The Key Word

An excerpt from the book by Adrian Rogers, Kingdom Authority, pp. 60-61:

I had the privilege to preach in Romania shortly after God brought spiritual revival to this nation that had been liberated from a cruel Communist government. One of the leaders in that revival was Josef T’son. Part of what made this man a mighty servant of the Lord was his exercise of Kingdom Authority in his life. Suffering at the hands of the Communists with brutal beatings, imprisonments, and death threats, he learned the victory that comes so sweetly in surrendering to the Savior.

As Josef and I rode along in his car, I said, “Josef, tell me about American Christianity.”

He said, “I had rather not.”

I said, “No, I want to know.”

He then said, “Well, Adrian, since you have asked me, I’ll tell you. The key word in American Christianity is commitment.”

I said, “That is good, isn’t it, Josef?”

He replied, “No, it is not. As a matter of fact, the word commitment did not come into great usage in the English language until about the 1960s. In Romania we don’t even have a word to translate the English word commitment. If you were to use  commitment in your message tonight, I would not have a proper word to translate it with.”

Josef continued, “When a new word comes into usage, it generally pushes an old word out. I began to study and found the old word that commitment  replaced. Adrian, the old word that is no longer in vogue in America is the word surrender.”

“Josef,” I asked, “What is the difference between commitment and surrender?”

He said, “When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, or to commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to.  But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don’t tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told.”

He said, “Americans love commitment because they are still in control. But the key word is surrender. We are to be the (bond) slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (in parenthesis, my add for clarification)

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And here is another excerpt that drives home that key word, surrender (p203):

My Romanian friend, Josef T’son, was being harassed by the Communist thugs in Romania. This was the time under the brutal dictatorship of Ceausecu. He was warned, “Josef, if you don’t get in line and register with the Communist government and let us control your ministry, you know what we can do to you.” Josef answered, “I know what you can do. Your chief weapon is killing, but let me tell you what my chief weapon is. My chief weapon is dying. And I want to warn you, if you use yours, I will be forced to use mine.”

When Josef was asked what he meant by using dying as a weapon he said, “If you kill me, you will sprinkle every book that I have written, every sermon that I have preached, with my blood. People will know that I believed enough in what I preached to die for it. So, if you use your weapon, I will be forced to use mine.”

The Communist enforcer shook his head went away bewildered.

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