Pastor Dmitry Lazuta from Belarus visited Voice of the Martyrs Korea as a part of the 2016 Martyr’s Spirit Speakers Series to share about church growth in the midst of oppression and the meaning of suffering for Christians.
From his experience of being a Christian under both communist oppression and religious freedom, he concluded that the best time for church growth is “something between freedom and persecution, the time of oppression.” Currently in Belarus, it is difficult not only to officially register a church but even to rent a place for worship. These difficulties, however, have helped the Christians to not become complacent but be spiritually alert.
It is important to keep in mind that these kinds of oppression and persecution are not confined to certain geographical regions. Pastor Dmitry’s conclusion mentioned above does not apply only to Christians in Belarus. Persecution is and should be normal for all Christians, as we live in a world that has always been hostile to Christ.
In fact, in 1 Peter 4:12-13 the Apostle Peter encourages us by writing, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
Therefore, count it as joy if you are being persecuted for your faith, because persecution is normal and Christ has suffered for us. What an honor it is to follow his path.
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