Persecution, Insanity, Salvation, John 3:16

(This is pretty long, there are three subjects (all related) and the last one has a question (so you'll have to read the whole thing - hah!)

Here are some words from Yahoo News:

The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official said Sunday...Rahman also told the Italian newspaper that his family — including his ex-wife and teenage daughters — reported him to the authorities three weeks ago.

He said he made his choice to become a Christian "in small steps," after he left Afghanistan 16 years ago. He moved to Pakistan, then Germany. He tried to get a visa in Belgium.

"In Peshawar I worked for a humanitarian organization. They were Catholics," Rahman said. "I started talking to them about religion, I read the Bible, it opened my heart and my mind."

Mr. Rahman needs our prayers. He is receiving the refining fire in a way that very few of us ever will and from other quotes I have read, it sounds very much like he has the peace of the Holy Spirit.

There's a bumper sticker or t-shirt or something like that I've seen that says, "If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

(This is all hypothosis, since there really isn't much more than this to go on)

I believe this move on the court's part does NOT say that there is a lack of evidence (to the world) of Mr. Rahman's Christianity. The court is under the scrutiny of the world and by releasing Rahman, they are able to (like Pilate) wash their hands of the affair - being fairly certain that releasing him to the Muslim population would have the same end result as a state execution, only without the black eye for the state.

Given who Rahman's are, it would also appear that (like many other parts of the world), the power of an ex-wife to wreak havoc on a man's life and to turn his children against him is in play here. If his Rahman's ex-wife is the one who is testifying, there may not be much more "information" or evidence that would stand up in a court. This could be where the "lack of information" is coming from.

The fact that Rahman is confessing his Lord and Saviour doesn't seem to be coming into play, except that if the state wants to extricate itself from a sticky problem, his confession needs to be dealt with. The solution? Label him insane.

Christians in the West don't know what form persecution will take - is this it? Not "you can't buy food" or "you'll be beaten in the street" (although these may certainly happen). But could persecution of Christians come in the form of marginalizing them by simply declaring them mentally incompetent? This was an interesting thought for me, in the middle of Mr. Rahman's perserverence and the danger that he is in (whether the danger comes from the state or from the mob).

But...on to discussions on other blogs.

BoarsheadTavern has been discussing the "L" in TULIP. What does this mean to Mr. Rahman? He said, "Somebody, a long time ago, did it for all of us..." He obviously isn't a universalist, but this isn't the standard "L" of the Calvinist, either.

We don't know how he came to be a Christian. Here's one possibility: He talked to Catholics, they gave him a Bible, he read it and believed.

Rahman said, "I read the Bible, it opened my heart and my mind."

There are a couple of folks out there who are not putting "Christian" (yes, in quotes) when writing about Rahman, as though they are questioning his Christianity because he first talked to Catholics.

I say: based on Rahman's testimony, "I read the Bible, it opened my heart and mind," it seems to me that anybody who would question his Christianity is questioning the sufficiency of the Scripture.

A couple of the same folks said that Rahman's impending martyrdom would be "sullied" by bloggers who he does not know discussing the "L" in TULIP.

On one day - these bloggers were defending Rahman's martyrdom from the mere DISCUSSION of a theological point - two days later they are questioning his very Christianity.

Which sullies the martyrdom more? Discussing the "L"? Or questioning the martyr's very salvation? (By the way, one of the things that I truly appreciate about Reformed theology is that God gets to pick!)

This is a man who (from his testimony) has the Bible. Are there Calvinists telling him that "all doesn't mean all"? Are there Arminians telling him that "elect" doesn't really mean "chosen"? (This is as much supposition as anybody else is committing, but I'm going by what the man was quoted as saying.) I don't know if his Bible was even in English - and if you can get the "all means all", or "elect means chosen" or even the "L" from the text that he was reading!

The man is standing firm - he's declaring publically that he follows Christ and he's endangering his life by doing so. I'm not going to question that.

On John 3:16:

This is the passage that sort of started the whole thing...the "whosoever" part.

My daughter and I took a Greek class together last summer and one of our class assignments was to translate a verse. I knew it was John 3:16, but I was a little confused.

The Greek text didn't have the "whosoever" in there! Translated, it went something like "For God loved the world (kosmos, creation) that He sent His son - His only Son - so that those who are found in Him might have the life eternal."

The question then becomes NOT "are you one of the whosovers?" It becomes "are you found in Christ?"

I'm not sure if there are different Greek texts to translate from, or how "whosoever" got in there, or whether that's just something that I'm going to have to take 3 more years of Greek in order to figure out...

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