Confession Amidst Risk
This past week I finished up a book on various theological and methodological issues surrounding missions to Muslims. The book concluded with a short note from Samuel Zwemer (now deceased) who is also known as, “The Apostle to Islam.” In this brief note Zwemer is speaking specifically to secret Muslim believers. But I believe his words are applicable to all of us in whatever calling we find ourselves, be that in the corporate world or on the mission field. Zwemer writes the following:
Confession is the one means to moral health, the one condition of spiritual growth. Confession in the early days of Christianity meant risk, a venture which exposed the life, even to the shedding of blood. It means a frank defiance of the world and an eager challenge of the devil. It gave the soul the joy of a great decision. It was like the conduct of soldiers who burn their bridges behind them and leave no way open for retreat.
Such decisions are muscle for the soul, strength for the will, joy for the emotions and peace to the heart. Those who confess Christ before men go from strength to strength and from glory to glory. Those who are timid drawback, go from weakness to weakness nay often from being ashamed to shame.
My brother, art thou secretly ashamed of that which thou knowest to be the purest and truest and strongest fact of human history-Jesus Christ? Art thou afraid of man’s opinion and man’s judgment when in the secret chambers of the soul thou hast found Christ all and man nothing? Why art thou driven about and tossed by every wind of public favor like the weather vane? Hast thou not found, tell me, the true Pole Star of joy and hope in One whom thou dost secretly love burt art afraid to confess before men? Then let the magnet of thy soul turn always and instantly to Him so wilt thou be a guide to all who are perplexed.
This snippet from Zwemer brings to mind the apostle Paul saying, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). In Zwemer we are reminded the spiritual strength comes from a bold witness to the Gospel. In Paul we are pointed to the reality that being swayed by man’s opinion of us means that we cannot be a servant of Christ. Think about that for a minute. If we seek to please others in what we confess before them, we cannot be a servant of Christ.
I hope the words of Zwemer and the apostle Paul challenge you to be bold in your Christian confession, whether you are confessing him in the corporate world or on the mission field that you may, “… go from strength to strength and from glory to glory.”