RS - 205 - On the Persecuted Church
April 05, 2012
Submitted by Joanne Thomas and Thomas W. Bentum)
WHEREAS, John Wesley wrote that we as Methodists should do good, “especially to them that are of the household of faith or groaning so to be” and our Book of Discipline states that “the mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
WHEREAS, Scripture is replete with admonishments to aid widows, orphans, and to come to the aid of prisoners and those who suffer discrimination;
- “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” Ps 82:3-4
- “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.” Gal 6:10
- “When did we ever see you sick, or in prison, and visit you?” Matt 25:39
- “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5: 16
WHEREAS, it is no secret that the Christian church around the world is undergoing increasingly violent and persistent persecution, as the Gospel is spreading to lands where people lack religious liberty to choose and share their faith freely and openly; our brothers and sisters are being unjustly imprisoned, beaten, raped, subjected to forced marriages, and are seeing their churches burned often while local government representatives look on approvingly.
THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
That while it is true that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” this does not mean that we ought to passively stand by and applaud the spread of the Gospel in this manner, instead we people known as United Methodists come to the aid of our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ in the following ways:
- By encouraging each congregation to take steps to become informed about the countries where the Church is under fire, and the particular situations of Christians within those countries using resources that are available through many Christian organizations, such as International Christian Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs.
- By committing to sincere and persistent prayer for the persecuted Church, and for the conversion of the persecutors. We recommend that all churches observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which takes place each November. This year it will take place during the week of November 4 – 11.
- By taking action as the Lord leads, through the following helpful ways:
- financial support of those in the church who have become widows, and orphans, because of their faith, and struggling churches/pastors in these areas of the world
- Contacting legislators to register support for the following pieces of legislation currently pending:
- HR 44/S1245 “Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia”
- HR 1856 “International Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 2011”
Comments and Questions before Annual Conference are encouraged.
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