It’s a wonder to me why communists like China’s President Xi Jinping seek to wipe out Christianity. Evil people point to bible passages to keep people from fighting their enslavement, no matter the form it takes: human trafficking, abusive marriages, work discrimination. They either lack historical, social, and contextual knowledge of the passage’s intent or ignore those implications in order to use God’s word as a cudgel. God allows us free will; there’s plenty of warning and urging to surrender our lives to Him, but there’s no arm-twisting or mind-bending neuropsychological control, unless you consider Jesus a psyop warrior, and the bible does not back you up on that. Claiming Him as your Lord and Savior and then living in his will rather than your own, is the ultimate freedom. You become lord of yourself, reaching your full human potential through God. But as that decidedly non-Christian Weimar classicist of the German Enlightenment Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Note: “falsely.” Jesus was not a liar, so there’s nothing false about true, red-hot, belief in his way and word. I guess that’s why President Xi feels it necessary to write a Chinese Communist Party version of the bible. If you come across a version with the adulteress being stoned by Jesus, then please know, you’ve got a corrupted version. Is there anything more evil than those who tamper with the literal words of God? Will the comparative bible now include the CCP version alongside the KJV (King James Version).
How does one even go about countering such evil. One, is to read the bible. Pick a reputable version and read it. Start with John, then backtrack and read the other three gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), then finish the remainder of the New Testament. If you’re a Christian, ask God to reveal to you whatever it may be that you need to learn. It’s best if you can do this in a small group through your church with some seasoned members in the bunch. If you want to have your own group outside of church guidance, there are no laws that say you can’t. Be aware that whenever two or more of you a gathered in his name, not only is there love and will your prayers be answered, but the Enemy will try to break you apart. When you chose Christian books to read in your studies, make sure they are scripturally based. If you’re going back and forth between your book and your bible, you’re probably on the right track. Always pray for discernment that the people you include, the books your decide to read, and the fellowship you share bring you into a deeper relationship with God.
It’s supposed to be fun. Yes, there should be study, questioning, and discussion, no-bleed highlighters and note-taking. But there should also be snacks and drinks or even a meal. Make it potluck or rotate the responsibilities, so the cost and work are shared. Small groups are how you share your life as brothers and sisters in Christ, laughing together, holding each other up in bad times. Eventually, it won’t just be bible studies that bring you together, but family events and holidays. Some you will bond with more closely than others. That, too, is OK. Those are the men and women you get together with one-on-one. You’ll also be encouraging each other to go to church in person, not in a way that provokes defensiveness, but just by referring to what the pastor said in church on Sunday or mentioning a worship song you want to add to your playlist. I see through all these ploys, but maybe others will take them at face value, or receive them more graciously than I usually do.
And that brings up another point: Going to church in person matters. Christianity Today covered the pandemic’s affect on church attendance, and it isn’t pretty. Things are beginning to move in the right direction, with attendance improving, but it remains to be seen if numbers will return to pre-pandemic levels. Although online services should always be available for the home-bound or as an option when away, attending church strengthens your ties within the community. Singing, too, is a form of worship, provided it’s along the lines of “Amazing Grace” rather than “Sympathy for the Devil.” Interesting how the mask mandates attempted to squelch the practice of religious freedom by curtailing singing, which is a big part of many Protestant services. It doesn’t matter now. They only needed to hold us down and back until they got a communist-backed world-order power structure in place. Now we sing as a form of resistance. Practicing Christianity is resistance.
The renewing of our mind is only something we can do by immersing ourselves in the Word, and by exposing ourselves to literary works, arts, sciences, languages, things that challenge us to think. We don’t always need to think in new directions; in fact, many giants of what would be considered a classical education were far from a personal relationship with God in the manner that Christians ascend to today. That doesn’t mean we should eschew a classical education for the instant gratification of social media or the passive viewing of audio-visual media, neither of which requires the student’s active participation. Sometimes we simply need to think more thoroughly about what we already know. If you can be exposed to such works through an education system that is holy rather than secular, so much the better. It’s better to have a teacher you trust guide you and be there to answer the questions that such thinking always prompts.