"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.XI No.III Pg.1,4b
March 1949


Joe Malone

From the East into Europe rolls a Red tide fomented by a political ideology and characterized in part by persecution which, in turn, has given occasion for much publicity and much lamentation.

From the West of Europe has rolled a Cross tide fomented by a politico-religious ideology and characterized in no small part by persecution which, strangely enough, has occasioned disproportionately little publicity and little lamentation. This latter tide began to roll centuries ago when Constantine succeeded in making his version of "Christianity" not only the instrument of the government but also the master of it—to the embarrassment and corruption of both. That tide has found expression since then in such things as the merciless Inquisition and the slaughter of the Huguenots. It found expression, while Hitler and his henchmen were striding eastward in Europe, in the persecution of the Serbian Orthodox Church. According to press dispatches, it finds expression even now in Spain and much of South America.

The churches of Christ carry absolutely no brief for the persecutor whether he appears in the garb of politics or religion! Coercion is not conversion. There is as much truth as proverb in the statement that "a man persuaded against his will is of the same opinion still." Here is the Lord's way of gaining converts: "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17) "Whosoever will, let him—" That's heaven's way. Again, Jesus graciously said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30) "Come unto me—" expresses the Lord's way, and it very definitely establishes that it is a matter of one's own Volition. Now, let it he granted that you are teaching the truth as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and you approach another with the anticipation of converting him. Yet, when he hears you, he not only rejects your teaching but openly opposes it. What are you to do? Prove your doctrine orthodox by raining on the fellow a crescendo of blows and knocks? God forbid! Jesus said, "Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet—Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and HARMLESS AS DOVES." (Matt. 10:14,16) That's the Christian way. Jesus further instructed: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matt. 5:44) Would following such advice ever make a religious persecutor? A Christian follows it.

Our Lord Jesus Christ declared, "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matt. 26:52) In support of that principle, Paul stated, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7) Therefore, think it not strange that the persecutor, whether in political guise or religious garb, ultimately finds himself the persecuted.