Frederick the Great, the 18th century King of Prussia, is said to have once invited some notable people to his royal table including his top-ranking generals. One of them, Hans von Zieten, declined the invitation because he wanted to partake of communion at his church.
At a later banquet when von Zieten was present, Frederick mocked the general for his religious beliefs, as the other guests joined in joking about the Lord’s supper.
Finally, the general stood up and respectfully addressed the monarch. “My lord, there is a greater King than you, a King to whom I have sworn allegiance even unto death. I am a Christian man, and I cannot sit quietly as the Lord’s name is dishonored and his character belittled.”
The stunned guests silently trembled realizing that von Zieten might be killed. However, Frederick grasped the hand of this courageous man, asked his forgiveness, and requested that he remain. He promised that he would never again allow such a travesty to be made of sacred things.
We live in an age where atheists, infidels, and unbelievers routinely ridicule Christianity. Professors mock God in state university classrooms. The name of Jesus Christ is too often reduced to a blasphemous slur by profane antagonists. And the Bible is belittled by today’s elite as an outdated, unreliable, and error-filled book.
Christians need to stand, as did the apostles of old, and boldly defend their faith against unfounded accusations and contemptuous insults.
When Peter and John were threatened by the authorities and commanded “not to speak or to teach in the name of Jesus,” they courageously refused. Luke records they saw their boldness and took note they had been with Jesus (Ax. 4:13-20).
When they returned to the rest of the disciples they prayed for strength to withstand the pressure. “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Ac. 4:29).
More than once Paul affirmed to the Corinthians that both his writing and preaching were filled with “great boldness of speech” (2 Cor. 3:12;7:4). The apostle had some tough things to say to them that they needed to hear. And he did not back down. Or sugar-coat his words.
Our faith in Christ and in His promises ought to fuel us with boldness (Eph 3:12; Phil 1:20; 1 Tim 3:13). Through Him we have confidence. We are provided evidence to give us assurance. And thus, we can know the certainty of the things we have been taught and believe. We have every reason and right to boldly stand for Truth.
In “The Embarrassed Believer,” Hugh Hewitt, contends that many Christians are “bystanders,” embarrassed believers who are too timid to publicly state their beliefs and stand for their values.
Hewitt says many Believers are afraid to have Bibles on the corner of their desks at work and rarely engage others in spiritual conversations. Yet, opponents of Christianity openly voice their rejection of God and repudiation of the Bible. Hewitt calls for Christians to stand up. Be counted. And be heard.
In closing, Hewitt writes, “Christians in America trying to save the lost, comfort the suffering, cure the ill, clothe the naked and bring joy to the despairing will not make a significant and lasting impact unless they do so openly and without apology as Christians. The witness must accompany the work or the work will not endure and the world is hungry for our witness. Bold witness!”
Paul affirmed, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Rom 1:16) Are we?
Jesus’ words ring true today and sound as a warning to all believers. “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mk 8:38).
The advice of Ruth Boorstine would serve us well spiritually. “Be bold in what you stand for and careful what you fall for.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman