The mere mention of a preacher having run afoul of the law is enough to turn some people off. They automatically add them to the list of high-profile Televangelists who indulged their lusts with other people’s money, booze, and women. There is no doubt that this goes on, but to suggest that every evangelist who has ever been arrested is of that ilk, is to degrade those brave souls.
Many good people have been arrested and killed for their faith by evil governing authorities. They dropped Jeremiah down a well to die, murdered James, the brother of John, and John the Baptiser in prison, hunted Christians from city to city (Saul of Tarsus), and have murdered countless Christians over the last 2000 years.
It is little wonder that many Christians back away from confrontation with such authorities. They have seen how quickly the press can circle around a troubled church – like vultures around a prey. And they have witnessed how little regard is had for those who are guilty of nothing more than turning up to worship God.
I wish persecution upon no one, and I pray that all Christians respect the powers-that-be for the job that God has ordained them to perform. However, when the laws of the land contravene the laws of God, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Church members will disagree strongly on what actions to take when the will of the government encroaches upon the will of God. This calls for strength and courage.
I cannot stress more that being Strong and Courageous in the presence of hostile governing authorities must reflect the humility, confidence, and resolve that Jesus displayed when he was arrested, tried, and crucified; otherwise it is in vain!
Strength and courage begin by determining that we are standing on the Word of God, not silly human pride. God will always empower those who seek His strength.
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).