“Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.” Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.” (Reference: Luke 11:47-51 )
I am still thinking back to my discovery yesterday of a posting I did five years ago when I suggested that we place ourselves in the role of defending innocents from persecution and death. I don’t know about you beloved, but it lifted me out the fog and funk I am been feeling. We sling opinions and perspectives around so much that we get into a mind set where everyone else is so wrong on everything and we are the only ones that have a firm grip on proper beliefs. And we forget that innocents are too often the collateral causalities in religions battles.
The prophets that God sent were simply, as best as they were able, following God’s instructions as they understood them. I balance large caveats on this not because I belief they were culpable and so should have been able to avoid the persecution and death that visited upon them. Nor do I think that God’s prophets should expect a violent death at the hands of others. Being called to live as God directs, and to speak as God calls one to should not end in a death sentence. It often does, and Jesus warned his followers of this. But that does not mean it is acceptable for others to put them to death, and certainly not those who should be fellow believers.
And with that, we find ourselves clearly in the world of historic Anabaptists. No matter how extreme the established church of that time found them, putting them to death was wrong! And I think the historic Anabaptists have every right to number themselves amongst the prophets in these verses from Luke. This applies also to everyone who has been put to death or persecution because of their belief in God.
Beloved, I certainly feel more balanced now than I have been the last few days. May you accept with good will and tolerance differing opinions from fellow Christians. Let us stop the animosity or worse that we find amongst professed Christian believers, and the tide of animosity or worse that is evident in the world today. Selah!