Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Persecution of Christians

I have been reading an account of the revival which took place in Korea exactly one hundred years ago in 1907. It is entitled "When The Spirit's Fire Swept Korea" by Dr. Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936) who was an eye-witness of the wonders which happened there . The text can be found here.

The account is a wonderful chronicle of God's Holy Spirit moving among the people of Korea in the first decade of the 20th century. At one point though, Dr. Goforth made reference to the "persecution of Christians." I found this reference quite extraordinary.

When we typically think of the persecution of Christians, we think of our Christian sisters and brothers around the world who are suffering for their faith in Christ. (See this site for more information about this). However, Goforth was not referring to persecution of Christians but rather persecution by Christians. Even in this instance, he was not referring to such aberrations and sins as the Inquistion.

Rather, Jonathan Goforth was referring to the strong and powerful witness of those Koreans who were new and bold in their Christian faith and how that strong and effective witness was burdensome to those who were not believers in Christ. Goforth wrote:

A burning zeal to make known the merits of the Saviour was a special mark of the Church at Pentecost. The same is not less true of the Korean Church. It was said that the heathen complained that they could not endure the persecution of the Christians. They were evermore telling of the strong points of their Saviour. Some declared they would have to sell out and move to some district where there were no Christians, in order to get rest.

Quite candidly, I had never heard of such a thing before reading this today. Could it be said of us that our witness for Christ was so strong that those who refused to repent and believe in Christ felt so convicted and burdened that they needed to leave?

(The photograph is of Jonathan Goforth and his wife Rosalind).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Revivals and Prayerlessness

I came across this quote last week. I think it speaks volumes.

"It is my conviction that we are never going to have revival until God has brought the church of Jesus Christ to the point of desperation. As long as Christians people can trust religious organization, material wealth, popular preaching, shallow evangelistic crusades and promotion drives, there will never be revival. But when confidence in the flesh is smashed, and the church comes to the realization of her desperate wretchedness, blindness and nakedness before God, then and only then will God breathe in. Yes, there must be the point of desperation but there must also be the point of intercession. Oh, that God would bring us to this place of intercession! We cannot think or talk, let alone taste of revival, without intercessory prayer. Indeed, the reason for an unrevived church in the last analysis is the sin of prayerlessness."

Stephen Olford (1918-2004)

A Happy Independence Day to my American readers.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Moravian Revival

During the last few weeks, I have been reading an account of the wonderful work of God among the Moravian Brethren in the village of Herrnhut (The Lord's Watch). The account is entitled "Power From On High." It was written by Rev John Greenfield in 1927 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Moravian Revival of 1727. An Adobe version of the book, released for distribution this year, can be found here. It should be noted that within weeks of the start of the revival, a movement started among the inhabitants of Herrnhut to commence round the clock prayer. Even more remarkable is that this 24 hour prayer did not stop for a century. The story is a great testimony of God's grace. I hope you find it as inspiring and faith-building as I have.

The photograph is of a painting of Count Zinzendorf, the leader of the Moravian Brethren during this era.