A Review of Live Not By Lies. By Rod Dreher.

Sentinel, 2020.

We all need to read Dreher’s important new book:

“Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.” Some of you may recall that line of Aragorn to Theoden in Tolkien’s The Two Towers. And it is now fully applicable to what Christians find in the West today. As genuine persecution begins to mount, only real deal Christians will be able to stand and withstand – not the fake ones. The time of playing games is over. The time of a cross-less Christianity is long gone.

That is one of the main takeaways from this important new volume by Rod Dreher. The American Christian writer and commentator especially came into prominence back in 2017 with the release of his widely discussed book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.

In it he said – among other things – that taking a tactical and temporary timeout from the culture wars might be a wise thing to do. See my discussion of that book here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/06/11/strangers-strange-land-christianity-contemporary-culture/

His new book is also getting a lot of attention. The title may seem strange, until one understands that it comes from an essay by Solzhenitsyn, the last one he wrote before being evicted from the Soviet Union. In the piece he told the Russian people that totalitarianism is built on lies and the people’s fear. The way to defeat it is to not live by lies.

The importance of Solzhenitsyn and others who have lived under totalitarian regimes is they know how it works. They have been there and done that. Some of their stories are recounted here. And these brave souls who are now living in the West are utterly shocked at how clueless Westerners are as they follow the same path to totalitarianism – although via new means.

And the two main means by which this is happening today is by so-called social justice, where group identity trumps the individual, and by technological surveillance. As to the former, the West is of course awash in identity politics:

It encourages people to identify with groups – ethnic, sexual, and otherwise – and to think of Good and Evil as a matter of power dynamics among these groups. A utopian vision drives these progressives, one that compels them to seek to rewrite history and reinvent language to reflect their ideals of social justice. Further, these utopian progressives are constantly changing the standards of thought, speech, and behavior. . . . Under the guise of “diversity,” “inclusivity,” “equity,” and other egalitarian jargon, the Left creates powerful mechanisms for controlling thought and discourse and marginalizes dissenters as evil.

That of course ties in with the latter. Dreher looks at how technology and totalitarianism combine to create Big Brother statism. The Chinese social credit system is a clear case in point: it “automatically tracks the words and actions, online and off, of every Chinese citizen, and grants rewards or demerits based on obedience.” Doing what the State approves of will get you a higher social credit score, while doing what it frowns upon will result in a downgrade.

Dreher asks if it can happen here: “Of course it can. The technological capability to implement such a system of discipline and control in the West already exists.” Simply think how states have run with corona this year: surveillance and compliance are at an all-time high. One can barely check into a shop or a restaurant for example without signing in, or using your smartphone QR code to get access to goods and services.

As one recent headline put it, “The QR code has turned COVID-19 check-ins into a golden opportunity for marketing and data companies.” Crony capitalism – the wedding of Big Business and Big Government – will ensure this data does NOT remain private. And of course all the talk of vaccine passports and the like is no longer the stuff of conspiracy theories.

All this is frightening stuff indeed. Dreher writes, “In the West today, we are living under decadent, pre-totalitarian conditions. Social atomization, widespread loneliness, the rise of ideology, widespread loss of faith in institutions, and other factors leave society vulnerable to the totalitarian temptation to which both Russia and Germany succumbed in the previous century.”

He reminds us that it was the supporters of Mussolini who first used the term totalitarianism with this meaning: “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Dreher says we are heading there: “Hard totalitarianism depends on terrorizing us into surrendering our free consciences; soft totalitarianism uses fear as well, but mostly it bewitches us with therapeutic promises of entertainment, pleasure, and comfort.” But the end result will be just the same.

This book is far from mere theorising. As mentioned, it is filled with sobering and sorrowful stories of those who know what such persecution is all about. Those who managed to survive their own anti-Christian hell and were able to make it to America are now amazed that what they are witnessing in the US is so reminiscent of what they already went through.

Yes, we may be in the early stages of this yet, but all the more reason to heed the warnings and respond quickly as the alarm is being sounded. This book is a clarion call to wake up, heed the signs, and do what we can to prevent a new Statist darkness and cultural barbarism from fully descending upon America and the West. As one Eastern European said:

“With our eyes fixed intently on the West, we could see how it was beginning to experience the same things we knew from the time of totalitarianism. Once again, we are being told that Christian values stand in the way of people having a better life. History has already shown us how far this kind of thing can go. We also know what to do now in terms of making life decisions.”

Image of Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents
Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Dreher, Rod (Author) Amazon logo

Their stories alone are worth the price of the book. There are so many moving tales to choose from here, but let me offer just a few. A Czechoslovakian Jesuit priest could see early on that the church would be no match for Communism. He began discipling others on how to survive the coming onslaught, and even how to withstand interrogation. Says Dreher:

In 1946, Czech authorities deported the activist priest. Two years later, communists seized total power, just as Father Kolakovic had predicted. Within several years, almost all of the Family had been imprisoned and the Czechoslovak institutional church brutalized into submission. But when the Family members emerged from prison in the 1960s, they began to do as their spiritual father had taught them. Father Kolakovic’s top two lieutenants—physician Silvester Kreméry and priest Vladimír Jukl—quietly set up Christian circles around the country and began to build the underground church. The underground church, led by the visionary cleric’s spiritual children and grandchildren, became the principle means of anti-communist dissent for the next forty years.

Another story: One Polish Christian who lived under the twin totalitarianisms of Nazism and Marxism said that both sought to destroy the church and the family. As to the latter: “Communism attempted to break apart the family by maintaining a monopoly on education and teaching young people to be dependent on the state. It also sought to lure the young away from the church by convincing them that the state would be the guarantors of their sexual freedom.” Hmm, sound familiar?

And a final, more gruesome, story about Soviet dissident Alexander Ogorodnikov. Although born into a Communist family, he converted to Christianity while young and was put on death row in a notorious prison. He told the others there:

“Listen brothers, I was sent here to help you meet death, not as criminals but as men with souls that are going to meet their makers, to go meet God the Father. Given that they always took people to go be shot really early in the morning, many of them didn’t sleep. They were waiting for the knock at the door to see who would be called out. So, of course they didn’t sleep. Neither did I. I helped them turn this night of terror into a night of hope.”

He was then put in solitary confinement with a single guard, who told him this:

When I was a young guard in a different prison, they would gather twenty or thirty priests who had been behind bars, and took them outside. They rigged them up to a sled, so that they were pulling the sled. They had them pull the sled out into the forest. They made them run all day, until they brought them to a swamp. And then they put them into two rows, one behind the other. I was one of the guards who stood in the perimeter around the prisoners.

One of the KGB guys walked up to the first priest. He asked him very calmly and quietly, “Is there a God?” The priest said yes. They shot him in the forehead in such a way that his brains covered the priest standing behind him. He calmly loaded his pistol, went to next priest, and asked, “Does God exist?”

“Yes, he exists.” The KGB man shot this priest in the same way. We didn’t blindfold them. They saw everything that was about to happen to them.

Dreher then says this: “Ogorodnikov fights back tears as he comes to the end of his story. In a voice cracking with emotion, the old prisoner says, ‘Not one of those priests denied Christ’.”

These and other stories are the real meat of the book, and they serve their purpose: to warn us what lies ahead, if we do not wake up and start to turn things around. Christianity has always been in the sights of the secular left, and the West is quickly moving in the direction that was the fate of so much of the world last century.

As Dreher says, “The kind of Christians we will be in the time of testing depends on the kind of Christians we are today. And we cannot become the kind of Christians we need to be in preparation for persecution if we don’t know stories like this, and take them into our hearts.”

Dreher performs an invaluable service here as a watchman on the wall, alerting us to these coming dangers. How we respond to these warnings may well determine the fate of the West.

[1733 words]

28 Replies to “A Review of Live Not By Lies. By Rod Dreher.”

  1. God bless Bill and all your family members,

    Been flat out at work and now doing my tax. So I am very behind

    Thanks for all you do during 2020 .
    OFF TOPIC but I will NOT BE touching a COVID VAX with a 10 foot pole. Purely experimental and the Australian MSM’s joyful embrace of these VAX’s have been foolish and highly biased. Serious health results by 1-2% of recipients in UK and USA have been ignored. Bell’s Palsy etc.
    We thankfully have 3 months before these vaccines are pushed by the FED Govt. Regrettably we could she high levels of sickness within 12 months. The Govt appears completely unmoved by this possibility.

  2. Thanks Bill. 1st book on 2021 reading list.
    Being knowledgeable about what is already here, and being prepared for what is coming, is half the equation. Having the courage to live it is the other half.

  3. Thanks Bill, very timely for us all, and also for the message I’ve been asked to give on Sunday. If I quote you, or Dreher, I’ll be sure to give the source.

  4. “How we respond to these warnings may well determine the fate of the West.”

    Yes, it is that serious.

    Thank you, Bill, for your challenge to us all.

  5. As a starting point, please pray without ceasing for President Trump – whose ongoing presidency is the hope for protecting the U.S., and by extension the West, from sliding into totalitarianism at this time. (Note: there was a significant marxist push to take the US a century ago also.)

    President Trump is wholly committed to protecting the U.S. and Americans, and to ‘making America great again!’

    Praise God that just today President Trump has been declared by Gallup to be ‘the most admired man in the world’, after Gallup asked Americans: “What man that you have heard or read about, living today in any part of the world, do you admire most?”

    The biggest response: President Trump!

    May we all be faithful in prayer – and standing up to be counted!

    Insightful and important viewing re marxism:

  6. Hi Suzanna,

    As a core issue we have an US Election result that has been manipulated on multiple levels.
    I personally believe the fraud and fake votes have removed at this point in time the worthy President who scored the genuine number of real votes to rule. This means no future US Election has any integrity and can be trusted. The level of corruption within all levels of Government, the State Judicial system, the FBI and CIA is disturbing. There are also rumours that ZUCKERHEAD has paid off State Judges. Almost impossible to prove, of course.

    Tragically If this fraud can happen in the US, it can happen in Australia. I also believe there may have been some interference in the QLD Election by the CCP, but probably not enough to make a difference to the result.

    We are living in sad and wicked times. I have heard from several Prophetic sources that Trump is controlled by the Globalists , but logically why would anyone go through the hell he has suffered over the last 12 months. He is wealthy enough to take a break and hang up the shoes now. Both Biden and Harris are incompetent. More lockdowns in the US under Biden will destroy what is left of small businesses the lifeblood of America. I have now pulled all Super Investments out of the US. This money printing insanity by the Federal Reserve will ultimately destroy the US Dollar. I don”t see a positive case for the US this year or the Global economy.

    We could have an even more Volatile 2021 than 2020. Logically speaking to have a global economic reset you have to badly white-ant the current system. This is on the cards. Precious metals may provide some safe haven. PS – I am NOT a Financial advisor.

    God bless Everyone.

  7. Will definitely read. The Benedict Option was one of the best books I have read recently.

  8. As western Christians, since the Enlightenment we have lost a belief not only in God but Satan. But the Bible describes Satan as the ruler of this world, which means that at soon as we were born we came under his dominion and ownership, without ever having realised it. What did Jesus Christ come to do if it was not to redeem and buy us back from such bondage. I believe Karl Marx was a Satanist [1] Totalitarianism, the two sides of which are Marxist and Fascist systems of government has finally taken over western nations. We live under the illusion that in the West we are free people, but for decades we have slowly and willingly surrendered our freedom of speech, of choice, thought, movement and now even rights over our own bodies to Satan, in exchange for personal peace and prosperity – for a bowl of pottage. Once those freedoms which took our ancestors, centuries and much blood to win are lost, they are not won back without further wars and blood-shed.
    In 2006, you Bill, wrote an article, “When nations collapse” where you quoted TS Elliot:
    ‘“If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready-made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.”
    Exactly. Throw out God, and the work of civilization becomes very difficult indeed. Again, Will Durant concurs: “From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.”’
    I read somewhere that when Richard Wurmbrand, the pastor who had been tortured for his faith in Jesus Christ for 14 years in Romanian prisons, was being interviewed in the 1960s, he was asked whether what he had experienced behind the iron curtain would ever come to America. He answered “No” because whatever had silenced him in Romania was already in America. He said that he experienced way more pressure to keep silent than he had ever experienced in Romania.
    Finally my friend Wilfred Wong, a Christian who has devoted decades to helping persecuted Christians has himself been imprisoned in Britain for coming to the aid of a mother who believes her eight year old son is being subject to Satanic Ritual Abuse (RSA) by her former husband [2].
    The paganism and occultism from which the West emerged nearly two thousand years ago, is no longer hidden but in plain sight [3].
    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbILxI6Iq2o
    [2] https://youtu.be/JZZuYoezxpc?t=2959
    [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nsChSasImk

    David Skinner UK

  9. “These and other stories are the real meat of the book, and they serve their purpose: to warn us what lies ahead, if we do not wake up and start to turn things around.”
    Please give us a whole article on how we are to “turn things around.”

  10. Sadly too mare NOT preparing the western church ESPECIALLY the American church for persecution! “God wouldn’t let that happen to us!” Somehow he’ll pull us out of the fire just at the last minute, before it even touches us, and give the hugest revival known to man instead. We can’t accept God would have us go through persecution because that is so unlike God (Maybe even unChristlike). Yet God didn’t spare the apple of his eye Israel why should we expect better??? (For those who think we should get better treatment on must ask if camouflaged spirit of antisemitism is in them.)

    What gets me is people who lived through these things warn people but often time get dismissed. People will ask where are the gulags??? Or where are the death camps and ovens???? Because we don’t teach much in history anymore people don’t know what led to these regimes rising or there early years. All people are taught about Nazi Germany is during the war and holocaust. Nothing about the rise to power of the Nazis or the 1930’s years in Germany. It is a little too late to START fighting back when you see the camps and ovens being built. I sometimes say it is too late when the enemy has breeched the walls, surrounded you and put a sword to your throat to draw yours and shout “to arms men, to arms!”

    It seem the young are often the ones doing a lot of the work on the ground for the things. (Even today they’ll tell you the socialists and communists of before did it wrong and that THEY will do socialism/communism correctly.) [Remember Obama say we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.] These young people are so often THE definition of useful idiot! They are used by people to achieve a goal and too naive to know they are being used. Some will even tell you they would know if they were being used. (Professing themselves wise they became fools.)

  11. The persecution of Jews began with low level bias and discrimination against them. It gradually developed into seeing them not worthy of human rights. They were seen as less than human. There is the statement of a German citizen who said that when he first saw a Jew being forced to clean a pavement with this tongue, he was deeply shocked. But as he began to see more and more examples of this cruelty, he gradually became desensitised, until it got to the point where they became invisible.

    Roger Kiska of Christian Concern has described the present level of persecution in Britain [1] . You, Bill, described the consequences of same sex marriage a few years ago [2] as did Robert Oscar Lopez in America [3]
    Parents are being forced to remove their children from schools and home school them as their children are coming under increasing anti Christian bullying.[4]

    [1] https://youtu.be/HxeMpn1rqA8?t=741
    [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afDZPivGIo4
    [4] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6119117/Christians-turning-home-schooling-amid-massive-rise-religious-bullying.html
    We need to prepare for persecution, for it is coming.
    David Skinner UK

  12. Agreed David
    Both my daughter and our friends daughters have been bullied this year. Never happened to this level in prior years. 13 year olds are also having Sex now in my daughter’s school. It is unbelievable, how sad this is.
    Phil Browne

  13. Hi All,
    LIES are ALSO BEING PROMOTED and PERPETUATED in the Global Financial System.

    Most Christians are unprepared for what is coming financially. Individual Debt levels and Govt debt levels are way too high and the Australian Reserve bank have been IMHO incompetent in continuing to drop interest rates. I have reduced my debt levels as much as possible and have ensured we have a months supply of food.

    I am an unpaid subscriber to Gregory Mannarino. While I don’t believe everything he says I think his views are worth listening to.

    Stockmarkets closed at highs last night with the DOW ending the year at 30,606. An Unbelievable high level yet announced today in the US, 780,000 Americans are now heading into Unemployment.
    The Middle class in the US and Europe are being smashed in the last 10 months by the Plandemic, Lockdowns and economic downgrades yet Stockmarkets roar higher. . A unproven VAX creates massive excitement yet may create serious side affects. Significant Political turmoil could well arise in the US, far worse than in the last 2months. There are disconnects on a no of levels.

    IMHO a Crash and Global reset is coming and there is probably not a lot we can do to stop it. The video below provides some context.

    God bless you Bill Muehlenberg and all readers,
    Philip B

  14. Did a read through of your posts on persecution. One comment that came up several times here (and elsewhere) is that western Church Pastors are not preparing their people for persecution. That has been my concern this past year, and as things speed up, it has now become my singular focus. Most persecution articles I read, concern others in far-off lands with odd languages and cultures. Important, yes. When I read them I am struck by the almost super-human (Holy Spirit) resilience these persecuted believers exhibit. Their faith in the face of overwhelming condemnation and brutality is, frankly, foreign to me. Even in the trials and ‘suffering’ so-called I experience, is nothing like what an average Indian Christian is dealing with. It is an insult to them to even call our problems ‘suffering’. I would be interested, indeed, passionate, about an article that starts off the conversation: “here is what Western Believers need to do to start preparing believers to suffer for Christ”. Memorizing Scripture is item 1, got that. Small group meetings in churches without signs – item 2, got that. Giving to the work of the Lord without expecting a tax deduction – item 3, got that. Boldly proclaiming Christ to all who will hear – item 4, got that. But then the rocks start flying (figuratively) what next? Praying….

  15. I think Randall we should while we can try to find books about the early church and it’s spread. (Our coming suffering might end up comparable and even if less they would be the best model). Especially 1st and 2nd centuries. If Bill has any suggestions they are VERY welcome.

  16. Hi Paul,
    100% agreed. I think 90% of the western churches are unprepared for what is coming.
    Both conservatives and Christians will be targeted by Satan and it will get ugly,
    God bless all

  17. Only available in print from Amazon, so I shall have to wait for a Kindle edition, I suppose.

  18. Randall I heard of a church in Germany, maybe five years ago, where your item 2 – ‘small group meetings in churches without signs’ – is already happening. It is obvious why we don’t hear of them. They are Christians who live in East Germany and recognise the signs of the times.
    In Britain we have never, since the 16th and 17th century, experienced persecution and cannot believe that it would ever happen here. “After all”, they say, “This is Britain, not China or Russia.” https://amershammuseum.org/history/research/religion/martyrs/.
    I was giving leaflets outside a school at the end of my road, warning parents about compulsory Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) about to be launched in April and I was accused by a Middle Eastern looking father of being a Christian. He said that Christians were radicalising children and should not be anywhere them . He reported me to the Head teacher.

  19. if anyone but the government discussed that RSE stuff with a child, especially showing the material, they would go to jail. yet that fact seems to sail right by people. I bet the government could show hard care KP in these classes and it would be exempt form prosecution because they are educating the kids. amazing how anything become justifiable when it is ‘for the children’. except of course christianity which to them is never justifiable for even an adult.

    With satan’s people controlling the upper echelon and so many of the rank and file in so many areas of society is is any wonder we are where we are today??? And yet so many people, even so many christians, think just a few small fixes and we’ll be fine. we can’t see the problem because we don’t want to believe it is there. so we imagine the ungodliness is small and only a few churches are compromised and few prayers and a few actions and boom a worldwide revival so big we could end up bringing the world to christ in one generation! Yes just a little putty in the holes and the Titanic will sail on to harbor at record speed.

    We might be able to fool ourselves but God knows better. He IS long-suffering but his patience has a limit. time and again in the Bible we have seen that at some point his patience ends and his JUST judgment begins. Woe unto the person or nation on the wrong side of an angry God.

  20. Paul for fear of taking this thread off topic, I commend ‘RSE SCHOOLGATE CAMPAIGN leaflets [1] which has been devised by Susan Mason [2]. Many of us have been giving out the leaflets to parents at school gates, as they either take or collect their children from school. When, at the age of five, in 1949, I first started school, I cannot remember my parents escorting me . I went solo. In those days there was no fear of being assaulted by strangers, moreover parents could barely afford one car, let alone two. Today the roads are blocked during the school-run, so it is easier to reach parents., through their car windows.
    Apart from outside school gates, I have been distributing the leaflets at shopping centres. So coming back to your point, Paul, the one thing I point out to parents and grandparents who visibly have their children with them is that I cannot show the leaflets to the children, but only to them. However, once the children are in the school and become the property of the state, it is they, the parents, who are excluded – shut out and kept from seeing what their children are being exposed to. Parents have no authority to stop their children from seeing material, which is encouraging their children to discard the Biblical and moral values of their parents, and who are portrayed as belonging to the Stone Age. Instead children are being brainwashed into experimenting with 21st century and cutting edge gender queer philosophy [3]; and becoming becoming polysexual perverts. Parental responsibility is now limited to merely feeding and clothing their offspring and are shut out from the process of teaching their children moral values , truth and a proper understanding of reality.
    The BBC which is riddled with homosexuals has posted propaganda, to counter the campaign [4] As it so happens I became involved in the protests in Birmingham but have not yet had the police knocking my door – not yet. [5]

    [1] https://schoolgatecampaign.org/
    [2] https://heartsofoak.org/the-school-gate-campaign/
    [3] https://attitude.co.uk/article/sir-ian-mckellen-and-graham-norton-head-up-pride-in-londons-nofilter-campaign/11078/
    [4] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-49497837
    [5] https://youtu.be/wB8Xtq-hszM?t=19

    David Skinner UK

  21. Regarding the subject of churches and congregations not being prepared for persecution, I agree that we as a Church are overly late in preparing people for this “return to normalcy” (II Tim. 3:12). If pastors and elders would prepare themselves, and then disciple their flocks, I believe it will be a great blessing. Even if the Lord stays the persecution, it will help believers to appreciate and help those facing persecution around the world much better than now.

    I appeal to pastors to start this process, because relying entirely on external speakers/teachers is not going to be viable in the short term. My director gave a good talk on this very subject at a church here in Casper, WY yesterday. And we have discussed how we might encourage a network of around 1,000 people around the US who are knowledgeable about persecution overseas. But even if this network became fully engaged in the task of preparing the Church for persecution, we have a long task in front of us. I estimate there are several hundred thousand (at least) congregations that we’d want to reach; if every speaker reached a new church every week with no let-up, that would still take quite a few years to reach them all. So pastors and elders need to be preparing themselves and their flocks now.

  22. Am reading Dreher’s book these past 2 weeks…
    We started a home fellowship 3 months ago to get away from the major restrictions in churches in my state.
    I’m part of several worship/pastoral groups and am preparing a teaching. Here is the draft:
    Preparing the church for a godless society
    (Could we be in the End Times?)

    Looking around, especially in Western nations, we see a remarkably rapid decline into godlessness. This is highlighted by anger & chaos in our streets, gender confusion with media and educational systems feeding into that cavernous pit, the role and importance of God-ordained family being supplanted by immoral imitations, a holocaust of the most vulnerable humans – unborn and even birthed babies – gaudily celebrated by banners of “woman’s rights & freedom”, the collapse of our governing systems of law and justice who have succumbed to blind pride and insatiable financial greed, and social “big tech brothers” monitoring and silencing the voices of any godly morality.

    Rez Band’s Glenn Kaiser said, “In the darkest places and the harder the music, the clearer our Gospel message must be”.

    Brothers and sisters we must be prepared to know the Gospel* and stand on the Gospel in order to share it with this generation. We are already being met with resistance and, even worse, apathy. But Holy Spirit is at work and we must ask for the eyes to see and the courage to believe how He wants to use us, the worshippers, the musicians & artists, and pastors to show Who He Is to our generations now, not later.

    What can we do to prepare and proclaim Him to a godless society?

    These are some things that come to mind:
    1. Strengthen my walk with Jesus – Purposefully read, study, and understand the Scriptures. Pour out my heart in prayer, praying the Truth, and praying with others. Prioritize personal and meaningful times with other believers (Malachi 3:16)
    2. Establish a “worship core” – join or start a home fellowship of like-minded, intentional God-followers, those who will follow Jesus and not turn back
    3. Create a Christian resource library of books (before they are cancelled), dvd/cd, digital teachings. We cannot count on the public or church library.
    4. Write songs that will share the Gospel clearly, encourage solid faith and trust in God’s Word as absolute Truth, and the hope of His coming again.
    5. Make a plan for increased persecution – who can you trust, where will you go, when will you meet?

    For many it is hard to imagine that our civilized societies will devolve into godless totalitarianism but the writing is already on the wall.

    Brothers and sisters, let us be like the five wise virgins (Matt. 25) whose oil supply was ready when the Bridegroom appeared. And remember 1 Peter 5: 8,9 “Be vigilant and clear-thinking for your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour and destroy. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering.”

    *The Gospel: Apostles Creed/Nicene Creed

  23. Thank you Bill for the article on ‘Live by no lies’ by Rod Breher and all your incredible research and observations based on historical examples of persecution and sharing how believers faced this with courage.
    It reminded me of Jesus words about the sheep and goats in the sense of refining the Body of Christ, as the ones truly seeking truth made a stand and tried to assist others find their way through persecution to make a stand as well…but going it alone when needed.
    t also reminded me of the apostle Paul who often stood alone and yet could say ‘the Lord alone stood with me and strengthened me’…as all others had deserted him at one stage when he was in prison.
    Also Jesus Himself three times in the Garden of Gethsemene said ‘watch and pray with me’ while His soul was in great anguish but three times he came back and found them sleeping and had to rebuke them saying ‘could you not watch with me even for an hour?’
    I think this situation and the verses show us how the flesh will recoil from persecution and how we must prepare to in advance as Randall Bachman mentioned and then Belinda shared those constructive steps in how to prepare -they are so helpful thanks!
    I would like to add a few other ways I have found helpful or others have demonstrated when facing persecution.
    1. ‘There is a Christian group (I don’t want to b publisize) i who help prepare the persecuted in other lands to prepare for persecution, using a strategy ‘Standing strong in the storm’ while also sharing scripture and the way of discipleship and counting the cost.
    2. There are other groups who also stand with the persecuted giving Bibles, aide, food, shelter, training in occupation, legal aid to those fighting for justice and at times to relocate believers.
    3. Christian bookshops eg Word Bookstore and Koorong have biographies on famous Christians who have lived through persecution or died in prison from early years. I have read both biographies, autobiographies and historical accounts of those who have faced death or persecution in their own land or those who went to another land knowing they would be under surveillance e.g. ‘The Heavenly Man’ by Pastor Yun, edited by Paul Hattaway (Zondervan) tells of how Pastor Yun suffered in China for his faith and later after his legs had been broken through beatings, God spoke to him and said he was to walk through the prison door… The pastor said ‘But Lord I can’t walk’, yet God healed him as he walked through the doors that God opened (just like in the Book of Acts. Pastor Yun briefly met with others but had to flee and while other Christians smuggled his family out of China he was to meet them but instead God allowed him to be captured in Burma on his way to meet his wife overseas. he was then imprisoned for some years – and suffered the most horrendous torture, yet God spared his life and he finally was freed after being refined by fire. That same Pastor has been to Australia many years ago (10-15 yrs ago) to warn the Australian Christians of what is to come and to wake up the church. All of this shows Gods ways are not our ways and they are past finding out, but the Holy Spirit enables under immense suffering and persecution and gives extra strength, but much prayer is needed for them to be sustained to the end.
    4. When I was in the North of Australia 10 or so of us met as an interdenominational group monthly to pray for the persecuted Christians in various countries. Sometimes we would view a short film, or read some excerpts of what they had to face and their family. We used incoming updated information and knew names but prayed by faith. We would uphold them in prayer and pray into whatever they were facing eg a pastor in Sulawesi was jailed for some years as he had shepherded his flock in a Muslim area. He was tortured and not allowed to see his family and grew very ill. But in answer to many prayers from around the world God used an Imam to help fight to get him released. Then God sent an angel to his prison cell in the night and he was told to write what was spoken to him. He did that and God used that to help encourage Him and also to release him, along with the help the Muslim man whom God touched with compassion.
    5. A dear elderly Dutch pastor and chaplain who moved to North Australia had been in the resistance during WW2 and stood against Hitler. He used to write devotions for the church so they would be ready for persecution and he would exhort me to help others be ready for the times of darkness and persecution ahead. He said we need to train ourselves to say nothing about locations and to meet in quiet (eg When visiting a friend’s home go quickly and quietly and tell no one) and learn to avoid the internet and methods that mean its easy to trace meetings or locations. He also strongly recommended memorizing scripture while we had time and to realize scriptures may be forbidden in the days ahead or if in jail. In his own life Hitler’s men had discovered his whereabouts and he slipped away at night as God arranged an escape just in time. He recommended methods like Belinda suggested and to redeem the time because the days are evil but to always be faithful to God and to know the cost of discipleship. he was grieved that the churches were not ready or preparing the flock for the coming sufferings too.
    6. We wrote to prisoners and did this anonymously knowing we had to be discreet in what we wrote and never mention politics but we shared scriptures and encouragement and prayers for the, knowing the guards would read the letter too. Sometimes we heard back through reports of how God answered out prayers or how the person overseas was encouraged. eg one believer imprisoned in a shipping container in the desert in Ethiopia was beaten every time she shared Christ. Finally they placed out alone in the freezing desert nights in solitary confinement; she said God gave her songs and she sang loudly and then sent a blanket of warmth to surround her. Approx a year later she was released through others praying around the world and intervening on her behalf (as she was a famous gospel singer.) She was relocated to another country and though beaten the extend she is handicapped, she bravely bore the marks of suffering for Christ and never lost her faith.
    Another Christian in North Korea faced the most horrific solitary confinement at first and was downcast but in the end God sent 2 African brethren to a prion he was moved to and they held midnight services for the prisoners who were facing execution the following day. This was his last stay in prison and he understood it was God’s ‘posting’ and location for him until a President fought for his freedom and he was released at last. His scars were mental and emotional more than physical as the loneliness earlier nearly broke him. His church though prayed and prayed and lobbied and God moved on his behalf even though he was told at one stage he would be executed.
    I think all those precious lives and testimonies show us how to face persecution and how to trust God through it. Paul listened all his beatings , imprisonments (1/3 of his life spent in jail approx), torture, facing false brethren, fastings and shipwreck but counted it a privilege to serve his Saviour as one of the least worthy of the apostles.

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