The disrobing of Buddhist monks and reformed pastors...
(Jesus said) I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. (John 10:11-13)
(Tim) Tonight I'm leading a discussion of Herbert Workman's Persecution in the Early Church (Oxford Paperbacks) with our first year Pastors College men. If you haven't read this book, you simply must. Nothing has helped me understand our present pressures and how best to prepare our children for the coming persecution as well as this little treasure.
Anyhow, I was reminded of Workman's book while reading this excerpt from an account published in the Times of the recent persecution of Buddhist monks in Burma:
A teacher talked about the pain of seeing Buddhism desecrated and the fear of the military that spread among the monks.
I know dozens of monks. One monk is very old. He is 78. It never occurred to him that in his lifetime he would have to hide. The day after the shootings started, I went to this monastery and the faces that I saw on those monks was something I had never seen. It is not fear. It was a sadness so unbelievable.
Now the young monks that I talked to--who weren't rounded up--they want to disrobe...
They don't have the moral courage to go on. "Better to be a layman," they said.
I told them that this would be a terrible loss for our Buddhism. "No," they say, "What's the use of meditation? The power of meditation can't stop them from beating us."
The worst thing now is that no amount of persuasion from the abbots will stop the young monks from disrobing.
An abbot of a monastery where hundreds of children are taught said three-quarters of the monks had fled:
"How difficult this is....They ran away for their security...."
Really, can we expect pastors to stand when the killing fields come to these United States if we haven't stood at the breaches in the wall during these years of relative peace? Calvin exhorts us all the time not to spend the years of peace relaxing, but rather to use them to prepare for the coming battles. And yet, with each year that passes I note the decline of power and conviction in Protestant and reformed pulpits.
Speaking bluntly, if my sermons have abandoned God's 'no' for His 'yes'; repentance for faith; justice for mercy; the law for grace; if I have put forward sermons that are culturally synchronous rather than antitethical; if I've exchanged truth, beauty, and goodness for the righteousness of faith; if I have non-ordained male and female deacons on a joint deacons board and women serving the Lord's Supper to the congregation; if my congregation is devoid of racial and cultural heterogeneity in a city of ethnoi; really, I'm already disrobed.
I find it almost impossible to imagine myself or many of our reformed luminaries being charged, let alone executed, for anarchy and atheism.