Michael Brown on Now is the Time to Preach Endurance, Not Escape

Living in America, it is easy to develop a theology of escape, one that says, “When times really get hard, God will remove us from the scene. When real tribulation comes, we will be long gone.” But is that the attitude we should be encouraging? Is not the gospel made for hard times?

I’m aware, of course, that there are divergent views of the end times among Christians, including the debate over a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation rapture (or a variation of those themes; for my own views, see here.)

Fine Christians can disagree on this, and my goal here it not to debate eschatology. We can agree to disagree and work together just the same.

Instead, my goal here is to focus on our attitude. What kind of mindset should we have in a difficult time like this? What should our mentality be?

In the last decade, Christians in Syria suffered bombing, hunger, torture, exile, and death. They did not escape the hard times.

To this moment, Christians in Nigeria are being butchered and beheaded and raped and kidnapped. They have not escaped the hard times.

Some years ago, pastors in the state of Orissa in India were given a choice as gasoline was poured over their wives and children. Deny Jesus, and you all live; refuse, and your family will be burned alive in front of your eyes. They did not escape the hard times either.

In fact, throughout Church history, God’s people have experienced living hell in this world, and throughout history we have survived. What’s more, throughout history we have overcome and thrived.

Note what is written in Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter.

Some, by their faith “conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised.” They “shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword.” Their “weakness was turned to strength [and they] became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” Yes, “Women received back their dead, raised to life again” (see Hebrews 11:33-35a). This is the fruit of faith.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown