The court’s decision in the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman from Pakistan, accused of blasphemy, was postponed by the Supreme court of Pakistan. A decision on her latest appeal had to announce in mid-October, but the Islamic extremists started to rebel. Bibi sits in jail for over 9 years. And if the prosecution did not withdraw, she could become the first woman in Pakistan, which is executed for blasphemy.
Christianity was persecuted from the beginning. Thousands of first students have been killed or ended up in jail. So what was their faith that people were willing to risk their lives? David Limbaugh explores these questions in his new book, “Jesus is risen”. He said it is due to the fact that the Saviour has raised up his worst persecutor and made him an ardent follower.
MHN: Some argue that the idea of resurrection and the virgin birth of Jesus came much later, and that the early apostles and Christians didn’t believe in it. Tell us about it.
David Limbaugh, author of “Jesus is risen”:
That’s just absurd. Paul wrote in one of his letters: “If Jesus Christ was not crucified, dead and buried, and then resurrected in the body, that Christians should be sorry, because we’ve lived all their lives, devoting themselves to Christ and it was a myth.” The resurrection of Christ in the body is a Central part of Christianity. His coming in history in the form of God and man, death and resurrection – are all important. Of course, early Christians believed in it from the beginning. That’s why there were many disputes. And one of the main reasons lies in the fact that the gospel has always been as we see it today.
MHN: I know that originally they preached of Christ, mainly Jews. Tell us about the first Gentile who was converted.
Cornelius was a Roman centurion who was not rooted in Jewish law. It was the indirect call. God gave Peter a vision in which he saw a sheet on which were unclean animals. In the vision God said, “Eat them.” And Peter replied: “I can’t eat them. This impure animals.” After that, Peter agrees to meet Cornelius, who had also received a vision. And in the end, Peter addresses Cornelius and his family to Christianity. There are no differences. In Christ all the same. No more Jew, Gentile, Greek, slave or free. We are all United in Christianity. This vision of the unclean animals was to show Peter that God does nothing evil. Is the New Testament, and now we can all come and be saved through Jesus Christ.
MHN: Your book talks about the first six Acts and the Epistles that Paul wrote. Do you see there is a message that someone can be so evil, bad and lost, that it cannot save?
No. Paul was an Orthodox Jew, and he was the last candidate for salvation. But on the road to Damascus he experienced a personal encounter with Christ and converted to Christianity because of her. The question was: “Why do you persecute Me?” And not: “Why are you persecuting the Church?” The persecution of the Church is persecution of Jesus Christ. And He showed it to Paul. He drew Paul, and he became the chief Evangelist to the Gentiles. Jesus chose Paul because he was burning, was a sincere man. He preached the gospel, creating a new Church. No one can be outside the love of Christ, if only he does not reject her. But it’s a question of will. I believe in freedom of choice. Jesus revealed himself to all. “Knock and I will open. Seek and you shall find.”
MHN: What were the most effective techniques for Paul’s treatment of people in faith? What he did best?
Its main feature was that he took people where he found them. He didn’t look at the little things. Surrounded by Jews, he accepted Jewish practices. But he never betrayed the faith. He did everything to make people feel comfortable, and shared the gospel with them. Rabbi Zacharias says: “Know not only the question and who asks it.” Understand who you are talking about. Don’t be a legalist. Try to find the link on their level, and then share with them the truth about God of the Universe, the Savior Jesus Christ, because it is a universal language that we all can understand regardless of culture.