Perhaps one of the greatest shocks a Christian will ever know is to discover that fellow Christians can be cruel. Nonetheless though it seems to be a fact, it is not well known nor easily accepted. The discovery that Christians can be cruel to Christians has destroyed the spiritual part of many a believer’s life. Few things, even the loss of a loved one, affect one’s life so profoundly or so painfully. The damage is often quite unfathomable. I would dare say that a truly vicious attack on the part of one believer to another leaves most Christians so hurt they never fully recover.
Yet full recovery is possible.
Thus begins Gene Edwards book, Crucified by Christians, with an opening such as one would anticipate at the beginning of an onstage performance. Yet at center stage is the victim – the Christian who has been so wounded that a variety of responses are possible, all of them legitimate: anger, bitterness, defiance, the list goes on, smothered by the most legitimate feeling of all: betrayal.
At the opening of curtain one Act One, we are introduced to a rather large list of Christians who were so mistreated or abused so severely that it amounted to a crucifixion – and sometimes a public one. Just to name a few, Edwards mentions John Huss, Hugh Latimer, William Tyndale, JohnWycliffe, the maiden Joan, John of Prague – a pretty consistent pattern dating all the way back to Jesus’ cousin. The road is marked with people abusing who should not have been and those suffering at their hands who certainly reasonably should not have been. As the play continues, the reader observes that it continues today, sometimes in more subtle forms.
It becomes even more horrific as the reader grasps the enormity of betrayals that have happened in the past – some of them we even call martyrs – one realizes that many of these early Christians were betrayed by their friends – fellow believers. One may recall that even Jesus was turned in by a friend — today being called a “Judas” is synonymous with betrayal and referring to that very incident in the garden.
Act Two in the second half of Crucified by Christians deal with the here and now. It focuses succinctly on what happens next in the journey of recognition and recovery and comparison.
Crucified by Christians is easy reading and can be absorbed in one sitting. But it is one of those kinds of readings that one would do well to refresh again and again as its concepts bring the reader to a unforeseen level of understanding and outlook. The first time around it may even feel a bit overwhelming. At the same time many have found healing words in its pages. Edwards’ monumental words seek to grasp the wounded soldier: “What is the difference between life and resurrected life? This: You can kill life! Look at Golgotha and learn that even divine life could be killed. You cannot kill resurrection life. You cannot kill divine life which has passed through death. You cannot kill divine life that has passed on the other side of crucifixion. Divine life…crucified. Divine life…dead. Divine life…passed through death. Divine life…resurrected. There is nothing that can touch that life. When you have risen from the dead nothing can touch you!
Author of several books that deal with Christians hurting each other and the recovery required, Gene Edwards has been involved in planting House Churches.