A reader named Peter posted the following reply to yesterday’s post in reference to my idea of planting churches in bars:
‘You go preaching the Word of God in bars and you’re going to get kicked out and beat up, in no particular order.”
I believe such a statement comes from a person who is angry, bitter, and resentful. This person has made at least one significant assumption about the nature of my intended ministry, an assumption that happens to be quite wrong. However, if I read between the lines of his emotion what I see is a fear of preaching the Gospel is unfriendly territory. Peter, as one coward to another I want to tell you that I understand. I am also very much afraid of challenging the status quo outside the borders of this blog, where the stakes are much higher. But when I read the Gospel I don’t see any other choice; I see no other alternative but to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the face of persecution.
Peter, I invite you to read the passages of Scripture below (all verses use the ESV translation unless otherwise noted). It is my hope that by reading God’s Word your fears may be alleviated:
- Acts 4:1-4 “And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”
- Acts 4:29-31 “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
- Acts 5:17-20 “But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.'”
- Acts 5:40-42 “And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”
- Acts 9:29 “And (Paul) spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him.”
- Acts 12:1-4 “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.”
- Acts 13:45-46, 50-52 “But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles’…But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 14:19 “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.”
- Acts 16:22-23, 25 “The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks…About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
He who does the will of my Father is my mother and brother and sister. Will you judge yourself unworthy of eternal life?