My Coptic experience

This past Sunday we prayed for the families of the martyred Coptic Christians who did not recant their faith prior to losing their heads. We do know that Paul’s prison chains often fueled others to remain bold in their respective spheres of influence. Prayerfully that will be the case as we hold on to and hold out to others the sufficiency of Jesus alone to save and satisfy anyone.

If interested, here’s an article from the Gospel Coalition with more info which includes how to pray for our brothers and sisters over there during this time.

  1. Pray for comfort for the families of the victims.
  2. Pray for effective mass distribution of a Scripture tract we’ve just produced (see image), that God’s Word will comfort and challenge the many who will receive it.
  3. As I write, there is news of more Egyptians being kidnapped in Libya. Lord, have mercy!

I’d like to share my only experience with a Coptic Christian. His name was Tarik. He and Mahmud (a Muslim if you couldn’t tell by the name) were our guides during the Egypt-Jordanian leg of our Furman foreign study class. Our meeting coincided with a time when I was surrounded not by atheists but with universalists. A universalist believes all roads lead to God. We’re all heading up the same mountain, just on different paths. As a result, I was pretty much on my guard when Tarik and I conversed that January of 1999.

I remember him telling me that God would look at a “good” Muslim and not exclude him from heaven because he didn’t believe in Jesus (Jesus actually disagrees with this in the gospels). If he were a good Muslim, with a good heart, then that would be sufficient. I wonder if Tarik and I had the same conversation in 2015, would he still come to the same conclusions?

Maybe so, because these were “bad” Muslims, right? “Good” Muslims could still be saved by their own personal goodness. I know Tarik didn’t like my answer for I explained that there are no Muslims or Christians for that matter “good” enough to save themselves. I doubt I was all that respectful when I did it, because I don’t think we talked much more after that. And one can respectfully disagree so that the relationship doesn’t end.

But lets consider Tarik’s thinking for a bit.If that were really were the case, and God just judges us on our personal goodness and not the goodness of Jesus as we rely upon Him alone for salvation, then it might be a good idea to be a Sunni Muslim if you live in the Middle East. Certainly safer. And it would be exhausting to be a “Christian” if you believe your behavior could tip the scales in your favor. I’m so thankful that Christ chose to bear my behavioral burden so I could be free to follow Him without the fear of failure.

Fortunately not all Coptics believe in universalism. If curious, here are some fun facts about the Coptic Christians.

 

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