Persecution. Thankfully we don’t face a lot of it in Australia, but what if there comes a time when we do?
How can we point people towards the truth and rebut falsehoods without being unnecessarily confrontational?
What would you do if the police pulled you over for distributing tracts door to door, even though they had no basis for doing so?
How would you comfort your kids if you knew that their classmates had been told to ignore them because they trusted the gospel?
It’s so valuable being able to read flesh and blood examples of what this could look like in practice. This is what we see in chapter 3. I especially loved reading the extracts that Carson has included from the actual letters written at the time. It really brought home to me the reality of the situations. We may not think to of Canada as a place of persecution, but it’s striking to see such opposition in a country which in several respects (cultural, socio-economic) is so similar to our own. This chapter also renewed my faith in the effectiveness of door-knocking, scary as it can be.
While chapter 3 looks at obstacles on the outside, (in the form of persecution), chapter 4 examines obstacles on the inside (in the form of church disunity). There are few things uglier than Church politicking and disunity. It was so encouraging to see a real-life example of a man and his wife making gutsy, costly gospel decisions and responding to abuse with grace rather retaliation. I was especially touched by the quote on p60 where Tom explained that the reason his son not heard about the turbulent times they had faced was that Tom and his wife had vowed never to speak bitterly of the instigator. I must ask God to give me similar self control should I ever be in a similar situation, because I certainly don’t have it on my own!