Right or Wrong

Hong Kong’s Christians attend extradition bill protests in good faith

This whole article make me think if it right or wrong to take to the street to protest in accordance to biblical truth?

3 Likes

@htdaniel Coming from an American context, I certainly recognize the importance of civil disobedience as exemplified by people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. However, in the case of racial discrimination it is very obvious who is right and who is wrong. With the movement in Hong Kong, I can see how different people might have different perspectives about the right way to approach the challenges they face.

I thought this article did a good job of exploring this issue. I really liked what the author said about protest movements in general - that often there are Christians at all levels who are playing different roles and have different perspectives. And that even if we disagree with each other, Christians should love and respect one another’s decisions and not question each others faith.

What do you think about this issue? I’d be interested to hear :slight_smile:

Arguments against movement: (1) Democracy is not inherently good (2) Occupy Central is not true civil disobedience (3) Why oppose government when things are getting better?

It has struck me that as I’ve looked at protest movements in the past, whether they’re Christian or not, it does seem to me that there are some—this is related to some of the arguments of the Christians who are against the protests—it has struck me that as I read history of social change in various places, that actually it isn’t usually an either-or world. That is to say there are some people in the front lines protesting, while there are some people in the government actually not protesting but actually trying to make changes within the system, and then everybody in between. But in order for something to change, you need Christians doing all three things. But when you’re in the middle of that tension and argument, it feels like an either-or. If you’re not for the protesters, you’re not really a good Christian. Or if you are a protester, you’re not, etc., etc

1 Like

Jesus didn’t stir our emotion to protest against his arrest. Likewise in the early church, the apostle Peter, John, Paul… who had together done many books in the NT, there is no reference to violence or/and peaceful go onto the street against the prosecutors. And there are no historical evidence to violence or/and peaceful go onto the street in the early church as well, eg the arrest and martyrdom of the disciples of Jesus and Paul. This is what I think.

3 Likes

Peter was told not to teach in Jesus’s name. Yet he did so in public anyway. Many of the followers of Jesus weren’t put on trial and killed solely because they were Christians but because they were spreading Christianity. This in my eyes would be a form of protest to preach and debate in the temple saying that you don’t have to be a Jew or follow the law of Moses for salvation. It was going against the ruling people currently in power in that day.

Proverbs 31:9 states - Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

While this verse is speaking of a King doing what’s right in leadership we are told to do right by those in need as well.

Elijah protested against the idolatry and apostasy of Israel (1 Kings 18:18-40); Isaiah protested against the wickedness of Egypt and Cush (Isaiah 20); Jeremiah protested against the social sins of drunkenness, adultery and prostitution (Jeremiah 13); Ezekiel protested against immorality and violence in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 24); Jesus protested against the corruption and desecration of the Temple by the moneylenders who turned the House of God into a den of thieves (Mark 11:15-17).

While we may disagree or have varying beliefs on what is a good cause for protest it can be seen that the act itself is clearly in the Bible.

2 Likes

@htdaniel Thank you for sharing your view :slight_smile:

In addition to some of the examples @Luna provided, what do you think of the life of Daniel? Daniel specifically disobeyed a command to bow down to the statue of gold and refused to stop praying. He did so peacefully, but he did express his devotion to justice and to God through an act of civil disobedience.

2 Likes

Thanks for your and Sean response.

Jesus don’t call believers to rebellion against the arrest and crucifixion. Jesus overturn the table in temple alone but don’t call believers to overturn the table in temple. Ie call for riots and rebellion. Jesus overturn the tables is just for one message… the temple is going to be destroyed and going to raise the 3 days.

Jesus says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 NIV. We’re wrongdoers as they are. We’re are imperfect saint and not perfect. We’re need show the love that Lord is giving to us and fulfill the great commission.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1 NIV
There is difference between OT and NT, ie before and after Jesus.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36 NIV

Book of Daniel, he don’t call fellow Jews in exile to rebellion or plot against Babylonian empire. He did it peacefully by himself and he get punished according to the Babylonian law. Daniel - God is my judge -and God delivered him time and time again. Then… He’s fulfill God purpose and design for his life in exile.

3 Likes

@htdaniel Thanks again for sharing your perspective on these texts :slight_smile: I have one point of clarification and a few questions.

Clarification: Civil disobedience does not involve a plot to overthrow the government. Rather, it is a peaceful demonstration that seeks to move the government to do what is right.

Questions

By standing when Nebuchadnezzar commanded him to bow, wasn’t Daniel calling all other Jews to do the same? He may not have started a protest, but his actions spoke louder than words.

Do you think it is loving to allow someone, including a government, to behave in a way that is wicked without protesting such evil? They will be judged for the evil they do.

3 Likes

Many large demonstrations turn ugly as the recent cases for HK and Georgia. Demonstrations block the streets and deny the police and ambulance responses to urgent calls. What is peaceful? Their soul and body take over their spirit, ie emotional driven.

Again, there is no verses in the NT to call for demonstrations nor rebellion nor riots against the high priests, pharisee, sadducees and Roman and no historical evidence as well during the period of early church in NT against the arrest of Jesus and his disciples.

This scmp article for all humans who read this article as a personal testimony to Lord’s goodness, mercy and salvation?

This is many Christians in the HK police force and government offices. As the pastor said in this article, ‘where the sheep go, the shepherd will go.’ Jesus is the ultimate Shepherd. So Jesus is there in the frontline of demonstrator and the police force? Or Jesus took side?

Prophet Daniel served in the inner circle of the King, ie blocked the outer circle to gain access to Daniel. There are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc during his time not until the book of Daniel is made known to the outer circle.

Have a closed door round table discussion with authority is a peaceful solution in obedience to God that ‘all authorities are appointed by Him’ and our intercession to Lord is a key factor. God is the ultimate judge and God have the timing to bring down the empire or authorities.

3 Likes

Hi @htdaniel,

Please allow me to join in the interesting discussion and insert a thought. I’m from Indonesia, rife with protests and demonstrations. Such political activities are almost our weekly ration, intensifying as election comes around.

Whether it’s a Christian thing to do or be involved in such a way, I believed it’s more about exercising wisdom on how to get our voice heard, and positively influence the leaders, without being a stumbling block, rather than whether we should protest or not.

The problem with protests, at least such is the case in Indonesia:
1. A myriad of unwanted political agendas will ride on and take advantage of any demonstrations. Recently, Indonesia has a supposedly “peaceful” demonstration to refute the presidential election result, but then a plot to assassinate 7 political figures was inserted, to bomb vehicles, buildings, and a sniper with a fake police uniform. It’s only due to some intel work, that the police military was able to neutralize the plan and prevented the assassinations. But a few “activists” have already infiltrated the demonstrations and burned police vehicles, and inciting violent riots to break out, resulting in a lot of casualties.
2. Protest can spiral out of control, and usually the momentum tends towards violent outbreaks. Like destroying properties, injuring/killing the innocents or authorities. This can be due to “puppets”, like above, infiltrating the masses, or just emotions rising as it goes on, and only needed the slightest of triggers. I think it did happen in the HK protests, right?
3. Protest begets protest. Sometimes, the people are not ONE voice in the protests, and there could be opposition, who would be provoked and they will take “revenge” by returning protest with protest, escalating the stakes every time.
4. Protest could cost a lot! Not just mobilizing the mass, deploying the MPs, cleaning up the aftermath, and of course, counting the properties’ damage, and injuries caused, but also grinding the economy to a halt. Schools and offices that have to close for the day, or roadblocks, some transportation modes being deactivated, and business losses for many factors.

However, there has also been creative, peaceful and very well-controlled/managed protests, what came to mind is the one in South Korea recently. https://youtu.be/r_VLWeIgOlA
In 2017, Indonesia has a Christian governor, Ahok, being jailed for a ridiculous blasphemy charge, and the people peacefully went on a nationwide “1000 candles for Ahok” demonstration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1tEeqQTW9I (although at the end, Ahok dismissed them and personally decided to serve time to appease the political heat)
These must be the standard for protests, when it gets too big.

Not just as Christians, but as humans with intrinsic God-given rights, we all should strive to keep these rights respected, whether via protests or not. There are other avenues besides protests, if applicable.

Sometimes, there are no other way, like under a dictatorial leadership, such as Soeharto in 1998 Indonesia. The people will not stay quiet forever, whether Christians are moved or not, and things did get ugly. I believe God allows it to happen, and we have a better democratic system now, although far from perfect. Unfortunately, sacrifices are inevitable at times, and this only reveals the fallen nature of humanity, when God is not the head.

Hope for better things to come to HK. I was just there last May for RZIM Asia Founders, and my heart goes out to all the people of Hongkong.

Blessings in Christ,
Roy

2 Likes

@htdaniel I agree that God alone is the one who raises up kingdoms and brings them down - Amen! Also, I respect your viewpoint :slight_smile: I think we all must obey our conscience in these matters.

However, there are two major points I would make:

  1. We cannot infer God’s will based on silence in Scripture. For example, abortion is never explicitly condemned, but we can infer right behavior based on the fact all people are made in God’s image. Likewise, the fact that we do not see any peaceful protests in Scripture does not mean they are inherently wrong.
  2. We have to be careful about trying to copy exactly what Bible characters did in their specific context. We live in a different context. We need to understand the heart of God’s law - love God and love neighbor - and apply it in our own context.

Context

Normally, in Bible interpretation, you follow a general pattern:

  1. Understand the original context
  2. Understand the original message in that context
  3. Understand the current context
  4. Apply the message in current context

We have 3 contexts:

  • Daniel in Babylon
  • Jesus and the Roman Empire
  • Modern day context - peaceful protests have brought about meaningful social change for the oppressed

Facts to Keep in Mind in Each Context

  • Daniel knew that God, through Jeremiah, had commanded the exiles to seek the peace of Babylon (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
  • Jesus was establishing a spiritual Kingdom on earth to be light and salt. His goal was always the cross.
  • We, in each of our contexts, must seek to bring God’s Kingdom to earth.

I don’t know the right answer in this specific instance, but I can see how people on either side could come to their conclusions.

Good discussion :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for your response.

We’ve need to ask ourselves daily, ‘Are you minding the things of God or the things of men?’

Assumption: The thought in our mind, ‘if I don’t assert my rights, people will take advantage of me’. This thought, belief and assumption is planted by Holy Spirit or Satan?

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24

Satan battleground - our mind. The mind affect our thoughts, our emotions and our behaviours.

[Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. Matthew 16:23

Stop and think*. Are you minding the things of God or the things of men?
Scan your mind. Think you know better how to live the kingdom life?
Search your heart. Your intentions may be good, but have you become a mouthpiece of Satan?
Scrutinize your walk. God forbid that you should become so full of self that you lose sight of the things of God.

That’s all. :wink:

@htdaniel I agree we need to examine our own motives. However, standing against injustice is one of the most Biblical things that you can possibly do. The question of method, or how we stand against injustice, is one in which we should show grace to other Christians because it is not directly addressed by Scripture. I believe God will also hold us accountable if we do not speak up for those without a voice.

Isaiah 58:6-10 - “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

1 Like