Our Church Is In The Hands Of God – No One Can Hurt It

By Martin Roth

According to the First Things blog:

Copts have no illusions about the possible consequences of their new assertiveness: more persecution. But it seems a price they’re willing to pay. A senior Coptic monk told the AP, “Our church grows stronger with martyrdom. My faith and confidence tell me that so long as our church is in the hands of God, no one can hurt it.”

This reflects what I wrote in my novel “The Coptic Martyr of Cairo:”

“You said something during the demonstration that I didn’t quite understand. You said that each stone the protestors throw makes you stronger?”

“That’s exactly right. When I am not afraid of death, when I know that I might die, but when I also know that by dying I will be going to a much better place, then I am made stronger. And my assailant is made weaker by comparison. The victim becomes the victor. If he kills me I shall rise up to eternal life and become stronger. I will be together with Jesus. The assailant has lost all his power. He is defeated. When you spend several decades in a monastery you learn truths like that.”

“So you actually want your churches to be attacked? Your people killed?”

“No, of course not. It causes great pain within our community when that happens. But we strive to be like Jesus, who died a martyr. Our founder was the apostle Mark, who wrote the earliest of the gospels. He was executed and died a martyr. The Egyptian church has been built on the blood of our martyrs and is renewed and strengthened by them. Far more than in any other country. Because God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him. I can quote to you by heart the beautiful words of the Book of Revelation. ‘When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.’ Many of our people know this verse.”

“But if you keep having martyrs, soon there’ll be no one left.”

“Do you truly believe that? Christians have been in this land for two thousand years. The baby Jesus moved through our land. The apostle Mark, who wrote one of the gospels, he founded our church. Do you think God will allow our church to fall?”

“There are lots of countries that used to be Christian. The whole of North Africa…”

“I can’t speak about those other countries. Maybe the people there were not true believers. But I do know that God is faithful. And He will respond to our faithful witness to Him.”

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