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The Cost of Conveyance

What price have we paid in the west for our faith?

What has the cross of Christ cost us?

These questions were raised for me recently as I read the book: Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. Wurmbrand was a Romanian pastor who was imprisoned fourteen years for proclaiming the gospel. He was tortured in an attempt to induce him to recant his faith and betray other believers.

If you read the book (I most do recommend you read it.) it will immediately strike you as out-of-date. In fact, it was authored in 1967 when Russia was the USSR and a communistic nation. So in light of the fall of the Berlin wall and the second revolution in Russia it seems passe’.

But it is not.

Around the world in many areas adhering to our faith is hard by comparison to our experiences here in the United States. In China and Muslim countries many pay what we would consider an unbelievable cost for that Cross message. That same message we easily gather to hear on a weekly basis. For many Christianity is not a social custom or cultural event; their creed is life or death. It cannot be stated enough: Outside of the western world, pluralism does not exist. It is estimated (this is difficult to document admittedly) that close to two hundred thousand men, women and children die for being a confessing Christian annually. Untold thousands are martyred every year while we, in the west, treat our faith as if it is of little importance.

What has the Cross cost us?

What price have we paid to name the name of Christ; to proclaim to a world gone mad with self and pleasure that Christ is Lord? Christ is Lord, not our money, our jobs, our houses, our families or our politics, what have we paid to say this?

Unfortunately we seem to have other items of importance on our agenda. We expend enormous amounts of energy arguing about church administration arcane points of theology and worrying about how others behave.

If you go on-line and research, it seems that for every influential Christian on the radar there is a website devoted to explain how that Christian is wrong and off-base. Wurmbrand made this point in his book “In formerly Communist Russia, no one remembered anymore the arguments for or against child or adult baptism, for or against papal infallibility. They were not pre- or post- millennialists. They could not interpret prophecies and didn’t quarrel about them…” 1

By expending so much energy as some do to demean the works of others, or to debate theological issues that do not directly impact evangelism we turn aside from performing our true calling of expanding and building the Church. Christ is lifted up to draw us to him; not repel us from each other or others. Attacking other believers, their work and theology (beyond a certain logical point) is a luxury that Christians elsewhere in many places cannot afford.

This gospel costs. Oh, yes to take this Gospel in, to eat his bread and drink his wine, this is offered freely. But the Gospel is not duty free; there is a cost for conveyance. Our first and primary responsibility is to share the good news that Christ is the only true hope. He is in fact, as he said, the way, the truth, the life. The cost of Gospel conveyance can be high; it can be life and death. It is life and death for many today. The conveyance is action and words.

What will be our message that we carry at great potential cost? Theology, right and orthodox theology matters; it is in fact what spurs and drives us in this evangelical enterprise after all. Church administration matters. What matters first? What matters first, is the Gospel message that calls us to the Cross, to confess our sins, cling to Christ and receive salvation and healing of our true soul self. This message is worth living and dying for.

1. Wurmbrand, R. (1967), Tortured for Christ.  Bartlesville, OK:              
    Living Sacrifice Book Company
Copyright © 2011 Brian Bailey, Author