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The Insanity of God: An Interview with Nik and Ruth Ripken

They know the power of prayer. So often they would begin conversations and we realized they weren’t talking with us but with Jesus because they felt we were busy doing something else. Jesus was so real to them. They experienced Him working in their lives. What lessons can believers in the West learn from persecuted believers?

Nik and Ruth Ripken: There have been three foundational principles that believers in persecution want to share with the church in the West.

First, in the Bible persecution is normal. In the West we believe persecution is bad but for these believers they understand that persecution is a reality for those who follow Christ and they consider it a privilege to suffer for Jesus. It is true – persecution is hard and they will not deny that but they want to be obedient through their suffering.

Second, the number one cause of persecution is people coming to Jesus. As followers of Christ we must pray for people to come to Christ but when we pray for persecution to stop the only way that God can answer our prayers is not have people believe. Believers in persecution ask us to pray like Jesus did in the Garden. “Let this cup pass. But not my will by your will be done.” We need to pray for God’s will to be done. These believers are thrilled that we pray for them and often share they could not survive without the prayers of those in the West but they want us to pray that they will be obedient through their persecution. We want to pray like Jesus.

The third one is difficult for as we do everything we know to do. We learn languages so we can share the Gospel. We study the culture and try to witness in culturally appropriate ways. We invite people into our homes and we share meals together. We share our story of finding Jesus. We share God’s story from His Word and we witness. No matter how much we do right when people come to Christ there will be persecution for where there is a harvest there will be persecution. As a result of us sharing our faith with others people will blame us for getting people hurt. They will point fingers at us and say that if we had kept our mouths shut and just helped people with food, shelter, clothing then these people would not be persecuted. Believers in persecution ask us not to quit, not to turn around and run. The question we must ask is are we tough enough to stay the course? What types of responses would you like to see people have to the information that you have presented in your books and in the film?

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2017

About the Author: Nik Ripken, D.Min., and his wife, Ruth, are mission veterans of over 30 years with International Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention), having served in Malawi, Transkei, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia, Germany, Ethiopia, and in the Middle East. They currently serve as Global Missiologists. Dr. Ripken is the author of many articles on missions and, along with Ruth, has done extensive research among the persecuted in approximately 70 countries. He is the author of The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected (B&H, 2013) and The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places. In cooperation with B&H Publishing, a curriculum based upon both books was developed in 2016. A documentary based on The Insanity of God was released in 2016. Nik and Ruth are the parents of three sons.

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