.”
We may not like the action of the government here but keeping crosses is not part of the faith. What would have been a better testimony is if those Christians did not protest but offered the soldiers some refreshments instead. The bible tells us to do good to those who do evil and protesting and protecting man-made crosses is not doing good but fighting evil with evil and the Bible speaks against doing that as well.
Churches across Zhejiang in particular have been receiving government notices telling them that they must comply, or face consequences. Churches that have refused the orders, such as Zhongchang Church in Wenzhou, have also been punished by having their water and electricity cut out.
This is not good. The Bible tells us to take such matters to Jesus in prayer, and how can we expect to win souls for Jesus if we do not follow his instructions? There is no sin in complying with this government order. The churches are not disobeying God by obeying the government here but they are if they refuse to obey their nation’s leaders in this instance.
The top leadership is increasingly worried about the rapid growth of Christian faith and their public presence, and their social influence,” Fu told CP.
But it isn’t the crosses which bring about the ‘rapid growth of Christianity’. It is the Holy Spirit who does that by using those people who believe in Jesus and humbly obey his words. No amount of man-made cross destruction can stop him. People who follow God and his word, even through times like these will make a greater impact for God than those punished for sinning or disobeying the government.
You may say that this is happening to only the Roman Catholic Churches in China, and if that is so, then Protestants need to learn from other people’s mistakes and see how scripture applies to this situation for they never know when they will be the target of such actions. We need to see how not to follow Christ in order to learn how to follow Christ correctly. We also need to see the importance of living our lives instead of placing hope in our symbols.
The symbols do not bring hope or salvation to a lost world nor do they convict anyone of sin or wrongdoing. Symbols cannot bring food or employment to those who are hungry or in need of work. They cannot visit anyone in the hospital or prison or bring words of wisdom and counsel to those in need of direction or comfort. We do not defend the symbols nor place upon them some divine nature which then misdirects our faith
We become the light that Jesus wants us to be and when governments demand the removal of man-made symbols we can say, go ahead for our faith is not found in those but the living Savior..We keep the symbols in their proper place and perspective and do not endanger our lives or message to the world when it comes time for their removal..
We do not resist but look for the way God wants us to respond correctly so that our light is not extinguished or hampered by sin and that our impact for Christ is broadened because we correctly obeyed God and did not lean upon our own understanding. Man-made replicas of the cross or other ancient symbols are not the mainstay of our Christian faith thus when it comes time for them to go, we know that the church is not hurt by their destruction nor is evangelism.
Let the world destroy earthly objects and while they are doing that we work for Christ the correct way, through our lives and faith.