How do leaders and influential groups in the world portray Christians? How do Christians view themselves? How does God view His people?
As a leader, a seminary teacher, and a medical professional, I keep abreast of events throughout the world. To do so, I review news on many websites every day (see the Virtual Business and Intelligence Center), and read the Economist, a highly regarded British news magazine, every week. The 18 September 2015 cover story was an article entitled “Two Mexicos”, but what struck me was the cover image, contrasting the two Mexicos. The upper half of the image showed a man playing a guitar, three cactuses, a well-appointed factory, and a smiling statue. The lower half of the image showed a man holding a rifle, three crosses, a ramshackle house, and a frowning statue.
Looking a little further into the Internet, I gathered other examples of bias against Christians in the popular press, academia, government, and elsewhere. This bias should not provoke fear, since followers of Christ have been in the crosshairs of the world for centuries. However, Christians should be aware of how the world, even respected, “objective” governments and organizations, see and often portray us.
We must first define “the world” in its New Testament sense. It does not mean “everyone on earth who is not a Christian.” There are plenty of people who do not follow Jesus who respect and even like others who do. As used in the Bible, the world includes “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).”
Western believers are not mistreated nearly to the extent that those in Muslim lands and North Korea are. We must support these brothers and sisters in every possible way. Jesus said that if the people persecuted Him, they would persecute His followers. 2 Timothy 3:12 promises that all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
I will continue to read the Economist because it is a quality source of news and analysis. I will continue to promote peace and progress in the United States and throughout the world. Christians must work together with everyone to world a better place. But always lurking in the background is the knowledge that followers of Christ are not of this world. Though we expend ourselves healing the sick, feeding the hungry, making peace among the nations, and telling others about eternal life and the love of God, there are many who oppose us. They know that Christians are not of this world; we should realize it too.
Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The PDF file below includes the Economist cover and a few other examples of anti-Christian bias in the world.