In a sermon titled “The Gospel Demands Sacrifice” posted at YouTube, President of the Southern Baptist International Missions Board Daniel Platt emphasized the Gospel requirement that our love for Christ should surpass even what we have for family.
As an example, Pastor Platt praised John Bunyan who was tossed into prison for refusing to stop preaching when ordered to by Anglican authorities despite the hardship endured by his family in general and his blind child in particular.
The Christian should not deny Christ.
However, Bunyan was initially imprisoned for preaching without a license.
Whether we agree with that or not is a secondary matter.
Often in a fallen world, the situations are so bad that the individual is forced to prioritize from a list of less than ideal options.
From the Wikipedia entry on John Bunyan, one gets the impression authorities were not initially inclined to imprison Bunyan until he blurted out that he’d be out preaching again the next day.
That causes one to ponder was it necessarily Christ that Bunyan was infatuated with or the adrenaline rush one can get from a good fight.
I Timothy 5:8 admonishes that those that do not take care of their own family are worse than an infidel.
The same ones praising John Bunyan for in their minds putting Christ in a proper place above the needs of his family would turn around and heap condemnation upon others for not taking care of the Bunyan urchins.
However, shouldn’t taking care of the spiritual and physical needs of these children have been the foremost life’s mission of the Bunyan parents?
Why couldn’t have Bunyan been as an upstanding Christian example ministering to the needs of his ailing child and instead return to spreading the Gospel to others behind the back of authorities at a later time?
Jesus did indeed counsel that the believer’s love of family should look like hate in comparison to that for Him.
However, the most profound expression of devotion to Christ may be in loving our family members in those times we feel like loving them the least or get distracted by a cause we deem much more exciting than the mundane duties of this world.
By Frederick Meekins