A Risky Venture


“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25).

Western Christianity is getting a wake-up call. After a century or two of a relatively persecution-free practice of our faith, the storm clouds in the distance are inching closer. Judeo-Christian values once held by most Americans are now viewed as bigoted impositions on personal choice. And religious violence and extremism, once confined to faraway borders, are now erupting closer to home. As a result, the Western Church may soon again resemble its first-century infancy, when faith and risk were inseparable companions.

In his Web article, “A Call for Christian Risk,” John Piper writes, “Christ calls us to take risks for kingdom purposes. Almost every message of American consumerism says the opposite: Maximize comfort and security—now, not in heaven. Christ does not join that chorus . . . With staggering promises of everlasting joy, [He] unleashed a movement of radical, loving risk-takers.”

We must continually remind ourselves that risk and persecution are not merely crosses we are to bear but vital elements of our Christian identity and vivid signs of our Christian preparedness. Piper continues, “In America and around the world the price of being a real Christian is rising. Things are getting back to normal in ‘this present evil age.’ Increasingly, 2 Timothy 3:12 will make sense: ‘All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.’ Those who’ve made gospel-risk a voluntary lifestyle will be most ready when we have no choice.”

Risk and sacrifice remain longstanding Alliance values in our Christ-appointed task of creating gospel access for all peoples. In the late 1800s, when preparing to depart for hostile regions, some Alliance pioneer missionaries packed their belongings in crates fashioned after coffins. These committed men and women assumed they would surrender their lives in service to those they were assigned to reach, and dozens did. And of the 19 new international workers who were commissioned at last month’s Alliance Council, most will establish their households and ministries in places where it’s not safe to utter the name of Jesus.

And let’s not forget about those in these places who risk relationships, livelihoods, and personal safety to follow Jesus. Many endure great persecution—even death—in surrender to the One who promises eternal rewards for their sacrifice and devotion. Should anything less be expected of us?

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10).

Burgo Signature
Peter Burgo, Editor-in-Chief

1 response to A Risky Venture

  1. I want to comment on the Council Special Edition. Only about a quarter of church were represented was Mr. Burgo`s comment. Our pastor was there this year because we are in Pennsylvania. Next time in Florida he will not. Not because it`s not a great trip, but because with an average attendance of 22 and a bivocational pastor, the expense is a luxury we can`t afford.
    I suspect about half of the 3/4 of churches not represented may have similar wishes to go, but cannot.

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