Maybe Christians in the West have just had it too easy up until now.
It used to be that followers of Jesus Christ were fed to lions, crucified, burned and otherwise tortured or killed in ruthless and sadistic ways that only societies of antiquity could so artfully execute.
So many centuries ago, believers gave their lives so that the blood of the martyrs could nourish the church as Christ’s message proliferated across the known world.
But by the middle of the 20th century, Christians in the West had fattened themselves on the saccharine sermons of the health-and-wealth-gospel preachers while shunning anything that challenged their cushy existence.
They squandered the faith inheritance of the martyrs and replaced the moral courage and religious fervor that built the church with comfortable complacency and spiritual sloth.
Even many of the leaders fostered a shallow faith free from sacrifice and full of platitudes so that, by the time the coronavirus lockdowns shuttered churches and outlawed worship, there were few shepherds left who were willing to boldly protect their flocks.
Fortunately, there are still pockets of resistance against government worship bans and endless restrictions. At least one pastor has proven that there are men of God still willing to stand up to civil authority come what may.
Police cuffed the man and his brother, Dawid Pawlowski, in the middle of a busy street after they left the service. The encounter was recorded, and Artur Pawlowski posted the footage on YouTube.
Police carried the Pawlowski brothers away after it appeared they refused to walk.
As the second man was loaded into the police car, someone at the scene who appears to be the one filming can be heard yelling at officers, “Shame on you guys. This is not Communist China.”
“Don’t you guys have family and kids? Whatever happened to ‘Canada, God keep our land glorious and free?'” the bystander said to the officers.
“What are you going to do when they come for your kids?” he poignantly asked.
Artur Pawlowski was released Monday and awaits a court hearing on Monday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Authorities had already zeroed in on this pastor, who heads Calgary’s Street Church, and showed up at his parish during a Passover service last month.
The viral video footage of the incident showed the 48-year-old Artur Pawlowski, who was raised behind the Iron Curtain in Poland, ordering them out of the building as he hurled charges of totalitarianism at them.
“Nazis are not welcome here, out — and don’t come back without a warrant,” he told them.
“Gestapo is not welcome here,” the pastor later said. “Do not come back, you Nazi psychopaths.”
That encounter effectively drove officers away before authorities finally caught up with him Saturday.
Some may say that Artur Pawlowski was grandstanding or that he should go along to get along when it comes to civil authority.
However, it appears that what’s happening in Canada — and in some parts of the U.S. — is that the faithful are being kept from their God-given right to worship in peace.
Although Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is supposed to protect citizens’ religious freedom, leftists have been chipping away at it in the courts and crushing them with convenient lockdown restrictions.
Artur Pawlowski was doing what all religious leaders should be doing at this point — allowing the faithful to get back to their houses of worship where they’re spiritually protected and fed by the word of God.
The early church saints were called to spill their blood in what’s referred to as a red martyrdom and did so freely and courageously to promote and preserve the faith.
Today in North America, the sacrifice we’re called to thankfully is not a bloody one, but rather the white martyrdom of religious persecution that can include being fired, fined and even jailed for standing up for the faith.
We’ve had it far too easy for far too long to remember how important such a sacrifice is to serve God.
It’s now our turn to stand up to the Herods and the Pontius Pilates and the Pharisees of our time — maybe not in the exact way that Artur Pawlowski did, but through our support for people like him who are fighting the good fight.
God may call few to such civil disobedience, but we are all called to pick up our crosses and follow Christ every day in our own ways.
The church has endured persecution and survived through the millennia because of people like this brave pastor who are willing to risk temporal pleasures and privileges for the promise of eternal freedom — and that’s what the cross of Christ is all about.
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