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# 01446 :  Persecution of Christians by Brethren
There has been a thread discussing recent persecution of Christians in India by non-Christians. We have examples of enduring such persecution by early Christians in the New Testament time. We also see Old Testament saints enduring persecution for their faith. Moses, for example, "chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin." Hebrews 11. God promises rewards for those enduring persecution from the outside.

But how about persecution from the inside? How should a believer deal with such persecution? It is easy to backslide and say that Christianity is a false religion when one encounters such persecution. What does the Bible say about how to best deal with persecution by so called believers? One can say that more people today face persecution from within than outside.

Post by : witness2007  View Profile    since : 30 Oct 2007


Reply by : witness2007   View Profile   Since : 30 Oct 2007 10:11:18 AM Close
What are some examples of persecution from within that we see in the Bible? I could think of Joseph being persecuted by his brothers in the Old Testament. What are some other examples you could think of?
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Reply by : Varghese   View Profile   Since : 30 Oct 2007 3:13:47 PM Close
When a believer stands for truth, he/she may face various levels of ‘opposition’ (I find this term better than ‘persecution’) from those in the faith. It is one thing to disagree with a believer who may hold a certain view. But it is truly sad when such are deliberately targeted & maligned. This is what happens when “Group-ism” forms among believers.

We see Paul addressing the believers at Corinth on this same issue (1 Corinthians 3). Paul admonishes against carnality and being mere men. When people are projected to a level of recognition, the carnal human self tends to rise above thus preventing the Lord Jesus from being magnified. We are to not put any other foundation other than what is already there which the Lord Jesus is. We are also to build on the existing foundation which is the Lord Jesus. Time & Eternity would reveal those who do otherwise.

As believers, the realization of us belonging to Christ should dwell in us always. We belong to the Lord and we belong to the Universal Church, the body of believers. We must feel the pain when another is hurt. If we need to be corrected, we must do aptly. If others need to be corrected, we must do so in grace & in love. If we are targeted for our stand, we must leave our burdens at the feet of the Lord and pray for peace (and make peace too) in such circumstances. The Lord set the right example by not retaliating. It is a tall order but something we can aim for & practice.

“So-called” believers (as you put it) may not be believers to begin with and we must discern such by the Holy Spirit.

God Bless!

Ps: I hope you know by now that the header of this thread is a bit misleading!

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Reply by : johnmiller   View Profile   Since : 30 Oct 2007 4:18:07 PM Close
Dear brethren,

I warmly endorse our brother Varghese's reply. The test of every Christian fellowship is whether the Spirit of Christ is in evidence, the Word of God is the standard and the Spirit of God is Guide.

Sadly, when the ambitions and aspirations of the natural man push themselves forward we find a legal framework being erected which is not in accordance with these three requirements. When this happens , those who do not go along without taking a stand, can be very badly treated. I know what I am speaking about, having both witnessed this and experienced it.

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Reply by : kbr   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 2:14:14 AM Close
<<<When a believer stands for truth, he/she may face various levels of ‘opposition’ (I find this term better than ‘persecution’) from those in the faith. It is one thing to disagree with a believer who may hold a certain view. >>>

There is another aspect, If a believer stands for faith or truth, he may have to face several other problems too in this world.

I can recollect one example: I know one brother who refused to attend competitive examinations which were being held on Sundays, in India. He was very intelligent and had good track record in studies. Those who know him suggested to appear for Civil services examination, but just on the reason that it were being held on sundays, he refused to write those exams. He wanted not to miss sunday worship. He did not write any other examinations - other all India and bank tests for example, on this reason.

Is it not a challenge ? He feels all these are oppositions or persecutions, but for others these are not.

In my opinion, persecutions are relative, if we are ready to compromise we may not face any persecutions/oppositions. It is directly related to personal stands on faith/truth.

There is one more aspect which we hear most of the times. I know one incident, where an evangelist had a quarrel with a neighbour on some issues - not spiritual or in connection with gospel. The neighbour along with some of his friends all were non christians attacked the evangelist in the night. This was purely personal and the evangelist made wide publicity that he had been attacked by non christians for the sake of Gospel!!

I must say that, there are very few incidents where evangelists are beaten for the sake of Gospel, but in most of the cases, if we analyse the situation we could see that it could have been avoided, if they were clever enough like serpants, as commanded by our Lord.

Luke 9:5 "And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them."

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 2:39:05 AM Close

Opposition and or oppression from fellow believers, mostly from the leadership, are heartbreaking, discouraging and disappointing experiences. People make many demands on others which are purely their personal preferences. If somebody fails to perform to the liking or the preference of those who behave like “conveners” or “supervisors”; targeting is the normal strategy. Temperamentally and capability wise people are different; none shall expect uniform performance from everyone. Some are naturally incapable of producing certain performances and outputs as desired by the “conveners”. The natural differences of normal believers from the “conveners” are assumed as flaws /afflictions and treated oppressively. Here is a graphic description of the fate of the sheep from insiders who are supposed to take care of them:

EZE 34:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.

Contd...2

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 2:43:48 AM Close
contd ....

EZE 34:7 " `Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.

The fate of the sheep is pathetic – The shepherds will eat or feast on the choice / healthy sheep; under such shepherds the rest of the sheep will become weak and the week will be caught and torn by the “outsiders” - the wild beasts. The long and the short of it is: The sheep faces threats and are not safe whether they are ‘inside’ or ‘outside’.

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Reply by : samuel.v.j   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 3:35:42 AM Close
Dear brethren in Christ,
<<But how about persecution from the inside? How should a believer deal with such persecution? It is easy to backslide and say that Christianity is a false religion when one encounters such persecution. What does the Bible say about how to best deal with persecution by so called believers? One can say that more people today face persecution from within than outside. >>

I dont understand what type of persecutions as a whole inside christianity.In denominations no one while staying in the denominations goes against thier church managements, because they have the liberty to do anything which many a times are not questioned. They have a system which is governed and thier leadership is respected and honoured, even if they have to be a member, the membership fee and a registration is enough, no one is there to question,

Now the question which I hope you raised is persecution (which is a wrong word) as br. varghese said should be opposition , and I would say aggression while questioning, among born again believers, the holy spirit has given us elders among our midst, there are various qualities for an elder,if they pertain all the qualities and as per the holy spirit guidance has the right to question the beleivers of the gathering when they go in a wrong path or against the will of the God, or unactive in the fellowship if they are aware about it,and when it is asked a true believer will acknowledge it humbly and try to adhere the guidance, and one who doesnt have the fruits of the spirit , gets irritated and responds back.
1 Timothy 5: 1Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren
1 Peter 5
1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
Contd

Samuel.V.J

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Reply by : samuel.v.j   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 3:43:49 AM Close
Contd/-

3Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Note, but nowadays as I usually say, many a places, elders in a assembly are not ordained by Holy Spirit, but by democratic way, by virtue of wealth and position, so there are many lackness for which they can't rule the assembly well. Its a matter for the believers to think and pray.


Yours in Christ
Samuel.V.J

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Reply by : witness2007   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 10:00:53 AM Close
Thank you brothers for your thoughts on this subject. We cannot deny that there are sometimes persecutions from believers in the local church, not just oppositions. These persecutions may not be violent physically, but can be torturous mentally and emotionally. The persecutions often occur in the forms of malicious gossip, alienation, groupism, isolation and other ways. When we experienced such things from other denominations or other religions, we had other believers to comfort us. We have no where to turn when the persecutions start to come from the inside.
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Reply by : samuel.v.j   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 11:46:20 AM Close
Dear "witness2007"in Christ,

<<The persecutions often occur in the forms of malicious gossip, alienation, groupism, isolation and other ways.>>

Brother I know you have closed this thread, but I would request you and it would be good to all the readers why you have come up with the thread, so that we those who are few in number in this site, we could rectify ourselves where ever we are. And it would be better if you could highlight why <<malicious gossip, alienation, groupism, isolation and other ways>> have come among our midst. What are the causes, can a true born again believer,who has to have the fuits of spirit as mentioned in Galatians can do this type of things.

As I told before, elders have the right to correct the brethren when they are wrong and it should be taken in a positive note.It should not be said isolation. Many a times our elders have rectified and corrected me in love of Christ and I have taken it in the positive note and where I had to say sorry, I havent hesitated in front of the congregation.We doesnt go small, whenever we have a ego problem we feel that we are isolated or alienated, there is no need of egoism in presence of Christ. Let us be humble and submit before God and he will help us in the days to come.


Yours in Christ
Samuel.V.J

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Reply by : witness2007   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 12:56:17 PM Close
Dear Samuel,
Gossip and alienation are only two examples of hundreds that can be seen as persecution among Christians by Christians. The experiences are different for each believer and the degree may vary depending on the church, the region and spiritual maturity of the believers. I brought up the issue because we often hear of persecution from the outside. But these days there is more persecution after one becomes saved from the inside by other "believers." What are some scriptural references that address how to deal with persecution from inside is the question (not examples of persecution, which varies for each individual).
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Reply by : samuel.v.j   View Profile   Since : 31 Oct 2007 10:51:33 PM Close
Dear "witness2007" in Christ,

<<Gossip and alienation are only two examples of hundreds that can be seen as persecution among Christians by Christians.>>

<< But these days there is more persecution after one becomes saved from the inside by other "believers." >>

Brother I again request you to just highlight what should be the causes or possibilites of a believer behaving with a co- believer not in spiritual way.

The verses I can refer can be only this:
Revelation 2
1Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.


Yours in Christ
Samuel.V.J


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Reply by : samv   View Profile   Since : 28 Dec 2007 8:12:04 PM Close
Funny to see this post. Are brethrens churches not allowing anyone else to worship the Lord?
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Reply by : tinka   View Profile   Since : 14 Jan 2008 3:05:16 AM Close
Matt 26
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
8 But when HIS DISCIPLES saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
---
Luke 7
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an Alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
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Reply by : tinka   View Profile   Since : 14 Jan 2008 3:05:38 AM Close
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven

Dear brethren,
In regards to the topic in the thread, I would like to site two examples, in Matt 26, it were the disciples who questioned (opposed) the action of the woman, to which the Lord had answered back. The woman kept silent. So even in Luke 7, Simon, the PHARISEE questioned the action, of the sinful woman. Even in this case, the Lord defends her.
I’m reminded of that portion in Rom 12:
19 Dearly beloved, aavenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine aenemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but aovercome evil with good.
And :
14 Bless them which apersecute you: bless, and bcurse not.
Also, our conduct, which shall overflow automatically if we just remember and practice the two commandments of the Lord,
Matt 22:37- Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Jn 13:34- A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
I believe that if we are able to do just this much (which is indeed much more than it seems to be), we shall be able to be at perfect fellowship with God and one-another (believers).
Sincerely in Christ,
Tinka

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Reply by : samv   View Profile   Since : 14 Mar 2008 6:37:53 PM Close
Some of the brethren christians are namboothiri converts, who still think that they are living in 1900. That's why they persecute christians. Even in Jesus's time these type of people were living among Jews.
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Reply by : joyboy   View Profile   Since : 17 Mar 2008 11:19:45 AM Close
A very interesting topic that witnes2007 has brought up. Thanks to br.Varghese for a great response.

I want to bring up a concern that I know little about, but have been told much from others. Perhaps older brethren here on the forum can offer their memories:

I have heard that we brethren were no better than the rest when dealing with converted brothers and sisters of the "untouchables" who came to our meetings in Kerala. Some have even told me of some kerala assemblies asking these untouchable brethren to sit at the back.

Like I said above, these stories are all told to me by others. So I'm not sure about hte veracity of these at all. Can some older brethren verify?

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Reply by : muthu   View Profile   Since : 18 Mar 2008 5:56:39 AM Close
dear joboy
It is not just a probm between converts & traditional!
The assembly i go is full of NRIs. Real money bags. They have great cozy houses & big Armada, Scorpion vehicles.
The whole family including kids are big show offs.
They look down on non-NRI brethren. They never bother to even talk if you dont have a big house and big vehicle. I have heard, in Gulf & US too, there is big class difference among brethren depending on money.
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Reply by : samuel.v.j   View Profile   Since : 18 Mar 2008 6:03:45 AM Close
Dear "muthu"

Dont be limited only to brethren, atleast they know each other although pretend they dont know, but apart from brethren there are gatherings they dont know even who is sitting next, WEALTH is satan's equipment, and it has been given plenty to the brethren now and they forgot the intial love. Money come today and goes tomorrow, a small disease can take all the pomp and show away.


Yours in Christ
Samuel

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Reply by : muthu   View Profile   Since : 19 Mar 2008 1:33:41 AM Close
Dear Br. samuel
I agree with you.
But i have heard many preaching that God has blessed them enormously with Wealth. Especially in funerals - describing, how low a beginning brother/sister had, and now how much they have been blessed materially by God after being saved.
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Reply by : samuel.v.j   View Profile   Since : 19 Mar 2008 2:20:11 AM Close
Dear "muthu" in Christ,

James:1
25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.


Salvation doesnt assure any wordly blessing, worldy blessings are those who tend to keep thier eyes on worldy things, and of course Salvation assures eternal life and blessing. But the word of God says in the verses above he will be blessed with, who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.


I hope this verses are self explanatory


Yours in Christ
Samuel

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