Not So Safe to Be a Christian
DEAN James A. Pike of New York Cathedral said he sometimes felt it was unfortunate that “being a Christian is such a safe thing.” When this orthodox clergyman said that, it is very doubtful that he was thinking about Jehovah’s witnesses, who preach God’s kingdom. To be one of Jehovah’s witnesses is not so safe a thing, as the following experience will show:
In eastern Germany the work of Jehovah’s witnesses is banned as it is in all Communist-controlled lands. But the young man of whom we speak was not one of Jehovah’s witnesses; he had just heard of them and had at one time just briefly glanced through some of their literature. But he soon found out that even to breathe the words of Christianity can be a dangerous matter today.
One day, slightly over a year ago, he was traveling from West Berlin to eastern Germany to attend his father’s funeral. On the train he struck up a conversation with some of the travelers. They comforted him with words of religion, but he, forgetting for the moment that he was in eastern Germany, said he found great comfort in what the Bible had to say regarding the dead and the hope of a resurrection.
Immediately his travelers associated him with Jehovah’s witnesses, because it seems that no other religion of any significance in Communist lands professes any belief in the Bible. Before the young man knew it he was taken off the train by the Communist VP (People’s Police) and was arrested. Instead of getting to his father’s funeral, he landed in an East German court and was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary.
While in prison he came in contact with some of Jehovah’s witnesses who had been arrested and tried in the same way. There in prison for the first time he learned about Jehovah’s witnesses, who they were and what they believed. In fact, while in prison he decided that was what he wanted to be—one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Some time later he was baptized in water as a symbol of his dedication and new life.
When he returned to West Berlin after missing his father’s funeral he was a year older, much wiser, a servant of the Most High God and very grateful for his experience and for having tasted some of the sufferings of Christ.
His mind reflected on the words of Peter and Paul, who said: “Beloved ones, do not be puzzled at the burning among you which is happening to you for a trial, as though a strange thing were befalling you. On the contrary, go on rejoicing forasmuch as you are sharers in the sufferings of the Christ, that you may rejoice and be overjoyed also during the revelation of his glory. If you are being reproached for the name of Christ, you are happy, because the spirit of glory, even the spirit of God, is resting upon you.” “In fact, all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.”—1 Pet. 4:12-14; 2 Tim. 3:12, NW.
So, contrary to Dean Pike’s statement, Christians still find being a Christian is not so safe a thing in this world. But they are happy for it, because it proves them Christians in deed and not in name only.