Dear Supporters and fellow soldiers,
As we bid the last year adieu and greet 2013, I want to thank all of you for your interest, prayers, and support of Basic Training Bible Ministries. I speak in behalf of all the team at BTBM in expressing our gratitude to God for each and every one of you. Every prayer—however brief—in behalf of this service, is heard and answered before the throne of grace. Every gift and offering is multiplied for present blessing and eternal reward, to the honor and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us greet the new year “not wavering in unbelief … (but) growing strong in faith … giving glory to God.” (Rom 4:20).
Sing louder!
Recently, I sent out a brief but urgent request for prayer to our subscribers. In this message I urged fellow believers to pray that God would work mightily to expose the evil, corruption, and criminality going on within our government, according to Eph 5:11–14.
As expected, I received some nasty responses, and several requests to be removed from our mailing list. It appears that we live in a time when many believers only want to have their “ears tickled” (see 2Ti 4:1–8). In the context of this passage, Paul is urging Timothy to be strong and stand firm in the face of increasing evil, and not compromise the truth. Indeed, Paul is in prison, preparing to be “poured out as a drink offering” (v 6) for his valiant stand for truth. Like John the Baptizer before him (see Mat 14:1–5), who called out Herod for his evil personal practices, Paul would give his life for shining the light of truth in the midst of the evils of the Roman Empire. We must bear in mind that every dogmatic statement for truth is also an exposure of every form of sin and evil that is its spiritual opposite.
Christians in the Nazi Regime
I have read the story of Penny Lea, an anti-abortion activist, who was approached by an old man after one of her speeches.
The old man was weeping, as he related to her his story. He had been in Germany during the Holocaust, and was a regular church attendant. Unfortunately, the train tracks that carried Jews to the death-camps ran behind the church he attended.
The response of the churchgoers to the piteous cries of the prisoners, packed like cattle into the cars, was to organize their song service during the passing of the trains. Then, if the cries of the doomed still came through, they would sing at the tops of their voices to drown out their pleas.
Today’s church is following much the same course. We are more concerned with being politically correct—not making anyone uncomfortable—than we are about the fact that we will give an account to Him who confronted the entire world with His righteousness and light.
The people under Hitler knew that to “stand up” to governmental evil, they would pay a price. My conviction is that any price, including death, would be small compared to a lifetime of knowing that we hid our faces, hearing the cries of the doomed ringing in our consciences to the day of our death.
One who chose to break with the “sing louder crowd” was Dietrich Bonheoffer. This Lutheran pastor and theologian never missed an opportunity to resist the Nazi practices of euthanasia of the old and infirm (a practice now openly being promoted in our country), and the genocide of the Jews. He was a voice crying in the wilderness of pacifism by fellow Christians, to a mostly unheeding generation.
Bonheoffer was ultimately arrested as a spy, imprisoned in one of the death camps he opposed, and was put to death just 23 days before the end of the war. I give you to consider, as we face this new year and our national spiral down into the abyss of evil, a few of Bonheoffer’s quotes:
“When Christ calls a man, He bids him to come and die.”
“The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies, and he who will not suffer
this does not want to be in the kingdom of Christ.”
“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice.
We are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”
We are entering a time which demands that we stand up, speak out, and suffer with Christ. It is inconceivable that a nation that is so hostile to Jesus Christ will be in any way compatible with His people, who “follow His steps” (1Pe 2:21).
Either we will conquer our fears by faith, to confront and “overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21), or we will just sing a little louder. Each one of us must choose where we will stand.
May God give us the grace and truth, combined with the courage of genuine faith, to stand with our Lord in 2013!
Now to Him who is able …” (Jude 24–25),
Gene and Nan