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Comparing Ideas About Bible Smuggling

Some people say: “It is wrong to smuggle Bibles.”
Others say: “Sometimes Christians have to smuggle Bibles.”
Bible verses “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1, NIV). Some people say this verse means Christians must not take Bibles into countries where government leaders do not want Bibles. Christ commanded His followers, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “All the world” includes countries where it is illegal to preach the gospel. In that case, “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29, NIV)
The laws and commands of rulers Some people say that Christians must obey all the laws and commands of rulers, even if those laws cause us to disobey God’s Word. The following people in the Bible disobeyed government rulers in order to obey God: Moses’ mother (Exodus 2:2), Rahab (Joshua 2), Daniel (Daniel 6), apostles and others (Acts 5).
Danger for those who follow Christ If Bibles are smuggled into countries where Christians are persecuted, people will read them. Those who then choose to follow Christ will be persecuted. If the smugglers do not take them a Bible, they will not be persecuted. Jesus warned His followers that they will be persecuted (John 15:20). He has promised His persecuted followers that they will received eternal rewards (Matthew 5:11,12).
Loving others Some people say that Christians should show respect and tolerance for the beliefs of those who don’t follow Christ. They say that giving them Bibles does not show this respect for their beliefs. When we tell others the Good News of the way to eternal life, we are demonstrating our extreme love for them. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Comparing Judaism and Christianity

Building for worship Synagogue Church
Main day of worship for most followers Saturday Sunday
Number of followers in the world today About 14 million About 2 billion
Number of followers in North America About 6 million About 270 million
God Judaism teaches that there is one God. Christianity teaches that there is one God who reveals Himself as God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus and salvation Jews believe that Jesus was an important teacher, but not the Messiah, Lord, or Savior. The believe they can earn God’s favor by doing good works in obedience to His commandments. Different Jewish groups have different views about what happens to people after they die. Jesus is the Son of God who died to save people from sin. Those who believe in Him receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life in the presence of God (John 3:16). Salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Christ. No one is righteous enough to earn salvation by their good works alone (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Comparing the Five Pillars of Islam with Christian Beliefs

The Five Pillars
Christian Beliefs
The five pillars and the Muslim testimony The “five pillars” are things Muslims believe they must do to be good Muslims. Muslims believe that someone who has done enough good things will go to heaven. Only on Judgment Day will they know if they have done enough. The first pillar is to recite, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Muslims worship Allah as the creator of the universe. According to Muslim beliefs, Muhammad is the prophet who received messages from an angel of Allah. The messages were later written in the Quran, the Muslim holy book. Christians do not believe that any deeds they do will make them good enough to be saved. For salvation, they trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. Christians do good deeds so that God will be honored (Matthew 5:16).
Prayer Muslims believe they should pray five times a day at certain times. They pray facing the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where Muhammad was born. Muslims recite the same phrases and Quran passages in all their daily prayers. They may pray in their own words in additional prayers. Jesus taught His followers to think of God and talk to God as their “heavenly Father.” The Bible says Christians should not pray in public in order to show off or pray with extra unnecessary words (Matthew 6).
Charity Muslims believe it is important to share what they have with the poor and needy. Jesus said those who help the needy are also serving Him (Matthew 25:40). He said those who give to the needy should do so in secret, not for the praise of men (Matthew 6:2,3).
Fasting Muslims believe it is good to fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Ramadan is a month on the Muslim calendar. Jesus said that God rewards those who fast, if they do it in secret and not for the purpose of getting praise from others (Matthew 6:16–18).
Pilgrimage Muslims believe in taking a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if they can afford it. A pilgrimage is a trip to a holy place. Christians may take trips to places that inspire them. But God does not require Christians to make an earthly pilgrimage to please Him. John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress, describes a Christian’s pilgrimage through life. The Bible tells about heroes of the faith who were looking forward to “a city without foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (See Hebrews 11:10,16.)

Comparing the Ancient Mayan Religion and Biblical Christianity

Ancient Mayan Religion
Biblical Christianity
Who are they? The Mayan people of southern Mexico and Central America followed the Mayan religion. Today some “traditionalists” combine Catholic customs with some of the practices of the Mayan religion. Christians are followers of Christ and of the teachings in the Bible.
God Mayans believed in one supreme creator god. They also believed that many other god-like spirits live in nature. Mayans tried to please the spirits. Christians believe in one God who has revealed Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Time Mayans had a complicated calendar. A “daykeeper” advised people about what days were lucky to get married, what to name their babies, etc. The Bible does not speak well of those who depend on astrology and other ungodly practices. (See Isaiah 47:12–15, Daniel 1:20.)
The end of the world The Mayan calendar ended in the year 2012. Some people believed that 2012 would be the end of the world. But scholars say Mayans did not really teach that belief, and that the Mayan calendar would start over at zero after 2012. Christians believe that Jesus will return at some point in the future. But He said that we do not know when (Matthew 25:13). The Bible tells us to be ready all the time (Matthew 25:1–13).
Sacrifice Historians now believe that ancient Mayans “sacrificed” (killed) people to please the spirits they honored. Christians believe that Jesus gave His life for us so that those who believe in Him can have a personal relationship with God forever (John 3:16). No one but Christ is sinless enough to please God. That is why He is the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Comparing Official Churches and Underground Churches

Official/Government-Approved Churches in Countries that Limit Christian Activities
Unregistered/Unofficial Churches
What are they? If the government leaders in some countries do not like a church, the members are not allowed to have worship services. Approved churches are allowed to register with the government. They may participate in activities permitted by the government. In countries where the government tries to control the church, usually fewer than 10% of the Christians attend official churches. Most would rather worship secretly in homes, woods, caves, or other secret places. They want to follow God’s rules instead of the government’s rules.
Where are they? Government-approved churches exist in communist countries and in some Muslim countries. Turkmenistan and Eritrea are examples of other countries that try to limit Christianity. Underground (secret) churches exist in every country where Christian activity is limited by the government.
Who are their leaders? Leaders must be approved by the government. The government tells them what they are allowed to preach and do. Leaders are Christians who believe, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, NIV).
What are the consequences? The church must follow the government’s rules. The rules might say, “You must not teach children about Jesus.” Or, “You must not preach from certain parts of the Bible.” Governments often do not allow church members to share the gospel outside the church building, or with certain groups of people. Underground church members are often bothered by the police. They risk losing friends and jobs. Their children may be mistreated at school. They may be arrested, put in prison, or even killed. The Book of Revelation describes the eternal rewards of standing firm in Christ.