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Chapter 101

Who Persecute and Why

*** Because Jesus had not followed their unbiblical traditions about the Sabbath, what did the Jews do?
“Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him,
because He had done these things on the Sabbath day.” John 5:16.

*** What kind of fast is most acceptable to God?
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen?
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Isa. 58:6.

*** Why did Cain kill Able?
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:11, 12.

*** Commenting on Ishmael’s treatment of Isaac, what principle does Paul give us?
“But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” Gal. 4:29.

*** Who does Paul tell us will suffer persecution?
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Tim. 3:12.

*** What is essential to religious persecution?
Ecclesiastical control of the civil power, or a union of church and state.

*** Since persecution is invariably wrong, what must be true of persecuting governments?
They likewise must be in the wrong.
NOTE. – “There are many who do not seem to be sensible that all violence in religion is irreligious, and that whoever is wrong, the persecutor cannot be right.” Thomas Clarke, History of Intolerance (1819 ed.), Vol. 1, p. 3.

*** What terrible deception would it require for religious people to persecute Christians?
“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh; that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:1, 2.

*** Who is the original murderer?
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning.” John 8:44.

*** When James and John wished to call down fire from heaven to consume the unbelieving Samaritans, what did Christ say in reply?
“He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of: For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Luke 9:55, 56.

*** Has the Papacy claimed the authority to persecute?
NOTE. – “That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history. The memorials, indeed, of many of her persecutions are now so scanty that it is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no powers of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings.”-W. E. H. Lecky, in History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirits of Rationalism in Europe (1910 ed.), Vol. 2, p. 32.
“The Roman Catholic Church, convinced, through its divine prerogatives, of being the only true church, must demand the right to freedom for herself alone, because such aright can only be possessed by truth, never by error. As to other religions, the church will require that by legitimate means they shall not be allowed to propagate false doctrine. Consequently, in a state where the majority of the people are Catholic, the church will require that legal existence be denied to error, and that if religious minorities actually exist, they shall have only a de facto existence without opportunity to spread their beliefs. If, however, actual circumstances, either due to government hostility or the strength of the dissenting groups, makes the complete application of this principle impossible, then the [Catholic] church will require for herself all possible concessions, limiting herself to accept, as a minor evil, the de jure toleration of other forms of worship. In some countries Catholics will be obliged to ask full religious freedom for all, resigned at being forced to cohabitate where they alone should rightfully be allowed to live... We ask Protestants to understand that the Catholic Church would betray her trust if she were to proclaim, theoretically and practically, that error can have the same rights as truth, especially where the supreme duties and interest of man are at stake. The church cannot blush for her own want of tolerance, as she asserts it is principle and applies it in practice.” F. Cavalli, S.J., in la Civilt Cattolica (a Jesuit organ published at Rome), April, 1948, quoted in an editorial in The Christian Century, June 23, 1948, p. 623.

*** What divine command, if obeyed, would do away with all oppression and persecution?
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself .” Matthew 22:39. “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew 7:12.

*** What does love not do?
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10.

*** What blessing does Christ impart to those who are persecuted?
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12. (See Revelation 2:10; 6:9-11.)
NOTE. – The world hates righteousness and loves sin. This is what caused the hostility to Jesus when He was here on earth. Those who do not accept the love of God will find Christianity a disturbing element and will sooner or later war against the truth and its representatives. Fellowship with God brings enmity with the world.
“In the eyes of the [Roman] church, Protestants are here- tics pure and simple; and if the name be offensive, it’s nothing more than the offensiveness of truth...
“We do not question the possibility of good faith, or of the theological distinction between material and formal heresy. That there are among Protestants material heretics, those who in invincible ignorance deny some dogmas of faith while honestly believing themselves to be in possession of the whole deposit, is not for us or even for the church to positively affirm or deny. Only the all seeing Searcher of hearts can know aught of that. But in our opinion, the assertion that Protestants in general are not to be considered as heretics, as men who have voluntarily, in one or other of many ways in which an act can be voluntary, refused the light, merits unqualified condemnation as militating against the present economy of salvation as well as against the efficiency of the means that God infallibly gives to all who do what lies in their power to come into the possession of truth.
“In this, as in all other matters of doctrine, the church alone is to be our guide. That the church has ever regarded Protestants as heretics, has ever called them heretics, has ever conducted herself toward them as heretics, is undeniably true, and it ill becomes us to dictate to the church that her terms are ’only partly true’ and unnecessarily offensive.
“We abominate these spineless Catholics who adopt such methods of kinship and co-operation with Protestants in view of their conversion.” The Western Watchman (Roman Catholic), January 27, 1916.

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