Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8 KJV)
I have seen charges of “Apostasy!” tossed about within Christian denominations, and often between differing denominations. It is a huge charge, but the word is not found in the New Testament. The concept is, though, in the above passage and several others.
It means to turn one’s back on their religion, to deny what they had believed and to embrace another belief. In Islam’s Sharia law, it is cause for death, the sentence recently given to a woman born to a Christian mother (who raised her as a Christian) and a Muslim father (who abandoned his family.) In Islam, all mankind are born Muslim and only the geographic chances of birth determine whether they are led astray or are raised correctly.
This woman, raised Christian, married to an American Christian, was condemned to death, to be carried out after the birth of her child. That child was born on the floor of a prison cell. She refused to recant her Christianity, refused to become an apostate Christian, though she would die.
Monday we were praising the decision Sudan’s officials made to release her. Tuesday we were in prayer again, as she and her family were arrested as they were leaving Sudan. Please, join us in prayer.
This did, however, make me think about how Christians treat apostasy. I know apostates – those who have determined that Christianity is not an answer for them. One selected Wicca. Another became an atheist, then moved into agnosticism. Another defines a belief, if forced to define such, in Humanism. Still another has turned to answers in a failed social philosophy. Each held membership in a Christian denomination. Each recanted their Christianity without the threat of a death sentence.
Frankly, it’s not for me to make them change their minds. Not one of them is interested in hearing my thoughts on their spiritual status, and nothing I say or do will impact them until their own personal search brings them to question the status quo.
I believe Paul addresses the question in 2 Thessalonians 2, a reminder of what he had told them before:
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (2 Thessalonians 2:5 KJV)
It isn’t our job to remove the tares, either. According to Matthew 13:28-40 we leave that to the Lord:
So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. (Matthew 13:27-29 KJV)
I can pray for them the same way I can pray for Meriam Yehya Ibrahim – that God’s will be done and that it will bring Him glory.