One of the things that I love about writing/blogging is that I never cease to be surprised by some of the things I discover. That is particularly true when you start a site that caters to the Christian community.
This site--Martin Christian Ministries--reaches people all over the world in some unlikely places.
I was struck by this over the holidays as I did some monitoring of where the majority of my readers live in the world. As expected, most are in the United States. But I was surprised by the fact that Germany comes in second. Brazil and the UK are next.
But one stat amazed me. It was one that I did not expect. I have a significant number of readers in Russia.
On one day in particular, I got over 100 readers from Russia alone.
As I pondered over how surprised I was to discover this, I began to note that this should not really come as a surprise at all. Despite being held by the grip of heavy government oppression from 1917 until the early 1990s when Communism was dismantled, Russia has always had a vibrant Christian community, albeit underground.
The old Communist USSR did not permit Christian churches except in a limited way, and then it had to be the 'approved' Russian Orthodox variety, which the government could easily control. But as for the millions of Christians who were not Russian orthodox, they were forced to smuggle Bibles, meet in secret, and place their lives in mortal danger simply for doing so.
You see, Christianity teaches that no government has the final say over the human conscience. Only God has the ultimate authority over right and wrong, and that includes government. God sits in judgment of government, not the other way around. And when governments require human beings to go against the clear will and plan of God, only a fool would suggest that we must go along with such tyranny because 'the Bible teaches we must obey the law.' Fools distort the truth, and this is a distortion.
The Bible actually teaches that when governments are consistent with the plan of God they are to be obeyed. But when governments require its citizens to disobey God by restricting their capacity to follow God's will, then government MUST be disobeyed. Only a fool would claim otherwise.
Think about it. Had our Christian forebears, including Jesus Christ himself, obeyed the government authority, we would have no Christianity today. Christianity itself was born out of disobedience to the authority of man. Jesus disobeyed. Peter disobeyed. Paul disobeyed. This cost them dearly, including their very lives. But look at what their sacrifice brought about--a movement that spread like wildfire that no man, no government could ever stop.
Governments are scared to death of people like us. So be it. They should be. We will NEVER obey a government that loses its moral authority to govern. Our only Lord is Jesus Christ--not some self-appointed dictator, not a President, not a Congress, not the Supreme Court, not a 'ruling Party.'
If we bow to any of those things, it is tantamount to bowing to Satan himself.
This we will not do. This will cannot, MUST not, do.
So, God bless the faithful Christians brothers and sisters in Russia who hold firm to the truth of the Gospel. I am glad you read these pages. And you have reminded me that the Christian community is a world-wide family of faith, a universal communion of believers who are united by one faith, one Lord.