On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1b)
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went (Acts 8:4)
We were discussing this chapter in Acts Sunday morning during Bible class, and since I wasn’t leading the class I was able to meditate more. Many thoughts came to mind that I decided it would be best not to share. They were subversive thoughts, much like my political opinions/jabs which are at least half-serious.
What the church needs is more persecution. Another Great Dispersion.
Should I pray for life to get hard for Christians in Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee so that more would move up north or–gasp!–even into foreign countries?
One of our older ladies whose brother is a retired preacher in Alabama tells her that young preachers don’t want to leave the South. Just one man’s opinion but seems to be the case.
My own grandfather, a retired preacher, continually asks me about moving back to preach in the South, as if it were preferable. I don’t understand why. I am not saying it’s preferable, more admirable here, just wondering why we should prefer the region with the most churches. Maybe it’s the corporate, ladder-climbing mentality of working my way up to a big strong church in the south as the goal of every preacher. *sigh*
Oh sure, there are thousands who need the gospel in those regions, but outnumbering the lost often leads to resentment and there would still be plenty to get the job done if half the brethren uprooted.
It seems the early Christians were content to stay in Jerusalem even though Jesus had said that his Gospel would spread to Samaria and all parts of the world. His people weren’t in a hurry. It took persecution before they moved to the next part of the plan.
I wonder if God still does that today. Pushes us. More than a gentle nudge. Shoves us out of the nest so we act and do His Will.
And I often think about the pros and cons of Christian schools. They are a great, safe place for our youth. I am the product of two Christian universities which I appreciate.
But are they ideal? Are they the most effective way to accomplish God’s purpose, or is it really a matter of “the ends justifies the means” or a “necessary ‘evil'”? Is it one more example of outsourcing parenting and outsourcing the ministry of the local church? Maybe it frees up local congregation to debate petty matters and in-fight.
What if there were more Christian people at state universities? On the front lines of the battlefield. Sure, they would need to be mature and strong in their faith but how does secluding ourselves help the big picture?
What if we could send faithful young men and women into state schools instead of immature and weak kids to Christian universities?
Or are we isolating our best young disciples at a few campuses while the rest of the world goes to hell?
What if more of our schools closed down? Would the dispersion be the end of the church or would it be a blessing to the world? At the very least, I don’t think it’s black and white.
I realize these are shocking statements but these are the types of things I think about.
What are your thoughts? Besides the obvious benefits of Christian education.