Riots in the Streets: Just Another Typical Day

I get it all the time: mealy-mouthed Christians who say I am too radical, too confrontational, too troublesome. Oh really? And I am supposed to be what? A quiet, mousy, do nothing, say nothing coward like they are? Sorry, not interested in the craven lifestyle of these armchair critics.

Besides, I certainly am not supposed to model my life after them. We already have a biblical model of what real Christianity is supposed to look like. It is called the book of Acts. If you want to know what genuine discipleship and Christian proclamation looks like, just read this book.

It is utterly staggering just how much mischief these early disciples got themselves into. Everywhere they went, they stirred things up, caused a massive reaction, and blew the lid off decency and propriety. They were not the least bit interested in pleasing men, keeping things nice and quiet, or maintaining the status quo.

Everywhere they went the set off a fire storm. Indeed, on a regular basis, riots broke out as they fearlessly and boldly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ. The really amazing thing is, if these disciples were around today, most Christian leaders would condemn them.

Most of our comfortable don’t-rock-the-boat churches today would want nothing to do with these guys. These disciples would be told that they are too controversial and too provocative, and would be shunned altogether. They would be accused of being offensive, judgmental, narrow-minded and bigoted.

And that is why the church in the West today is accomplishing so little for the Kingdom. Men-pleasers never please God nor do great things for Jesus. They simply exist to tickle the ears of false professors of religion. I for one know on whose side I would rather stand.

Just go back and read the book of Acts – as if for the very first time. Let it sink in big time what an extremely radical, non-compromising and courageous bunch of men these guys were. They were utterly fearless, and they did not give a rip about how many people were offended along the way.

They had one aim only: to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to suffer for his name’s sake. And because of that, they had a reputation: ‘These men have caused trouble all over the world’. Now that’s the sort of reputation I want to have.

The context of this verse is Acts 17:4-8 where we read about Paul and his companions in Thessalonica:

Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.

acts 4Another clear example of this is found in Acts 19 where we read about Paul’s time in Ephesus. Sure enough, another riot broke out. I cannot offer that whole story here, but a few verses illustrate what was happening:
Acts 19:29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar.
Acts 19:23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.

One more episode: in Acts 21:27-36 we learn about Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem. Once again, mayhem seemed to follow him wherever he went. As we read in Acts 21:30, “The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions.” Or as it says in v. 31, “the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar”.

Indeed, “When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers” (v. 35). Now that’s some pretty good preaching when you can get that sort of reaction! These are just some of the stories we could mention in Acts. These guys certainly made a difference.

When the disciples were in town, everyone knew about it. When real Christians are living real Christian lives, there will always be fireworks. The mobs will always go nuts. There will always be a reaction. The fact that most Western Christians get zero reactions from anyone may tell us a lot about our brand of Christianity. But in other parts of the world, Christians will still get the same reaction today.

Simply to be a Christian in some places means there is always a risk of riots breaking out and of horrible persecution occurring. Consider for example this recent horrible headline: “Pakistani Christians Burned Alive Were Attacked by 1,200 People: Kin”. The story opens:

A mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily, according to family members who witnessed the attack. Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, were set upon by at least 1,200 people after rumors circulated that they had burned verses from the Quran, family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News via telephone late Thursday. Their legs were also broken so they couldn’t run away.
“They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire,” he said. “And then they threw them inside the furnace.” Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing an outfit that initially didn’t burn, according to Javed Maseeh. The mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the garments would be set alight.

Wow. But in the West we start whining when the sermon goes over 20 minutes. We are so fixated on false gospels which insist we can have our ‘best life now’ that we think Christianity is all about living the good life, a life of ease, with lots of entertainment and celebrities.

That is largely Western Christianity. Christians in other parts of the world know nothing of such a Christianity. And it is perfectly clear that the early church knew nothing of such a Christianity either.

The crying need of the church today is to get back to its roots. Not the heretical men-pleasing baloney that passes for Christianity today in so many places, but real, authentic, and very costly New Testament Christianity.

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15 Replies to “Riots in the Streets: Just Another Typical Day”

  1. It’s funny what many Christians applaud – like overseas missionary work. Start doing missionary work here in the West though and its “offensive” and “judgmental”. Start identifying sin and calling people to repent of it and receive the glorious salvation that costs Jesus’ blood and you are starting needless conflict.

    If no one ever takes offense at our Christianity, are we really acting like a Christian? Or as others have put it: If we were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us of it? Sure, good works and the fruit of the spirit should be included in that (obviously) but what about vile false accusations and vicious lies?

    Given that Jesus and all the apostles bar one were brutally murdered, I do wonder if we shouldn’t at least irk a few people here and there when we attempt to emulate their brand of Christianity.

  2. “And Jesus sat back politely as the people defiled the temple with their illegal trade and activities and said, “Father forgive them” and walked away.”
    The gospel according to many Christians today.

  3. woe unto you Pharisees, you stop yourself going into heaven and stop others from coming unto the Father as well. Yeah, that sounds like a really peace loving Jesus.

    Ye den of vipers.
    Ye are like the blind leading the blind into a ditch.
    Again, really non boat rocking Jesus.

    What the cinos (Christian in name only) want to hear is, your sins are forgiven you, go away and continue to sin.

    What the cinos think is hateful is,
    Your sins are forgiven you, go away and sin no more.

    Yep, I will be happy to be called, judgemental, bigoted, hatefilled, homophobe, islamaphobe, a cultist etc. I wear these as a badge of pride, knowing that being called these things, I am preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Just as Jesus did, I love people enough to call them from their sins, into the arms of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour of the world, the only way to the Father. By no other name can one be saved.

    Neil Waldron, Disciple of Jesus Christ, who was born, lived, died and was raised to save you from your sins.

  4. So right, Philip. And Christian churches wonder why the young disengage! The truth is they’ve never been given anything to engage with.

    Atheist Larry Pickering who is contemptuous of all religion published a wonderful cartoon today depicting the sacrificial strength of Islam (and hence its attraction) to the young, contrasted with the airy-fairy, flower-power, sandal-wearing, narcissistic youth of what used to be Christendom:

    So true. Sadly, as Bill says, most Christians don’t actually stand for anything.

  5. Bill I stirred up a hornets nest without even doing anything out of the ordinary but it was what followed that is quite disturbing.

    I went to where the Muslims pray so I could make a time to chat with someone over a coffee about their strain of Islam. This resulted in me being ordered to leave the university grounds before getting the chance to meet with anyone. It was followed up by a visit from four police who issued me with a 12 months ban and now I cannot locate these police officers.

    But what I have found most disturbing is those that I have shared this with, without exception, sided with the action of the university security and police even though no rules or laws were breached.

    I am now beginning to think that I have done something wrong and that my aim was indeed unreasonable. People are scared to discuss privately or in public things pertaining to Islam and its a worrying trend. Witnessing for Christ in the streets of Melbourne does not get this reaction.

  6. That article on multiculturalism which Antonia posted should be put in every newspaper in the country….So many people misunderstand it for multi ethnicity …

    This is one important sample:

    “The call for “cultural harmony” is like mixing oil and water. Shake the mix until you are blue in the face and it just separates right out again. Just a few minutes studying European history would suggest that cultural harmony is an impossible fantasy for any community with incompatible cultures.

    That does not mean that we should not welcome people who will assimilate, and reject former beliefs and practices, especially those which deny basic human rights, equality, the rule of law and democracy. If they can do this, it should be a much easier step to be another great Aussie.

    The saddest aspect of all this, is that the leaders of our communities, whose very job it is to debate policies such as these, have all been intimidated into silence by the threat of being branded as “racists” and “bigots”.

  7. Amen. I was just reading yesterday of the desecration of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. by the Muslim service, invited in by the Dean of the Cathedral. Oh, by the way, on their FB page, they are NOT accepting comments regarding their actions! Many of us have heard of the brave interruption by Chrisitne Wierk, but I discovered that what makes this defilement even more heinous is that their service commemorated the 100 year anniversary (a date very significant for Islam) the last sitting Caliph of the Ottomon Empire’s call for jihad against infidels resulting in a horrific genocide against Armenian, Assyrian and Greek residents of Turkey. Many Christian Assyrian girls and young women were stripped naked, raped and then crucified in 1915 as a result of this decree. These horrific photos are on the internet to verify what happened. I find it difficult to understand how the Episcopal church justifies allowing this Evil presence in the sanctuary, celebrating an event which resulted in a holocaust. They should be ashamed. Representative Louie Gohmert (TX), gave a passionate rebuke in the House which you can find on the Internet (it was on c-span- in which he gives the historical account of what happened. Thank God for a true believer! Many of the milk toast churches in America and the West make me sick! They are worse than lukewarm!

  8. I love you so much Bill but I’m pretty sure they did not blow “the lid off decency and propriety” and I’m quite sure the intention was not to promote disruption – that was completely provoked from the other side.

    Rom_14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

    Eph_2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

    Eph_4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    Eph_6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

    Col_3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

    2Ti_2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

    Heb_12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

    Jas_3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

    1Pe_3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

    Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

    etc. etc. etc.

    Yes Jesus said :-

    Mat_10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    but it was always clear that the disruption comes from the other side when the truth is preached.

    You are correct in mentioning the money changers because anything that defiles God’s church (such as homosexual “marriage” or any other active promotion of sinful behavior) is certainly worthy of rebuke but to condemn those who say you can live your “best life now”? C’mon mate. I really think you are talking at cross purposes. Where does that come from?

  9. Thanks Michael. But sorry, you are talking about two quite different things here. Most of these passages you cite were of course written to fellow Christians. Sure, as a body of believers, we should want live in peace with one another when and if possible. But I am here obviously talking about evangelism and mission in the book of Acts, an altogether different matter. There we see that the disciples clearly did not worry one bit about rocking the boat or being well-received. They fearlessly proclaimed Jesus, regardless of all the hostile reactions. They were 100% different from the wimps in so many of our pulpits today who would never say a word which might offend anyone or teach anything that might be considered controversial. And they repeatedly said that the Christian life is one of trouble, persecution, hardship and affliction. This has absolutely zero to do with the sham message of Osteen and others. So my point fully stands.

    But the short answer is this: go back and read the book of Acts – as if for the very first time. Simply doing that will confirm everything I said in my article.

  10. Also it’s easy to see that our Lord Jesus Christ was unable to live a “quiet and peaceful life” as defined by our comfy existence today because all out 100% sacrifice is an ASSAULT against the kingdom of evil. If the devil isn’t bothering you, it’s probably because you are not bothering him.

  11. Bishop James Edward Walsh (missionary in China), wrote:
    “Christianity is not a private way of salvation and a guide to a pious life; it is a way of world salvation and a philosophy of total life. This makes it a sort of dynamite. So when you send missionaries out to preach it, it is well to get ready for some explosions.”

  12. Don’t worry Bill your’e definitely a Man after my Heart. You have my full support and don’t ever as Paul said “fight the good fight” as Paul when He was ready to Die at the hands of the Roman Empire “My Job is done I have fought the Good Fight and I go unto my Master now” So shall Ye Bill and a few in number true Christians.

    Leigh D Stebbins

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