Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On Missions, Marriage, Martyrdom And The Glory Of God

John Piper begins his text This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Wheaton, Crossway Books, 2009) with an argument for one flesh union even in death. Namely, in so far as marriage is the symbol of unity and covenant faithfulness on earth, it is fully realized after death of Christ's love and faithfulness for the church. He provides an except for an object lesson; it is simply a powerful read invoking a passion and respect for missions, marriage and martyrdom. And in the end, he argues that this is not tragedy in so far as, in Christ, nothing is lost in death.
"Never was the little one more precious than when they looked their last on her baby sweetness, as they were roughly summoned the next morning an led out to die.... Painfully bound with ropes, their hands behind them, stripped of their outer garments, and John barefooted (he had given Betty his socks to wear), they passed down the street where he was known to many, while the Reds shouted their ridicule and called the people to come and see the execution.

Like their Master, they were led up to a little hill outside the town. There, in a clump of pine trees, the Communists harangued the unwilling onlookers, too terror-stricken to utter protest -But no, one broke the ranks! he doctor of the place and a Christian, he expressed the feelings of many when he fell on his knees and pleaded for the life of his friends. Angrily repulsed by the Reds, he still persisted, until he was dragged away as a prisoner, to suffer death when it appeared that he too was a follow of Christ.

John had turned to the leader of the band, asking mercy for this man. When he was sharply ordered o kneel -and the look on his face, afterwards, told of the unseen Presence with them as his spirit was released -Betty was seen to quiver, but only for a moment. Bound as she was, she fell on her knees beside him. A quick command, the flash of a sword which mercifully she did not see -and they were reunited."

- Mrs. Howard Taylor, The Triumph of John and Betty Stam (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 1936), 107f. The Child had been hidden and was found by Christians and saved.

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