I was having a conversation with my wife the other night and we were talking about Christians being passionate for Christ. She made mention of Ed Sheeran’s hit song “I see fire”, which was written as part of the soundtrack for the 2012 movie “The Hobbit: An unexpected journey”. Although its not a Christian song and it more encompasses things every “Lord of the Rings” fanboy and fangirl would know and love, the beginning verse gives quite an interesting, bold, and passionate message. It states:
If this is to end in fire
Then we should all burn together
Watch the flames climb high into the night
Then it goes on to say:
And if we should die tonight
Then we should all die together
Raise a glass of wine for the last time
As I said, its not a Christian song, but my wife stated that whenever she hears the song and those words are sung, it reminds of how things are going for us as Christians, even in these the last days. It shows a sense of passion, dedication, and unity being needed among us, even if it ends in fire – we must have Faith to the very end.
Currently, society is on an all-out war against Christianity. Many use the excuses that Christians have persecuted people in the past, and now its time for the tables to be turned. When people make mention of such facts, they speak about two occurences in history:
1. The crusades and the middle ages.
2. Between the period of the slave trade in the Western hemisphere and the genesis of the 21st century.
Don’t worrt, I am not drifting off topic, we’re on track. I honestly think its important that all Christians understand what happened during these time periods and how they affected the world-view on Christianity that we are seeing today.
The Crusades were military campaigns which were sanctioned by the Latin Roman Catholic Church during the high and late middle ages. The first Crusade was proclaimed in 1095 by Pope Urban II. The goal was to restore Christian access to holy places in and near Jerusalem. The dominant empire at the time was the Byzantine empire, which had difficulty recovering territory lost during the Muslim conquests. Many of the territories which were lost were fertile lands. Emperor Alexios I needed military assistance. This was provided to him by Pope Urban II, who’s goal was to reunite the Christian Church under his papacy. He therefore saw a military allegiance as the solution. The pope even promised many that their “sins would be forgiven” once they joined the campaigns. The Crusades opened up trade routes for Europe, as well as introducing influences on government, literature, and of course, religion. However, many crusaders pillaged whole communities and, as a result, many jews were killed and the roman city of Constantinople was sacked. This officially ended the chances of reuniting the Eastern and Western church.
The Crusades are referred to as a time when Christians were labelled as persecutionists. In reality, the crusaders painted a picture of Christianity that was not real and therefore did not reflect the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus Christ and the early Church fathers. There was a lot of looting, murder, and injustice, and all was done under the sign of the cross, therefore giving Christianity a bad name.
The second period to consider is the period between slavery and the genesis of the 21st century. During this time, European influence spread to the western world, a period known as “the age of discovery”. Explorers such as Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus spread European culture, interests and religion (in Columbus’ case) throughout the Caribbean and North America. European introduction into the regions of the new world then led to the trans-atlantic slave trade occuring. After slavery was abolished, many former slaves opted to follow the religuous practices of their masters. This by itself portrayed Christianity as a religion birthed in interests of slavery. Later, during the 1900s, many of these nations became independent and adopted Christian principles as the foundations of governance. Even the United States of America, which gained independence in 1776, opted for a Constitution based on faith in God. By the end of the 20th century, measures were being carried out to revert such foundations, with the introduction of legislation and movements that were pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality and, basically, “anti-bible”.
When considering such facts, we realize that there is a quite serious ignition towards hatred geared at Christians. Such factors came about by people who were either very passionate about the wrong things or those who were not really passionate about Christ at all. This is where true passion can be clearly seen and defined against “pseudo-passion”.
The two time periods represent a time when many people used the name of Christ and the cross to achieve their own goals. They also show a rapid growth of Christianity throughout the world, showing that even when intentions were evil, everything turned out good for the glory of God.
When reading the book of Acts in the Bible, it is clear how a Christian should really live. The early Church showed us how Christ wanted the Christian life to really be. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), they performed miracles in the name of Jesus (Acts 3 ; 5:15), and they showed kindness and love to others, particularly the poor and needy (Acts 9:36). The events of the Crusades, Slavery and other happenings helped in painting many negative viewpoints of Christianity.
Even through the fire
These things should come as no surprise, as Jesus already showed us that we would be hated for His name sake (John 15:18 ; Matthew 10:22). Such a hatred occured even during the height of the rule of the Roman empire, primarily during the reign of Emperor Nero (37 – 68 AD). Christians were wrongfully accused of planning uprisings and even starting the great fire of the city of Rome, resulting in mass executions. It was even estimated that it was during this time that many of the original apostles were killed, including Simon Peter who was crucified, and Paul, who was beheaded (Source: Fox’s book of Martyrs). Even in our world today many are persecuted, particularly in the Eastern Hemisphere. Many Christians in the Middle East, East and South-East Asia, and North Africa are being arrested and killed for their faith in Jesus.
However, we must be passionate for Him. It won’t profit us anything if we try to gain this whole world and lose our very souls; our soul cannot be bought with any amount of money, no matter how great the quantity is. For many in the Western Hemisphere, persecution is coming, has already come, and/or is affecting us in different ways. The words “hypocrite”, “judgemental”, and “self-righteous” are used at us by many who commit acts that the Holy Bible expressly stated are wrong. There is constant debate over what really is truth. It seems that everyone is attacking an individual because of their faith in Jesus Christ, while they themselves are calling for love, peace, unity, and equality.
I love history and I must apologize if this seemed like a heavy history lesson. Its just that to understand why we are going through various attacks, we must understand what factors could have been sparking factors. Hatred towards us has been sparked by both individuals who were basically “pseudo-Christians” and by those who just simply hate Jesus. We must consider both. Then, we must commit ourselves to living lives of love, lives of passion, lives that reflect and reveal Christ. Trouble against us is inevitable, but be strong and endure to the end. Now that we have looked at the history, look back no more- go forward. He deserves our best, our everything, our full dedication and passion, even through trials and fire.
Blessed LoveEvery Time!