Three Tests for the Church of Jesus Christ

The following is an excerpt from the book, A Time to Kill, A Time to Heal by Roger Helle. The book includes stories about the effort of Vietnam military veterans who help the people of Vietnam after the war, and the efforts to support the underground church in a country that attempts to stop the spread of the Christian Gospel.

“Bill [Kimball] gave a short message on the three tests the church of Jesus Christ faces historically.

The first test, Bill said, was the test of persecution. The church of Christ has always overcome the test of persecution. Persecution has always, throughout history, fueled the growth of the church, many times with the blood of its martyrs. Vietnam, Bill said, was overcoming the test of persecution.

Next, was the test of poverty. Bill said that historically, the church of Jesus Christ always overcame the test of poverty and added that the church in Vietnam was overcoming the test of poverty.

Finally, he said the third test was the test of prosperity. Bill paused and then said that historically, the church of Jesus Christ has never overcome the test of prosperity.

Bill challenged all who were there to remember that God was their source, no one else, and that He would meet their needs as they looked to Him for everything.

I sat there amazed at the depth of Bill’s words and, because I live in America, the truth of them for us as a nation as well.

After our trip was over and we touched down on American soil again, there are always emotions that need to be addressed. While it is always good to be home, each trip to Vietnam reminded me how very easy it is to quickly become comfortable here is the United States. We all have more than what we need. Few people in an entitlement society, such as we have become, realize those on welfare here in America live better than 80 percent of the people in the world. For those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ, we suffer little for the Gospel. Being called names is enough to cause some to turn away from following Christ. In Vietnam, as well as many other Communist or Muslim nations, believers would die before they would deny their faith.

During the entire trip, we were able to minister to and train over 750 pastors and leaders and give at least two Bibles to each one. The goal was for them to take what they had been taught and teach another upcoming leader. The hunger of these people made an impact on my heart and life. They do not look at the clock or get nervous if the service goes too long. Their faith is powered by the fact it could very well cost them everything, including their life, if they are caught.

Persecution of the church in Vietnam is like the tide, it ebbs and flows. One month the government will ignore you; the next, the central government orders a crackdown, and anything can happen. The only persecution I have suffered is to be called names or have my character assassinated by other Christians. Most of the world’s believers live their faith day by day, not for convenience.

Centuries ago, the Lord spoke to Solomon at the dedication of the temple, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV).”

Bill Kimball, founder of Vets with a Mission (VWAM). Bill’s overwhelming desire was to see Vietnam veterans return to Vietnam to help in the rebuilding of a country that suffered immense destruction to its infrastructure, and minimize its effect on the former South Vietnamese.

Roger Helle, a Marine Vietnam veteran and was the Executive Director of Teen Challenge of the Mid-South in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for nearly 40 years, helping thousands of people break free from addiction.

Helle,Roger L.. A Time to Kill, a Time to Heal (pp. 232-233, 246, 276). Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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