Quotation of the Week

This week we hear from Douglas Kelly, who is commenting on Revelation 6:9-11, the fifth seal wherein the martyred saints under the altar cry out to God, “How long, O Lord?” Kelly says,

Once the saints have been martyred, they do not lose their effectiveness in changing the course of world history…To rid themselves of the testimony of these believers, who were showing up the darkness of the evil works of sinners by their humble and holy lives, the world system said, ‘Let’s dispatch them. Then we shall be rid of their annoying influence, and our lives will no longer be disturbed by their Christian testimony.’ But look at what actually has happened: they have only dispatched them to a place of tremendous authority that they can now exercise near their heavenly father’s heart in heaven, as they are praying. (commentary on Revelation, p. 125-6).

This is a very interesting idea, and one that I have not really thought of before. One is reminded a little bit of what Obi Wan Kenobi tells Darth Vader during their battle near the end of Star Wars that if Darth strikes him down, he will only become more powerful than he was before. If the world powers were smart about this, they would not martyr Christians for their faith, since they only help the Christian cause in the world through doing so. However, world powers have never been smart about this. In fact, they seem intent on killing as many Christians as they can. It is no coincidence that the greatest and fastest growth of the Christian church is happening hand in hand with the greatest number of martyrdoms the world has ever seen. Instead, if the powers that be want Christianity to die out, they should lure Christianity into the regions of comfort and sensuality, like what is happening in the West.


  1. February 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Well, since unbelievers don’t believe any part of Christian theology, why would they believe *this* part (that, by killing believers, they are only sending them home)? They just want Christians dead, and have no interest or belief in what that actually means from the Christian point of view.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    February 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Richard, you’re right of course. If they actually did believe anything like this, they wouldn’t be persecuting Christians, now, would they?

  3. roberty bob said,

    February 20, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Douglas Kelly preached a sermon on this very passage at RTS chapel on fine day. Every time I read Revelation 6:9-11, I remember Kelly’s sermon.

  4. February 21, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Lane, what do you think of Kelly’s first two volumes of his ST?

  5. Dennis said,

    February 21, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    When I was in college, I took a class in American Political Thought and we were studying John Locke’s argument of Freedom of Religion. Our professor (Jewish/Atheist) made the argument that Locke endorsed freedom of religion as it would tend to build apathy in a culture where religion would end up becoming unimportant. Kinda supports your thoughts.

  6. Andrew said,

    February 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I wonder historically though if there are not examples of persecution being effective. So the Reformed faith flourished in places where it was not persecuted. In others where the state was against it, it seems to have not taken hold – France is a good example, and certain German states even more so. There also seems a fair difference, as far as one can tell be the state of the faith in S. Korea and in N. Korea. But perhaps you would see these as local and temporary checks.

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