FORT WORTH, Texas – The President of the Southern Baptist Convention encourages Christians to be “dangerous for the Lord Jesus Christ.” During the March 6 service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jack Graham warned Christians not to fear persecution and to hold onto a steadfast heart of courage.
"What is needed today is courageous Christian faith," Graham told a chapel audience. "... As we live now in this 21st century in a world full of terror and turbulence, we find ourselves in the midst of a future that may include persecution as we've never known it."
"Once you settle the issue of life and death, once you realize that your security is in the Lord Jesus Christ, there are things that are worse than death -- and one of them is cowardice," Graham said.
"When you get into the fire, Jesus will get in there with you, and his presence will be more real to you than any other time."
Graham said believers should remember that Satan is the force behind the global persecution faced by Christians today.
"Satan knows that if he wants to hurt God, he goes after God's kids,” said Graham.
Referring to the famous “Sermon on the Mount” by Jesus, Graham noted an unavoidable persecution that follows the Christian faith.
"If you proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ Lord of life, Lord of all, you will face lies, slander and perhaps even worse."
"The fact is that our message is a narrow and exclusive message," Graham said. "Yet the message is for the entire world. It is inclusive in that the cross, the blood of Jesus Christ, the power of his resurrection [are] available to all who believe.
Preaching, said Graham, entails persecution. However, courageous Christians should always love even those who hate them; this love is the greatest weapon for a believer in Christ.
"If you do [preach], you need to either duck or pucker because somebody's going to take a swing at you or somebody's going to kiss you for it…we must not become so angry and cynical that we alienate the very people we are trying to reach with the message of Jesus."
Graham also said that there are many ways to avoid persecution.
"Approve of the world and its morals and its values, laugh at its humor and enjoy its godless entertainment, wink at sin. Don't ever -- whatever you do -- mention hell. Don't tell people that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Don't make any moral judgments. Take no stand on moral issues of our times and, above all, keep your mouth shut and don't share your faith, and you'll never be persecuted.”
However, he added, “if you stand for Jesus, get ready."
Graham repeatedly emphasized that the reason for our persecution was because we follow the path of Jesus. Jesus himself was persecuted, and he was ultimately placed on a cross because of lies and slander.
"We are not greater than our master," Graham said. "Have you noticed that often today the media in particular portrays Christians as extremists, as intolerant, as hate-mongers, telling lies about who we are as believers and followers of Christ?"
Reminding the chapel members of the many missionaries currently being persecuted, Graham encouraged them not to fear a price for Jesus.
"Most of us have paid very little price for the name of Jesus," Graham said. "We have lived, including this preacher, in privilege and not in persecution. Yet as I speak, around the world it is estimated that more Christians are dying, are being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned for the faith than perhaps any other time in human history. We should be praying for the persecuted church around the world."
By Pauline J.